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Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and
is partly contained in the forewords above.
these words from the Collect:
… we, who
for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy
grace may mercifully be relieved …
Collect, as is oft the case, we acknowledge to God our sad state, our evil
nature, and then ask God to grant us His Grace to be relieved of being
accounted as evil, rather accounted as perfect, even though we are so far from
This is a constant refrain, so
many of the collects have this same theme; we are imperfect, perfect only in
our imperfection; yet God is with us and is willing to help us, but only if we
This is because this a truth
that remains constant. We are failed beings who need the help of One who is not
failed, that need His Grace to be relieved of our many offenses and a renewed
sprit. He is the One we must turn to for Help. To let Him help us requires us
to let Him into our hearts.
gain eternal life, to leave this Shadowland world for the real world, the world
of Eternal Life, God’s World, that is to say Heaven, requires us to be
For only those who are perfect
at the final accounting can gain entrance into heaven.
Actually, we don’t need to be perfect to get
into heaven which is very handy as we will never in fact be perfect, no matter
how hard WE try, inasmuch as by our very nature we are imperfect.
is oft referred to as the “Final Accounting”, and as one who has studied
accounting, I can tell you that things can sometimes be accounted as what they
are not, legally, too!
that final judgment day, imperfect creatures that we are, we can be accounted
as perfect through God’s Grace of His Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Paul is
right on point when he talks about the two sons of Abraham, one of the bond,
one of the free.
Being accounted as
perfect requires us to become adopted into the freewoman’s family or God’s. It
requires us to follow Him and His guidance. This gift of eternal life is not
free. It was paid for by Jesus’ death on the Cross and it requires us to
actively following and working for Him here on earth.
one of the bondwoman’s represents the state of God’s people before Christ and
also those who choose not to follow Him. They are stuck in bondage to their own
sins and to Satan and will never truly be free. They are in essence slaves of their
own will. We have free will, let us exercise it in the way God intended, that
is to follow the path of righteousness to Him.
two are representative of the two covenants with God, the bond under The Law
and the free under The New Covenant.
people of old are The People of The Law.
Six Hundred Thirteen Laws each of which by which they must abide.
A very complex and even more difficult life
to live, with trying to comply and uphold those laws and failing. We still fail
miserably at times, but we only have two laws, which we will hear about in a
second. They are still hard to uphold, but if we manage to, easier to remember.
Perhaps more properly said in practice 613 laws that they must live around; not
so much as comply with, but avoid breaking.
Yet, they cannot comply with all the laws nor even work around
They are doomed to failure absent
help from God.
The 613 laws could not
accomplish what Christ has accomplished through His death on the Cross, His
Resurrection and His Establishing of the New Covenant, which is eternal life
for us in heaven with Him. The Holy Ghost helps us along the journey to this
goal, to bring us to that eternal life.
New Covenant is much less complex than the Old Covenant.
It is much easier to remember the ways of the
New Covenant than the Old Covenant. However, the Old Covenant had to come first
to get people’s hearts ready to follow the New Covenant.
For the New Covenant could not be introduced,
or in other words, Jesus could not come to Earth until the people were ready
for His Teachings. The Old Covenant was a stepping stone to the New Covenant.
this from Holy Communion:
Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith:
HOU shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all
thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And
the second is like unto it; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these
two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
the New Covenant, we have only two laws with which we must comply.
But, there is a catch.
We are not to just avoid breaking those laws,
we must actually live them in our hearts, souls, minds AND bodies.
We must act
them. It is the common theme of Action not just Diction, that appears in the
sermons past here. The only way in which we can follow these two laws is we
have to put them into practice in our day to day lives, which requires Action
and not just Diction. We have to actually perform those actions in order to
back up our faith. Faith without actions to back it up is a hollow faith, a
That is way harder.
We are imperfect creatures with free
That is a combination doomed to
but we have the ultimate Get out of Jail Free card – Jesus Christ the righteous
and He is the propitiation for our sins!
He accounts us as
perfect at our final accounting!
are two choices, two covenants, we can choose either to be people of slavery,
enslaved to sin and Satan; or to be free people, under God and Jesus. These are
the two sides that Paul speaks of. We can be either enslaved to sin or we can
be truly free and under God.
leads to eternal freedom and happiness and the other leads to eternal suffering
and death. I know which side I want to be on, but the question is do you? You,
and you alone can make this choice, nobody else here can make it for you. This
is one of the actions you have to act on, and not just say it.
always have a choice, it is upon us to choose and decide. To paraphrase a quote
from Gandalf, All we have to do is decide
what to do in the time that we are given
. But we must pick a side.
As I quoted last week, “He that is not with
me is against me.”
Middle ground exists,
but it is quicksand.
Any feeling of
safety there is illusory.
We must take
And, we cannot keep with those
who oppose the side we choose.
cannot have one foot standing on the slavery side and one foot on the free
side. We cannot just be fence sitters, we must have our feet planted on one
From rational viewpoint, there is
only one side to pick, and that is the side of freedom, of the New Testament
offered to us by Christ himself. As people of The New Covenant, the original
New Deal, we have
only to comply with those two laws or rules; To love the Lord with all our hearts and to love our neighbor
While it is true that those two are much
harder to fully comply with than avoiding the 613 laws of The Law, we have the
key – Jesus Christ.
He came to earth not
only to lead us to heaven, from the front; but to be a propitiation for our
sins, to make us account as perfect to God to allow us to come into His Land.
about the Gospel.
When we need help, how
about instead of worry, we substitute trust and action?
Trust that God will give us what we
And, then act based on what we can
and should do, not what we want to do.
Acting on what we should do gets results.
These results may or not be obvious right
away, but they will be soon enough. And this may be a hard principle for us to
follow, but in the end, it is worth the struggle to trust God instead of
worrying and or doing what we want to do. Whereas if you never do anything,
you’ll never see any results of your actions, for you are doing exactly
nothing. If one is disillusioned enough by the fact he does not need to do
anything, I suppose it probably doesn’t matter to that person. But to those of
us who feel the acute need to do something, if we do nothing, we are going to
feel that lack of action. Therefore, we are compelled to act upon our faith.
Perhaps not what we want right at the time, but certainly what we need then and
in the eternal future.
In the middle of
nowhere, two thousand years from the nearest McDonalds, the disciples looked to
Jesus to fill the needs of their congregation.
Jesus took what they had and gave them what they needed; “for he himself
knew what he would do
to help them.
Do ye likewise:
at the end of an uphill trail.
downhill trail does not lead to the summit.
The time is
now, not tomorrow.
The time has come,
How will you ACT?
It is by
our actions we are known.
Be of God - Live
of God - Act of God