|If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!|
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
sermon tied the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and talked, as is oft the
case, of the need for action, not simply diction.
the words from the Collect, wherein we ask God … who declarest thy almighty
power chiefly in showing mercy and pity; Mercifully grant unto us such a
measure of thy grace, that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain
thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; …
this Collect is kind of a follow-on to the last few weeks’ Collects.
First, we acknowledge God’s power which is
manifested not in terror but in mercy and pity on our failures. We note that
God has chosen to use His great power to grant kindness to us and not
punishment upon us which we truly deserve, due to our corrupted nature. This is
important to note; with all the power in and of the universe, God chooses to
manifest His Power in showing infinite mercy and kindness to us, not in causing
us more tears. He is far kinder to us than we could ever possibly deserve. We
do not at all deserve what He has given us, with the death and resurrection of
His Son, the gift of eternal life.
has truly bestowed upon us a limitless, priceless gift.We would expect Him to
be otherwise, given our fallen nature.
Rather than be unforgiving and unmerciful, He is there to comfort and
He showed us His Great Mercy
when He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. He had no reason
otherwise to do it, but through His Great Mercy for us, He sent His Son to die
for us that we might be freed from sin. This is a wonderful example of His
He does not act as a human would
in His position, but rather being a merciful and mindful God to us. He realizes
our struggles and gives us resources to us to help with those struggles. The
Holy Ghost and the Scriptures are these resources. They are our valuable
navigation aids to keep us on the course towards heaven. Without them we are
like the aviator or mariner, that without the navigational aids, they are
hopelessly lost. So too, are we hopelessly lost without the aids of the Holy
Ghost and Scripture.
Collect goes on to ask His Help in following His Commandments so we might gain
the good that comes from that following. Which will come if we but actually
follow His Word. Following requires active action.
And we would hope that we recognize the good
that comes from that acting and choose to continue to act for Him as opposed to
our natural tendency to go astray. Following His Commandments is a sure way to
stay on the course set for us, if we follow the Scriptures and His Commandments
and take them to heart. To take them to heart we need to make sure our actions
are consistent with His Commandments, and not just say we are following them
when we are not.
imperfect creatures with not just free will, but manifold, perhaps rampant free
will, the norm is to choose what we want, not what we need, then we come to
We are each grievous sinners,
some worse than others, none better.
Yet, we all come before God equal.
In equally big trouble, some more, none less. We are all equal by virtue
of the fact we are hopeless sinners without the saving grace and faith of
It is only through His Faith we
And not our faith, but the
faith of Christ who dwells within us.
This is the
point Saint Paul is making when he says that first he gave unto us
that understanding he got directly from God as to the role of Jesus
He recounts some of the factual
information about Jesus’ time here on earth after the crucifixion, the descent
into hell and the resurrection. He is confirming the story of the Gospel as
told to him. He notes the various witnesses, still alive or recently passed
He makes the point we must spread
the Gospel so that others might believe.
He tells us we are saved by faith alone.
Partly, but not chiefly and not first.
Then, by whose faith are we saved?
saved by the perfect faith of Christ, our only mediator and advocate before the
It is not by our faith, but the
faith of Him who dwells within us, that of Christ. Without Christ, we could not
have any faith to begin with. The perfect faith of Christ allowed a single
sacrifice to be made one time, to cook the books and account for the sins of
all mankind for all time.
His is the
faith which saves us and our faith in Him allows Him to operate in us. If we do
not have faith in Him, He cannot enter into us with His faith. That is why
those who do not have the Holy Ghost in them do not believe in Him.
One of Paul’s points in today’s Epistle was
that if he, the previous Chief Persecutor of the church could be saved by Jesus
that option was available to each of us.
Anybody who is able and willing to can be saved by Jesus. They just need
to repent and turn back to Him. All we need to do is repent and follow.
Thus, we need to Lead, Follow or Get out of
the Way towards Christ and God’s grace.
It is a
simple concept that people do not want to comprehend. As I have mentioned in
some of my past sermons, people just do not want the easy answer. They want
somehow a more complicated, more convoluted answer that they can get around.
This simple answer is one that we cannot get around in a Pharisee manner, no
how hard we try. Believe in God, the Holy Ghost, Lord Jesus, repent, spread the
Gospel and live the life of the New Man, using Paul phraseology. It’s a simple truth.
The truth is often simple, people just do not want to hear a simple truth. They
would rather deal with something more complicated that they can water down.
This simply truth however, they cannot water down, so they avoid it. This is
what it boils down to and what most people do not want to hear. We are to
spread this News anyway, and if it is rejected, shake the dust off of our feet
and move on. We cannot and should not force this message on anybody.
point is that Jesus is real, He is Who He says He IS.
He is not a fictional character, he is not a
He is THE SON OF GOD and
He came to save us: body, heart, mind and soul.
There is no other way to view Him that makes as perfect sense as this
Just as we are real sinners, He is a real Savior. You cannot have the Holy
Spirit within you and say that He is not the Son of God. Likewise, you cannot
say He is the Son of God without the Holy Ghost in you.
If that is
not enough to turn your heart, consider the parable of the publican and the
Pharisee related by Saint Luke.
who was proud of his performance was not the example Jesus chose for the one
justified, rather the one who acknowledged his failures and asked God for
forgiveness and help. This is to point us as an example of who we should be
And I can say with confidence it
is not the Pharisee. Think of these examples and who would we rather be like,
the publican, or the Pharisee?
the Pharisee’s job consisted of finding clever ways around the 613 Mosaic Laws.
The publican was looking for help in actually
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. BCP
as importantly, he was not looking for ways around those two laws, he was
looking for help to follow God and forgiveness when he fell short.
In our day to day lies, let us strive to be
more like the publican and less like the Pharisee.
Let us ask
God for the help we need to follow His Will.
For we must have His Help to act as we must here on earth!
For by their actions ye shall
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
This is the Trilemma of Jack Lewis in Mere Christianity - I am trying here to
prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:
I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his
claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a
man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.
He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a
poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.
Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something
worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a
demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not
come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He
has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
Post a Comment