Verse of the Day

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The First Sunday after Christmas Day

Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion, Descanso, California

The First Sunday after Christmas Day.
The Collect.

LMIGHTYGod, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen

At this Christmastide, it is not surprising to find “To take our nature upon him”, is a key phrase of the Collect, preceding “To be born of a pure virgin”, meaning He could not have been born from anyone else but Mary, who was at the time a pure virgin (this is before the birth of James, Jesus’ biological half-brother. But the more important part of the phrases is “to take our nature upon him.” When He came into this world, He took our nature upon himself, that is to say in simpler terms He became like us. That is, He became human. So He could experience what it is like to be us and how we operate and also so He could represent us in His Sacrifice upon the cross.

Part of becoming human meant He felt the emotions we feel; pain, joy, suffering and more material emotions; hunger, wants and needs. This He took upon Himself, so He might come to understand His creation more. That could only be done if He could experience our body for himself, thus requiring Him to incarnate into a human form in order to understand what it was like to be us. Even though He created us and thus knew a lot about us, He needed the experience of being us. And also, to sacrifice Himself for our sakes, He needed to be within our bodies, so He could be accounted as a “human” sacrifice, taking upon all of our sins upon Himself, that we might be accounted as perfect before God to enter into heaven. This is one of the most amazing things of the Incarnation, God Himself came down to view, meet and be with His Creation, to understand how they live on this Earth and not only to understand His Creation, but to save His Creation from eternal death. This is because He views us as part of His family, by adoption via the Holy Spirit.

This topic leads into the Epistle. As Paul says in his letter to the Galatians, we are not to be servants or slaves of God, but His own children, we are more precious to Him than servants or slaves. He views us as part of His very wide and extended family. He loves us like a father or mother loves their own children. That is a key difference between Christianity and Islam. Islam views its followers as a means to an end, but Christianity views the followers as part of God’s Holy Family in Heaven. This clearly shows Islam’s Satanic roots versus Christianity’s Godly origins. We are wanted by God as His Children, He loves us and cares for us very much, so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son that all who believe on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). That is a pretty big amount of love for us sinful beings! That He sent His Own Son to die for our offenses, our sins, shows we mean a lot to Him, that He loves us so greatly. This is truly deserving of being called the Good News. It is in fact Outstanding news for us. We should rejoice that He has made us whole, taken away the power of sins if we repent of them, so that we may continue to live our life for Him!

We are different than the world for this very reason. The world lacks the compassion, the love Christ has given us, and it is the reason why it is and has been filled with so much trouble and sin over the thousands of years of our existence. What Christ has given us is a gift beyond the world’s understanding and valuation systems. They simply cannot see the pure joy we get from following and serving God.  But we will not have as much trouble as the world has, for we have something they do not, the Love of God and Christ among us to comfort and restore us, and to refresh us whenever we are tired and weary.

We have to realize God took upon our nature and our infirmities for us, His love is infinite as He is infinite. He is the past, the future and the present, He is the Master of Time. He is indeed, the Lord of Time and He love for us expands beyond all the timelines into the unfathomable past and into the unknowable for us future. 

When we pray, we must refer to God as Father, as He is our spiritual Father and physical Father too, for without him, our fathers would not have been created and our lives would not have sprung forth upon this Earth. He is our ultimate Father in this sense, for without Him, we would not be here. We are in a state of eternal debt to God for bringing us in and saving us from the trouble of our human nature. If we are to repay it, we must follow Jesus on the path to perfection, which we will never get to, but we will certainly never get to it if we never try.

As we came upon this midnight clear, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is here for us.  Will we accept it?  Follow Him, accept His Grace and all will be good forever.

He comes!

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

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