The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion, Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
Consider these words from the Collect:
… keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power …
In the Collect, we are asking God to keep His People (that is US) in line with His Wishes, not our own, so we might be defended by Him. We cannot expect Him to defend us from the slings and arrows of this world if we will not line up behind Him. This is a pretty simple concept, but one that escapes so many. We find God being blamed by people who do what they want, not what He wants them to do.
The truth of the matter is that the blame rather lies within us. We are the cause of all our problem due to our inherent sinful fallen nature. We are asking for His Help and intervention in our lives, that we might be cured of this dreadful sickness known as Sin. It is not a surprise a lot of Jesus's miracles were healing of various long suffering people with sickness. In a way, they are allegorical, in that He heals us of our sins, as He healed them of their physical sickness. His miracles shows us He will heal our terminal condition known as Sin, if we will but let Him into our heart. The key word here is let into our hearts. We have to be ready, willing and able to receive Him into our hearts that we might have a transformation of our hearts, souls and minds.
Paul reminds us that God wants us to treat others as we would be treated; having “a heart of compassion, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another…” Jesus forgave us, stood in our place, accounted us (who are guilty of capital crimes) as perfect. Yet, we want to hold a grudge against someone for leaving us alone a few minutes too long. How is that right?
In addition to being forgiving, we are to be sharing of His Word and joyful while doing it! Let us think about Psalm 100, the Jubilate Deo
BE joyful in the Lord, all ye lands: * serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song.
Be ye sure that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; * we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; * be thankful unto him, and speak good of his Name.
For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting; * and his truth endureth from generation to generation.
Does this psalm not give a lot of insight into how we are to live our lives?
We learn from this psalm that we are to be a joyful people giving thanks to the Lord always. We have to always remember that it is He that created us and not us, we are not self-made men. We are God created men and it would do us well to always remember that.
Paul calls for us to let the Peace of God that passes all understanding, enter into our hearts to transform our hearts, souls and minds becoming the men and women of Christ that God would have us be. We have to of our own free will choose this for ourselves. God is not going to choose it for us. We have to take action and let Him into our hearts.
So, what if we choose not to live our lives God’s Way, but rather our way? The Gospel covers this very subject. Did you ever notice that weeds normally flourish far above the crop plants? While they oft succeed in growing taller and quicker, they are not useful. A wise farmer will let them abide in the field and separate them out at the harvest. God is that wise farmer, who will sift us out before His judgment seat. This is what Jesus is referring to in the Gospel. God is that farmer who will patiently wait until the end days to make that final determination.
Let us not wait for that final determination to note we were on the wrong course all along. So, while we still have time, let us repent and turn back to Him and give thanks for His mercy! Jesus reminds us that our lives here on earth can be that way. Those who follow the Prince of this World oft soar in earthly riches far above us, but when their time here is done, their destination is not the same as ours. In the end we shall be soaring high above them in Heaven, while they will be in the Pit.
Follow God’s will and you will do well enough in earthly riches, which are transient in nature, but we will have for …ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal
. (St. Matt. vi. 19, 20)
It is our actions here that count, what we do in response to the eternal life Jesus has given us. Will we throw it away or use it wisely?
Error is error, wrong is not right. But, a person’s final destination is up to God, not us. During the journey of life through the time space continuum, we need to do our best to keep ourselves and those around us moving towards God, not away from Him. The direction is always clear, sometimes we just do not want to read the signs. So, let us trust and turn to God, our infallible navigator, if we will but listen to Him and act upon his instructions we shall navigate through every storm and trial in our lives with the least pain.
If we understand we are less than perfect, actually far less than imperfect, we have a good start. We need God in our lives to give us direction. We need His guidance to direct our ACTION.
Read the Bible, find out what He wants you to do, then Do It. What can you do today to carry out His Will? There are a multitude of things you can DO to carry out His Will, but the question is, “Will you?”
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God
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