Verse of the Day

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Sunday next before Easter, commonly called Palm Sunday

This sermon is available as a video presentation RIGHT HERE!

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:


… thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection…


In the Collect, we acknowledge God sent His Son to be our Savior.  Think about that, the Creator, Lord and Master of the Universe sent His only Son to live amongst us and not just provide us with instruction and leadership, but to give His earthly life as a one time sacrifice for our sin that we might be accounted as perfect in our final accounting, the resurrection.  How much did God value His Son?  Consider what Paul tells us - Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Reading this, let us consider how much God valued His Son and how much He values us that He sent His Son here to teach us to guide us, to love us, and finally to give His Life for us that we might be free from the bonds of sin and death. Jesus humbled himself to a commoner’s death, and not just that of any commoner, but that of a thief. That says how much He loves His Creation, that He would die a most painful death that we might have everlasting life. He effectively took our place physically on the cross, physically in the sense we are sinners, and as Paul points out in Romans, the wages for sin is death. Jesus replaced us and took the wages for sin on our behalf so we might have everlasting life. 


The Collect calls us to follow the example Jesus set in His actions of His Death and Resurrection, and also calls us to embody His great humility and His great patience, that we might follow the upward narrow path towards heaven and be partakers of His Resurrection. The Collect calls us to action and follow in the example of Jesus’s great humility, humbling himself, the being who created this planet, to die for us on the cross, laying down His Life for ours, is an example we must strive to emulate in our own lives, to the best of our abilities.


If we follow His Example and do our best to emulate His humility and patience, we too can be a part of His Resurrection. We will be a part of our own resurrection of sorts. To accomplish this, we have to have our selfish selves die and be replaced with the unselfish self, which we can achieve through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In other words, we need to stop our sinful behavior and replace that behavior with more Godly behavior. 


Jesus set the ultimate standard for us to following God’s will.  His entire ministry can be described as  actions. He physically lived His Message. His Message can clearly be seen through His Actions. We need to do as He did and show by our actions that we serve Him.


Jesus knew ahead of time where, how and when He would die. He even told His Followers this, but they did not understand as they did not have the Holy Ghost within them to help them comprehend what He said. He knew with a 100 percent certainty it was going to be a physically and spiritually painful death, Yet, He also knew this was God’s Will that we might live.  If He did this for you, how can you not follow Him wherever His Will takes you? And remember His Example, of acting even if it means the death of your temporal body. His Example that He has left to us to follow is that of Action.


Recall Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on this day so many years ago.  Only Jesus knew of the upcoming crucifixion; everyone else, including Jews, Romans and His followers, thought he was making a triumphant entrance in to the city to take control of things and kick the Roman occupation force out. It was almost a full moon, this was the year of the Messiah according to Daniel.  The natural events were lining up as Scripture had predicted which preceded the arrival of the Messiah.  Jesus chose the route into the city, through the King’s Gate.  The people saw Him coming and met him at the Mount of Olives.  When He came in through the King’s Gate, the people were expecting to see their future earthly king. They did not have the Holy Ghost within them to see His true nature.  However, they were incorrect, who they were seeing was and is their heavenly king. Jesus had no intentions of establishing a Kingdom of this World. He was looking for followers for the Kingdom of the Next World, of Heaven.



This World is only temporary, but the Next World is of Eternity. What ever trinkets we might acquire on Earth will never measure up to the gift that Jesus bought for us by His Death and Resurrection upon the cross. It is a gift of great joy, the fact is we should be by all rights dead and headed for the pit, instead headed to a kingdom of joyfulness and laughter and all pleasant things, and a world that will be far better than our pitiful shadowland here. This is indeed the most valuable of all gifts we will ever receive in our lifetime. 


As  an aside the Chief Priests, who had so much invested in their 613 laws, likely searched far and wide for the crowd to convict Jesus of the crimes they imagined against their system. We need to remember that not all of the Jews wanted Jesus executed, just those  in power and those that followed them.  The system that they followed was of this world, not God’s.  Remember, there are none so blind as those who will not see. They were in the darkness, thus they could and would not see what was being shown to them because it would interfere with their comfortable way of living.  A new way that asked of them, no demanded of them, accountability unto God for their actions.  Know the crowd was not a self-forming group naturally set on condemning Jesus, but a handpicked gang.  At the same time, many of those in the crowd who condemned Him the morning of Good Friday were in the crowd that welcomed Him to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  What a difference five days can make.


Make no mistake, we are that crowd.  And, like Pilate, no matter what we say, we cannot wash our hands of the responsibility.  Thus, we must separate ourselves from the crowd.  Separate, that is to make ourselves holy, set aside.


When the time comes, how will you ACT?


It is by our actions we are known.

                              Be of God - Live of God - Act of God 

Holy Week

The Sunday next before Easter is commonly referred to as Palm Sunday.  The period between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is often referred to as Holy Week.  Most churchgoing people go to church on Palm Sunday, then to church on Easter Sunday. It’s a fairly uplifting time with not a lot of thinking. On Palm Sunday Jesus makes his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. On Easter Sunday there’s the joyous resurrection. What’s not to like about that?


The thing is, there is a tremendous amount that goes on between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, not all of it joyous, in fact most of it is pretty scary or sad.   The beginning of the week was wonderful; in the end the week was even more wonderful.  In between was a series of ups and downs the ups a little high and the downs very very deep. It is important to remember as you go through Holy Week that Jesus was in control of all the events of the week.  The week starts with the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and ends with the death of the Savior on the Cross and the burial of his body in the tomb.  It is a week of ups and downs without parallel, the ups a little high and the downs very very deep, deep as Hell you might say, and precedes the most joyous day of the year, the Day of the Resurrection or Easter Sunday.


Jesus has a triumphant entry into the city on the First Day of the Week (Sunday); on Thursday night he celebrates the Passover with his disciples in the Upper Room, he prays and agonizes over what he knows is coming in the garden of Gethsemane; Judas betrays him early Friday morning, his most trusted disciple denies him, not once but three times before the cock crew; the Jews condemn him to Pilate who in turn orders him to be beaten and humiliated; that does not satisfy the Jews and at their request, Pilate condemns a man he knows to be innocent to a horrible death to pacify the crowd of Jews assembled by the priests; Jesus is crucified, asks John to take care of his mother and gives up the ghost; his body is taken down and buried; the disciples are dispersed and discouraged; they have listened to their Lord, but not understood.


Think of this week from the disciples’ perspective, on the first day they enter with their leader into Jerusalem in triumph; mid-week they celebrate the joyous feast of the Passover, then their leader is betrayed, defends himself not and is killed.  At the time they surely could not think of this as a Holy Week and certainly not a Good Friday.  Yet on the first day of the week that follows, our Lord is Risen, Risen indeed and delivers the promise of salvation in person.


It is important to remember as you go through Holy Week that Jesus was in control of all the events of the week.


What a week!


Palm Sunday

The name Palm Sunday comes from the palm leaves, along with clothing and other honors strewn along Jesus’ path as He came in to Jerusalem the first day of the week before His crucifixion.  Of interest, only Jesus knew of the upcoming crucifixion, every one else, including Jews, Romans and the Christians, thought he was making a triumphant entrance in to the city to take control of things and kick the Roman occupation force out. The moon was almost full, this was the year of the Messiah according to Daniel.  Jesus chose the route into the city, through the King’s Gate.  The people saw Him coming and met him at the Mount of Olives.  They expected Him to come in and proclaim His rule.  And that He did, but not in the way the people were looking for.     Those who thought of Him as Lord looked for a Kingdom of this World to be established. Sunday was a day of triumph and fulfilled the anticipation of the Jews of a day for which they had waited four centuries.  The Messiah had finally come, at the time predicted by scripture.  They were certain that He would free them from the burdensome and cruel yoke of Roman rule.  The Jews would finally be on top of the power pyramid.  They would rule the world under Him!  Yet, that was not to be.  The day in the temple!  Holy Cow!  Here their savior was throwing people out of the temple, not throwing the Romans out of Jerusalem.  They were sad to learn He came not to rule this world, for that time was not yet come; He came to give them the key to eternal salvation.  He came to take them from this veil of tears to a state of perfect freedom.  They wanted someone to throw the Romans out and all God sent them was the key to eternal life.  What a disappointment!



On Monday, Jesus preached in the Temple and further distanced Himself from the people’s vision and demonstrated God’s vision.  He went in to the temple and through out the vendors selling “sacrificial” birds and animals at exorbitant cost, as well as the moneychangers, changing Roman money for Temple money dishonestly.  Far from announcing Himself head of the temple, He announced they had made His Father’s house a den of thieves.  Rather than working within the Jewish establishment, He over turned it!



Jesus and the Pharisees dispute in the Temple. He left for the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. There he delivers the “Mount of Olives Discourse”. Judas agrees to betray him to the Jewish priests for 30 pieces of silver. 



The Sanhedrin was gathered together and decided to kill Jesus, even before Pesach if possible. In the meantime, Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper. Here he was anointed on his head by Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, with very expensive ointment of spikenard. Some of the disciples, particularly Judas Iscariot, keeper of the purse, were indignant about this; the oil could have been sold to support the poor.  “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”  In this case, Judas recalls to mind many politicians.  Jesus reminded them of the importance of first things first and the futility of giving, rather than helping, when He said in Matthew 26.11 “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.”  Judas went to the Sanhedrin and offered them his support in exchange for silver. From this moment on Judas was looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus. Judas spied on Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane where he came on his plan.


Maundy Thursday

At the Passover Feast, Jesus and his disciples share the “Last Supper” and He washes their feet. Jesus blesses his bread and wine as his flesh and blood and shares it with his disciples, the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion. As Paul tells us in his First Letter to the Corinthians, “…the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”


At this same dinner, the disciples manage to quarrel over who should be the boss of who.  Jesus tells them he came in the role of a servant, as He is their master, their role is likewise that of servants.  In a move designed to reveal both His knowledge aforehand and our frailty, He tells Peter that Peter will deny Him thrice fore the cock croweth, or dawn breaks.  Peter, a loyal follower, denies what will be shown as clear fact.  Remember the further you let yourself get from the Lord, the weaker you are.  Weakness grows with the cube of the distance.  Stay close.


As the dinner goes on, Jesus tells them one of them will betray Him.  Not able to grasp that any of them would literally betray Him, each asks, “Is it I?”  Judas knows.


Jesus tells the disciples things are heating up, counsels them to arm themselves and goes out to pray in the garden of Gethsemane.  Disciples come with Him, despite their best efforts, they fall asleep.  Night has long fallen, the end of the day is near by our reckoning.  The end is near for Jesus here on earth.  Even nearer for Judas.



Good Friday

Good Friday was the day in which Jesus was tried by the Jews, tried by Pilate, condemned, crucified, died and was buried[1].  Except in hindsight, this was not a Good Friday at all. 


In the early hours before sunup, Jesus is betrayed by the “Judas Kiss” and arrested. At sunrise, he is disowned by Peter thrice before the cock croweth. When brought before Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, and his Council, he is condemned. He says that he will rise from death after three days.


They hand him over to the Roman authority, Pontius Pilate, who sends him to Herod (Antipas, the son of Herod the Great). Then Pilate asks the crowd who he is to pardon: a murderer, or Jesus? The crowd chooses Barabas and Jesus is sentenced to death. Pilate’s actions made famous the line, “I wash my hands of this.”  While he might have attempted to wash the guilt for the murder of the world’s one truly innocent man on to the Jews, he remains the one who condemned him to death.  Pilate was nothing if not a politician and bureaucrat.  The condemnation was to him the simplest solution to the problem of a Jewish hierarchy’s manufactured crowd’s anger.  What was the death of one Jew to him?  Yet he was worried enough to attempt to wash his hands of the guilt.


Jesus is brought to Calvary, where on the “third hour” (9 am) he is crucified. He is mocked as he hangs between the Bad Thief and the Good Thief, whom he blesses. On the “sixth hour” (noon), darkness covers the land. Jesus cries out “My God, My God, hast Thou forsaken Me?”


After drinking wine, he commits his spirit to his Father and dies. Matthew reports an earthquake that destroys the Temple. Many understand now that Jesus was the Son of God. His body is taken down and anointed. He is buried in a new tomb donated by Joseph of Arimethea. This is the first day of death.


Holy Saturday

The Jewish Council remembers his vow to return and has the tomb guarded and sealed with a heavy stone. His followers stay in the “Easter Vigil”. Second day of death.


Easter Sunday

On the third day of death, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary find the tomb empty, but for an angel who tells them Jesus is already resurrected and is on His way to Galilee. On their way to tell the others, Jesus appears to them.  Death is conquered, the Promise delivered.  Our lives from this day forward are eternal!


Think about the Week that was!

The reason Jesus came to Jerusalem at the Passover was to take the place of the yearly sacrifice by one perfect sacrifice, one time, for all time and for all mankind. His was the blood marking our door that the destroyer might pass over.  The week started on a triumphant note and ended up trying to do between there were windows into the future, glimpses of the past, moments of despair, moments of terror, moments of confusion; but in the end joy and the ultimate triumph.

[1] The tomb was a new one which had been hewn for Joseph of Arimathea.  Joseph, a native of Arimathea, was apparently a man of wealth, and probably a member of the Sanhedrin an "honourable counsellor, who waited (or "was searching") for the kingdom of God", according to John, he was secretly a disciple of Jesus. As soon as he heard the news of Jesus' death, he "went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus." Pilate, reassured by a centurion that the death had really taken place, allowed Joseph's request. Joseph immediately purchased fine linen and went to Golgotha to take the body down from the cross. There, assisted by Nicodemus, he took the body and wrapped it in the fine linen, sprinkling it with the myrrh and aloes that Nicodemus had brought. The body was then conveyed to the new tomb in rock in his garden nearby. There they laid it, in the presence of Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and other women, and rolled a great stone to the entrance, and departed. This was done speedily, "for the Sabbath was drawing on". Joseph of Arimathea appears in some early New Testament apocrypha.


Although there are no written records until the fifth century, tradition holds Joseph of Arimethea, who provided the tomb for the burial of Jesus Christ, brought Christianity and the Holy Grail to England in 37 AD and built a church in Glastonbury in Somerset.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Fifth Sunday in Lent - Commonly called Passion Sunday

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

Todays sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 


The sermon is available on video RIGHT HERE!


Consider these words from the Collect:


 thy people;  by thy great goodness  may be governed and preserved evermore, both in body and soul 


In the Collect, we acknowledge without Gods great goodness and divine intervention, we cannot be preserved in either body or soul.  This is a constant truth through ought the Bible, the New Testament in particular.  Without Gods great goodness we simply cannot be preserved. What does asking for Gods great goodness mean for us? It means when we ask we might be governed and thus preserved by His great goodness, we are in effect asking for His Guidance for us, so we can be preserved in both body and soul. We acknowledge God is the ultimate good and is the source of all truth, and we need His Help if we are to succeed. This concept is constant throughout all the collects. It is constant because it is the truth. We can only follow the narrow uphill path towards heaven with His Goodness and His Guidance.  As always, if we are left to our own devices and desires, we are lost.  Guided means we need to ask, then listen to what He Tells us, then actually follow those instructions.  


For those who are not perfect[1], following instructions can be hard at times but it must be done nevertheless. For if we do not follow His Instructions, we will never make it. Fortunately for us We have His guidance through the Holy Spirit available to help us make progress on the narrow uphill trail towards heaven. 


If we are looking to Him for guidance, we then need look to Him for safety.  Safety meaning only the safety of our soul, our eternal life. It does not mean safety from dangers to the body here on Earth. Our bodies are still able to be physically harmed, but our souls are safe from eternal damnation, that is what safety truly means. If we are to truly be believers and followers of Him, we will have to sometimes be in a place that puts ou

r mortal body in danger, but as long as we believe on Him, our soul will be safe. 


Our only means of being accounted as perfect when we come before God is to rely on the sacrifice and intermediary priesthood of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ to account us as perfect before God on that final day. Christ has replaced the intermediary priesthood of the Jews with himself, our one and only High Intermediary Priest.  Your AOC ministers, while officially titled as priests, are not intermediary priests! The day of the intermediary priests have come and gone for us with the Old Testament in the past. We need only Christ, there are no middle men between us and Jesus.  He is our Savior, our Leader, our Teacher, our Master, our Example! 


Christ came to succeed the Old Covenant marked by sacrifices of innocent animals; killing off animals in an effort to atone for our sins really did not do the job.  It was a way to prepare people for Christs coming. They would not have understood His Message otherwise without it. Christs death on the cross and resurrection highlighted that His Ministry was all about action. If we truly are believers of Him, we will ACT upon His Word and not just say it. There is truth to the saying that action speak louder than words. 


In the Gospel, Jesus explained to the Pharisees before Abraham had even been conceived, He was. In fact, Jesus was the one who created this Earth, so He has been around since before the beginning of the planet. The Pharisees could or would not grasp in their heads Jesus was who He claimed to be, the Son of God. They chose to try to destroy His ministry rather than follow Him. Time and time again we see them confronted with the truth Jesus offers and they always choose to reject it rather than embrace the truth.


This is a very common pattern with Gods enemies. Their hearts have been blinded by their love of their selves, pride and greed. They cannot see the simple truths we see as followers of God. They look down upon us and think we are the ignorant ones, when reality is the other way around. 


They cannot, or will not, see that the priceless gift Jesus came to offer us. Jesus came to save our souls and give us eternal life, eternal life starting right then.  Not just for the Jews and Israel, but the whole wide world, Jew, Gentile, Greek and all others.  Jesus brought salvation and life to the entire world.  That was not what the Pharisees were looking so hard for with their magnifying glasses as they examined Torah and The Law.  They were looking for what would be only a temporary power, power on this physical plane. This pales in comparison to safety and happiness forever, for all eternity.  Pharisees were not big picture people, and as Calvin told Hobbes, We big picture people rarely become historians or Pharisees, I might add.   The Pharisees were very obviously not big picture people; they misinterpreted the prophecies of the Messiah. Regardless, even though some people chose to misunderstand the prophecies, He came and He made that one sacrifice, at one time, for all mankind, for all time. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life[2].


Who is Jesus?  Our Savior?  Indeed.  But, more He has been since before the beginning of the world, for He is One with I Am.


Through His Actions, we are saved.


Do ye likewise:




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

[1] All of us, that is.

[2] If the text of this sentence seems familiar, it is John 3.16, probably the most widely quoted text of the Bible.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Fourth Sunday in Lent


A video version of this sermon can be viewed RIGHT HERE!

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:


… we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved …


In the Collect, as is often to the case we acknowledge to God we have fallen way short of our goals He set for us. We are also acknowledging we deserve to be punished for our failures; by His Grace we are relieved of that punishment. Jesus accomplished that relieving by laying down His Life so we might be free of eternal damnation. 


In order for us to enter heaven, we have to be accounted as perfect.  Most of us know we are so far away from perfect, it would not seem to be possible.  


How then can we get into heaven, if not by our own means?


The answer is simple. God has provided the Way, the one true Way, by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins so we might have eternal life, and He also sent the Holy Ghost to help guide us. 


At that final judgment day, if we stay the course and follow God’s guidance, we can be accounted as perfect through the Grace of God’s 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 adopted into the freewoman’s family 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 follow and work for Him here on earth.


The son of the bondwoman represents our state before Christ and those who refuse 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, to follow the path of righteousness towards Him.


The two are representative of the two covenants with God, the bond under The Law and the free under The New Covenant.  


The people of old are The People of The Law.  Six Hundred Thirteen Laws each of which they were to follow.  They really did not attempt to follow them, rather to avoid being seen to break them.  A very complex and even more difficult life to live, 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.  The big thing to remember about the 613 laws is they could not accomplish what Christ accomplished with His Sacrifice and establishing the New Covenant. The Holy Ghost helps us along the journey to this goal, to bring us to eternal life.


The New Covenant is so much less complex than the Old Covenant.  It is much easier to remember the ways of the New than the Old. 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.


Remember 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.


Under 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 two laws, we must actually live them in our hearts, souls, minds AND bodies.  We must actualize them. It is the common theme of Action not just Diction, that appears in 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. 


That is way harder.  We are imperfect creatures with free will; a combination seemingly doomed to failure.


True, but we have the ultimate Get out of Jail Free card – Jesus Christ the righteous and He is the propitiation for our sins!  Remember that?  He accounts us as perfect at our final accounting!


There are two choices, two covenants, we can choose either to be enslaved to sin and Satan; or to be free under God and Jesus. These are the two sides of which Paul speaks. We can be either enslaved to sin or we can be truly free and under God.  The two choices boil down to either eternal slavery or eternal freedom. I know which side I want to be on, do you? From a rational viewpoint, there is only one side to pick, and that is the side of freedom, the New Testament offered to us by Christ himself. As people of The New Covenant, the original and real New Deal, we have only to live those two laws or rules; To love the Lord with all our hearts and to love our neighbor.  Those are much harder to comply with, however, if we seek God’s guidance out and follow it, then all will be well with our souls. 


The Gospel tell us when we need help, how about instead of worrying all the time, we substitute it with action?  Trust God will give us what we need.  And, then act based on what we can and should do, not what we want to do.  Actions get results.   The results may or not be obvious right away, but they will be soon enough. A hard principle to follow; but in the end, it is the easiest way and worth the struggle to trust God instead of worrying and or doing what we want to do. 


Action will always benefit our spiritual state compared to inaction. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, 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.”  He acted to help them.  Do ye likewise:




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

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Third Sunday in Lent

Sermon  Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action

Church of the Faithful Centurion

Descanso, California

This sermon is available on video HERE.

Todays sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 


Consider these words from the Collect:


 look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies 


In the Collect, we ask God look in to our hearts, and see our desire to be His children and defend us against evil.  That also means we are looking for His Help which comes in the form of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will assist us in the process of changing of our hearts to actually have hearty desires to do His Will and to be humble servants, not our usual and customary self-centered selves.  Quite a combination of thoughts in a small bit of verbiage!  It is amazing how much we can put in a short sentence if we use words to their best advantage! If we will be follow Him, He will defend us in all assaults of our enemies[1]  If we will not accept His Help, He will not force it on us.  Back to that old, Thy will be done.  The question arises once again, from whose mouth does it proceed, ours or Gods? 


Todays Epistle and Gospel share the same theme. This theme is centered around action. In order to be a Christian, you have to act as a Christian and not just say we are. Jesuss whole ministry could be summed up in one word, action. Jesus set the ultimate example for us to follow for action.  Saying we are Christians and actually being Christians are two different states of being. It is quite easy to say we are Christians, it is quite another to act like we are.


In his Epistle, Paul tells us in order to live out our faith, we need to make our actions match our stated desires, very much in line with the thought above. Actions! Not just Dictions, but Actions! There can be a distinct difference between the two.  If you actually believe, you will act.  If you just say you believe, you will not.  There is a distinct difference between the two states, action and inaction. Faith requires action, unbelief is equal to the state of inaction.


There are too many people who claim to be Christian, yet do not actually act on the principles of Christ and follow His Instructions. They do not truly understand what it means to be a Christian. A Christian is called to a life of action and not just diction. To be Christian, we have to actually follow those said principles. The key word here is following or acting. Action is the central theme of the Christian faith, which was first shown with Christs death on the cross and resurrection. He came to act for us, not just to talk or meditate; His great plan involved action, though it was painful, it was His action which released us from the wages of sin. We have to follow His Example that He set for us and live our lives in a manner that reflects we believe the Gospel. 


Think about the Gospel.


It is very important to be unified in our worship and maintain mutual support; a team always beats individuals.  That is not to take away from individuality, but rather to note we need to remember whose side we are on and work together with our teammate. If we are not working together, then we are not truly united under Christs banner. We might have individual personality differences, but as long as we all believe on Christ and His Death and Resurrection and Gospel, then those differences we might have with others are minor and not worth arguing or fighting over. We must cast aside our personal feelings about the minor differences and focus on how we can work together with our fellow Christiaans to further His Mission here on Earth. 


In light of this, there are two phrases particularly worth remembering, a house divided against a house falleth and He that is not with me is against me.  Middle ground exists, but it is quicksand.  Eventually one has to choose a side.  Everybody has to make that choice sooner or later. It is very clear to us what side we should choose. The only rational side to take is that of God, the side that will lead us to eternal life not that of eternal death.


And, we cannot keep with the opposition.  It is the natural part of the history of the Bible and of life. We have to choose to follow God, as there is no other reasonable option, which will give us the result following God will result in. We must decide who we will follow. We do not have true faith if we do not act upon the words that our lips speak, of believing in Christ and His Father.


Christ himself came not to unite the world, but to divide it, father against son.  In Matthew 10:32-34 He says Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. He is saying here He has not come to unite the World, for the World is not on our side. But to clearly divide the world to show who is with God and who is against God. For as earlier explained, one man cannot serve two masters. And also the saying of where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. In this life by reading through Scripture we can easily tell who is for Him and who is against Him. It is simple, who holds to the principles of Scripture is for Him. They who do not hold to them are not with Him. 


You must keep constant vigilance against backsliding, for a fallen Christian is in worse shape than one who was never exposed to The Word. In order to maintain the constant vigilance you have to always act upon your faith. The Epistle and Gospel both talk about the curious dichotomy; you are saved by faith, Jesuss faith, and your faith alone saves you, not what you do; yet if you have faith, you must act on that faith.  If you dont act on that faith, then you never had much faith to begin with. If you have faith, that will become evident in your actions. 


To maintain your Christian course, you must truly turn a new leaf, and not slip back into the old man. This is one of the most difficult challenges as a Christian, but with the help of the Holy Ghost, we each can do it. You must receive the Word, hear it, and act upon it and spread it joyously to others, in order for your faith to have any meaning at all. Otherwise we will have been for the worse than if we never had heard the Good News. It is not a gift to selfishly lock up, but to share and give to others. That is the true joy of the Good News. It is most certainly more blessed to give than to receive in this case.


You must grasp your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your savior and your repentance is the beginning of your life as a New Man in Jesus. 


Will you slip?  Without doubt.  But, when you do, will you again repent and continue to do your best to follow the Word of God, the Light and the Truth?  All that matters is you get up and do your best not to do what you did to slip. Life is a continuous learning process. Indeed, if you are a Christian that is what you must do.  We will always slip up in our lives, that is in our fallen nature. But we have to get up and get back on track, using the Holy Gospel to guide us like the instruments in an aircraft.  We cannot trust our feeling, but only our instruments (Gods gift of Holy Scripture).  You are called to believe and act on those beliefs to the best of your ability.  If you do not, then prepared as you were for life, you will so be prepared for the pit.  As you read Luke, remember the second half of the Book of Luke is The ACTS of the Apostles, not thoughts, wishes, prayers or meditations. 


For, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.


It is by our actions we are known.


Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

[1] A Collect for Peace – 1928 Book of Common Prayer Page 17