Verse of the Day

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Remembrance of Saint Mark superseding the Third Sunday after Easter


Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action

Church of the Faithful Centurion

Descanso, California

Rev Jack’s sermon can be viewed RIGHT HERE or:


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


We are in the Easter Season which consists of Easter and the following four Sundays, through Rogation Sunday.  This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ.  


Consider these words from the Collect:


… who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly doctrine of thy Evangelist Saint Mark; Give us grace that, being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ our Lord…


Today’s Collect is a bit different than usual, it starts with the statement the Church was left clear and correct doctrine by Saint Mark, and by inference the other apostles, on the doctrine of Christianity as laid down for them by God himself in the form of Jesus.  We are cautioned not to fall prey to those who would spread false, unique and appealing doctrine.  The various books of the Bible differ in minor details from each other, but on a macro or global level they are congruent or consistent.  We are not to chase our wake, but rather to follow a steady course making small and conservative corrections consistent with Scripture. No ‘interpretation’ can override the clear and simple meaning of Scripture.  For, once you start down that rabbit hole, there is no telling where you will end up.  There is no hidden meaning in Scripture which conflicts with the clear and simple meaning.


When Paul writes to the people of Ephesus[1], he continues his familiar instruction that God has a purpose[2] for each of us according to our God given talents.  None of us stands higher in His eyes than another, as each block in the arch is necessary to hold it fast.  He points out the one who has assigned these abilities is Jesus Christ Himself.  He says we must no longer be as children but mature individuals capable of setting a steady course.  I liken this to flying.  You set the aircraft in a particular attitude, wait and see what happens.  You make corrections to the attitude and power based on deviation from that which is desired, that is to say you check your performance against a standard and make appropriate corrections.  This is like our lives and Scripture.  No wild changes, no chasing our wake.


John records Jesus’ comparison of Himself to a grape vine, with each of us being branches, without Him, we cannot bear fruit, that is to say do good things.  If we fail to bring forth the fruit of His making, then the Father will prune us.  If we do well, then we will be rewarded; if not here, then in the real world.


As long as we stay close to Christ and feed our souls on Him, we will bring for that needed fruit.


Bearing fruit requires more than mere mouthing, for it is Action, not Diction, that counts.


When Jesus got ready to leave this world for His, He told the disciples that He would send them the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, to keep them in Him and to help them understand what they had so far been unable to truly grasp.  Unless we allow the Holy Ghost to enter into our hearts, we will never understand that which is from God.  This is an important concept with messages that are not from God being bombarded across the world through principalities and powers of this world. Only the Holy Ghost can help us remain grounded within the truth. We need the Holy Ghost to enter into us that we might be able to hear the Word of God, and more important than just hearing the Word, we need the Holy Ghost to be able to act upon the Word. We must allow the Holy Ghost to enter in to our hearts and souls so we can understand what God has for us.  It is that simple.  Open your heart, pray for God to send Him into that open heart. 


For with the Holy Ghost’s help, you can hear, understand and act on The Word.


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] Ephesus is located near the western shores of modern-day Turkey, where the Aegean Sea meets the former estuary of the River Kaystros, about 50 miles south of Izmir, Turkey.

[2] Everyone has a purpose in life, even if it is only to serve as a bad example.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Second Sunday after Easter

Rev Jack's sermon can be viewed on video 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. 


We are in the Easter Season which consists of Easter and the following four Sundays, through Rogation Sunday.  This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ.  


Consider these words from the Collect:


… who hast given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life; Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life 


To understand the importance of Jesus’ sacrifice, it is critical to understand He is the only begotten Son (John 3:16) of God.  He is also referred to in places as The Word, the means by which God is given to the world.  But, more than that, 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.   (John 1:1-3)  Though the corrupted versions of the Bible (NIV, NKJV, RSV, etc) have attempted to erase His Divine Status and the role He plays in our salvation, that does not change the reality of Who He is. He is in simplest terms, the great I AM.  He was the one who brought light into this World. He has been there since before the beginning of time, before the beginning of what we know as our Universe. He created this world, it is by rights His. It is not the true possession of the Prince of this World, otherwise known as Satan. When Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness, he offered Christ something that was not his to give away. This shows how he truly does not understand God or Christ. Christ is the one who created this world and truly is the rightful owner of it and not Satan.  God values us so highly that He sent His only begotten son that all who believe on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.


This brings us to Peter’s point in the Epistle, Christ serves as a perfect example for the conduct of our lives.  There again the Epistle and the Collect tie together amazingly well. Jesus conducted His ministry as an example for us to follow in our times of trial and tribulation, that we might see His light in our darkest moments. His Ministry acts as the pattern we should look to emulate in our trials and tribulations here on Earth. His Ministry was based upon action. So too should we in our earthly attempt to follow Him center our words on action. As our friend KT pointed out recently, our actions show who we truly are and what we truly believe.  This also connects with the Bible verse from Matthew (6:21) that says “For where your treasure is, your heart will be also.” If we treasure and believe upon Him, our actions will show that we do indeed believe and value Him highly.


If we do wrong actions and suffer for it, there is little honor; for we were wrong.  But, if we do right actions, that is follow God’s Will, and suffer for it, there is in fact glory, laud and honor there.  Jesus went to His death on the Cross that we might be accounted as perfect at our final accounting rather than being held accountable for our failures.  He who is, was and always will be perfect suffered great pain that we might live life eternal.  If He did that for us, should we not follow that example and follow His Direction, counting the cost only after the work is done? We can be assured that no matter how bad our sufferings and tribulations here are on Earth, Jesus had it far worse. Not only did He die a painful death, but then He had to descend into Hell and fight the Devil. I think we have it better than He did as far as suffering goes. Just something to think about next time we think our sufferings are so awful. 


We are, after all, much like sheep, following the lead of those around us, somewhat like lemmings, it seems.  We have great need of a shepherd to lead us back from the edge of The Pit and to life, back to those verdant pastures and still waters. This Shepherd never will fail to lead us back to the pastures, we just have to pick up the guidance from the Holy Ghost and follow the path He has set for us. 


As Peter referred to Jesus as a shepherd, so does John.  There is a reason for this constant reference to Jesus as the Good Shepherd; He is.  He leads us to green pastures and to beside the still waters. He restores and comforts our souls and drives the enemy from out of our souls and minds, if we let Him. This is a universal theme throughout the various Epistles of Paul, Peter and James. In order for us to have spiritual growth, we need to let Him into our hearts. He will lead us towards the path to Heaven, we just have to make the conscious decision to follow His Directions and etch them into our hearts.


In order to follow His Directions, we have to let go of our pride, vanity and arrogance and accept His Guidance and teachings of humbleness and humility into our hearts. We have to realize we cannot do this on our own; we cannot save ourselves and we need God’s influence in our lives.   We have to allow the Holy Ghost to enter into our hearts and once He is in accept His Direction and Guidance and then act upon that guidance. It is not good enough just to say we believe, we need to actually believe. Actually, believing means if we truly believe on Him, we must act in a manner consistent with Scripture.  


Acting is the key word here, not just talking about it, but acting. It isn’t good enough just to read Scriptures and go on our merry way and act like we did before we read them. We have to apply the key principles of Scripture in our lives and shine the light of Christ to those around us.


The Gospel notes the difference of ownership.  Our true owner will, and I might add, has, given His Life so we might be protected from the ravening wolves of this world, the Prince of this World.  We are cautioned to 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:(1 Peter 5:8) But, sobriety only gets you so far; sheep do poorly against wolves and lions.  We need one who is experienced in protecting our souls against the spiritual wolves and lions of this world. Jesus is that experienced protector we need.  Make no mistake, we need the help of that Good Shepherd.  That Good Shepherd calls to each of us, we need the Holy Ghost in our hearts to hear the call.  Regardless of what you have been told by those of this world, there is only One God, One Lord, One Savior.  Thus, there is only One Flock; there are many ways to follow Scripture, but they must all have the same general plan.  That is the reason for the creeds, the reason we tell all to compare what is preached against what is in Scripture.  We need to daily work towards doing a better job of following God’s Will.


We need help, He provides it, we need to accept it.


The key is action, in this case our action.  We need to actually accept the offered help; like the life ring thrown to a drowning person, we must grab God’s proffered help, else we profit nothing.


Be of God - Live of God - Act of God 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

First Sunday after Easter


Rev Jack's 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:


… given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification; Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth


In the Collect, we acknowledge by the sacrifice made on Good Friday by the One and Only Perfect Man, a single sacrifice, made one time, for all mankind, for all time by our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ of God, we have eternal life.  Malice and wickedness are pervasive; like leavening, that is yeast, mixed into bread dough, they permeate our being, worming their way into the most remote corners of our souls, hearts and minds. Tiny, wanting only to be fed so they can grow and distort our being.  We need God’s Help, in the form of the Holy Ghost, to root out all malice and wickedness so we might serve Him with pure souls, hearts and minds.  Without that help, we are destined to fail.  On the other hand, with God’s help all things are possible.


In his general Epistle, Saint John continues that thought that without God’s help, that is being re-born in Him, as Saint Paul says becoming or putting on the New Man, we are destined to failure.   He points out that if we believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we will have overcome the world. He also says that those who do not believe on Him are lying to themselves. 


Saint John makes it clear the entity we refer to as God is a Triune Being, that is Three in One; Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  What he does not make clear is the relationship between the Three.  All we need to know is that God is comprised of three separate entities who are of one substance and form a single entity. Besides God and Jesus, the Holy Ghost is an important member of this entity. He is here to help give us God’s guidance and direction and understanding God’s will for us. 


The Holy Ghost is not often talked about in the church, yet He is the key to understanding.  God sent us the Holy Ghost that we might have:


·      Comfort

·      Understanding

·      Patience

·      Insight

·      Perseverance

·      Courage

·      Sympathy


He is our key to finding Jesus in our souls, hearts and minds.  Without His Guidance, Scripture seems a poorly written fairy tale, with His Guidance we find Truth, the Truth that is our Lord and Savior.  


When John relates the story of Jesus coming in to the Upper Room, note three things:


·      He came into a closed room in bodily form;

·      Then gave them His Peace;

·      He breathed the Holy Ghost upon them.


The entry into the closed room is of interest.  When we leave the Shadowlands, we will gain an optimized body with shape and form, but as Jesus demonstrated things are different in the Real World.  Different can be better or worse.  In this case, He demonstrates the better.  We will no longer be halt, blind and maimed, we will live as God has meant for us.  Quite a nice feeling.


Jesus gave them His Peace.  Not peace like world understands it, but God’s Peace.  This is a totally different concept.  A perfect and stabilizing peace, not what the World considers as Peace. The world and God have different idea of what is Peace. The only Peace that would help the world is God’s Peace. His Peace is what will really help us. Jesus brings us, like those disciples, the peace of mind and soul which comes with giving all our worry, sadness and terror to Him.  He leaves in His wake not confusion, but order and wellbeing.  With Him in our hearts we cannot fail at anything that needs be done.  His Peace.  This Peace is what we are looking for and have been looking for since we came into this world, for it is our passport out.


The Holy Ghost is the breath of life, not just physical, whereas to die is to give up the Ghost, which really means to have our soul leave our body for heaven.   He is our spiritual life, for without Him in our souls, hearts and minds we cannot see the narrow road to the summit.  Without Him we see only the broad even way which gently curves downward and gets smoother and smoother as it nears the Pit.   The Holy Ghost is the key to knowing our Lord! He is our perfect vision in place of our defective natural vision, that will help us see the way.


Without the Holy Ghost, we are lost.  With Him we find and join Jesus and are found.  Then we can act accordingly and enjoy our time here on earth to the extent it is to be enjoyed.  


Note the parting line of this Scripture: … He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.  Jesus gave this power to those present, He did not establish an intermediary priesthood.  The Triune God is the only one who has the power to remit us of our sins.  And, He does when we ask and act in accordance with the request.


There is much joy and satisfaction to be found in proper action.


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

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Sunday

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

Rev Jack's sermon can be see RIGHT HERE!

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


Consider these words from the Collect:


… who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect…


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 not only live amongst us and minister and guide us, 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.  Today is the day of His Resurrection, where we celebrate His triumphant return from his descent into Hell after he died on the Cross and battled Satan for our souls. Not a lot of people think about the suffering Christ endured on our behalf after His painful death upon the cross. When HE died His sufferings had only just begun as He descended into darkness itself, Satan’s dominion, to do battle with Satan for our souls. We do not know much about the particular details of that battle, but it is good enough for us to know He triumphed and won our eternal freedom. He freed us from the shackles of Death.  God valued His Son exceedingly, but consider then how much He loves us in turn to allow His Precious Only Begotten Son to die a painful death and to do battle with the Devil for our eternity.


The Collect also points out that we need God’s special grace to prevent, that is to go before us, and to set good desires in our mind and overcome our natural evil desires. This is a point that not a lot of churches make these days as they have been overcome by the whims of the World. We need His presence within our hearts and minds if we are to follow Him.


Jesus set an example of humility and patience, both exceedingly rare qualities in us. That example is extremely difficult for us to follow without God’s help. This is the reason God sent the Holy Ghost to be here with us. With Jesus’ sacrifice and the help of the Holy Ghost to follow Him, turning our backs on this world, we can renew our minds and transform ourselves into the New Man 2.0.  The resurrection itself sets a pattern that we should follow. We must first die, that is to stop our sinning, then rise again, that is to live, with humility and patience like the example Jesus set for us. Jesus set the ultimate standard for action and we must do our very best to follow that standard.


There was a reason God set Easter in the springtime. Not only was the time of His death and rising again, but it came at a time where the flowers bloomed anew, having been dead in winter, as Christ had been dead, and rose again, just as those flowers bloom again. This is truly symbolic of His Death and Resurrection and it is no coincidence Easter happened during this time. 


Jesus’s standard is an extremely difficult act for us to follow We will never be able to follow it perfectly, for we are imperfect creatures, but we can sure do our best to. Our natural inclination is not set to follow His will but ours. That is the main reason for the difficulty. It is hard!  However, when you stop and think about what Jesus went through, is it as hard as His Trials and Death and Battling Satan? No matter who you are, the answer is never going to be yes. In the end, the path we must follow will still be easier than if we refuse to follow Him and try and forge our own path. We have to remind ourselves that we will be far happier if we follow His example and lead a righteous and steadfast life, full of grace and humility, as well as patience. 


In our lives, it is important to think about Jesus’ example before we do what we want to do.  Is what you are wanting in line with Jesus’ message? Think about the answer.  If you let the Holy Ghost in to your heart you will know the answer; you will know what you are supposed to do.  You may not like it, but you will know it. Which is more comforting than the World’s way, which seems to go off in every which direction, and they are never certain about anything. However, we can be certain about what we know, what believe and we can translate that certainty into our actions. This is because we follow the ultimate unwavering source of truth, God Himself.


Jesus knew what was coming, how much it would hurt both His Body and Soul as He went through with the crucifixion and subsequent descent in to Hell.   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? If He was willing to do that for all of us, then how can we not repay Him? His Sacrifice demands that we repay Him to the best of our ability, by the sheer nature of it; his perfection being offered in place of our imperfection.


These days people have forgotten how special Jesus’s Death and Resurrection is to us. It is a sign of the times, perhaps maybe even close to the end times that Churches have fallen into apostasy and are even actively denying His Ministry, His Death and His Resurrection. Jesus commanded us to always remember His Death and Passion, that we might be partakers of His Heavenly Kingdom. 


If we do not remember His Death and Passion, can we truly be partakers of His Heavenly Kingdom?


How can we?  


He is asking us to act and if we do not choose to act for Him then we cannot be truly on His Side. It is not enough just to ‘have’ faith, we need to back our faith up with actions and choose to act For Him, to remember His Ministry, Death and Resurrection and do our best with the help of the Holy Ghost to follow the standard He set.


Jesus set an example difficult to follow even with the help of the Holy Ghost, but impossible to follow without the help of the Holy GhoOur eternal life does not come to us for free. It was paid with the blood of God’s only begotten Son. We have a debt to Him we cannot even close to repaying, but we can start by choosing to follow Him each and every day. Where we fall short, we get back up the next day and do better than the previous day.


We must remember His Example when times get harder and more difficult as it becomes closer to the end of this world and the beginning of our eternity with God. Let us act for Him and make it known that we reject mammon and embrace the example of Jesus Christ. We may lose friends and even family as a result of standing with God; the consequences for not standing with God are far worse than losing shallow people in your life.


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