Rev Jack’s sermon is below the Propers and is available on video RIGHT HERE!
Rev Jack brings the Propers together. The Collect asks God’s help to increase in us hope, faith and charity, and more importantly that we might want to keep it from hurtful things, and open our hearts to desiring things that are good for us that will help us towards our salvation. In the Epistle, Paul warns people The Law will not help them, and that fancy gestures, act and special words will not bring them the salvation they need, that is only available through following our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us not to worry to trust in Him, and trust in God, and things will work out just fine. He warns us not to borrow trouble from tomorrow, for the evil of today is sufficient thereof.
The Propers for today are found on Page 210-211, with the Collect first:
The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity.
EEP, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle came from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, the Sixth Chapter, beginning at the Eleventh Verse. Paul continues to warn us of the conflict in our lives between the things valued here on earth and those valued by the forces of heaven (God). Writing to the Gentiles in Galatia, using to the rite of circumcision as a symbol for all of The Law, he warns, “As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.” Those who are every eager to have you follow “The Law” themselves fail to follow its intent. Paul goes on to say that Jesus’ new covenant transcends The Law and The Law no longer has hold over man. For in Jesus there is salvation, may “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”
E see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Today’s Holy Gospel was written in the Sixth Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, beginning at the Twenty-Fourth Verse. Jesus tells us, “No man can serve two masters …Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” There is only one first place, only one can be in that place. We either place God in first place or we put something else there. If we wish riches in this world as the most important thing in our life, we place the things of this world in first place. If we follow our Lord Jesus and His instruction, we place God in that first place. But, what of this world? “Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they?” Jesus tells us not to worry, for worry is of no positive value. When faced with a problem, we must do our best, not merely claim to do our best, and trust in God. For, “which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life?” God knows we have need of the things of this world while we are in it, he knows we worry about, “What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” If we first seek “His kingdom, and His righteousness” He will take care of all our necessities. But we must do as He asks, not merely say we are doing so. If you follow God’s directions, you will be wealthy beyond description. While you will never be “Bill Gates” rich, you will never lack what you need on this earth or in the world to come.
Jesus tells us, Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. We are not to worry, but to our best and let the morrow come as it will. We are to do our best, not merely say we are doing our best. For if we truly do our best, then that is all that can be done and there is no point in worrying.
Using an earlier phrase, Trust in God and Dread Naught.
O man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
 Mammon - a Chaldee or Syriac word meaning "wealth" or "riches" (Luke 16:9-11); also, by personification, the god of riches (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:9-11).
1: wealth regarded as an evil influence
2: (New Testament) a personification of wealth and avarice as an evil spirit.
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Rev Jack’s sermon is available on video RIGHT HERE!
Today’s sermon tied the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and talked, as is oft the case, of the need for action, not simply diction.
Consider the words of the Collect, “… Keep … thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and … keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation …”
When the Collect talks about the church, it is not talking about buildings; it is talking about us. The church is not a building, it is the army of believers following God. That is the church. Each of us; all of us. We need God’s Mercy and Grace to keep us from desiring those things that are bad for us and help us to see we really want those things that are good for us.
Speaking of things, just like the Jewish based Christians of Paul’s time, it often seems like everyone has secret rituals, handshakes or hoops they want you to jump through to be really IN. Paul reminds us that all fall short, and special fancy diets, days or outfits do not change us. They do not make us any better than the rest of humanity. We are all the same sinful human beings regardless of what special fancy days, diets our outfits we partake in. That does not change who we are. God does not require any sort of fancy diet, days or outfits to be IN with Him. In fact, they are rather counter productive to being IN with Him. They are just a distraction from following Him. We see all the rituals that other churches have and I can only think of how much they are a distraction from truly following Him in the end. In the End, God does not care about how many of these secret handshakes we followed, all He cares about is did we believe in Him and His Son and act for Him? All He asks is that we believe on Him and His Son Jesus and do our best to follow Him. None of these fancy rituals churches have are keys to salvation. They are not needed. For the action that led to our salvation was Jesus’s death and resurrection and has already happened one time for all time for all mankind.
Our salvation comes one way, through our Lord Jesus and by the Grace of God. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Nobody comes to the Father but by Him. He is our salvation. He is the living embodiment of the Word of God. His faith has saved us and made us whole, not our faith. But we need to act for Him to show that we have faith in Him The whole Gospel is based upon this. This is the solid foundation, as Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. We do not identify ourselves by men whose theology we like but by the only man who was perfect, Jesus Christ. And if we follow Him, we have the gift of life as St. Paul explains For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23 KJV)
The problem with folks who identify themselves as something other than Christian, is they lose sight of the simple principles of Scripture and become more like the Pharisees in finding loopholes to get around and they find themselves going down the wide smooth down hill path instead of the narrow sloping uphill path towards heaven. It is so easy to get lost in the ideas of the various theologians, that you forget that they were doing their best to be known as followers of Christ. Paul reminds us that we are to be followers of Christ and not followers of man. These people that identifiy as followers of various theologians often times forget they are supposed to be following Christ and not man. They have gotten themselves so wrapped up in the little things that they miss the sight of the big picture. They miss the simplicity of Jesus and His Message! They insist on making following God way more complicated than it needs to be. God’s way is not complicated, it may be hard to do at times, but it is not complicated at all. Love God and Love your neighbor as thyself. That’s really pretty much it. There is no secret handshake, no arcane or mystifying rituals involved in following God.
Paul points out that there are many who desire to make a show of following the law, not to follow the law but to somehow appear more righteous than you and that they do not truly want to suffer persecution for Christ.. There are way too many of these folks today both in and outside of the church. He calls us as followers of Christ not to do that, but to follow Christ and His Gospel, the new way of thinking compared to the old ways of the Jews of old and the Mosaic Laws and also not to be afraid to suffer persecution in Jesus’s name.
As Paul said in a later epistle, there is not much glory if we are doing something wrong and get shamed for it. However, if we are following His Word and get shamed and slandered for it, there is a lot of glory there. God will make it so in the end, if we but stay true to the course, all of the persecution and bullying we face on Earth for following Him will be worth it. We will just have to remember this anytime we are encountering an unbeliever and being persecuted or slandered.
The last part of this reading is the one we often have the most trouble with. We are far too ready to borrow trouble from tomorrow. Every day, I pray at least twice for help with this. It is getting better; I am confident on one thoughtful level no good comes of worry, yet I have such a hard time acting on that thought. It is a very difficult thing not to worry, but it is something that needs to be done nonetheless. I find as I trust God more and act upon His will more, I worry less. There is a correlation there I believe. It is a very hard thing to do, but it must be done, to ensure our success in spreading the Gospel and being an effective minister of God. Plus, worrying less will provide other benefits as well, and help us to lead happier lives. We have to remember that worrying never helps, but it hurts us a lot physically, spiritually and mentally. If we can stop worrying, we can find that our lives will get better in the physical, spiritual and mental realms. When we do what God asks, doing our best and not just saying it, there is not a lot to worry about. Even if there is, we can relax, knowing God has everything under control and He will always give us guidance on how to proceed.
God wants you to be happy; He knows what will make you happy. God does not mind if you have fun along the way, but never pursue fun confusing it with happiness. In the end, you won’t find either.
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