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Sunday, April 23, 2017
First Sunday after Easter
Sermon - Rev Hap Arnold
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon ties together the propers, that is to say the prayer and Scriptural readings for this week.
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. 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. But, that is not surprising, no place else is it really clear either. God is comprised of three separate entities who are of one substance and form a single entity, each has its function. Jesus Christ is our key to life and the Holy Ghost is our key to understanding and accepting Jesus Christ. Christ, who was there at the beginning, will be there at our end; the Holy Ghost who breathed life into this world is our key to finding Christ in our hearts. God has made it so.
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:
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 the hippies, or “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” This is a totally different concept. 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 is a thing not lightly thought of. It is certainly not the hand shaking service interrupting greeting of some churches. They say ‘peace’ when they mean ‘hi.’ 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.
That brings us to the Holy Ghost. He 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!
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.
For 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