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Sunday, May 13, 2018
Sunday after the Ascension
Sermon – Reverend Hap 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.
Once again the propers for this week come together very well, their focus is narrow, thus powerful.
Consider these words from the Collect:
… leave us not comfortless; but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before…
Today is no different than the very First Sunday after the Ascension. Jesus has ascended in to heaven, we are alone and physically separated from God who gives us the strength we need to do His Will. Like Peter and the cock who crew thrice, the further we are from God, the weaker we are. Thus, we are looking towards Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Ghost. We ask for God’s help we might have the true belief, courage, knowledge and strength to follow Jesus to heaven for all eternity. That help is on the way in the form of the Holy Ghost. Yes, we do have the Holy Ghost, here and now, He does not ebb and flow with the liturgical year; where would we be if He did?
The end of the earth and this world may come at any time, indeed for 313,000 people each day, their time here is up. Thus, in a very real sense as Saint Peter put it, “The end of all things is at hand…” So, how should we act? We are to do what we can with a smile on our face. We should act as if it was our last day on earth. We need to be mindful of the fact that at any time, the world may well end for each of us. In other words, if this was our last day on this planet, how would we act? That is a question we all must ask more often and not only ask it, but answer it. The answer comes with the help of the Holy Ghost, who could only come once Jesus left. That is one of the reasons why Jesus ascended into heaven. He left so the Holy Ghost could come down and dwell amongst us and in us to provide us with the guidance we need to follow God.
We have to wait and hear what the Holy Ghost has to say before we act. Then once the Holy Spirit has given the answer, we must act upon that answer. This is a continuous cycle and we must always prioritize our work to be for God, our Country, Family, friends and co-workers in that order and things will fall in line. Along these lines, we must strive to work hard, take care of those who cannot and be good stewards of the considerable grace God has given us. This does not just refer to spending MONEY, but rather to giving of our time and effort to bring the Gifts of God to others. We must give ourselves entirely to help those in need of that help, so we may share the benefits of the Gift of God truly. Only then we will know the grace of God’s love truly. We are to share the LOVE in our hearts with those we encounter, for Love is of God. And the Holy Ghost will help us spread that love to others in our lives. We are called not to hoard that love, but to spread it through ought our travels. For as love is of God, then it follows there is a large supply of love. In fact, love multiplies with use, so there is an even more infinite amount of love out there.
For as Saint Peter says in his Epistle this morning, charity (love) truly does cover a multitude of sins. So, when we do things for others, the driving force behind our actions should be that of charity, or love, for our fellow human beings and not any self-seeking motivation. Charity will cover for our multitude of sins, but we need to be thinking of how we can use charity in our hearts to help others. It is the greatest of gifts God and the Holy Spirit gives to us; a gift we find ourselves needing to use more often. The Holy Spirit is key in giving us the desirable thoughts and attributes that we need to carry out His Plan on Earth. He also helps us deal with our less desirable thoughts and attributes and helps us deal with very difficult people and situations. Turning to the Holy Spirit in those very stressful times will reduce the burden on your heart and shift it from you to God, giving you the clarity you need to act for Him, to be able to act in an effective and Christ like manner.
But, without the Holy Ghost, the needed action on our part is impossible. We need God’s help and He sent it in the form of the Holy Ghost. He sent it as the “Comforter”, that is to Comfort us and to Guide us on the journey on the narrow uphill path towards heaven. The Holy Ghost is that portion of God who can enter our hearts bringing understanding, hope and most of all the courage and determination to do what needs be done. Those who will not have Him in their hearts can never understand God and His Will. That is why they cannot understand or fathom the plan He has for us. They cannot understand why we follow God and Christ. They do not believe; therefore, they cannot have Him in their hearts, and therefore they will not understand. The end of time is nearer each day than the day before, of that we can be certain. But there is a certainty we have in this uncertainly world, the unfailing love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus and the presence of the Holy Ghost in our lives, if we let Him in, and the inerrant Holy Scriptures to guide us throughout the rest of our lives. With this knowledge of an unchanging standard, we can stand fast by this standard and be content knowing we are following the One True Triune God, and though we may physically suffer a while, it is nothing to enjoying eternity with God. We just have to DO and ACT our best for Him here; though it may be hard, it will be worth it in the end. The current world climate and even in this country is less hospitable than in centuries to Christians. There is a reason for this which only God understands and not us. God has a plan for all of this. In time, we will realize what the plan is. But for now, we are unaware of His plan in the greater scheme of things. But what it is doing is solidifying the faith of true believers around the globe, forming the Army of Light together, ready to battle against the malicious forces of Satan. We cannot make this journey alone. We must have the close and continuous presence of God. That presence is the Holy Ghost. That is why He is here.
Pray for His continual presence in your heart.
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