Our Featured Sunday Sermon by Bishop Jack Arnold

NOTE: Today’s sermon comes from Bishop Jack Arnold. I was greatly moved by some comparisons he makes concerning the Ascension. This is an heartfelt and strongly biblical sermon produced, amazingly, only three days after his father, Bishop Hap Arnold, passed into glory. I am so proud of Bishop Jack for soldiering on the the face of such a tragic loss. He bears the blood of his father. (Bishop Ogles)

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:

… sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort …

When Jesus left on Ascension Day, we lost a teacher here on earth. I can completely understand how the Apostle’s must have felt on Ascension Day as on this past Thursday, May 16th 2024, my father, Bishop Hap Arnold ascended into Heaven to join Christ and God and the believers and family who have gone before. I am acutely aware of the pain the Apostles must have faced when they lost their redeemer, teacher, master and savior. We still have Jesus in our memories as Redeemer and Savior; but what to do for understanding and that needed closeness to God? In response to His departure, God sent us the Holy Ghost.

Who is this Holy Ghost and why is he here?

We worship the One True God, a triune God, that is Three in One; Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Most people have no trouble understanding the concept of God the Father, Christians seem to get God the Son, but many seem to have a difficulty with the Holy Ghost, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.

The Holy Ghost has been there since the beginning. He breathed life into the world, yet His actions seemed to be sporadic until Pentecost.

Well, today is Pentecost, the time one normally thinks of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, the Breath of God, the Comforter. When people do think of Him, they oft think of the actions described in the words of Saint Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. The dancing and speaking in tongues. All that happened so we might understand with the help of the Holy Ghost we might bring the Word to all mankind. The Word of God is a universal language. When the disciples spoke in tongues, the people around them heard the Word in their own language, not an odd combination of sounds that no one understood. The point behind the demonstration was that through the Holy Spirit, we can reach out to all the corners through the world and find a way to communicate the Good News to all people in this world. It was not to show that we could communicate in different languages with no effort required on our part. It was to show that we need the help of the Holy Spirit in order to help us spread the Word.

Bishop Hap Arnold knew this and I believe the reason that he was as successful and impactful as he was in his ministry as he allowed the Holy Ghost to enter into his heart and guide and direct his actions.

As a result of his actions, a lot of people within the AOC Communion have had their lives affected for the better. I believe if we do as Bishop Hap did and accept the Holy Ghost fully into our hearts and guide our actions, then we will prosper and we will be in conduit with God’s Will.

There will of course be efforts to be made to learn the languages of the various peoples, this was just to show that with work and practice and with the Holy Spirit within us, this massive effort is indeed possible. Without the Holy Spirit this would be an impossible mission, but with the assistance of the Holy Ghost this mission is very much possible.

We need the Holy Ghost if we are to follow Christ’s Great Commission. He knew we would need the Holy Ghost if we were to have any success in this endeavor. Because we alone left to our own miserable devices would surely fail in following the Great Commission. However, He also knew He needed to leave if the Holy Ghost were to come and stay, so the Holy Ghost’s coming had to wait until after the Ascension. He had it planned out so the disciples would not be without a direct connection to Him for very long. His Plan as always was perfect and His timing is impeccable.

Another reason we need to have the Holy Ghost within us is to give us the “righteous judgment” the Collect speaks of. This judgment is not the same as God’s final judgment on our performance, but it is a judgment based on Scriptural values, with the Holy Ghost’s help, we can make on our lives and others lives, based on how we see it through the lens of the Holy Ghost and Scripture. It is not to insult people, but to be truthful from the standpoint of Scriptures and be able to say certain behaviors in this world do not line up with Scripture, i.e. homosexuality and abortion. To say those behaviors are not Christian is a righteous judgment statement that the Holy Ghost helps us determine. Despite popular perception, we are not judging them to their final destination, we are judging them by their inadherence to the concepts of Scripture. We do not have control over their final destination, only they do, which they will not like if they keep proceeding on behaviors that are not compatible with scripture.

Using the Holy Ghost for righteous judgment is like when flight instructors are teaching a student, they go by the FAA’s Airmen Certification Standards and if a student busts an altitude variance level or go outside a parameter for a certain maneuver, the instructor has to tell the student of their mistake and that they went outside the standards and then work with them to help stay within the standards and correct their mistakes. This is why God wants us to have the righteous judgement to help point out the errors, not force people into correcting them, but pointing it out for them to correct on their own. We cannot correct peoples mistakes for them, but we can let them know where they are in error so they can rectify it themselves.

The Holy Ghost is also our direct connection to God. When Jesus left, the disciples were distant from God. When they were not near Jesus, they did not do as well as when they were with Him. I can understand how this feels. When I was near my father Bishop Hap Arnold, I felt stronger and strengthened. When I was not near him, I did not feel nearly as strong. We need the Holy Ghost that much is clear, if we are to succeed in the race of life.

God sent the Holy Ghost that the Apostles and us might have that close connection to Him. As with the righteous judgement, the Holy Ghost helps us to align our actions and views with that of Scripture. The Holy Ghost helps us to properly understand and apply Scriptural principles in our own lives. He helps us like the focus feature on a camera to see clearly what God wants us to do. Without Him in our hearts, it is like a blurry, unfocused and unlit image, very dark. We need Him in our hearts to focus our minds, souls and hearts on what we need to do for Him. The people not of God and that don’t have the Holy Spirit within them will never understand the righteous judgement and label it bigotry when that word couldn’t be farther from the truth. Note Peter’s actions after the arrest of Jesus for an example, thrice denying His Lord. The Holy Ghost came so we would have understanding and a direct connection to God, wireless as it were, instead of having to be tethered to Christ. This is how God can always be with us wherever we are.

If we allow the Holy Ghost into our hearts, we will never be far from Him, and He will never be far from us. He will guide us through both good and bad times and He will keep us upright whenever we feel frail and weak and will give us the strength to carry on in tragic times. We have to consciously let Him into our hearts, He will not come uninvited into our hearts. He will be a constant guiding presence in our lives, that will give us peace in times of trouble, and will help us guide and focus our minds in our worship of God. He will give us inspiration and help us to do what is right for our fellow Christians and friends, while staying true to God. He will light our paths in difficult times and trials and will give us the guidance we need to finish our race for God.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that He would be leaving, but the Father would send a facilitator; one who whose presence, if we let Him into our hearts, would bring understanding of His Word into those self-same hearts. The Comforter would bring the Love of God into our hearts to let us feel His Love. He will help us understand we are striving to be one with God, with Jesus and with the Holy Ghost. Our love is demonstrated by our actions. Jesus points out those who do not truly love Him will not keep His Commandments. However, if we truly do love him, we must act for Him and by doing so will keep his commandments.

If you think about it, you will recall the second half of the Book of Luke is titled The Acts of the Apostles. It is not the thoughts, the beliefs, the feelings, the meditations, the inner feelings or any other touchy feely thing, it is the ACTS. If you believe, you must act on those beliefs. The Holy Ghost is here to help us know how to act, we will just have to let Him into our hearts, and then ACT. Only by acting can we show that we have faith. Faith without actions is a very hollow faith. I truly believe Bishop Hap exemplified the tagline at the end of our sermons very well “Be of God, Live of God and Act of God.”. Whenever he was faced with an opportunity to ACT, he ACTED. We must do likewise. While Bishop Hap will be missed, we must remember that it is only a temporal separation and that when we finally arrive at Heaven’s Gates, that time will be as of nothing.

We need the help of the Holy Ghost to learn what we are to do, how we are to do it and most of all to do it. Action, not just diction.

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

In Christ Alone during Season of LENT,

 Jerry L. Ogles, D.D.

Presiding Bishop.

AnglicanOrthodox Communion Worldwide & Chancellor, Faith Theological Seminary

By |2024-05-20T13:14:16+00:00May 20th, 2024|Blog|Comments Off on Our Featured Sunday Sermon by Bishop Jack Arnold

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