(Click above for the complete reading)
“You must understand this, my beloved; let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.”
Losing my Religion
(Click the title above for the sermon)
It is well known that Martin Luther had some issues in his day with the book of James. Luther thought that there was not enough focus on Christ and maybe the book was a bit strong on works righteousness. James does not hesitate to tell Christians how their faith should be lived out. Which is why I think the church today should rediscover James.
After all, is the main challenge we face in the church today that too many Christians are overly committed to serving and studying and worshiping and giving? Are pastors constantly trying to tone down the relentless efforts of members as they try to find yet another way to actually do ministry? Is works righteousness still our greatest threat?
Yes, maybe the book of James can speak with a new relevance in our day…
For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. James 1:23-24
That’s the question that James wants us to ask. What defines you in this world? If you are a chosen, loved, forgiven, child of God, (and the Good News is that you are!), how will that identity affect the way you live?
Questions to Ponder/Discuss
1. How many times a day do you see your own reflection? What comes to mind when you see your reflection in a mirror?
2. When James was writing, widows and orphans were among the most vulnerable people in society. Are there others you would add to the list today?
3. Have you ever read the entire book of James?
We end nearly every worship service at POP with the challenge to “go in peace and serve the Lord!” These are not words of contemplation, they are words of action. Find at least one way to be a doer of the word this week. After all, you are a forgiven child of God for a reason!
See you in church!