Sermon notes for the final message in the “At the Movies” series.
Who here is a pet person? Do we have any cat ladies in here?
We have 2 dogs. Weiner dog and a Yorkie. I love dogs until I smell them. Then, it is over. That is a challenge in our house. When we got our Yorkie, we were trying to name her as a pup and my brother-in-law said, “You should name her ‘poops and pees a lot’.”
“The Secret Lives of Pets” is all about a dog named Max who is in love with his owner, but is struggling with this identity. He is struggling with her acceptance of him. He is tempted to believe that another dog would steal her affection away from him. When Duke shows up it reveals his secret turmoil (that is subconscious) and drives him in to a secret plot of sin. He does all sorts of things when his owner isn’t looking.
Have you ever wondered what your pet is doing when you’re away? Ever know of someone who sat up a “pet cam” to see what’s going on?
Surveillance is big business today. Everybody from the military to the corporate world launches satellites so sensitive they can read words on a golf ball sitting in your front yard. Security cameras capture your every move in the mall, the grocery store, the school. We even have security cameras here on our church property.
But nobody sees everything you do, do they? It just so happens that one person does.
One of the characteristics of God is that he is omniscient, which is a big way of saying “He knows everything”,
Psalm 139:1-3 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.
God knows the amount of Hairs of your head, Your past, your future, those things no one else knows. (Might make you feel uncomfortable),
He sees not just what’s going on outside, but what’s going on in your heart and your head, the motives and attitudes and feelings nobody else sees.
He sees the insecurities and identity problems you have (as MAX) when DUKE shows up!
Few of us do very little wrong (I hope) on Sunday morning at church, because we know everybody’s watching. But what about when we’re away from church, when we’re at home, at work, or alone? Do we have a SECRET LIFE Mon-Sat?
Not necessarily something that happens everyday or every week, but thoughts, attitudes, events that happen from time to time that no one else knows about. That we would hate for others to find out?
WHAT DO WE DO WITH THESE TIMES? WHAT DO WE DO WITH THESE THOUGHTS…THESE HABITS?
If ever there was a person who fell into a secret life, it was King David. David wasn’t caught on tape, but records of what he did are in the Bible. David was a Great warrior. A Great leader. One of the greatest kings of all time. Loved and respected by many. God (his Owner) loved him so much.
2 Samuel 11:1 In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
2 Samuel 11:2-4: Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath 3 He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her.
David was in a place he where he should not have been and as a result found himself tempted in an intoxicating way. If David had his attention where God wanted it, he would never put it where God didn’t want it. David begins a chain of secret events that leads to murder.
Here are 3 important facts about Secret Lives:
Secret Lives Hinder Purpose
David’s sin was not in seeing Bathsheba. His sin was not trusting that God would provide satisfaction for him. He believed the lie of the devil that said, “Bathsheba will provide you the satisfaction you need”.
David’s purpose in life (like you and me) is to honor God and live for him! It is that simple. We make life so much more complicated.
When David started down the secret path of life, he started deviated from the original purpose in which God created him.
Your life will have so many details: occupation, marriage, finances, school, hobbies, fun stuff, hard stuff. Because we are so busy with all those categories of life, we can forget the original purpose and plan back at the garden of eden. Worship God. Be a good steward over the earth.
We get distracted just like Max. We get distracted just like David. We start doubting our worth. We start desiring immediate satisfaction. We doubt our impact on others. We are afraid of not having enough money. We start thinking about ourselves TOO MUCH.
Thinking about yourself too much is PRIDE.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
This proverb is your warning sign today! Your God-given purpose in life is going to be stalled, distracted and ultimately destroyed by your selfish perspective.
That leads us right into fact #2:
Secret Lives Have Consequences
2 Samuel 11:5 Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.”
David attempts to hide his sin so that it is not exposed. Sins leads simply to more sin.
David brings Uriah home to give him a report on the war, Throws him a party, Gets him drunk, and hopes that he will sleep with Bathsheba. Offering a cover-up for her pregnancy.
The lies, manipulation, and impact on the armed forces who remain in battle without one of their leaders is obvious. Plan fails. Uriah is loyal to his men who are at battle with the enemy
Then, David puts Uriah on the front line so that he will be killed in the intensity of battle. The disregard for human life in order to keep his sin hidden is again obvious.
David is willing to pursue anything that will keep his sin from being exposed. It takes all of his energies, and the one sin multiplies itself into more sin.
Sin always promises something it cannot deliver.
When we hear these promises, we are tempted to give in, to accept the deception and justify our action. David must have done that.
We delete texts. We make up stories. We erase internet history. We have others cover for us. We lie to ourselves. We say that it really doesn’t matter to anyone else. We say that our kids will grow up and not be affected.
The whole concept of hiding our sin is deceptive. Our sin is never hidden before God and only hidden with difficulty from our conscience. Our hidden sin hinders our fellowship with God and others and is a barrier to spiritual life and power.
The good news is that NO ONE is too far gone for God!
That takes us to Fact #3 about Secret Lives:
Secret Lives Can Receive Forgiveness
The first verse of chapter 12 introduces us to Nathan,
One of the bravest and boldest men in all the Bible. Nathan told David a parable-type story of a very rich man who killed the only sheep of a poor man.
Story that revealed David as if he were looking in a mirror. So that David can “get a good look at himself.” David had a sense of right and wrong.
When he heard Nathan’s story, he probably sprang to his feet and demanded, “Where is this man? We will arrest him. We will execute him!”
It is interesting how easily we can see the sin in somebody else, but we cannot see it in your own life. That was David’s problem.
Can you imagine the look on David’s face when Nathan says, “It is YOU!”. David has done the things that God said, “Thou shalt not do.” Is he going to get by with it?
We all need a “Nathan” around us who will tell us the truth about ourselves and help us stay humble before the Lord.
Through Nathan’s boldness, David had a different attitude. His heart had changed once the “cover up” was revealed.
He didn’t excuse himself or justify his sin, but freely owns it:
2 Samuel 12:13 …I have sinned against the Lord,
He submitted to the conviction. He owns his guilt
Psalm 51:2-3 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.
Psalm 51:12: Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
In spite of what we do God still loves us!
None of us are too far gone…Quite possibly God has sent me today to warn you of some things going on in your life right now. If you have felt the uncomfortable tension of conviction, then listen to the Spirit today.
Mark 2:17… “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
1 Corinthians 4:4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. 5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.
Let’s give everything to God today. Maybe you are locked in some habits or addictions. Maybe you have struggled with your identity or your acceptance from others.
Receive the Good News today that God accepts you and loves you. He wants to make your life shaped in his plan and will.
God wants to forgive you and heal you today through the power of Jesus Christ!
Everyone has heard of the Tarzan story. The original story was written in 1912. Tarzan is one of the best known literary characters in the world. There are 25 sequel Tarzan books and over 200 movies Tarzan in the name. This latest installment takes actual history from the Congo in the 19th Century and blends it nicely with fiction.
(****spoiler warning****) We find John Clayton III crying as an 8month old baby in a basonette. His parents have died. He is alone in a remote part of the Congo region of Central Africa. A nurturing mother gorilla named Kala, scampers into the small cabin and scoops up the frightened infant into her capable, safe arms. Immediately, little John, feels secure and from that moment is raised by Kala and her sons.
Kala feeds him, teaches him to crawl, protects him from the other creatures of the jungle. Finally, grows up to be a strong man and is discovered by explorers. His name is now Tarzan. He meets up and marries a beautiful American teacher named Jane. They move to England where he tries his hardest to fit in.
Meanwhile, in Congo, leaders from Belgium have infiltrated tribal areas and are ravaging the land of it’s resources. They are taking many of the Congolese as slaves and shipping them around the world. There is one last section of diamonds that the Belgiums need in order to complete their domination of Congo. However, it is controlled by a powerful native tribe that is impossible to defeat. The tribe chief (Mbongo) tells the Belgium leader, “If you bring me Tarzan, I will give you the diamonds you need.”
Why would he want Tarzan? Years ago, this chief’s son unknowingly killed Kala, Tarzan’s mother gorilla. In a fit of rage and revenge, Tarzan killed the chief’s son. As a result, the chief has been hunting Tarzan for years. He wants Justice served for the loss of his son’s life. He is willing to trade his diamonds for a chance to kill Tarzan himself. Not only that, if this deal goes through, he is putting his tribe and the entire rest of the country into the hands of the slave traders. Mbongo is not only trading his diamonds but he is enslaving his whole country just so that he can execute Justice for his son.
There is a chilling scene where Tarzan and Mbongo finally meet and have a knife at each other’s throat. “You killed my son!” “He killed my mother!” “Where was your honor?!” “I didn’t have any!”
At the point of Tarzan’s humility, the tide begins to turn for the natives of Congo, their possessions, and their sovereignty.
MURDER VENGEANCE REVENGE RACISM FEAR HATE
Are all central to Tarzan’s story.
These are all a central part of our story. The Human Story is filled with separation, selfishness, bitterness.
When we look at America and what we going through right now as a nation, we are marred with the ugly wounds and scars of Murder, Vengeance, Revenge, Racism, Fear
We have the DESIRE FOR JUSTICE! Justice is to be treated fairly. To be treated right. To be morally and ethically right. Just treatment. Fair dealings. The devil is trying to divide us. The devil thrives when we are separated and ostracized from each other! From the garden of Eden, he has tried to divide humanity.
Through JESUS CHRIST, God provides Efficient Justice and Freedom.
However, when we are focused on exacting revenge and establishing our own justice, we end up being blinded by the devil and used as a pawn for his good. We are putting at risk our own sanity, peace, and future by being sucked into the lie of the enemy. We allow fear to dictate our future.
So many people want to know what they can do in a situation like this. Here are 3 things!
Allow Faith To Dictate Your Future
Not fear. Allow the Word of God to stir up your faith. FEAR is rampant in our society right now. Everyone is afraid. Blacks are afraid for their sons. Police are afraid. People in Europe are being terrorized with deadly events.
Instead of being paralyzed by our FEAR…We are going to allow FAITH to dictate our future!
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
One of the best things you can do is stop watching so much of the news. Instead, go meet someone in your office or neighborhood that is different from you.
The media’s main purpose is to make money. Not report truth. They take morsels of truth and package it in a way to stir up more conflict and controversy. Do you understand why Donald Trump got so much news coverage? He was making them a ton of money! The media is trying to make money and sell advertisements. The more people that watch their station the more money they can charge for their ads. People like watching things that are controversial. The media is seeking out controversial things and feeding you and your family a load of mess.
They want police to be violent, They want whites to be violent, they want Black Lives Matter rallies to be violent. They won’t show you the thousands of people at the Trump rally that are peaceful or the tens of thousands at a Black Lives Matter rally that are peacefully marching. They want everyone pitted against everyone so that everyone is riled up. IT MAKES THEM MONEY. It sells ads, it sells books, it makes reports and anchors famous.
The media along with other things we read, experience, hear, study, watch, talk about, people we hang out with work with, all feed us information and points of view ALL CAST FEAR IN OUR LIVES. That FEAR is dictating your future!
WHERE ARE WE PUTTING OUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE?
Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. 3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
When you have issues in your life that are causing fear and anxiety, you can continue to be lost in that fear of the future OR you can yield to God who has the power to turn your situation around!
II Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Here is another way to say it:
Allow God to Set Your Narrative
All great stories or narratives have 4 parts: a Purpose, a Problem, a Solution, and a Resolution. YOU are living out a story with a purpose, a problem, a solution, and a resolution. Most of us spend our whole lives trying to figure our life out. We think we know what is going on and when we don’t, we are burdened with so much grief and distress.
THERE IS A BETTER WAY.
Instead of YOU setting the narrative and determining the plot: (who the good guys are and the bad guys.) ALLOW the “author and finisher” of our faith to set the tone for your life.
Hebrews 12:22 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You aren’t able to conquer your demons. Jesus can. You aren’t able to exact revenge to right the wrongs. Jesus can. You can’t write a chapter like God can write a chapter. Put it in his hands and allow the master craftsman to create a masterpiece in you that no man or woman can ever contaminate or destroy!
I want to close with this:
Allow God to Make us One
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you.
There were divisions in Corinth between sects of people in the church saying: “I’m from Apollos.” “I’m from Cephas” and the real religious one: “Well, I’m from Christ” I can just hear Paul saying now. “I hear that some of you are thinking you are better than the other because of where you were born or what skin color you have or where you went to school.” Don’t you know that we are all equal at the foot of the cross. We are all brothers and sisters. In fact, he says in verse 17, the Gospel of Jesus is ALL ABOUT second chances for everyone. When we choose to ostracize and segregate, we are neutering the cross!
Jesus was addressing the disciples and told them that there would be troubling times ahead.
Luke 21: 25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken…. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
He tells them they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Don’t spend your life trying to vindicate your past or your family’s name. TRUST GOD with your future. Allow God to take your blinders off. See the truth that your pursuit is probably hemming you in or possibly enslaving you.
I see people all the time enslaved by their own self consciousness, fear. On the outside I see people with so much potential, gifting, flavor, and favor, but they can’t even see it because they are choosing to believe the lie that the devil has brought on them. They will never amount to anything. They are always a victim. Their future has been sealed.
I was just talking with a Father the other day who is separated from his adult son. They haven’t talked in months. I am friends with both of them. They are wasting their time. Valuable precious time that they will never get back on this earth. Stop allowing your situation to block you from the BRILLIANT plan God has for you in the future.
Just as Tarzan’s redemption and victory didn’t come from his strength or stamina, it came from his confession and humility, so we find our turn-around when we humbly submit to God!
This is fourth of July weekend, so obviously we are going with INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
This movie is a sequel to the original 20 years ago. There was an alien attack on the world in 1996 and a crew led by Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum fought back to reestablish their independence from alien occupation.
Now, in 2016 there has been a resurgence of domination, fear, and possession. The aliens represent an occupation of evil that strips humanity of its dignity, creativity, and most of all our independence.
The aliens are huge, multi-layer, extremely quick and intelligent. Obviously, more power than humans and can maintain complete control over humans. Our guns are big enough. Our money doesn’t matter to them. Our beauty, Athletic skill, education, means NOTHING to them. Aliens are not intimidated at all. When your spaceship lands on the Atlantic ocean (the whole Atlantic ocean) there isn’t much that earthlings can do.
In reality, there IS a force that dominates humanity. There is a force of darkness that descended on the planet many years ago.
The devil has been fighting us for millennia. Breaking up marriages, pitting us against each other, spreading diseases, violence erupting, natural disasters, greed is a contagious power that eats away the soul and spirit of humanity
The good news is that we can be FREE from this grip of the devil. JESUS CHRIST came to the earth to live as one of us and fight the fight. Jesus Christ took on our sins and brokenness and nailed it to the cross.
Colossians 4:13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
When wondering how to apply this VICTORY of JESUS to our life, the story of America’s independence has an amazing parallel. Tomorrow, we will be BBQing, shooting fireworks, hanging out at the River.
Ironically, on July 4, 1776, a battle was not won. A Document was voted on. It wasn’t even signed (it was signed a month later). We celebrate our DAY of Independence, not on a battle day but instead as the day our make-shift congress voted on a document.
BUT It was more than a document. It was a declaration! A Declaration is a statement asserting or protecting a legal right.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown…
- They made it known formally or officially. They revealed or made it manifest.
- They stated emphatically or authoritatively.
- “Not longer will we be dictated, ruled, controlled, by the King of England.”
The king didn’t have their interest in mind.
When you declare something it begins to manifest. IT IS TIME THAT WE DECLARE OR ASSERT OUR LEGAL RIGHT AS GOD’s Kids.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm (profess), for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
What do you need to be independent from? Because Jesus literally lived a sinless life and then willingly gave his life for the sins of all the world, then we have a legal right as God’s kids to live a life of freedom!
We declare to OURSELVES, our PEERS, our ENEMY our independence from:
- OUR SIN
- OUR EMOTIONS
- OUR MINDS
- OUR APATHY
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
WHAT ABOUT WHEN THERE IS A RESURGENCE?
Sometimes, even after the devil has been defeated in your life, he will rear his ugly head and act like it never happened.
What do you do in a resurgence?
John 8:35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
John 8:44 …He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
THE DEVIL IS A LIAR.
When temptation comes your way, you need to say, “Oh, Hell NO”!
Do you know John Dickinson or Robert Livingston? They both did not sign because they clung to the idea of reconciliation with Brittan.
I want to break down chapter 5 into what I am calling the 4 Ps! Through all 5 chapters we see some reoccurring themes. PLEASE get into this book. If you haven’t read all five chapters yet, please dig into it. One of our families read it every day for a month.
We are going to call these first 6 verses the:
The Predicament of PROSPERITY
Everyone in the room wants to be prosperous. However, the Bible Tells us that prosperity puts us in a difficult, perplexing, or dangerous situation. A predicament.
James 5:1 Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. 2 Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the day of judgment.
This is beginning like chapter 4! Remember him talking about running a race to satisfy desires in your inner most being?
In fact, here in Ch.5 he is talking about when you are running the race and you catch the fake rabbit. Prosperity is not all that it is cracked up to be.
Relying on money and success to bring you peace is the wrong idea.
4 For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the lord of Heaven’s Armies. 5 You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire. You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and killed innocent people, who do not resist you.
That doesn’t sound like you. Surely, he isn’t talking to you. You aren’t wealthy. You don’t participate in this… hhhhhhmmmmmm.
When I read verses 1-6, I think about America. All Americans.
Economists say that in the world there is about 153 trillion dollars. 63 of that trillion is in the US where 4.4% of the world population lives. The Average household income in America is $50,000.The Average household income for the world is $18,000. The median income is $1225. (for the math nerds out there)
The book of James is filled with warnings for the believer. It is so east to be ENTICED. SWAYED. DECIEVED. By this system and worldly thinking. BEWARD OF THE PROSPERITY PREDICAMENT! We can be intoxicated by possessions and money. We often allow the pleasures of this life and the pursuit of success to warp our true perception of God’s Kingdom. The Love of Money is the root of all evil.
In verses 7-11, James gives us the Plea for Patience:
The Plea for PATIENCE
7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient.
Wait…patiently! While you wait, do these two things:
Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. Basically, he is talking about the spirit of Eeyore! Down in the dumps.
“No one likes me. Everything is wrong. I have been treated wrong. Wah wah wah.” My son would say, “Someone call the wahhhmbulance”
The Believer in Jesus doesn’t have to be bound by the circumstances being handed to them! James is giving us a posture. A way to stand. A way to present our self. Patient. Courageous. Good attitude.
Galatians 5 says that the Holy Spirit of God will give us patience, gentleness, and self control! Bring it on, God! I want to live that type of lifestyle. When people see me, I want them to see someone that is patient. Trusting God. Not grumbly. Live a Life of Integrity. Mean what you say and say what you mean.
12 But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.
In verses 13-18, James gives us:
The Power of PRAYER
13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. 16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
In verses 19-20, James is giving us:
The Plight of PEOPLE
Or The Part you Play
19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
You are going to play a part in the situation or condition of someone else’s heart.
You make a difference in someone’s life when you show them love.
You can adjust someone’s course and trajectory by the way you share your story with them.
Caring for others. Forgiving those who are different from you.
Instead of criticizing and condemning, James is calling us to step INTO the situation and reach out a hand. Open up your ears and arms. Open up your prosperous checkbook.
Today, we jump into chapter 2 of James. Chapter 2 teaches us 2 core principles:
Christians Choose PEACE over of PREJUDICE
We choose accessibility over partiality! We OPEN doors…first.
James 2:1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? 2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes.
OR they have a different style. They have tattoos, all kinds of piercings. They are a different race. They are a different age. They vote different from you. They come from a different background. They like the Patriots or the Giants.
3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?
Discrimination– to make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit;
8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. 10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law. 12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free.
What is the Law that Sets you FREE? Since your faith in Jesus Christ sets you free from your sin and deserved punishment, you are then freed from hatred and self-love and are able to love your neighbors as ourselves.
When this all started in the first century, Christianity grew and developed in confrontation, with an environment that breathed hostility to its doctrines and practices.
The main reason that Christianity survived being fed to the lions was because they acutally choose peace over prejudice.
The lives of early Christians showed that accusations against them were lies.
1 Peter 2:15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you.
The early believers actually fed the needy, accepted outcasts, buried the poor, cared for orphans and the aged, encouraged prisoners and victims of disasters, and showered compassion on the persecuted.
Their lives proved that Christianity produced a superior character. This is still the best proof of the reality of our faith.
I’m praying that PromiseLand is filled with people that are living out a declaration of the Gospel of Jesus. Sure we know how to describe the good news of Jesus from a theological standpoint (it’s always good to know good doctrine). BUT more than that, May God enable us today to make a bold demonstration of our mercy to others!
Christians Do Good.
James 2:14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
VERY IMPORTANT: This is NOT talking about not doing bad things (sinning). It is talking about DOING good things.
James is not saying in this particular passage that your “work” is your ability to not sin. He is saying that your works are the good deeds that you perform.
As we go through this passage, you will see two distinctive words: shown and counted. Your faith counts you righteous. Your actions show your faith.
On one hand, If we were God, then we wouldn’t need works to show or display our faith. God sees the heart and knows all things. We can’t see inside someone, so the only way we know if someone’s faith is legit, is to see some outward evidence in their life.
On the other hand, it is impossible for strong, effective faith to be lazy or selfish. You can’t separate faith and good works. Christians do Good.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” 21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
Some translations say spirit instead of breath. The original word, pneuma means actually spirit breath. So it is all intertwined of sorts. God breathed life into the corpse of Adam in creation giving him a spirit breath. As your body, needs a spirit, so does your faith need works.
Look at the natural parallel as well: A healthy body has involuntarily muscles in the respiratory system that bring air in and out without you even knowing it. It is part of a healthy body.
Good works are the oxygen that a healthy faith body will bring in and out of it’s existence.
When Faith is inactive, it is entombed in a creed affirmed by the intellect. This has no more usefulness than a body with no heartbeat or breath – Holmann Commentary