True Religion That Works
SERMON SERIES: SAVED TO SERVE
SERMON TITLE: TRUE RELIGION THAT WORKS
SERMON TEXT: JAMES 1:27
A. Scripture: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16)
B. Illustration: Every religious faith has its ceremonies, practices, holidays, and religious acts that the followers are expected to perform.
C. Problem: The danger with religious practices is that people tend to think that such performance completely fulfills one spiritual obligations.
1. Many think that they are accepted by God based on their religious practices.
2. For religion to be acceptable to God, it must be in harmony with His divine standards, not determined by human opinion or man-made tradition.
D. Perspective: Believers in Christ are saved by faith alone, apart from human works of any kind; however, the faith that saves is a faith that is involed in good works.
A. PROPOSITION: OUR CHRISITIAN LIFE, TRANSFORMED BY THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL, MUST MAKE AN IMPRESSION ON OUR CONTEMPORARY WORLD.
B. INTERROGATIVE: HOW?
C. TRANSITIONAL: FROM JAMES 1:27 WE CAN SEE TWO KEY FEATURES OF A LIFE TRANSFORMED BY THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL.
I. CHARITY: SYMPATHY WITH THE SUFFERING--POSITIVE SOCIAL CONCERN
A. THE TEXT: TO VISIT THE FATHERLESS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION
B. THE ATTITUDE: SYMPATHETIC ACTION
1. The meaning: "To visit" means more than a friendly social call, it means to visit with the purpose of caring for and suppy the needs of those visited.
2. The implications: This implies concern and personal contact with the needy--This is more than charity by proxy, that is, where you send in a donation but have no personal contact!
3. The objects: The fatherless and widows representing the two most needy classes in ancient society.
a. The fatherless (orphans) are those deprived of their parents either through death or abandonment.
b. Widows are those bereft of their husbands
C. THE REASONS: WHY SYMPATHETIC HELP IS NEEDED
1. Reason #1: The needy are subjected to "affliction"
a. Finanical affliction due to the pressure of a difficult circumstance.
b. Emotional affliction due to the grief of loss and loneliness.
2. Reason #2: The needy are subjected to "exploitation"
a. They are victims of injustice in a cold society
b. They are victims of malipulation by unscrupulous and unprincipled individuals.
D. THE PROBLEM: MANY PASS SYMPATHETIC ACTION ON TO OTHERS
1. They pass it on to the State (Illustration: Mr. Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" ... "Are there no work-houses?")
2. They pass it on to the Church
E. THE RESULT: A SYMPATHETIC ATTITUDE EMULATES THE ATTITUDE OF GOD
1. God Himself cares about the poor and needy
a. Deut.10:18,19: "He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him good and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."
b. Ex.22:22-24: "Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless."
c. Psalm 10:13-14: "Wherefore doth the wicked contemn ("revile") God? He hath said in his heart, `Thou wilt not require it.' Thou hast seen it; for Thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with Thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; Thou art the helper of the fatherless." (cf. Psalm 68:5; 146:9)
2. Such love-prompted social concern often has been a means of furthering the gospel.
II. CHASTITY: SEPARATION FROM SIN--PERSONAL SPIRITUAL CONDUCT SERMON
A. THE TEXT: TO KEEP ONESELF UNSPOTTED FROM THE WORLD
B. THE IMPLICATIONS: PERSONAL WATCHFULNESS
1. Fact #1: Unspotted implies a condition of personal purity that remains unblemished from contact with surrounding pollution.
2. Fact #2: The world is the world of unredeemed humanity alienated from God and in rebellion to His will.
a. The present world system is influence by Satan, the prince of this world (John 14:30)
b. The world stand opposite to God the Father, to whom the believer has pledged his/her allegiance.
3. Fact #3: The believer is in the world but is not to be of the world.
a. The believer is obligated to live for the Lord in the mist of a hostile, rebellious, and ungodly world.
b. This implies that the believer is to have constant vigilance, watchfulness, and alertness so as not to be conformed to this world's thinking, attitudes, words, and actions.
C. THE PROBLEM: MANY PEOPLE ARE RELIGIOUS, BUT THEY ARE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD
1 James 4:4: Friendship with the world is enmity with God
2. 1 John 2:15: If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
D. THE RESULT: GODLY CONDUCT PROVES WHAT IS THAT GOOD AND ACCEPTABLE AND PERFECT WILL OF GOD (CF.ROMANS 12:1,2).
A. RESTATEMENT OF SERMON PROPOSITION
B. RESTATEMENT OF MAIN POINTS
C. GENERAL ILLUSTRATION
D. SERMON RESPONSE: DO YOU HAVE A FAITH THAT WORKS SO THAT OTHERS ARE BLESSED TO THE GLORY OF GOD?