This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Saturday, 29 August 2015
James 1:17-27 The Goodness of God
the passage from James 1:17-27, James talks about the goodness of God. God
doesn’t tempt us to do evil things, but he often uses life’s challenges to
strengthen and perfect us. In the process we become more like God.
of tempting us to do evil things, God gives us good gifts. The phrase “Father
of lights” reminds us of God’s unchanging nature. The God who put the stars,
sun and moon in their places faithfully presides over our lives and provides
everything good, and we must thank him for these gifts. As the old hymn which
we often sing on Thanksgiving Sunday says, “All good gifts around us are sent
from heaven above…”
order to receive every good gift from God, we must prepare ourselves to hear
God’s Word, especially in times of trial. When we prepare ourselves to hear
God’s Word, it will give us a fresh start in life. We prepare ourselves by
concentrating our attention, controlling our tongues, containing our anger and
cleansing our lives of sin. Wrath doesn’t promote the work of God of God’s
righteousness. In fact, wrath violates God’s standard on conduct for believers.
is not compatible with receiving God’s Word. It prevents God’s Word from reaching
a person’s heart. God’s Word should be welcomed in the heart, received with
anticipation like a love letter, and read with a desire to put its words and
commands into practice. James warns his readers about the dangers of sin and
deception. An unbridled tongue makes a person’s testimony useless. God will
help us control our tongues and our anger. Our words reveal our true
personality. Are we a person of God or a person of evil?
good example of someone who could not control his tongue is the apostle Peter.
He had no problem telling anyone what was on his mind or how he felt. That got
him into trouble on more than one occasion. For example , In Matthew 16:17-23,
he first spoke for God when he said that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the
Living God, but moments later he spoke for Satan and Jesus had to rebuke him by
saying, Get behind me, Satan!”
world can easily deceive us. Many times when something is presented to us by
sources that we believe to be reliable, we will believe it without asking any
questions. This is especially true for the lies of Satan, and these lies often
lead us into false beliefs. We must not be fooled by what the world says is
true. We must focus on what God says is true and trust in him. We must actively
study the Scriptures regularly to find God’s truths and then apply these truths
to transform our daily lives, especially if we are called on to preach and
teach God’s Word. God knows what we need, so when we study the Scriptures he
will give us encouragement when we are struggling, rebuke us when we are
rebelling, challenge us when we need to step forward in faith and warn us when
we are heading down the wrong path.
listening to God’s Word has no lasting value. When we open the Bible, we must
plan to do what it says. The Bible is more than a book to carry to church. It
gives its readers a way to follow the heart of God and the footsteps of Jesus.
God wants us to go beyond merely hearing the word to obeying the word. Casual
hearers simply glance at the highlights of God’s Word and continue on their way
like tourists. Careful believers mine God’s Word and find new, life-changing
treasures. The Bible must have a continuing effect on the life of a believer.
Christians within the church today have the same problem as casual hearers of
God’s Word. They are spectators who enjoy hearing the Word of God preached and
taught every Sunday. Their heads are filled with biblical knowledge and facts,
but they fail to put that knowledge into godly living. Their spiritual heads get
fatter and father while their spiritual bodies waste away because they are not
being used, just like a human body gets flabby or wastes away when it’s not
used. These people are spiritual freaks who are of little value to themselves,
the church or the world. James refers to them as being deceived. They have
deceived themselves by hearing the word but not applying it in their daily
and faultless religion is marked by personal ministry. We must respond to the
needs of others as Christ did. Pure and faultless religion is also marked by
personal purity. We must not be corrupted by the world. Pure and faultless
religion is a delicate balance between the positive and the negative. Genuine
faith denies the self, takes risks, loves others and always seeks to please
God. Believers are enabled by the Holy Spirit to obey God’s law. They are freed
from the bondage of sin and enabled to obey God. They can give thanks to God.
equates the treatment of people in distress with how people treat him. This is
the true test of faith. We must conduct our earthly lives in such a way as to
not be ashamed to face the Lord. We must be compassionately involved with the
problems of the world while remaining holy at the same time. The world is the
ordered system that is under Satan’s control. It is opposed to God’s purposes.
as Christians must show our love to everyone--- not just to those who can
benefit us but also to those who can’t help anyone. We will be known for our
love to those who have been hurt or who have had their hopes and dreams
shattered. Christ’s love should encourage us to love God and love people. Our
actions must be motivated by Christ himself and not by what we do, say, think
or want. Our attitude towards others shows our true attitude toward God. Our
actions speak louder than our words, and a relationship with a living God calls
for us to do something. We need to get our hands dirty and get into the filth
of human pain and sadness while at the same time not allowing that same filth
to contaminate us. Failure to help those who need our help means that we risk
becoming defiled and impure. Everyone God sends our way is really seeking his listening,
compassionate heart at work through us.
we want to be help others, we can start by being good listeners. Quick
solutions seldom make people feel better. They need solutions that can only
come by listening carefully with an open mind and an open heart. We must listen
to others in the same way that God listens to us. When we are generous to
others, our gifts are not based on the person’s actions. We reflect the love of
a God who delights in giving to those he loves.
we want to know if we are putting God first in our lives, we must ask ourselves
where we turn when we have a decision to make, a problem to resolve or we need
guidance. Do we turn to other people or our desires first, or do we turn to
God, his word and his principles? God speaks of the riches of his mercy as
shown through Jesus Christ. God broadcasts his forgiveness and his love. He
proclaims the wonder of redemption and calls on us to repent and come near to
him. He is available at all times to hear our prayers, to listen to our
concerns and to be touched by the nonverbal communication of our feelings. In
return, we must be increasingly acquainted with the voice of God. We must
follow God each and every day. We are called on to live out God’s love for us
and share that love with the world.
David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, NKJV (Brentwood,
TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013)
Bible. Part of Wordsearch 10 Bible software package.
& Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s
Commentary Series, Vol. 34: James/1&2 Peter/Jude (Nashville, TN: Thomas
Nelson Inc.; 1984)
J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible, NASV
(Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)