My First Sermon
James 2:18-19 - But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. James 2:23-24 - And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
This passage from James has a bit of sentimental value for me because my very first attempt at preaching came from this passage. I studied for multiple weeks. I read the text and everything else I could find on this subject for a couple of months. When the time came for me to share my lesson, I preached everything I knew about James Chapter 2:22-24. In fact, almost everything I knew about Christianity and my Sermon lasted five minutes. That was about forty years ago. Now, for me to tell you everything I know it would take at least twice that long!
The point of application I would make from James speaks of two kinds of Faith: Do-Nothing Faith and Do-Something Faith. Do nothing faith does nothing and is never put into practice. Do-Something Faith, on the other hand, is a faith that is so strong it inevitably leads to corresponding actions. James has a lot to say about real faith
Every Life Tells a Story
Every life tells a story – which story will yours tell? Someday they’re going to take me out and dig a hole in the ground and my wife and my children are going to watch this tent be swallowed up by the earth. What will my story, my journey, tell them on that day? I hope they’ll be able to say along with others, “Thank God – God’s story, God’s journey became His story and His journey. Thank God for his Christian influence in my life.”
As we close out 2018, I pray you will close it out with Jesus close to your side and in your heart. I hope you will commit yourself in the coming year to continue to journey with Jesus. If you will journey with Jesus, or take the journey afresh, the walk will ultimately take you to the place of a joy-filled heart. It is both a joy and a blessing to follow Jesus. The Apostle said it best in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
Will you allow your life's story to be written in light of the victory of those who journey with Jesus and experience His kind of joy? If you follow the example of the Lord Jesus and commit yourself to loving and praying and serving like He did during His earthly journey you will experience the eternal joy!
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25). There's no question that God wants to bless us; the Bible is full of such promises. But, first, God wants us to learn to give. That's the key to the Law of the Harvest: you give first, receive later. Let us think for a moment how this may apply to our finances and think about how it applies to other areas of life. There is so much you can give to others. For example, you can give your family an uplifting start to each new day. Even if you wake up in a rotten mood, you can speak words of encouragement and thoughtfulness (or at least put a lid on your complaints), so that everyone else in the house has the chance to begin the day pleasantly. The same goes for your employees, staff and everyone else that crosses your path. To improve your attitude, see Philippians 4:8.
Let us practice grace and generosity. Regardless of the kind of day you're having, freely give a good day to everyone else. Offer encouragement. Share a compliment. Say what you have to say with gentleness and kindness. Give them hope. It won't just change the direction of your day; it will change the direction of your life. A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings himself harm (Proverbs 11:17).