Imagine being the younger brother of Jesus Christ. Always following in the footsteps of the glory child!! James is refreshingly matter of fact and down to earth. As we read the letter by James, we read his concern that those following Jesus don’t only listen, but actually walk in his footsteps. For him righteousness matters, and it is the practical righteousness that you can hear in the words and see in the actions of the follower of Jesus that really counts. This talk explores faith, and how the faith that justifies is never alone.
Sermon on James 2:14-26 ‘James vs Paul’ by Ken Noakes – available to stream or download: http://bit.ly/2cy1cZz.
Read the Bible text: http://bit.ly/2chYc32
In this talk, the question of whether James and Paul are at odds theologically over what it means to be justified by faith alone or by works is raised. The discussion is large and so the sermon deals with it briefly, but suggests this paper (‘Is James at odds with Paul?’) for further reading if so inclined.
Please note: This is an academic paper, so it is long, at times detailed, and uses technical language (including greek). Further, the paper was written several years ago and since then I have changed my position on the late dating of the letter of James (as you would hear in the sermon, I know think it is dated early). Regardless, it I think is still helpful for an inquiring mind.
The question ‘Why leave a ‘church?’ may be a dangerous question to ask, especially on a church blog!
The reality is that all churches have people leave them – for both wise and unwise reasons. It is worth spending some time thinking about why one would take the step of leaving a ‘church’ and then further considering how to do that well. That said, I am hoping that no one reading this will in fact leave 5pm Church as a result!
In the previous two articles we have considered ‘What is ‘Church’?’ and then ‘What to expect of ‘Church’?‘ which as background should help establish that leaving a church should be thought about carefully – that is not a decision that should be made hastily or prayerlessly. If ‘church’ is about God’s people gathering as a family in Christ around his Word, it should give some pause for thought to a person when deciding to stay or to go. Leaving means leaving a family and a place where God’s word should be key to their fellowship.
Changing churches or leaving church altogether is no small thing.
Christians do Church. Some more regularly than others!
Why on earth do we commit ourselves to regularly going to Church? To answer that, let’s first think theologically about ‘church’.
What is ‘Church’?
Presumable if we are to be members of church, we need to understand what Church is!
Very simply, Church is an assembly of God’s people.
Fruit of the Spirit – Faithfulness (Gal 5:22).
Have you considered that faith is the mark of being human! We all live by faith. What is important about faith is not that you have it, but that you place it!
Fruit of the Spirit – Goodness!
What good things might fill your mind this week? While contemplating that question, I add another – Why?
The second characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) is ‘peace’ and for Christians it may be helpful to consider the idea of ‘letting go and letting God!’ Often the reason why we are not ‘at peace’ in situations is because we are holding the reigns too tightly as if that was the way to ensure we get our own way. Whether you get your own way or not is secondary to the attitude which we bring to any conflict situation. What we need to ensure we do in all circumstances is honour God and so ‘letting go and letting God’ is a good rule of thumb.
Three questions you may find helpful to ask yourself:
- In conflict – have you thought about why the conflict has arisen?
- How do you approach conflict – avoid it, embrace it or treat it as a godly challenge?
- Above all, in whatever you do, do you honour God – in the home, in church, in the world?
A good question.
Two quick comments. First, do you notice that (in Gal 5:22-26) it is not the ‘fruits of..’ (plural) but the ‘fruit of..’ (singular)?