From the Pastor's Desk
Greetings in the name of Jesus! On Easter Sunday we began a series of sermons, which examined the importance of Christ’s resurrection from I Corinthians 15. The apostle Paul opened this chapter by writing, “Now I should remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain (I Corinthians 15:1-2). Our belief in the resurrection is foundational to our faith and to the hope we have in Jesus. Without the resurrection, our faith is meaningless.
On April 30th we will conclude this series on the importance of resurrection and in May we will begin looking at the epistle of James. We will move from the theoretical and theological study of I Corinthians 15 to the practical instructions James has for us.
The epistle is categorized within the Scriptures as a wisdom writing because its main concern is right behavior. James so emphasized the importance of works that Martin Luther called it “an epistle of straw.” On the other hand, John Wesley the founder of the Methodist movement saw it as central for the Christian faith and life because we are often tempted to leave off good works to increase faith.
On May 7th we will begin our series with “Mature Faith.” In the early verses of his letter, James challenges the notion that many today hold of Christianity. For some belief is a technique by which we can find happiness and prosperity. James reminds us that we will often face trials, and our faith will be tested. How are we to respond to life’s adversities? What does mature faith look like?
As people of faith, we are often tempted to sin. James writes that those who endure temptation are blessed. The sermon on May 14th will examine “The Root of Temptation.” James challenges our understanding of the source of temptation. He teaches us that it does not reside outside of us. He does not believe like some that the devil made me do it. Instead, he reminds us of the desires living within us, leading us away from what God would have us do.
The Christian life is one of faith and practice. It is not enough to hear the Word of God. We must put it into action. “But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves” (James 1:22). Worship with us on May 21st and discover what it means to be a doer of the word. On May 28th we will consider what it means to put the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” into practice. James has a unique way of looking at God’s law and how to do what it says.
I hope that you will join me as we are challenged by the epistle of James to live out our faith. We will continue to examine his teachings on the power of our words and living lives of wisdom in the month of June. It is my prayer that all of us will grow in our knowledge of God and in the practice of our faith.