In this week's passage, James encourages the churches by writing a harsh condemnation of their wealthy oppressors. Yet in his blunt judgment of non-Christians there is a warning for Christians then and now. Because how we steward our wealth reveals our spiritual health. Do we see ourselves in his description of the wicked wealthy? How should our faith change our view of our money?
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In our passage this Sunday, James says it's possible to be a Christian atheist--to claim belief in Christ but to live like God doesn't exist. We make plans and decisions about our relationships, study, and work without acknowledging the Lord. This is isn't just unwise, James says. It is sinful! We'll see this week why this is so serious and how we can remember the Lord in our words, plans, and lives.
The local church is supposed to be a caring community that reflects the love of Christ. Yet sometimes this dream is far from the reality, even in our own church. Why is strife and fighting so common among believers--and what can we do about it? That's what our passage is about this week as we continue to strive to put our faith into action.
How do you spot a wise person? Is it someone with lots of education, or success in their field? Maybe they just have to be older than you? In this week's passage, James defines wisdom in a way that perhaps we hadn't thought about it before: he tells us there needs to be evidence of our wisdom in the life that we live.
This week we have a special guest preaching the word to us. Ronald Wagogo is a member and deacon at Tremont Temple Baptist Church. He was born in Uganda and raised in New York City. Ron currently works as a computer engineer and has preached and taught Bible studies for many years. He will continue our sermon series on James this Sunday on the power of the tongue.
As we've seen over the last few weeks, the book of James challenges us to honestly examine our lives and our faith. This week's passage is no different. We may claim to have faith in Jesus Christ, but if that faith is not accompanied by good works motivated by Christ's love, then according to James, our faith is "useless" or "dead." This Sunday we'll look at the difference between faith that is dead and faith that is alive.
When things go wrong, is your first inclination to pray? Do you really believe prayer makes any difference? In one of the last passages of the first letters to the early church, James passionately encourages the church to pray for ourselves and for each other -- especially in difficult circumstances.