Sunday, 29 September 2013
Duration: 40 mins 25 secs
James tells us in verse 16 of this passage that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. But what is a righteous person? The righteous are people that have made a decision to adopt the values and standards of God and have chosen to have their life reflect this knowing that they cannot do it under their strength. Righteous people need God's help to be Godly - they are Christians! As Christians, when we pray to God, we know God loves us and will always answer us. We need to listen carefully to God's response because He always has the right answer, even if it is not the answer we wanted. God will always give us what we need, not what we want. If we pray and God's answer is not what we wanted, we need to listen and try to understand what God is teaching us.
Sunday, 22 September 2013
Duration: 21 mins 16 secs
One of the greatest issues we face is determining our place in the world. As Christians, we need to also ask what is God's purpose for us in this world and what is the purpose for the church as a whole. We were made to worship God. He made us to be in a relationship with Him. Paul tells us in Romans 12:1, that we need to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is worship! At Emu Plains Community Baptist Church, our Purpose Statement is to "Know Christ, Grow Christ like, Show Christ's love and Sow Christ's gospel". We need to be transformed in ourselves and to take that transformation out into this world. (Our church broke into 6 groups to discuss this further. The main item that each group thought we needed to focus on is shared at the end of the message - see also notes attached).
Sunday, 15 September 2013
Duration: 26 mins 47 secs
We live in a remarkable age and can only marvel at what can be done through medical treatments, communication, space travel, etc. It is so easy to feel proud of man's achievements. James reminds us in this passage that as we view our ourselves from the perspective of eternity, our lives are really nothing. We need to humble ourselves before God and acknowledge our ignorance, our frailty and our dependence (not trusting in ourselves or other people but in God). James is not saying that we don't need to plan ahead, but when we plan, we are to include God and allow Him to direct our future. We should not be self-sufficient in our planning but allow God to control our lives because He is the author of tomorrow!
Sunday, 08 September 2013
Duration: 32 mins 18 secs
We know there is conflict in our world, our country, our neighbourhood, our churches, our families and even within ourselves. James reminds us, as we look at this passage, that we need to look at ourselves to see what is happening in our lives. We are responsible for our own issues. In times of conflict with others we need to examine ourselves, our prayer life and check our motivation - are we connecting with the world rather than with the values of God. James tells us that we must submit ourselves to God and resist the devil. We need to really hate sin and repent to God when we fall short of His expectations. We need to remember, that as Christians, and whatever the situation, we are united to God through Jesus Christ.
Sunday, 01 September 2013
Duration: 26 mins 32 secs
Wisdom is the ability to distinguish between right and wrong and it is not so much knowing why, but it is knowing what to do. James highlights in this passage that there are two type of wisdom - heavenly wisdom or earthly wisdom. What is the source of the wisdom in the words we say, the deeds we do, the decisions we make? Is it from God's wisdom or is it from our own sinful desire? How are we going to choose things in our lives? Are our decisions going to glorify Jesus or glorify self?
Sunday, 25 August 2013
Duration: 39 mins 43 secs
James indicates that we already know the consequences if we do not tame our tongue. Teachers of scripture are particularly picked out in that they will be judged more strictly. We all need to be a living example of how Christ would want us to act. James implies that the impact of the tongue on teachers, on individuals, on whole churches and the entire body of Christ, can have two scenarios; the one inspired by God, the other inspired by self interest. We need to be careful not to fall into the trap of praising God one minute and then be destructive the next. Let us be careful in what we say. We need to stop and think before opening our mouth and we should respond to others as if we were speaking directly to Jesus.
Sunday, 18 August 2013
Duration: 35 mins 56 secs
James' life was transformed when he came to accept his own brother, Jesus, as his Lord and Saviour. The issue that James deals with in this passage is people who say they are Christians but their hearts have not been transformed, their hearts have not been changed. They are not converted, they are not saved and do not have a real faith. We can know the right answers, but as Christians, we need to show this in our everyday life. Deeds alone will not allow us to enter the Kingdom of God but when, through faith, we give our lives over to God, then our deeds show our faith in Him. What do people see when we call ourselves a Christian? Do our actions match with what we say?
Sunday, 11 August 2013
Duration: 29 mins 22 secs
James reminds us, as Christians, not to show favouritism to one person or group over another. Showing favouritism misrepresents God, dishonours those we reject and breaks the law of love. What are we to do? Verse 8 tells us to keep the royal law - "love your neighbour as yourself". We need to love all people, whoever they are, and reach out to them in their time of need, so that God's love to them can be shown, they can be healed, shown forgiveness and be made whole.
Sunday, 04 August 2013
Duration: 35 mins 43 secs
We have no issues in getting access to God's word - the Bible. How should we take advantage of that? We need to ACCEPT GOD'S WORD by being prepared to listen to what God wants to say and be willing to be changed. We need to LOOK INTO GOD'S WORD. A mirror reflects back what we look like from the outside. God's word reflects what we need to look like on the inside which we can only know by continually reading deeply His word. We need to RESPOND TO GOD'S WORD. Having knowledge of the Bible is of no use if we do not apply, by putting into practice, what we have learned. How will you respond to God's word?
Sunday, 28 July 2013
Duration: 37 mins 51 secs
James reminds us in this passage that we will face temptations in our life. If we submit to God through these temptations, then we will live life to the full. If we submit to the temptation, then Satan will have his way and steal our life. Temptation itself is not a sin but it can be subtle and desirable. If we give into the temptation, then this can give birth to sin. It is our responsibility on how we respond to temptation. Will we submit to our own evil desires and let Satan take control or will we allow God to work through us?