Summary: We’re going to pick it up in James chapter two and look at this particular question that he asks us. In James 2:14 he says this: “My brothers and sisters, what good does it do if someone claims to have faith but doesn’t do any good things?” If someone is

Series: Christianity Uncensored

Message #7: Generosity Uncensored

By: Jud Wilhite

It’s a great time for shopping, lots and lots of shopping. One of the things that can get really frustrating about shopping in the Christmas season is when you are trying to go out for the hot Christmas gift of the year. Sometimes it’s really hard to find it. Remember back in the 1980’s the hot Christmas gift was the Cabbage Patch Doll? Do you remember that? Have you ever had one? You didn’t buy a Cabbage Patch Doll; you “adopted” the Cabbage Patch doll. You got the certificate that came with it. When these dolls were delivered to stores during the Christmas craze it would be mayhem at the stores as the trucks were unloading. Then in the 1990’s Rosie O’Donnell gave this furry red creature out to her different studio guests. It was called Tickle Me Elmo. Tickle Me Elmo went nuts - to the point classified ads were listing Tickle Me Elmo’s at two- thousand bucks a pop. We have lots of Elmo’s at our house. My son has Tickle Me Elmo. He also has Hokey Pokey Elmo. You push a button and he does the hokey pokey. Except he never really lets him do the hokey pokey. After two steps, he likes to kick him over. Elmo stops. Then he pushes the button again and kicks him over. It’s a boy thing, I guess.

Then after Elmo it was the beanie babies. Do you remember them? Here is the original seven right there. Lest we forget in 1999 we had Pokeman. The hot Christmas gift this year is this: the XBox 360. Just looking at it right now, all the guys’ pulses in the room went up a few notches. Palms are starting to get moist. There are teenagers in here that are thinking, “Oh, the XBox. I wonder if they are going to give it away?” This is a huge gift this year. In fact, when the XBox was first released a couple weeks ago, you had to stand in a really long line and then get a ticket so you could stand in another really long line just in case you could actually buy one. There was a report of a National Guard member who was called out for crowd control. They called the National Guard out over the XBox 360?! The National Guard member was seen going up to the front of the line to get onto some guy, took a ticket, and then went over and got in the other line to get himself an XBox! This isn’t about great gaming – this is also about making some quick cash. What people do is take their XBox’s and put them on eBay. Then they sell them for a significant profit. Right when these things started to sell, there was an XBox listed on eBay that actually sold for $15,099! We have a slide right here. This thing retails, depending on the bundle package that you get, for five hundred dollars or less. That’s unbelievable! People were that into it. One of our members here at Central went and stood in line and got his ticket and then stood in another line to get his XBox 360. His original intent was to sell it on eBay but generosity got the better of him. He gave it to his older thirty-year-old brother. Listen, when he gave it to his thirty-year-old brother, his brother cried tears. They were rolling down his face. That is brotherly love right there. Just so you know, this XBox is just a box. There is nothing in it. We got this from a store that had a display. This is as close as many of us will get to the XBox 360 until next year. After the service, if you’d like, I’ll set it right down front and you can come and touch it.

In all this craziness about the hot Christmas item and the different things we stand in line to get; and all the kids saying, “Dad, can I get this? Mom, can I have that?” - all this wanting and wanting and wanting - if we are not careful, sometimes generosity – what Christmas is supposed to be about – can get lost in it all. We begin to get focused on having and getting and buying. All of those things can take the joy out of it. We’ve been going through the book of James in the New Testament, which is a letter written by Jesus’ half brother. He lays out for us what it means to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ. We’ve called the series, Christianity Uncensored. James is you’re no bull, no spin, just lay it out there sort of guy.

We’re going to pick it up in James chapter two and look at this particular question that he asks us. In James 2:14 he says this: “My brothers and sisters, what good does it do if someone claims to have faith but doesn’t do any good things?” If someone is claiming to have God in their life but they don’t do anything with it, what good does it do? Can this kind of faith save them? That’s the question that James is looking at in this section. Just because we say we believe, just because we say we have faith, is it enough to say we believe? Can that faith save us? All through the Bible, particularly through the New Testament, we are taught that we are saved by grace. We’re saved. Salvation, forgiveness, the goodness and the love of God comes into our life, not because of how great we are, not because how many hoops we jump through, not because we do all the right religious things. We’re saved because of the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Because of what Jesus did on the cross two thousand years ago, we can experience salvation, goodness, joy, and forgiveness in our lives.

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