Summary: James writes to these troubled believers and reveals the manner in which Believers should respond to the NEEDY
James 1:26–27 "If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. " "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."
James introduces a new subject to his first century Jewish believers as he exhorts them to KEEP the FAITH. So far in this epistle, James has addressed trials (1:2), wisdom (1:5), wealth (1:9), temptation (1:13), and the tongue (1:19).
Now, in James writes to these troubled believers and reveals the manner in which Believers should respond to the NEEDY. Dealing with this subject was vitally necessary, because many of these believers were suffering persecution for their faith. In spite of this, it appears from what James writes that some who suffered were finding little assistance from those who were not. A class division within the church had developed and James understands the destructive nature of overlooking the needy.
Poverty and wealth will be repeated in this Epistle.
2:2-5. Showing partiality to the rich and ignoring the poor
2:14-17. Faith without works (sends the hungry away hungry)
5:1-6. Sins related to wealth (false trust, oppression, over-indulgence)
But we are not living in the first century. There are few orphans and no orphanages in our community. Widows today do not face the financial isolation experienced in the first century.
QUESTION: What does Christian Compassion look like in 2014 in South Jersey?
There are three parts to our consideration of this question.
1 - How American Politics create a barrier to Christian compassion
2 - How All Believers Should Respond to the Needy
3 - Expressing Christ-like Compassion in our Culture Today
1- How American Politics create a barrier to Christian Compassion
What are your EXPERIENCES with HELPING the POOR?
This Christmas, Kim wanted to go to CAMDEN to help some friends with a clothing and food distribution for the homeless. She told me, “the Lord wants me to go to Camden.” I replied, “The Lord doesn’t want you to go to Camden.” She really wanted to go, until I reminded her of what happened on Choir Tour when we were in college.
During our college days at Word of Life we were part of the Collegian singing group. One of our performances was in a poor town and Kim was counseling a small group of girls who came forward to ask Jesus to be their Savior. After the counseling was over, Kim got on the bus but didn’t have her shoes on. We all asked her what happened. “One of the girls said that she didn’t have any shoes so I gave her mine!” That was great, I said, but weren’t those the only shoes that you had for the performances? She replied that she hadn’t considered that, so the next morning, our bus made a stop at the nearest K Mart and we all chipped in and helped Kim get a new pair of shoes.
So in any event, I wasn’t too keen on her taking our car to Camden!!! There’s no telling what condition she would have come home in!