Summary: A sermon designed to inspire confirmation students and the rest of the church body to not stop learning but to keep on growing in Christ.
-welcome everyone to this wonderful Confirmation Sunday at NewSong.
-it’s kind of fitting that right after Easter and our day of being Called to Celebrate we have something new to celebrate, young people who want to be a part of the Body of Christ.
-there’s only one stipulation I want to make with this, today is a celebration, not a graduation. Just because someone is getting confirmed in their faith does not mean their faith is over.
-kind of like what James talks about in our Scripture today.
**James 1:22-25 -> 22Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves. 23Those who hear God’s teaching and do nothing are like people who look at themselves in a mirror. 24They see their faces and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like. 25But the truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free, and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy. (NCV)
-I don’t know about you, but I like being happy.
-but there’s a key in there to being happy, something that doesn’t just apply to Confirmation Students, but to anyone that is still living in their faith with God. They don’t forget what they hear and they obey it.
-I don’t know why it happens, but for a lot of people it seems like there’s a point in their faith where they have arrived, like “I’m here, I’m done” type mentality. It could be Confirmation, for a friend of mine it was baptism, once baptized they were done, they're in now.
-sometimes we think merely going through the motions is enough, that if we go to church and hear the Word of God that’s all we need. It’s good, I believe in it or else I wouldn’t be here, but I think there has to be more.
-Warren Wiersbe, who wrote the Bible Exposition Commentary, explained this section of James like this:
-”It is not enough to hear the Word; we must do it. Many people have the mistaken idea that hearing a good sermon or Bible study is what makes them grow and get God’s blessing. It is not the hearing but the doing that brings the blessing. Too many Christians mark their Bibles, but their Bibles never mark them! If you think you are spiritual because you hear the Word, then you are only kidding yourself.” (Bible Exposition Commentary, James 1:22-25)
-ouch. I like it because it’s straight-forward and maybe even a little sarcastic.
-but I wonder, how many people feel that, they come to church and hear the Word of God and feel they are growing. I don’t know, to me that sounds like getting full from reading the menu. If anything, reading the menu usually makes me a little hungrier. Isn’t that what this meeting here on Sunday mornings should do? Make us a little hungrier for God?
-so I was thinking about Confirmation and all that these students have done in the last few months, and a couple of things came to mind that we need to keep doing.
1. KEEP LEARNING
-we need to keep learning the Word of God. We need to keep learning what God has for us and what God wants from us.
-a famous verse that I quote a lot. When Moses passed on and all the responsibility for an entire country of people was suddenly on Joshua, this was the instruction given to him:
**Josh. 1:8 -> 8Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. (NLT)
-the Book of Instruction would be the Law or the Bible.
-as someone who was in charge of teaching people about God, in leading people, he needed to know what the Bible said, he was supposed to not just read it but meditate on it day and night.
-that’s true of anyone in any job.
-I remember reading a few years ago that most people only know about 10-15% of what the programs on their computers can do. Someone had put it in their list of New Year’s resolutions to actually learn more about the programs they use every day.
-now, if you have a job and you use a computer, you don’t need to do that. You can keep going the way things are and keep plugging on, but do you know how much better life is when you know more? I still remember when I decided to learn some hot keys for Microsoft programs, do you remember that day, learning you can copy and paste? Oh man, that was mind-blowing and now I could do things so quickly and have time to do things better.