Summary: James, the brother of Jesus, was the leader of the church of Jerusalem. One of their primary ministries was taking care of the widows and poor.

James 1

Looking After Widows and Orphans

May 24, 2020

James 1:22, 27 NIV

“Do not merely listen to Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

• Live free – Change the World! Sounds like the very thing we have been talking about.

• James was the brother of Jesus. His mother was Mary and his father was Joseph.

• He was the leader of the church of Jerusalem.

• One of their primary ministries was taking care of the widows and poor.

• The apostles had to appoint deacons to take care of the widows more efficiently.

Acts 6:1 NIV

“In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.”

• Church leaders in the first three hundred years rebelled against the Greco-Roman culture of abandoning infants.

• Thousands were rescued and taken into homes. Early church leaders began receiving regular offerings that were dedicated to orphans.

• In the fifth century the first home for the widows and elderly was established by Christians. Today, in Western culture, it is common for the elderly to live in homes where they can receive special care.

• This all started because the followers of Jesus showed compassion on the widows and elderly.

Psalms 68:5-6a NIV

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families …”

Proverbs 23:10-11 NIV

“Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, 11 for their Defender is strong; He will take up their case against you.”

Truth - God defends widows and orphans

We’re the local church. What can we do right now?

1. Listen to them

Proverbs 21:13 NIV

“If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

• I believe in hearing the voice of God, but I’m also convinced God wants us to hear the poor.

2. Respond to them

Proverbs 19:17 NIV

“He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.”

• I have loaned money to people without being repaid. I am certain that if I loan money to God, He will repay me! ?

• Do you want a guaranteed return on your investment – give to the poor, the widows and the orphans.

3. Give them a voice

Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."

• Orphans and widows are the two groups who cannot defend themselves.

• When wars are fought, or drought strikes a land, widows and orphans are the first to die.

• When the economy tanks, widows and orphans are the ones who hurt the most.

• They need an advocate. The church was created to be their voice!

• It is not the government’s role; it is the church’s role!!

V.27 - keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Philippians 1:9-11 NIV

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ …”

v. 10 - Best, pure and blameless

V.10 - Discern – (Greek) To test and approve, to allow.

We should test and approve everything.

We may be looking for a better Covid-19 Test, but we have a proven test to keep our hearts pure.

The Holy Spirit is our filter.

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