Summary: Part 5 of our Fracture series looks at the barrier of favoritism. We tackle what the bible has to say about social and class warfare and how we need to keep this out of the church.
Part 5- “Member’s Only”
Pastor Ryan Akers
I am excited about this message today. Because it’s a message that I think affects all of us but none of us want to openly admit that we struggle with what I am about to talk about. That’s what makes it fun because it’s so challenging. Before we dive in let’s recap the series.
If you haven’t been here or just haven’t been listening we are currently in a study of the book of James called Fracture. Why is it called Fracture? Let me go back to what I said 4 weeks ago in the first sermon. The whole idea behind the letter of James is to try and bring a people back to Christ who had fallen into the trap of shallow religion. The people had become satisfied with simply showing outward religious marks. Basically they were satisfied with simply looking like Christians instead of truly being Christians. They were play-acting. They were failing to let our Father transform them into what He wanted. I gave a quote that first week that said it well.
“The result of such religiosity is a FRACTURED, fragile Christian community confronted with a multitude of issues that threaten to disrupt and destroy. The only hope for such people is a recovery of authenticity in their faith practices and the total commitment of their hearts to God. That is the fundamental intent of this short letter. James means to call his readers home. They need to turn away from the popular forms of shallow faith and return to the ways of “true religion.”
God wants us to be whole and holy. Not fractured pieces that only look good on the outside but are filthy on the inside. He wants all of us be spiritually mature and complete. So to start this series I wanted to hit hard and we tackled the question, “Are you really saved?” I wanted to challenge your assurance of salvation because before we can even begin to repair the fractures in your life we need to make sure you understand what it means to be saved. Then the next week we looked at what it means or looks like to revive authenticity. That it is not by our works alone that saves us or makes us good, but there needs to be complete transformation by total submission. Law cannot be elevated above gospel. None of us are righteous no not one and without Christ atonement we are nothing. Law and Gospel work together. Week 3 we got into James and looked at what it means to persevere through trials. What it means to have joy through our most difficult struggles. And last week we tackled the goal of true religion, which is to have a right and righteous vertical relationship with the father and to have right horizontal relationships with others around us. To love God and to love our neighbor.
I have enjoyed all of that so far but I am really excited now because we are going to begin to tackle specific areas of your life that may have become sin, barriers that made you into a fractured Christian. Today is one I think definitely most, maybe not all, but definitely most in here have struggled with. It is the barrier of favoritism. I have titled today’s message, “Member’s Only.”