Summary: Series on Christian Stewardship
Title: Simplicity, the key to Harmony
Place: Oakdale Wesleyan Church
Date: January 23, 2005
Series: Living the Uncomplicated Life
I am not a chemist or physicist but have you ever noticed how many fascinating things are around us everyday. Take for instance water. Water is completely unstable. It separates, moves, or reforms itself with ease. Water, unlike this piece of glass, is unstable. It will move and act a certain way today, and move and act a totally different way tomorrow. It is the source of life and yet as many found out the day after Christmas Tsunami, it can be the source of death. Water is a fascinating thing!
Not only does it easily shift its shape but it also easily changes form. If you add a little heat to this water it boils and evaporates in the thin air. Oh, it is still there, it is still water, it has just now become invisible to the naked eye. Or if you add a little cold to it, like the cold days we had last weekend, it become ice, frozen solid. In this solid state we can build with it (like in the ice palace last year), shape it, walk on it, fish through it. So water is very susceptible to its surrounding environment. Water, doesn’t know what it should be but instead allows its environment to shape it. This look at water probably would not be the best way to illustrate how a Christian should live. In fact, it is probably the opposite of how Christians should live.
Today we are going to begin taking a look at our first concept in this series, “Living the Uncomplicated Life.” That concept is going to explore the Christian’s singleness of mind.
Has there ever been a time in your life when what people saw on the outside didn’t really match what was on the inside. Do you understand what I am asking? Example: You knew you were red hot mad at someone but they didn’t have a clue you were mad at them, and when you were around them, you acted as if everything was hunky dory, but as soon as they left and were no longer around, rant, rant, rant…. So what was on the inside was not matching what was on the outside? Has that ever happened to you regardless the particulars? One of the worse and yet easiest and biggest ways that we tend to complicate our lives is by living in Duplicity. I had to slip at least one big word in today. Duplicity is simply living the double life. It’s living by one set of standard or outward appearance in certain circumstances and living by totally other standards in other circumstances. May-be when you are at church you avoid all things sensual, but in your private life, ouch, not so clean and not so holy. So duplicity is the opposite of simplicity.
So this morning that is what we are going to explore, Singleness of mind, the first step towards Christian simplicity.
OPEN IN PRAYER
While there are several passages that deal with the double minded man, I want to look specifically at James chapter 1 verse 2-8
1. Our Goal: The Singleness of Mind – the inward life will match the outward life
In our passage this morning James talks about some pretty heavy issues. Look at the opening line… “Consider pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” I don’t know about you, but I can find that a little difficult to do at times. But he doesn’t stop, James explains himself, “..because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Now I am sure these are all things that many of us want out of our Christian life. James continues, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who give generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” So James tells us how to gain this great things he just mentioned, ask God. “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts I like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” What a warning to end with, “a double-minded man is unstable in all he does.”
Why does James talk so sternly about the double minded man? In fact, in Psalms it states that God hates a double-minded man. If a Christian is to live in simplicity then it should be our goal that we have singleness of mind. Another words, our insides match out outsides. Hey, that’s a good first point for the sermon – OUR GOAL – Singleness of mind!