Summary: Priorities, grace, vision, others
TYRANNY OF THE GOOD
James 2: 14-17 (p855) February 12, 2012
Here is an amazing statement I believe with all my heart….
“One of the worst enemies of Christians can be good things in the church.”
Here is how David Platt begins his book “Radical Together”
Before Mark came to the Church at Brook Hills (the church I serve), he had spent practically his entire adult life involved in church programs and serving on church committees. “You name it, and I did it,” Mark said. “I was on finance teams and personnel teams. I worked on capital building campaigns and sat in long-term planning sessions. Every week my schedule was filled with church activity.”
After becoming a part of our faith family, Mark started hearing people talk about making disciples. That’s when he realized that, despite all the good things he had done in the church, he could not name one person outside his family whom he had led to Christ and who was now walking with Christ and leading others to Christ. Mark said to me, “David, I have spent my life doing all the stuff in the church that I thought I was supposed to do. But I’m realizing that I have missed the most important thing: making disciples.” At his workplace and in our community, Mark is now intentionally leading people to Christ and teaching them to follow him.
The story of Mark’s life as a Christian should frighten us. The last thing you and I want to do is waste our lives on religious activity that is devoid of spiritual productivity-being active in the church but not advancing the kingdom of God. We don’t want to come to the end of our days on earth only to realize that we have had little impact on more people going to heaven. Yet if we are not careful, we will spend our lives doing good things in the church while we ultimately miss out on the great purpose for which were created.
That’s why I say one of the worst enemies of Christians can be good things in the church.
“Wasting our lives on religious activity that is devoid of spiritual productivity.”
WOW! My Dad would say...”It’s spinning” your wheels, son” Lots of motion, getting you nowhere.”
Is that what Jesus meant in Matt 7 when he talks about “Casting our pearls before swine’s or giving what is Holy to dogs?
Yeah, In part.
James, the Lord’s half brother writes…
James 2: 14-17 (P855)
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?’
James 2 is a sledgehammer….It busts apart the reality that those who have received mercy can be apathetic and complacent towards those who need mercy. If god’s grace is in our hearts it overflows in goodness from our hands…
James makes it pretty clear that people who claim to be Christians but who fail to help a fellow brother or sister Christian in their deepest need are in fact, not saved…
It’s in no way saying that our acts of mercy save us…but that these acts of mercy are a clear evidence of our salvation..
[Basically it could be like a husband who said “I love my wife, but then each day he ignored her needs, refused to be tender or compassionate…never helped her carry her burdens, or become what she dreams of becoming..
The “I Love My Wife” might sound very romantic, to his office workers or friends…but to his wife its sounds hollow, false and empty.]
There are some practical and powerful truths conveyed in James chapter two concerning our faith living out loud its truth…first of all…
I DOING A GOOD THING DOESN’T MEAN WERE DOING THE BEST THING.
Here’s a question…How should I determine someone’s greatest need...and before you say that’s easy…they’ll tell you…or “you’ll see it…it’ll be recognizable.
That might be true if someone is “naked” and emaciated, and starving to death.” Even if their most dire need is salvation “Hungry and naked people have a hard time hearing the truth about the Love of God until their dressed and feed…especially if the one who telling them the good news is overweight with a coat on.
The best thing wouldn’t be to tell that individual you’ll be praying for him, or you hope life gets better…the best thing would be feed him….meet his physical needs…show him the reality of your faith.
Saying, “Go I wish you well is nice…isn’t it…saying “Keep warm and I will feed” is a good thing…. Why do we say or do good things that aren’t the best things?...Because they make us feel better…they let us validate our salvation with the least amount of effort or inconvenience.
Most of us still struggle with a “I’ve got to be good enough to be saved mentality”.