We see broken people becoming whole, through the love of Christ.To build a community in which to belong, grow and serve. To love our neighbours by helping them overcome spiritual and physical needs. To contribute to Spirit-filled transformation in the city of Guelph.
I have here a sponge. It looks pretty good, doesn’t it? But it’s actually been sitting in this filthy water for an hour. It looks good on the outside, but on the inside there’s lot of filth. How do you get the filth out of a dirty sponge? You have to squeeze it! And the harder you squeeze it, the more of the filth comes out.
Our hearts are like sponges. They are sinful. They are filled with rebellion against God. Our thoughts, feelings, desires, wills, preferences and imaginations are all fallen in sin. We have bad attitudes in addition to our bad actions. We not only do things we shouldn’t do, but we fail to do those things we should do. We are born sinful, but our hearts also pick up a lot of filth from the world around us. Our hearts are like dirty sponges, absorbing the filth of a sinful wold.
How does God clean the filth of our hearts? Sometimes, he has to give them a squeeze! God the Holy Spirit often gives our hearts a good squeeze, really wrings them out. Why? To get the filth out of them! The theological word for this is “sanctification.” It means to set something apart for God, to clean it up and make it holy. Spiritual growth as a Christian is about being sanctified, having our character transformed, our heart cleaned out, so that we become more and more like Jesus.
But how do you think the sponge feels when we wring it out? Sponges don’t feel anything, so I guess that doesn’t really matter, but how do you feel when God gives your heart a squeeze? It’s often quite uncomfortable! But it is necessary. This is what James addresses at the beginning of his letter.
We are starting a series today on the book of James. We are going to work through the whole book over the course of the summer. James is a short letter in the New Testament, but for all that brevity, it packs a punch. James doesn’t discuss a lot of theological theory, but instead gives a lot of practical instruction. As we work through the book over the summer, I encourage you to try to read the whole book in one sitting over the next week. Then, each week, read (at least) a chapter. By the end of the summer, you will have read through James 3 times and hopefully be quite familiar with the content. As we come to each section on Sundays you will have become familiar enough with the text that you will be able to go deeper as you engage in the sermon. You will start to see how the pieces we cover each Sunday fit into the whole of the book.
Filetype: MP3 - Size: 41.97MB - Duration: 45:50 m (128 kbps 48000 Hz)