Canoe come out and play?
Why are you crying?
Orange you glad this is my last knock, knock joke?
Please come in.
We should never have to ask, “Jesus who.”
And then as the children departed from the red clad carpet to the tile floors of Sunday school, Pastor Bill stood quietly singing. His song was the whispers of a butterfly. Wearing untypical azure blue shirt showing the tides of faith flowing from within, “His name is wonderful, His name is wonderful, His name is wonderful, Jesus my Lord…
Slowly the rustle of the children subsided, yet his words, echoed pitch perfect through the hallow walls, in the whispered version of song, continued to resonate on our very souls, bouncing off our ear drums as a memory wraps us safely in the folds of comfort.
Then he stopped.
Pastor Bill, “What kind of religion do you have? Is it spare tire religion? Is it wheelbarrow religion? Or maybe it is bus religion? What kind of religion do you have?
* SPARE TIRE
(used only in the case of an emergency)?
(easily upset and must be pushed)?
(ridden only when it goes your way)?
Whatever kind of religion we have, it is no kind of religion unless it is pleasing to God in heaven.
James 1:27 we find a definition of what constitutes “pure and undefiled religion before God. TO be sure that our own religion is acceptable before God, let us notice some attributed of “Pure and Undefiled Religion” as indicated in this verse and its immediate context…
1. It involves DOING something on our part…
2. This is clearly implied in the phrase “to visit”
3. The context prior to this verse also makes it clear that we must be “doers” and not “hearers” only (James 1:22 – 25)
If we are not “doers” we are deceiving ourselves (James 1:22)
1. And usually it is ONLY ourselves we are deceiving
2. We are certainly not deceiving God, nor Satan
3. And it is unlikely that we fool others, especially our children”
Why James 1:27?
What does pure and undefiled religion have to do with what kind of religion I have?
Break religion down to the most simplistic of notions, the values with which God would tell us to live our lives. In those values we will find one notion coursing through every vein – kindness. Kindness can be seen through many portholes, but the clearest are those that are most visible to others, and should be the most prominent in the lives of the children that are learning from you – “visit” and “doers”.
James 1:27… 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.
Pastor Bill, “Having “a practicing religion” must be important, for later in his Epistle James emphasizes again the necessity of our faith working (James 2:14-17,26). In fact, we can conclude that a religion which is not a practicing religion is a DEAD religion!
Next, “Pure And Undefiled Religion” must also be…
A. GOD DID NOT INTEND FOR OUR RELIGION TO CONSIST SOLELY OF “GOING TO CHURCH”…
1. Extending OUR HEART TO GOD IN WORSHIP is certainly important
2. But so is extending OUR HAND TO MAN IN SERVICE! – James 1:27
B. THROUGHOUT MUCH EMPHASIS IS PLACED UPON DOING GOOD…
2. From the author of Hebrews – He 13:16
3. From the apostle John – 1Jn 3:17-18
Until we apply the Word of God by showing kindness and compassion for the poor and helpless, all the preaching, teaching, and studying we may do cannot make our religion “pure and undefiled”!”
Should we limit our kindness and compassion only to the poor and helpless?
Can you safely and easily determine who would qualify as poor and helpless?
Is a person defined as poor and helpless only those that are financial deprived, housing deprived, or other such physical presence?
Or can a poor and helpless person also be defined as one living without spiritual wealth?
Have you ever been considered poor and helpless?
Think about the image a person may present to you, the stoicism one may use to face the world around them, the secret pleading for someone to reach out to them in kindness and compassion but are to afraid, humbled, or ashamed to stand out in the crowd to ask. Trust God to deliver you to a person whom you may not know needs you in that moment. Pay it forward without question but through the ability to of utilizing the idea of James 1:27 in your daily life.