James

For a long time, I’ve loved the book of James. It’s terribly undervalued in the church, and often the value of James for understanding the social implications of faith are missed. James likely represents one of the closest connections in the New Testament between the teachings of Jesus and the early church’s struggle to live within them.

1. Perfect is a sermon focused on James 1:2-15.  How do we become mature, and complete disciples? Should we just pack it in and give it up?

2. Actions focuses on two key sections of James.  James 1:22-27 and James 2:14-26 are closely related to each other, and have deep roots in the Jesus tradition of discipleship.  Perhaps they could even be read as interpretations of the parable of the wise and foolish builders.

3. Partiality works out some of the implications of the actions themes in terms of how people in the church demonstrate the value they place in other human beings, regardless of exterior signs of worldly value.

4. Words and Power.  Words have power, and because of that we are responsible for how we use them, ethically.  The problem is, the world has already established itself in our speech!

5. Wisdom(s) is a sermon based on James 3:13-18 and James 4:1-10. There are different forms of wisdom!  Conversion is about rejecting the wisdom of the world, and the competitive way of life it fosters, and embracing God’s wisdom.

6. Time is a sermon about the brevity and fragility of life.  Time is short, and living well in light of this demands some urgency about investing our lives is something of significance.

7. Stuff recognizes the anti-wealth perspective that runs throughout James, but which comes to a point in James 5:1-7.  The sermon moves from a critique of the stuff-centered life to affirming the importance of looking towards the coming of the Lord as a way of restraining our pursuit of stuff.

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