As you can see from the picture on the screen, we are in a new sermon series through the book of James and the title for this new series is “The King and His Kingdom.” Let me explain what I mean by this. Usually in the Church we find Christians on two ends of one spectrum. We can see these two positions clearly by asking one question and perhaps in this question you’ll see where you are by how you answer. Here’s the question: what is the mission of the Church? One side answers: to spread the gospel, after all where one spends eternity is the most important dilemma anyone can ever deal with in this life. The other side answers: to help the hurting, to let justice reign, to right wrongs in society, to bring community renewal, after all doesn’t the heart of Christ go out toward the oppressed? Well, what is the mission of the Church? Is it to spread the gospel for the gladness of the nations and the glory of God, or is it to engage in as much social justice as we can for the good of society?
Enter James, which teaches that seeking both the King and His Kingdom means you should never:
-be unaware or indifferent towards those who suffer.
-retreat into holy huddles only and ignore non-Christians.
-think evangelism is the only thing that really counts.
-think sacrificing for the sake of the poor is only valid if the poor convert.
-stop dreaming of creative ways to love our neighbors and impact our city.
Enter James, which teaches that seeking both the King and His Kingdom means you should always:
-ensure the gospel (the good news of Christ’s death on the cross to absorb the wrath of God in our behalf) remains of first importance in our church.
-keep the crystal clear, over-arching centrality of the glory of God as the goal of all we do and not be lost in a flurry of social woes.
-seek to understand the history of redemption as its laid out in the Bible and think deeply about how it all leads up to or reflects on Jesus Christ, the Savior and Lord of all.
-remember Hell is worse than all suffering and death.
-remember Heaven is better than the promotion of any society.
It is my prayer and hope that through studying James, God would make us into a people who take risks for the gospel message and people who care deeply about the homeless – the poor – and the suffering, people who evangelize our neighborhoods and people who are not indifferent about the social woes hurting our community, people who love every Word of the Bible and people who understand that how you treat those hurting is how you treat Christ. It’s not just the gospel. It’s not just a glass of water; it’s both the gospel and a glass of water. This is what it looks like to seek both the King and His Kingdom.