Posts Tagged ‘Sudan’

Sermon 05-18-14: “Patience”

May 28, 2014

practically_perfect

“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” someone once said. If only that were an option for us Christians! The Letter of James challenges us in part because its author is constantly “sweating the small stuff”—those so-called “small sins” that we often commit without giving it a second thought. This is one reason his letter is so difficult… and practical. In today’s scripture he turns his attention to that spiritually deadly emotion resentment. Why do we experience it and what do we do about it?

Sermon Text: James 5:7-12

In Sudan, a 27-year-old Christian woman named Mariam Ibrahim, who’s married to an American man, has been sentenced to death by hanging for not renouncing her Christian faith. In Nigeria, Islamic terrorists abducted 276 mostly Christian school girls and threaten to sell them into slavery. In Syria, one thing that the warring Muslim factions in the civil war can agree on is killing Christians: Over a thousand Christians were killed in 2013 simply because they were Christians.

These are the same kinds of life-and-death situations that the apostles and many Christians in the early church faced on a regular basis. Read the Book of Acts. Read Paul’s letters, especially Philippians and 2 Corinthians. Read Peter’s letters. Read the Book of Revelation.

Much of the New Testament encourages us to stand strong in the face of suffering, persecution, and death.

But James—who himself did suffer and die for his faith—mostly doesn’t write about these big threats to Christian faith. Mostly he writes about small threats to faith, stuff to which most of us can easily relate: saying we believe one thing but living as if we believe another; showing favoritism; losing our temper; judging others, gossiping, and putting people down with our words; forgetting about God in the busy-ness of our lives; trusting in money and material things intend of trusting in God. Which is why his letter is so down-to-earth and practical.

James wants us to know that all these so-called little things can ruin our Christian faith and send us to hell as easily as the big things. Read the rest of this entry »