Tuesday, September 26, 2017

James 1:9-11, 2:1-13, 5:1-6 | IJM Freedom Weekend w/ Route One | Pour Out Jesus' Generous Justice + September 23, 2017

Book cover for Luke Timothy Johnson's Brother of Jesus, Friend of God

Learn more about International Justice Mission's Freedom Weekend and Route One Ministry.

Bible Passages | James 1:9-11, 2:1-13, 5:1-6 

Scripture Readings: Job 37:23Psalm 33:5, 89:14, 103:6, 146:7-9;

Previous sermons and liturgies in James

James 1:1-4, 12-18: Count It All Joy
James 1:5-8; 3:13-18: Ask for Jesus' Wisdom

Jesus' Church's Call is to Mission in Word and Deed, Evangelism and Justice

In the book of Acts, the mission of the early Church involved verbal proclamation of the Good News of Christ: Peter proclaims the gospel again and again (2:14-39; 3:12-26; 4:8-12); Stephen speaks (7:2-53); Philip preaches (8:4-13); and Paul and Barnabas are commissioned and sent out to share the Gospel with Jews and then Gentiles (8:13-14). The proclamation of the Gospel moves from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and out toward the ends of the earth.

The book of Acts also makes it clear that the mission of the early Church involved attending to material needs. As the Gospel is proclaimed and received, it connects directly with the social and economic realities of people's lives, which are intertwined with their spiritual needs. This seamless connection between the proclamation of the Gospel and concern for material realities – between word and deed – permeates the book of Acts. In the earliest depiction of the Church after Pentecost, meetings for prayer and worship flowed naturally into making sure the material needs in their community were met (2:43-47). Distributing food daily to widows became a regular practice of these early Christians and was considered so significant that seven disciples were commissioned to oversee this part of the church's mission and to ensure that no on was neglected (6:1-6). Paul returns to the church in Jerusalem from a missionary journey in part to bring money for the poor in support of the Church's mission (24:17).

The Great Commission was fulfilled not only as the disciples moved into new geographic locations but also as they intentionally addressed the social and economic realities at home and abroad. As they engaged those who were marginalized, impoverished, and neglected, they bore witness to the upside-down nature of God's Kingdom in Christ (Acts 17:6-7). The early Church did not designate separate categories for evangelism and justice. They seamlessly lived James's conviction that "faith without deeds is dead" (James 2:26).

What we today call evangelism and justice together make up the Kingdom mission of the Church. Biblically the pursuit of justice, righteousness, and shalom includes mission in word and deed. The mission of the Church is to be an extension of the mission of Jesus – that is, a manifestation of the kingdom of God, a new reality ushered in by Jesus Christ that "affects human life not only morally and spiritually but also physically and psychologically, materially and socially." Just as Jesus's mission manifested the many layers of the Kingdom through His preaching and His acts of justice and mercy, so should the Church's mission. Good works are not an optional add-on to the proclamation of the Gospel; only together can they point to the fullness of the Kingdom of God that Jesus Christ inaugurated.

+ Jim Martin, The Just Church: Becoming a Risk-Taking, Justice-Seeking, Disciple-Making Congregation

Lord's Prayer | Praying for Jesus' Kingdom Impact in Us and in Worcester

Eucharist | Thanking God for Communion with Christ and His Church

Prayer of Confession and Assurance

Leader: Merciful Father, we have gathered today in Your name, and with great freedom. Yet we acknowledge not all people are free. We confess our tendency to live comfortably with injustice; we confess our use of liberty for personal gain and self preservation; we confess our ignorance and apathy towards those who are vulnerable and abused. Forgive us, Lord Jesus, and transform us into people who share your heart for justice. 

Silent Personal Reflection and Confession

All: O God, our words cannot express what our minds can barely comprehend and our hearts feel when we hear of men, women and children deceived, transported to unknown places, forced into slavery of labor and sex for the financial gain of traffickers. Our hearts are saddened and our spirits angry that their dignity and rights are transgressed through threats, deception, and force. We cry out against this degrading practice and pray for it to end. Deliver them, O God, from their perpetrators’ hands. And give us the courage and wisdom to stand in solidarity with them, that together we will find ways to provide them with the freedom that is Your offer to all of us.

God’s life-giving Word and Spirit conquer the powers of sin, slavery, injustice, and death. Thanks be to God for His Good News.

All: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven, redeemed, and set free, and He invites us to join Him in His fight to end sin, slavery, injustice, and death.

Adapted From “Modern Prayers for Africa and the World”, Missionaries of Africa, South Africa, by Fr. Michel Meunier

Great Are You Lord
By All Sons and Daughters
2013 A.D.

You give life, You are love,
You bring light to the darkness.
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken.
Great are YouLord.

It's Your breath in our lungs,
So we pour out our praise,
We pour out our praise.
It's Your breath in our lungs,
So we pour out our praise to You only.

All the earth will shout Your praise,
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing,
Great are YouLord!”

Reckless Love
Bethel Music
2017 A.D.

Before I spoke a word,
You were singing over me.
You have been so, so good to me.
Before I took a breath,
You breathed Your life in me.
You have been so, so kind to me.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God!
It chases me down,
Fights 'til I'm found,
Leaves the ninety-nine!
I couldn't earn it, and
I don't deserve it,
Still You give Yourself away!
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending
Reckless love of God!

When I was your foe,
Still Your love fought for me.
You have been so, so good to me.
When I felt no worth,
You paid it all for me.
You have been so, so kind to me.

There's no shadow You won't light up,
Mountain You won't climb up,
Coming after me!
There's no wall You won't kick down,
Lie You won't tear down,
Coming after me!

By Sojourn Worship
2015 A.D.

Forgive us Lord, for passing by 
When children cry for bread.
Forbid it Lord, that justice lies
In tatters, cold and dead.
Outside these walls run desperate streets 
Where greed is law and life is cheap.
We bar the doors, refuse to see, 
Or hear the words You said:

Let justice roll like a river,
Like a river, let it roll!
Let justice roll like a river,
Like a river, let it roll!

Convict us Lord, we dance and laugh
Ignoring those who weep.
Correct us Lord, our golden calf
Has lulled our hearts to sleep.
The gap between the rich and poor
Grows ever wider, shore to shore.
There’s racial hate, religious war
And wolves among the sheep.

Indwell us Lord, and purify
Our hands to work for You.
Enlist us Lord, to serve nearby
And ʻcross the waters, too.
Your image-bearers on the earth
Will never know how much theyʼre worth
Unless we love and help them first
And show the way to You!

In Christ Alone
By Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
2001 A.D.

In Christ alone our hope is found
He is our light, our strength, our song.
This Cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
Our Comforter, our all in all,
Here in the love of Christ we stand.

In Christ alone who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
'Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied,
For every sin on Him was laid,
Here in the death of Christ we live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious Day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ!

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands our destiny!
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand!
'Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

In Tenderness He Sought Me
By W. Spencer Walton
1894 A.D.

In tenderness He sought me

Weary and sick with sin. 
And on His shoulders brought me
Back to His fold again.
While angels in His presence sang,
Until the courts of heaven rang! 
Oh, the love that sought me!
Oh, the blood that bought me!
Oh the grace that brought me
To the fold of God!
Grace that brought me
To the fold of God!

He died for me while I was sinning,
Needy and poor and blind.
He whispered to assure me,
"I've found thee; thou art Mine."
I never heard a sweeter voice,
It made my aching heart rejoice!
(Repeat Chorus)

Upon His grace I'll daily ponder
And sing anew His praise.
With all adoring wonder,
His blessings I retrace.
It seems as if eternal days,
Are far too short to sing His praise!
(Repeat Chorus)

By Bethel Music
2015 A.D.

You unravel me with a melody,
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance from my enemies
'Til all my fears are gone.

I'm no longer a slave to fear.
I am a child of God.
No, I'm no longer a slave to fear.
I am a child of God.

From my mothers womb,
You have chosen me.
Love has called my name.
I've been born again into Your family,
Your blood flows through my veins.


Woah, Woah ...

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it!
My fears were drowned 
In perfect love!
You rescued me
So I can stand and sing
"I am a child of God!"

Our World Belongs to God Q&A 41
2008 A.D.

41: What is the mission of God’s people?
A: To join Him in the world as His Church, being sent with Jesus' Gospel of the Kingdom to call everyone to know and follow Christ and to proclaim to all the assurance that in the name of Jesus there is forgiveness of sin and new life for all who repent and believe. The Spirit calls all members to embrace God’s mission in their neighborhoods and in the world: to feed the hungry, bring water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and free the prisoner. We repent of leaving this work to a few, for this mission is central to our being.


Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. + 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Next post: James 1:19-27; 4:13-17: Be Quick to Hear and Slow to Speak in Light of Jesus 

+ Sully

Email Pastor Mike | Website | Facebook | Visit Us | Join Us

No comments:

Post a Comment