Maturing Faith: Introduction – Pastor Rena Crocker

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Pastor Rena introduces our new series: Maturing Faith, in which we plunge into the book of James to explore how we can deepen our relationship with Jesus.

The book of James is full of practical, faithful wisdom for our lives. This opening sermon of our James series explores how God calls us to hear the word and put it into practice, and how God’s word is truly the “law of liberty,” bringing us into our full identities in Christ.

Tonight’s reading comes from James 1: 16-27:

16 Do not be [a]deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or [b]shifting shadow.18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be [c]a kind of first fruits [d]among His creatures.

19 [e]This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all [f]that remains of wickedness, in [g]humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his [h]natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, [i]he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but [j]an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in [k]what he does.

26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not [l]bridle his tongue but deceives his ownheart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained [m]by the world.

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