Pure and Undefiled Religion is this…
Over the past several weeks we have been introducing a new ministry at the church called “orphan care.” There are 5 focus areas in our city where we want to take the blessing of God… HOPUD… and this is one of those areas.
I know that not all of us will be directly involved in this one ministry, but we really want to see a culture of caring for the fatherless and the widow develop around our church, because this is the heart of the Gospel.
James 1:27: Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their trouble…
Why do you think he’d say that? It’s such a strong statement, isn’t it? Pure religion is this… (in other words, if you’re not doing this, you may not have “pure” religion; your religion may be corrupted.)
Well, 1st, realize this (and this is very important): James is not giving you some artificial, legalistic checklist that says, “Do you have any direct involvement with ‘orphans and widows’? If so, you’re good; if not, you’re not a real Christian…” Lots of people who are involved in orphan care do so for wrong motives, and lots of people who genuinely love God aren’t involved directly with that ministry… The Gospel never gives you checklists like that, about anything.
Rather, what this means is that someone who has experienced the transformation of the Gospel naturally gravitates toward loving those who are in need, whoever they are; and, if we don’t do that, if we are not leveraging our life and our talents and our resources to bless others with the Gospel, we might not (for all our religious activity, and our Bible verses, and our sanitized behavior…) really be saved!
James is saying to us, No religion is genuine, no matter how many verses you know or how intensely you worship, that doesn’t lead you to love and sacrifice for those in need. We cannot say we are disciples of Christ if we turn a deaf ear to the poor. As we learned from the book of Ruth, those who have been redeemed become redeemers themselves.
Our research shows that there are over 100 kids in Durham awaiting foster care who cannot be placed… and about 200 in Wake County… In other words, we need about 100 families in Durham and 200 in Wake to step forward to meet this need…
My question is this: Why can’t the evangelical churches in Durham take care of these kids? Isn’t this what James 1:27 means—to take care of them? Why couldn’t we go to the city and say, “We want them! We’ll take them! We’ll love them!”
KidsPeace, a group that works with kids that come out of some pretty horrific circumstances, needs 50 homes for kids in this area right now. Why can’t the body of Christ in Durham and Raleigh do that?
Summiteer, do you want to really impact our “big 5” areas? Then adopt a child who will otherwise grow up in a fatherless environment. Fatherlessness is the #1 contributor to homelessness, poverty, unwed pregnancy; crime, suicide. You could impact all 5 areas just by getting involved in this 1…
Do you want to be involved in world missions? Adopt a kid from Rwanda who lost his family in genocide!
If you have any interest (whether you are from our church or not), I’ll invite you to come to an interest meeting on Tuesday, June 22, at 6:30pm in the Bay at the Brier Creek Campus. Maybe you have questions you’d like answered; maybe you want to know what the 1st steps are; maybe you can’t do this yourself but you’d like to pray and support someone who does… whatever your interest, come to this meeting!
If you are looking for the message preached last Sunday, explaining (from the book of Ruth) why adoption is at the heart of the Gospel, it is here!
Let’s “expect great things of God and attempt great things for God” in this area!