S6E20: Pure Speech (Purity of the Body pt. 3)

Everything we as Christians say and do is part of our witness to the world. So what does our speech say about our faith in Christ? Do the things we talk about give glory to God or do we profane our faith by acting one way in church and another in the world? These are convicting questions and they are set before us by James in his epistle. In the United Methodist Church, we promise to faithfully participate in its ministries by our witness. Today we take a look at what that means for us in a practical sense.

Text: James 3:1-12

Recorded at Hudson UMC on Septebmer 16, 2018



S6E19: Pure Love (Purity of the Body pt. 2)

Throughout the history of the Christian church there has been this tension between works and faith. Martin Luther struggled with the notion of works of salvation because he had found no joy in doing these works when he was a Catholic monk. Where Luther found his joy was in the simple proclamation that "the just shall live by faith." He called the book of James "an epistle of straw," and said that its emphasis on works contradicted Paul's emphasis on salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. But as we see in today's lesson, James' epistle doesn't contradict, but rather complements Paul's writings. We are saved through faith, true, but we are saved FOR good works, and our faith is demonstrated BY our works. "Will you faithfully participate in the ministries of the local church by your service?" This is our focus today in James' epistle.

Text: James 2:1-17

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on September 9, 2018



S6E18: Pure Religion (Purity of the Body pt. 1)

We are beginning a new series based on the general epistle of James, and we will be looking at the five promises that we make when we join the United Methodist Church... That we will faithfully participate in the ministries of the local church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness. This week we begin by asking the question, where does generosity come from? As we are made in the image of a giving and generous God, it stands to reason that, at the heart of everyone, there is a giving and generous spirit. That explains why even those who do not believe in God still feel a tug to give when there is need in the world. As James points out, every good and perfect gift is from above, and so when we give, we are acting as image-bearers of God to the world. Pure religion, then, is when we express the heart of God in all things, and give generously of the things that God has entrusted to us.

Text: James 1:17-27

Recorded at Hudson UMC on September 2, 2018



S6E17: Resurrection and Eternal Life (We Believe… Pt. 13)

When we affirm our faith in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting, we often don't think of the fact that we as Christians are promised resurrection in THIS body. For some of us that might give us pause, especially those of us who are older and live with the aches and pains of life. Yet God promises us eternal life through Jesus Christ, and that means that the few years we live here on earth are eclipsed by the magnitude of the eternity that stretches out before us. Even so, many who call themselves Christian still live for this life, and do not consider the life to come. We wrap up our series on the Apostles' Creed with "We believe... in the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting."

Text: 1 Corinthians 15:12-28

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on August 26, 2018



S6E16: Forgiveness of Sins (We Believe… Pt. 12)

Most Christians today are pleased with the modern doctrine of forgiveness. After all, if God is faithful and just to forgive all sins, then we are in the clear, right? Not so fast. Jesus tells a parable about a man forgiven much who refuses to forgive and finds himself on the wrong end of his lord's wrath. Then He says, "So shall my Father do to each one of you, if you do not from your heart forgive your brother's sins." Ouch! This is difficult teaching but critical in our understanding of what it means to believe in the forgiveness of sins.

Text: Matthew 18:21-35

Recorded at Hudson UMC on August 19, 2018



S6E15: One Church (We Believe… Pt. 11)

What we find in the words "I Believe in... the holy catholic church, the communion of saints..." can be troublesome to some. How can we profess belief in one church when there are so many denominations? Often it is used against us as Christians to say that we can't even agree with each other. And yet, there is undeniably something universal about the body of Christ, and what we affirm in this section of the Creed is not antidenominational, but rather that it is the Holy Spirit acting in all believers, no matter what church or denomination they may belong to, that makes us one.

Text: Matthew 16:13-20

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on August 12, 2018



S6E14: The Holy Spirit (We Believe… Pt. 10)

We turn our attention in the Apostles' Creed to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. There is much misinformation regarding the Holy Spirit given in the last hundred years or so, and so we take a look at some of the myths about the Holy Spirit and debunk them, then examine how the Holy Spirit works in the life of the baptized christian to bring about the purposes of God here on earth.

Text: John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Recorded at Ebenezer UMC on August 5, 2018



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