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What Do You Expect Your Religion To Do?

Good and joyful day today to all Christian brothers and sisters on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or whatever is your favorite, we’re about to slice a piece of the Bread of Life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from Book of James Chapter 1 sub-titled in my Bible as “Testing of Your Faith.”

James -1:19-27 19      Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For He beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

With that in our back pockets let’s recall that the sub-title of today’s message is:
What Do You Expect Your Religion To Do?

The English clergyman and novelist Charles Kingsley is reported to have said, “What I want is not to possess religion but to have a religion possess me.”

Also, Samuel M Shoemaker said, “Religion which is merely ritual and ceremonial can never satisfy. Neither can we be satisfied by a religion which is merely humanitarian or serviceable to mankind. Man’s craving is for the spiritual.”

So, what do you expect your religion to do? Genuine religion is not an abstraction. It is an inter-active relationship between a living God and persons.
Let’s hear that again…. Genuine religion is not an abstraction. It is an inter-active relationship between a living God and persons.

When people unite in religious beliefs and actions, their religion becomes a living organism in the midst of their lives. In Christianity it becomes the Body of Christ, which we know as… “The Church,” at work in us as one body. We should expect our religion to do more than schedule a program of worship services and societal gathering of the faithful. It should be much more than listening to a sermon, taking part in hymn singing, or the saying of prayers, all of which are appropriate and needful.

We should expect our religion to affect our lives. Notice I said “affect” not “effect” our lives. By dictionary definition affect means, “to create change; to impress the mind.” Effect, on the other hand is simply defined as: “making a desired impression.

Phillip Brooks told a story about some savages who were given a sun dial, in order that by the casting of the sun’s light and shadow on it they might know the time of day. So desirous were they to honor and keep it sacred that they built a roof over it. Sometimes people regard their religion as something to be sheltered and used on the Sabbath.

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