Sermon preached on Sunday, November, 27, 2011 at Garden Valley Chapel; Misc. Scripture.
Now people have a problem with the term "religion." You have heard it said, "it is about a relationship with Christ and not a religion."
I would agree. Paul feared that the church at Corinth would be led astray from "the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ" (2 Cor 11:3).
Yet "religion" is simply that which we do in reverence and in obligation to God. James reminds us in James 1:27 -
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 by the world.
The Greek term speaks of worship, it speaks of devotion. It speaks of the person who is pious, God-fearing, in fact the Greek verb means "to tremble."
The reality is that we as Christians do worship and are devoted to our God and Father and as such we "walk as children of Light"..."trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord" (cf. Eph 5:8-10).
Because we are God-fearing we do that which is pleasing to Him, we do that which is His will, we do that which is He has commanded in His Word.
We were chosen before the foundation of the world for this purpose - that we would be "holy and blameless before Him in love" (Eph 1:3).
It is all done out of a love for Him and so I want my life to be in conformity to His revealed will. Right?
Calvin reminds us in his commentary on Isaiah -
"Now, the chief point of religion is, to inquire into the will of God, that we may regulate our life by the rule which he has laid down for us, and to depend on his mouth."
That is the chief point of religion, "to inquire into the will of God." In other words, it begs the question, "What does God will for my life?"
The wonderful truth is that God does have a will for us and He has revealed it for us in His Word. It is in Scripture that we come to know that His will is both clear and very explicit.
By the way God communicates in His Word, we come to the conclusion that He really wants us to know His will.
Imbedded in the discussion of God's will for my life is what we find in the NT regarding the orphan.
As we learned in our last study, God has reserved His special attention for widows and orphans.
This is not a truth that we see in the 1st Testament both a truth that is highlighted again in the 2nd Testament - no place so clear than here in James where he instructs us to "visit the orphans and widows in their distress."
God takes this matter seriously, as with other any matter regarding His revealed will, that He tells us of a special reaction from Him that involves His Holy wrath upon those who would abuse and exploit the widow or orphan.
As God brought the nation of Israel out of Egypt to establish a covenant with His people, so does God bring to bear upon our hearing today, His very Word to be observed.
Today I want to give you three ways to apply His Word as it relates to the orphan. There are three ways to reflect upon God's Heart for the Orphan and put such reflection into practice.
1.LOOK TO YOUR FATHER
3.VISIT THE ORPHAN
Join us as we conclude this two-part message on the God's Heart for the Orphan.