Sun, 15 September 2019
Many of you will remember that, some time ago, we received counterfeit bills in the offering plate at Istrouma! They’re pictured here. You have to look pretty close to see the telltale signs of inauthenticity.
When you stop and think about it, it’s pretty audacious to give an offering to the Lord that’s fake.
But, let’s be honest, we’re more than capable of doing so, aren’t we? Oh, we wouldn’t dare to drop a counterfeit bill into the offering plate (after all, you can go to jail for a stunt like that). But when, in the process of worship, our hearts are far from him, we’re equally guilty of trying to “pass a counterfeit.”
I’ve kept those bills as a pointed reminder that God hates hypocrisy. He simply wants us to be the real deal.
The truth is that it’s possible, not only to have counterfeits show up in the plate, counterfeits can show up in the pews as well! I’m not talking about counterfeit currency; I’m talking about counterfeit Christians.
It is possible to have all the outward religious trappings of Christianity—songs, offerings, prayers—without an ounce of inward reality. God’s word warns against this ever-present danger in James 1:22, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” It is bad when you’re deceived by someone; it is worse still when you are deceived by yourself!
Join us this coming Sunday at Istrouma as we continue our sermon series through the epistle of James in a message entitled, “Be the Real Deal!” Let’s cut out the counterfeit!
James: Practical Spirituality
“Be the Real Deal”
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (1:19-21).
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing (1:22-25).
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (1:26-27).