I hope it's not egotistical to post your own talks on your own blog. However, I do tell the students that they can go back over what we do at youth group by checking the blog. So, here is last nights. I put "sermon" in quotes because i'm not really sure if thats what I do or not, but either way this is what was said at youth group last night where we worshiped together. Man, it was great. We have such a cool youth band and are so blessed with so many gifts.
The beginning of this came at workcamp this summer when I heard BB speak on this chapter of James. So, thanks BB! Without further adu...ado? adoo...
What does it mean to be a Christian?
James 4: 17- “Anyone who knows the right he ought to do and doesn’t do it sins.”
1. It’s not about sin management.
A lot of people in our culture cringe when they hear the word Christian, or think of being one. The first thing we have to do is admit that they have several good reasons to do so. Have you been to a Christian book store lately? Or watched those TV preachers? Or seen any of the Left Behind movies? Yikes.
Lots of people feel like NOT doing this or NOT doing that makes you a Christian. This is part of it. Let’s make a big list shall we? Shout out stuff you’re not supposed to do- go on, yell in church which is something you’re not supposed to do.
Good. Now lying is not honoring God in the truth, looking at pornography is not God’s plan for men and women. Cussing is not an effective means of communicating, much less respecting another person. These things are all stuff we’re not supposed to do, you can find reasons for these in the bible. But too often what happens is people look down their noses at folks that do things from a list. Just because we don’t struggle with sin a or sin b, we find it pleasing to make other people who do feel guilty. We all do it. So what we do is focus on what we’re not doing, and that makes us somehow better than other sinners who do that. This is sin management.
Let’s look at what Jesus did in this situation:
John 8: 1-11
Christianity isn’t about “not doing bad things”
2. Christianity is about doing what is right.
Jesus clearly tells us what is right. Loving God, and loving our neighbor. He points out who our neighbor is, and gives us the tools to carry out his commandment. Problem is, it’s really hard. Very hard. This verse from James gives us a clear definition…what we KNOW inside, in our very bones to be right, to be good we MUST do. Many times in my life the problem isn’t knowing what I should do, it’s actually doing it. How I use my time, my gifts, spend my money…all of these things are important and doing good things and being responsible is really hard. So it’s easy to think of Christianity like a prison: you’re locked in this pious cell where you can only read, pray, and feel guilty about all the stuff you screwed up. But really, it’s just the opposite. Christianity is a dedication to being all about this: Phillipians 4: 8-9
3. We cannot get it all right, but we’re gonna try.
*at this point I told a couple of my struggles from the past, too long to list!*
You see Christians have a reputation for being “holier than thou” or always making people feel guilty. But the truth is Christians are no different from everyone else in that we screw up, can still be capable of great evil, and are still pretty selfish and self-serving. The difference is that we don’t rely on ourselves. We aren’t hopeless. We’re not part of a downward spiral of human nature. We’re about hope in Christ. We’re about striving to do what is right no matter how many times we fall. We’re not about keeping a list of naughty and nice. You see my friends there is such a fine line between grace and lazyness. We are at once forgiven and called to “leave our life of sin”. Through living out our faith in good works, doing “the right we ought to do” that we respond to how Jesus calls his people to live.
So I hope that you can go out into your schools, into your sports, into your families and do what is right. I hope you can at once feel free from guilt but obligated to do what is right. Because that’s how Christ calls us to live. We don’t do that good of a job. But we’re gonna keep going.