Living Faith 4 – James 5:13-20
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Today is the last sermon in our worship series, living faith. This month, while reading the book of James, we were invited to practice the General Rules as a way to make our faith alive. Do no harm, Do Good, Stay in love with God. John Wesley brought these Rules the Christians in his time. They might feel comfortable to hear about loving God, but their faith might be a thing to put in a box for the rest of days and open it on Sunday mornings. So Wesley emphasized faith to be alive by practicing both personal piety and doing good works. Today we will think about the last one of the three simple rules. Stay in love with God. Originally John Wesley said “Attending to the ordinances of God”, but scholars paraphrased it as “Stay in love with God”. For Wesley, attending to the ordinances of God are what keeps us close to God, feeling God’s love and grace, and loving God in return. We don’t use the word, Ordinance, very much anymore but for Wesley, it meant spiritual practices; the practices that kept our relationship with God alive and growing. For example, public worship, regular communion, private and corporate prayer, Bible study, reading the scriptures and fasting..those were the essential ordinances for Wesley, and for us too. Like we believe, Wesley believed that spiritual disciplines needed to be central for any of us to be faithful to God through Christ and the Holy Spirit. It
brings us to the center of God’s grace and God’s life-giving love and mercy, drawing us to desire to reflect the heart of God and deeply love God in return, like Colossians 2:6-7says: As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)
Spiritual disciplines are important to us each day because for us, Christians, it’s like we need food to eat, air to breathe each moment and each day. Spiritual practices teach us to live our lives in harmony with something larger than ourselves, larger than the values of the world. We keep striving to know God more through deepening our love for God with spiritual disciplines. And it’s not all about our relationship with God. It also leads us to the relationship with the world as well.