The Widow and the Fatherless
Sermon; #1500B; 36 minutes
The epistle of James advances a succinct and balanced approach to the relationship between work and faith. The pithy behavioral objectives in James 1:27 echo the essence of God's Law, with James' admonition to serve the widows and fatherless mirroring love toward mankind, and his admonition to keep oneself unspotted from the world mirroring the first part of the decalogue—to love God with all one's mind. God sent the prophet Jeremiah to warn King Jehoiakim's subjects to change their hypocritic ways, renounce idolatry, and quit treating people shabbily—especially the widows, children, and strangers, an offense in God's eyes equivalent to murder. Isaiah issued a similar condemnation of Israel, Judah, and by extension, a hypocritical church which treats the stranger, widow, and orphan with contempt. Pure religion, according to James, takes care of vulnerable people in the fellowship. Tangible ways in which God's called out ones can fulfill the objectives of James 1:27 include: (1) intercessory prayer, (2) communicating with brethren to encourage them, (3) offering physical help such as assisting with moving, (4) being alert for special needs inside and outside the church community and (5) showing respect for the widows who are really alone, not only through third tithe assistance, but individually as well.
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