For Our City: Compassion on Mission
James, brother turned follower of Jesus, knew that true faith was active faith. He saw it in the early church. He experienced it and lived it as the church transformed the world.
Too many churches are known more for what they don’t do or what they’re against, rather than for what they do and how they help and serve. But James saw the early church as a living and active agent in the world. This church was full—not of church-goers, but active faith-livers—actively pursuing deeds that matched their creeds. They not only taught doctrines, they lived them.
The message of the early church as clearly proclaimed in the New Testament is: “God loves you and demonstrated his love through Jesus. God is not against you but for you. God loves our city, and He is for our city.”
Therefore, the local #ForOurCity churches are uniting together as the church for our city! We are not merely talking about how we can serve, we are actually serving our city. We aren’t just trying to love, we actually love our city and its citizens. We aren’t just talking about what others should do, we’re doing it. We’re not waiting for someone else to do something, we are the response of God to the greatest needs and crises in our region. We are the church, and we are for our city!
|10/22/17||Source of Compassion||Chris Wiles||1:1-18||If “crises reveal character,” then the needs of our city represent an opportunity for the body of Christ to demonstrate gospel-motivated compassion. In a world full of fashionable “causes,” the Church represents the abiding character of Christ.|
|10/29/17||Action of Compassion||Trent Williams||1:19-27; 2:14-26||The answer to perceptions of religious hypocrisy is not less religion, but deeper, true religion. James tells us that this sort of religion is manifest in caring for widows and orphans. Today’s Church can put their faith into action through foster care and caring for families in our community.|
|11/5/17||Motivation of Compassion||Randy Buchman||2:1-13; 3:1-18||Division persists along political, racial, and socioeconomic lines (cf. James 2:1-13). The way we speak about others often reinforces these divisions (cf. 3:1-12). But because the gospel eradicates selfish ambition, God’s people can pursue peace.|
|11/12/17||Transformation of Compassion||Tim Lester||4:1-2; 5:13-20||All sin is a form of dis-ordered love—a desire misdirected toward something other than God (cf. James 4:12). Addiction is no different; its roots simply run deeper. As the body of Christ, we can work together to cultivate a community of healing (cf. James 5:13-20) and elevate Jesus as our supreme love.|
|11/19/17||Urgency of Compassion||Chris Wiles||4:13-17||Poverty flourishes when we care for our own needs ahead of others. James reminds us of the brevity of life and encourages us to trust in the sovereign plans of God. The gospel saves us from finding identity in material things, and thereby frees us to use our resources to show God’s love through our generosity.|