Sermon Tone Analysis

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A boy once asked his dad, “Dad, how do wars begin?”
“Well,” said his father, “Take the 1st World War, it got started when Germany invaded Belgium.”
Immediately, mom interrupted, “Honey, tell the boy the truth.
It began because somebody was assassinated.”
The husband drew himself with an air os superiority and snapped back, “Are you answering the question, or am I?”
Turning her back on him, she stormed out, and slammed the door as hard as she could… When the dishes stopped rattling, an uneasy silence followed…
The boy broke the silence saying, “Daddy, you don’t have to answer my question anymore; I know how wars begin!”
“Why can’t we all just get along?”
That is the age old question!
It goes all the way back to Cain and Able....
Let me ask you: “What is the biggest barrier to the Gospel in our world today?”
— Christians… (Or more specifically, Christians in conflict.)
Think about it…
We cannot even agree on doctrine.
There are hundreds of different denominations — all of which developed because “this group couldn’t agree with that group, and they couldn’t even hold a conversation about their differences.”
(And… make no mistake, even “non-denominational” churches are guilty of this… )
Christians are called …
— haters (hate-filled)
— Judgemental
— Hypocrites
— Angry, and divisive
— Evil
— Unloving
— etc…
Why do you think that is?
— We spend more time “warring” against ourselves then we do loving people!
Think about it… (during covid… over hot topics {racism, lgbtq, etc…])
Why would people want to come to church… to listen to our message… or even believe it… when we cannot even love each other?!?
Jesus told us:
Paul says:
YET… When people look at the Church today, What do they see?
— Conflict… strife… anger… bitterness… and disagreement… NOT LOVE!
— We spend more time arguing about doctrine… current affairs… hot topics… social justice… “how” we should speak to people… music styles… then we do actually sharing the gospel!
— And we cannot even agree on how to do that!!!
Yet… all the while… Jesus is pleading with us to “Look at the Fields!” (Jn 4:35)
A Faith That Works, is a Faith that is “UNIFIED”!
— Unified in the mission of God!
— It is a Faith that seeks God and DENIES the world!
Jesus told us:
Paul tells us:
Yet… Look at James’s words in chapter 4:
Remember… James is not speaking to unbelievers… He is not speaking to the “heathens of the world”… He is speaking to the Church… to Christians!
James paints a pretty bleak picture of the Church here…
— These Christians were arguing and fighting among each other…
— They were not revealing the Love of God…
— They were busy trying to get their own way… to be the “important ones”… to be in charge…
In his commentary on this passage, J. Micheal Walters says:
James: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition (Chapter 9: The Problem of Double-Minded Desires (James 4:1–5))
What a frightening picture of degraded religion James paints here.
Rather than the peaceable fruit of wisdom from above, this kind of “faith” bears the kind of fruit that rightly deserves its designation as “earthly, unspiritual, of the devil” (3:15).
A quick look around the contemporary church tells us that we ought to take James’s words to heart.
People are being killed—both literally and figuratively—in the pursuit of desire dressed as religion.
The inability to satisfy the misplaced longings of humankind has turned our cities into gutters of unthinkable filth and moral depravity.
Hucksters posing as preachers hawk a brand of religious faith where God is offered as the answer to all our wants and fantasies.
It grows ever more difficult to distinguish the believers from nonbelievers as lifestyles in the church increasingly mirror the culture around us.
He goes on to say:
James: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition (Chapter 9: The Problem of Double-Minded Desires (James 4:1–5))
Christians have replaced the standard of “Behold how they love one another,” with the more likely words, “Behold how they [quarrel] one another!”
Why do we seem to spend more time fighting with each other than sharing the gospel?!
Why do different churches spend so much time arguing with… and condemning each other over “man-made” doctrine?
James asks the same question:
Look at his answer to the question:
James 4:1 (NRSV)
1 Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from?
Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?
The Greek word for “cravings”/”desires” is Hedonon.
(Sound familiar?)
Hedonon menas “pleasures”
It is the root of the word “hedonism”.
Hedonism views pleasure as THE CHIEF GOAL of life.
We desire to please ourselves in every way… to have the best that this world has to offer… We think we deserve it!
We desire to satisfy our sensual and temporal desires… and we are willing to do anything to accomplish that.
James says: “You eagerly desire to have something, but you don’t get it.”
We will NEVER be satisfied with what we possess — We will always want more!
(now listen)
Possessions… Wealth… Power… NEVER bring contentment!
James says: “They [we] do not have… we cannot get it...”
Why can we not seem to find contentment?
We would think the answer would be complicated, but....
Look at James 4:2 (c)
James 4:2 (NRSV)
2 You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder.
And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts.
You do not have, because you do not ask.
God is the Giver of ALL Good Things!
All we have to to is ASK!
“But Pastor… I ask and ask, and God does not answer!”
How often do we ask, simply for ourselves?
— God, fill MY needs…
— God, bring her/him back to me…
— God, fix him/her…
— God, pay him/her back for what he/she did…
— God, show them where they are wrong…
— God, give me_______…
— God, Bless me… Bless my work… Bless my finances… Bless my home…
Have you ever noticed how — most often — our prayers … our asking of God… turns into asking for the things of this world?
James says:
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