Friday, March 6, 2020

Part 4: 6 Things God Sheep Do

So far in this series we did an overview in Part 1 here and then in Part 2 here we went into detail on the 6 things God's sheep do and in Part 3 here we talked about wealth used for self.

The 6 things that God's sheep do as we discussed already are:

  1. Feed the Hungry
  2. Give Drink to the Thirsty
  3. House Strangers
  4. Clothe Those Without
  5. Visit the Sick
  6. Come to Those in Prison

Let's look at James 1:27:

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. 

PURE religion is going to church?  Oh wait, nope!  Pure religion is actually about OTHERS - to visit the fatherless (that's kids with no father and/or orphans) and widows (women whose husband has died) in their affliction... and then to keep yourself unspotted from the world.  We like to concentrate on the 2nd half of that verse as good holiness Christians but we neglect the other in looking to orphans and widows!  I love how Adam Clarke remarks on this verse:

True religion does not merely give something for the relief of the distressed, but it visits them, it takes the oversight of them, it takes them under its care; so επισκεπτεσθαι means. It goes to their houses, and speaks to their hearts; it relieves their wants, sympathizes with them in their distresses, instructs them in Divine things and recommends them to God. And all this it does for the Lord’s sake.
Reader, what religion hast thou? Has thine ever led thee to cellars, garrets, cottages, and houses, to find out the distressed? Hast thou ever fed, clothed, and visited a destitute representative of Christ?

I found this excellent commentary that really sums up what pure religion is, it is from Preacher's Homiletical:

Visit.—The Greek word implies more than “go and see”; it means “look after,” “care for.”
It is in ministering to the spotted that we best keep ourselves from the spots.
Religion on its practical side is doing something for somebody, and that proves to be the secret of keeping ourselves clean.
Religion then is just this—when seen on its practical side—keeping ourselves free from contamination by finding spheres of Christly service outside ourselves.
We must keep ourselves clean for service.

Our church is full of families that have adopted, even multiple children in some families!  It is an amazing thing to see Christians doing their part in that regard.  The widows in the church are surrounded by help on all sides.  It is evident that these 2 parts of James 1:27 are being performed as it should be evident in every church.

If you adopt an orphan, you are performing many of the above 6 things - you are feeding a child that needed food, giving them drink, housing them, clothing them and taking care of them when they are sick!  Yet, there are so many children that need this and nobody wants them.  God help us.  We'd rather have material things than children.  That has always made me sick at my stomach.  I've never been understanding of people that dislike children!  God sure likes them and He chose to call them a blessing!

I've given a few more commentary on this verse below:

John Gill - to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction; and not only to see them, and speak a word of comfort to them, but to communicate to them, and supply their wants, as they may require, and according to the ability God has given.

Matthew Henry - It is very remarkable that if the sum of religion be drawn up to two articles this is one - to be charitable and relieve the afflicted.

Alexander MacLaren - ‘visiting’ means more than calling on - namely, looking after and caring for.

John Wesley - The only true religion in the sight of God, is this, to visit - With counsel, comfort, and relief. The fatherless and widows - Those who need it most. In their affliction - In their most helpless and hopeless state. And to keep himself unspotted from the world - From the maxims, tempers, and customs of it. But this cannot be done, till we have given our hearts to God, and love our neighbour as ourselves.

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