This sermon was preached at TCK Camp by Mr. Matt Winkler. The title to his sermon, being the same title as found above, caught my eye. It’s not often that someone gives you eight principles on how to grow in Christianity during maturing times. For many teenagers, “maturing times” are every time. This makes this post, copied from the notes I took off of Mr. Winkler’s sermon, especially relevant to today’s teenagers.
Furthermore, this sermon became even more interesting when I found that Mr. Matt supported each principle with a verse from the first two chapters of James. The first chapters of James never struck me as something identical to the title above, but Mr. Matt’s knowledge of the Bible (and of 1st and 2nd James) allowed him to show me many hidden things within James 1-2. I will include each verse with its corresponding principle. Disclaimer: these principles were not mine. They were spoken by Brother Matt Winkler at TCK Camp, Musana Camps, Uganda on the 27th of July at 9:00 AM.
- Rejoice in trials. James 1:2-3*“Count it all joy, brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. 3 For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” When we are met with various trials, we are called as Christians to respond in joy, for these trials shape and define who we will be in the future. Many Christian martyrs went to the grave with joy, such as Jerome of Prague, who met death while singing hymns to his Lord (Foxe 1985).
- Ask for wisdom. James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without approach, and it will be given to him.” When wishing to receive Godly wisdom, Christians should request it as often as they pray.
- Recognize our equality in Christ. James 2:1 “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” We are to be unbiased when it comes to dealings with fellow Christians, as seen in the following verses. Glorifying one Christian because of monetary standing is something unrighteous and sinful.
- Take responsibility for our actions. James 1:9-10 “Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.” The key to this verse is the last piece, ordering the rich to boast in his humiliation. Despite our rank, we are to tell of our sin to everyone (within reason, obviously), and take responsibility for our actions. One of the most amazing experiences a Christian can find is when they take full responsibility for their actions and own their wrong. In my personal experience, it feels as if a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
- Trust God’s unchanging good nature. *** James 1:16-17 “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” We are to always trust that God, the Father of life and goodness, has the best plan for us and will never deviate from that plan. God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good.
- Respond with complete control over our thoughts and emotions during difficult situations. *** James 1:19-20 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” During tough trials, we are to constrain our emotions and respond with godliness and love.
- Accept that while you are still in a struggle with your flesh, you can still put away rampant sinfulness. *** James 1:21 “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your soul.” Even though we are perpetually in a battle with the flesh, we are still able to “put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11, ESV Student Study Bible). We can put away rampant wickedness and receive God’s word.
- Obey God’s word without fail. James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We are to diligently study God’s word, then act out on what we have learned, living with God in our actions.
That concludes our brief study of the first two chapters of James. Thank you very much, Mr. Winkler, for speaking these words of wisdom and allowing me to put them onto my blog. To my readers: take these words to your heart. If you are going through a trying time, re-read this and pray for God’s wisdom to enter your heart.
Thank you so much for reading, guys! Your views mean a lot to me, and I greatly appreciate them! I hope you have a wonderful day!
* Title changed
** All Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV Student Study Bible.
*** Sub-title changed
Foxe, John. “Foxe’s Christian Martyrs of the World”. 1985, Barbour and Company, Inc.
ESV Student Study Bible. Crossway, 2011. Print.