Sermon Title: Nothing Compares To God
Text: James 1:13-15 (ESV)
Brief summary (what’s the point of this text/sermon?)
God loves us desperately, infinitely more than we can even imagine and far more than we deserve. In spite of our faults and imperfections and weaknesses, he looks down on us with love and affection. How awesome it is to be loved by a perfect Being, the Father of all!
And yet our temptation is to turn away from that love to pursue other, lesser things. They may be shiny for the moment, getting our attention, but their rewards don’t last. In a sense that’s how temptation works. Like James writes, we are “lured and enticed” by the desires within us. We momentarily think that they’ll bring us true happiness, true fulfillment. But James is right when he says that when they are fully grown they bring about “death.” Why don’t we just choose God? Why don’t we simply follow his ways, knowing that they’re better for us in the long run?
How do I live out the implications of this passage?
Discussion starters to help with applying the sermon to our lives
- Read Jeremiah 2:1-3 and 2:11-13:
- In Jeremiah 2:13, God expressed that Israel had committed 2 evils. 1) They had forsaken him. 2) They had chosen something else to take his place. Is the desire NOT to do wrong enough to keep one faithful to God? What should our focus be if we want to avoid evil and cling to good?
- Darrell discussed how the Israelites had forsaken God for the love of other things. The things they left God for were broken things, but they worshiped them all the same. How do we do this today? Why are we so inclined to trade God for “broken cisterns”? What “broken cisterns” are taking God’s place in our lives today?
- Reflect on the “brokenness” of these “cisterns.” In what ways do they not fulfill what they promise?
- Read Jeremiah 3:19-20:
- Here Jeremiah declares that God is ready to bless Israel, but instead they leave him. Do we believe God is ready to do this [provide blessings] for us, the church? What might those blessings look like?
- If we truly believed God was going to bless us, how would we express that belief?
- What do we need to do in order to obtain those blessings?
- What does God ask from us in order to provide these blessings?
- Read James 1:13-15:
- In choosing sin, we exchange God for any number of ultimately empty things. Imagine that you are among the number who have traded God for something else. How can the church minister to you in hopes of drawing you back to Christ?
- James 1:14 – We are drawn away by our OWN lusts and enticed by our own temptations.How does a Christian balance the fact that our sin is our own fault with the knowledge that God knows we will stumble in sin (I John 1:9)?
- Darrell made the point that resisting temptation is about more than just knowing the difference between right and wrong. Do you agree? Why or why not? What more might be involved?
- How does Satan use desires that are already in us to tempt us? What are some of these desires that may not be inherently sinful themselves?