Pure Religion Includes Visiting Needy Children (James 1:27)
1. In James 1:26-27 a contrast is made between 2 kinds of religion. a. "Vain" religion is described in vs.26. b. "Pure and undefiled" religion is described in vs.27. 2. We are especially interested in pure and undefiled religion that consists of: a. visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction b. remaining unspotted from the world. 3. In our lesson we are concentrating on the fact that "pure religion includes visiting needy children."
I. LET US DEFINE "VISIT"
A. The visiting under consideration is "looking after someone to supply a need." B. Illustrations: 1. (Ruth 1:6) In Moab, Naomi heard "how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread." 2. (Matthew 25:36) Jesus said, "I was sick, and ye visited me." C. Pure religion includes looking after needy children to supply their needs.
II. LET US DETERMINE HOW GOD AND CHRIST FEEL ABOUT CHILDREN
A. The Old Testament shows how God is concerned about children. 1. (Psalm 68:5) He is "a father of the fatherless." 2. Consequently, in Isaiah 1:17 He commanded His people to "judge the fatherless." B. The New Testament shows how Christ is concerned about children. 1. (Mark 10:13-16) Jesus held little children and blessed them. 2. Consequently, His instructions for His people are found in James 1:27. C. When we are aware of how God and Christ feel about children, we can better understand why pure and undefiled religion includes visiting needy children.
III. LET US EXAMINE ADDITIONAL PASSAGES THAT RELATE TO CARING FOR NEEDY CHILDREN
A. The 2nd commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). 1. In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10), Jesus showed how a neighbor is someone in need. 2. Love that pleases God is active (1 John 3:17-19). B. The Bible teaches us to "do good unto all men" (Galatians 6:9-10). C. Christians have been created in Christ "unto good works," and we are to "walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). D. Doing good works is emphasized in Titus 2:11-14; 3:8, 14. E. God is pleased when His people "do good" (Hebrews 13:16). F. The Bible warns against having an inactive faith (James 2:14-17).
1. We have seen that "pure and undefiled religion includes visiting needy children." 2. Let us remember this principle as we take advantage of the opportunity that we have been given.