Faithlife Sermons

On Course Toward True North

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Back from vacation.

Hiking a favorite thing to do. Several important things need to know when hiking.

  • Want to stay on the right path toward your goal. Hiking up mountain.
  • Many side trails you could follow.
  • Sometimes might accidentally end up going the wrong way-wrong bearings, distracted, etc.
  • Sometimes decide to leave main path on purpose. Can get lost, dangers/dead-ends along the way. Important to get back on track.

Spiritual wandering

I am reminded of these things as I read the passage for this morning:

James 5:19-20: My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Life is a journey. As Christians we are on an ongoing journey toward a closer relationship...deeper love with God. We are seeking True North...where we live as Jesus did, fully desiring and dependent upon God

  • It is important to stay on the right path. If we wander off the path, we can lose sight of our goal.
  • There are times we might accidentally walk off the path and follow another trail
    • Distractions in life - not paying attention, lose sight of where we are going
    • Lose bearings: prayer, worship, time in God's Word
    • Important to catch self and get back on track
  • There are also times where we intentionally walk off the trail...see something else we want to follow.
    • Might even intend on coming back soon, but lose track of where the path is
    • Can sometimes be struggling to get back...sins that are difficult to overcome.
    • Sometimes, however, keep wandering away not looking back...getting further and further from God. This especially is the wandering James is referring to.
      • Closeness once had with God is a distant memory...Just wandering through life without thought of God, what He wants or what Jesus has done for you.

Who are you looking at?

It's easy to think about other people when thinking about people wandering from the truth. But first need to realize it could be you. Need to be humble enough to admit that any one of us could wander from the truth and lose sight of our relationship with God. We are all exposed to different situations/temptations every day, and always offered the choice to stray from God.

Are you wandering now? Examine self carefully. Are you following God closely or are you off on another path...thinking about God every now and then, but really doing your own thing?

    • Need to know you are on a dangerous and difficult path-both for live now and for eternity.
    • If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Heb 10:26-27)

Not to scare you but to say it is important to catch yourself now. To realize you are headed for a cliff and turn back to God. This is where it is important to be connected to your church - if you are off wandering far from God, we are not here to judge and point fingers, but to help you find your way back to the truth.

Can't help unless you open up to people, though. Need to have the courage to confess to one another. Importanance of small groups...or have someone mentoring you in relationship with Jesus, and really being open with one another.

Lead Me Back

Take a look at the other side of this the person who leads another back form their wandering. Are you willing to be that person? To "bring a sinner back from their wandering" in order to "save their sould from death and cover over a multitude of sins?"

  • Walking down the path and see a person off in the woods..stumbling, walking dangerourly close to the edge of a cliff...about to walk into a bees nest or get mauled by a you just walk hurriedly by and ignore them? Do you shake your head in disgust at their stupidity?

All to often this is how we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ when they have wandered from God. We pretend not to notice what they are doing...hoping they don't do too much harm to themselves or to us. Or we we point fingers in judgement saying, "Look at those people, they are a disgrace to the church."

But do we realize the fate we are condemning these people to when we allow them to continue in sin without ever trying to help them find their way back? God has called us to rescue reach out to them in love to help them find their way save them from being lost to God forever. Whether its a member of your family-your husband, your wife or your child-or a neighbor or a person sitting next to you right now-God may call you to be the one to reach out to help them see the error of their ways and lead them back to the path toward God.

It's not easy. People off wandering away from God don't always respond positively to the peopel trying to save them. They don't always see things your way right away. So we need to approach them gently...but approach them nonetheless. Deep down may be crying out for help, and you may be the only one in a position to help them.

It takes commitment...letting the person know you are available to them-even if they first repsond with anger and resentment. It take fervent prayer....prayer for the right words and attitude to approach the person with....and prayer knowing that it is the Holy Spirit who changes people more than any convincing argument you can make.

Lets take a look again at what James has written here:

James 5:19-20: My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

At the heart of this all let's remember that it is God who is calling us all to be closer to Him. He may be calling you to follow His lead in reaching out to someone who has wandered from the truth...Take courage and have faith that He is leading you.

And if you are wandering far from God right now...know that God is calling you back to Him...He wants the best for you and desires you to be close to Him. If someone approaches you to tell you the way back to Him...take their words to heart and listen to how their words resonate with what the Holy Spirit himself is telling you...and turn back to Him.

Let us be determined to live together and love one another in such a way that we help one another leave the wandering and dead end trials and get back to the path that draws us close to Jesus.

As Hebrews 10:24-27 says,

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

(Heb 10:24-27)

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