A Counter-Culture of Grace – Gospel in Life

A Counter-Culture of Grace

Tim Keller |  January 10, 2010

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  • The Church (Unity, Fellowship, Leadership)
James 4:1-12
RS 317-06


The book of James is a very practical guide for living the Christian life. If you really believe the basic message of Jesus, then what kind of life will you live? What will your life look like practically? These are the questions that James helps us answer.

James not only helps us understand things about our own lives, but it also teaches us about the kind of community that the gospel fosters. Our passage today shows us 1) the importance of community between believing Christians, 2) what the main barriers are to that community, and 3) how to break through those barriers.

James 3:18–4:12

The book of James gives us a practical guide on how the good news of Jesus Christ can change our daily lives. It highlights how important it is for Christians to live in community, recognizing common problems and offering ways to solve them. The discussion sheds light on why community is essential, the difficulties it may face, and practical strategies to overcome these challenges.

1. The importance of community

Community is vital in our spiritual journey because it encourages righteousness — being right with God and treating others fairly. Making peace within a community can lead to a life that’s been changed supernaturally. Real transformation needs active participation in a harmonious community. The importance of admitting our mistakes, forgiving one another, encouraging each other, and holding each other accountable in a community is highlighted. It concludes that real life change happens when we live in close community with other Christians, and not being part of such a community is similar to showing contempt for God.

2. The main barriers to community

Community can break down when people put their own needs and wants before those of others, leading to disagreements. The secret to building a strong community and a satisfying life is self-sacrifice, shown through forgiving one another, volunteering, and working together. The solution to this community breakdown is humility, which includes being patient with others’ flaws, sticking with difficult relationships, and not feeling sorry for oneself.

3. How to break through the barrier

True humility is not about seeing ourselves as less, but about focusing less on ourselves. It goes hand in hand with bravery and confidence. It’s about realizing how much God loves us, admitting our weaknesses, and accepting Jesus’ forgiveness. This allows us to serve others without expecting anything in return. Jesus Christ, who humbled himself and gave his life for us, is the perfect example of this kind of selfless service. Because of his sacrifice, we can aim for unity, showing God’s love and the unique principle of the gospel.



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