James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The word religion has unfortunately earned a bad reputation because of man’s wickedness. Men have developed phrases such as “Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship,” or “No religion, just a relationship.” While it is true that Christianity is based upon a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Bible also refers to such a thing called “pure” religion. Thus, most religion is man-made with the only exception being the purest form of worship directed solely at the preeminence of Christ. The word religion merely deals with what a man believes to be true. Religion is not evil in and of itself. It can be “vain” (James 1:26) or it can be “pure” (James 1:27). Religion that offers no change of heart is vain (James 1:26), but religion that changes a man’s heart before God is “pure” (James 1:27).
• (For children): Read Matthew 7:20. Pure religion produces good works (Matthew 5:16; Matthew 25:35-40) and will change the way you live (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Timothy 5:22).
• (For everyone): How has what you believe changed the way you live? Has it changed how you speak, love, pray, give, or treat others? Has it changed the way you live Monday through Saturday or only upon Sunday when you are with other believers at church?
• According to James 1:26-27, how can you discern if your religion is vain or pure? Which is yours?
• Ask God to help you discern whether or not your religion is pure.
• Ask the Lord to give you a pure heart before Him.
SONG: COME, WE THAT LOVE THE LORD