Orphan Sunday Sermon | Pastor John Bray

The Church has not always talked much about adoption and orphan care in great detail. We all acknowledge that it is good for the people of God to care for orphans and widows, but we do not always spend time talking about how we ought to do that. Pastor John Bray at Heritage Wesleyan Church dedicated an entire Sunday to talking about the call of God to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27). As Pastor Bray stated, “we are not saved simply to enjoy the benefits of being saved.” There are four things that his sermon communicated well.

  1. John Bray gently, though bluntly, presented this call of God as being the duty of all followers of Christ. Sometimes as preachers we present Biblical principles as being optional for Christ-followers. We present them as if to say, “If this is for you, then please obey.” But we are not called to pick and choose which commandments we will obey. We are simply called to obey. Though we each may have different roles to play in the church’s call to care for orphans, we are all called to do so at some level.
  2. Pastor John talks about orphan care as being something that needs to be fixed but also addresses root causes of why we neglect orphan care. As preachers, we have to be aware of why we do the things we do or avoid the things we avoid. He addresses consumer culture as being one of the reasons we do not take part in caring for orphans. He included the second half of verse 27 “and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world,” in his sermon and presented it in such a way as to communicate that we must not allow consumerism to keep us from recognizing and caring for the needs of others.
  3. Pastor John Bray uses the listener’s empathy to make abstract concepts concrete. He tells a powerful “What if?” story by asking us to consider if we, the audience, were single parents. What would we want to be done if we found out that we were dying? This is the intense, heavy, burden that comes with pondering the so-called golden rule in concrete contexts. What parent would not want their child to be cared for by someone who loves their children as much as the he/she does? In the same way, asks John Bray, do you not think other parents wish their child could be cared for and loved after they are gone?
  4. Finally, John Bray makes this doable and practical. He gives five ways in which anyone can serve and take part in caring for orphans.
  5. Give money
  6. Foster care
  7. Adoption
  8. Support others who adopt
  9. Be truly pro-life. Care for children after they are born also.


  • In what ways can I, where I am at in life, take part in caring for orphans and widows?
  • How can I through my preaching encourage our people to practice orphan care?

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