Sunday Recall (August 9, 2009)

We are in week 2 of our series GENUINE. We are talking about the kind of faith that serves as evidence of our walk with God.

What is the faith that God honors?  If the Bible says that without faith, it is impossible to please God, then what kind of faith is it that pleases God?
James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?
James 2:15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.
James 2:16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
James 2:17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

James, the brother of Jesus wrote it for the Jewish believers scattered in the Gentile nations; written to expose hypocritical teachings and to teach Christian behavior.

The reformer Martin Luther had a problem with the Book of James.
–       He discovered God’s grace in the book of Romans “The just shall live by faith.” That justification is a gift of God and nobody is good enough to deserve the favor of God and the good works in not necessary for a person to get saved.
–       James insists that faith alone is not sufficient but that it must result in changed behavior.
–       He began to question if James should be part of the NT. He even suggested that the epistle might be a forgery and relegated it as part of the appendix in his bible but later accepted its canonicity.
–       But there were no inconsistencies with James. It lies in the emphasis.
–       Salvation is by God’s grace through faith and can’t be earned.
Eph. 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
Eph. 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
But notice the next verse.
Eph. 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The reality of someone’s profession of faith will be demonstrated by their actions.

Paul’s focus is on salvation by faith alone in Jesus – for new believers.
James’ focus is on the evidence of salvation or service – for Christians already. What happens after you get saved.
If salvation is likened to a tree, then both Paul and James would agree, that the ROOT of the tree is faith alone, but the FRUIT of the tree is good works.

“How we live” will determine what kind of faith do we have?
James illustrates 3 kinds of faith people have.
1. DEAD FAITH
James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
James 2:17 – In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Faith should be alive and not dead.
If faith is dead then it is not real faith.

James questions the genuineness of the believers’ faith without evidence of good works.
Dead faith is when you say you trust God and believe in Him and yet you do nothing to put your faith into work.

ILL: James illustrates one who sees a brother/sister in need and yet does nothing to help.
2. HEAD FAITH
James 2:19 – You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.

Intellectual assent is agreeing on our head but not translating on how we live.
Agreeing on with a set of Christian teaching is incomplete.
Your may have the right theology but even the demons have a right theology. They believe in one God; they believe in the Trinity, in the deity of Christ, that he died for the sins of the world; and yet they are not saved.
Many people will miss heaven by 18 inches. It is the distance between your head to your heart. Unless your faith goes from your head to your heart and eventually change your life then that faith is a useless faith.

“Issue in the church today.  Churches are filled with people on Sunday who have no intention of doing anything for God during the week.  They sit back and listen to the sermon, but they rarely take it and apply it to their lives.” – Daniel Owens
3. GENUINE SAVING FAITH
James 2:21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
James 2:22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

It was faith and action working together.

Every step (action) is a step of faith.
Active obedience demonstrates that our faith is genuine.
First Justification by God – brings salvation
Second justification by people around us- evidence of our faith and salvation
v. 18 – I will show you my faith by what I do
“show” Greek “deiknuo” which means expose to the eyes
Expose your good works to the world around you so that they may see your faith is genuine.
MAINPOINT: LIVE WHAT YOU BELIEVE.  

If we live what we believe, people will believe who we live for.
Matt. 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Are you heavenly minded but not earthly good?
Are people convinced that you are a Christian because of what they see lived out in your life?
May the life that we live be consistent with the faith that we profess.
Next week, we’ll talk about the power of the tongue.

Source: Faith