Read: James 2:26 |
A church decided to take a religious survey of their impact in the neighborhood. In one home, the Church Worker asked the mother of the house the routine questions: “Are you a church member?”, “What church?” etc. When they came to the question, “Are you a Christian?” the mother answered rather weakly, “No, I guess not.” Her oldest daughter quickly jumped to her rescue by saying, “Mother, you are a Christian! Don’t you remember that you were baptized by the Pastor of their Church when he held that tent revival here a few years ago?” Immediately, the mother brightened up and said, “Yeah, you are right. I forgot. Put me down as a Christian!”
In our text for this week (verses 14-26), James speaks to believers like the mother in the illustration. He says faith without works is dead.
On the surface, his message appears to conflict with Paul’s message found in Ephesians 2:8-9. Paul says that we are saved by faith and not works, lest any man should boast. Upon closer examination, “Paul not only speaks of different works from those that James insists must exist, but he also speaks of a different use of the good works “ [Spurgeon – Fruitless Faith]. Thus, both statements stand as true statements. Besides, how can we fulfill Jesus’s commandment in Matthew 22:37-39 to love God and our neighbors if we do not work towards it?
True saving faith moves beyond simple belief in God because even Satan believes God is God. Saving faith trusts and believes that Jesus died for our sins and arose from the Dead. His resurrection allows us to be cleansed from all unrighteousness and ensures us of everlasting life with God. A saving faith trusts, believes, repents, worships, glorifies and of course “works” towards God’s will.
Saving Faith leaves footprints
Since faith by itself is invisible, how can we draw others to Christ if the exhibition of our faith is also invisible? 3D Believers leave footprints of works in our daily walk demonstrating our faith. Works we exhibit include:
Saving faith leaves telltale footprints of works.
A believer without the footprints of works in their lives may have the dead faith described by James. Dead faith is a hypocritical faith because it ignores the tug and pull from the Holy Spirit to take the obvious steps of works to strengthen our faith.
“Dead faith” is not a label any believer pursues. Yet, if our faith is not something we readily remember, practice or rely on, we may be in the danger zone! Avoid the danger by resuscitating the dead faith via repenting and returning to Jesus.
Accepting Christ is a life-changing event that alters our destiny. It opens the door to eternal life, allows us to experience the grace of God and fellowship with Him. Accepting Him took faith. Following Him and working out our souls salvation (Philippians 2:12-16) requires the one-time event to transition into a daily encounter with Christ. Faith begets works; Works illuminate our faith.
A. What does Hebrews 11:1 mean to you?
KJV “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
NIV “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”
B. How would you define your faith?
C. Do you exhibit enough faith in your daily walk that there is enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?
A. In what ways do you exhibit and practice your faith?
B. Are any parts of your faith dead, diseased or dying? Pray with your prayer partner to resuscitate your faith
A. Which of the “works” mentioned do you demonstrate already?
B. Are there any “works” that are core to our Christianity that I could have included? Please tell me.