Summary: A continuation of a study in faith

A Living Faith

Hebrews 11:21-22

James 2:17-26

Abel. Enoch. Noah. Abraham. Isaac. Joseph. Can you tell me what they all have in common? They were all listed in the faith chapter as men of faith. They all showed their faith in God when he gave them directives. Some were pretty drastic directives, and others were simply to remain where they were. Abel made a sacrifice to God with a clean heart. Out of gratitude, not because he expected something.

Enoch was taken by God after 300 straight years of walking in constant fellowship with God. Noah was told to build an Ark in the middle of the desert to save his family and the animals from the great flood, and he did not question God. Abraham, God’s friend, was told to take his family and leave the security of his father’s house and go to an undetermined place. He was told to sacrifice his only son, among many directives. He did not question God. He just did as he was told.

Isaac was told to stay where he was, and not to worry about the future, and he did what he was told. No questions, no request for justification. Joseph lived a life of faith. He was faithful to God’s visions he would receive. He would share these “prophecies” with his father and brothers, though they may have thought he was a little off! He believed in God’s promise of deliverance of the people in Egypt, so much that he even had them take his bones after his death.

All these men had something in common. It was not just the word faith. It was showing their faith by their actions. They did what they were told, no questions asked. No justifications were required. They just believed and followed His directives. That is what true faith is all about, isn’t it.

Is it enough just to believe? I know that there are many who would have you believe it is. What do you think the word of God has to say about that question? Well let’s look at James 2:17-26 and see.

“So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all--it is dead and useless. But someone may well argue, ``You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too, for without good works you can’t prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act.” Are there still some among you who hold that ``only believing’’ is enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember that the demons believe this too--so strongly that they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that ``believing’’ is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith.

Don’t you remember that even our father Abraham was declared good because of what he did, when he was willing to obey God, even if it meant offering his son Isaac to die on the altar? You see, he was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to; his faith was made complete by what he did, by his actions, his good deeds.”

According to the scriptures, believing is not enough. I believe that light switch controls the lights in this room. If I do not go over and hit the switch I will get no lights. I have to do something to make it work. I read a story that may drive this point home.

In college a student was asked to prepare a lesson to teach his speech class. He was to be graded on creativity and ability to drive home a point in a memorable way. The title of his talk was, “The Law of the Pendulum.” He spent twenty minutes carefully teaching the physical principle that governs a swinging pendulum. The law of the pendulum is: A pendulum can never return to a point higher than the point from which it was released. Because of friction and gravity, when the pendulum returns, it will fall short of its original release point. Each time it swings it makes less and less of an arc, until finally it is at rest. This point of rest is called the state of equilibrium, where all forces acting on the pendulum are equal.

The student attached a three-foot string to a child’s toy top and secured it to the top the blackboard with a thumbtack. He pulled the top to one side and made a mark on the blackboard where he let it go. Each time it swung back he made a new mark. It took less than a minute for the top to complete its swinging and come to rest. When he finished the demonstration, the markings on the blackboard proved the law of the pendulum.

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