Summary: What God is telling us about true faith versus claiming to have faith. 1- Faith demonstrates good 2- Faith believes in God 3- Faith produces righteousness
INTRO.- ILL.- A guy was coming out of church one day, and the preacher was standing at the door as he always is to shake hands. (You know. The preacher’s job is to: shake them in, shake them up, and shake them out!) Well, he grabbed the guy by the hand and pulled him aside.
The preacher said to him, "Hey, brother, you need to join the Army of the Lord!" The man replied, "I’m already in the Army of the Lord, preacher."
The preacher said, , "How come I don’t see you except at Christmas and Easter?" The man whispered back, "I’m in the secret service.”
There are many people who claim to be in the army of the Lord or shall we say, there are many who claim to believe in the Lord and follow the Lord. BUT WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE OF THEIR FAITH?
You can’t tell that some people are Christian by their church attendance because they seldom attend! And you couldn’t tell that others were Christians by their giving, their Christian service or by their witness for Christ, because they may do none of these things.
ILL.- It’s like the story about two professing Christians who worked in the same office for 10 years and neither of them knew the other was a Christian.
One of them said to his minister one time, “Wasn’t it funny that Bill and I were in the same office for 10 years and neither of us knew the other was a Christian until recently?” The minister replied, “Funny?! Why, that’s not funny! It’s tragic! In my opinion neither of you have ever experienced the new birth.”
That preacher may have been a bit extreme in his evaluation of both of those men, however, if a person is truly living their faith in Christ something about their faith is going to show to others!
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
We are suppose to be the light of the world, but what if our light isn’t shining in some form? Is your light shining for the Lord? Are you doing any good works that point to the Lord? Can people tell that you are a Christian?
Our text in James deals with this very thought.
PROP.- What God is telling us about true faith versus claiming to have faith.
1- Faith demonstrates good
2- Faith believes in God
3- Faith produces righteousness
I. FAITH DEMONSTRATES GOOD
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 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? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
What good is it if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Deeds are the proof of the pudding of the Christian faith.
ILL.- When a distinguished foreigner paid his only visit to America in 1950, a committee of prominent Chicagoans lined up at the railway station to offer official greetings. But the committee noticed that his eyes were not wholly fixed on them. Those penetrating eyes were wandering beyond the encircling committee. Something on the station platform caught his eye amid the crowd of travelers.
With politeness but firmness the great man said to the committee, “Excusez-moi,” (escoosay-mwah or excuse me) and literally dashed past the receptionists. Diving into the crowd, he stopped beside an elderly woman who was staggering under her load of heavy suitcases and extra bundles.
With his big, sensitive hands he grabbed the old woman’s suitcases and bundles and, beckoning her to follow him, he threaded a way through the throngs. He led the woman to the coach she wanted to take, lifted up her suitcases into the overhead rack, and bowing in a courtly manner, wished her, “Bon voyage.”
Then he rushed back to the astounded committee with apologies for keeping them waiting. And that’s the way Dr. Albert L. Schweitzer arrived in America!
That is also kindness in action or we could say, faith in action. And this is what James is talking about when we claim to have faith. That faith must be backed up with good deeds.