Summary: We are told in Hebrews 11: 6, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” It is not according to your fortune, your fame, and friends, but according to your faith in pleasing God. Jesus put a premium on faith.
Fabulous faith or false faith.
James 2: 14 -- 26. 02/13/05
We have been talking about facing life with faith now for several Sundays. Faith is the key to pleasing God. We are told in Hebrews 11: 6, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” It is not according to your fortune, your fame, and friends, but according to your faith in pleasing God. Jesus put a premium on faith. So, this morning, I want us to consider again our faith. Is your faith a fabulous faith or a false faith? The Bible teaches us to be sure we have the right kind of faith, because everyone who says he has faith does not have real faith. So, we want to ask a question and then using the texts in James answer the question. The question is what is real faith?
Some say real faith is in rituals. I was over at the high school last year speaking on Christian faith. Before I was there, there was an occult group who came with their chanting and tambourines clinging. Nowhere in the Word of God do we find that real faith is found in rituals.
Others say real faith is found in speaking in tongues, being slain in the spirit and shouting. I like shouting even done a little of it myself, but I have found out it’s not how loud you hollow but how straight you walk when you hit the ground. So, real faith isn’t found in rituals or religion.
Some, and it seems a lot, believe real faith is in good works. If your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds, then they believe one day they will go to heaven. But then we turn to Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8 and 9 and see the Word of God tells us salvation is not of works lest any man should boast. So, real faith is not found in our rituals, or in our religion, or our record.
Some believe real faith simply believes intellectually there is a God. I want to tell you that it would be hard to find five people around who doesn’t believe there is a God. The Bible tells us that the devil knows there is a God and trembles at the thought of knowing. So, real faith is not found in our rituals, our religion, our record, or our reasoning. So, let’s see what James has to say about fabulous faith or false faith.
Now as we look at these different kinds of faith this morning described by James, I want to say you have one or the other. The first faith that James calls our attention to is A DEAD FAITH. Look at verses 14 through 17.
The keyword is found in verse 17. James says though a man says he has faith. Not everyone who says he has faith has the right kind of faith. Jesus says in Matthew 7:21, “not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven.” Just because a person has walked the isle, signed a card and been baptized doesn’t mean that person is going to heaven.
George Gallop says there are 50 million people in America who say they are Christian. But just because 50 million people say they are Christians in America doesn’t mean they are. Faith is not just something you say.
James gives us an illustration of what we call dead faith. He says suppose someone comes to your house, knocks on the door, hungry and cold. He needs help, and you say bless your heart I will remember you in prayer. Go be warmed and filled. You have a warm house. You have food and you tell the person I will pray for you. Can that kind of faith be the real faith? Any kind of faith that doesn’t result in a changed life and good works is a false faith and a false faith is dead faith. A faith that results in a changed life will result in good works.
James not only speaks of a dead faith but also A DEMONIC FAITH.
James wanted to shock his complacent readers so he used demons as an illustration. Look at verses 18 and 19.
It may come as a shock to some people that demons have faith. What do the demons believe? Well first of all they believe in the existence of God. You don’t find a demon that is an atheist. So if you believe in the existence of God, congratulations, you have as much faith as a demon.
Demons also believe in the deity of Jesus. During the ministry of Jesus upon the earth, He often encountered the demon world. Whenever the demons met Jesus they bore witness that He was the Son of God. So you say preacher, I believe Jesus is the Son of God. Congratulations, you have as much faith as the demons.