Summary: Faith without deeds is dead and useless. Faith with deeds points to God the Father in heaven!
FAITH AND ACTION
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
Source: The general idea of this sermon came from "God has and App for That" by Coach Dale Brown. Excellent book!
Day in and day out the world accuses us Christians as being hypocrites. We say we love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and the people around us but lack any signs of the fruits of the Spirit in our lives! This should not be a shock for today’s worldly Christians (1 John 2:16) whose lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life has meant a severed relationship with God. When we are inside of the church we put on our Moses, Daniel, Ruth, John, Luke, or Paul masks to fool other Christians into thinking that we are holy while in fact we are still sitting in our spiritual diapers longing to be fed by our Father! Failing to take our faith beyond the superficial, routine activities soon overpowers our motivation to spiritually grow and we become quite comfortable bearing little or no fruit. Dietrich Bonhoeffer the German pastor summarizes the life of most modern day Christians as:
“The Christian life comes to mean nothing more than living in the world and as the world, in being no different from the world … The upshot of it all is that my only duty as a Christian is to leave the world for an hour or so on a Sunday morning and go to church and be assured that all my sins are forgiven. I need no longer try to follow Christ, for cheap grace … has freed me from that.”
How does one resuscitate this kind of dying faith? To start with James says to examine your heart to determine if you are truly saved. Just because a person outwardly imitates God’s own does not mean that a person is His child. To be adopted into God’s family one must first have faith in the atoning sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. This kind of faith requires making Jesus Christ the Lord of your life. If one has not given Jesus full command of one’s decisions, one is not saved and the only remedy is to surrender one’s heart to He who created you. The cure for those who are saved but are experiencing a dying faith is to remember that for Jesus to be the Lord of your life one must do all that He asks of you! This leads James to rightly conclude that without action, faith is dead and utterly useless. The following sermon is going to review James belief that faith and action must be intertwined to experience the fruit of the Spirit.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
James 2:14-19, NIV
Play Americas Got Talent “Nuttin but Stringz” and explain how they inspired you to want to learn how to play. Begin by pretending you are playing an imaginary fiddle. Stop playing and ask someone in the congregation to rank your playing on a scale of one to ten based on what they heard. When the person says zero, scratch your head and declare maybe if I had a fiddle I would be more convincing. Pick up a fiddle and try to play some chords (make sure they sound awful). Then ask someone in the congregation to rank your playing on a scale of one to ten. Ask them to be brutally honest for you need good feedback. When they give you a very low number then scratch your head, look puzzled and tell them that maybe if you looked like the fiddlers in the video then maybe you could play better. Pick up and put on a wig and sun glasses that look absolutely foolish and then play some more bad chords. Stop playing and pick someone else in the congregation to give you feedback on a scale of one to ten how good was your playing? When they answer with a low number then scratch your head, look puzzled and tell them that maybe if you danced like the fiddlers in the video while you played then maybe you would play better. Dance and play chords out of tune (make the fiddle screech). Ask another person from the congregation how you did and when he/she gives you a low number, scratch your head and look puzzled. Throw the sun glasses and wig off in disgust. Cry out “I just don’t understand why can’t play! I tried really hard!” Put the fiddle in its case and tuck it under the seat while saying “gave it must best try, I just can’t lean how to play the fiddle.”