Summary: 3 Truths 1. What you are willing to do says a lot about what you really believe. 2. The actions you take strengthen the decision you make. 3. What has captured your heart gets your very best.
Pastor Grant van Boeschoten
December 16, 2007
(3 Slides to cover this scripture)
James 2:14-26 (NRSV)
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?
15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?
17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.
19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.
20 Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren?
21 Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works.
23 Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.
24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road?
26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.
Slide: Niagra Falls
Budin was a famous tight rope walker, gathered a crowd of 10 000 and walked across the Niagra Falls.
When he arrived on the Canadian side the crowd chanted “Budin, Budin.” He asked if they believed that he could walk back with a man on his shoulders. “We Believe, We Believe.”
But when he asked for a volunteer he silenced the Crowd until one man stepped forward and volunteered.
10 000 said that they had faith in him, but only one man proved it with his actions. Only one man really believed.
The story of Jesus’ birth in the Bible is really a story of faith at the deepest level.
• Mary had faith that what the angel was saying was really true, she believed that a miracle had taken place and a little baby, the Son of God was growing in her. Willing Spirit.
• Joseph initially believed that Mary’s pregnancy was illegitimate, but when the angel confirmed her story in a dream, Joseph immediately obeyed the voice of God and he did not divorce Mary. Obedient Faith.
• Simeon, an old Jewish man, had a vision from God saying that he would not die until he had seen the coming Messiah, and he was rewarded by being allowed to hold Jesus at the temple as a little newborn baby. Faith in the Promise of God.
• The Magi saw the star and they believed. The believed so much that they packed up everything for a Road trip and traveled a great distance to see this new born King. Their actions completed their faith.
Slide 3 Truths
Our message today is about actions that complete our faith. There are some truths that we can apply to our own life when we look at the story of the Magi in the Bible.
1 “What you are willing to do, says a lot about what you really believe.”
2 “The actions you take strengthen the decision you make.”
3 “What has captured your heart gets your very best.”
There was an article in “Reader’s Digest” the explained what would have gone differently if the Wise Men would have been Wise Woman.
1. They would have asked for directions to the stable locally instead of going to Herod.
2. They would have arrived on time and helped deliver the baby
3. They would have cleaned the stable and brought practical gifts for the family to eat – like a casserole.
4. And there would have been peace on earth!”
Thanks Reader’s Digest, but I’ve got to mention that the Digest is just a little bit misinformed. They have bought into the common misconception that the Magi arrived the night that Christ was born. That’s not what the Bible says though.
The story of the Magi in the Bible begins in Matthew chapter 2.
Matthew 2:1-2 (NRSV)
1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”