Summary: James teaches that biblical faith is not expressed in words only or just in one’s mind, but that it must be expressed in the actual doing and obeying what God and Christ command us to do.
1. Open your bibles to James 2:18-26.
2. In our last lesson we discussed two different kinds of faith, from James 2:14-17. We discussed a faith that is not profitable and a faith that is dead. As a contrast to those two faiths, we also discussed a “living faith”.
3. In the remainder of James chapter two, three other kinds of faith are discussed by James.
I. FIRST, JAMES 2:18 TEACHES THAT THE CHRISTIAN’S FAITH CAN’T BE SHOWN OR DEMONSTRATED BY JUST MAKING THE STATEMENT THAT THEY HAVE FAITH. JAMES DEMANDS THAT A CHRISTIAN’S FAITH MUST BE PROVEN BY WORKS.
1. Let’s read James 2:18, “But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
(1) How do we show someone we are a Christian? There are a number of ways we can do that, but one of them is by showing them the kind of life we live—as evinced by the works we accomplish on Christ’s behalf. In the first 13 verses James mentioned the work of being friendly to others.
(2) You can’t just say you’re a Christian; you’ve got to prove it by the things you do. You cannot be a child of God, and not act on Christ’s behalf by carrying out good works.
2. In James 1:26 James teaches that part of what let’s people see that you are trying to be a Christian is by you controlling your language. Let’s read James 1:26, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.”
3. In James 1:27 James teaches that part of what let’s people see that you are trying to be a Christian is by you helping the widows and the orphans and they also see you refusing to spot your soul with sinful things. Let’s read James 1:27, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” Also, read James 1:21a, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness…”
4. In James 1:23-25 James teaches that part of what let’s people see that you are trying to be a Christian is by you studying and obeying the bible at home and by faithfully coming to the services of the church. Let’s read James 1:23-25, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
5. In 1 Tim. 2:9 Paul teaches that part of what let’s people see that you are trying to be a Christian is by you dressing modestly and wearing the right kind of clothes. Let’s read 1 Tim. 2:9, “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing”
6. The bible teaches us many more things, but these should be enough to motivate Christians to have the kind of faith that James is demanding that we have.
(1) James is stressing that Christians have got to do things that identify them with the faithful.
(2) James is teaching that no Christian is correct when they say, “I’ve got faith and you’ve got works. “Faith” is my strong point and “works” is your strong point. Each one of us is o.k. by just having one or the other.”
(3) James is teaching that faith and works are inseparably linked.
(4) You can not have just works. You also must have faith to back it up. And then you can not have just faith, you must have works to show that you are faithful.
II. SECOND, JAMES 2:19 TEACHES THAT OUR FAITH MUST BE MORE THAN MENTAL AGREEMENT WITH WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT GOD, BECAUSE THAT KIND OF FAITH IS NO BETTER THAN THE FAITH OF THE DEMONS.
1. Let’s read James 2:19, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!”
2. The belief that there is only one God, James says is correct. There are many people that believe that there is more than one God. This is a false teaching to have faith in.
3. Let’s read a passage that teaches that there is only one God.
(1) Turn to 1 Cor. 8:4-6. Here, Paul draws a contrast between the many “gods” (spelled with a little g) that were associated with idol worship and our Great one and only true God.