Summary: Do you have actions that prove your faith?
Trying to win their case some lawyers have been known to ask some incredibly unbelievable questions.
The Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer’s Journal gave the following example
Question: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse? No
Did you check for blood pressure? No
Did you check for breathing? No
Then is it possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy? No
How can you be sure doctor?
Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
But couldn’t the patient been alive nevertheless?
It is possible that the patient could still be alive and practicing law somewhere.
A body without a brain is dead.
Likewise, faith without works is dead.
Dead faith does nothing.
This morning we are going to look at James’ teaching that there should be something substantial in our lives to back up our claim that we have faith in Jesus Christ.
Living faith should produce actions of faith in my life.
If there are no actions then according to James
My faith is dead, useless, powerless
And if my faith is dead, useless powerless it is not the real thing and I am still bound in my sins and on my way to hell.
Lets read James 2:14-26
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Just like a body without a brain is dead
A Faith without works is dead
So do you have a live faith or a dead faith
Which would really be no faith at all
I. A Live Faith
James here is continuing a series of tests by which his readers can evaluated whether or not their faith is living or dead.
The recipients of this book were Jewish believers who had been dispersed as it says in 1:1
“James a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to the twelve tribes which were scattered abroad…”
This dispersion possibly came as a result of Stephen’s martyrdom
But more likely due to the persecution under Herod Agrippa I.
This passage contains the composite test
The one that pulls all the rest together
The test of works, or righteous behavior.
That obeys God’s word and manifests a Godly nature
James makes the point very clear throughout this book that a person is not saved by works
In 1:17-18 he has already strongly and clearly asserted that salvation is a gracious gift from God.
“every good gift and every perfect gift is from above”
Works are an evidence of a real live faith.
The phrase “though a man may say” or “if a man claims” is very important
It governs the interpretation of the entire passage.
James does not say that this person actually has faith
But that he claims to have it
One thing that men are good at is pretending to know everything about everything
My wife gets on to me all the time
I seem to know everything
I can usually act like I really know what I’m talking about on just about any subject
She’ll ask me do you really know what you are talking about or just making that up?
When we first started dating I had her fully convinced that I used to be in a polka band
If a man claims to be in a polka band, but can’t play the accordion, can such a claim make him a band member?