Summary: Our faith should be the motivaing factor in serving Jesus
Faith that Works
October 8, 2006
In one of his sermons, A.C. Dixon told of an incident that took place in Brooklyn, N.Y. A detective who had been looking for a local citizen finally tracked him down in a drugstore. As the man began to make his purchase, the officer laid his hand on the citizen’s shoulder and said, "You’re under arrest; come with me!"
Stunned, the man demanded, "What did I do?"
The detective calmly replied, "You know what you did. You escaped from the Albany penitentiary several years ago. You went west, got married, and then came back here to live. We’ve been watching for you since you returned."
Quietly the man admitted, "That’s true, but I was sure you’d never find me. Before you take me in, could we stop by my house so I can talk to my family?"
The officer agreed. When they got to his home, the man looked at his wife and asked, "Haven’t I been a kind husband and a good father? Haven’t I worked hard to make a living?"
His wife answered, "Of course you have, but why are you asking me these questions?" Her husband then proceeded to explain what had happened and that he was now under arrest. He apparently had hoped that his record as an exemplary husband and father would impress the officer. Even so, he was still an escaped criminal. Though he was "right" with his family, he was all wrong with the state of New York.
No matter how much you try there is nothing that you can do to atone for the sins that you have committed. You can never be good enough to make up for the wrongs that you have already committed. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. The only way to be forgiven of your sins is through the grace of God and faith in Jesus.
Notice some of the more potent statements made in the New Testament about the subject of faith.
Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Ephesians 2:8-9 - 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Romans 5:1-2 - 1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God
Faith is at the foundation of Christian belief that there must be genuine belief to experience the power of the God and the salvation of Christ. Faith is the being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. There can be no salvation without faith in Christ.
Faith must be genuine to be effective. A counterfeit faith is worthless. It must be real for it to bring salvation. Real faith brings a change in the life.
The fact is that James understood this reality and wrote to Christians long ago to express the need for genuine faith.
If you have your Bibles open them to James 2:14-26
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder. 20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:14-26