Sermons

Summary: While there is nothing we can do on our own to be saved. Evidence of an active growing Christian life is seen in our works.

A pastor I learned under once pointed out that we never want to be back window Christians. I asked him what a back-window Christian was. He said it was an old southern term that pointed to people who attended church every Sunday and then threw their bibles in the back window of their cars and that is where their bible stayed until the next Sunday. Being a Christian is not a part time hobby, it should become a life time quest, to grow and discover all we can humanly discover about God and his desires for our lives. This next section of James chapter 2 has been a very debated section of scripture. When you think about it in context there really is nothing to debate. James is speaking to his fellow believers in Jerusalem, his purpose is to inform them what genuine Christianity is. These same principles are still very relevant to us today and we to should take head of the words he wrote.

James 2:14-26

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have 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 will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

The controversies fought over this part of scripture is that some believe James is promoting a works-based path towards salivation and we must put aside any preconceived bias as we know this is not true. What James is conveying to the reader is that there must be some evidence that you are a Christian and a follower of Christ. A very common but brutal question we must ask ourselves is that if we were arrested for being a Christian is there enough evidence to convict us or are we just a back-window Christians. There are three question we are going to look at:

Is there evidence of God working in your life that has caused change?

Is there evidence that you are working to grow closer to God?

Is there evidence that you are working to show others God’s grace, mercy and love?

Is there evidence of God working in your life that has caused change?

The concept that once you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior that there will be changes in your life is overwhelmingly apparent in Scripture. It is written that we must be born again, he has cussed us to be born again, that we are a new creation, the old has passed away, and that we are to be in the world but not of the world. You cannot remain who you once were and follow Christ.

You must be born again. This symbolizes a new beginning, from the moment you accept Christ you become an infant on the faith and you begin to grow in that faith. We learn to walk again as we begin this new life in Christ. And like any infant as we grow there will be change. The old has passed away. Abraham was once an idol worshipper, and having been called by God, through many trials and test became a man of such faith he was willing to sacrifice to God his own son.

Our sin have been forgiven and we have repented and changed direction. This means that through the power of the Holy Sport we will begin to change the way we think and act. Many of the things we once thought of as being acceptable behavior will no longer be a part of our lives. There is as Paul says in the book of Romans a renewing and transforming of our minds. And while these things will always be tempting us away from Christ, we are to resist and look for things that not only help us grow in faith but honor God.

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