Summary: week 12 in a series of messages on the book of James
A Life of Works Produced by Faith
“Faith That Works”
Date: October 20, 2002 A.M Service
Place: Allendale Baptist Church
Text: James 2:14-26
This morning we will address an issue which some claim to be very controversial. But I want you to remember; God is not the Author of confusion. God never contradicts Himself. Some will take this Scripture out of context and proclaim that salvation is by works. Remember James is addressing the body of believers in the early church.
So many will say that James and Paul’s doctrine differ on this subject of faith. James and Paul were preaching to two different circumstances. Paul was battling those who said salvation comes by keeping the works of the Mosaic Law. James was dealing with a group who said; “I am saved, so I can live any way I want.”
When Paul speaks about works, he is speaking about works of the Jewish law, such as circumcision, and sacrifices. When James speaks of works, he is talking about works of love for others because of the love you have for Christ, works of obedience to God because of a desire to please Him.
When Paul uses the word “Justified”, he is talking about the initial experience of salvation, by which a man is declared righteous before God. Remember at the point of salvation we are justified; God sees us as just as if I’d never sinned. James uses the word justified in the sense of vindication.
Those James was addressing remain with us today that had the mind set of since works will not save us, works after salvation are not important.
Will you look at three important facts this morning as we attack this very matter?
First I want you to notice…
I. The Claim of Faith v.14 “What does it profit, by brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can this faith save him?”
A. The key word in this passage is “says”.
1. This directs and governs the entire interpretation of the text
2. James is not saying this person has faith or shows faith, but claims to have faith.
3. It leaves at the point we ask the question, “How do we know a person has faith?”
B. James gives us an example of a false claim of faith.
1. v. 15-16 “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled”, but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?”
2. Here he illustrates his point by comparing faith without works to words of compassion without acts of compassion.
3. Let me stop and ask you this question dear Christian; “How many times do we offer words of encouragement when we should show actions instead?”
C. James says a person who claims to have faith but whose life does not show it has a faith that is dead.
1. Dead means barren, useless and without any value.
2. Paul tells us that if we are in Christ we are “a new creation, old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
3. This is the teaching of the New Testament, a person in Christ has new life, his life has been transformed
D. A passage of Scripture often used in conflict with this one in James is Ephesians 2:8-9; “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
1. Then Paul goes on to tell his readers; “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.”
E. We are not saved by works, but we are saved for His works
Now let’s see…
II. The Creeds of Faith v. 18-20 “But someone will say, you have faith and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I’ll show you my faith by my works. You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble. But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead.”
A. There are many who believe the right things.
1. They believe Jesus is the Son of God
2. That He died for their sins.
3. That He is coming again.
4. We can believe all the right words and say the right creeds, but it does not save us.
5. The Devil believes in God, he also believes in Jesus.
B. Belief is something we do. If what we believe is simply a creed, if we profess to believe certain facts intellectually, then we are not even doing as much as the demons, because they believe and are frightened in the presence of God.