Summary: We are sinners saved by grace through faith but how can we prove it, how can we show it? By our words, actions and attitudes, in all of which people, especially non-believers, should see Christ in us.
James 2: 17
Sermon – Faith without works is dead
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth …..
What do we have to do to get to Heaven?
As the writer of Hebrews put it in chapter 11 verse 6:
“Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God”.
What is FAITH?
To Christians FAITH is more than saying we believe in something,
like the Loch Ness Monster, or the existence of Flying saucers,
faith means taking God at His word and trusting Him
to meet all our needs, for today, for tomorrow, and throughout eternity.
In Ephesians 6:16 St Paul describes FAITH as a SHIELD
with which we defend ourselves against the flaming missiles of the Evil One.
In Hebrews chapter 11, verse 1 – FAITH is described as
the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction that things exist even though they
cannot be seen with our physical eyes,
or smelled or touched.
Christian faith is different from faith or trust in a person or thing,
because it concerns where we will spend eternity.
Christian faith is the belief that Jesus Christ is the Messiah,
the Christ, the Son of God,
who was born a human, taught God’s word, performed miracles and signs,
died for our sins and rose from the dead.
This ties in with the words Jesus said in John 3:16 “For God so loved ….
that whosoever believe, will not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Having faith does not mean that life will be a bed of roses,
but that all things, good or bad, will work out well for those who love the Lord.
How do we get this FAITH?
According to Romans 10:17 it comes by hearing the Word of God,
and this is why Christians are commanded to spread it,
because if the Gospel is not preached
then how will anyone hear it
and how else will they ever come to Christ for forgiveness and eternal life.
How important, then, is FAITH?
John 3:36 says we cannot be saved without it
Romans 5:1 says we cannot have peace with God without it
Romans 10:1-4 says we are made righteous by it
James 1:6 says we cannot pray without it
1 Peter 1:8 says we cannot have joy without it
1 John 5:4 says we cannot live a victorious life without it.
And James said in his Letter that if a person’s FAITH is real and live,
it was not to be an abstract, invisible, personal thing,
it has to be shown in our lives and actions.
So, if faith without works is DEAD,
how do we show we have a FAITH that is ALIVE?
By doing good works, by practicing what we preach,
and by putting into effect Jesus’ command to
“love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength,
and loving our neighbour as ourselves”.
But it is important to remember that we DO NOT do good works to get saved and earn God’s love,
we do good because we are saved and want to pass on or show God’s love.
This is a very important point and makes Protestant Christianity
different from every other religion.
Hindus believe in reincarnation, and are supposed to be good,
so that when they die they will die with a good Karma,
so they will be reborn in a higher form,
because if they die with a bad Karma, they will be ‘demoted’
and reborn as an animal.
Jews must keep the Law contained in the Torah;
not only the Ten Commandments but the whole 613 laws and rules
because they believe the teaching in the Old Testament
that says to deliberately break one law
is the same as breaking them all,
which would mean they would not spend eternity with God.
They must pray 3 times every day in the direction of Jerusalem,
and ask God every year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement
to forgive them for all the sins they have committed in the last 12 months.
Muslims believe that they are watched every second by two angels
who keep a record of their good and bad deeds, words and even thoughts.
Muslims must pray five times every day
and they must pray in Arabic when they do it.
They must memorise the Qur’an or as much of it as they can.
They must fast from all food and drink during daylight
for the 28 days of the month of Ramadan.
They must give 1/40th of their wealth to charity,
and they must go on a pilgrimage, or Hajj, to Mecca once in their lives,
and they must hate Jews and Christians,
or else they will not be allowed to enter Paradise.
Roman Catholics must go to Mass, must confess their sins to a priest
and say the Rosary to Mary, to atone for their sins,