Summary: In the Christian life faith and works go together like inhaling and exhaling. Billy Graham stated it in these terms: Faith is taking the Gospel in; works is taking the Gospel out.
For those not familiar with an Anglican Service; there are four Scripture Readings before the Sermon. The Scripture Readings for this day were: Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23 ; Psalm 125 ; James 2:1-17 and Mark 7:24-37.
Alexander Graham Bell was an amazingly talented person.
He invented the multiple telegraph, the audio-meter .... which is used to test your hearing,.... the tricycle landing gear you find on planes, .... and a host of other machines.
In addition to this he was co-founder of the prestigious magazine Science, .... served as President of the National Geographic Society, and spent his life working with the deaf.
But the most famous of all his creations was the telephone.
It also made his family and his descendents extremely wealthy.
Yet.... he almost lost it all.
You see Bell never seemed to find the time to submit a patent application for the telephone.
Finally, his father-in-law, who had financed much of the research, became so impatient that he filed the patent on Bell's behalf on the 14th of February 1876, ..... Bell's 29th birthday.
And it was a good thing he did,..... just a few hours later, another scientist by the name of Elisha Gray went to the patent office and filed on a machine he also had been working on for many years -- you guessed it, the telephone.
This story ..... reminds us .... that sometimes it is not enough simply to have or to believe in a great idea.
We need to also .... act on them.
Bell and his father-in-law are an example of the relationship between faith and works.
Bell had faith in .... He believed in his telephone. His father-in-law had faith and works to go with it.
James in this passage expands on what it truly means to be both hearers and doers of the word, what it means for us to "Be Real" . To be the "Real Deal".
James moves us to how .... "faith" and "works" relate.
James shows us that faith and works are ultimately two sides of the same coin.
Three times he repeats in his thesis "faith without works is dead"
James is stating clearly that "an empty faith" a non action filled faith ... is not a true faith, it is not a saving faith, it is nothing more than mouthing words.
James sets out to convey to us that our faith in God and trust in Jesus must work in tandem with our actions.
If not our faith is not really faith at all. It is not the real deal.
Faith is a common denominator. Every one alive daily expresses faith in something.
No one can live a single day without exercising faith.
When you awoke and went into the bathroom this morning you flipped a light switch and you had faith that it would work.
When you get in your car you turn the key and have faith that it will start.
When you mail a letter you have faith the postal system will get it to the right address. Someday!
Every time you walk into a building you are expressing faith in the architect and the workmen.
In each instance there was an action.
You flipped a switch, you turned a key, you mailed the letter, you walked into a building.
I am sure many of you have heard of the great tightrope walker, Blondin.
He was one of the greatest tightrope walkers of all time, and there are many legends told of feats he performed.
One of the most often told stories of Blondin is of his crossing over the Niagara Falls on a tightrope. He reportedly did that several times.
At some point he turned to his large audience, which included numerous reporters from various newspapers, and he asked them, "How many believe I can walk across this tightrope over the Falls pushing a wheelbarrow?"
People cheered loudly -- they were sure the great Blondin could do it.
Then he asked, "How many believe I can push a wheelbarrow across the tightrope with a man sitting in it?"
Again, there was a loud response.
Blondin then pointed to one of the most enthusiastic men in the audience, and said, "Okay, you get into the wheelbarrow."
Needless to say, the man made a quick exit.
Blondin demonstrated that there is often a great difference between belief, ..... the faith we SAY we have, ..... and the action faith we really have.
The measure of our faith is Not our "talk" -- it is our "walk". It is what we do. It is not what we say. It is what we will do!
Simply stating that you are a great race-car driver, basketball player, Christian, .... whatever it is you may be .... Does not mean anything unless you can demonstrate who you are ..... in a way that would convince any and all who saw them.