Summary: James warns us against False Faith and Faithless Works.

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Sermon Notes May 4, 2014

How to Know that Your Faith is Real

James 2:14-26

There is a tremendous difference between something that is REAL and something that is FAKE. When our children were young one of their favorite gifts for their mom was a bottle of knock-off perfume. Perhaps you remember the commercials “if you like Chanel, you’ll love ..... (whateveritscalled).” Kim appreciated those gifts because they came from her precious children, but you better believe that when I bought her perfume it was not the knock-off variety! HINT: Dad’s, for MOTHER’S DAY, get the real stuff!

A friend shared the story with me about his “fake Rolex” that he bought for $10 from a street vender in New York City. He had reservations, but needed a watch and thought this looked good. Asked everyone, “do you like my fake Rolex?” The battery died after about one year. He was going to throw it away, but he liked the watch and it kept good time, so he brought it to a jeweler to see if the battery on his “fake Rolex” could be replaced. He discovered it was not a fake Rolex! It was the real deal. The watch that he bought for $10 was probably stolen and worth thousands.

What about your faith? Is it real or a look-alike?

James asks that ver question in James 2:14-26

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14, ESV)

The SUBJECT of this passage is in verse 14: Can a faith that demonstrates no works save someone’s soul?

Richard Tow writes, “On the surface it may look like James is comparing faith and works. But in reality he is contrasting superficial faith ...and saving faith, biblical faith.” (Source: Richard Tow, “Is Your Faith Real?”

James is making a contrast between two extremes.

Extreme One: FALSE FAITH. James 2:15-17

Both extremes are presented with the phrase, “....if someone says....”

Notice this expression in the first extreme. “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 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?” (James 2:15–16, ESV)

To illustrate this extreme, James describes a brother or sister poorly clothed and lacking in daily food. An unmentioned individual replies by giving a greeting. It would be the equivalent of saying, Shalom! Or Hey, Brother!

James describes this kind of faith is dead faith. “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)

James is not alone in his description of false faith. Jesus affirmed the possibility of FALSE FAITH when he said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46, ESV)

JUDAS is an example of false faith.

James asks, “can that KIND of FAITH save him?”

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