Summary: Sermon three in a series of seven sermons based on Living the Christian Life - out of James
Living the Christian Life
It’s all About Faith
It’s a term that we hear all of the time, “You’ve gotta have faith.” Really church, what is faith? We’ve all heard the Hebrews 11:1 definition, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. How do we put our faith into action – or better than that, what is our faith truly based upon? Today, let’s search this chapter to find answers on where we stand as individuals as to “Where our faith lies”
I. Where does God stand in your life?
a. The chapter begins with the rich and the poor
i. Judgment is cast and favor is given to the rich man, due to his higher look than that of the poor man.
ii. James reminds us of the passage from Matthew 5 about God choosing the poor of the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom of the world.
b. Think of this, a Christian is to be Christ-like – possessing all of what is called “Fruits” of the Spirit, which we discussed last week. Let’s imagine something:
i. A medical doctor is to possess a degree from a 4 year institution, then go on for an extended period of time in graduate school and in residency to obtain their medical license to be able to practice medicine in any state of the union. What if this doctor decided to skip a few classes on surgical procedures in his time on campus? What if you had this doctor has your primary care giver? You’d be concerned.
ii. I liken that to a Christian who does not possess the total fruits of the spirit. James talks strictly about sin, not just one sin, but all. If you sin once, you’re guilty of all. A Christian is one who strives to live totally like Christ and be like Christ and do all things in His name. Don’t sit in here this morning unless you’re here for Jesus. When we fail in life, we are much like this doctor who skipped class. We make our statement of faith at that point in time – our faith is extremely weak – we try to solve things ourselves instead of going to God in prayer and into His word to find the answers of life. If you judge someone else, look for a finger to pointing right back at you.
iii. Are you living your life at the foot of the cross, striving to be like Jesus? Or is God just something that you fall back on in times of trouble, calling on Him when you need Him in an emergency?
c. What do others see in you?
d. More importantly, what does God see in You?
i. Himself or the World?
II. Works aren’t going to get you to Heaven
a. We’ve heard folks say that they’ve lived a good life, been to church on occasion, give to the poor and other organizations. They’ve also said that they’ve never trusted Christ as their Savior and have said that they feel that it will be enough for them to get to Heaven, because they’ve done good.
i. It’s not good enough, unless you have trusted Christ in Faith.
ii. Good things do not matter unless Jesus is the Lord of your life.
1. “Works without faith is dead” – It’s worthless, it doesn’t matter.
a. You can give money to the church all day long, but if you don’t Jesus, you’re just giving money to a charitable organization. It’s not going to get you to Heaven.
b. You can help the poor, it’s not going to get you anywhere
c. However today, there is hope for you and yours!
III. Faith in Jesus Christ will get you to Heaven!
a. Verse 18 – If you have faith, the works will show!
b. True authentic real faith will come out in the mix through your works, through your actions, through your deeds.
c. Remember Ephesians 2:8-9?
i. By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast!
d. We are saved through faith
i. Not of ourselves, anything that we have done
ii. Not of our works
iii. But all because of His matchless gift.
1. The gift of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins
2. All of the money in the world cannot buy salvation.
a. All of the greatest deeds in society’s history cannot buy salvation.
b. Billy Graham cannot buy you salvation.
c. Only you can obtain salvation through Jesus Christ by doing one thing – believing through Faith that Jesus died for you and you confessing your sins to Him.