Summary: To please God, our faith must be followed by action.
LET’EM WORK, LET’EM LIVE
JAMES 2: 14 – 26
AUGUST 12, 2001
INTRODUCTION: Story of lil Leroy and the birthday bicycle.
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Is it possible for Christ to save me from the perils of wickedness without saving me for the cause of goodness? Is Christianity mere mental assent to a fact of history or is it a life commitment in love to a person? The answer would seem self – evident. But, strange as it may be, thousands consider themselves Christians when they have absolutely nothing to prove it. They said something with their lips; it did not touch their hearts or move their hands; yet they call themselves Christians. Christian means Christ – like! James states that death dwells in the profession of faith that is void of action!
THESIS SENTENCE: To please God, our faith must be followed by action.
I. A PROFESSION OF FAITH WITHOUT ACTION IS NO FAITH AT ALL! (VERSES 14 THROUGH 20)
A. WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE:
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him (verse14)?”
1. This is say so, but don’t do so faith! Do as I say, not as I do!
2. The lips are moving, but the feet are not.
3. The language, Christianese, is right, but the body language is all wrong. 4. Indifference is the key word!
5. AND THE QUESTION OF THE DAY, CAN SUCH FAITH SAVE?
B. A HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE:
“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it (verse15—16)?”
1. James gives some criteria: a brother or a sister, which is probably the equivalent of Jesus’ word “Neighbor,” in the story of the good Samaritan.
2. The point: are good wishes and warm sentiment adequate responses to real need?
3. IS the Road to HELL paved with good intentions?
ILLUSTRATION: Matthew 25 reveals what it will Look like when the Son of Man comes in His Glory, with all the angels with Him. He will separate the people of all nations as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
To the goats He will say, “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life (Matthew 25: 41—46).”
C. WHAT IT IS WORTH:
“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (verse 17).”
1. AS someone said to me about my singing ability, It and $1.00 might get me a Diet Pepsi at the Mini Mart.
2. It cannot save is the bottom line reality. YOU are not going to make it into eternity with Jesus, if your faith has no tangible action to follow.
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder (verse 19).”
3. You can be ORTHODOX and go to HELL.
4. James says the Demons believe correctly, and their belief is based on action, “THEY SHUDER!” James states that they know what the future holds for them because GOD is REAL!
5. BUT, the demons don’t change just because they believe.
6. Could you be a demon? Could you believe correctly and ACT WRONGLY? Do you shudder at your future?
7. It leaves you a FOOL (verse 20)!
ILLUSTRATION: In Matthew 7: 21 – 23, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
II. A PROFESSION OF FAITH FOLLOWED BY ACTION IS REAL FAITH! (VERSES 21-26)