Summary: A challenge not to just talk about faith, but to live it out.
This morning I am beginning a new sermon series called 40 Days of Faith. For the next forty days (or six weeks), I will be sharing six messages that I hope will strengthen your faith and mine.
1. Living Out Your Faith
2. Deepening Your Faith (Prayer)
3. Deepening Your Faith (Bible Study)
4. Deepening Your Faith (Giving)
5. Deepening Your Faith (Ministry)
6. Sharing Your Faith
If you want to gain physical strength, there are certain things you must do (eat right, exercise, sleep, etc.). The same is true for spiritual strength. If you desire to strengthen your faith, there are certain habits you must practice (prayer, Bible study, giving, ministry, outreach, etc.). These are the fundamentals of the Christian life.
This morning’s message is called Living Out Your Faith. I want to challenge you to live out your faith. Faith is something that is supposed to change our lives. Over the next forty days, I hope that your life will be changed for the better.
14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If 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? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
“THE BIG IDEA”: Real faith results in deeds of obedience toward God and compassion toward others.
Faith isn’t just a Sunday morning thing. Your faith—if it’s real faith—should affect how you live your life throughout the week.
1. Real faith is more than words.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? (v. 14).
The word “claims” is very important. Does merely claiming to have faith mean that a person really has it? No. People claim many things without them being true. This week some people claimed that 12 of the 13 trapped miners in West Virginia were alive. But unfortunately that wasn’t correct. Only 1 of the 13 was alive. What people say is often not true. Many people who claim to be Christians are actually not genuine believers. They say they have faith but really do not.
James asks, “Can such faith save him [the person who claims to have faith but has no deeds]?” The key word in that question is “such.” In other words, “Can that kind of faith save him?” The answer is, “No.” The word “save” refers to acquittal at the final judgment. The question is, “What type of faith can guarantee a favorable verdict in the final judgment?” Not a faith that consists only of talk. Only a faith that produces works can provide security in the final judgment.
The King James Version is a bit misleading here. It says, “Can faith save him?” But James is not questioning whether or not genuine faith in Christ saves. He is saying that a person who says he has faith but had no deeds really does not possess saving faith. The Bible is clear that we are saved by faith alone. For example, we read in Ephesians 2:8-9, “It is by grace you have been, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Faith alone saves, but faith is never alone. Faith always produces deeds.
Real faith is more than words. Not everyone who has a Christian bumper sticker on his car has real faith. Not everyone who holds up a John 3:16 sign at a football game has real faith. Jesus said, “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” (Matt. 7:21).