Summary: real faith does what it says
Sermon: “No hot air religion”
Point: “Real faith does what it says”
3-4 weeks ago, I was driving back home after dropping my daughter off for work. I had seen this homeless man walking along side Marietta Avenue several times before, and every time, I was reminded of the scripture that says, “Because you did it to one of the least of these you did to me.” On that day, I passed him by but about half a block later, I put my foot on the break and turned around. I empty my pockets of all the money I had and gave it to him. In return, he said thank you. I still felt bad because I knew that what I had done was nothing compared to what I could have done: I could have taken my jacket off and given it to him. I could have gone and bought him a meal. All I did was giving him a few dollars.
We can become so familiar with our faith & many other things that we lose the meaning of it:
• We can also grow so comfortable with living well that we forget that more than 40 million people in the US live in poverty (40,000,000)
• We can become so comfortable in our marriages that we forget how to be in love with each other. There’s love and respect but the affection of the first love is gone.
• We can become so familiar with God’s word that we forget how to act on it. We forget what we are supposed to do with it. It can produce a spiritual complacency within us. We know the truth. We know what is right. But it is possible to confuse knowing the truth with doing it.
This is exactly the message that James wants to bring across SIMPLE: (ARE YOU READY?): REAL FAITH DOES WHAT IT SAYS! (DISCLAIMER: We are so imperfect. We are so full of defects and mistake...)
WOULD YOU TURN WITH ME TO (NIV) James 1:22-27“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror (Moses/human/imperfect law) and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law (not the law of Moses but to love God & your neighbor) that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-- he will be blessed in what he does. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless (hot air religion). Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
And so DECEIVE yourselves. –
• What does it mean to DECEIVE oneself? Miscalculate & reason falsely. – a truth we are not seeing/accepting
o PARTY/GRADUATION: order food for 50 but invite 100 or don’t pay enough taxes thru year still expecting to get a return
• This is self-deception- Deuteronomy 11:16 “Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them.”
• When we believe faith is nothing but theory & speculations OR oscillate between knowing & doing: James 1:8 a double minded man is unstable in all he does;
o We are in danger of deceiving ourselves, living a life that looks like faith but without experiencing its power. REAL FAITH DOES WHAT IT SAYS!
• Knowing the word alone is not enough. We must learn to get a hold of the grace and power given to us through God’s word in order for us to live the word.
Do what it says. – We need to “act on what we hear”
o Dr. James Richards (GRACE: the power to change), “Knowledge only brings fulfillment when we put it into practice.” -Unhappy and skeptical Christians
o “Knowledge that cannot be put into practice will ultimately cause a denial of the truth”: We then become bearers of the truth but with no fruit to show for. But REAL FAITH… DOES WHAT IT SAYS!
o CLARIFICATION: We aren’t justified by our works but by faith alone (by grace we have been saved- Ephesians 2:8-9) but a faith that saves is never without works
Religion (worship that is real) that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless (There is impure and faulty) is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”- OUTWARD AND INWARD HOLINESS