Summary: We’re not saved by works, but saved people do God’s work.
Proving Your Faith
Rev. Brian Bill
February 23-24, 2019
I’ve always enjoyed reading church signs. Here are some of my favorites…
• Whoever is praying for snow…please stop. I confess. That’s on me.
• God’s love is deeper than this snow. I’m so grateful for Gary Pinger’s leadership of our Snow Removal Team! I’m told they have been out to plow and shovel at least 20 different times this winter. Incidentally, if we were to contract this, each time would cost $1,000, not including the cost of salt. This team has saved us over $20,000! When I thanked Gary this week, he filled me in all the team does - snow removal, sidewalk clearing, driveway clearing, salting, vehicle moving, dumpster clearing, taking salt into the building, going to get pallets of salt twice, loading salt into truck, cleaning and repairing manual salt spreaders, replacing and welding a bracket on the actual plow, repairing the main truck salt spreader and repairing several plow parts. In our spare time we go to church!!
• Don’t let worries kill you…let the church help.
• Having trouble sleeping? Try one of our sermons.
• What is missing from CH RCH? U R.
• The Lite Church…24% fewer commitments, home of the 7.5% tithe, 15-minute sermons, 45-minute worship services, we have only 8 Commandments – your choice, we use just 3 spiritual laws and have an 800-year millennium. Everything you’ve wanted in a church…and less!
Last weekend we learned, “If you want God’s favor, don’t treat people with favoritism.” As we continue in our series called Faith Works, we come today to the heart of the Book of James found in 2:14-26. We’ll see true faith not only leads to impartiality but also to activity: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 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? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
Here’s what we’re going to learn: We’re not saved by works, but saved people do God’s work.
The word “faith” is used 11 different times in this passage and it’s used in at least three different ways.
• Surfacy faith (2:14-17)
• Syrupy faith (2:18-19)
• Saving faith (2:20-26)
1. Surfacy faith. James begins with two questions in verse 14: “What good is it, brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” He’s basically asking, “What’s the use or advantage of saying you have faith if it doesn’t show in works? Can that kind of faith save him?” Once again, James asks tough questions with a tender tone to show our talk must affect our walk.
He then gives an unforgettable example in verses 15-16: “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?” Notice this is a fellow believer who has no food or clothing. James makes it personal, “and one of you says…” The phrase, “Go in peace” was a common Jewish greeting but the word “go” can mean, “Go away” or “get out of my sight.”
Notice how James uses the phrase, “What good is it?” two times to show surfacy faith is useless. We can’t talk it if we’re not willing to walk it. Workless faith is worthless faith. We see something very similar in 1 John 3:17-18: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”