Sermons

Summary: A continuing look at God's call to follow Him. Looking at how we portray ourselves.

Fake vs. Real

James 2:14-26

July 26, 2020

When you think about our world today, have you ever noticed how many imitation products there are? I guess you could call them fake -

Think about it -

I could walk around in style with a fake rolex watch that looks just like the real thing. I can have fake or imitation perfume or cologne, fake nails, fake hair, fake Apple products, fake Nike Air Jordan's, fake Adidas clothes, I can put fake sugar in my coffee and I can wear fake designer clothes, along with my fake leather, while I talk about fake news.

Of course, sometimes fake works just as well as the real thing. Sometimes fake teeth are better than no teeth. But there is one area in life where fake doesn’t work and you need the real thing. We need to have real faith, not fake faith.

When you think about it, without faith, we would not be able to overcome some of the obstacles we face in life. Fake faith will never have the power to help or save you. Fake faith will never answer prayers nor will it transform you.

I’ve been kind of stuck in the book of James and for the next 2 weeks, we’re going to look at the same section of scripture, James 2:14-26. The hope from today is that we will better understand what fake faith is . . . and that will lead us to next week where we look at little more at what it means to put our faith into action.

Let me read from James 2, beginning in verse 14 -

14 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?

As I’ve said before, some people believe James and Paul are contradicting each other. But really they are complimenting each other. Paul is emphasizing how do we know we are saved. James is emphasizing how to show you are saved. Paul focuses on the root of our salvation, which is internal and unseen; while James focuses on the effects of our salvation, which is external and seen by others.

So, James tells us some things about real faith, but it’s interesting that he starts out by telling us some things real faith is not.

Today we’re going to look at those things, examples of when we’re not showing real faith. In James 2:14, he wrote -

14 What good is it, my brothers, IF SOMEONE SAYS he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?

The key is when James wrote, “if someone says they have faith. . .” That’s the main point in this first test of showing you have real faith.

In other words REAL FAITH IS MORE THAN JUST THE WORDS I SAY. It’s more than just a memorized prayer. It’s even more than memorizing scripture. There are lots of people with no faith who can quote scripture better than we can.

Claiming that I have faith and knowing all the Christianese, knowing the buzz words and what all the theology is about doesn’t mean I have faith. This may sound rude, but just because I say I have faith, doesn’t mean I have faith.

Just because I say I can dunk a basketball doesn’t mean I can. Just because I say I can play the piano, doesn’t mean I can. Think about what’s been going in our world right now. Between the pandemic and social justice issues; and in an upcoming election . . . and many people who claim to be Christian certainly have not acted that way. Actions speak loudly.

James is telling us - just because you say you have faith, doesn’t mean you have faith. Faith is more than words. Listen to these words from Jesus in Matthew 7:21

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,

but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Do you hear those words from Jesus? Just because you say Lord, doesn’t mean you will enter heaven. It’s not just what you say, it’s what you do in the name of faith. Now, I have to be a little careful here, because I’m not the judge, but your actions will be a true representation of your faith. That’s what Jesus is meaning. If you have nothing to show for your faith, then is your faith really real?

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