Summary: A fuzzy faith won’t help you on the day of judgement... even demons believe in God and tremble in fear.
Saving Your Soul
The X Movement
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A. Turn with me in your bibles to James, chapter 2.
1. We’re going to look today, at what it means to have real, saving faith.
a. This is such an important topic because the eternal state of our souls depends of what kind of faith we have.
- This is one area we don’t want to be fuzzy on.
b. Because the fact is that we are all going to die one day and stand before God in judgement.
- And everybody wants to make it in... at least most people, they want to go to Heaven... they want eternal life... they want to pass.
c. And since we don’t know when that day of death is, we want to be ready.
- We need to be sure... we need a salvation that is secure based on what God says in his word.
- Not based on what we made up... or what we picked up from this religion, or that tradition, or our parents.
d. This isn’t Burger King... we can’t have it our way.
- God is very clear about what true saving faith should look like, and what it doesn’t.
- And it’s really not all that complicated... so it’s important that we get it right.
- Look James 2:17-20.
I. James 2:17-20 (NLT) "So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?" (NLT)
A. If you ask most people today, they would say that they believe in God.
1. Especially in our country, we have a strange spiritual species called cultural Christians.
a. These are people who believe in God, they celebrate Christmas, they have crosses hanging on their walls, they might even go to church.
- They own a Bible, they are good and moral, they provide for their families, and on the surface it looks like they have it all together.
b. But the question is, is that enough?
- Is that really what it’s all about?
- Is it possible to have all that and miss the whole point?
c. Nearly 80% of people in America today claim to follow Jesus, and yet our country is in moral disarray.
- Most people own a Bible, but few actually read and understand it.
d. But this is nothing new.
- Cultural Christian are around today, and they were around during James’ time as well.
e. So James sends out a warning saying that believing in God isn’t enough.
- Someone might argue, "Aren’t we saved by faith alone, through Christ alone."
- The answer to that is yes... of course.
f. But that’s not the end of the story.
- That’s only one side of the coin.
- And if we don’t take the time to address the rest, then our faith is really not complete.
2. So, James uses the example of demons to make his point.
a. This is a very interesting line of thought.
- I mean, if someone wants to encourage people to have faith in God this isn’t necessarily the first place one would look to for an example, because demons are Satan’s angels... they are evil.
- And yet look at how this unfolds.
b. Again, James 2:19
"You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?"
- James says that demons believe in God in that they recognize the truth of who God is.
c. There’s a great example of this found in Mark 1:23-28 NLT (I’ll just read it to you, you don’t have to turn there).
23 Suddenly, a man in the synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit began shouting, 24 “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One sent from God!”
25 Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” he ordered. 26 At that, the evil spirit screamed, threw the man into a convulsion, and then came out of him.
27 Amazement gripped the audience, and they began to discuss what had happened. “What sort of new teaching is this?” they asked excitedly. “It has such authority! Even evil spirits obey his orders!” (NLT)