Summary: What kind of faith is God looking for in your life?


James 2:14-

Two country fellows that met on a back road one afternoon. One had a possum-hunting dog with him. The other said, “How much will you take for that dog?” The owner said he would take $100 for it. The other fellow pulled out his checkbook and wrote him a check. The owner shook his head and said he would not take a check. The fellow said, “The checks good. I’m a trustee in the Methodist Church.” The owner took the check and handed him the dog. A little later he was talking to a friend and asked him what a trustee in a Methodist Church was.” The friend said, “I’m not sure, but I think it is something like being a deacon in a Baptist Church.” The fellow said, “Ah, shucks, there goes my dog.”

In these 13 verses James speaks of faith and works 13 times. He speaks of a real faith and a revealed faith. He speaks of a false faith and a fruitless faith. He speaks of the difference between a profession and a possession. He speaks of one that says he has faith and one that shows he has faith.

Favorite cookbook. Find the recipe to your favorite dish in there. Now read it. Doesn’t do much for you, does it? It doesn’t do much for you, because all you’re looking at is the facts of the recipe. And facts don’t make your mouth water. But wait till she starts cooking it. Then your mouth will water. That’s what James does in this passage. His point is really a very simple one. It’s as simple as reading a recipe card.

Which old adage offers the best council about life in general?

A. “Look before you leap.”

B. “He who hesitates is lost.”

Raise your hand for the one you think is in general the best choice for a philosophy to live your life by. Two exactly opposite adages, yet it really does depend. There is some tension between these two ideals.

Martin Luther rejected the book of James calling it a “right strawy epistle.” Luther felt James taught that man was saved by faith and works. He simply misunderstood what James was saying. Luther believed and taught the very thing that James is saying.“Yea, it is impossible to separate works from faith, as impossible to separate burning and shining from fire.” James is not saying that works is the path but rather the proof and product of salvation. James declares that the absence of works is very revealing.


A VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION: 14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

George Barna found that most Americans believe that salvation is an outcome to be earned through their good character or behavior. 57 % believe that “if a person is generally good, or does enough good things for others during their lives, they will earn a place in heaven."

Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

SPURGEON: The grace that does not change my life cannot save my soul

LITE CHURCH: 24% less commitment-5% tithe-15 min sermon-45 min service-8 commandments-3 spiritual laws- everything only less

Greek scholar A.T. Robertson says that in the case of both questions, the expected answer is a negative one. The grammatical form of the questions calls for a negative answer.

In the Greek there is the definite article “that” which means that James is asking, “Can that kind of faith save him?” What kind of faith? It is the kind of faith that has no works. Can that kind of faith save a person? The answer is absolutely not.

John Calvin said, “It is faith alone that justifies, but faith that justifies is never alone.”

AN IMPORTANT EXAMPLE: 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

I John 3:17-18 “But whoso hath this world’s good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

give them what is necessary MAN ON 11th STREET

17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

A young boy, on an errand for his mother, had just bought a dozen eggs. Walking out of the store, he tripped and dropped the sack. All the eggs broke, and the sidewalk was a mess. The boy tried not to cry. A few people gathered to see if he was OK and to tell him how sorry they were. In the midst of the works of pity, one man handed the boy a quarter. Then he turned to the group and said, "I care 25 cents worth. How much do the rest of you care?"

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