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