Summary: Real faith is not just something you say, feel, think or even believe, it is something you DO.
"What does it take to really please God?"
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
The only way you can please God is by faith.
What does that really mean? We say we are believers -we believe Him.
Many people may say that they believe Him. What does that really mean?
I want to please Him - I want to have the faith that truly pleases Him.
James gives us the answer – what kind of a faith is God expecting from us?
James tells us 4 things that faith is not – and then he tells us what it is.
WHAT IS REAL FAITH?
James 2:14 "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?"
1. Real faith is not just something you SAY
Take note of the word here - "claim". This man claims to have faith…
It cannot just be something you SAY. It cannot be something you just TALK about.
Jesus criticised the religious people in His times - "These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." (Matt 15:8).
You can say the right things and yet without love for God.
SHOW YOU CARE
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 words of pity, one man handed the boy a dollar. Then he turned to the group and said, "I care a dollar worth. How much do the rest of you care?"
James tells out that words don’t mean much if we have the ability to do more.
Real faith is not just something you SAY…
James 2:15-16 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
2. Real faith is not just something you FEEL
You may feel sorry for those who do not know Jesus.
You may feel sad for those who are struggling in this world of pain and suffering…
You may sympathise with those who are poor and sick, but what good is it?
Sometimes we confuse emotions and feelings with faith. We thought God will be happy as long as there is this feeling of sympathy for others. “If I feel for those who are lost without Christ, God is happy.”
James says, you feel sad for them, but “does nothing about it, what good is it?”
Real faith is not just something you FEEL…
James 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds."
3. Real faith is not just something you THINK
Some people think of faith as a philosophy – I choose to believe in this, you believe in that. It is something up in the mind; a belief in certain facts and knowledge.
In order words, you can have it and do nothing about it.
• You can believe in God and yet live anyway you like.
• You can believe in the Bible, and not do what God says.
• You can believe that smoking kills, and yet continue to smoke.
But real faith is not just something you THINK about…
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder.
4. Real faith is not just something you BELIEVE
A lot of people have strong beliefs about Jesus Christ, strong beliefs about God, strong beliefs about the Bible. We sometimes here people says, “I believe in this… I believe in that…”
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.
He probably knows Him more than you – because he shudders when he knows about God.
The Christian faith is not about saying… feeling… thinking… believing…
These are not enough. Jesus did not come to give us a set of doctrines. He came to give us a new life. So? We are expected to LIVE it!
James 2:20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?
5. REAL FAITH IS SOMETHING YOU DO
The words that James uses are “deeds” (v.14), “action” (v.17), “what I do” (v.19).
James 2:18 Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.