Summary: This message examines our tendency to expect someone else to carry our load within the church.
The church family was shocked this week to learn of the passing of one of our most faithful members. Your state of shock is obvious as you begin to look around to try and figure out who is not here. I was saddened when I learned that Someone Else has gone on to receive his reward. This death leaves us with some pretty big shoes to fill. Someone Else had been a part of our church family for many years, and he did far more than a normal person’s share of the work. He served as an inspiration for so many. Whenever there was a leadership role to be filled, everyone just knew that Someone Else would fill it. When there was a class to be taught, a ministry to be carried out or a project to be done, Someone Else was always counted on to get the job done. We just always assumed that Someone Else would be there on the front lines producing the results that we all desired. Someone Else is no longer with us, so it is up to each of us to pick up the slack and accomplish the work that has always been left for Someone Else to get done. This little parable brings an important truth into focus. There is no retirement plan in the Kingdom of God; we are expected to serve until all our days upon this earth are through. There is no one but ourselves to accomplish the work that God has called us to do. In fact we will be held accountable for what we did or did not do. In our text James shows the importance of each one of us carrying our share of the workload in the Kingdom.
I. Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach or a meeting to attend, one name was on top of everyone’s list: “Let Someone Else do it.”
A. Right actions provide concrete evidence of true faith.
1. A simple acknowledgement of faith is not sufficient; it must be visible in the way that we live our lives.
2. Faith is more than simply believing the right doctrines and attending church on a regular basis. You can do this and still be in danger of spending eternity in Hell.
3. James is making it very clear that genuine faith is always put into action.
4. However, sadly enough many have always relied on Someone Else to prove their faith.
B. In no shape or form is James advocating that salvation is based upon works.
1. These works that James is writing about are not works done apart from faith or done in place of faith. These are works done because of faith.
2. Too many Christians believe that all they have to do is come and sit in a pew and throw a few bucks in the plate and that will confirm their place in Heaven.
3. James seems to imply that God is going to hold each of us accountable if we do not display an active faith.
4. Listen to Jesus’ thoughts in regard to people with this mistaken view and who are guilty of always passing the buck to Someone Else, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:16—NIV)
C. When it came to placing your trust fully in the Lord it seemed as though Someone Else was the only one willing to do so.
1. The area in which this is most evident is that of stewardship. Perhaps this is because that so many do not fully understand the concept.
2. When the Bible talks about stewardship it never just involves money. It involves time and talents as well.
3. We can boast about what we believe and about the fact that we have faith but if it is not revealed in an unselfish life style, it is meaningless.
4. True faith requires that we trust God completely with our time, talents and money.
II. Whenever there was a need to be met in the church, everyone just assumed that Someone Else would rise to the occasion and meet it.
A. True faith always has a direct effect upon the believer’s attitude and behavior.
1. There are two essential ingredients to true faith: commitment and right actions.
2. James provides us with a vivid description of what false faith looks like. In fact it seems to parallel John’s description of false love in 1 John.
3. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20—NIV)
4. Just as true love is always shown through our actions; true faith is shown in the same way.