Summary: Authentic Faith is always accompanied by works.
The Proof of Faith
* To establish a historical event is to depend on two principles; a) evidence. Evidence is all we have left of past events because we cannot recreate them and, b) determine what is probable, not what is possible. All kinds of things are ‘possible’, but generally, the probable is accepted as the established facts.
* In the matter of faith, we can view evidence, but there also must be proof. Proof is something which can be recreated and authentic faith recreates almost daily those spiritual things which points people to Christ.
* Tonight, I am keenly aware of my call to this congregation to a spiritual reawakening or ‘revival’ and as I have been listening, praying, & studying for the weeks to come, my heart is more convicted than ever that revival in this place is desperately needed. As I have studied our text for tonight, it seems to me that the Americanized view of faith is an obstacle to God pouring out His Spirit on His people.
* From our text, let’s consider 5 snapshots James gives us about ‘faith’ with our minds open to what our Lord had in mind for HIS people of FAITH!
1. The Examination of faith – A trip to the doctor will, in most cases, results in an examination. In order to treat ‘whatever’ is wrong with you or to discover there is NOTHING wrong with you, He must check out some things in your body. An examination reveals your health as well as you sickness. (Reread verse 14) Can you hear the almost sarcastic question? What good is it? Is it a saving faith? We do not work to receive our faith; we work to reveal our faith. We do not work for our faith, we faith from our faith. Notice how many times faith and works are mentioned in our text and conclude with me that “faith & works” are partners in the life of an authentic believer (and neither one is a ‘silent partner’).
* Medical professional routinely express thanksgiving for the design of the human body. If there is a problem with your knee which cannot be diagnosed, do you know what the doctor is likely to do? He is likely to compare your hurting knee to your good knee to understand how the nuances of your anatomy. To properly examine our faith, we must have a healthy faith to compare it with. Have you ever considered comparing your faith with someone whom we know possessed a healthy faith? It’s rather humbling to walk through the hall of faith and compare your own faith to that of Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Moses, Joshua, and Enoch. How does my faith stack up against these men of God? Jesus said, “If we have faith only the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains.”
* I submit that a follow up to the examination is;
2. The Expectation of faith – Authentic faith leads to faithful works, every time! In short, this is the clear expectation of faith. A faith with no works was not even on the grid in the first century. People ‘of faith’ lived their lives like people ‘with faith’ who did things ‘by faith.’ Faith was not an abstract concept; it was & is a life-altering truth. To read verses 15 & 16 is to be reminded of 1 John 3:17.