Summary: We have to decide WHAT kind of faith we will have!
• SLIDE #1
• There is a widely told story that George Sweating, in his book on James, "How to Solve Conflicts," tells.
• It is the story of Charles Blondin (28 February 1824 – 19 February 1897), the great French daredevil and tightrope walker.
• While performing on a cable across Niagara Falls, he asked his audience, "How many believe I can walk across this tightrope pushing a wheelbarrow?"
• To which the people cheered loudly. "How many believe I can push the wheelbarrow across the cable with a man in it?"
• Again, there came a loud response. Blondin then pointed to one of the most enthusiastic men in the audience, and, said,
• "You’re my man, now get into the wheelbarrow!!" Needless to say, the man made a quick exit.
• I want to take some time today to explore the issue of faith. We toss the word around a lot and we use it a lot of different ways.
• According to and August 14, 2006 article and survey from the Barna Research group, “Americans describe their personal faith in various ways. While more than eight out of ten (84%) view themselves as Christian, a lesser but significant majority label themselves as a "committed Christian" (60%). Within that framework, people’s self-identity includes 45% who call themselves a "born again Christian,”
• This made me wonder what people mean when they identify themselves as a Christian, or to what we will examine today, what does it mean when a person starts using the word “FAITH” in their life?
• When one says they have faith in God, faith in Jesus, what are they really saying?
• Faith is important to God, He wants us to have it and He wants us to exercise it.
• SLIDE #2
• Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
• The word means, “to trust,” The dictionary defines faith as follows: belief in, devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof.
• Biblically speaking faith may be better defined as “whole-souled trust in God based on the sufficiency of the evidence.”
• In the passage we will study together today, we will see three different things people mean when they use the word FAITH.
• We see a couple of them painted for us in the Blondin story.
• This is something that is important for us to look at and understand because the type of faith that we exhibit will determine our relationship with Jesus, which determines our salvation. There is only one type of faith that is pleasing to God.
• SLIDE #3
• James 2:14–17 (ESV) 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
• Let us begin by looking at the first type of faith that is alluded to in our passage.
• SLIDE #4
I. Verbal faith.
• James poses a question in verse 14, it is a simple question.
• If a person SAYS they have faith, but does not demonstrate it, can that faith save him?
• The question is framed in such a way in the original text that a negative answer is expected.
• This is like the person who would tell everyone that they would get into the wheelbarrow, but when given the chance would decline.
• James is not talking about a person who has no faith, just a person who has no works that exhibit their faith. Will this type of faith save you?
• This type of faith is the all talk and no walk faith. James asks his readers if a verbal faith really does anything for them.
• The KJV asks, “what profit” do you get from this type of faith. The NIV asks, “what good is it”.
• The verbal faith is one in which we tell people we are saved, but our life does not reflect it. Once again, we are not speaking of a person who is growing in their faith, but a person who makes no effort to grow.
• A verbal faith is one in which we talk the talk but we do not walk the walk, it is a faith in which we decide we are saved but we do nothing or little of nothing to show it.