Friday, December 9, 2011

Digging Deeper (James 2:14-17

 Digging Deeper 12 James 2:14-17

            Before we dig into the passage this week we need to say a little bit about faith. So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ Romans 10:17 Christ is the source of our faith. Faith is never something that we drum up ourselves, it is never our faith plus what God can provide, faith comes from Christ we receive faith we do not produce it. Second faith can and should increase. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 As faith increases so does assurance and hope, the more we are convinced of the things that we have not yet seen the more obedient we become . Faith has a purpose. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those that seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 God cannot be pleased unless faith is exercised in the life of a believer. One more thing, if God is not pleased with our lives without faith being exercised, and faith comes from the word of Christ, how important does it become that we study and know the words of Christ. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
            In this Christmas season as always there are debates, is December the 25th really Jesus’ birthday. Should we be offended when someone says “Happy Holiday”? What about the tree should we put one up or not, what about Santa, presents, candy, family dinners? This time of year is a time of celebration but the celebration should be a product of faith, faith that we have received from the words of Christ. Faith that acts to further the cause of Christ. The debate is not what we do this Christmas season the question is why we do what we do. Faith motivates us to be pleasing to God.
            Let’s dig a little deeper in God’s Word. James 2:14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?  James uses a familiar expression “what’s it good for” if faith is just an idea what’s the use? At this point James is not debating if someone has faith or not he is merely making a point. “Ok, you say you have faith but it does not affect what you say or what you do so what good is it?” The question here is not if the faith produced by works can save you, the question is can a faith that does not produce works save you.
            James 2:15-16 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace,]be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? James gives us this illustration but note that this is not teaching that without faith you cannot take care of the needy that is not the point at all. James simply states that just telling someone that is hungry and cold to be full and warm does nothing. Just saying that we have faith without the action of faith is just that, saying that we have faith. Back to Hebrews 1:11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Faith motivates action, what good is faith if there is no conviction or no evidence of belief and trust? Faith is not a just a good idea it is the motivation for how we live our lives.
            James 2:17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. Now James lays it all out on the table. The fact here is not that faith without works is a weak faith, it is a non-existent faith. It is dead. When something is dead it does not exist. The “idea” of faith is nothing! But faith in action can move mountains.
Now that we have Dug a little Deeper what do we believe?
What do we believe about God?                                                            
1.    God is pleased when we exercise faith in Him.
2.     God produces the faith that we have in Him.
3.     God gives us faith through His infallible Word.
What do we believe about ourselves?
1.     We cannot have a relationship with God without faith.
2.     We cannot please God without faith.
3.    We are saved by a faith that produces works for God’s glory.
4.       Our works are evidence of faith.

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