Is Your Faith Real
To which the passage speaks –There are many people who are not really what they say they are. There was a movie out last year I believe about a man named Frank Abagnale. The movie was written after the book entitled “Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake”. It is about a man who lived a lie. He pretended to be something he was not. An airplane pilot, doctor, professor, etc.
Even though he wore a pilot’s uniform, a doctor’s gown, and sat at a professor’s desk didn’t make him a pilot, a doctor or a professor. There are a great many people faking it today. Just think back to the terrorists who killed many Americans on 9-11. they pretended to be Americans living in America but truly were not really Americans. Real Americans don’t act like that. You see just like Frank Abagnale you can’t just get dressed up in the uniform you and pretend to be a pilot when you really don’t even know how to fly. Many people today do just that when they claim to be Christians. they are just faking it.they get dressed up in their Sunday best and trot off to Church and they look the part. But really down deep inside they don’t know Jesus from Adam. The Church is partly to blame. It makes it easy for a person to claim to be a Christian but truly isn’t saved and born again. James doesn’t make it easy in James 2:14-26. Let us take a look and see what God has to say to us tiday on this matter.
Question is to us today “is your faith real?” Let us see what the LORD has to say to us in the book of James.
1. Faith that doesn’t produce good works is not faith at all.
Ex. James proposes the question (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?
Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is something that is real and in something that is real.
Ill. James illustrates the question (James 2:15-16) If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them “go in peace, be warmed and be filled, and you don’t give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
You wish them well but do nothing. Is there a benefit in such behavior ? You say one thing and do another. Is there a profit or benefit from what you have said ?
Appl. There is no profit in saying something that is not real or true. There is no profit in saying your going to work for your money but stay at home and do nothing. It’s not going to profit us anything by saying we have faith but really do not. How do we know we don’t have faith ?
Ex. James answers the question (James 2:17-18) Even so faith without works being by itself is dead. But someone may well say you have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works and I will show you my faith by my works.
Eph. 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Paul sets the precedent (it is by faith) James doesn’t contradict the precedent but defines it. (Faith that’s real produces works).
Tell me you have faith, I will show you mine.
Ill. You’ve heard the old adage “the proof is in the pudding.”
James gives us four illustrations
A. (James 2:19-20) You believe that God is One, and you do well, the demons also believe and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow that faith without works is useless?
You believe there is one God, so do the demons yet they fear His wrath while in His presence. (Mark 5:7b) “I implore you by God do not torment me!”
It is foolishness to believe a faith that doesn’t produce works.
B. Abraham Genesis 22:9-18 Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”
He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you 1fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.
Abraham called the name of that place 1The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will 2be provided.”
Then the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven,
and said, “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,
indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your 1seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your 1seed shall possess the gate of 2their enemies.
“In your 1seed all the nations of the earth shall 2be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
(James2:21-22) Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the alter? You see that faith was working with his works and as a result of the works faith was perfected.
You see his works didn’t justify him but
(Romans 4:2-3). For is Abraham was justified by works he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
In Gen. 22 his obedient work proved his faith genuine. Justification comes by faith that produces good works.
C. Rahab the harlot in Jericho. Joshua 2:1-13 Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and 1lodged there.
It was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land.”
And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.”
But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from.
“It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.”
But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof.
So the men pursued them on the road to the Jordan to the fords; and as soon as those who were pursuing them had gone out, they shut the gate.
Now before they lay down, 1she came up to them on the roof,
and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have 1melted away before you.
“For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the 1Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.
“When we heard it, our hearts melted and no 1courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.
“Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s household, and give me a pledge of 1truth,
and 1spare my father and my mother and my brothers and my sisters, with all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.”
Heb. 11:31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
D. the body doesn’t exist without the spirit so faith doesn’t exist without works.
Titus 1:16 they profess to know God but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.
Appl. If your faith doesn’t produce good works than you better question your faith. 2 Corinthians 13: Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?
Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?
This is what happens to people who try to use works to save themselves. Works are the fruit of our faith not the root.
It’s like in Matthew 25:31-46. “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
“All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?
‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink;
I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not 1take care of You?’
“Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
“These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”