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Living Out Our Faith Openly - v.17-18

Living Out Our Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Our text tonight is James 2:17-18 which says...
James 2:17–18 KJV 1900
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Already we have studied verses 14-16.
James 2:14–16 KJV 1900
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
And, we know from out study that this section is all about the relationship of faith and works.
However, before we go any further, lets do a quick word study. You should have a copy of the notes already.

Word Study

Verbs

Hath (3 times = hath, hast, or have) – to have (a feature); to contain or have some aspect or feature.
Is – to be (quality); to have the quality of being.
May say – to say (express); to express in words.
Shew (2 times = shew, will shew) – to show (present); to present or indicate to the view of others.

Nouns

Faith (4 times) – trust (faith); strong confidence in, and reliance upon, someone or something; often with the object of trust understood.
Works (4 times) – duty; work that a person is obliged to perform for moral or legal reasons.

Adverbs

Even so – and in the way indicated.
Not – a negative

Adjectives

Dead – useless; having no beneficial use or incapable of functioning usefully; conceived of as being without life.

Conjunctions

If – if perhaps.
Yea – but; yet; rather.
OK, let’s get into some...

SPIRITUAL APPLICATION

What is the Holy Spirit talking about?

Well, we already know that this section is about the relationship between faith and works. That was quite clear from verse 14.
James 2:14 KJV 1900
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Thus, verse 17-18 are a continuation of that subject.

What is the Holy Spirit saying about the relationship between faith and works?

Well, remember verses 15 and 16 which say...
James 2:15–16 KJV 1900
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
The Holy Spirit has given us this illustration demonstrating the futility of saying something and not backing it up with actions. Remember talk is cheap. If you want to truly prove something you say, then you must demonstrate that proof through your actions. So when we come to the next two verses we get to the heart of the matter. We have the words “even so.” As you might recall from our word study, the Holy Spirit is encouraging us to consider faith and work in the way indicated in preceding verses. In our consideration, we need to know that...
James 2:17 KJV 1900
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Here we find what we might term “DEAD FAITH.” You see a faith that is alive and living is a faith demonstrated by actions (works).
It is crucial that we make one thing clear here. We are saved through faith. We are not save through works. Faith is the instrument by which are joined to the grace of God. It is by grace we are saved. I make that point in order to emphasize the fact that your works cannot get you into heaven. Remember Ephesians 2:8-9 which says...
Ephesians 2:8–9 KJV 1900
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
There is, however, a direct correlation between faith and life. Galatians 2:20 gives us some insight to the point that I am trying to make.
Galatians 2:20 KJV 1900
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The interesting thing about this verse is that we find death, faith, and life woven throughout. Note that Christ was crucified. He died so that we might live. However, the life that we now live we live by our FAITH in the God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus, you might say that out of death came life. Yet, it is life dependent upon FAITH.
Now, going back to our text, we see that once our FAITH is established in Christ it is to be a LIVING FAITH. In other words, it is no longer dead. In fact, we are no longer dead.
Ephesians 2:1 KJV 1900
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Since we are now alive (quickened), the FAITH we have is not a DEAD FAITH, but should be LIVING FAITH accompanied by actions. Dead men tell no tales because they are dead and cannot function. It stands to reason then that a LIVING FAITH is a faith filled with action or works. If then you see a person who says they have faith, you would expect then to see a person talking, acting, and living like they have faith. Real faith is living faith. Real faith is active faith.
Let me give an example from Scripture demonstrating this point. Look over at Romans 4. In Romans 4, the Holy Spirit gives us the example of Abraham. The context of the passage we are about to read is the fact that Abraham was counted righteous before God because of His faith in God. In fact, look Romans 4:16 which says...
Romans 4:16 KJV 1900
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
Now note the next verse, verse 17.
Romans 4:17 KJV 1900
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
If you continue to read verses 18-22, you find that Abraham took actions which reflected his faith in God and God’s promises.
Romans 4:18–22 KJV 1900
Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Note that “considered not his own body now dead.” Again, he considered not “the deadness of Sara’s womb.” He did not “stagger” or falter in his faith in God’s promises. Instead, he was strong in faith, giving glory to God. You see Abraham was full persuaded that God would fulfill all that He promised. Even later, when God required Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on the altar, Abraham did not stagger through unbelief. Abraham was a man of LIVING FAITH. A faith demonstrated by the works that he did. Abraham did not have a DEAD FAITH.
You see a person who truly believes/has faith is a person who...
Is looking to the Lord Jesus Christ and not self.
Agrees with God’s Word both inwardly and outwardly.
Grounded in what Christ did on the cross and the empty tomb.
Has truly repented and now strives to please God in their life.
Overcome times of doubt knowing that their faith is bigger than doubt and more permanent than doubt.
Desires to see others come to the same faith they have.
Not only hears God’s Word, but seeks to do God’s Word.
Now go back to our text and note verse 18.
James 2:18 KJV 1900
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
This next verse is proof that you cannot separate works and LIVING FAITH. So we have a person say “You have faith and I have works.” How then does a person prove they have faith? You know the old saying “the proof is in the pudding.” Well the proof that a person has faith is their works. How then could you prove they have faith if there are no works to back it up what they are saying? You cannot. There all kinds of people walking around saying they are people of faith aka a Christian. Yet, when you examine their lives, they don’t read their Bible, they don’t pray, they don’t attend church, they enjoy the many vices of this world, etc. You get the point. However, the person who truly believes is a person who can say “I will shew thee my faith by my works.” I believe this fits right in with the words of Christ who said...
Matthew 12:33–35 KJV 1900
Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
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