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James Series 05 - Live Your Faith

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Reading: James 2:14-26
As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:26 (NIV)

I.   Faith and deeds are Inseparable

     A.  What is faith without Deeds?

           1.  Is this a good faith?

                 a.  What good is such a faith?

                 b.  James expects us to answer “no good”

           2.  What kind of faith is deedless?

                 a.  What is it to believe without that belief motivating what you do?

                 b.  We can have good deeds without faith, but can you have faith without deeds?

           3.  What sort of a thing is it to have a belief that makes no difference in your life?

                 a.  It’s not belief, it’s acknowledgment.

     B.  Is a faith without action really Faith?

           1.  James asks is faith without action real?

                 a.  He assumes that we will answer “no.”

                 b.  It is ridiculous that we think of faith as divorced from good deeds.

           2.  Paul tells us we justified by faith, not deeds

                 a.  Some have thought this passage is meant to refute what Paul said.

                 b.  But Paul also says that those who do not turn from a life of sin aren’t saved

           3.  We sometimes assume that faith and life are separate things.

                 a.  They are distinct: one is the foundation, the other the house.

                 b.  But we can’t separate them. One can’t really exist without the other.

     C.  By their Fruits you shall know them (Mt. 7:20)

           1.  Jesus tells us how to identify those who follow Him.

                 a.  We cannot see the heart, only God can

                 b.  But we can see the life that results.

           2.  Not all who say “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom but only those who do God’s will (Matt.7:21)

                 a.  Jesus connects a saving relationship with doing good deeds.

                 b.  Not impressive deeds that are done from time to time–but a changed life.

           3.  Good deeds are evidence of faith

                 a.  Real faith results in good deeds the way real love results in caring action.

                 b.  We can tell what is authentic love, or faith, by looking at what people do.

                 c.  Our love/faith matures when our actions conform to what’s in our hearts

II.  Saving faith is an Active faith

     A.  Sentiment is not Compassion

           1.  Feeling badly for someone in need isn’t compassion.

                 a.  We have a tendency to assume that if we feel bad we’ve done enough.

                 b.  ‘Tain’t so!

                 c.  A feeling of compassion without an act of compassion isn’t a strong feeling.

           2.  Wishing someone well isn’t helping

                 a.  James refers to the common greeting “Go in peace.”

                 b.  This is a serious breech of hospitality!

                 c.  Don’t just wish them well, help!

     B.  Faith isn’t simply Assent

           1.  We sometimes think faith is simply agreeing that certain things are true.

                 a.  Assent is only agreeing that something is true.

                 b.  Faith is staking your life on what you believe is true.

           2.  Assent is only the start!

                 a.  Satan believes the truths of Christianity, but he doesn’t have faith! (v.19)

                 b.  Saving faith is more than getting the right things in your head.

     C.  To trust is to Act

           1.  When we trust that Jesus is the way, we follow Him!

                 a.  When we trust that Jesus forgives our sins, we live without guilt.

                 b.  When we trust that His life sets us free, we follow Him.

           2.  When we believe that Jesus is the only way, we give up everything in the way.

                 a.  The trouble is, do we believe that?

                 b.  If we completely believe that there is no other way to live, that’s how we live

           3.  A saving faith is an active faith

                 a.  James doesn’t talk about good deeds saving, but about what is “saving faith.”

                 b.  James agrees: we are saved by faith.

                 c.  But saving faith is evident by its deeds

III. Faith without action is Dead

     A.  Doing is the Breath of believing

           1.  As the body without the spirit is dead.

                 a.  Spirit=breath both soul and respiration

                 b.  A body that’s not breathing doesn’t have it’s spirit in it anymore.

           2.  So faith without deeds is dead.

                 a.  Faith without deeds is like a body without a spirit, or without breathing.

                 b.  It’s there. You can see it, talk about it, do an autopsy on it, bury it.

                 c.  As the body is there to carry the spirit, faith is there to produce good works.

     B.  Inaction Suffocates faith

           1.  Faith needs to breathe to live.

                 a.  Faith needs deeds to stay vital.

                 b.  When we hold our breath too long we can faint spiritually.

           2.  Not acting on what we say we believe kills our faith–we don’t really believe it.

                 a.  When we don’t live like we say we believe, our belief is already dead

                 b.  If we keep our faith from breathing in our life, our faith suffocates.

     C.  An active faith is a Living faith

           1.  Only an active faith is alive

                 a.  Faith carefully cataloged and stored away for safekeeping is dead.

           2.  An active faith is alive!

                 a.  Faith in action is a living faith.

                 b.  One way to know if our faith is living is to see it express itself in what we do.

           3.  If you believe it, live it!

                 a.  Abraham and Rahab believed and so they lived their belief.

The Bottom Line:

Let your Faith Live in All you Do.

R#454 Trust and Obey (v.1)

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