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Show Your Faith Through Your Actions

James: True Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Good Morning!
I’m glad to see all of you here today.
School is back in, and we are all settling back into our normal routines.
I don’t know about you, but that consistency is good for my soul.
If you haven’t been here in a while, we are studying the book of James with the goal of understanding True Faith.
Biblical faith is the certainty that it will happen, not based only on hope or hard work but on the revelation of God’s truth and character.
As we spend time with God, developing our relationship with Him, we learn more and more about Him.
This is our goal, to know God more progressively each day.
In the same way, we learn more about the people in our lives; we learn more about God.
For example, I know my wife far better today, than I did when we first got married.
I know here better because I have spent two decades by her side, facing the joys and difficulties of life.
In the same way, we develop True Faith as we spend time with the Father.
As we do, not only does our faith continue to grow, but it also reveals itself.
To build on that same illustration, I am a better person today because of the time I have spent with Bethany.
You guys reap the benefit of her hard work! Amen!
God’s desire is for us to know Him.
As we do, we are changed into His likeness, and the world reaps the benefits of that growth.
Paul taught about this in Romans 12.
Romans 12:1–2 CSB
1 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Paul is urging to the church in Rome to let their understanding of God change how they live.
Look at what he goes on to say, and we are going to find it incredibly similar to what James says at the end of chapter two.
Romans 12:9–21 CSB
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. 10 Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Take the lead in honoring one another. 11 Do not lack diligence in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. 13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord. 20 But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. 21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.
All of these things that Paul is describing are the natural byproduct of a growing faith.
While it is natural, it still requires intentionality on our part.
Relationships don’t grow only because of proximity but because we are actively involved in knowing one another.
This is the call that Paul put before us, and I wanted to start with this today because it is common for people to pit Paul against James.
We will see today that they are preaching the same message, True Faith is seen by the watching world.
Look with me at verses 14-17 in James 2.
James 2:14–17 CSB
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way faith, if it does not have works, is dead by itself.
James is giving instruction in the first verse and an example in the following verses.
He begins with a few questions that, without context, lead to confusion.
Remember that James is writing to believers who understand the role that faith plays in the life of a follower of God.
So when James asks these questions, he knows they will answer them correctly.
NT365 Book Study: Letter of James (James 2:18–19)
Now, James asks a rhetorical question in verse 15 that’s very important. Many translations simply say, “Can faith save him?” I believe the King James has that. Some other translations have that. “Can faith save him?” By asking the question that way, he’s expecting a negative answer. But that raises a problem, doesn’t it? Can faith save him? Of course, faith can save him. We are saved by faith. Is James contradicting the rest of the Bible by questioning if faith can save him? No, not at all.In the Greek there’s an article in front of “faith,” which means literally “Can the faith save him?” But what he means by that [is] “Can the faith that I’ve just talked about in verse 14 save him?”
James 2:14 CSB
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him?
Let me rephrase some of these questions to help us understand what James is saying/asking.
Can faith alone save a person? Yes
Scripture is more than clear that we are saved by faith alone.
What is James describing? Is it a faith based on what we know of faith from the rest of scripture? No.
James is not questioning if faith can save a person.
He is asking us to consider other biblical examples of faith and compare them to the actions described in the beginning of the verse.
He is asking if a person can call themselves faithful if their actions don’t line up with that “faith.”
James’ questions are not about Faith but about what those people are calling themselves faithful.
Let’s do a little activity to cement this in our minds.
Paper airplanes…
Joshua and Luke have agreed to help us with an illustration this morning.
They have both made a paper airplane and we are going to have a contest to see which works best.
What is the purpose of a paper airplane? It is to fly.
Do we all agree on that? Okay good.
Then we will judge their merit it on how far they fly.
Boys, would you come up here on the stage?
One of you on this side and the other on this side.
Before we test them, can I see one of the airplanes?
Cut the wings off of one.
Okay, now, are y’all ready?
Go!
What’s the problem? Oh, you don’t have wings on your plane?
If I cut the wings off an airplane, is it still an airplane, or in other words, can it still execute the purpose of it’s design?
No.
Thanks boys!
This is the point that James is making.
You can call it faith, but if it isn’t changing how you interact with God and the world, it isn’t faith.
James is making it clear that you cannot say that you have faith in Christ and then live in a manner that is inconsistent with faith.
As we discussed in detail last week and many other times before, our purpose is to know Christ and to make him known.
With that said, we cannot call ourselves faithful followers of Christ if we are not growing in our faith and making God known.
This isn’t Will’s opinion; it is reality.
Jesus said it before I did.
Look at what Jesus says about us in Matthew 5.
Matthew 5:13–16 CSB
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Living a life of True Faith is a non-negotiable.
If we say and believe that we are followers of Christ, our lives should be as Jesus described here.
We should be a light in a dark world, revealing the truth about who God is.
Not by our own works but by what Christ is doing in and through us.
In our passage for today, James uses the example of someone without food and clothing.
If we say to them to stay warm and well fed, yet don’t do anything to improve their situation, what good are our words without any action?
Do they do that person any good?
Of course they don’t!
They do make us look like we don’t care!
Jesus has some pretty strong words for the church in Ephesus who have done something like this.
We will talk about that at the end of the message.
Look what James goes on to say.
James 2:18–19 CSB
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe—and they shudder.
James is showing us that faith and belief aren’t the same things!
I believe this is a common misconception in the church.
There are many who believe in God, yet they have not put their faith in Him.
The thing about faith is that it reveals on whom or what it is founded.
For example:
If your faith is in yourself, it will be shown in the way that you live for yourself.
If, however, your faith is in God, it will be shown in the way that you live for God.
If you are an airplane with no wings, you aren’t an airplane.
Our faith, our trust, and our belief in God, who saved us from ourselves, those things combined are the essence of who we are.
Without our faith in action, we have nothing.
James 2:20–23 CSB
20 Senseless person! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? 21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works in offering Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was made complete, 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.
Do you see the process that James is describing?
Abraham had faith in God, and that faith affected the way Abraham interacted with God.
He obeyed God’s command to sacrifice his son.
God saved his son.
Abraham’s faith was seen by others, and they called him God’s friend.
God’s glory was revealed through Abraham’s faithful action.
This is how it works.
Our faith grows as we obey, people see our action (works), they see God for who He is, and the door is opened for them to know God for themselves.
James also asks the question if we want to learn the hard way that faith without works is useless.
You can chance it, claim to have faith, and live for yourself, but you will stand before God to answer for yourself.
Without obedience, which only comes through faith, we are not followers of Christ.
James 2:24–26 CSB
24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works in receiving the messengers and sending them out by a different route? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Let's talk about vs 24 or a minute because it sounds like James is saying that it is faith plus works that saves us.
Which would be a clear contradiction to the rest of scripture.
This is not the case.
James is saying that a faith that saves us also produces works.
The Lexham Survey of Theology says it this way.

Paul proclaims that “all who believe” are justified by faith without works (Rom 3:24–25, 28). In other words, believers are reckoned as righteous by God not on the basis of their good works but because of what Christ has achieved for them, received by faith. The Reformers coined the doctrine of “justification by faith alone.” This does not mean that faith exists on its own. Saving faith is expressed in baptism, is joined with repentance and works through love. Christians are not justified by such things, but nor are they justified without them. It is only faith that saves, not because faith is greater than love or any other virtue, but because faith unites believers with Christ, in whom and because of whom they are accepted. So faith alone justifies, but the faith that justifies is never alone, it never exists without love and good works.

A faith that justifies is never alone!
Rahab trusted the Israelite spies, and it was proven by her actions.
Listen to me...
If your faith isn’t evident in your life, if it isn’t making an impact on how you make daily decisions, it isn’t real.
I don’t say this to be harsh, but to bring any who are confused into the reality of what Paul, James, and Jesus teach.
Saying that you believe in God is not proof that you do.
This is James’ point.
True Faith reveals itself.
If you have True Faith, Show it!
There is a shocking lack of True Faith in the church today, and that is the very reason that the church is in decline.
That is why people don’t want anything to do with churches or Christians.
We have many people claiming to know Christ, and they don’t!
Just so we are clear, God does not play about this.
This isn’t something we take a chance on, and that was James’ point in verse 20.
James 2:20 CSB
Senseless person! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?
It doesn’t matter if we say we believe something and then never let it affect how we live.
Look how Jesus addresses this issue He sees in the church at Ephesus.
Revelation 2:1–5 CSB
1 “Write to the angel of the church in Ephesus: Thus says the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and who walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil people. You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and you have found them to be liars. 3 I know that you have persevered and endured hardships for the sake of my name, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
I saw a clip of KB preaching from this passage, and the Holy Spirit made the connection with the end of James 2.
The church at Ephesus had it together from the world’s perspective.
However, Jesus could see through the smoke and mirrors to their hearts.
While it looked like everything was great, it wasn’t.
They had forgotten what was most important.
Loving God and Loving others.
This passage in James and Revelations ought to shake us to our core.
Who are we?
What kind of church are we building?
Are we building faith by experiencing God or are we just playing church?
God is calling each of us to check our motives.
Are we going through the motions, or are we actively growing in our faith?
Are others seeing it?
Are they reaping the benefits of our relationship with Jesus?
Growing in faith is not just for this season.
It is not simply a sermon series we are in right now.
Growing in faith is THE Mission of our church and The Church.
This is our main priority.
All other things are secondary.
If we allow anything else to take that place, we become just like the church in Ephesus.
Our love for God and for one another defines us.
It is what makes us the church.
Nothing else matters.
When we walk by faith in obedience to what God has said, people take notice.
As most of you know, we are going to be letting Punto de Conexion use our facilities.
We are doing that because the Holy Spirit spoke it to me the first Sunday that Juan Jose and Mayra visited.
Then the Holy Spirit confirmed it through JJ when he inquired about it without my prompting.
I then brought it to the elders, and the HS confirmed it to them as well.
I don’t know all that God is going to do, but already it has gotten the attention of some of the people in my circle.
It was a shock to them because, in their words, “most churches wouldn’t do that.”
Which is yet another confirmation for me.
When we listen to God and do what He says, it gets people's attention.
I am looking with great anticipation to what God is going to do through TGP West and Punto de Conexion.
I am expectant that both churches and our community will learn more about God and one another as we begin this new adventure.
God wants to work in your personal life.
Don’t miss out on the blessing that comes from knowing God and loving others.
American culture has convinced so many that simply claiming Jesus and occasionally attending a church is all that God desires.
As we have seen from both James and Paul, that could not be farther from the truth.
God wants you to know Him.
As you do, you will fall in love with Him, and your faith will be evident to you and to others.
This week, ask God to show you where you are.
Are you growing in faith, or are you just playing church?
If it is the latter, there is so much that you are missing out on.
Put your faith in Jesus by obeying what he has said.
Experience the joy, freedom, and love that is knowing Jesus and loving others.
Show your faith through your actions.
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