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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!
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.
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.
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 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?”
Let me rephrase some of these questions to help us understand what James is saying/asking.
Can faith alone save a person?
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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 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.
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