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Janet's Corner

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Lesson 11: Real Faith Works

James continues to instruct the Jewish believers that are scattered form their home land due to persecution. He instructs them in the manner they are to live out their faith.

This passage is one of the key foundational passages of James. It gives us instruction on the principle that real faith works. James has been giving us instruction on how our faith is seen through our response to trials and temptations, our willingness in receiving the Word of God, and our love for others. His last admonition to us in James 2:13-14 was to speak and act as those who would be judged by the law of liberty – which is the word of God. In John 12:47-49 we see that Jesus says that it will be our acts that will be judged by the word of God. In Matthew 12:36-37 Jesus warns us against careless and useless word and says it will be our words that either justify us or condemn us. So James reiterates here – speak and act as those who are judged by the law of liberty.

Remember James has a goal to move us toward the maturity of our faith – to become Christ-like. And he is holding up the standard for us - don’t let your faith remain stagnant, but go onto maturity. So we need the instruction in the Word of God to change our hearts and thus our lives – our speech and our actions. It is the law of liberty that will bring us freedom and blessing as we hear and obey it.

So he begins in James 2:14 to instruct us in the truth that Real faith works – what we believe will be manifested in our lives. Their will be works of faith. We’ll look at some foundational truths concerning this principle today and next week, look at the four examples here in verses 14-26 through which James gives us understanding that Real Faith Works.

Read James 2:14-18

James begins with two questions in Verse 14…

  1. What good is it if a man claims or says he has faith and has no deeds or works?
  2. Can that faith save him?

We have to understand these questions on the basis of context and in relation to the whole teaching of the Word of God.

James is teaching not about our initial salvation, our deliverance from sin - when we believe and ask Jesus into our hearts. He is talking about that saving faith producing works. He is not teaching us how to be saved, but how your life will be if you are saved. Others will see your faith in action. Your faith will have shoe leather on it. Your faith will affect you arms and your legs and your tongue. It will change your very life –your very lifestyle!

Verse 18… "But some of you will say, "You have faith; and I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds and I will show my faith by what I do."

Works are the evidence of a life changing faith. How do you show others what you believe unless you do something. Unless you faith becomes useful? Unless you put your faith into action?

James in verses 16 and 17 points out that faith without works is useless and dead. Real faith is alive and useful. It is seen. It shows through the works that faith produces!

What I want to establish today is if the scripture supports this truth: Real Faith Works

The establishment of faith1.  Remember the basis of our salvation:

    Ephesians 2:8-10

  • Works do not save us, we are saved by grace through faith.
  • God created us for good works
  • Our works do not have a part in our salvation

2.  Remember what we became as we believed:

    II Corinthians 5:17

  • We became new creatures in Christ
  • The old has passed and the new has come

3.  Remember what we were raised to

    Romans 6:4

  •  Newness of life – we live a new life
  • When we identify with the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our faith in him raises us to a new life that is seen.

4.  Remember we no longer practice lawlessness:

    I Corinthians 6:9-11

  • Some of us were….verse 9-10
  • We are…verse 11

Washed, sanctified, and justified! Cleansed, set apart, and declared righteous.

Why? To live a new life.

So what we see is that on the basis of God’s grace through faith we are alive in Christ– we live a new life – a life that will honor God.

So what place do works have in our Christian life?

The evidence of faith is works.

1.  Know we are created for something (our purpose)Ephesians 2:10

  • To do good works
  • Which were prepared for us to do

2.  Know we should be eager to do what is good (our attitude)

Titus 2:14, 3:8

  • Jesus gave himself to redeem us from wickedness (lawless deeds) and purify us and make us eager to do what is good.
  • Because we have placed our trust in God we will be careful to devote ourselves to doing what is good (we will engage ourselves in good deeds – zealous for good deeds)

3.  Know we need to do what God says

    Luke 6:46 : "why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?"

    If you believe in God and have a relationship with Him based on love, you will obey Him.

The examination of your faith:

Among Paul’s final warnings to the Corinthians, in II Corinthians 13:5 is "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith, test yourselves…" The examination of our faith will be done by the one who is the ultimate judge - God himself! When we look back at James 2:18, we need to understand how to evaluate the evidence of our faith. How do we test ourselves if there are only words of profession and no works of faith? The Bible teaches us that what we do reflects what we believe.

1.  Check the fruit of your life: I believe that Matthew 7:15-20/Luke 6:43-45 teaches us that the fruit of our lives is a way to examine ourselves.

We will recognize a good tree because of its good fruit. And so we it is the same with us. We will be recognized by our fruit - the works that give evidence to our faith. If out of our lives comes good, it is because we have stored that which is good in our hearts…the Word of God. How are your storing habits. Don’t keep it to your self, let it flow. You will be able to observe what is produced through your life as a test of what you really believe!

2.  Check what building materials you use:

Matthew 7: 24-29/Luke 6:46-49 when we hear the words of Jesus and put them into practice, this doesn’t give us the cornerstone – Jesus Christ.. The rock is already there The hearing and putting God’s word into practice is what Jesus was calling us to build upon that rock with – building ourselves up in the most holy faith. So we hear the word and do the word (put it into practice) and we will stand the storms of life. Have the storms come and shaken your life? Are you hearing (looking intently) and putting the truths of God’s Word into action, so your house will withstand the testing of your faith? This is a discipline of our minds and our very lives…a choice to not just to believe, but to act on what we believe. Let’s make our faith strong, by hearing and practicing the truth of God’s Word. Let us go onto maturity…

James says do not be merely hearers of the word and so deceive yourselves, but be doers of the word.