is meant to be a matter of the heart, not an issue of the mind. The presence of
Christ in your life will result in changes that will occur at the very core of
your being. Those foundational
changes will reveal themselves through your life.
They will be the type of changes that you will not be able to resist or
restrain because they will pour from the essence of who you are.]
[It seems that there are a great number of professing
Christians who are just trying to cruise through life.
The live like the world, sound like the world, look like the world, and
act like the world. As a matter of
fact there are many in our world who know them and unless someone tells them
they just never would have known that that person was a Christian at all.
Of course, this is the way the world likes it.
The devil and our world loves these kinds of Christians.
But this is not how our Christian lives ought to be at all.]
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his
savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to
be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city
that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a
candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. ]
[As salt we should penetrate, preserve, and purify our world.
As light we should illuminate our world revealing the dangers and
providing a haven of hope and harbor of safety.
James has another way of letting us know that we should undeniably be
impacting our world in noticeable ways.
“Faith without works is dead.”
[So just what is James
saying about faith and works?]
[Let us first be clear about what James is not saying.
James is not saying that we earn our salvation through our works.
Clearly works cannot save us.
The Bible says,]
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of
God: 9 Not of works, lest any man
should boast. ]
[We are saved by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our
personal Lord and Savior. But once
we are saved and have received the Holy Spirit of God, then the presence of God
in us should begin working its way back out of us.
Therefore, we do the things we do, and live the life we live because we
are saved, not so that we can be saved.
You cannot have the God of the universe living inside of you and just be
like you always were before. God is
going to have an impact on your life if He is really in you.]
Understanding Biblical Faith (vs 14;
10.17; Deut 29.29)
doth it profit, my brethren,
though a man say he hath faith, and
have not works? can faith save him?
-] There are different types of
Faith - The Philosophy of mankind.
[What seems right.]
Faith - Trusting in our daily affairs.
[That your paycheck will arrive, that the pilot knows how to fly and land
the plane, that the engineers properly designed the building, etc . . .]
Faith - That which makes you feel okay.
Faith (Rom 4.20-21)- That faith
that is described in the Bible.
[Scriptural Faith, God's Faith
- Taking God at His Word.
Abraham is our best example of scriptural faith, Paul wrote.]
20 He staggered not at
the promise of God
through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
being fully persuaded that,
what he had promised,
he was able also to perform.]
Faith is hearing from God,
Believing what God has said,
And Acting on what you hear and believe.
[Since one must first hear a Word from God before they
can develop biblical faith the Bible states,]
17 So then faith cometh
by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.]
[One cannot develop any belief in God until God first
reveals Himself to him. God
authoritatively reveals Himself to us through the special revelation of he Word
of God. Through general revelation,
or the things that can be known about God in our physical world, we can know and
believe that there is a God, but we cannot know anything about God and His
purposes until He specifically reveals them to us.
This is best understood under the light of,]
29 The secret
things belong unto the LORD our
God: but those things which are
revealed belong unto us and to
our children for ever, that we
may do all the words of this law.]
[Hence, when someone tells me that they are living by
faith my first thought is, “What is faith to them?”
I believe that to the vast majority of people in our lives faith is not
what the Bible defines as biblical faith. Faith
is more worldly and obscure in their minds.
Faith to most in our world is synonymous with belief and is understood as
their ability to believe something.
Many might say,
“Faith is believing in
something you cannot see.”
This is philosophical faith.
This is NOT biblical
faith. It is not what
God means when He uses the word faith in the Bible.
For Christians faith can only rest first and foremost upon the Word of
Underestimating God In Faith
- There are two types of Church people,
Confessors – Confessors are marked by Conversion or a Change.
[The presence of God within a person has an undeniable impact upon ones
These people have,
Relationship (Gal 4.5-7; John
1.12) [These have been adopted into the family of God, they have been born
again. An undeniable change has
taken place that will forever mark their lives.]
5 To redeem them that were under the
law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent
forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant,
but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
John 1:12 12 But as many as
received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on
Reasoning (Rom 12.1-2) – These no longer think the way they used to
think and the way lost wordly people think.
The have been transformed by the renewing of their minds.
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by
the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto God, which is
your reasonable service. 2 And be
not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that
good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.]
A New Report
(Matt 5.14) [– The illumination of the indwelling presence of the Spirit of
God has given them a new reality to proclaim.
They are living witnesses of the reality and work of Almighty God.
They have become the light of the world, bringing the light of Jesus
Christ into our world’s darkness.]
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city
that is set on an hill cannot be hid.]
A New Role
(2 Cor 5.20) [- These have become God's ambassador's to a lost and wayward
world. God says of them,]
20 Now then we are ambassadors for
Christ, as though God did beseech you
by us: we pray you in Christ's
stead, be ye reconciled to God. ]
Professors (vs 14,16,18) [- . . .
though a man say . . . - This
is Confession or spoken faith.
These have a lot to say about God but nothing in their lives evidences a real
presence of God. James is clearly
addressing a religion that is full of works but lacking in action.
These have but a spoken faith, they say they have faith, but nothing
confirms their profession of faith.]
Spoken Faith has,
(vs 15-16) [- If a brother or sister
be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16
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? – What
good is it to say to someone, “I hope your needs will be met.”
If nothing is done to help them then our words are empty and vain.]
(vs 19; Luke 4.40-41; Mark 1.23-24) [-
Thou believest that there is one God;
thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. – Many have assumed
that if they just say “I believe that Jesus is God” that they are okay.
So what is James saying in this verse?
What about devils or demons?
[Devils believe Jesus is the Son of God (Luke 4.40-41)]
40 Now when the sun was setting, all
they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid
his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
41 And devils also came out of many,
crying out, and saying,
Thou art Christ the Son
of God. And he rebuking
them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ. ]
[Devils believe Jesus is the Christ (Luke 4.41).]
41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying,
Thou art Christ the Son
of God. And he rebuking
them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ. ]
[Devils believe Jesus
is the Holy One, God the Son (Mark 1.23-24).]
23 And there was in their synagogue a
man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24
Saying, Let us
alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to
destroy us? I know thee who thou art,
the Holy One of God.
[Devils are in rebellion toward God and have not fellowship or
oneness with God. Devils are separated
[A mere profession or the knowledge of God or God’s
Word is not enough to convert and save a person.
There must be a confession and the reception of Jesus Christ as one’s
personal Lord and Savior.]
(vs 20) [- But wilt thou know, O vain
man, that faith without works is dead?]
Larry Flint, the
publisher of Hustler once professed to accept Jesus Christ as his
personal Savior. He appeared on a
national Christian broadcasting network and in front of the cameras,
America, and God he proclaimed himself born
again. However, the weeks following
his appearance revealed the truth about his religious experience.
He continued to publish his pornographic magazines and then one day stood
in front of the cameras for a news network and confessed that it was all an
advertising ploy and that he had never held to the pretenses of Christianity.]
[Abraham Lincoln once asked a young boy, "If a dog has four
legs and a tail, and you call the tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?"
The boy replied, "Five."
Abraham Lincoln responded, "Wrong, it doesn't matter what you call the tail, a
dog only has four legs."]
[If you claim to be a Christian but show none of the
signs of the new birth, then you reveal what you really are by your actions.
James is saying that when a person exercises true faith in Christ there
will be evidences of that faith in the way they live their lives.]
Unprecedented Examples (vs 21-25) [–
James provides to incredible examples of faith and works working themselves out
of our lives together.]
Abraham (vs 21-24; Gen 22.4-5,8; Heb 11.17-19) [-
Was not Abraham our father justified by
works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his
works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God,
and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of
God. 24 Ye see then how that by
works a man is justified, and not by faith only. – The story of Abraham
offering up Isaac is one of the most misunderstood stories in the Bible.
Preachers often preach the story and miss the whole spiritual message
within it. The unchurched quote it
as an example of the lovelessness of God, for what God would ask for your only
[Received the promise of God (Gen 22.4-8).]
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted
up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5
And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass;
and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt
offering, and laid it upon
Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both
of them together. 7 And Isaac spake
unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here
am I, my son. And he said,
Behold the fire and the
wood: but where is the lamb for
a burnt offering? 8 And
Abraham said, My son,
God will provide himself
a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. ]
[Reckoned that God would keep His Word (Heb
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and
he that had received the
promises offered up his only begotten
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac
shall thy seed be called: 19
Accounting that God
was able to raise
him up, even from the dead;
from whence also he received him in a figure. ]
[The story of Abraham and Isaac is a picture of
biblical faith at work. God had
given Abraham promises (God’s Word) that through Isaac all nations would be
blessed. Abraham believed God.
When God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham did not stagger,
God would keep His Word no matter what.
Abraham reckoned that he was going to get to see an incredible miracle,
the resurrection of Isaac. That is
faith at work.]
Rahab (vs 25; Joshua 2.9-11) - Rahab was a harlot that rescued the spies
that had been sent to search out the promised land before
moved in to take the land. Listen
to Rahab’s words as she tells the spies why she is going to rescue them, because
of this Rahab received justification.
Rahab was willing to hazard her life for God’s purposes.]
9 And she said unto the men, I know that
the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and
that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.
For we have heard how
the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out
of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that
were on the other side Jordan,
Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11
And as soon as we had
heard these things,
our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man,
because of you:
for the LORD your God,
he is God in heaven above,
and in earth beneath. ]
- Heat and Light
- It has been said that separating faith and works is like separating the
heat and light from a candle. You know both are produced by the candle. You know
they are not the same thing. You also know you cannot separate them.]
Undeniable Faith (vs 14, 17, 26; Matt
. . . faith without works is dead . . .
- So just what is it that James is
trying to say in this passage. He
is saying that saving faith produces real results in our lives.
It is not mere religion. It
is not supernatural superstition that has no real affect upon our lives.
It is not ritualistic traditions that take time and effort but produce
nothing of value I our lives. Real
faith in Christ will evidence itself in the way we live our lives.]
[Matthew 7:16 &
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. .
. . 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye
shall know them.]
The Fruits of Saving
Faith (Matt 7.16-20) – Saving
faith will change,
Character (Gal 5.22-23) [- The fruit of the spirit undeniably manifest
themselves within every child of God.]
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love,
joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such
there is no law. ]
Conduct (Matt 7.15-20)
15 Beware of false prophets, which come
to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth
forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil
fruit, neither can a corrupt
tree bring forth good fruit. 19
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the
fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits
ye shall know them.]
Conversation (Heb 13.15) [- The words of God’s people can not help but
praise Him with the words and actions.]
15 By him therefore let us offer the
sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of
our lips giving thanks to his
Contributions (Rom 15.26-28) [- benevolent giving becomes the undeniable
and unfettered passion of those given to God.]
26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia
and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at
Jerusalem. 27 It hath pleased them
verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers
of their spiritual things,
their duty is also to
minister unto them in carnal things.
28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them
this fruit, I will come by you into Spain. ]
Converts (John 4.35-38; cf Col 1.4-6; Philip 1.21-26)
[- born again Christians will find themselves compelled to proclaim the gospel
35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and
then cometh harvest? behold, I
say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white
already to harvest. 36 And he that
reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he
that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
37 And herein is that saying true, One
soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I
sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye
are entered into their labours.]
[Colossians 1:4-6 4 Since we
heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love
which ye have to all the
saints, 5 For the hope which is
laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of
the gospel; 6 Which is come unto
you, as it is in all the world;
and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth
also in you, since the day ye heard of
it, and knew the grace of God in truth: ]
[Philippians 1:21-26 21 For
to me to live is Christ, and to
die is gain.
22 But if I live in the flesh, this
is the fruit of my labour: yet
what I shall choose I wot not. 23
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with
Christ; which is far better: 24
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is
more needful for you. 25 And having
this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your
furtherance and joy of faith; 26
That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to
you again. ]
[Illustration – The
English Language - English is a strange language. There is no butter
in buttermilk and no egg in eggplant. There is no ham in a hamburger and no
apple in a pineapple. Quicksand works very slowly and boxing rings are square.
language are not significant. Inconsistencies in life are significant.
Christians must act like Christians. Our words and deeds must be consistent with
what we profess.]
of bearing fruit (John
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of
itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye
are the branches: He that
abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me
ye can do nothing. ]
[Some Christians may bear some fruit, some may bear
little fruit, but all will bear fruit.]
[If a Christian bears no fruit and there is no change
at all in their life, then they probably have not been born again.]
CrossRoads Baptist, Jan 11, 2009, evening
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