Share This Episode
Destined for Victory Pastor Paul Sheppard Logo

Faith on Trial

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
October 6, 2021 8:00 am

Faith on Trial

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 435 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

October 6, 2021 8:00 am

Some signs that distinguish real faith from a mere profession of faith; based on James 2:14-26.

CLICK HERE to ORDER this full message on MP3!

Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston
Grace To You
John MacArthur
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University

When you look at the church world now, you see a little bit of everything and a whole lot of folk are naming his name, but their life doesn't bear witness to that fact. And so we've got to make sure that there's real Christian living behind the profession of faith. If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Faith on Trial on this Wednesday edition of Destined for Victory.

Hello and thanks for stopping by. It's a fascinating question, one we all need to answer. Do our lives demonstrate to others that we've put our faith in Christ? How can we prove beyond all reasonable doubt that we are His followers?

What would it look like if we did? These are some of the questions Pastor Paul Shepherd answers today as we continue our journey through the book of James. Stay with us here or visit to listen to Destined for Victory On Demand.

You can also download the podcast at Google or wherever you enjoy your podcasts. Now here's Pastor Paul with today's message, Faith on Trial. If some people were indicted for being followers of Christ, there wouldn't be enough evidence to convict them. And so I want to make sure by the end of this message that you understand that if you are one who names the name of Christ, James says there's got to be something besides what you say that bears witness to the fact that you know the Lord. And if that was true in the first century that there were people who had a spoken faith but it had no evidence behind it, if that were true already in the early decades of the church, how much more is it true now? When you look at the church world now, you see a little bit of everything.

And a whole lot of folk are naming His name but their life doesn't bear witness to that fact. And so we've got to make sure that there's real Christian living behind the profession of faith. So basically I want to look at this passage and make three basic points that are couched in the words of the apostle James. The first point is this. True faith goes beyond words. True faith goes beyond words. That's the first of three points I want to make.

Jot that down. True faith goes beyond words. And I want us to look at verses 14 through 18 of James chapter 2.

Here's what he says. What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, Go, I wish you well.

Keep warm and well fed. But does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, You have faith, I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do.

Pause right there. James is suggesting in this passage that true faith goes beyond words. If you really know Jesus, then it will be evident beyond the fact that you say, I know the Lord, or I got saved one day, or I'm born again. James said it has to be more than words. And not only your testimony has to bear witness by your lifestyle, but he makes the simple point that there needs to be action. There needs to be evidence in what you actually do and not just in what you say. And he gives a very practical example. He says, If you see your brother or sister without clothes and daily food, you can't walk up to him and say, Be warmed and well fed.

What did that do? James says there has to be action that goes along with what you want to see happen. You've got to make it happen. And in the same way, he says, faith by itself is dead. So that's an analogy. But his point is faith without works is dead. It means nothing for you to say you know Jesus if Jesus doesn't get in your actions, if Jesus doesn't get in your lifestyle, if Jesus priorities aren't shown by the priorities you set or change in your life. Then he says your faith is empty because it's mere words. So the first point is that true faith has to go beyond words.

Now, why is James bringing this up? Well, it's because in the early church, there were two misunderstandings regarding the issue of works or what you do. There were two prominent misunderstandings. The first misunderstanding was that works lead to salvation. And the second misunderstanding in the early church was that works don't matter at all. James is addressing the second one that works doesn't matter at all.

He wants to let us know. No, works are a very important indication of what Christ is doing in your life. But both really had to be addressed. Now, the first one was very well addressed by the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul in his writing says repeatedly in different books, in different letters that he wrote, that we are saved apart from our works.

What does that mean? That means Paul was trying to help us understand you can't be good enough to save yourself or you can't. You and I cannot be good enough for God to look at us and say, OK, you're righteous and therefore I accept you as my child.

That's not possible. We are born in sin shaping an iniquity. We have a whole life of sin that was steeped in sin.

And the only way we could get out of it was we had to trust that what Jesus did when he came and hung on the cross, that he did that to pay the penalty for your sins, because that was the only way our sins could be covered, is if somebody righteous, sinless, paid and died for us. And that's exactly what Jesus came to do. So Paul addressed that misunderstanding in his writings. He did it in Galatians. He did it in Romans.

And he especially does it in Ephesians, where he says in Ephesians two, verses eight and nine. For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.

Watch this. Not of works so that no one can boast. He says we've been saved by grace. What is grace? Grace is God's unmerited favor. You couldn't earn it.

You couldn't deserve it. By grace through faith. In other words, faith is the vehicle that grace rides into our lives on. It takes faith to acknowledge I am a sinner. I can never please God in my own flesh. But I can trust that what Jesus did on the cross covers my sin debt completely.

Listen, you know why you need to praise God every moment of every day? Because Jesus paid for your sins past, present and future. Jesus died for sins you haven't even committed yet.

You better be getting happy. Because those sins could damn your soul for all eternity. But Jesus said, no, I so love the world that I gave my son and the son Jesus gave his life so that you and I would never have the penalty of our sins on us. Getting saved isn't a matter of making God promises.

He knows you. How in the world you going to make God promises and he knows you? If you could fulfill the promise, Jesus would have stayed in heaven.

He came because none of us could earn by our own righteousness the gift of eternal life. Don't ever make God promises. You just make him laugh. Alright, Lord, I promise you. You know you've done that a few times already in your life. God, have you get me out of this?

How many of y'all have ever? You know, you probably won't want to raise your hand. Lord, if you get me out of this mess I have made, I will never do it again and I will serve you the rest of my days. And God in heaven cracked up.

How you going to make such a promise to God, you can't even keep a New Year's resolution. Now, God in his mercy often answered those prayers, by the way, we prayed in desperation. You know, oh Lord, please bail me out. In mercy he bailed you out. But he wasn't bailing you out based on your promise.

He was bailing you out in spite of your promise. Coming up next, the rest of today's message, Faith on Trial with Pastor Paul Shepherd, Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. If you've never stopped by our website,, I invite you to do so today. Find all of Pastor Paul's recent messages on demand, plus a host of great resources at our online store, including books and DVD messages from Pastor Paul. Learn more about the ministry and about all the great things friends like you are doing through your prayers and financial support. Go to And be sure to watch selected video clips by subscribing to Pastor Paul on YouTube. For more details and links to all of his social media, be sure to visit Now, from the book of James, let's rejoin Pastor Paul Shepherd for the rest of today's message, Faith on Trial.

So, the first misunderstanding in the early church was that works lead to salvation. Look at the whole credit issue. I used to be a credit agency collector. Coming out right out of college, before I was in ministry, all that, one of the jobs I worked was working for a finance company. You know they used to have those finance companies, general finance and household finance? I'm talking to the old folk now.

Young folk don't know what I'm talking about. I worked in that arena to help a company that had loaned somebody money get their money back. And I was one of the guys who would call and I'd push for people to make good on their promises. And they made promises day and night. All those people could make you some promises.

Oh no, see, I'm getting paid tomorrow and so I'm going to put it in the mail Tuesday. And I knew when they were talking they were lying. But thankfully, I didn't get paid based on how they lived up to their word. I just had to have a track record of having contacted these people and I had to document every contact and all that stuff. And of course, back in those days, I was young and dumb and I would even call some of the folks and say, hey, I tell you what, because the company would push, get the money in your hand and if you know they lying when they tell you they're going to put it in the mail, tell them, how about I drop by your house and pick it up? That was one of the procedures back in that day.

Oh, I'm talking back in the day. Nine times out of ten, they said, don't bother coming over here. Bother coming over here, you're not getting any money. I know we signed the docs. I know we promised to pay this loan back on this payment schedule, but no, I'm not doing it. And I'll never forget one man. I told you all the story before, but I want to hear it again. I'll never forget one man who when I called him, he said, look, after I took out that loan, things went wrong in my life, I went to jail. And he said, you're not getting any money from me.

I'm back out, but forget it. I'm not giving you all any money. And he owed whatever he owed. I told him what he owed. He said, I know what I owe.

And no, I'm not paying you all back. I said, sir, if you could just give me a little something to indicate that you're willing to do it, it wouldn't even have to be a large check. He said, no, I'm not doing it. And he said, don't bother, I know.

He said, some of your companies, I don't know if yours does it, but some of your companies actually come out to somebody's house and try. He said, that wouldn't be a good idea coming over here. He said, I promise you all, he told me.

He said, in fact, if you show up on my door, I promise you I will blow you into the street. And I said, no, man, you don't want to do that. You don't want to get in trouble. He said, I've been in trouble.

That's no problem for me. What's trouble to me? I just got home from jail. Yes, I'll shoot you if you come out here.

Yes, I'll go back. And I said, bro, not only will I not come to your house, I told him, you will never see my face on earth. You won't see me. You won't know what I look like.

Done, finished. So no need of making God promises. He knows you. The brilliance of what Jesus did is that he who knew no sin became sin for us so that all of our sins were paid for. So you need to understand that misunderstanding needs to get out of your mind, just like you need to get out of the minds of early church people, that you don't work your way into salvation. And the other misunderstanding is that now that I'm saved, it doesn't matter how I live.

I don't have to change a thing about my life. That's what James is addressing. Now, look at how James wants to address it. He wants you to understand, according to this first point, that your faith had to go beyond that little prayer you prayed. Oh, Lord, I realize I'm a sinner and I'm in need of salvation. I repent and I ask you to come into my life and save me.

All right, that's a good prayer. But with salvation, James wants to make the point that works follow. In fact, Paul made the same point. Just like he said in Ephesians 8 and 9, we're saved by grace through faith, that not of ourselves. It's the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. In the very next verse, he says, for we are God's workmanship, Ephesians 2 10, we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Look at that. That's a brilliant passage. In two verses, 8 and 9, he says, you're not saved because of anything you did. It's apart from your works. It came by grace through faith.

It has nothing to do with you. It has to do with Christ. He says, but now that you are saved, God is at work in your life. We are God's handiwork. God is working in us, and we were created to do good works.

So how should we understand this business of works then? We can't be saved by our works, but, he says, because we are saved, there will be an indication by the fact that we are doing the good works which he prepared in advance for us to do. When you get saved, God wants to do some good works through you and in you, and we cooperate with that, and it changes our lives. So do not say, I am saved, but I'm going to keep on living the exact same way I did before I got saved. You can't, because God is at work in you now. His word is at work in you now, and his Spirit's design is to change us.

God loves us like we are, but he loves us too much to leave us like we are. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, and I love this, which God prepared in advance. What God wants to do in your life, he prepared that in eternity past. You are the creature of divine planning.

You are the result of a divine strategy. God has plans for your life. I want to tell you, if you are thinking about giving up your life, you've been going through some hard times. I'm just thinking about packing it in.

I really am just thinking about packing it in. Don't even take that thought to the next step. Why? Because God is at work, and he has prepared good things, good works. Good things are in store for you. I see you through the lens of Scripture.

I see you in your future, and you look a lot better than you do right now. You need to understand that. And so God is not going to let you end your life. He is at work in you. Someone came to this church in recent weeks. I got the letter days ago, and they said, Pastor, thank you that your church is set up the way it is. And he said, a couple of weeks ago, I came to the church. He said, and nobody knew it, but I was thinking about ending my life. He said, but I said, let me go to church. And walked into this church. And before he got in here to hear the word of God, a greeter spoke to him and said something encouraging. He said, he looked me in my face, and he said something encouraging, and he said, God spoke to me through a greeter. God spoke to me through a greeter. And said, I'm not finished with you.

And he gave me the greeter's name, and he told me, Pastor, would you please tell that greeter I said thank you. You're going through hell? You don't end it because you're going through hell.

What do you do? You keep moving. When people tell me I'm going through hell, I say, well, keep moving. You don't want to spend a whole lot of time in hell. Come on. Come on. We all been there. You don't want to spend more time than necessary. And you're going through hell.

We've been there. Keep on moving. Because, Psalm 23 says, you're not going to stay in that valley of hell. You're coming out, and when you come out, because you are called according to purpose, there's a table that's going to be prepared for you in the presence of your enemies. So I'm here to tell you, you're going through hell. Keep moving.

Keep on moving. Because you're not done until you're sitting at a table with your enemies watching God bless your life. I don't care who your enemies are or what your enemies are. Depression will be standing there watching you.

Financial trouble will be standing there watching you. Whatever you think is an enemy now, David said, there's a table prepared for you in the presence of your enemies. So when you see enemies gathering, whether they're people or circumstances, don't get it depressed. Now see, now my enemy's showing up. They could be showing up because God's getting ready to sit you down at the table. So I'm here to tell you, don't give up.

I'm here to tell you ushers and greeters and you who just greet somebody during meet and greet. You've got to understand, God wants to use you. You don't have to be up here. Well, that's the man of God that God uses. He uses me to teach and to lead. I'm not the only man of God in here. I better not be. You've got to be a man or a woman, a boy or a girl, of God.

Let me do it now. Jimmy Albert, thank you on behalf of that man for speaking to that man. You were on the door. You wasn't doing nothing but being Jimmy.

That's all you were doing. But God is in Jimmy. God, I remember when he first got a hold of you.

You've got to understand, Jimmy and I go way back. I'm talking about 1990 when I had this little handful of people trying to be a church and he showed up with Leo. He came to be a blessing. Leo came to make sure I kept praying. Leo's gone now.

I can say whatever I want about him. He's with the Lord now. But these two men showed up when I had this little pitiful church and he'd been under my ministry and learning and become a leader and discipled and all that, submitted to my leadership. And God used him.

He just on the door. But a man said, I'm alive today because God used him. It's got to be more than words. It's got to be action.

Action that changes our lives. You can't stay the way you are, living in raggedy like you are. God's at work in you. You are to be a trophy of his grace.

So he's going to push you. No, you can't stay that way. No, you can't stay in that addiction. No, you can't stay in that immoral lifestyle.

No, I'm not going to allow that to happen. God comes in and says, I'm going to make some changes. So we just got to figure it out. He came to change us and so we must surrender to him. When God comes into your spiritual house, he's not looking to slap on a new coat of paint and rearrange the furniture. He's there to rebuild the foundation, to fix the plumbing and the internal wiring. He's after renovation, not decoration. It's not an easy process.

It can be quite painful. But when we allow God to change us from the inside out, to transform us into the image of his son, we'll be better equipped to be his ambassadors on earth and we'll be infused with a joy that exceeds anything we could ever imagine. In Psalm 107, King David writes, Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. If you need prayer today, the Destined for Victory ministry team would like to join you in prayer. From the home page at, use the Contact Us feature to let us know how we can pray for you.

And while you're there, be sure to ask for Pastor Paul's monthly letter of encouragement, yours at no cost or obligation. Well, we have a great resource to share with you today, a DVD from Pastor Paul called Get Your Hopes Up. You know, the word hope in English often conveys doubt.

I hope my team wins or I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow. But biblical hope has its foundation in God in whom there is never any doubt. Learn more about biblical hope in this video message on DVD from Pastor Paul. That's Get Your Hopes Up, our gift to you this month by request for your generous donation to Destined for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 or visit to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.

Once again, our address is Destined for Victory, box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. True faith goes beyond belief. It's not enough that you believe something if you don't live according to it. It's one thing to believe something in your head, it's another thing to live out that belief in your everyday life. What can a tightrope walker teach us about faith? Find out tomorrow when Pastor Paul Shepherd shares his message, Faith on Trial. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are Destined for Victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-13 16:38:09 / 2023-08-13 16:48:00 / 10

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime