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Dead Faith B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
August 24, 2021 4:00 am

Dead Faith B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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August 24, 2021 4:00 am

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And then he calls for the attitude of true faith. In verse 22. What's the first word repent and pray to God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you because I see that you are in the call, bitterness, and you are in bondage to iniquity, unwilling to believe a shred of biblical truth, then consider this. Yes, they are evil but it's wrong to say that they don't leave profound biblical truth. For example, they know the truth about Jesus Christ.

They know exactly who he is and what he accomplished and yet they know nothing about peace, joy, and the blessing of salvation. And that goes to show you that believing truth about Christ is not the same thing as having true living faith in Christ. So what makes the difference. How can you tell if your faith is alive or dead. John is explaining that in his series titled show me your faith and with today's lesson. Here's John.

Let's open our Bibles to James chapter 2. Looking at verses 14 through 20. Now what is the character of that faith. This is what James wants to point out to us.

Let's look at our text, what is the character of dead gives us three marks of dead three descriptions of the nature of dead in verse 14. He first describes dead faith as an empty confession that has no benefit at all.

Remember second Corinthians 13 five which says examine yourselves whether you be in the faith and how do you examine yourself not by looking at a point in time in which you went forward signed a card or whatever you examine yourself by looking at your life and seeing the product. What you see. Because what you see reveals what you are empty confession is nothing but dead faith in dead faith is counterfeit. Secondly, James says is dead. Faith is not only marked by empty confession that is by words without deeds. But secondly it is marked by false compassion, and here he moved specifically to the absence of deeds false compassion. Look at verse 15 very practical. If a brother or sister be naked and deprived of daily food. There just to set the scene little bit here is a person who is naked. This is a kind of continual situation, a past condition brought into the present. There is a person who is naked doesn't mean stark naked without any clothing. It means poorly clothed a person who is destitute of the necessities of life doesn't have enough clothes, probably indicating the person has not enough close to stay warm. So here is a person who was cold there were destitute means deprived of daily food, starting today.

Here's a person is: hungry, very common situation very severe. No food for the day and no garment to stay warm brother or sister indicates this is a Christian document indicates it is writing to a group of people, at least outwardly, are not only identified with him as a Jupiter identified very likely with the assembly of the redeemed. This is an illustration very much like first John 317 and 18 were John brings up the same thing.

How you respond to a person in need is the indicator of what's in your heart.

I told her that all along. James and first John are very close parallels both providing tests of true faith. So here is this man or woman: hungry and one of you meets that person in your assembly. They come visit you there there in the assembly you see their condition and one of you say to them. Go in peace, and that's a common Jewish expression you find it. Mark 534 going peace just pious God be with you. God bless you.

Hope you do well empty words you're really rejecting their hunger and your rejecting the fact that there cold, so you say them going.

Peace, be warmed and fill aren't you generous in other words, what good is that kind of faith. You mean to tell me that you are a new creature.

You mean to tell me that you have the life of God in your soul the life of a compassionate God, a loving God and you can't concern yourself with someone in need.

Verse 17 says even so faith does networks is what it's dead because it's a long a faith with no fruit. A faith with no product is a dead faith marked by empty confession and false compassion turn to Matthew chapter 25 verse 31 says when the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory and the Lord will come in this time of judgment, gathering all the nations, separating them one from another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And of course this is the division of man to go into the kingdom and be shut out of the kingdom sheep go to the right and the goats. The left king says to those on the right income.

He blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Why because you believe the say that he says here's the reason you're coming to the kingdom. I was hungry and you what what give me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me and I was ill clad and you put clothing on me. I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me and the righteous are going to say no way limited Lord, when did we ever do that. When did we see you hungry and feed you are thirsty and give you drink. When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or ill clad and clothe you when did we see you sick and in prison, and come to you and the King shall answer and saying to them, truly I say to you, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brother and you of what dunamis and here it is the people who enter the kingdom aren't the ones here who simply are said to believe they are the ones whose faith is made manifest in true compassion. On the other hand, the ones who are told in verse 41 to depart because they're cursed to entering everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels are the ones who failed to demonstrate compassion and they go into everlasting punishment, while the righteous going to life eternal. Again, the point is judgment is on the basis of works. Not that our works, earn salvation, but that our works manifest, whether our our faith is truly saving faith. And so James says dead faith is marked by empty confession and false compassion. Thirdly, I suppose we could say it's marked by shallow conviction get verse 18 shallow conviction reading it in the authorize yes. A man may say you have faith and I have works. Show me your faith without your works and I'll show you my faith by my works now. James probably it seems to me is referring to himself.

James is the man he's the man. He's a little bit humble and so it speaks in the third person.

He certainly wants no posting, we see that over in chapter 4 verses 6 to 10 where he exalts humility in verse 10 says, humble yourself and the son of the Lord to lift you up. So the man here I think is probably James. He possesses true faith. So he says to another man who is claiming to have faith without works. He says you have faith and I am works.

Show me your faith without your works and I'll show you my faith by my works on the man who possesses true faith very likely James to reporting himself in this position says all right you're the antagonist you want to argue the case. Okay, you have faith let's say that hypothetical pilot so you have faith let's say that I have works. Here is the acid test. Show me your faith without works good.

Can't possible can't be done. The word show means exhibit demonstrate put on display choices gradually fade and you shall faith without works is a widely ugly jaw to while you can't is absolutely impossible to demonstrate saving faith without a product, how people can say there is such a thing as a faith that is real, that has no fruit is absolutely ridiculous because how can they know that James assured to me and if there is no righteous deed if there is no fruit of righteousness. There is no way to demonstrate the validity of faith.

That's a challenge. By the way, that's a challenge and nobody can answer that challenge nobody can show their faith without works. James is on the other hand, I'll show you the reality of my living faith by what my works Chubbys. There's no other way. Boy that puts the hypocrite on the spot. Show me someone so much as unchristian. You don't say oh, when did that happen old 24 years ago that the summaries as unchristian. You still show me your salvation while show me, tell me about your life. Tell me about the pattern of your behavior. Second Peter chapter 1 he says in second Peter chapter 1 that the divine power of God has granted to us life and godliness to the knowledge of him was called us to glory and virtue original set not only called us to glory, but he also called us to virtue and through the gospel he gave to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that we through these things might be partakers of the divine nature, having already escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. We have already received in some measure that divine nature and the new creation the life of God within us.

The indwelling Holy Spirit. We have already escaped to some degree the corruption that is in the world through lust.

John says we've already been delivered from the world. John also says in first John chapter 2, that we've already overcome the wicked one so we have a new nature we have in some measure escape the corruption of our fallenness through the new nature that soon as we have been delivered from the world and its threat to destroy us and then he says now you give diligence to add to your faith virtue and your virtue, knowledge, and the knowledge, self-control. He goes through endurance and godliness and brotherly kindness and love. And he says if all these things are in you and abound, they make you to be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. If all these things are in your life you'll be bearing fruit. But if you lack those things you will be blind you can't see very far.

You'll never really know whether you were purged from your former sin. You can't know when as you can see the fruit so let's go to verse nine and James says a man can say I have faith a man can say I believe but if there's no works there, you can never demonstrate and somebody might argue and say all I believe in God. I believe in God, I'm a monotheist and James as you do you believe there is one God, or you believe God is one, the Shema, Deuteronomy 6, four and five, the Lord our God is one Lord you believe the basic theological doctrine of Scripture you believe in the unity of God. The Jews always Brooke prided themselves on their orthodoxy, particularly on believing in the one true God. You believe that you intellectually believe that me tell you something you do well, sarcastic, or you're really something if you believe that retracing the demons believe that and tremble. What he saying here is you believe that wonderful. I'll go one up on you. The demons believe it and they tremble in other words, you're not even in the category with the demons.

They believe that to but at least they have the sense to tremble.

That word means to bristle, to have the hair stand on end. They are in a high degree of terror is metaphorical. They don't have here the demons go one better than men. They go one better than religious phonies. They shudder they shake their engraved theater, whereas it says of men in Romans 318. There is no fear of God before their eyes. Men don't fear demons, fear that demons said in Matthew 829 to Jesus what are you doing are you here to torment us before the time.

In other words, they all mother headed for torment eternally in their same way a minute, wait a minute, it isn't time yet they know where they're headed.

Intellectual faith is density, demons are more than that they have an emotional thing, so did faith is inferior even to demon faith Thomas Manson describes a non-saving faith in very graphic terms.

A simple and make a dissent to such things as are propounded in the word of God and make it men more knowing, but not better, not more holy or heavenly they that habit may believe the promises the doctrines the precepts as well as the history but yet lively saving faith. It is not for you that fine with his heart engaged to Christ and outsole believe the promises of the gospel concerning pardon of sin and life eternal, that he seek after them as his happiness and death of soul believe the mysteries of our redemption by Christ as that all is hope and peace and confidence is drawn from dance and outsole believe the threatenings, whether of temporal plagues or eternal damnation as that in comparison of them all the frightful things of the world are as nothing Manson goes on to talk about this kind of shallow conviction. That is nothing more than human faith or demon faith. The rights it is to be distinguished from temporary faith which is in assent to scriptural or gospel truth accompanied with a slight and insufficient touch upon the heart called a taste of the heavenly gift, and of the good word of God and the powers of the world to come.

Hebrews 6 by this kind of faith. The mind is not only enlightened, but the heart affected was some joy and the life in some measure reformed at least from grocer sins called escaping the pollutions of the world. Second Peter 220 but the impression is not deep enough, nor is the joy and delight rooted enough to encounter all temptations to the contrary. Therefore, this sense of religion may be choked or worn off either by the cares of this world are voluptuous living or great in bitter persecutions, and troubles for righteousness sake is a common deceit.

He says many are persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the only son of God and so are moved to embrace his person and in some measure to obey his precepts and to depend upon his promises and fear is threatenings and so by consequence to have their hearts loosened from the world, in part, and they seem to prefer Christ in their duty to him about worldly things as long as no temptations to assault their resolutions or sensual objects stand not up in any considerable strength to entice them but at length when they find his laws so strict and spiritual and contrary either to the bent of their affections or worldly interests. They fall off and lose all their taste and relish of the hopes of the gospel and so declare plainly that they were not rooted and grounded in the faith and hope thereabouts is right and he pulls together the teaching of Hebrews and the teaching of second Peter to affirm what he says in verse 20 concludes our look at the passage in James says will you know all vain man, that means empty headed, will you know will you are you willing to recognize this. All you empty headed man that faith without works is dead. Uses a different word for dead. Here, then he used previously in verse 17 use the word are Gay means fruitless.

It means a tree that bears no fruit. You are as destitute as dead tree as a dead corpse. You are no better than it did seed it didn't route a dead nerve a debt in general did anything. So James says you have dead prophets absolutely nothing that shallow conviction, false compassion, empty confession to conclude our study. Look at acts chapter 8 and an illustration of that faith. Acts chapter 8 Philip came preaching the people listen to him as he preached in Samaria with a fiery heart a man of God, a holy man full of faith tells us about his virtue back in chapter 6 and verse nine, a certain man was listening name was Simon. He previously had used magic and sorcery to bewitch the people of Samaria passing on that he himself was some great one and they were all giving heed to him from the least to the greatest thing this man is the great power of God and to him they had regard because for a long time he had bewitch that was torture. Sorcery. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Philip has a first-class first rate revival in Samaria people are really coming to Christ. Verse 13 underline this then Simon himself. What's the next word. Believe he believed and when he was what baptized, he continued with Philip looks good, believed, baptized, continued three good things and he was amazed beholding the miracles and signs which were done believed baptize continued verse 15 they prayed for the people who heard the word and believed to receive the Holy Spirit for as yet the Holy Spirit had not fallen on them.

They were a new group in the development of the church. They laid their hands on them. In verse 17, the apostles did they receive the Holy Spirit when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles hands, the Holy Spirit was given and by the way, I believe it was attended by miraculous sign of speaking in foreign languages speaking in language by the power of the spirit of God. There had to be some supernatural phenomenon so that there would be a recognition that indeed the Holy Spirit had come when he saw that through the laying on of hands the power of the spirit was given, he offered them money, and he said, give me also this power that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit now pay you for this. This is magic that will really bring it in. I'll pay you and Peter said to him your money perish with you.

Horses are your parish and your money perish with you you because you thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. You have neither part nor lot in this manner matter for your heart is not right in the sight of God. He believed he was baptized, he continued, he was amazed and he was damn is it you have no part in this your money perish with you and then he calls for the attitude of true faith.

In verse 22. What's the first word repent of this thy wickedness and pray to God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you because I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness and you are in bondage to iniquity, you're bound by sin it is possible to believe it is possible to be baptized.

It is possible to continue to listen. It is possible to be amazed by everything happening in Christianity and to be damn that's dead faith and what came out of the life of Simon was evidence of an on regenerate heart and soul James says look at your works. What are they tell you about your thing. That's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and seminary needs examining the difference between living and dead faith is current study on grace to you is titled show me your faith John for the person who is listening today and who may say look, my faith isn't dead faith, but I'm still in a battle with sin and it's frustrating and it's a struggle and it never seems to end what encouragement would you offer that person or would you give them a rebuke. No II would say that's the evidence that you're a Christian because the people who are non-Christians don't battle with sin. They run to it at least think about Romans chapter 3. There is none righteous, known at one there is none that does good. There's no mistakes.

After God the poison of asters under their lips that they have no fear of God before their eyes.

So the nonbeliever is not having a battle with sin that the only thing the nonbeliever has to do is hide his iniquity at some level so that is not socially unacceptable yes he's always socially restrained and some in some fashion but but there's not this internal battle between sin and righteousness because there is no righteousness there. So the very fact that you struggle with sin.

You hate the sin in your life you want to be delivered from it and you have a hard time and it's disappointing to battle it is evidence of your regeneration because what's happened is your new creation still incarcerated in unredeemed human flesh. As Paul says in Romans eight waiting for the redemption of your flesh, your body I want to mention a book of that will help you with this. It's title is standing strong standing strong and it talks about the fact that this side of heaven. You're gonna struggle with temptation you're going to struggle with the flesh. You're also going to struggle with the spiritual enemy who is keenly interested in creating opportunities for you to send and of course that is Satan. The book is standing strong helps you to deal with Satan deal with how he works how he assaults his strategies and also how to deal with the flesh.

This is a vital book and it specifically goes through the armor of the believer is laid out in Ephesians chapter 6, so you'll find this really helpful in your spiritual battle by the way, excellent curriculum for group study, a Sunday school class, home Bible study. The book is standing strong affordably priced available now from Grace to you and you can get as many copies as you might like to have for for your maybe home study group Bible study and will have him available for you yes and with chapters on protecting your mind and emotions chapter on the role of prayer and how to use the sword of the Spirit God's word.

John's book called standing strong can help you win spiritual battles and live in a way that honors Christ in a fallen world to get a copy. Contact us today. This helpful book costs $10.50 and shipping is free to order, call 855 grace or shop Keep in mind that standing strong is also available in Spanish to order your copy in English or Spanish. You can call us at 855 grace or go online to If John's Bible teaching is helping you apply God's word to your life. Keep in mind that grace to you is listener supported. That means people like you are the ones who help give us a voice around the world. So please pray for our staff and the people were reaching and tell us how God is using this broadcast in your life and thank you for your financial support depend on faithful friends like you can write to us at Grace to you. Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 were simply call us at 855 grace.

You can also reach us now for John MacArthur.

I'm Phil Johnson inviting you back when John looks at one of the greatest examples of living faith in all of Scripture the life of Abraham is another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on tomorrow's

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