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September 9, 2022 4:00 am
What could a highly respected, devoutly religious, spiritual forefather possibly have in common with the woman of ill repute. Whether you identify with one or the other, or somewhere in between today's message on Truth for Life will challenge and encourage Alastair beg is teaching from James chapter 2 begins today in verse 21. How can we be sure that our profession of faith is real, that when we say we have peace with God that we really do have peace with God. These are the kind of unsettling questions that are confronting eyes as we work our way through this second half of James chapter 2 what he has done is expose.
First of all, false faith, which we have seen in our previous studies in any exposes the futility of a lifeless orthodoxy. Now, it is imperative that we keep in mind what James is doing here. Otherwise will get ourselves tied up in all kinds of nonsense James is directing his argument here is polemic.
If you like against those whose faith is revealed to be a hollow sham such faith.
James tells us his dad are 17 and having set aside this beauty is claims he then turns to the positive and presents his readers with two examples of faith that is revealed in action, and so he says in verse 20. Would you like evidence or proof that faith without deeds is useless while enemy call my witnesses and because into the dog. First of all, Abraham the most respected ancestor of the Jewish people. The spiritual father of all who believe. Interesting isn't it that he says was not our ancestor Abraham to a Jew and Gentile audience surely is just the ancestor of the Jew, isn't it all and fight the King James version refers to them as our father Abraham what he is making clear is that all who are included in Christ are actually children of Abraham in the sense that the promise of God to Abram in Genesis finds its fulfillment not only in believing Jews, but also in believing Gentiles who are gathered under the umbrella of God's amazing grace wasn't our father Abraham considered righteous for 14 he did. And of course the bell should go off and those who read their Bibles. The bell goes off and rings and says that I thought a person wasn't justified by what they did invite I was reading Paul in the early chapters of Romans, and he appears to be saying the absolute opposite of that is suggesting that Abraham himself who uses as an illustration, but was not somebody who was working at his salvation. What does the Scripture say Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about, but not before God know when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift but as an obligation as Paul in Romans four, this is James and James chapter 2. Is this a contradiction answer no.
Paul is stressing the faith that issues in works and James is stressing the works that issue from faith. Paul is arguing that faith is the only means of being declared righteous. That is a legal statement being relieved from the realm of condemnation as a result of being justified, which means to be declared righteous before God, and Paul is arguing absolutely and unequivocally that the only means of a man or woman being declared righteous is through faith and faith alone. And James is arguing that works are the only way in which a man or woman who has been declared righteous will be demonstrated to be so. So if you like Paul's issue has to do with declaration and James has to do with demonstration and the demonstration of works in the life is the indicator says James that such an individual has been declared right before God. Paul is arguing that works are of absolutely zero value in bringing a person into a relationship with God. James is arguing that where such a relationship has been established works are an essential evidence. Now when we consider Abraham we will be helped because James calls him as his witness and he's a very good witness and I wish actually that verse 23 preceded verses 21 and 22 but it doesn't. But we're going to consider 23 first the Scripture was fulfilled that says Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. And he was called God's friend. I think be helpful for us to just go back to where this was all taken place. The first book of the Bible Genesis and to chapter 15.
And it's there in Genesis chapter 15 that the incident to which both Paul in Romans four, as well as in other places in his letters and James hearing James to takes place.
It is the record of God's entering into a covenant with Abraham he's come to him.
In Genesis 12 is recorded and told him that through him all the peoples on earth will be blessed and quite amazing statement how God did this in the way in which it unfolded. We don't know God comes and appears to Abram and gives them this promise in 15 he comes in he says don't be afraid, Abram, which is interesting greeting. I am your shield and your very great reward. Abraham replies sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless.
Verse four then the word of the Lord came to him.
This man will not be your heir. That is the man from his servant, but her son is coming from your own body who will be your heir in verse five he took Abram outside and said look up at the heavens and count the stars if indeed you can count them. Then he said to him, so shall your offspring be my wish that we could have Abram right here and we have put them up in the pulpit and give my handheld microphone and we would want to ask him the question when God spoke to you. Abraham, what did you do answer I believed him. Did you do anything else. Abraham know.
I just believe does not surprise you, Abraham, that you even believed it certainly does. When I think about where I came from and when I think about the orientation of my life and when I think about God coming and speaking to me in the first instance and then saying this to me it is a mystery to me. It is a deep mystery to me.
Not only that God would come and speak, but that I would both hear his voice and believe what he said so you just believe in inventing out while in his Abram's faith, a lonely faith, what James is saying here in chapter 2 is apparently all he did was we believe that's what it says in Genesis 1560 Abraham believed God, and was credited to him as righteousness.
He was justified. He was declared safe and secure and righteous before God on the strength of the Messiah who would come. Incidentally, Jesus and can speak of the Jews in John chapter 8 I think it is says that the Jews just blows their mind.
He says Abraham saw my day and was glad it was a thought. What will know his faith was not a lonely faith and that's the significance of versus 21 and 22 but don't go back to 21 and 22 yet go to Genesis 22 and again you have the context for what James is saying in chapter 2, and this of course is the testing of Abraham.
Sometime later, God tested Abraham no question that he did and I leave that for your homework part of homework at least. So back in James two.
And in verse 23, 22 you see that his faith that's Abram's faith when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. His faith and his actions were working together remembered James is James is addressing the individual who has already said someone will say, verse 18.
You have faith and I have deeds and elements I was evoking me to separate this out.
James is no weekend separated out.
You can go at it this way, faith and deeds go together.
That's what he's arguing, and so he says he was his faith and his actions were working together. This faith was made complete by what he did and the Scripture was fulfilled that says Abram believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
What is James saying he saying that we can conclude on the strength of the evidence. Verse 24 that a person is justified by what he does. Inasmuch as this testifies to the existence of real faith. That's what James is saying James is not saying that a person is put in a right standing with God.
As a result of works, he knows his Bible. If you like to well to say that he understands what Paul is been saying he and Paul are agreed on that Paul is making sure that at the front, then the person who wants to use works is entry into heaven is confronted by solar file. James is concerned that the person who wants to hold onto some scrap of testimony of paper that he once became a follower of Jesus and is done nothing about it and never gone on.
He wants to confront that individual with a distinct possibility that what he declares to be a sincere faith is nothing other than a false, dead, hopeless, useless faith, and that is why it is so crucial element to show you something in this Genesis passage before we go on in Genesis 22 and I'm grateful to my friend and guide Alec McTeer for this. He points out that here in the Genesis 22 passage we have an illustration of the way in which God accommodates himself to our thinking so as to help us so as to enable us to get the unfolding picture. So for example in Genesis 15 plan, God speaks to Abram and he said, so shall your offspring be an Abram believed the Lord and credited to him as righteousness. Well, God might say. So far so good.
Now let me see how Abram does, of course, he knows how Abram does. By the way it unfolds is as if God is looking into CLE's going and was watching him. In the intervening. And we have the Hagar incident, but now he looks down in the season make this journey and he sees the donkey and he sees the word, and he sees the altar and he sees the knife and he sees dear eyes. What does it say in Genesis 2212. The angel cries out, do not lay a hand on the boy don't do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, now I know God says now I know he knew all along what is he mean now I know he says now I know not, as some people in open theism teach because he didn't know any just found out when he says it this way as an accommodation to us so that we might understand what's happening, how do we know that the Genesis 1516 belief is evidence of real faith. Now we know when the knife is carried out before his son. Now we know why because faith and deeds go hand in hand.
God knows all along, but he represents himself in this way so as to enable us to get the picture that true faith produces results and in particular and is expressed in Abram's case here.
The result of trusting costly obedience to the word of God is not what we see in Abram's life, trusting costly obedience to God's work. How do I know that I am in Christ because of my trusting costly obedience to the word no trusting costly obedience? Big? Says James call my second witness when I learned I was along with you, Rahab, I'm sorry, but at least at will will fit you in before the lunch break from the most obvious witness the father of the faith to the least likely witness article Rahab to the stand. Rahab just a couple of general questions to begin with. I wanted to say her occupation was. Thank you and your background or are you from the Jewish faith or your Canaanite and Gentile I Canaanite prostitute. Yes.
All right I just so that there the jury can be clear and what about your knowledge of God while she said I I know that the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. All right is quite good is not very good, but at least it is a help to us concerning what you have to say I really want to talk to Rahab about the spies and what you did with the spies. Just tell us what you did with the spies. This is all in Joshua chapter 2 incidentally and is also part of our assigning homework. What did you do with the spies. Well, I gave, I I took the spies into my house.
I hid them up on the roof. I looked after them for a while and I made sure that they could sneak out because the gates of the city were longer made sure they could sneak out entirely on harm and Emily is one final question Rahab, why, why was it that you did this, but I just seem to me that a person who believes in the living God, who is sovereign and compassionate would act in this way, it just seems to me that someone who believes, albeit however fledgling a belief would do what ought to be done and you see Rahab's faith stands in direct contrast to the armchair philanthropist up in verse 16 if one of you says go. I wish you well. Keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about his physical needs. While good is it no good if every habit done that in relationship to the spies good without him into the spies logo to the spies are told they would've been in the clink.
Rahab puts her home or resources or ingenuity and her personal safety on the line because hers is a living for by mere contrast.
Verse 26 a simple profession is a dead thing, comparable only to a corpse from whom the breath of life has vanished reading from Joshua chapter 2 and on all the way through to Joshua six at least where you have the story that many of us remember from Sunday school of the walls of Jericho tumbling down and when the walls of Jericho come tumbling down. If you look carefully right around verse 25 you will see that the record details the survival of Rahab and her family on account of the sovereign intervention of God. And when you read chapter 2 it will become apparent to you that in a very similar way to what we described in relationship to Abraham is really mysterious to factor in why it is that this lady the Shady Lady from Jericho should ever come to believe in the God of Israel, and when you read in Joshua chapter 2. You will be as mystified and is gratified. I hope as I was to recognize that hear from the lips of a Canaanite woman with a shady lifestyle comes this great Israeli deck relation of the.
The significance of Almighty God of Israel. Somehow or another in them in the goodness of God. She got and she believed it, and having believed this, she demonstrated her belief and it is a wonderful reminder. In conclusion, that when you take the two witnesses called to the stand, one from a religious background, at least over time, and one from another religious background. A man and a woman, one man of significance and repute.
Another lady of disrepute, both called to the stand to testify to what to testify to the amazing grace of God and if you doubt just how amazing it is. Is your final homework assignment read the genealogy of Christ in Matthew chapter 1, and you don't have to get to far down the list to find Ray Ray is an incestuous of the Messiah, Jesus. What kind of wonderful God is. This who reaches down into the lives of people picks and grants them faith and she is the change to you see the faith that James is articulated here in chapter 2 is a reminder to us that the church is not a club for people that are all sorted out. The charge is not a club that would be like saying that hospital is only for doctors and and radiologists, or that a symmetry is as it is only for undertakers.
The church is not a club for people that are guarded altogether. The charges are refuge for folks who have been rescued and redeemed and set rights. Rahab's past was no barrier. The life of faith is more than a private long past transaction albeit a transaction of the heart with God, says James. Genuine faith is a life of active consecration in the obedience which holds nothing back from God and holds nothing back from human need. The question James is asking is reader is that you are faith is that your faith Abraham Rahab polar opposites on the social scale, but both were equally used by God to demonstrate how true faith goes hand-in-hand with deeds listening to Alistair Begg Truth for Life. If you're benefiting from these practical lessons in our study of the book of James. You might want to own all four volumes in this series. The series is titled a study in James. There are 40 sermons available on the convenient USB it's only five dollars shipping is free in the United States. You'll find it in the mobile app or email@example.com/store. In addition to teaching from the Bible each day.
We also your Truth for Life. Carefully select books to help you and your whole family grow in your faith.
The book will recommending to you today is a children's book. It's titled little pilgrims big journey part two this is an allegory tells the story of the Christian life teaches young children how to stay on the path that leads to eternity.
Requester copy of little pilgrims big journey part two when you give a donation can do that Truth for Life.org/donate a bubble pain.
We hope you're able to worship together with your local church this weekend and we hope you can join us back on Monday. Is your pastor's job strike you as dangerous.
But on Monday will hear about the serious and significant hazards of the preaching profession. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life where the learning is prolific