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August 16, 2022 12:00 am
Here's James chapter 2 in a nutshell: faith without works is a faith that doesn't work.
We are indeed living at a point in human history, where you can sit on a dock and watch another mandrill that means that Christians have the opportunity of a lifetime to demonstrate the uniqueness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Right it is a gospel that care. It is a gospel that interacts is a gospel that moves you off your share and into the water. It is a gospel that risks everything. It is a gospel that say the Bible is that the gospel is then available to everyone as the gift of God but responding to the gospel brings change to your life. There's nothing you can do to earn salvation but once you have it.
There's a lot you can do to please God with your life with this lesson. Stephen begins a very practical series entitled faith works in this series, Christians learn how to live out their faith Stevens calling today's lesson show and tell the state of Massachusetts faced unique rather agonizing court case several years ago. The case involved the family of Amanda drowned. Evidently, according to court evidence. The deceased and his friends were at the lake for the afternoon and he was walking along the dock stretched out across the water's foot snagged on a rope by accident. Any trips fell into the water. He surfaced he flailed his arms he cried for help.
He couldn't swim the know-how sink beneath the water. A few moments later he resurfaced again crying out in sputtering for helping. And then he sank for the last time in the dark waters of that lake. His friends were one dock over at the time and saw what was happening even though they ran as fast as they could to reach him and dove in, found and pulled about by the time they pulled about. He wasn't breathing and they were unable to resuscitate him of the tragedy was only compounded because of the fact that just a few yards away from where that man fell in on that same dock was a young man sunbathing in his beach chair even though he heard the splash of the man falling into the water. Even though he heard him crying for help.
Even though he saw him flailing with his arms trying to keep his head above water.
Even though it would be proven later that he was an excellent swimmer in spite of all of that. He never got out of his chair to save this man's life simply watch as this man drowned.
You can imagine the family of the deceased was so crushed and hurt.
They were beyond belief that such an incredible display of indifference. They decided to sue this young man and make him pay for his crime of apathy. The case reached the Supreme Court state Supreme Court where arguments were heard from both sides. Eventually, the court wrapped up its deliberation in the family of the deceased lost their case. Although reluctant, the court ruled his following young man on the dock had no legal responsibility to try and save the other man's life. He had the right to choose for himself whether or not he would involve himself in the dying man's distress that he chose not to case close. Frankly, that ruling resonates around our world and it certainly thrives on the human heart that is filled with self-centeredness. I mean come on, you work hard for yourself and you take care maybe your family.
If you have one new friends. Perhaps my get a little bit here and there, but the golden rule is every man for himself. The living has no responsibility for the dying, certainly not for the suffering and I'm sure not for the hurting, just look out for number one. So what is that mean for the Christian does that mean for the church.
I tell you what it means what I believe it means. I believe it means incredible opportunity.
If we are indeed living at a point in human history, where you can sit on a dock and watch another mandrill where you can live your life openly and unashamedly with self-centered individuality where you can live so totally for yourself alone.
That means then that Christians have the opportunity of a lifetime to demonstrate the uniqueness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Right it is a gospel that cares it is a gospel that interacts is a gospel that moves you off your share and into the water. It is a gospel that risks everything. It is a gospel that say to Christianity is not simply a gospel of words is a gospel of works. We have been given more than a redeemed attitude we been given a call to redemptive action. Jesus Christ said in his mountainside sermon. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they might see your good works and glorify your God, your father who is in heaven. See, they have to see your words and they know that for you to do that for you to come off your chair or for you to care, or for you to give things away that you might need yourself.
God must be involved in that and they ultimately glorify God. Whether it's a moment of silence for a God they know must exist or maybe even the receiving of the gospel truth for themselves. She would be the half-brother of Jesus Christ.
The apostle James, he will deliver that in this letter to dispersed Jews in the first century's letter of course would be written to believers. We've Artie made that clear, and it would be about believers behavior and in this letter is going to define genuine Christianity genuine faith is a faith that works knows James works through this particular theme he's going to define for us in chapter 2, three different kinds of faith dead faith.
Demonic faith and dynamic faith, we have time today to explore the first one Jump sure shock you to know, and I take your Bibles and turn to chapter 2 and let's pick it up or we left off with verse 14. You might underline this verse friends because this is his string on the fiddle, so to speak. That is going to play what use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works can that faith save him. James begins now with asking two rhetorical questions and he expects both of them to receive a negative answer he's anticipating them to say no. He says in the first question. If someone says he has faith in all amplified without works.
That is, he says he has faith but he does not live like it is this faith useful. The answer he expects no in a second question he asks that all amplified again. Well, if someone says he has faith but doesn't live like it should he assume that he is a genuine believer. James again is expecting a response no important that you translate the second question, and you translate the Greek article before the word faith so that it reads can that kind of faith save he's not asking does faith say he sang.
Doesn't that kind of faith reveal the genuine item of Christianity in the answer he says is no. In other words, if you don't demonstrate your faith. As far as the world's concern that useless and you might even be deceived yourself, and at best, your faith is fruitless now immediately for us to begin this kind of discussion for those of you who are older and faith. You tend to want to circle the wagons here because we know what Paul has to say in Romans and Ephesians about the subject of faith and we know we believe that reformation cries sole if the day. Faith alone, and frankly, the fundamental Church of the 20s, 30s, 40s on in the conservative evangelical church that defended and still does this core doctrine sole of the day.
Faith alone you hear James talking about works is language. We want to pull back and we want to sort of distance ourselves from it because it is the liberal church that works, and we know they lack faith were defending faith. The trouble is, we don't work were going to see a little later in this paragraph. Not today, where James says something that sounds absolutely it just flatly contradicts pull in and what I want you to know for today is that James and Paul do not contradict one another. They are both under the influence of the Holy Spirit, so to speak is the right and in addition one or the other.
It is both in Romans, Paul is writing to unbelievers on how to find salvation, and that is by faith alone. James is writing to believers on how to demonstrate your faith and not by works alone because nobody can see faith.
Paul is writing in theological terms, James is writing in practical terms, Paul is focusing on a faith that leads to salvation. James is focusing on a faith that ought to follow salvation.
See Paul is talking about being justified before God and since God can see faith he can emphasize the fact that is justification by faith alone. James is talking about being justified before men who cannot see our faith that we are justified before men by works which they can see Paul once the unbeliever to get into the faith. James once the believer to grow up in the faith.
Paul is writing then that it is faith alone justifies but James is saying faith which justifies his never alone. So it is little surprise James is interested in getting the believer to engage in what came to my mind as I was studying this show and tell you. Don't be all showing the hotel W hotel and no-show take your faith out there and let it become show and tell. You remember that in kindergarten and those were great times weren't the love that little girl comes back she been the whole.
Why would a family. She brings a little girl. The flowers were just thing a while that had to be the best vacation planet in and the kid's older brother made the football team he brought in his brother's football helmet and we thought that was the coolest thing we've ever seen in the queue love bugs brought in this ant colony, and we thought of what this kids got the life he has those answer gets to keep in his room.
I'll never forget our neighbor's mother and son.
He was five. Our charity last born was five.
He came over with his mother with a rather unusual request. His mother explained to my wife and she opened the door I was right around the corner in my study and overheard the request. She said my my son wants to take charity to show and tell.
She's going to be his show and tell my wife and this woman thought this was the most wonderful thing in the world.
I'm going to get my daughter to short anybody son show you the door.
My eye on a course my wife and this neighbor woman one and they went in life never been the same since.
Actually I thought was going to Q2. Sort of kind troubles we outgrow that anticipation, we think is just good enough. Why will tell somebody about we don't have to show anything, this is James announcement faith out of the open.
It is show and tell time for the Christian what that court case in Massachusetts tells me is if there was ever a time when Christianity needed to go public. It's today. What a great opportunity affect the key phrase in this entire discussion, you'll get a verse 18. You might underline these words were James spells out this rather distinctive phrase with the words, at least in my translation showed me, show me, show me your faith see Christianity as a show and tell proposition and James is immediately contrasting that with the individual back in verse 14 is nothing but words will back and look there. He says what use is it my brother and if someone says if somebody says for 16 and one of you sad. This is the descriptive phrase of dead useless fruitless faith. It has replaced works entirely with words. It is all tell and no-show. That's what people would that faith do they know the correct vocabulary they can they can quote a verse or two. They can sing along in the come to the conclusion they can go out there and live anyway they want to live so long as they know the word's are churches that will meet and their words will be correct, but their church is dead, and those who believe they are living or deceive their faith.
James would say is dead. While James is really trying to get the believer not to act like the unbeliever rather than try to get the unbeliever to understandings and unbeliever really is and is in tension becomes a challenge to us or we just words. It was interesting to read Alexander McLaren's comment on this text you pastor the 1800s, a contemporary with Spurgeon there in London church about 1500 people.
He pastor for 45 years.
He anything wrong with a little bit of humor, sarcastic humor.
He said this, the people who leased live out their creeds are the same people who shout them the loudest for some reason the paralysis which affects their hands does not seem to interfere with their mall. See, this is the one thing that James is passionate about can't stand the idea. The thought of a profession of faith. Without the practice of faith because he knows it's useless but sitting on and share what use is that he asks in verse one.
At the end of verse 16 what use is that again of the universe 20 that kind of faith is useful through his the world wants to see a living, genuine profession of Christianity, they will never ever examine your faith. They don't know how they will examine your life and all. Do they know how to do that don't. It is, and what you say, it's what they see.
So John writes to the believers in first John chapter 3, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. Why is he writing that the Christians because it is possible for Christians to have useless faith. And then he goes on, he adds this interesting phrase.
We will know by this that is the were loving indeed injury that we are of the truth and will assure our heart before it was faith that works not only gives the world an assurance that we really do have a credible Christianity that is more than just words.
It also gives us assurance by the way we live. The soap we want to outline James as he describes dead faith. The first word we could use from verse 414 the came to my mind as I outlined it is the word inactive. That's one of three words I give you today, the word inactive the person. This person is someone who says but never does. He never takes his faith into the open. He is it were sits in the chair it it is a show and tell Christianity, but for him. There is no show.
It's only tell is Christianity never gets past the stained glass experience what he says in here what he quotes in here how he prays in here I goes along in here. I put something in the plane and here how he says hello in here never makes it here in the Monday stays on Sunday. James is after the really shouldn't be anything different about our vocabulary in here as it is out there on the second word that describes dead faith is the word in different is not only inactive, it's indifferent.
James again loves using illustrations.
I think is wonderful. Homiletical example for men who are going to be preaching and teaching and it's a wonderful thing to study with men in the seminary classroom. Certainly with all the teachers who are in this auditorium in this hour. Many people believe again that the letter of James is actually a sermon that was transcribed and there's good argument for that'll deliver some truth in the low strength of the liver smarter than illustrate that's what he does now is rattle everybody's cage. This is a go at stopping to give you an illustration verse 15 if a brother or sister is without closing and in need of daily food, and one of you says note that one of you says to them go in peace, be warmed and be filled, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for the body. What use is that even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself again. James is saying the truth. Faith never travels alone. It always has the traveling companion of of works that James describes a scene here you been with us at any time in earlier studies is already done this in the assembly get a rich man come in. We called him Mr. what Mr. blank if you remember that I just wanted to. He came in and the poor man came in. He describes the scenario in the activity that happened in there by the deacon who served as the now is going to take us into an assembly, and the implication is the assembly is going to show us he describes as a brother and a sister, no one is using as these terms ease using these terms and in the broader metaphorical sense he saying these are believers. The rich man of the apartment were unbelievers and came in like you wanted to check out Christianity these to come in their brother there. One of the brothers, sisters are part of the assembly.
That'll be important as will note later and they come in and James describes them in verse 15, the first thing he says about them is they are without clothing. That word is often translated naked word is also used in the context of someone poorly clad which is obviously the reference here. This brother or this sister comes to church wearing clothing that is become so red fair and so tattered and so useless that it doesn't do anything for them. It doesn't help.
In fact, it's as if they don't have anything on and James even uses the verb tense the tells us this is the consistent condition of the brother of the sister is unlike their other suit was down to the dry cleaners and this is the only one that had no this is the only one they have and is so threadbare it's useless it's unable to keep them warm or protect them from the elements, so it's obvious they have a need. James then adds in verse 15 that these two church members are also in need of daily food.
This is the only time this exact expression is used in the New Testament. It's a little different than the than than the disciples prayer where the Lord taught us to pray for our daily bread.
This is a little different than most believe that this in reference to that particular day that current day's supply.
In other words, they don't have anything to eat and it's Sunday.
They didn't have anything to eat before they came to church.
They don't have anything to eat after they leave church and they don't have anything to eat before they go to bed on the Lord's day. That's obviously everybody knows I mean everybody else is going to go to Olive Garden after church or Taco Bell or or cookout or red lobster. These are commercials I want payback afterward. If you work for his organization.
What are you getting a homing. I fried some pancake. Grill some chicken out on the grill.
Are you going to see was been simmering in the other may be in the crockpot or maybe so you get to know others you get a ball and you get your cereal and you make some toast and that's that's the ultimate. The point is we all have somewhere to go and there there's going to be little problem as far as I can tell, for all of us in it that's different. Let me know immediately after that we got food waving without the ability to eat Georgia Tech take care of our hunger. The idea here that James is describing is that these people are going to leave the assembly know how they have no waiting. They have no daily supply for that CC would James is doing it again.
James so clearly illustrates, he leaves no potential for a loophole.
He is so clear, so obvious. Here it is. They are they are needy and this is a double need they need clothing and they need food they are facing severe absolute destitution in the plane as the church knows no, no, watch what happens were 16 and one of you says to them go in peace, be warmed and be filled, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that that's another way of saying are you kidding or why go please common way for the believer. Nearly century would've been to say something like that.
That's tantamount to saying God bless you. It is the peace of God which we want to have bestowed upon you. We say similar things.
God bless you, which is been contracted down to from God bless, or be with the .be to goodbye so here the assembly is wrapping up. Finally, I might add. Everybody's really hungry now and you will be even hungrier before this one ranks up there at the front door and are going out and it's cold out there and here's what James is saying somebody says bless you. You are, says God bless you edges of the knee. You need the utterly ridiculous. This is absolute crass indifference.
It is shameless apathy minutes couched in the hypocrisy of sanctified words like words. I know I'm all too quick to say. Maybe you too.
That is, God bless.
He's going to have to because we anything Christ removes the apathy. Stephen was describing. As you can imagine there is much more for us to learn from this passage of God's word organist stop this lesson right here will bring you the second half on our next broadcast. This is wisdom for the hearts I'm Scott Wiley I'm sure glad you took a few moments to be with us today. I hope God uses this time in his word to encourage you Stephen Daly is the pastor of the shepherd's church in Cary, North Carolina. You can learn more about Steven and his Bible teaching resources if you visit our website which is wisdom online.org. That site contains the library of Stephen's 35 years of Bible teaching. You can listen to each message or you can read the manuscript of the message. You can access it email@example.com.
Thanks again for being with us today. Join us tomorrow for the conclusion to this lesson right here on this