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August 17, 2022 12:00 am
Here's James chapter 2 in a nutshell: faith without works is a faith that doesn't work.
James uses in verse 18. The word translated shows a wonderful word means to bring the light means to exhibit it means to put on display.
Take your faith let people see what they say dressing marks all the way that comes from this James point as he begins his inspired comments on the nature of genuine faith. Faith in Jesus Christ produces were the gospel teaches us, never be safe. Salvation is God's gift to us.
But the Bible also teaches that genuine faith in Jesus Christ changes us the work of God in our lives. Results in us acting like Christians here on wisdom for the heart. Stephen is in a series called faith works. It's from the book of James and were exploring the relationship between faith and works. It's important that every believer understand this. So stay with us. This is the conclusion to a lesson Stephen called show and tell 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 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 and that we are of the truth and will assure our heart before 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 can 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 has it were sits in the chair. Yet 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 and hear what he quotes in here how he prays and here I goes along. And here I put something in the plate in here how he says hello and 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 indifference and 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 a 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 there 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. 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 were one more time he came in and the poor man came and 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, nobody's using as these terms, he's 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 want 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 closing 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 there 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 the drycleaners and this is the only one that had no this is the only one day have an 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 is 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 obvious. 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 an 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 kids are no 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 waiting we got the ability to be take take care of our hunger. The idea here that James is describing is that these people are going to leave the assembly know to go there 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 plan 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 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 yeah you are, says God bless you Doug edges of the knee. You need the how utterly ridiculous this is absolute crass indifference. It is shameless apathy and it's couched in the hypocrisy of sanctified words like words. I know I'm all too quick to say. Maybe you too and that is what God bless you. He's going to have to because we won't. Interesting.
One Greek scholar said that this response implies a subtle implication of Blaine will have time to develop this, but this was interesting.
I just mention it to you in the middle voice is used, which implies it's their fault and so in those sanctimonious words, there is the nuance of them saying something like, will you know. Peace be with you and if you just exert yourself, you would have better clothing. God bless you and if you just do a better job out there, you'd have something. While that that's a dagger in their heart, one author wrote it this way and I love this. He said this family done me the sermon they need supper.
They don't need an invitation to sit in your living room they need an invitation to sit in your kitchen they need you to open your refrigerator, not your Bible because otter and I don't misunderstand, there's nothing wrong with sharing the word.
The problem is when you don't obey the word your share.
You go back in a church history, and you discover in the early centuries at least the first two specially there was a growing realization of God's sovereignty is related to the distribution of need and wealth and it wasn't that everybody gave whatever they had a way that's how it started early because of the persecution and the famine. But still, those that had had a sense of responsibility, as Paul would right to be rich in good and those who were poor understood that when they received gifts they were receiving them from God the wealthy understood that when they were giving gifts they were literally giving to God.
And so without understanding there was the separation in the church between those who didn't have much of those who had a lot.
There was actually a union of bond uniting them to God, making them conscious of their oneness in Christ that I have. So God wants me to give to the one who doesn't have and the one who doesn't have says thank you God for the way did you communicate your love through my brother or sister. I found it interesting as well as I explored the entire issue of charity and benevolence giving that the church was careful and it developed the care about the recipients of its benevolence. It wasn't just haphazard. We are administrating God's fund. We have to be careful one fourth century church leader wrote great experience is required to distinguish between those who have great need and it is legitimate and those who simply want more money. He who gives, he rights he who gives to a distressed and sick person gives to God, but he who gives his choice award by the way, to force entry you get to a parasite gives it to men who deserve contempt for their audacity rather than pity for their poverty and other fourth century leader describe the art of pretended beggars. Now it is impossible at all times to no use pretending and who isn't right.
I mean I have a decision to make. Every time I'm at 1010 and 401's are standing on the corner and I would rather err on the side of them really needing help. The not helping, but we have to get to exercise discernment as a church family got is given as much which we ministry, we have help for those who come off the street but we want to be discerning the same time we have help for those brothers and sisters in our church giving $10,000 away every single year, which is a great, great thrill. We had to be discerning. I along with every pastor's been in the ministry for any period of time knows what it's like had the experience of being conned. I remember an old church building, which is down try on road now engineering building.
It was closer to the road. Churches are soft targets, so to speak, and we hear a lot of things we get a lot of stories need to be discerning, but I remember early on in my ministry.
One woman came into my office told me her mother was dying at the hospital and she didn't have money to put gas in her car to make it to the hospital to help and of course I pull up my wallet. I gave her everything I had believe only a $15 when I left. I looked out my window to see her getting a brand-new vehicle. The man in the driveway just chatting with. I learned to look out the window first. Several years later, if I just eat about a year ago I was teaching Shepherd seminary course down the street to Holly Springs at South Hills Baptist Church, which by the way is been so gracious the pastor do so to the wonderful is open up their church for us to use. We use that auditorium for preaching classes so that these guys can get a hands-on feel for what it is to get behind the pulpit and preach. We also use their baptismal tank where I teach them how to baptize and you want these guys to know how to do that before they get in their otherwise we need a medical assistance team at the bottom for those who don't make it well.
A woman knocked on the front door. We locked it was dark during our class and heard the knock hollow into the lobby and in the auditorium and I went open the door and the lady was standing there.
She said listen, my mother is sick that she's having surgery. She's in the hospital.
I don't have any money for gas in my car to get to the hospital and I said I think I know you only 15 bucks a night and say that I said well I am. I'm very sorry to hear about that and I try to discern whether was a legitimate need, just by asking a few questions. I said what is your mother's name. The whole class is listening in on this pastoral theology class. What is your mother's and she told me her mother's name is what hospital is she in a big wake but you know was about a 2025 minute drive is not close.
I said just a moment, I pulled out my cell phone and I dialed wake hospital Speedo members and I got the receptions from Linux and the like speak so-and-so receptions punched in the name and she said I'm sorry will have anybody here with a name I saw a hole in a minute. I asked the lady if so, how do you spell your mother's last name. She stood right there and spell her mother's last name for me and I repeated at the receptions the most.
Later the receptions is I'm sorry there's not a woman in this hospital by that name.
Thank you very much. I hope I looked at this moment I said your mother's not in the hospital is she really got mad at me and she walked off in a huff muttering I think was Hebrew under her breath either had nothing to do with the peace of God, by the way all day that you know what this means that even though we might err on the side of you. I don't know this guy as I put the I try to look at their faces and if you work with people you could tell the look of someone lives outdoors and I try to give the money I'd rather err on James isn't saying when I whittle with abandon. Know the church would develop the sermon what James is saying here is much more clear-cut than these people are obviously in need. They are no they are believers. They are brothers and sisters to the assembly and he says it. If we do not care if we have our own words, we are not only an active we are different. We do not have living active faith demonstrable real visible give you 1/3 word is not only inactive in a different dead faith is impenitent.
That is, refuses to confess refuses to be corrected and refuses to be challenged. It defends itself in its error comes up with all kinds of reasons and maybe your thinking through them right now about why that's okay for you, but I'm not doing what James does as he introduces us to an anonymous object. Who decides to speak with verse 18 but someone may say you have faith and I have works. This man just suddenly or woman. We don't know which will blame the man. The man says you know I wait a second needed to understand that you got that, but I've got this effectively is wonderful were together in the same family you and I'll do this. James is one of them separated. He wants them together. This is a difficult passage.
Frankly, to understand, primarily because of the quotation marks. You need to understand and James day they didn't use quotation mark that was a device use later on. Quotation marks can be helpful. I believe in this case in my translation it confuses it because I believe there improperly placed and they are placed. By the way by the translator. Look at verse 18 and quote what I believe the subject or say.
Here's the quote you have faith and I have works." Then James responds quote show me your faith without the works and I will show you my faith by my works."
David say I'm sorry you don't work in real life like that in fact prove to you that you're off in your objection because I show you by having you attempt what I believe is impossible and you'll find out it's true as well. Is it possible here's what he says you show me your faith without doing anything and I'll show you my faith without saying anything on your mark get set go. Who do you think women obviously the one who shows who demonstrates faith, one because James knows it's impossible to prove you have faith unless you do something. Faith is invisible.
Faith is intangible.
One of the difficulties of witnessing is you talk to somebody by Thornton and the first thing out of great faith. Faith in God. You just can't take that out and put it in a test to you can't measure that is why it's a hard difficult argument to overcome. James knows it's impossible to test faith without works is faith is invisible and simplified by saying that faith is like calories with me.
They are invisible but you can see the results so you might rethink Taco Bell through that it works are the external physical evidence of an internal living faith to use another analogy, the subject or the refuses to bend see he wants to keep faith and works divorced maybe visitation rights. Every so often let's keep it separate. See this is going to allow him to defend his inactivity. This is going to allow him to defend his indifferent which will allow him to defend his faith, which James says it's useless if these are separate fact James in verse 18. He challenges his objector to show and tell to take it out of the public square. He isn't arguing one against the other is arguing for them both to be together is effectively saying this lesson.
Let's reveal our lives in the work of our hands.
In the words of our vocabulary in the spirit of our character and the excellence of our work and end our attitude and show people what Christianity is all about.
Our vocabulary should be any different out there as it is here. In fact, James uses in verse 18. The word translated shows a wonderful word it means to bring the light it means to exhibit it means to put on display. Take your faith and in doing and out on the road exhibition plan on display. Let people see what they say sing marks all the weight that comes from your faith understand again works do not create faith works do not bring faith into existence what James is saying is that works are the display in the exhibition of the faith that we indeed have it's possible to have works without faith James. It is not possible to have faith without works. I member when our firstborn twins were delivered our first one, delivered, he came out crying and he just lit up the whole room was a good thing they wouldn't stop.
We were concerned about our second son because he did higher up in his mother's womb, and every time there's a contraction. His heart plummeted. So there was great concern.
So when he was delivered though he was quiet still and on every we all just held her breath and then inappropriately placed smack brought about this piercing cry and we all agreed a sigh of relief and he was crying. If he's crying he's breathing he's crying. His heart is pumping. It was a beautiful things. The only times crying was ever a beautiful thing but it was beautiful there notice of his cry did not give him life, his crying revealed he was alive wailing at the top of his lungs did not produce life it prove that life exist.
This James point here as he begins his inspired comments on the nature of genuine faith. Faith in Jesus Christ produces life.
Life in Jesus Christ produces works and works for Jesus Christ prove that there is indeed life old tell Stephen will continue working his way through this section of the book of James in the days ahead before we leave you today I want to make sure you're aware of a special offer we have for you during the month of August. We have a free gift just for you as King David neared the end of his life. He didn't lie in bed at night dreaming of the next giant.
He would kill David really wanted to be was an architect God had other plans. God's answer to David was now how do you respond when God says no to your plans and dreams. That's a difficult situation to navigate Stephen Davey has a resource to help you Stevens written a booklet entitled, when the answer is now in it he shares with you five practical ways for you to respond when God says no to your plans and dreams. This is a free digital download.
You can access from our website right now, go to wisdom online.org for information. Thanks again for joining us today. I hope will be with us again next time. For this