Sermon:  Faith v.s. Fake  

Summary:  While there are those who fake credentials in our world today, we
cannot fake our faith before God.  We cannot fake faith through mere words, or
through mere mental agreement.  Neither can we fake faith through mere good
works (Matt 7:21).  True faith is demonstrated through trusting obedience.  Christ
gives us our "credentials" on the basis of his grace through our true faith.  

Know:  In order to be faithful, we need to live in submissive, trusting faith to
Christ as Lord and Savior every day, including Monday through Saturday

Feel:  The inadequacy of fake faith, especially "Sunday only" faith.

Do.  Reflect on the type of faith you have, and pray to God about it, so that God
can lead to you authentic faith that is demonstrated through trusting obedience
that goes beyond church attendance and to lived out faith in all areas of your life,
including when you are around acquaintances who are lost.

Text:  James 2:14-26

Scripture Reading:

1.  I now have a PhD!
	a.  I got it from Expiditus University, heard about it from an email
	b.  Tuition was only $500 for the entire degree!
	c.  What is even better, it only took 21 days to get it
		- Had to read a book, and do a report on it
		- Also had to write a report on my "life experience" in my field
2.  Would you go to a dentist, doctor, counselor with this kind of degree?
	a.  This has become very common for people to get fake credentials
	b.  They are called "diploma mills"
	c.  They are not worth the paper they are printed on
3.  ILL:  Statistics show diploma mills are growing
	a.  May 2004 study by U.S. General Accounting Office
		- 28 Senior federal executives had degrees from diploma mills
		- 463 in 8 federal agencies hired with bogus college degrees
		- Many get jobs as counselors, coaches, even doctors
	b.  Makes you want to find out "where" a diploma is actually from
	c.  A piece of paper does not make you qualified
	d.  It is about what the paper represents
4.  We cannot fake our faith before God.
	-  Will look at three different kind of fake diplomas for faith

I.  Diploma of Words (Jas 2:14-17) 
	A.  James uses an analogy
		1.  What if you walking down the street, see destitute one
			a.  Obviously starving, wearing rags
			b.  You stop listen to his story
			c.  Was once hard worker, lost job, became homeless
			d.  Starving
		2.  You say - Go in peace, be warmed and filled
		3.  What use is that?  None!  He is still starving and destitute
	B.  Faith goes beyond words
		1.  On Sunday, Can sing songs like
			a.  Oh How I love Jesus
			b.  None of Self and All of Thee
			c.  I need the every hour
			d.  Where He Leads I'll Follow
		2.  Is that faith?  Monday will reveal whether it is real faith
		3.  Do your actions on Monday fit your words on Sunday?
			a.  Oh how I love myself, my money, my things
			b.  Some of Self and Less of thee
			c.  I need thee on Sundays
			d.  Where He Leads on Sundays, I'll Follow
		4.  Faith is more than the words you sing and pray on Sunday
			a.  Faith without works is dead
			b.  Faith without works is not faith at all
			c.  You can say words, even print words on a fake certificate
			d.  But not the words, but the actions that back the words
	C.  ILL:  Like Brad and Sherry - engaged and in love, got married
		1.  Brad always saying - I love you, I love you
			a.  Sherry heard it all the time, but began to doubt it
			b.  Brad made an effort to never be at home
				- Worked late, bowling with the guys, fishing trips
				- She saw him when he came in and went to bed
			c.  Accidentally found a letter in his slacks from a woman
			d.  His response - She meant nothing, it's you I love sugar
		2.  What do you think of his "words?"  They are empty words
			a.  They ring hollow, why?
			b.  His actions do not match his word
		3.  ILL:  Then you heard about man, married for years
			a.  Wife complain - You never tell me you love me
			b.  Man - I did when married, if it change will let you know
			c.  Unlike Brad, this guy "demonstrated" his love
			d.  Faithful, kind, considerate.  She just wanted to hear it too
			     so he started to say it too.
	D.  That is the nature of faith
		1.  It's not just words, but words and action
			a.  When we say Jesus is Lord, do our actions show it?
			b.  When we sing that we Love Jesus, do we show it?
			c.  Do our actions on Monday match our words on Sunday?
		2.  The question we need to ask is this:
			- Do my actions match up to what I profess?
		3.  Trans:  But I thought faith is belief?
			a.  Yes, faith is belief
			b.  In Greek, faith and belief are same word
			c.  English, not have a verb form for the word, "faith"
			d.  However....
II.  Diploma of mental assent (Jas 2:18-20) 
	A.  Many people say, "Yes, I believe in God."
		1.  So do the demons, and they shudder.  Why?
		2.  Their belief is not obedient faith, but merely mental
		3.  Mental assent will not save you
	B.  Let's take an example - King Saul
		1.  Did Saul believe in God?  Obvious answer is yes
			a.  He sought God's word from Samuel
			b.  He even prayed to God
			c.  Eventually Samuel died
		2.  God turned his back on Saul, and Saul was killed in battle
		3.  Why?  Saul was disobedient and disloyal to God
			a.  He believed God existed
			b.  He believed God was powerful and wise
			c.  But he was not faithful to God
		4.  Saul's type of "belief" did not save him
			- True faith that saves is not mental assent
	C.  Some analogies
		1.  ILL:  You are sick, go to the doctor
			a.  Doctor prescribes zithromax
			b.  Can cause stomach upsets, so you don't take it
			c.  Don't you believe it will make you well?  Yes
			d.  Does you no good, because not act on it
		2.  ILL:  Do you believe you pew will hold you up & everyone else?
			a.  YOu don't even have to say it, and I know you do
			b.  Why?  You are demonstrating it!
	D.  That is faith - Faith is demonstrated by works
		1.  Faith without demonstration is not really faith at all
		2.  It is fake faith, like this fake diploma
		3.  Next point is going to sound like I am contradicting myself

III.   Diploma of good works (Matt 7) 
	A.  (Matt 7:17-20) - Must bear good fruit
		1.  What is good fruit?  Is it doing good works?
		2.  Might be tempted to say yes
		3.  But what Jesus says next provides a sharper focus
	B.  (Matt 7:21-23) 
		1.  Why were they condemned?
			a.  They said "Lord, Lord," they prayed
			b.  But remember, faith is not merely words
		2.  Not about good works either
			a.  These people did some good works
			b.  They even did it in the name of Jesus
			c.  But they were still condemned
		3.  Remember King Saul?
			a.  Didn't he do some good things?
			b.  That didn't save him
			c.  Saul was disobedient and disloyal
	C.  ILL:  Let me tell you about Art
		1.  Art was a good guy - Did an honest days work
		2.  Did some religious things
			a.  Believed in God, said prayers from time to time
			b.  Gave to charities from paycheck
			c.  Visited various churches around town
		3.  He died, and went to Hell
		4.  Good works did not save him
	D.  Many say, "Lord, Lord" and do some good works
		1.  Many will pray from time to time, do some good works
		2.  These alone will not save you
			a.  Buddhists do good works, so do Atheists
			b.  But those will not save you
		3.  "He who does the will of my Father"
			a.  Not just any good works, but that which is God's will
			b.  True faith is about submission and obedience to God
			c.  God has been clear about his will in scripture
		4.  Trans:  Brings us to our last point....

IV.  True faith is "completed" by trusting, obedient action (Jas 2:20-23)
	A.  Abraham is an example of one who received this honor
		1.  God granted Abraham a son in his old age
			a.  Abraham loved his son dearly
			b.  His son was named "Yitzaq" in Hebrew - Laughter
			c.  Imagine the joy and blessing of raising the boy
		2.  Then God called him to offer "Laughter" to him, a burnt offering
			a.  Abraham trusted God, he believed in Him
			b.  As a result, he did it, even though it was hard
		3.  His faith was "perfect" or "completed" by his works
			a.  It means his faith was not mere words
			b.  His faith has not mere mental assent
			c.  His faith was not some good works
			d.  His faith was a demonstration of obedient faith 
		4.  As a result
			a.  He was "justified" another way of saying "saved"
			b.  He was a "freind of God"
			c.  In other words, he didn’t “earn” this dimploma, it
			     was granted through trusting faith in a gracious God
	B.  True faith is "completed" faith
		1.  If it is jsut words, mental assent, or good works, it incomplete
		2.  Has to "completed" by trusting obedience
		3.  Sometimes it may be something difficult
			a.  It's not going to be giving up a child as a burnt offering
			b.  But it may be something that you have grown fond of
	C.  ILL:  Heard about a lady that heard the Gospel
		1.  She had a boyfriend, they were living together
			a.  That seems to be more and more popular
			b.  Knew couple in Vermont, had kids, thought they married
			c.  Found out later, they were not married
			d.  But this lady had not kids, just living together
		2.  She believed in God, and believed in the Gospel
		3.  What kind of faith was it?
			a.  She got rid of her live in boyfriend
			b.  Fornication is a sin, didn't want temptation
			c.  It was obedient trusting faith
	D.  If you have sin in your life, God calls you to get it our of your life
		1.  If you are having sexual relations, not married - sin
			a.  But I can't live without him - That is Satan's lie
			b.  You can't live without God!
			c.  And if stay in sin, you will die - eternal death
		2.  If you have sin in your life - Get rid of it
			a.  If it is pornography - get rid of it
			b.  If you have stolen something - give it back
			c.  If it is cursing, anger, gossip, give it up
		3.  Whatever it is - confess, pray, and repent

1.  We are saved by God's grace through our faith
	a.  God's grace demonstrated through the Gospel
	b.  Our faith is demonstrated through loyal, trusting obedience
		- It means we follow God as Abraham did
		- It means we give up all to God as Abraham did
2.  You cannot fake true faith
	a.  There is no diploma mill for faith
	b.  Our true credentials come from God
	c.  Abraham "believed" in God and it was credited to him as righteousness
		- Abraham's faith was not mere words
		- It was not mere mental assent
		- It was not some good works
		- It was about trusting, loyal, obedience to God, following God
3.  The same is true of faith
	a.  You can't fake it through words, mental assent, or some good works
	b.  True, authentic faith is about trusting, loyal, obedience to God
	c.  Like Abraham did, follow even when it is hard, or doesn't make sense
		- Turn the other cheek, being meek - they are blessed,
		- When a brother wrongs you - not go to court, accept the loss
		- Love enemies and pray for persecutors
		- Offer self as a living sacrifice
	d.  Authentic faith is loyal, trusting obedience
4.  There is a song about faith:  "Trust and Obey" - There's no other way
	a.  Trust and obey go together
	b.  Truly, there is no other way
	c.  Are you going to have faith and follow God or not?