Focus: In order to be justified by faith, faith must have action
Function: To motivate the hearers to practice Christian virtue
Intro: 1. Men’s Breakfast, I got up again and was there 2. Could have stayed in bed and said “I am thinking of you eating breakfast” 3. Not the same thing as actually being there WITH others and eating 4. “I’ll be thinking of you” is never the same as actually being there 5. Thinking without action is useless (James 2:14-26) 6. Actionless faith is useless Why? Reasons: I. Because action has to accompany words A. v.14-16 - Words wont feed or clothe the poor B. v.17-18 - James issues a challenge 1. Show me your faith without doing anything 2. I’ll “show” you faith without saying a word C. ILL: Like the girl that asked the farmer - 1. Which is correct, that the hen is sitting or setting on the egg? 2. Farmer said = I don’t know and I dont’ care 3. Why? 4. What I want to know is when the hen starts to cackle, is she laying or lying? D. Cackling is useless without laying eggs 1. A cackling hen that lays no eggs useless - becomes dinner 2. If say “bawk! bawk!” I am a Christian, - Useless 3. Action has to accompany words II. Because action has to accompany belief A. Do you believe in God? Great! B. Guess what? The demons believe too! 1. Why are demons doomed if they believe? 2. Do demons believe God is Lord, all powerful, hates evil...? 3. Yes they do! So what is the problem? C. I like spicy food 1. My mother makes kimchee and spiced Korean pork 2. I also like Mexican food. 3. Problem, it tears my insides up 4. Do I believe it will tear me when I eat it? Yes! 5. Does that believe save me from a night of misery? ONLY IF I ACT ON MY BELIEF D. So there is the problem with the demons 1. They believe, but they do not act on it - They say “so what?” 2. Common sense - Belief without action is useless 3. That is why it says “Are you willing to recognize foolish fellow...” 4. Just knowing is useless in itself III. Because action has to accompany trust A. The next few verses are very difficult for a lot of people 1. Says quote frankly we are justified by works 2. James gives two examples: Abraham and Rahab B. Lutheran theology over the years has colored protestant theology 1. Emphasis on Paul: a. Eph 2:8-9 - Saved by grace through faith -But the difficulty is in Romans b. Rom 3:23-31 (v.27) Saved by faith c. Rom 4:1-6 - Saved by faith, not works 2. On the other hand, James says a. Jas 2:21 - Justified by works b. Jas 2:24 - By works, not faith alone c. So James doesn’t throw out faith 3. Is there a contradiction? No - both talking about perfect faith a. Jas 2:22-23 - faith working with works - faith completed - Jas quotes Gen 15:6 - Abe believed God - Speaking to those who think faith is just mental b. Rom 4:18-22 - Tells HOW his faith completed - Hope against hope he believed - He was able to perform - Speaking to legalistic mindset that tries to “earn” C. ILL: Multiple choice question 1. Saved by faith alone (mental assent) 2. Saved by works 3. Saved by faith plus works 4. Saved by “perfect faith” faith working D. Faith/Trust not acted on is no trust at all 1. Faith cannot be separted from trust 2. You cannot dissect faith in a lab, or it will be “dead faith” Concl: 1. So actionless faith is useless. Why? a. Action has to accompany words b. Action has to accompany belief c. Action has to accompany faith 2. But “perfect faith” saves you 3. So those who claim that baptism or confession not have thing to do with salvation are mistaken. Faith not demonstrated is no faith at all. 4. This passage does not apply to conversion a. Paul’s discussion in Romans does apply to conversion b. James discussion here has to do with something else 5. Jas 2:14-26 - Centerpiece of James a. This idea was introduced in chapter one with mirror analogy b. Be “doers” of the word c. James applies all of this to Christian living d. Maybe this is why James places so much emphasis on action, there are many unconverted, actionless Christians 6. A Christian is one who practices perfect/complete/working faith (real faith) a. Endures under trial b. Practices pure and undefiled religion c. Does not show favoritism d. Controls the tongue e. Manifests God’s wisdom, not worlds wisdom f. Produces humility g. God is at the center of decision making h. Patiently waits for Christs return i. Prays for those afflicted j. Strives to restore an erring brother.