Parkland First Baptist Church
July 10, 2022
      • Numbers 25–28CSB

      • Numbers 29–32CSB

      • Numbers 33–36CSB

      • Deuteronomy 1–4CSB

      • Deuteronomy 5–9CSB

      • Isaiah 26:3CSB

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        Raniesha Turner

        July 28, 2022 - 7:00 AM - 7:00 AM
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        Unified Worship Service with Koreans

        July 17, 2022 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 AM
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        Joint Worship Service with The Good Shepherd Church

        July 17, 2022 - 11:00 AM - 11:00 AM
        Potluck to Follow
  • Introduction

    We are in a study of the book of James
    Sometimes as I read James, think he may have been a little ADHD.
    He changes subjects often and it appears that there is no rhyme or reason to his letter.
    Yet if you look closer you will see that he has a line of thought.
    In Chapter 2, he is describing what displaying pure religion looks like.
    He began this chapter focusing on not showing favoritism toward one group over the other.
    He did this by rebuking partiality.
    They showed that the results of discrimination toward others
    Lastly, he reminded us to live according to God’s royal law of loving your neighbor as yourself.
    Now, it seems he quickly changes subjects.
    This new section has caused a lot of controversy over the years.
    It appears that Paul and James contradict each other, when actually they complement one other.
    Paul is focusing on the fact salvation comes from faith in Christ and not works.
    A causal reading of James seems to say the opposite, but it doesn’t.
    James is writing to church people who are making Christianity a creed instead of a lifestyle.
    These folks were asserting orthodoxy as the basis for their assurance of salvation.
    The book of James asserts that daily love in action is not an option for Christians, but is the evidence of their being Christians.
    For James, “works” are not Jewish rules, but love in action.
    Paul and James are not giving two ways of salvation, but two aspects of one salvation.
    Paul speaks of the beginning of Abraham’s walk of faith (cf. Gen. 15), and
    James speaks of its ongoing characteristics (birth of Isaac versus offering of Isaac.
    It is not “faith or works” but “faith and works.”
    What this section does is encourage us to an active Christian lifestyle.
    We are saved to serve.
    Service is the evidence of salvation.
    It is not the means, but the goal, the fruit.
    James 2:14–26 CSB
    14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way faith, if it does not have works, is dead by itself. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one. Good! Even the demons believe—and they shudder. 20 Senseless person! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? 21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works in offering Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was made complete, 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works in receiving the messengers and sending them out by a different route? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

    Three Main Truths Verses 14-19

    There are three main truths in the first half of our passage this morning.
    The main message of the three is simply: faith without works is dead.
    What does that mean?
    It doesn’t save, it doesn’t justify us before God.
    It is not alive, it’s dead.
    Which means it doesn’t really exist.
    It is interesting that the noun faith is used 16 times in the book of James.
    11 are found in today passage.
    Eight of times it is used are in connection with this imaginary person who claims to have faith but has no deeds.
    The point of the passage is that this person doesn’t really have faith.
    He claims to have it, but he doesn’t.
    His so-called faith is dead and worthless.
    It does not save; quite literally, it does not work.
    James is not contrasting someone who has immature faith with someone who has mature faith, or someone who has nominal faith with someone who has authentic faith.
    He’s telling us that you either have faith that saves or you don’t—there’s no in-between.

    Faith Equals Fruit Verse 14

    Talk is cheap these days and so are unsubstantiated claims are worthless.
    When claiming to have faith, back it up.
    Otherwise, you are just fooling yourself.
    Two rhetorical questions here expect negative answers.
    Three features of the questions are important.
    First, they accept the reader’s claim to faith, but do not assume that the claim without works represents saving faith.
    Have you known people who claim to be a Christian, but you don’t see any actions that back up their claim.
    They say, “Oh, I’m a Christian.” while they are getting drunk, cussing, committing sexual sin and on and on.
    Marijuana man accepting Christ while high, never followed through.
    The absence of deeds of obedience in this person’s life makes the claim highly suspicious, if not outright wrong!
    Second, the topic of the questions are not faith in general but a specific kind of faith, one which has no deeds.
    “Such” in text implies this focus.
    The question is not, “Can faith save the lost?”
    Of course, faith saves the lost.
    The question is, “Can a faith without deeds save the lost?”
    The answer to that question is “no.”
    A verbal testimony alone is not an adequate evidence that true saving faith is present.
    Only works of obedience can prove the presence of genuine faith.
    Verse 15 provides an example of such deeds.
    Third aspect to these questions, “save” refers to acquittal at the final judgment.
    The question is, “What type of faith can guarantee a favorable verdict in the final judgment?”
    Only a faith that produces works can provide security in the final judgment.

    Lack of Compassion Equal Dead Faith Verses 15-17

    Earlier in this chapter, James told us to obey the royal law, Love your neighbor, but now he’s focusing on believers.
    He turns to an illustration to make his point.
    If a person claiming to be a Christian can’t help their own, fellow believers or church members, why would they even help out those on the outside.
    That type of faith cannot save.
    We see a picture of people in need of clothes and food.
    Cold and hungry, these believers desperately needed help.
    It may be hard to comprehend the large need of clothing and food and that could make one feel overwhelming.
    But there are people in the church who have needs that we can meet.
    The only way to solve this problem is one person at a time.
    I’ve always thought that a church should take of its own.
    If someone is in need then we have an obligation to help them.
    1 John 3:17-18 says, ““If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth”
    In verse 16 shows how the person who claims to have faith approaches these type of people.
    They just offer them good wishes, but no practical help.
    In other words they say, “I’ll pray for you.”
    Then don’t.
    Sympathy is valuable when this is all a person can give to the suffering.
    Though the one James is referring to had the ability to feed and clothe the one in need.
    James wonders, “What good is a faith which only gives pious wishes and not practical help.
    Verse 17 seems to be a conclusion of the matter at hand.
    Good wishes or offering prayers consisting of mere talk are empty of all reality and lifeless.
    Offering only good wishes to the cold and the hungry serves to depress further those who are starving and chilled.
    They need more than good wishes.
    They need practical help.
    A faith not accompanied by action, that is faith alone, having no works to distinguish it, is dead.
    Anything with life produces fruit.
    The living are the acting, creating things that reveal their nature and character.
    Faith in Jesus produces actions revealing the nature and character of Jesus.
    The dead lie still doing nothing.
    So faith that lies still, inactive, proves it is dead.
    True faith brings salvation and life, not death.
    Christians should show works of love to prove their faith is real.
    How can we apply this in our lives today?
    Look for a single parent in need of help—car repairs, child care, help with financial or legal concerns.
    Provide meals for a sick or grieving family.
    Help a student whose college finances are a burden.
    Assist a young family with clothes and toys for the children.
    Help a young couple facing stress by funding a retreat or vacation for them.
    If you can’t help, then let the rest of the church know and together we can meet the need.

    Deed less Faith Is Useless Faith Verses 18-19

    Beginning in verse 18 we are warned against a faith that merely accepts a creed or an intellectual belief only.
    There are limitations to this kind of faith.
    Saving faith involves a commitment to Jesus which produces works or deeds.
    James begins having a dialog with an imaginary opponent.
    The opponent claims “James, you ought to let some people emphasize faith while others emphasize works.”
    James insisted, “Real faith shows itself in deeds.”
    You simply cannot find an example of real faith that does not show itself in works.
    We have no room for some people to emphasize faith while others stress deeds.
    You must have both.
    Genuine commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrates its presence by deeds.
    Faith produces works.
    You can’t have one without the other.
    Verse 19 is an example of a person claiming to have faith but lacking in works.
    The basic creed of Judaism is found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5
    Deuteronomy 6:4–5 CSB
    4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
    The creed is intellectually true, but doesn’t go far enough.
    A person must believe in God to be a Christian.
    However, not every one who believes in God has made a commitment to Jesus.
    The demons believe in the existence of God and shudder in fear.
    But they believe and still have an evil character.
    Intellectual faith touches only the mind but not the heart and hands.

    Examples of True Faith Verses 20-26

    Verse 20 begins with “You Idiot!” - my translation
    You’ve got the wrong idea of faith.
    Are you willing to learn the truth?
    Here for example.
    James selects two people to use as an examples.
    Abraham the outstanding faithful father of the nation.
    Rahab the prostitute who saved the spies.
    Both are in Jesus’ genealogy.

    Abraham Verses 21-24

    Verse 21 begins with the story of Abraham showing his willingness to offer Isaac as a sacrifice (Gen. 22:1–18).
    This is refers to the incident in which “Abraham believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6) at the giving of the Abrahamic covenant.
    Which took place at least thirty years before that of Genesis 22 where he was asked to sacrifice Isaac.
    Abraham showed his righteousness by his willingness to offer Isaac on the altar.
    The word “justified” or as some translations have it “considered righteous”.
    Paul uses the same Greek word in Romans 3:28; 4:2, 5; and 5:1 (“justified”) to describe the righteousness God credits to a believer through faith in Jesus Christ.
    James uses the word to describe the righteousness we show to others as we obey Jesus.
    The saving faith of Abraham showed itself by his total obedience to God in the matter of offering up Isaac.
    The faith James commended moves the heart and controls the life.
    Again, James was demanding that true faith must be alive and vital.
    We find two facts about Abraham’s faith in verse 22.
    First, his faith and his actions were working together.
    It was his faith that prompted his obedience to do good works.
    Second, his faith was made complete by what he did.
    His obedience demonstrated the integrity of his faith.
    His willingness to sacrifice Isaac vividly demonstrated the existence of true faith.
    Abraham’s willingness to offer Isaac fulfilled the promise of Genesis 15:6
    Genesis 15:6 CSB
    6 Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
    Abraham’s obedience showed he was a righteous man.
    God declared Abraham righteous as a matter of grace.
    Abraham showed the reality of this righteousness by his actions with Isaac in Genesis 22.
    As a result of this obedience, God drew Abraham into a closer fellowship with him and called him God’s friend.
    Verse 24 is a conclusion about Abraham.
    We are made right in God’s sight through a faith which produces works.
    This does not claim that God justifies his people by our deeds.
    The Bible insists that saving faith must show itself by visible commitment to the Lord and compassion for others.
    Faith alone will bring salvation to anyone, but saving faith does not come alone.
    It is accompanied by works which show the genuineness of faith.

    Rahab Verse 25

    James next to life of Rahab and her works of faith in verse 25.
    Abraham was a man of prominent position and exemplary character.
    Rahab came from a background of degradation and insignificance.
    James insisted that these contrasting personalities showed deeds which demonstrated their righteousness.
    Rahab (see Josh. 2) received into her home Israelites whom Joshua sent to spy out the city of Jericho.
    She hid them in her home and protected them from their pursuers.
    She deliberately misled the pursuers by sending them off in a different direction while she continued to hide the spies.
    Later, she guided the spies in making their escape. If residents—especially the rulers—of Jericho had known of her acts of disloyalty, they would likely have put her to death.
    Joshua 2:8–13 makes it clear that Rahab’s faith in Israel’s God caused her to protect his representatives.

    James’ Conclusion Verse 26

    When God formed the first human being by breathing life into his body.
    The act of joining the spirit and body produced a living human being.
    In death the spirit returns to God, and the body decays into dust.
    A body without the spirit is a corpse.
    Now in the same way faith without works is also dead.
    A person claiming to have faith but lacking works is spiritually as lifeless as a corpse.
    An inactive faith, entombed in a creed affirmed by the intellect, has no more usefulness than a body with no heartbeat or breath.
    James did not intend to belittle correct doctrinal views, but he demanded practical holiness as an evidence of real faith.
    So what are you going to with this passage?
    How will you change your behavior after hearing this?
    What will you do different?
    If every Christian would take it upon themselves to help just one person in need, we wouldn’t need the government to step and do it for us.
    We wouldn’t need other agencies doing what we as the Church should be doing.
    But that’s not the case today, so we must begin with we can to make an impact in our world today.

    Let’s Pray!

      • James 2:14–26CSB

      • Deuteronomy 6:4–5CSB

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