Dead - Demonic - Dynamic: What Is Your Faith?
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Delivered By
Pastor Ed Dinkins
Delivered On
November 2, 2014
Central Passage
James 2:14-26
Subject
First Sunday Service
Description

(Data Commentary -  Source: https://bible.org/article/how-energize-our-faith-reconsidering-meaning-james-214-26)

"We have discovered three central lessons in this passage. First, speaking our faith without doing our faith cannot meet practical needs. It is easy for us to talk our faith yet not do it. We are sometimes of the opinion that if we have talked about it, we have done it. If we have talked about the crisis pregnancy center and our stand against abortion, we think we have done it. We gather together in a prayer meeting and talk about prayer, so we think we have done prayer. We talk about evangelism, the poor, and other issues, yet we still avoid the effort of acting on our faith! The end result is a self-deception about how well we are doing in our dedication to God (1:22, 26).

There is one group of Christians who are most susceptible to the self-deception of talking our faith and not doing it. Notice that immediately following Jas 2:14-26, James directs his attention to the subject of the tongue (3:1ff). In the very first verse of this new unit, he describes the ones who most easily fall prey to talking faith but not doing it: teachers of biblical truth! The irony of this is that we evangelical teachers and preachers who need to learn this truth most desperately are the very ones who have obscured it the most. By reducing James to a theological treatment on the nature of faith, it is easier for us all to avoid the real unsettling challenges of James to help others like the poor. Even my own writing on the obligation to move beyond merely talking our faith does not go beyond talking my faith. While I may find a sense of fulfillment from the Lord in exhorting others to do good works, I am not by that writing and teaching released from the obligation to be engaged in good deeds myself.

Second, faith that is invisible can be seen through good works. You can see a person is trusting God by their works. If we do not see the good deeds, he or she may still be a Christian. But his or her faith is not visible.  Yet when good works are there, we can say, “Yes, I can see that that person is trusting God.”

Third, when good works are added to our faith, our faith in Christ is matured. We cannot move on to maturity until we actively participate in meeting the needs of the unfortunate, such as the care of widows and orphans. The way that I energize my faith, then, is to act on the real thrust of James 2. I must add to my faith the good works that will meet practical needs.

R. T. Kendall has an incisive observation about the James 2 passage that makes a very relevant conclusion. He writes:

What startles me is the number of people who insist that one must have works to show he is saved but who themselves have virtually nothing of the very works James has in mind! They wish to use James as a basis of “assurance by works” but not the kind of works James has in mind—caring for the poor. I have yet to meet the first person who holds (or preaches) that giving another “those things which are needful to their body” must follow faith to show that it is saving faith indeed. We prefer to be selective in our use of James.55

We who hold firmly to the truth that faith alone brings justification without works of any sort must not be guilty of Kendall’s criticism. Let us lead the way in good works flowing from love and the power of the Spirit. Let us energize our faith to its fullest." 

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