Pastor Jonathan Falwell
Key Verse: James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Today, we’ll continue our study of James. The second chapter of James is a challenging and convicting passage. Challenging because it calls us to action. Convicting because it points to our failures. James uses his words to encourage us to make a difference through our faith.
1. Everyone Matters
James 2:1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lordof glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to berich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? 8 If you really fulfill theroyal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point,he is guilty of all.
- God hates the practice of honoring some and ignoring others
- When we honor the rich and powerful, we do so for the purposes of helping ourselves. When we honor the poor, the lowly, the “not powerful, we do so for the purposes of glorifying God.
- Jesus taught with the parable of the Good Samaritan that everyone matters and it will only be when Christians live out this principle that we will truly reflect Christ.
2. Everything Matters
11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,”also said, “Do not murder.”Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. 14 What does itprofit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does itprofit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
- Our actions speak volumes. Doing the right thing in one area but the wrong thing in another doesn’t buy us status with God.
- Saying we are Christ followers without carrying out the works of Christ has no real benefit. We may be on the team but with no real contribution.
3. It All Matters
19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it wasaccounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent themout another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
- James gave us examples of actions which pointed to the value and depth of our faith.
- Abraham was a Godly man who gave rise to the Jewish and Gentiles, but also was willing to do the unthinkable to obey God. This was faith, with works.
- Rahab was a lowly prostitute, disregarded by the community. Yet, her faith was so strong she was willing to risk her life to honor the God of Israel.
- Our works don’t save us, but they certainly define us.