The Wonder and Power of Faith, James 2:14-26

The Wonder and Power of Faith, James 2:14-26

December 24, 2023
The Wonder and Power of Faith, James 2:14-26

HANDOUT FOR SERMON: THE WONDER AND POWER OF FAITH. JAMES 2:14-26                                                                                             December 24th, 2023, Manchester, TN

INTRODUCTION:                                                                                                                                                                                                                 We will continue our study of the Book of James. Let us remember to whom this letter was written to. It was addressed to those who were bondservants or slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ and to those who were scattered (James 1:1). These people who were striving to keep themselves unspotted by the world (James 1:27). We would simply say, this book was written to the followers of Jesus, the Christians of the first century.

Define Faith:

  • Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
  • Strong belief in God.
  • Synonyms: trust, conviction, confidence, reliance.
  • There are three parts to faith: the affective part, the cognitive part and the practical part.

Scripture: Hebrews 11:1 & 6, Galatians 3:26-27, Romans 1:17, Romans 5:1, John 3:16

LESSON:

1.FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD. James 1:14-16 Let us read the text.

James 2 can be divided into 6 principles or pictures to help us mature.

  • Picture 1 Rich and Poor (verse 1-4)
  • Picture 2 The Legalist (verse 9-13)
  • Picture 3 The Hypocrite (verse 14-17)
  • Picture 4 The Foolish Man18-19
  • Picture 5 Abraham (verse 21-23
  • Picture 6 Rahab (verse 25-26)

It has always been Biblical teaching that we are to “add to our faith” (2 Peter 1:5-11) so faith is all about addition! The number of things we add to our faith is a measure of our commitment and commitment results in action.

Faith is recognizable.  How do you know one has faith? How do we identify people to make sure they are who they claim to be? The importance of a “fingerprint.”

  1. WHAT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT WANTING US TO KNOW.

If you are looking for someone with saving faith, we should look for a person who voices belief in the words of Jesus Christ and whose actions back his or her words. Saving faith produces practical religion, that produces change and action. Without action the Holy Spirit tells us such a person’s faith isn’t the genuine article! It is dead!  I challenge us all to embrace a faith that goes beyond mere mental assent, more than emotionalism and more than words.  Have the faith that the Holy Spirit (through James) is telling us about.

We are under the law of liberty and under mercy (James 2:12-13).  James is reminding the believers that God floods them with “liberty.”

  • Though undeserving we are free from sin.
  • Free from the Old Law and given the opportunity to repent and be completely forgiven.
  • Free to extend mercy to others as God has unto us.
  • Jesus “freed” us and now HE watches us do the same unto others.
  • He watches how we interact and treat others in and with mercy.
  • It is the law of liberty under which we live.
  • The mission of Jesus and His work is built upon MERCY!
  1. FAITH AND ACTION. We all have a choice. We can choose personal conviction and personal action!  So the question is: “can faith save a person?” James 2:14-17

Faith means conviction and work means action or doing something because of your conviction. God gives us an example here in James 2. What actions are in view here? Acts of mercy. We live under the law of mercy, and this is a brother in Christ.  We should ask ourselves: How do “I” show conviction to God without works? Jesus established a kingdom of servitude. Jesus taught the greatest in the Kingdom is the one who serves.

GOD’S EXAMPLES OF ABRAHAM AND RAHAB. James 2:21-26   Why do you think God chose these two examples of faith?

Abraham, the father of the faithful. A strong believer.

  • God will test your works.
  • He will put opportunities in front of you and see what kind of faith you truly have.
  • Abraham believed in the greatness and power of God, therefore, he did what he did.
  • God dealt with Abraham directly.

Rahab, the harlot. A gentile woman and “unbeliever.”

  • She was very different from Abraham.
  • A caring woman.
  • Lowest of the lowest in society., a prostitute
  • Most likely God never spoke to her. Yet she believed.

Both Abraham and Rahab, created in the image of God, responded to God. They both proved their faith in their choices and actions. We all fit somewhere in between these two individuals. Yes, YOU are in this story just as I am. The way we should act can be seen in Abraham and in Rahab.