Special Event: Joint Youth Service
Join us next Friday from 7:30-9:30pm at the Family Christian Centre, 160 Dickins Drive in Thickwood, for another evening of worship, bible teaching, and connecting with Christian students from around the city!
Click here for directions!
Note that the gathering times are slightly different than usual, pushed back by half an hour. There will be snacks and drinks provided, and Pastor Asa will be sharing a short message and challenge from the bible.
Session Five | James 2:14-26
Big Idea: Good works are the fruit of living faith!
Key Verse: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” –James 2:24
Is your faith dead or alive? That’s probably the biggest question James asks his readers. We probably would all like to think that our faith is alive. But what does that even mean? And how could you know whether your faith is dead or alive? Well James would argue that true faith in God leads to observable good works in a person’s life. If you’re not doing good works, then your faith is not even real: it’s dead! But a living faith is evident when God’s saving grace actually transforms a person so that they begin to love and serve others in a way that points others to the love and forgiveness of Jesus.
Is your faith DEAD or ALIVE?
James shares an illustration about a person saying to a naked, hungry fellow believer, “Go in peace, be warm and filled,” but then not doing anything to actually clothe or feed that person. What’s the point in that? What value is there in wishing someone well or praying for them if you don’t even do what you can to meet their needs, particularly when they are a part of the body of Christ, the church?
Each one of us needs to do an individual assessment of whether or not our actions match our words and claimed beliefs. And remember, even the demons believe in the existence of God and that Jesus is the way to heaven, but they don’t worship him. If your faith is only in your head, but doesn’t reach your heart and turn into action, then it is not really faith at all.
Salvation is by faith, and real faith produces good works.
One final thing to keep in mind. Many people believe that they can do enough good works to earn God’s favor and go to heaven. That is simply not the case. The bible teaches us that it is through faith in Jesus Christ alone that we are saved, not by anything that we do (Ephesians 2:8-10). We can never do enough to earn God’s favor. Instead, God offers salvation and eternal life to anyone who turns away from their sin and places their trust in Jesus (John 3:16). But this doesn’t mean that works are meaningless, rather, works are the result of true faith. If someone has really placed their trust in Jesus for salvation, their life will begin to change and look more and more different as time passes. If there are good works being done out of a heart of love and gratitude towards God, then you can bet that that person’s faith is real!
What about you: is your faith DEAD or ALIVE?
Live It Out
- Evaluation: Talk with God about your own faith. Do you have “faith with works” or “faith without works”? Ask him to give you the power you need to put your faith into action.
- Conversation: Talk with at least one other close Christian friend about this question: Is my faith more on the inside or the outside? Both are good. Both are important. But if you just feel your faith and don’t show it, you’re out of balance. (It’s also possible to tilt the other way, doing stuff for God, but not taking the time for personal growth.)
- Research: James is very specific about the needs we should be responding to – the needs of widows and orphans, as well as those who need food or clothing. Where do these needs exist in your region? And what are the best ways to help such people? Join with some others in a research project, and share your findings with this group, or your whole church.
- Serving: Can you put yourself on a regular schedule of volunteering with some ministry or charity? Helping in Sunday school for children? Serving in the Soup Kitchen? Doing a work day once or twice a year? Don’t just think about doing these things. Plan something and do it.
- Donation: Some ministries are desperate for funds. Give of your money to support these ministries.