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Faith That Works
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: People love stories. This is why teachers use illustrations in the classroom, preachers use personal examples in sermons, and parents pause active children by alerting them to an arresting anecdote. There is no better way to drive home a point than with an illustration. And James, the brother of the Jesus, knows this well. So, in order to show the great contrast between false and true religion, he shares the stories of a man who became a father at a remarkably old age and a woman who worked the corners as a prostitute.
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. What are the two ways that false religion tends to manifest itself?
2. What does James mean when he says that Abraham’s faith was “active along with his works” (verse 22)?
3. In what sense do our works validate or prove our faith?
4. To whom should our good works be directed?
5. How would you respond if someone asked you, in the spirit of James, “What works do you display that demonstrate your faith?”
1. “A person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” – James 2:24
“A person is justified by faith and not by works of the law.” – Romans 3:28
2. 01. False religion is dead because it knows Christianity, but not Christ.
3. “Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? … Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? – Galatians 3 NLT
4. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:37
5. “Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son not only showed his faith to be real, but also through his obedience his faith actually “grew up.” – Craig Blomberg
6. “Just as Paul contends that we are justified apart from the help of works, so James does not allow those who lack good works to be reckoned righteous.” – John Calvin
7. 02. When we stand before God on the day of judgment it will be clear whether we had false faith or true faith by our works.
8. 03. What sounds like saving faith can only be confirmed by properly motivated works of obedience.
9. “About a quarter before nine … I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” – John Wesley