The Book of James – Dead Faith

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“Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” James 2:18 Even in the early church we see people who claimed they had saving faith, yet did not possess salvation. Wherever there is truth there is the counterfeit. Jesus tells us, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.” (Matthew 7:21) This is what works is all about. It is about doing the will of God in our lives. People with dead faith substitute words for works. They know the right words to pray and testify. They can quote the Bible word for word. The problem is they think their words are as good as works. James gives a simple illustration. A poor believer came into a fellowship, without proper clothing and in need of food. The person with dead faith saw the needs, but he did nothing to help. The visitor went away just as hungry and naked as he came in. This is dead faith. As believers, we have an obligation to help meet the needs of people, no matter who they may be. “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:17-18) This verse sums up what James is telling us. Dead faith is not saving faith. Dead faith is counterfeit faith and lulls the person into […]

The Book of James – Faith and Works

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“So, you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” James 2:17-18 Faith is the key doctrine of the Christian Faith. James is asking us to show him any evidence for your faith without works. It can’t be done. People who truly believe something act on what they claim to believe. Faith that doesn’t cause a person to act is dead faith. It is not faith; it is just words.  James makes clear that saving faith in Christ is active and transformative. Salvation is about placing our trust in Christ; this necessarily transforms us in such a way that we begin to make new and different choices. Living faith in Christ changes the direction of a person’s life. It always results in the believer beginning to participate in good works. Where there are no works, there is only a dead “words only” faith. It’s important to note what James is not saying. He is not in any sense claiming that salvation requires good works. He’s not talking about following the law or being perfectly sinless. He’s talking about doing good works that are consistent with loving other Christians and obeying the Father. That’s what those who trust in Christ begin to do. In other words, we are saved only by faith, and this faith which saves will produce good works. According to James, those who lack works are not saved—not because they lack works, but because their lack of works proves that they lack saving faith. Today’s Bible Reading: Ephesians 2:8-9, 2 Corinthians 5:7, […]

The Book of James – Judgement

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“So, whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” James 2:12-13 Someday we will all stand before God and be judged. If we are a born-again disciple of Jesus Christ, you will not be judged for your sins, because your sins are coved by the Blood of Jesus and He paid for your sins on the Cross. Our words will be judged. Even our careless words will be judged. “And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.” (Matthew 12:36) Our words come from the heart and God knows our hearts and He will examine our hearts. God will judge our deeds. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24) Remember our sins affect our character and works. We cannot sin lightly and serve God faithfully. God forgives our sins when we confess them to Him, but He cannot change their consequences. We will be judged on our attitudes. If we have been merciful toward others, God can be merciful toward us. It does not mean that we earn mercy, because it is impossible to earn mercy. God shows us mercy so we should show others mercy. This does not mean that we are soft on sin. When God finds repentance and faith, He is able to show mercy; where He finds rebellion and unbelief, He must […]

The Book of James – God’s Laws

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“For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.” James 2:10-11 The same old lie that Satan told Eve in the Garden he is still telling us today. James is telling us that if we are going to follow God, we must keep all of His laws. God has not changed and His Word has not changed. Even if we keep hearing people say what God said, He did not really mean that or that what God said is not relevant for our day. God’s law has not changed and God will not change His laws will not change just because the people do not want to follow His laws. I believe that all of the Bible is as relevant today as it was when it was written. Jesus told us that He did not come to change God’s law only to fulfil what is written in God’s Word. “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So, if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:18-19) We need to be careful to follow all of God’s Laws, not just the ones we like. The Pharisees tried that. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! […]

The Book of James – Humble

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“Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?  But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court?  Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?” James 2:5-7 This church that James was writing about was a social club. It was like some of our churches today. They were only going to church to show off their dress and their money. It was not as Jesus said a hospital for the hurting, but a place that they could socialize. So many times, this is all our churches are today. In the eyes of Jesus, we are all poor or we have to become poor so that we can become rich. “But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12) The Kingdom of God is upside down from the world. The world will show honor to the rich but in the Kingdom of God the poor are the rich. Being humble is the only way we can enter the Kingdom of God. It is possible to be poor in this world and rich in the next. Or, you could be poor both in this world and the next. It all depends on what you do with Christ and the material wealth God has given you. God promises the kingdom to those that love Him, not to those who love this world and its riches. The key to this verse is being humble before God no matter if you are rich or poor. “Teach those who are rich in this world not to […]

The Book of James – Politics

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“My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?” James 2:1-4 I dislike politics. This is what James is talking about in this scripture. Politics is showing favor to someone just because of who they are. I know that politics can be important in business. Sometimes it is not what you know but who you know, but as disciples of Jesus Christ there is no room for politics. There is no room for treating any one person different than the other. It really does not matter how they dress or how much money they have. Everyone is equal, not just in the church, but in all areas of our lives. “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” (1 John 4:20) We cannot love God unless we can love others. The real test is when two people come into church, one is rich and dressed well and the other is poor and does not have on the proper dress. Do you treat them the same? The way we behave toward people indicates what you really believe about God. We see this problem happening in our churches. The church […]

The Book of James – Religion

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“If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:26-27 Whatever comes out of your mouth is what is in your heart. “You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.” (Matthew 12:34-35) Jesus was telling us that whatever is in our hearts will come out, so we need to control our tongues. If our heart is not right, our speech will not be right. Our religion is worthless. James told us in the scripture before that, we are looking in a mirror this mirror should be reflecting our heart. If our hearts are right, we have the pure religion that James is talking about. This pure religion is that we see the needs of others. We help out where we can with these needs. We care for others just as God cares for us. The last of this verse talks about us not being corrupted by the world. This is a problem that we face today in our churches. We are too much in the world. This world that he is talking about is society without God. This world is ruled by Satan and are the lost children of the world. Yes, we live in this world but we are not part of this world. If we are not careful, we will become conformed to […]

The Book of James – God’s Word

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“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:22-25 It is not enough to hear God’s Word; we must do it. Many people feel that all they have to do is listen to a sermon on Sunday morning and read the Bible every day. Yes, both of these activities are good, they are just not enough. It is not the hearing of God’s Word that bring blessings, it is the doing of what we hear and read. It is applying it to our lives. The Word of God is a mirror that we use to look into our heart and see if we are where we should be with God. Most people don’t look deep in their lives in reference to what God’s Word tells us. They do not carefully study themselves as they read God’s Word. We may read a chapter in the Bible each day, but we never look at our lives in light of what we have read. If they do see themselves in the light of God’s Word, they forget about it until the next time they pick up the Bible. If we don’t apply it to our lives, how are we ever going to change our lives and walk closer with God. James is telling us that it is not enough to just read or hear God’s Word, […]

The Book of James – Anger

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“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So, get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” James 1:19-21 James is not saying don’t get angry. That’s unrealistic. We’re all going to get angry from time to time. The word translated “anger” actually refers to a deep-seated rage. It doesn’t refer to a passing moment of displeasure which is soon gone and forgotten. No, James is speaking of that deep emotion which, when released, is like a volcano erupting. It spews red-hot lava all over the living room. It is rage that is uncontrollable. We live in an angry world. It seems sometimes that everyone is angry about something. I know that I am angry about the sin in the world and how Satan is telling us all these lies and we are listening to his lies. This is a good kind of anger. The bad kind of anger is the anger that we call road rage. It is the anger that we feel we have been done wrong and we must make it right no matter what happens or who gets hurt. This scripture tells us that we are to get rid of all our filth and evil in our lives. If we get rid of the evil and plant our hearts in God’s Word, the rage will go away. We will become like Jesus and our anger will only be the anger we feel towards sin. “Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So, stop telling […]

The Book of James – Listen

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“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  So, get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” James 1:19-21 I know that we have all heard it before, God gave us two ears and only one mouth, so we need to listen more than we talk. I know that I don’t listen enough and I talk too much. The Book of James is a practical book.  It is a book that tells us how we can mature as Christians and grow strong in the Lord. This scripture is one of those practical suggestions. Jesus told us many times that we should listen. “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” (Matthew 7:24) He also tells us to listen and understand. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!” (Matthew 11:15) Wisdom comes by listening. Listening to others and listening to God. We may listen but we just don’t take the time to understand. We may hear God talking in His Word, but are we listening to what God is telling us. If we are gaining wisdom from listening to God’s Word and understanding, our world would be a much better place. We are not only to listen and understand, we must be slow to speak. This is advice that we all need to heed. Most of us talk too much. We say things before we think. I know many times being slow to speak would have saved many hurts. It […]