Real faith will cause us to change our behavior.
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
A lot of people are saying they have faith but they aren’t doing what the word of God teaches.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
If we hear but don’t go out and do it, our faith is dead.
James 2:19-20 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
We have to forsake all to be a disciple of Jesus. Family is the biggest thing people have to forsake.
Luke 14:25-26 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
We have to be willing to give all and God has to come before family. As Paul said, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard.
Hebrews 2:1-3 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
We can profess to know God but if we don’t do what he says, we have dead faith. Jesus told the Jews they needed to have works or fruit to show their repentance.
Matthew 3:5-8 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Jesus spoke to the Jews that believed in him about being free from sin. They needed more than religious forms.
John 8:31-35 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered… Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
The servant doesn’t abide in the house because he doesn’t have any right to the inheritance. If you live in sin, your faith is dead and you can’t enjoy the inheritance of the family of God. You can’t just sign a membership card or say I believe to be a member. It takes repentance and salvation through Jesus to live a life free of sin.
John 8:36-45 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered…Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
These Jews believed in Jesus but they didn’t continue and believe God’s word. If we’re unwilling to pray and have devotions, our faith is dead. Faith shows by what we do – by our actions.
James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
We can’t be saved without repenting or by only doing works. We can’t stop sinning without salvation. Works don’t save us, but it we’re saved, we will have works of faith, holiness, and righteousness. God is going to try every one of us in similar circumstances to Abraham.
James 2:21-24 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
Abraham waited 25 years for Isaac, the son God promised him and Sarah. Abraham didn’t question, find fault, or hesitate when God said to take Isaac and sacrifice him. He started going to the place the very next morning.
Genesis 22:1-3 And it came to pass…that God did tempt Abraham, and said…Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering…and went unto the place of which God had told him.
God wanted to find out if Abraham loved him with all of his heart or if Isaac came before God. If Abraham didn’t have faith, he wouldn’t have obeyed. He had confidence that God would raise up Isaac if he had to sacrifice Isaac.
Genesis 22:9-12 And they came to the place…and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
Rahab had faith and that’s why she was listed in scripture as the mother of Boaz and among those who died in faith (Hebrews 11). The people of Jericho had heard what God did in Egypt (250 miles away) and they were afraid.
James 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
Joshua 2:1-11 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house…And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: And it came to pass…when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax…upon the roof. And the men pursued after them…as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate. And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; And she said…I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites…on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.
Rahab had faith that God was in heaven. She believed what God did for the Israelites. She hid the spies after they promised to spare her and her family, but she had to do something. She had to bring them to her house.
Joshua 2:12-14…I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: And…save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And…when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.
She had to gather her family at her house and they had to believe her to do it. Rahab and all her family were saved and received into the camp of the Israelites after they were purified. We need to go out to gather the lost, be workers for God and have a soul burden. Faith will cause us to have compassion for the needy and destitute.
James 2:15-17 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Jesus said we should show compassion and treat others as we would treat him. With dead faith, we will only be concerned for ourselves.
Matthew 25:35-40 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)