A Complete Faith

Here are the sermon notes from 9/9/12.

I.  James 1:2-5   Christian Completion

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

We do not enjoy tests, but they do serve a purpose.  Tests help us to mature in Christ.  Patience is an essential component for living the Christian life.  We must be patient with others and also patient as we wait for the timing of God for things in our lives.  God is working within us to bring us to completion.  We will not be perfect in this life, but we should continue to make progress.  God will give us the wisdom that we need for the problems that we face.

II.  James 1:21-25 Doers of the Word

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

We are called as Christians to lay aside sin.  We are able to come to Christ just as we are, but we are not to remain in our sins.  God will give us the grace to change.  The Word of God sinks deep into our hearts, the Spirit of God applies that Word to our lives, and we utilize our will to bring our lives into conformity with God’s Word.  It is an ongoing process.  If we truly have a living faith, it will produce a life marked by righteousness.

III.  James 2:14-26  Faith Produces Works

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[c] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[d] And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

In my garden there are the remnants of bean plants.  They have pretty much died and are no longer producing fruit.  We also have a cherry tomato plant that has grown to enormous size and is producing far more tomatoes than we can eat.

As Christians our lives should be more like the tomato plant, and not like the beans.  The beans produced for a while, but they died early because we were on vacation and it was too hot and dry.  Apparently the tomato plant had roots that went deeper into the soil and it was better able to survive.

We need to be well-rooted in Christ.  There will be times of testing and trial.  We need to hold fast to Jesus,be grounded in the Word,  gather strength from the Spirit and continue  produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

May God continue His work in us, so that in all areas of our lives, we may conform to His Word, and may His Spirit, which dwells in our hearts by faith, continue to grant to us a living faith that produces works of righteousness.

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