How does faith work when you are feeling lazy? James 2:14-26

How does faith work when you are feeling lazy? James 2:14-26

-This week: prerecord, 51st birthday, younger kids on fall break = family time

-Real Faith: Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith. James 2:20 (TLB)

-My testimony

  • WORKS baptized baby, 3 yrs Catholic school, altar boy, belief “god” “good person
  • FAITH – none – Grace gave me a Bible as I was ignorant

James writes 2-3rd generation believers, mainly Jewish, lukewarm & lazy (believers?)


  1. Who/What you trust in?
  2. Internal (what God sees)


  • external (what justifies you as a good person & make the world better)
  • Most people (religious & non) innately know something has gone wrong. Difference is who fixes it all? Jesus said on the cross “It is finished!”
  1. Secular Works – causes, social justice, virtue signal
  2. Religious Works – earning favor with God (Cults: Mormonism, JW & World Religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Judaism, Islam)

Lazy Christians Prefer Lip Service Over Lifestyle

James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

  1. Lip service, not lifestyle
  2. God doesn’t need your works. Your neighbor needs your works.

Christianity is about BOTH Faith & Works, in the right order

  • Order of salvation
  • God works 1. For you (Father sent Son) 2. In you (HS) 3. Through you

Grace & I young married – Ikea furniture – I did not follow directions, she did

Is Your “Faith” Dynamic or Demonic? 

James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

  1. Demons believe, but don’t behave
  2. Jesus is God vs Jesus is my Lord

-Mark 1:34 “he [Jesus] would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.”

-Luke 4:33–34there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice…I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”

-Luke 4:41 “demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.”

Jesus is not just God, but Savior from Sin & Lord over life

A deeply loving relationship changes how you live your life (GOSPEL)

Good Trees Bear Good Fruit. Bad Trees Bear Bad Fruit.

James 2:20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Matt 7:17-20 [NIV] every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, & a bad tree cannot bear good fruit…by their fruit you will recognize them.

Faith is a Holy Spirit-empowered internal devotion to God (faith) that produces an external devotion to God (works or fruit). FAITH ROOT. WORKS FRUIT.

  • Acts of worship are “works”
  • Fruit is progress not perfection
  1. Abraham Gen 22. – son young. 50 miles. carry wood. lay down. Heb. 11:17-29 ress.
  2. Rahab – Canaanite prostitute helped Joshua conquer Jericho. Jesus family Matt. 1


Do Faith and Paul Contradict Works and James?

Appendix of James study guide

James on Justification
James 2:17 – faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:20 – faith apart from works is useless?
James 2:26 – as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.


Paul on Justification

Rom 3:28 – one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Rom 5:1 – since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gal 2:16 – we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

Gal 3:11 – Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Gal 3:24 – So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.


Catholics (James) vs Protestants (Paul)

  • Martin Luther (1483-1546) = Justification by Faith (Protestant Reformation)
  • Rom 1:17 “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
  • James ‘has nothing of the nature of the gospel about it.’…‘an epistle of straw’

C.H. Spurgeon – how to reconcile Scriptures that did not seem to agree?

  1. Biblical (wisdom literature) vs Systematic theology
  2. Paul focuses on God’s work for and in you, James on in and through you

Eph 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (1. God’s work for you). For we are his workmanship (2. God’s work in you), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (3. God’s work through you).”

  1. James works = works of the Spirit, or fruit (vs works flesh)




Mark Driscoll
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