Saturday, October 15, 2016

James 2 - People Working

James chapter 2 is about people and works, so I'll call this message "People Working".

Do not show partiality

[James 2:1 NKJV] My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, [the Lord] of glory, with partiality.
[James 2:2 NKJV] For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes,
[James 2:3 NKJV] and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool,"
[James 2:4 NKJV] have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
[James 2:5 NKJV] Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world [to be] rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
[James 2:6 NKJV] But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?
[James 2:7 NKJV] Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?

Seems like these days all sorts of people blaspheme that noble name by which we were called.

[James 2:8 NKJV] If you really fulfill [the] royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well;
[James 2:9 NKJV] but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
[James 2:10 NKJV] For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one [point], he is guilty of all.
[James 2:11 NKJV] For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

Guilty of one part out of a thousand is still guilty. Now if the rules were flipped around and we only had to keep one part of the law out of a thousand, we would be quite proud of the parts we keep. We would be confident in those parts; saying "I am faithfully keeping, oh, FIVE parts of the law!" But it isn't that way. And we find ourselves guilty of breaking some section of God's laws, even if we do try our best to live in a way that would please Him.

[James 2:12 NKJV] So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.
[James 2:13 NKJV] For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

The law of liberty by which we shall be judged. That phrase "law of liberty" occurs back in James 1 as well. Laws condemn. Laws point out our failures. Laws find us guilty. And yet there is for those who believe in Jesus, a law of liberty.

[Rom 10:9-10 NKJV] 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

[1Jo 1:9 NKJV] 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
 That seems like a pretty good deal to me. Judgement is without mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement. Which to me sounds odd, because I'd figure judgement is somehow, stronger, more manly, tougher. Mercy sounds weak. But when you're the one facing judgement, suddenly mercy is that life preserver tossed to you in the middle of a raging storm. I'll take it! Give me that mercy!

Have faith and works

[James 2:14 NKJV] What [does it] profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
[James 2:15 NKJV] If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
[James 2:16 NKJV] 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?
[James 2:17 NKJV] Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
[James 2:18 NKJV] But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Faith, alone, doesn't save anybody. People have faith in Buddha, faith in Scientology, faith in Islam, faith in watered-down "let's not offend anybody" church-ianity, and even faith in atheism. The Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh said in a death-row interview, that he was ready for Hell and was looking at it like a survival adventure or something. He had faith that he would be okay in Hell, it'll just be rough going. Faith with nothing behind it is just a wish.

[James 2:19 NKJV] You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!
[James 2:20 NKJV] But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
[James 2:21 NKJV] Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
[James 2:22 NKJV] Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
[James 2:23 NKJV] And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.
[James 2:24 NKJV] You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
[James 2:25 NKJV] Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent [them] out another way?
[James 2:26 NKJV] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Do works save us? No. But works do demonstrate the faith we have in Jesus, and He saves us. My faith is not in my faith. My faith is in JESUS. So what do these works James is talking about do for us? It demonstrates that faith is active, it's a validator of a claimed faith.

Now that we have Krispy Kreme donuts in Anchorage, people can now drive by and see if the "HOT" light is lit up. If it is, you know you can go in and get a hot doughnut. You woudn't need to call in to ask, if you see the "HOT" light, you know. The donuts are there awaiting you. Mmm. Your works? That's the sign, and instead of reading "HOT", it reads "Faith In Action!" Your works are going to naturally benefit those around you, but it benefits you as an indicator.

You need faith and works. Faith and no works is dead. Works and no faith is dead. Faith and works? Ah, now that's where you want to be. Let your "HOT" light shine, folks, let it shine.