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So also faith by itself, if it doesn’t have works, is dead. - James 2:17 (ESV)
Remember the old Reese’s commercials? A dude is walking down the hallway munching on a chocolate bar, rounds the corner and runs into this girl who is eating from a jar of peanut butter. As the two collide, so do their snacks. Ticked off, they exchange words - “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” “No, you got your peanut butter in my chocolate!” They take a bite and, what do you know, their collision gives birth to one of the greatest snacks known to man. “Two great tastes that taste great together.” Halloween has never been the same.
In this series, “Double Vision,” we’re learning that some things go great together because they’re inseparable. This week we’re camping out in James 2:14-26 and I want us to read all twelve verses every single day. It’ll take 5 minutes to read, but close to a lifetime to understand.
Faith and Deeds. The dictionary defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” It says deeds are “actions that are performed intentionally or consciously.”
James says we can’t completely trust in someone without doing something.
When I read about Abraham’s faith and action in Genesis 22, I’m dumbfounded. He had complete trust in God which led him to consciously sacrifice his son. What? Thankfully God didn’t allow him to go through with it, but the dude had the knife over his boy ready to drop it. Abraham’s faith in God caused him to willingly hand over his greatest treasure.
This week we’re going to learn that faith is seen. It cannot be hidden. Faith shows itself by what we do, or there is no faith at all. Maybe this will help: “When faith is here, deeds appear.” I know it’s goofy. But so was that Reese’s commercial and look what we got out of that!
Today, find 5 minutes to read James 2:14-26. What do these verses reveal about your own faith?Share Tweet
And when He saw their faith... - Luke 5:17-26 (ESV)
I’ve done a lot of risky things because of my friends. I’ve jumped things, climbed things, eaten things, said things, and prayed things with friends that I would have never done by myself. Friends do things together that create great memories. They also do things for each other that change our lives. Recently at my son’s wedding reception, I took a minute to look around at all the friends who came to celebrate with us on Carter’s big day. Each face brought back memories of how that friendship expressed itself. We didn’t just “say” we were friends, there were actions that backed it up.
Yesterday we learned that “when faith is here, deeds appear.” “Inside faith leads to outside action.” In Luke 5:17-26, a group of friends express their friendship and their faith. Their buddy is in need of healing. They believed Jesus could heal him if they could just get him in front of the Healer. But the crowd was too thick and there was no way to carry their pal through all of those people. Ah, but a group of dudes doesn’t give up that easily. So they hoist their boy to the roof, dig a hole in it, and lower him down in front of Jesus. I bet their adrenaline was pumping and they were giggling the whole time. What a fun “guys night out!”
Luke says that Jesus “saw their faith.” Their faith was visible because of what they were doing. So Jesus healed the man’s sin problem and his walking problem right there. Their faith in action on behalf of their friend led to healing.
Can people see your faith? Is it visible? Would someone describe you as a person with great faith because of what they see you do?
Read James 2:14-26 again. What actions have you taken on behalf of your friends because of your faith in Jesus?Share Tweet
So Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water and came to Jesus. - Matthew 14:22-33 (ESV)
Faith by itself is safe. James tells us that faith by itself is no faith at all. It’s dead. Real faith is always accompanied by its pal deeds and, often times, real faith leads to risky deeds.
The first time I left the United States was to travel to West Africa for mission work and I was scared to death. I read about where I was going and there were a ton of risks - disease, violence, airplane food. I had a “d-day” - a “decision day” moment. I had to decide if my faith was bigger than my fears. As risky as it was, I couldn’t not go. I knew what God wanted me to do. So in the face of the risk, I said goodbye to my wife, my two young kids, and headed to another continent not knowing if I’d return. My faith was revealed on d-day.
In Matthew 14, Jesus’ disciples are in a boat out at sea processing what they had just seen Jesus do and they hear footsteps sloshing around. It’s Jesus. He’s walking to them ON THE WATER!!! Peter has a d-day moment. Jesus tells him to come out on the water with Him. He knows the risks and it’s d-day. In that moment, Peter’s faith was bigger than his fears so he stepped to Jesus, ON THE WATER!!!
He takes his eyes off of Jesus, loses his faith in the moment and sinks. But that’s ok because he would have never sunk if he’d never gotten out of that boat. His two steps on water are two steps more than I’ve ever taken. Peter went on to accomplish incredible things out of faith. His faith and deeds grew over time and I bet every time he had a d-day, he looked back at those two steps, wishing it’d been three or four, but always remembering he took the steps.
Read James 2:14-26. Today might be d-day for you. What risky decision do you need to make today?Share Tweet
Your faith has made you well. - Luke 8:43-48 (ESV)
Happy Thanksgiving! Today is a day to be grateful. Take a few minutes to write down what you’re thankful for. Express your gratitude to God, to family, and to friends. Say a prayer, speak a word, send a text. Gratitude and gratitude expressed are like faith and deeds. Are we really grateful if we don’t genuinely express it?
Do we really have faith if we don’t express it through action? James says “no.”
In Luke 8, this lady is exhausted and needs healing. She’s read the scripture that says the Messiah has “healing in His wings.” (Malachi 4:2) She believes that Jesus is the Messiah and could heal her of this long-time illness. It’d be great to talk with Him. It’d be awesome for Him to look her in the eye, lovingly reach out and place His hand on her head, say a prayer and heal her. But she believes Malachi’s prophecy and her faith tells her that’s not necessary. There’s healing in His wings, and if she simply touches one of those wings, she’ll be healed. So in a crowd of people, she desperately reaches for His garment, catches a wing and is healed.
Jesus recognizes what happened and He praises her faith. In fact, He credits her faith for the healing. She didn’t sit around in faith trusting she’d be healed if she prayed. I’m sure she prayed. But she also did something because faith expresses itself in action. And Jesus saw her action as her faith. When faith is here, deeds appear.
I’m sure you have faith, but is there an area of your life where you need to reach out and find help? Physical healing? Emotional healing? Relational healing? Make a call, schedule an appointment, see a counselor. Take a step. Put your faith to work.
Read James 2:14-26. Is there a relationship in your life that needs healing? Reach out to that person and make amends today. Trust the power of the Messiah to bring healing. Thanksgiving is the perfect day to make amends.Share Tweet
I will show you my faith by my works. - James 2:18 (ESV)
It’s Black Friday. Tons of people got out of bed really early this morning to save some pennies on a big TV and a toaster. The desire for a deal drove radical behavior. I just hope none of you punched someone for that last Chia Pet.
All week we’ve learned this simple truth that “when faith is here, deeds appear.” Faith always reveals itself in action or it’s no faith at all. Faith is visible. We can see faith. Faith drives radical behavior.
Read Mark 12:41-44 and assess that lady’s faith. Jesus is watching all of these rich people give money out of their abundance. It’s implied that they did not give until it hurt. In fact, they gave but will not likely ever miss a penny of it. But then this lady approaches the box and gives all she has. Out of her poverty, she gives everything. Jesus highlights her offering because it was given out of genuine generosity. She showed her faith by what she did. Her radical action revealed her trust in God to provide what she truly needed.
Jesus watched that lady and was encouraged by her radical action. If He were watching you, would He see your faith and be impressed? Would He highlight your radical generosity, your sacrificial obedience, your unstoppable friendship, your risky steps, your desperate reach, your unnecessary kindness, your over-and-above encouragement, your humble service? What would He notice?
Reese’s cups were born out from a collision of peanut butter and chocolate. A revolution of love is born from a collision of faith and deeds. Let’s unleash that revolution together.
Read James 2:14-26. What evidence is there that you have great faith? Take an assessment of your own faith by evaluating your deeds. This Sunday morning Jon will give us our last two words in this series and you’re going to want to know that your faith is ready to handle it. Invite a friend to come with you on Sunday.Share Tweet