Is Your Faith Dead?
Christian faith should be alive and burn like a bright flame. Today’s sermon takes a look at faith through works and asks the question, is your faith dead?
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Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 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. – James 2:17-18 NKJV
Who do you work for?
We began a conversation about working the good work of the Lord. We learned that in order for us to work the good work of the Lord we must start by putting off old man and his deeds. What we are going to take a look at today is the concept of faith and works. I believe we all know the saying, “faith without works is dead” – Is your faith dead?
In order to do the good work, we must first know who it is that we are working for; we must understand this employer’s rules so that we can be a good worker. When you go out for an interview, do you not learn about your potential future employer, what kind of work that they do? To take on doing the good work of the Lord, working by faith, one should learn about who they are working for.
The employer: God. His rules: be faithful to Him, trust in Him, be obedient to Him, and love one another. Can you follow those rules of the work place? The mission statement/objective: to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Can you not only follow the rules, but can you keep to the objective? Are you following the rules, are you keeping to the objective?
To answer those questions, most believers truly believe and do keep to following the Lord’s rules and following the objective (commission/task). However, there are some that believe they are following the Lord’s rules and keeping His objective, but frankly their faith is as dead as a door knob.
The one thing you cannot be when it comes to your faith, and service to the Lord, is a hypocrite. You cannot be a hypocrite in your faith – your spiritual work life. The time to stop playing church is upon us; the time to stop playing Christian is here. In other words, it’s time to stop playing church – play time is over! We, I believe, are living in a special time where the Lord is allowing the true and false Christians to be revealed. Many of the ones that have been playing Christians/church are now starting to be revealed.
In order to ensure our faith is not dead, we must again first look to the rules of the employer. The first one that I want to look at today involves love; love is something we think we know but we truly don’t grasp the concept/idea of expressing God’s love. The New Testament was written in Greek, and the Greeks had 7 words for love. You may have heard of some of the greeks words for love, like: Agape, Eros, and Philia.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul taught (Romans 12:9, 10) to express the Agape kind of love with each other; that is the love of all your mind, all your heart, and all your soul. This is the same kind of love that Jesus told us to express to one another, but it is a kind of love that many seem to think they can fake. People can tell when love is genuine and when it is fake – you cannot fake genuine love! The problem is, there are many believers today who say they love their neighbors but the love is not real! When you are doing everything in your power to hold people down, not treat them fairly, and not treat them as a human being – how can you say that you love them?
You may say: “preacher, but they don’t like me – they hate me! I can’t love somebody that hates me!” Trust me; I understand just how hard it is to love those that do not have an ounce of love for you in them. Yet, Jesus said to love your enemy, bless those that curse you, and do good to those that spitefully use you. Again I ask, are you following the rules of the workplace? Are you working in this kind of love?
Next: we must be obedient, trusting, and have faith in the Lord. There are many that say they believe in God, but believing and actually having faith are two different things for some. There are lots of people that believe God is real, but they are not truly faithful to Him!
Some get like the people that told James, “I have my works,” but what do your works actually say about you? Are you sure your works are of the good work of God or of your own accord? Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen many believers standing in more faith for a piece of cloth and a song than standing in faith for the Lord! God does not stand in anger or hate and you can certainly believe that He doesn’t expect anybody working in His name to do so.
I’ve noticed that there are many people that seemingly stand more firmly in the ideals of this country than stand for the Lord. There are many others who stand for the almighty dollar than stand for the Lord. Who are you being obedient too? What are you placing your faith in? Do you not know that you cannot serve/work for two masters? Jesus said (Matthew 6:24), that you cannot serve two masters!
The problem we are seeing today is that there are many people actually trying to serve two masters but they are unable to do so. You may be able to physically work two jobs, but you cannot serve two masters spiritually. Spiritually, you must decide who it is you want to serve – the Lord or other.
Faith by works
James said: “I’ll show you my faith by my works.” You see, James was certainly following the rules of the Lord and keeping to the Lord’s objectives. When you move in that manner, your faith is going to speak loudly. Faith, genuine faith, it cannot sit still nor can it be muted. Faith, the faith of God, it is a genuine and compassionate faith that moves through love – God’s love.
When you move about, doing your works, and your works do not follow the Lord’s rules – there is no faith behind the works. When you make up your own rules on how you are going to complete the objective, you are not following the Lord – does that sound faith? You see, we must take a look at that today. There are many people who think they can still get by if they bend the Lord’s rules to fit to them. God’s rules cannot be tailored like a tailored suit! Follow the Lord’s way or become a hypocrite.
This, as a preacher, sickens me because there are so many hypocrites that walk among us. They walk around with their fake smiles, their fake nods, and all along there is nothing but hate behind the fake smiles and nods. I tell you today, do not be like the posers, but be better than the posers. As I said before, I believe we are living in a special time where the true believers are being revealed. Make sure that you are following the Lord’s rules (His way) and keeping to His objective (The Great Commission).
Jesus tells us (Matthew 7:22-21) that there will be a day when this happens:
Many will say to Me (Jesus) in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I (Jesus) will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me (Jesus), you who practice lawlessness!’
I will not have us standing with this crowd! Our faith must be zealous; it must burn bright for all of those around us to see! Our faith, most importantly, must be genuine. Let’s make sure we are doing our absolute best to follow the Lord’s rules and keep to His objective. You may be able to fool others, but you cannot fool the Lord. God is sitting in His office (heaven) watching His workers (servants), gathering all of His data, and one day He is going to judge. The Lord will certainly know whether or not your faith is alive (breathing) or if it is a dead faith.