Sermon Notes Week 2: James 2- Pastor Jason, 02.09.20
Conviction– a firmly held belief or opinion.
Commitment– dedicated to a cause, activity that reflects our beliefs, behaviors and practices.
- Early in my Christian walk I said I had convictions that I did not in reality live out.
How many times have the words of your mouth not matched the walk of your life?
- “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do you live what you believe? Does what you believe line up with scripture?
In what areas do you feel you fall short? Share honestly. Group is a safe place to be real.
James 2 is a recalibration in two ways: Not treating people the same. Not living out what I say I believe.
1. James 2:1-13- Don’t be prejudiced
- Verses 1-4: James uses an exaggerated illustration of people treating wealthy people better than those who are poor. In that culture there was true favoritism and bias.
We all have biases. Jesus forces us to deal with our bias. This is why Jesus has to be the lens.
- Two sets of people walk in a room: who do we honor vs. dishonor?
- Here is the tension: how do we stand for both truth and grace without sacrificing one or the other?
- Hold your heart up to the light of Jesus (like an X-Ray) and see what is truly inside.
Do we truly have convictions and the commitment to walk them out?
Do we truly hold the conviction that all people are made in the image of God?
Are we striving to walk in the balance of God’s truth yet also His grace when interacting with different types of people?
- Will you share some of your biases that maybe you hadn’t noticed before? Or maybe you are very aware of them…
The Bible says there is no mercy for those who do not show mercy. How do we live our lives in a way that honors God and His mercy and truth?
Let’s be honest, it is easy to work with people who don’t have chronic issues.
There are churches who don’t want to deal with certain people. Sometimes, the poor have more needs and they may not have the options that others have.
- If we have a prejudice, we have heart issues. We can’t love God and hate our neighbor.
2. James 2:14-26- Faith in action: Convictions and Commitment
- Verse 17: Faith by itself is not enough.
- Obviously, James is not talking about salvation. Salvation comes solely in the belief that Jesus died for our sin and we are sinners apart from Him.
Do our commitments reflect our convictions?
Do our actions, fruit, behaviors, practices reflect what we say we believe?
Are we walking our talk?
- Verse 19: James says our faith is shown by good deeds.
- Early in my Christian walk, there were things I said I believed that my life did not reflect.
- When I got saved, I was confronted with truth. I knew with my head things I didn’t always walk out in my heart.
Have you experienced this? Share.
- Verse 20: “How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?”
- Convictions without commitments are useless. Beliefs without actions prove nothing.
- I am not as concerned about what you don’t know as much as you obeying what you do know.
Unpack this. What does Pastor Jason mean by this statement?
- We need to “mind the gap”. Pay attention to the gap between what we say we believe and what we do.
- For us individually and as a church.
Are we “Being About It”? How so? Do you even remember what “Be About It” means?
Am I living what I say I believe?
- Verses 21-24 Abraham and Isaac: 25 year wait. God said that, through Isaac, the entire world will be blessed. Now God wants Abraham to kill him.
- Abraham was confident that God would come through. He didn’t waiver. Even when it seemed he was now going to destroy the very promise God had given him over 25 years prior.
- Abraham had already lived a life of obedience, and Isaac was just another example of that obedience.
- Hebrews 11:17-19- “It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, 18 even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.”
- Abraham had conviction. He had to have an understanding that God was the author of life. He also had to understand that he was the God of Resurrection.
- Most of our lives are about making small faith decisions. Thousands of decisions that add up over a lifetime to produce huge results and changes. It is part of the transformation and faith process.
- Practical application of the little choice to get into the Bible and living it out.
- The small decisions of allowing God to work on our hearts and appetites.
- We are transformed as we change our minds; conformed to Jesus as we obey/walk.
- By doing so, conviction and commitment begin to meet. What you believe and how you live actually line up.
Like Abraham, there are times God asks me to lay what I love on the altar. Like Isaac, sometimes God asks me to get on the altar and surrender my life more fully to Him.
How have or are you currently seeing this in your own life?
What convictions is He calling out in you? To live from more than just words, but rather true convictions requiring different actions?
God is bigger than your past, bigger than your parenting mistakes, bigger than what you didn’t get or how you have been mistreated, bigger than your lack. This is truth. Do you believe it? What holds you back?
- Sometimes it is small consistent sacrifices that reveal faith. Other times, He asks us something so personal that we almost stagger.
- He will put His finger on our biggest fear and deepest dream.
- Maybe He asks you for the things that give you the most security?
- Sometimes the most spiritual thing I could do is not quit. Ever feel that way?
- Personal Conviction: I don’t want to be part of a church that won’t sacrifice, who won’t believe for something that we can’t do on our own.
Has God ever asked you, prompted you to give or serve or sacrifice or obey when you didn’t understand? Forgive when you don’t want to? Surrender even when you didn’t know how it would turn out? To try when you didn’t want to try again?
Convictions help define your commitments. How?
I want our church to live in faith, and to live out our convictions. I want it for our families.
- James 2:26- “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.”
- The biggest question I have for you today is this: are you living out your faith?
- Are your day to day commitments, your day to day living, a reflection of what you believe in your convictions? Are your convictions actually connected to the Bible?
- Some people are keeping God at arm’s length. You don’t want to talk with God about it, because you are afraid of what He will ask of you.
- There are others who feel they have waited their whole life for something that never happens. You are heart sick and I know this feeling.
- Others have dreams or desires that your commitments, character and life don’t actually match.
Are you in one of these places? Will you share and let us pray with you?
Scriptures for Sermon
James 2:1-4 NLT: My dear brothers and sisters,[a] how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting[b] dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well,4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?
James 2:14-18 NLT: 14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
Hebrews 11:17-19 NLT: 17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, 18 even though God had told him, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted.”[c] 19 Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.
James 2:26 NLT Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.