faith without deeds is useless.

Pastor Ino

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Today’s message is from James 2:20, 「…faith without deeds is useless.」Last week, we learned from James 1:22,「Do what it(the word) says.」We also learned
from James 1:19,「Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,」Through these scriptures, we received a challenge to put the word of God into practice in our daily lives. Today, I would like to talk about the power of the word, and ask ourselves what faith without deeds is like. Through today’s message, I hope you will realize that faith without deeds is useless.
By the way, I visit my mother at nursing home and take her to a hospital once a month. I sincerely hope to give some encouragement to my mother who is gradually weakening at nursing home. I also want to share my experience with you in today’s message. Now, please read James 2:14-26.

 James 1:25 says,「But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.」Just like Jeremiah 31:31-34 talks about, the days of New Testament has come, when God puts His law in our hearts though the Holy Spirit. The Word was given to our hearts by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit guided us to respond to it. Since today is Pentecost Sunday, let’s take a look at the disciples who received the Holy Spirit and the people who were saved in response to the Word from Acts Chapter 2. The Holy Spirit is poured on the day of Pentecost. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages(Acts 2: 4). Those who heard God’s great works in various languages were amazed and perplexed(2:12). Then Peter stood up, powerfully talked about the work of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection to the whole crowd. Acts 2:37 says,「When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”」Those who respond to the Word by the Holy Spirit were added to the disciples and the church was about to be born. They were baptized, and Acts 2:42 records that they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. I believe that we also went through the same process. The Holy Spirit worked through the word of God, and that’s how we were led to faith. The words of the Bible, the law of freedom, encourages us to take an action.

Let’s sort it out. God chose to give us birth through the word of truth. (James 1:18) The word acts as a mirror that shows human shortcomings. (23) It also serves as the standard of living for us believers(25) and at the same time as the standard of judgement for us. (2:12) If you think in that way, you might find out that there’s no faith without deeds. When we respond in faith, we may be baptized, attend worship service, be guided in service, and be involved in the work of evangelism.

James 2:14 says,「What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?」This passage asks these questions to us. Verses 15 and 16 bring us this question, when a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food, and if someone says something encouraging yet does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? Verse 17 gives us the answer of these questions,「In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.」(James 2:17 NIV)
James 2:20 says,「You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?」Then, the author began to talk about the faith of Abraham from verse 22, 「You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.」The author teaches us from the faith of Abraham that faith always requires action. I say it again, faith always requires action. In such contexts, verse 24 says,「You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.」(James‬ ‭2:24‬ ‭NIV‬‬)
Here, James is not trying to describe the definition of theological salvation. Again, in verse 14, he asked this question “Can such faith save them?”. The author wanted to emphasize that faith without deeds doesn’t bring salvation. Through this passage, James expresses that faith and action work together, and faith with deeds brings salvation. I mentioned in the previous message that the letter of James is such a good preaching, and good preaching encourages the listeners to take an action. In conclusion, faith without deeds is useless and lifeless. The true faith comes with deeds and action, and those who are saved will be the believers who takes action, not just by speaking words.

 Now, I actually look forward to spending time with my mom when I take her to the hospital once a month. I enjoy spending time with her by putting her in my car, talking with her on the way to the hospital, and waiting at the hospital with her. These are not an easy task. However, I like to share the faith of the elderly who comes to our church with her. My mother isn’t a believer yet, but I really hope she will receive the hope of heaven. I sometimes find it difficult to share my faith with her. However, God is alive and He expands His great work through believers like us. Let us pray, encourage each other, do the action of love, and have faith in God who will do great things in our lives.

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