Family Bible Study lesson for April 3: Needed - Real Faith : Friday, March 11, 2005
March 11 2005 by Phillip Hamm

Family Bible Study lesson for April 3: Needed - Real Faith : Friday, March 11, 2005
Friday, March 11, 2005

Family Bible Study lesson for April 3: Needed - Real Faith

By Phillip Hamm
Background Passage: James 1:16-27, 2:14-26

I like to watch TV. Now, I know that this isn't a very spiritual thing for a pastor to say, but it's true. Everyone likes watching television to some degree. I'm even inclined to believe that those who say they don't watch much TV are, in fact, lying. But I digress.

The types of shows I like to watch are the ones that go behind the scenes and reveal how the show is made. It never fails on any of these "behind the scenes" shows that, just before the actors begin performing, the director shouts "action." In all of my experience as a television viewer, I've never heard one director shout "pretend" or "slow down" or "do nothing." It is always the same: "action."

I assume the reason the director yells such an obvious phrase is to let the actors know what he expects them to do. God gives a similar command to "action" in the book of James.

Receive God's Saving Word

James 1:16-18, 22

James says in verse 18 that through the power of God's word we come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. While salvation is the total work of God, it is our responsibility to respond to this precious gift of God by receiving salvation.

It's kind of like a football game. If you watched the Super Bowl this year, you saw Tom Brady throw 11 passes to Deion Branch. Deion knew the ball was going to be thrown to him, and he knew where the ball was going to be. It was his responsibility to catch the ball.

James says the first call to "action" is to receive the gift of salvation that God sends to us. However, receiving God's gift of salvation is not where our "action" ends, but rather is where our call to "action" begins.

Do God's Revealed Will

James 1:22-27

God never planned on us receiving His gift of salvation and sitting idle only to wait and die. The faith we find in Christ is a practical, living faith. James says in 1:22 that we are to be "doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."

What kind of deception can take place when the only thing that occurs is hearing God's word? It is likely that people can expose themselves to the teaching of the Bible and deceive themselves into thinking that God requires nothing from them at all. This is clearly not what scripture requires from believers.

While a freshman in college, I was required to take several math classes. I thought it would be interesting to take a "statistics" class. Several weeks into the class it became abundantly clear that this Bible major was in over his head. However, the drop date had passed, and I was forced to remain in the class. Not wanting an "F" to affect my grade point average, I convinced the dean to let me audit the class. An audit is where you are required to sit through class lectures but never required to do any work outside of class, take tests or write papers. In essence, you are exposed to the information but not held accountable with what you do with the information.

Many people want to audit the Bible. They want to receive the information, but never be held accountable to do anything with what they have learned. God wants us to act on the information He has given to us in scripture. Our actions become the evidence by which our faith is judged.

Show Your Faith by Your Works

James 2:14-19

James says in 2:17 that "faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." We all know this type of people. They live next door, go to work with us, or maybe even share a church pew with us. These are people who claim to follow Christ but have no evidence in their lives whatsoever. We typically call these people hypocrites. Why do these folks bother us so much? Because we know that real faith in Christ calls us to action. God never intended for us to just know what we are to do. He intends for us to live out our faith with our actions.

3/11/2005 12:00:00 AM by Phillip Hamm | with 0 comments

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