Showing That You Are Saved-1
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 1/26/04
We know that this epistle (letter) was written by James, according to verse 1, but we do not know for sure which James wrote it. There are three possibilities: First, James "the elder," the son of Zebedee, and brother of John. Second, James "the less," son of Alphaeus or Cleophas. Finally, James the (half) brother of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am of the opinion, as are many conservative Bible scholars, that James the (half) brother of the Lord wrote the letter. Early church history calls him James the Just. We do know that our Lord had a brother named James. Turn with me to Matthew 13:54-56 "And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?" Also, consider the words of the Apostle Paul recorded in Galatians 1:19 "But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother."
As a side note, these passages clearly demolish the Roman Catholic teaching that Mary was a perpetual virgin and had no other children. The very word brethren is a translation of the Greek word adelphos which commonly translated brother, and yet literally means from the same womb!
I should note that James the brother of John could not have been the author of this letter because he was put to death by Herod Agrippa I about 44 A.D. (Act 12:2). Many Bible scholars date the writing of James at about 48 A.D. and others at 58 A.D. I hold to the earlier date.
Regardless of which James wrote this little letter, we do know whom it was written to. According to verse 1 it was written to Jews that were "scattered abroad," all over the known world.
One reason the letter was written seems to be partly because of the troubles and persecutions that Jewish believers were experiencing for the sake of Christ and the Gospel. The design of the introductory portion of it is to encourage believers to be patient under these trials, and look to the Lord for strength and encouragement, because trials work patience and patience works character and character has value for time as well as eternity (2-4).
The key reason this letter was written was because some who boasted that they had faith and knowledge but lived very corrupt and decadent lives. The purpose of James is to show, that faith, without the fruits of righteousness, is not genuine faith. He is not saying that works saves us, but rather that those who are saved show it. In this message we will look at How Believers Show That They Are Saved.
Authentic Believers Show That They Are Saved By Real Faith
Real faith is a settled faith. That is, real faith trusts the Lord and does not vacillate in its trust of God and His Word despite trials and tribulations.
While prayer (v.5) is the immediate focus of this passage, verse 8 connects it to people who have no settled principles. They trust God one moment and the next moment they doubt Him. It points to those who profess to be believers, yet are controlled by their passion, are influenced by popular feeling and who at one moment are prone to one opinion or course of conduct, and the next to another. Double-minded people are confused in their minds; restless in their thoughts, unsettled in their intentions; inconstant in their petitions; uncertain in their notions and opinion of things and very variable in their actions, especially when it comes to matters of the Christian faith and practice. To put it plainly, they are always changing, continually uncertain, both in their thinking and in their doing. The double-minded man never continues long either in an opinion, or in a practice, but is ever shifting and moving. James contends that an authentic believer trusts God even in trying times. Jesus is the anchor of his or her soul (Hebrews 6:19). They say with the Apostle Paul, "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." 2 Timothy 1:12. It is as the song say – "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back." Real faith is settled.
The word temptation has two meanings. The first refers to trials, difficulties, and afflictions. The second refers to the solicitation to sin.
Verse 12, I believe, is a reference to the trials, difficulties and afflictions we face in life. God allows these things into our lives to purify us! In fact the word tried in verse 12 means to approve. It suggests that when the trial is over there is approval. The word is actually associated with a foundary. It meant to purge away dross (impurities) in silver or gold in a refining pot so that what was left was genuine gold or silver. Therefore, when we endure trials, we are put in the purifying furnace. The word endureth is a translation of the Greek word hupomeno. The word means to remain, not recede or flee; to endure, bear bravely and calmly. It means to hold fast to your faith under refining process brought about by misfortunes and trials that come into our lives. Job is a good example of an Old Testament believer who persevered. He said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…" Job 13:15. He knew God was refining Him and had the confidence that it was for the better. He said, "But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10. Real faith endures in trials.
Verse 13 introduces the second kind of temptation, which is the solicitation or enticement to evil. God is holy and without sin! He is not tempted to do evil. There is nothing in Him that has a tendency to wrong. There can be nothing presented from without to persuade him to do wrong. There is no evil passion to be gratified with God, as there is in men. There is no desire of power, that can allure Him because He is all powerful. There is no want of wealth, for he has infinite resources, and all that there is or can be is His. There is no want of happiness, that he should seek happiness in sources that are not now in his possession. Nothing, therefore, can be presented to God that would lure Him to do evil. God is Holy (Isaiah 6:3; 1 Peter 1:15-16).
The next phrase in verse 13, "neither tempteth he any man" makes it clear that God does not place before us inducements to evil, with a view to lead us to sin. He does not tempt people to do evil.
Verse 14-15 are clear enough "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
Verse 16-17 "Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." Whatever is good is from God; whatever is evil can be attributed to man himself.
Real faith believes God is Holy and does not blame Him for our own personal sinfulness. Real faith knows that God is good and blessings are from Him.
Is Christ your Savior? Do you have authentic faith?
Authentic faith is just one of the evidences that a person is a genuine