God is > part 3

God is > part 3
Faith works. (James 2:14-26)

Introduction 

  • Can I say to you that I have waited all week to get here to you…
  • God has been speaking to me this week…
  • Today we have a day unlike any other…
  • This day has been set apart from the hand of God…
  • And can I tell you that our God desires to speak directly to you!
  • Can I tell you that our God has a word just for you!
  • You don’t have to have everything figured out…
  • You don’t have to have this church thing figured out…
  • You don’t have to be perfect…
  • You don’t have to be clean and pure…
  • Just one word from God can change what you see…
  • Just one word from God can change your direction…
  • Just one word from God can take you from passiveness into passion…
  • Just one word from God can take your eyes off of the situation and get them on to the Savior..
  • Just one word from God can take you from shame and regret to the joys of the Lord…
  • I want preach message today from our series “God is >” called Faith works!

James 2:14-26

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? See thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

1. Faith works in the season of suffering.

  • James 2:14-16

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

  • In other words…
  • Faith is not words of your beliefs…
  • Faith is not words of tradition or passed down religion…
  • Faith is not your personal convictions…
  • Faith is not your interpretation of the bible…
  • Faith is not your theological disposition…
  • Faith is an unwavering reality that Jesus is indeed who He says He is!
  • Jesus is the set apart Messiah…
  • Jesus is the Lamb of God…
  • Jesus is the Savior upon the cross…
  • Jesus is the Forgiver of sins…
  • Jesus is the Resurrected King…
  • Oh because that these truths have been revealed to your heart, His truth invade your reality.
  • Your faith is active and no just spoken of.
  • Your faith is powerful and not just celebrated.
  • Your faith is unwavering, steady, and unshakeable because of who Christ is…not because of who you are!
  • But I want you to see a life changing reality…
  • I want you to pick up some power today for what may come tomorrow…
  • Hear this…
  • “What does it profit to say I have faith and not put your faith on display?”
  • What good is it to claim to know Jesus yet there be no substance?
  • What good is it to claim to know Jesus without the evidence of Christ within you?
  • There is no profit in claiming Christ while aligning with the powers of this age…
  • Are you publicly claiming Christ while privately maturing the flesh?
  • Are you celebrating your traditions in Christ while missing out on the power of Christ?
  • Does your social status claim a child of the King while your actual reality is that of an imposter?

Faith works…

  • Faith is the evidence of things not seen…
  • How can you apply this to your living?
  • How can you grab ahold this certainty in days of despair?
  • Can I tell you that faith works in the season of suffering…
  • Our God does the bulk of His work in times of trouble to bring you into times of transformation…
  • Has anybody ever been in trouble?
  • Has anyone ever need answer and couldn’t find it?
  • Has anyone ever felt hopeless with no way out?
  • Has anyone ever been in the middle of difficulty with no end in sight?
  • Hateful or hurtful words…
  • Persecution for your faith…Abandonment from a close friend or family….

After the crucified Jesus…

  • Can I tell you that faith works!
  • Faith works in seasons of suffering…
  • We see this in the life of the disciples after the crucified Jesus…
  • Jesus had claimed to be the living God…
  • Jesus had claimed to be the Messiah…
  • These disciples left behind everything just to be with Jesus…
  • And now Jesus was murdered upon the cross…
  • This escalated very quickly into a season of suffering…
  • Go with me to Mark 14:46…
  • We are gonna pick it up at the arrest of Jesus…
  • This is just after Jesus had been trying to pray in the place called Gethsemane…
  • Jesus knew His hour had come for His arrest and that this would ultimately lead to the crucifixion… 

46 And they laid hands on him and seized him. 47 But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant5 of the high priest and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled. “And they all left him and fled.”

  • As I read this text I couldn’t stop thinking about this heroic moment…
  • The Roman soldiers circled Jesus and then seized him…
  • The plot had just thickened…
  • It seems as if Jesus was out of control and someone had to do something…
  • It seemed as if the personal ministry of Jesus was coming to a close…
  • Then out of nowhere here comes the apostle Peter…
  • Peter decides he is going to take matters into his own hands…
  • Peter whips out a sword…
  • He then struck the servant of the high priest…Peter cuts off his ear!
  • Now either Peter was caught up in the moment…
  • Or he was off balance…Or he just had terrible aim…
  • But in this most epic arrest in all of history, Peter sought to protect our Jesus…
  • Maybe he thought he would be honoring Jesus…
  • Maybe he thought he had to take up for Jesus…
  • Maybe he thought this things was totally up to him…
  • What would be the response of Jesus?
  • What would be the emotion of Jesus?
  • Notice the words of Jesus…
  • Luke 22 records that Jesus rebuked Peter and said “no more of this!”
  • Here in Mark 14, Jesus rebukes those arresting Him… 
  • Jesus says “I was with you every day in the temple and you did nothing.”
  • “Now you have came with swords and clubs as if to capture a known robber.”
  • But as I read this text it just bothered me that Jesus rebuked Peter…
  • It bothered me that Jesus seemed to make matters worse for Himself…
  • The bible records that after this encounter that everyone with Jesus left Him…
  • They all fled.
  • They all abandoned Him in this season of suffering…
  • Peter courageously went to battle for Jesus…
  • It’s as if Peter did everything that He could possibly do to free Jesus…
  • But the bible records that Jesus healed a man that came to arrest Him…
  • What?
  • Why?
  • How could He still be thinking of others before Himself?
  • I believe here in this moment we see Jesus put on display the will of the Father…
  • I believe here in this moment we see Jesus put on display the reality that faith works…
  • This thing has never been about your own capabilities…
  • This thing will never be about your performance…
  • Life in Christ has to be rooted in trusting the perfect will of the Father.
  • You can’t put all of life’s struggles on your shoulders…
  • You can’t put all of life’s heartaches on your back…
  • This is why Jesus rebuked Peter…
  • This is why Jesus rebuked those arresting Him…
  • Getting ahead of the perfect will of God is equally sinful as lagging behind in disbelief.

4 ways to determine if your living a life of faith:
1. Are you trusting Jesus no matter the outcome of your situation?

  • Do you find yourself leaning more toward doubt or are you sold on the authority of Jesus?

2. Are you confident in Jesus no matter the emotions of your predicament?

  • Do you find yourself in worship when you out to be angry?

3. Are you convinced that Jesus has all seasons of your life under perfect control?

  • Do you approach heartache with anxiety?
  • Do you live day to day in worry?

4. Are you actively pursing believing Jesus even if your circumstance is hopeless?

  • Are you taking risks with your money to glorify Jesus….
  • Are you taking risks with your faith to glorify Jesus…
  • Are you taking risks with your abilities/talents to glorify Jesus…

The calling…

  • You and I are called to serve the seasons of suffering with a faithfulness unto Christ…
  • Likewise…
  • You and I are called to serve in the heroic moment with an undying faithfulness unto Christ.
  • You can’t have one without the other…
  • Fear cannot begin to overwhelm us in so much that we progress unto doubt.
  • Doubt leads to getting ahead of God…
  • Doubt says “I refuse to wait on God…”Doubt says “I am god and Christ is not.”
  • Faith displays worship in the midst of waiting…Faith displays control in the midst of panic…
  • Faith displays joy in the midst of persecution…
  • Because we now know that faith works in the seasons of suffering.

2. Faith works in the difficulties of depression.
James 2:17-23

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? See thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

  • Now think through this given text…
  • Here in James 2 we get a reference of Abraham sacrificing Isaac by and through the command of the Lord…
  • Abraham was not justified before the Lord by his words…
  • Abraham was not justified before the Lord with good intentions or acts of morality…
  • Abraham was justified before the Lord because his faith in the Lord!
  • Faith is the differentiator in life…
  • Faith is the very thing that brings about change…
  • Faith is how a person moves from selfishness unto obedience before the Lord.
  • Faith works even in the difficulties of depression…
  • Go with me to Genesis 22…
  • I think its a remarkable truth that the record of Abraham obeying the Lord is found in the book of the beginning…
  • And let me say to you before you can live this life with the power of the Lord you too must obey the Lord…
  • Life begins with faith!

The faith of Abraham…
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.””

  • I want you to notice the response of Abraham when God spoke…
  • God said “Abraham!” 
  • Abraham replies “Here I am!”
  • I wonder if this is your relationship with the Lord?
  • Here I am God!
  • No excuses, no agenda, no thing is more important than the spoken word of the Lord…
  • But there is a lot of life that took place between Genesis 22:1-2 and verse 3…
  • God commands “Take your son, your only son, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering.”
  • In other words…Take what is most dear to you…
  • Take the most prized possession…
  • Take the thing that matters most to you…
  • Take it and sacrifice it before the Lord…
  • Sacrifice it before the Lord and know that God is good…
  • Know God is good and believe with all your heart that there is nothing that can compare to the goodness of God…
  • Now I want this to sync it…
  • Look at my boy Jack…He is 15 months old…
  • He is full of life…He is happy and rarely gets upset…
  • He always has a smile on his face…
  • Take one of life’s most prized possessions…
  • You see, someone could steal my things…
  • Someone could vandalize my home and ruin the memories…
  • Someone could take my material things…
  • But no one could take away the fact that this little guy calls me dad.
  • Jack is my son and I am his dad.
  • The magnitude of this request before Abraham is unlike any other. 
  • Imagine the emotion…Imagine the petitioning before the Lord…
  • Imagine the fear, worry, and anxiety…Imagine the depression that Abraham felt…
  • Look with me at the text…

Genesis 22:3-14…

 “So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.” 

  • Oh I wonder if Abraham believed God so much that he knew that indeed God would show up on the third day…
  • The third day is the day of triumph…
  • The third day is the day of conquering…
  • The third day is the day of life…
  • The third day is when our Jesus raised up over death, Hell, and the grave…
  • Oh I believe Abraham believed God so much that he would declare the goodness of God through his actions!

“Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” Listen to the confidence in the Lord from the words of Abraham And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.

  • God will provide…
  • God is greater than your emotions…
  • God is greater than your limitations…
  • God is greater than your pain and suffering…
  • Oh and in this moment we see that God is greater than the unknown…
  • Abraham had no way of knowing the outcome…
  • Abraham had no certainties…
  • Abraham had no rock solid answers…
  • Yet Abraham pressed passed the season of suffering…
  • Abraham pressed passed the difficulty of depression…
  • And He fixed His eyes upon the Lord!
  • Oh can I ask you what rattles your faith?
  • Is it bad news?
  • Is it things not going you way?
  • Is it not hearing from the Lord based upon how long your willing to wait?
  • Listen to me…
  • The Lord called to change everything about the life of Abraham…
  • The Lord called to sacrifice the single most prized possession to right size his faith…
  • There is to be nothing that you deem more worthy than your relationship with the Lord!
  • Sacrifice may be the most authentic display of worship to the heart of a believer…
  • An offering to the Lord may be the most sincere display of worship of the heart of a believer…
  • You can’t manipulate sacrifice…
  • You can’t misinterpret an offering…
  • Abraham’s actions were devoted to the Lord because His heart was devoted to the Lord!
  • Abraham’s motivates were bathed in worship unto the Lord because His life was centered on relationship with the Lord.
  • A foundation isn’t built upon situation…
  • A foundation isn’t built upon circumstances…
  • There is a season of joy…
  • There is a season of happiness…
  • There is a season of pain…
  • There is a season of heartache…
  • On but there is one thing that will always remain which is the goodness of our God!
  • He is good when we can’t see his goodness..
  • He is good when we don’t feel like believing it…
  • Your decisions cant be rooted in the momentary seasons of life…
  • Your motivates, decisions, and living must be rooted in a moment by relationship with Jesus the Christ.
  • Because we now know that faith works even in the difficulty of depression.

In love, 
Pastor Tyler 

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