10-28-17

10-28 & 29-2017                                     Dr. E. Dale Locke & Pastor & Jeff MacIntosh, Director of Pastoral Care

Series: It’s Alive! Resurrecting Dead Faith                                                                                      Week 4: Workin’ It

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  1. Share some of the ways you have served, or are now serving in your church, OR ways you help others in your day to day life.

The book of James explains a life of faith that has consistent focus on practical action. It was written by Jesus’ ‘half-brother’ who actually did not come to faith in Christ until after Jesus’ resurrection.

  1. Read James 2:14-2614 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 

17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds. ”Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 

21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 

24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Our Faith

  1. Look again at James 2:14-1614 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 

Can you think of a time when you have responded to the obvious need of someone else in this way? What were the circumstances? What would have motivated you to respond differently?

  1. Re-read James 2:1919 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

What is the point of this verse?

  1. Re-read the examples James gives regarding Abraham’s faith in James 2:21-23, and of Rahab’s faith in James 2:25.

Is there a time when you have really stepped out in faith with action? What were the circumstances then? What motivated you? How did you feel?

Michael Novak, in his book Belief and Unbelief, talks about different kinds of convictions:

Public Convictions – Things I may say, that I want others to believe I believe, but things I may NOT actually believe. (Politicians and other public leaders often speak public convictions)

  1. Give some examples of this kind of conviction (whether your own, or those in the public eye that you know about)
  2. Reference James 2:2626 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Private Convictions – Statements I make, that I think I sincerely believe, but that I ultimately don’t believe. (The apostle Peter had a private conviction experience with Jesus at the Last Supper and at the trial of Jesus, when he betrayed him after saying he would NEVER leave him).

  1. Have you had an experience where you or someone you know has had a private conviction? Share about your experience if you are willing.

Our Works

  1. Read James 2:17-1817 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds. ”Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

Core Convictions – The statements I make is congruent with my actions; my belief and my deeds match up.

  1. What can your non-Christian friends and acquaintances tell about your beliefs and your faith? How do they see your convictions lived out?
  2. Is there an area of your faith that needs to be strengthened by deeds or actions? Pray for each other in your small group for a growing awareness of the ‘dance’ between your works and your faith.

 

“Extra Credit”: Read together all of Matthew 23. Find all 7 “Woes” and discuss each one.

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