Faith that Works

Faith that Works

Scripture: James 2:26, Titus 2:14, 2 Corinthians 4:2
Date: 11/08/2014  Lesson: 6
"Faith and works are inseparable. Like two sides of a coin, one cannot exist without the other. Also like a coin, one side is the head and the other the tail. Faith comes first and then leads the way to corresponding works."

Faith and Works by Ellen White

Faith and Works by Ellen White
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Hello friends. We'd like to welcome you back to Sabbath School Study Hour. My name is jëan ross. I'm one of the pastors at the Granite Bay church. And if this is the first time you're joining us, we've been studying through our Sabbath school quarterly and we've been looking at the book of James.

If you'd like to follow along with us through our study, you can go to the Granite Bay church website, 'granitebaysda.org' and you can download the lesson so you can follow along with us. You can also go to the amazing facts website and you can download the lesson on the book of James - it's just 'amazingfacts.org' - you can click on the lesson that we'll be looking at today and study along with us. We have a free offer that goes along with our study for today, it's entitled 'hidden eyes and closed ears.' And if you would call our free resource line, we'll be happy to send this to you. The number to call is -788-3966 or 866-study-more and you can ask for free offer #726 and we'll be happy to send that to you. It goes along with what pastor doug will be studying with us this evening.

Again, welcome everyone in our local audience, we're glad that you're all here today and hopefully you're all geared up and ready to dig into God's word. This has been a great study as we've looked at the various themes brought to view in one of the first books written in the new testament - written by the apostle James. Some great, insightful information - practical information that we can use as Christians in our everyday life - in our interaction with other people - how we can grow closer to God. But before we begin our study, as always, we want to ask God's special blessing to guide us in the study of His Word, so let's just bow our heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father, once again we thank you for the opportunity that we have to study the Bible.

We just ask for the Holy Spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds and, Lord, impress upon us those important lessons that you would want us to know. Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity. Be with those who are watching and listening, wherever they might be, and lead us all into a deeper and a fuller understanding for your will for our lives, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Thank you, Pastor Doug, we'll turn the time over to you. Thank you, Pastor Ross and thank you, friends - members of the Granite Bay church - for letting us hijack our regular prayer meeting and turn it into our Sabbath school time while we're in transition with a building.

As you know, this is not our regular background, but right now Amazing Facts is in the process of renovating an office warehouse building not too far from our office, that will be hosting the Granite Bay congregation. And, in the meantime, we want to be able to keep studying the lesson because we have people all around the world that tune in for our study time. And so the Granite Bay congregation was nice enough to say, 'we'll study the lesson twice. We'll do it both in church and during our prayer meeting time. So that's what we're doing.

Today we are on lesson #6 dealing with the very important subject of faith and works. I should also say it's somewhat of a controversial subject. And Pastor Ross mentioned we do have a free offer. I should also tell you that the free offer - you can download it at the Amazing Facts website, but something else that's really neat is if you would like to have the study itself - the Sabbath school lesson itself, the book of James lesson #6, we now have the pdf - we have permission to make available to you the pdf of that lesson. You can go to the Amazing Facts website, you can go to the 'granitebaysda.

org' website and download there the information so you can have the lesson. You can have the free offer. Of course, you've got the Bible - and then we'll upload our notes also, for whatever they're worth, of this particular study. Well, in our study guide for tonight we've got, like I said, a very important study dealing with the subject of faith and works and - somewhat of a controversial study because it seems like there's two extremes in the church that some believe in righteousness by works - what do you call those people? Legalists, we say. And if somebody believes that - let's say they take the grace option too far - we don't call them legalists, do we? It's kind of like righteousness by presumption.

I've heard people call it turning grace to disgrace or sloppy agape. There's, you know, a lot of insulting terms for those who say, 'well, because we're saved by grace you can just live like the rest of the world. It's sort of once saved always saved. I come to Jesus, say a prayer' - and then you don't do anything differently. And so there's like this conflict between these two extremes.

Something I thought - well, let me start with our memory verse - James 2:26. And if you have that in your lesson it's in the new king James version. I invite you to all say that with me. You ready? James 2:26, "for as the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." Now, what other new testament writer does it sound like James is totally opposite from here? When you think about the writers of the new testament, who wrote most of the new testament? Paul. Do people often turn to Paul and try and make it sound like because we're saved by grace, works should never at all be considered? Let me read a very famous verse.

In Ephesians chapter 2 you've got this - and you go to verse 8 - Ephesians 2, verse 8, "for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Okay, now without peeking at your Bible, what does the next verse say, verse 9 - oh, you're peeking! I see someone peeking. Yeah, verse 10, I'm sorry. Notice: "for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works." We are created for good works. We are saved by grace through faith - not of works - but when we are new creatures, old things are passed away, all things are made new. We are created for (good works).

What is considered in the judgment? 'Behold, he comes in the clouds to reward every man according as his works shall be.' We're - now we're saved by grace, why would God judge us by our works and save us by grace? Doesn't that sound like opposites or do your works demonstrate if you are saved by grace? Now in James - he makes a pretty strong statement. He said, 'if you say, 'I'm saved by faith'' - by faith alone' but you don't have any change in behavior, he says 'faith without works is' what? 'Dead.' I heard of a mom who was upstairs trying to help get her little girl ready for the day. She said, 'where are your slippers?' And the little three or four-year-old said, 'they're downstairs in the kitchen.' And she said, 'what are they doing down there?' The daughter said, 'mom, they're not doing anything down there because there's no feet in them.' And if there is no spirit in your life, there'll be no works. And so it stands to reason, if you are a new creature and you have the Holy Spirit, you will be doing the works of Christ. That's what that's all about.

So, first section here, under 'dead faith' - talk about that for a minute. James says, in James 2:14 - and, again, you notice we are plodding through each of these lessons, getting a little further. You'll be all the way through the book of James when we're done with this quarter, so you'll be scholars. James 2:14, "what does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" Well, the quick answer would be yes, faith can save him. But James is saying if a person, after they accept Jesus, stops at faith, then it doesn't save them.

Let me see if I can illustrate that. Were the children of Israel - the whole Exodus experience and the saving of the children of Israel, is a microcosm of salvation. What he did to save that nation from slavery is what he does to save us from sin. So, were the children of Israel saved from Egypt because they obeyed the Ten Commandments? Did the Ten Commandments come before or after he saved them from slavery? It came after. What came first, the law or the lamb in the Exodus story? Remember, the whole passover was based on the lamb.

They began their journey after sacrificing the lamb - last of the plagues was the passover - they sacrificed the lamb. They sprinkled the blood. They began the journey the next day. Matter of fact, they were supposed to eat that meal with their shoes on and the staff in the hand - meaning the commencement of the journey hinged on the lamb. They hadn't even heard the ten commandments come from mount sinai.

It doesn't mean they had no knowledge of the law because, you know, there's varying degrees of the law they all knew before it was even written down. Joseph knew that adultery was a sin, right? Way back before the ten commandments - and cain - that goes pretty far back - cain knew that murder was a sin. And the Bible's pretty clear that they had a good concept of idolatry being wrong and a number of other things before you ever get to Mount Sinai. So after he saved them, when he gives them the Ten Commandments - the first of the ten - and we talked about this - it says, 'I am the Lord your God that brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. I am the God that saved you.

' Is what he's saying. Then he says, 'thou shalt not have other Gods, don't use my name in vain, don't worship graven images' - I got them out of order, sorry - 'remember the Sabbath day, honor your father and mother' - and he goes through the Ten Commandments. Basically he's saying, 'I've saved you. Now, if you love me, keep my Ten Commandments.' Okay, were they saved from slavery by the law or by the lamb? By faith in the shed blood of the lamb and then they just had to follow. Did they enter the promised land if they refused to obey the law? After being saved by God's grace - God said, 'I didn't save you because you are a wonderful people.

You are a stiff-necked and stubborn people.' They weren't saved by works, they were saved by grace. After he saves them by grace, they're not quite in the promised land yet. They don't make it to the promised land if they persist in refusing to trust and obey God. Now, I know that confuses some people. The thief on the cross is an example that as soon as you accept the blood of the lamb you are forgiven and accepted - you are saved.

If he had been somehow rescued and taken off the cross, I expect he would have lived a different kind of life because of the love of Jesus that took his place. I always wish - you know, there's legends - there's nothing in history to prove it - I always wish that you could find out what happened to barabbas after he heard them say, 'set barabbas free. Crucify Jesus on his cross.' And suddenly someone takes his place. He was on death row. He was going to die.

He was under a death penalty like us and then suddenly the Romans cut the ropes. He says, 'now what?' He says, 'you're free. Here's your stuff. You can go home.' 'Why?' 'That guy there is going to die on your cross.' And you wonder, did he just go back to his old ways? Did he find out more about Jesus and become a follower? You know, we really don't know. And I guess that's because that's up to you.

We're all sort of like barabbas. Jesus died on our cross. He took our place. It's the love of God that constrains us to be different creatures then. Alright, someone look up for me Colossians 2:13.

I don't know who has that first verse. Alright, you'll be next. Just a minute, emma. I'm going to read James 2:26. Now this, of course, is our memory verse, "for as the body without the Spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.

" I read an amazing fact years ago - yeah, here it is. Stormy night, 1910 - a group of traveling musicians arrived in the city of riga on the baltic sea, to fulfill a concert engagement. The weather was terrible, though and the conductor of the orchestra tried to persuade the manager of the hall to cancel the concert. The manager said, 'look, we've advertised it.' - He says - 'if one person comes you have to do the concert.' He said, 'no one's going to come out in this weather.' It was blowing, it was raining, it was just a terrible storm and the manager came back and said, 'look, we have a man sitting out there.' And so all the guys in the orchestra said, 'oh, alright.' And so they go out and they play the entire concert. The man's sitting in the middle there - old fellow - he's just sitting there smiling through the whole thing.

And then he sat there when they got done and they thought, 'are we going to do an encore?' 'No, not for one person.' So they started to pack it up and the manager came out to tell the man that the concert was over and touched the man - shook the man - realized he was dead. He had come in and sat down and had a heart attack or something like that and they had played an entire concert for a dead man. Now here's the rest of the story. Because they did this and they did not take the earlier ship over to finland - the ferry they were supposed to be on sank that night - and so because they had done that concert for a dead man, they were all saved. How that fits in with my sermon - or my lesson here - I really don't know but I just - the idea of - sometimes a person looks like - by the way, I've preached to congregations that are like that before.

They look like maybe they're alive but you can't tell. But it's easy for us to confuse who is really spiritually alive and who is not. And a person might say, you know, 'I've got faith and that means that I'm a believer.' But it's more than just faith. It ought to be seen in the works of the life. Here's just some other examples - how that word 'dead' is used, biblically, with a spiritual meaning.

If you read, for instance, in Revelation 3:1, Jesus says "and unto the angel of the church in sardis write; 'these things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars; 'I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.''" So now, is that just for the church of sardis or can it be people living in the last days who, outwardly they've got a name that they're believers but, spiritually, inside they're dead. And, go ahead, why don't you read Colossians - I think you've got 2:13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses." Before we're saved, how does the Bible consider us? Spiritually dead. You remember in Matthew 8:22, someone came to Jesus and said, 'Lord, I want to follow you but first I've got to wait and bury my father.' In other words, dad was getting old and they knew that his demise was imminent and he said, you know, 'I can't do that right now.' Jesus kind of shocks us with his answer. He said, 'follow me.

Let the dead bury the dead.' And the first time, when I read that, in my mind, because I had no Christian background, I always took everything literally and, you know, I didn't understand the metaphors that Jesus used and - I was really troubled when Jesus said, 'if your right hand offends you, cut it off.' Because I thought - yeah, I was a shoplifter back then. I thought, 'oh man, now what do I do?' So then I started realizing he's speaking metaphorically in some of these terms. But when I thought about this 'let the dead bury the dead' i, in my mind, I was conjuring up pictures of zombies conducting funerals. I couldn't figure out 'what does that mean?' I mean, isn't that what you think of? What does it sound like? But he was talking about those who were dead in trespasses and sins. Jesus said - or John actually says it, 'he that has The Son has life.

He that has not The Son has not life.' It's those that have Jesus that have life. If you read in 1 Timothy 5:6, "but she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives." So a person could be living and if they're just living for the purpose of earthly pleasure, they can be spiritually dead at the same time. Now let's remember what we're talking about - faith without works - is dead. Now when you look at - what is the great chapter in the Bible? When you think about the great chapters in the Bible that talk about faith, what chapter comes into your mind? Hebrews 11. Sometimes they call that 'the hall of faith' because there the writer, which, by the way, I believe is Paul, he just goes through and Chronicles all of the great heroes of faith starting all the way with Genesis - and he doesn't cover them all but he covers a lot of the mountain peaks.

And I just took a few and look, for instance, it says 'by faith abel offered.' Well, because of faith he did something. 'By faith Noah prepared.' 'By faith Abraham' - he comes up later in our lesson - 'obeyed. By faith he obeyed.' Does God say 'if you've got faith you no longer need to obey?' Or do we obey by faith? That's very important. I hear a lot about grace and people think that grace is, somehow, a giant cover up for sin but, actually, the grace of God is a power that God gives us to obey. He gives us grace to do what he asks us to do.

By faith, you know, it says Noah found grace as well. By faith Abraham obeyed. By faith the harlot rahab - she comes up later. It's interesting that Paul mentions Abraham and rahab and James in the lesson. You'll see he mentions Abraham and rahab.

By faith the harlot rahab received. And you start going through that hall of faith and you'll find out that each one of the heroes of faith then demonstrates their faith by what they did. That's why James said, 'show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works.' And so, you know, I've got a whole section here of quotes. Let me see - here it is. Alright, I'm going to go on record.

Jesus says we're saved by works. Now someone's going to take that clip all by itself. They're going to edit it out and play it and play it and they're not going to get the rest of what I say. That's really to tease you. Do you know Jesus said that? Let me tell you.

John 6:28 and 29, "then they said to him," - they're talking to Jesus - "'what shall we do, that we may work the works of God?' And Jesus said to them, 'this is the work of God, that you believe...'" So if someone says 'there's nothing I can do to contribute to my salvation. It's entirely by faith.' You ever heard that? Believing - according to Jesus - this is the work that you should do. Believe. Now, I don't know if believing ever felt like work to you, but sometimes it's hard to believe and sometimes it takes effort to step out in faith. And Jesus - somebody said 'what is the work?' The most important work that any of us do that contributes to our salvation - this is what I was teasing about - is belief.

But what does that belief produce? How do you demonstrate belief? I never forgot - in the story of Daniel and the lion's den - the wording that's used when Daniel's pulled up out of the lion's den and it says, 'no manner of harm was found on him because he believed in God.' Well, did Daniel just believe or did he do something to show his belief? What did Daniel do? When everybody else was cowering and hiding their faith because of the King's law - they didn't want to go to the lions, Daniel said, 'I'm going to trust God.' He may have taken - he probably had to think about it. The devil probably was tempting Daniel to think, you know, 'look at all the good you can do if you don't just throw yourself in front of a train right now and just close your windows and don't kneel down, that looks too much like you're praying. Look like you're admiring the sunset.' And - because he was praying towards the sun setting at the end of the day because he was praying toward Jerusalem and he was in Babylon - 'just look like you're admiring the sunset and pray quietly. Don't open your mouth and pray.' But Daniel did everything he could visibly do to show that he was praying. He opened his window.

He got in the physical posture of prayer - he probably folded his hands or lifted them up - and then he prayed out loud and he just went all the way to say 'I'm not going to hide.' He showed his faith and it says 'because he believed in God.' So when shadrach, meshach and abednego did not bow down they showed they believed in God, but they showed their faith by works. Now those are works where we're talking about some great trial, but showing our faith by our works is really demonstrated in the little things of life every day. It's when you can think of a sarcastic quip to say to somebody that maybe hurt your feelings but you say 'no, that's not gracious. Jesus wouldn't do that. The Holy Spirit says 'say something nice.

Don't be biting. Don't be unkind.' Or you have an opportunity to let someone get ahead of you. You're both heading for the same aisle there in walmart and you're trying - you know that to speed up a little bit and you're going to beat them because all the registers are busy and you realize, 'I'm not going to race in to try and duck into the aisle before that person' and just pause and say, 'I'm going to let you go first.' That's showing your faith by your works. Just little things of trying to practice real Christianity every day is how you're showing your faith - doing what Jesus would do in all these situations. In the family - that's where it's the toughest is with the people closest to you because they know that you can be unChristlike sometimes in your works.

But I think that's what James is saying. He said if you see somebody that is - they're hungry or they're cold, don't just say you're going to say a prayer for them. And then, you know, the Bible writers go through a litany of trying to illustrate people who were once saved, because they stopped believing, were then lost. I know that our sons engaged in some interesting discussions at a school regarding the subject of once saved always saved. If a person persists in known sin, even after they've come to Jesus by faith, are they saved? Hebrews 10:26, 'for if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

" If we continue to sin willfully after we know what God's will is. That doesn't mean if you fall after you know, it means if you willfully continue to do what you know that you're not supposed to do, then it's - you can be in danger of grieving away the Holy Spirit. That's serious. It doesn't mean - most of us have sinned willfully. I venture to say all of us have sinned willfully.

So it's not talking about a sin, it's talking about persisting in it. So this idea - can you think of anyone in the Bible that had the Spirit of God, that accepted God, they evidently were saved by grace, but then they rebelled and they turned away? King Saul was called by God, filled with the Spirit, even prophesied and he finally grieved away the Holy Spirit. God wouldn't speak to him and he fell on his own sword. How about balaam, was he a prophet? For him to be a prophet he was called by God. God prophesied through him but he coveted after the reward of righteousness of - filthy lucre of wickedness, rather, and he ended up dying.

He was slain because he took the side of the moabites in the battle. Judas. Judas was one of the apostles. Now some will argue, 'well he was never saved.' He went out preaching. The Bible says that the twelve came back and said, 'even the devils are subject unto us.

' He was out teaching with the rest of them. I'm sure - we know Peter said things where Jesus had to turn to Peter and say, 'get behind me, satan.' So all of the disciples were arguing among - they all were kind of in the same boat of going through a conversion process while they were following Jesus. Judas still had hope during that time also, but he persisted. And even though the Lord used him and he was one of the twelve, he killed himself. And so, it's very dangerous to say, 'once I say a prayer and I come to Jesus, then I can't be lost.

He will never let go of you, but we don't lose our freedom to let go of him. And so - and, you know, this is - this is a struggle because - especially with young people, they just think, 'oh, I'm never going to make it. I've got so many problems.' And they want that purity of heart. 'What am I going to do?' There is assurance that a believer can have. 'He who has begun a good work in you will perform it.

' The Bible calls him the author and finisher of our faith. God is going to finish what he started if we continue coming to him and turning to him. God'll make you so miserable in your sin you'll have to give up God or give up sin. Yeah, something happens. But you keep coming to him and you'll go through a struggle and your heart might be broken like Peter - he went out and wept bitterly.

Like mary wept and, you know, you'll go through that conversion where you just say, 'I'm totally going to give myself to God.' And you can have that peace. Alright, back to our lesson. So we're under the section talking about dead faith. And then he says in James 2, talking about the practical - James 2:15 - practical side. He mentions this metaphor again, "if a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food," - now he's talking about - you notice he's not talking about a person who's wanting dessert.

He's not talking about a person who's wanting designer clothes. He's talking about a person who has no clothes and no daily food. And you're a Christian. Jesus says if you've got two shirts and someone has none, the Christian thing to do is share with those that are shivering, right? 'If a brother or sister' - it's not just people on the outside, it says 'one of your own.' You know, you'd be surprised if you read through the new testament. The majority of what it says about charity, not all, but the majority of what it says about charity - it says that Christians should show brotherly kindness among each other to start with and then, from there, go on and show it to the world.

But that is pretty consistent teaching. And they don't have food and they don't have clothes and you say to them, "depart in peace" - because I've got faith - "'be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." What profit is it? Alright, now let's talk a little bit about saving faith. And someone look up Galatians 5:6. You'll have that next, okay cathy? James 2:18 - moving on - "but someone will say, 'you have faith, and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." How are we to share the Gospel? A couple ways you can share the Gospel: 1) you verbally reason with people and 2) is you can show them what you believe by your life. A sermon with shoes on is always more effective.

You ever heard the expression 'talk is cheap.' Anyone can talk. I remember hearing this pastor in india was preaching to a house full of people - it was a home, it wasn't a church - and while he was talking he noticed that one lady - she looked a little cynical. She got up and she left. He thought, 'oh well, she's gone.' And, you know, sometimes you're preaching, you'll touch on a tough subject, you'll see someone say 'huh!' And they walk out and I've had that happen before. You kind of wonder.

Then I've seen people get up and walk out and I think, 'oh what did I say?' And then they come back in. So you never know. Well, he was doing that and she left. She was gone for a little while and she came back in and after the service he said, 'at first I thought I saw you go out and I thought you weren't coming back. She said, 'well, I went out and I talked to your driver and I asked the driver - I said, 'this Christian man that you're taking around and he's speaking - does he live what he's saying?' And the driver said, 'yes, he does.

He's a good man.' She said, 'then I figured I'd come back in, I'd keep listening.' And so, you know, people are going to watch. What is the most common argument or criticism that you hear about Christianity? Hypocrites. Why? Because they look at people and they say, 'oh, they say they're Christians but look at what they do.' And so preaching's important. I believe very much in communicating and teaching but I think the Gospel is going to go by like wildfire when Christians really practice their faith in their lives. If we continue to say 'grace, grace, grace' and we don't talk about really living the life, then we're missing out because it's such an important part.

Jesus said, 'all men will know that you're my disciples because you talk about grace.' He said - no, we do need to talk about grace. The reason I'm harping on this is because I'm hearing grace abused in a lot of churches. He said people will know you are his disciples by your love for one another.' And that's to be demonstrated with what we would call works. People don't like the word 'works' because it sounds like work and some people don't like work. It depends on what the work is, right? If you tell your kids, 'I've got some work for you.

' Does that make them happy? And, you know, so just even the very - it's a bad word for advertising it because when we think about works we're thinking about behavior. That's another word that conjures up - when you're kids and you hear about behavior, did that always give you warm feelings? Or did it - it's usually bad behavior, right? And so, the words 'works' and 'behavior' can even make Christians uncomfortable because it just conjures up all the wrong kind of feelings. But it's really talking about lifestyle. So all these things - the Bible says 'good works' - it's talking about being Christ-like and that should be a goal. That should be something that we embrace - that we're excited about - being like Jesus.

Not just the words of the Bible, but living the life of the word, which is Christ. Okay, James 2, verse 8 - I read this already - "we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." And then you can go to Romans 4. What is the fruit of salvation? Romans 4:4, "now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt." I heard about l.l. Bean, they sent out this e-mail to, you know, probably hundreds of thousands of people, and it said, 'open for your free offer - your bonus offer' and a lot of people they fell for it. They opened the e-mail and it said, 'learn here how to earn your bonus points.

' Well it starts out with the title saying 'gift' and then you open it up it says it's a gift to be earned. Now, you know, you've probably been tricked into opening envelopes and e-mail like that before and then you find out it's not really a gift. How many of you have been tricked into reading some mail or it says, 'you have won! Three million dollars! You are a finalist!' Oh, you know, I don't know if I should say this but I had one dear old saint - I won't tell you what church it was - and they came up to me and said, 'pastor, I've got to have an appointment, I need to talk to you.' So I said 'okay.' So we made an appointment, we sat down, and they said, 'I'm about to come into a lot of money and I just want you to know that I plan on making a very generous contribution to the church and I'm preparing to get ten million dollars.' And that made me very happy. And then, I don't know what brought it up but I said,' so, how did this come about?' And they pulled an envelope out from some sweepstakes and it said - yeah - it said, 'you are the final finalists' and this dear poor saint - I had to try to explain to them they're not getting anything. And it was just - every - ten thousand people got the same letter.

But yeah, you ever been fooled into thinking you've got something and you found out you didn't really? But when Jesus is offering us the gift of everlasting life, it's not like there's strings attached. He says, 'I really do give you everlasting life.' Then because we are so happy about this new life, we want to do what pleases the Lord. And, when you think about it, what sin would be of so much value that you would gamble everlasting life for it? If you believe you've got everlasting life, you act differently. If you really believe he's given it to you. John 6 - oh, I already read that to you - Hebrews 10:24 - it says - yes, it's another good one - "let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works," - what goes together? Love - Ten Commandments are summed up in love - love and good works - "let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another.

" Oh, ran into a brother this week and didn't make it to church - it's been several weeks since they've been in church and they said, 'oh, you know, I was out in nature.' And you almost feel like you're being works oriented when you say, 'you know, you need to be gathering together for corporate worship on God's Sabbath day. That's part of the Sabbath. It's called a holy convocation. And we are to stir up each other. We are to even - he's telling us that we should make each other accountable - notice that? 'Exhorting' - what does exhort mean? Exhorting one another - have you noticed - is it just me - that even Sabbath keepers are becoming sloppy about regular worship? I mean, things happen, I mean, you know, sometimes you get sick or something like that happens, but whenever our family travels we look up local churches and we say part of our vacation is we're going to go to church.

Usually it helps because I'm preaching somewhere - not always, but even when I'm not - you know what sometimes happens is we go on vacation and somehow we'll be skiing or whatever it is and someone will find out - 'Pastor Doug's in town.' Or you show up - 'oh, can you preach?' And so I get invited to preach. But we always make that part of the Sabbath plan and I think that's the way it's supposed to be. "Exhorting one another" because we need each other. It's saying that we need to keep each other accountable. Now, if you notice that somebody has accepted Jesus but there's something that - in their works - that contradicts their profession and you were to approach that brother or sister and say, 'brother/sister, you know, you're Christian and' - maybe it's not just going to church but maybe there's just some real inconsistency in their life - maybe they're struggling with bad habits or just some unGodly behavior - whatever.

And if you call them on that, is that right or wrong? What are you accused of when you do that? If you try to call a brother or sister to be accountable or to raise the standard, you're accused of judging and they say, 'judge not. You're casting stones. Take care of yourself. Don't judge me.' But is that really an accurate use of that verse or does God want us? - What did cain say to God when he said 'where is your brother?' He shrugged and said, 'am I my brother's keeper?' What a - what a sarcastic thing to say to your creator after you've killed your brother. And he uses the analogy of like a shepherd - because abel was a shepherd - 'I'm not his shepherd.

Why do I - he needs to take care of himself.' So God didn't know - but that's the attitude - 'you take care of yourself. I'll take care of myself. Mind your own business.' But if you're in a family and if you're in a church, is there a time to call each other, in a loving way - the Bible says that we should approach them in a spirit of meekness. That's one thing - considering yourself - we should do it meekly, consider yourself - you don't want to be holier than thou, but please don't fall for that very common propaganda that we're all being told that Christians should not hold each other accountable for Godly living. If we never say anything to each other, what's going to happen to the standards in the church? It'll continue to go to the lowest denominator.

It'll just siphon on down and pretty soon nothing stands for anything. We're to exhort one another so that there should be these Godly works - the fruits of the Spirit should be in our lives. Alright, let's go under 'faith of demons' - that doesn't sound like a happy subject but James talks about it. James 2:19, "you believe that there is one God. You do well.

Even the demons believe - and tremble!" Why did James say that? You can just hear it. James is talking to someone about their behavior and he said, 'I believe' and 'we're saved by faith. I believe. As long as I believe - just believe.' And James is going, 'you believe. That's great.

Are you aware that devils believe and it's not saving them?' That's, I think, where he's coming from. I think that's a safe exegesis of that verse. Now, do devils believe that God exists? Let's look at a few verses. In Matthew chapter 8:28 and 29, "when he had come to the other side, to the country of the gergesenes, there met him two demon-possessed men," - now, if you read in Mark and Luke it says theirs one demon-possessed man. There were probably two of them - one was a lot more up front and outspoken and so two of the Gospel writers focused on the one in particular - "there met him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.

And suddenly they cried out, saying, 'what have we to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?'" Did the devils know who Jesus was? Did they say that was going to save them? Did they believe in Jesus? Now what I mean by that is, did they believe that Jesus was The Son of God? Does the devil believe that Jesus died for our sins? Was he there? I'll venture to say that the devil believes more than anyone here that Jesus died for our sins. He not only has a videotape, he was a witness of the whole thing. Is that going to save him? So just believing the Bible's true and believing that Jesus died for your sins, doesn't necessarily save you. And, by the way, James says in the beginning - in James 2:19 - "you believe that there is one God. You do well.

" You know why he said that? When you were a Hebrew, the most holy statement you could utter was called the 'shema' and that's in Deuteronomy, chapter 6, verse 4 where it says, "hear o Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one!" And they all used to say, 'I believe in the one God of Israel.' And so James is saying, 'well, you believe there's one God, that's wonderful. So does the devil. And so he's actually saying, 'it's wonderful that you believe this teaching.' And, again, just to give you the historical context, what did the Greeks believe? One God or many? What did the Romans believe? One God or many? They had a pantheon of Gods. And the Egyptians - one God or many? Most of the religions that surrounded Israel were polytheistic - they were just believing in all this, you know, they couldn't keep up. I've been to india where our dear hindu friends have thousands and thousands of Gods.

You can't count them all. You could be hindu your whole life and not know all the Gods. And so, you can understand, the jews felt a certain arrogance and, again, I'm Jewish so I'm not - I'm just saying that they thought, 'all these nations are deceived by idolatry but I believe in the one true God.' That's good - James was saying, 'great. Good for you. That's true, but that's not what saves you because the devil believes that too.

' Can you understand why that would really shake people up to hear James say that? And it's true. Go ahead, read for us Mark 3:11. "And the unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, fell down before him and cried out, saying, 'you are The Son of God.'" Who wants the devil to advertise for your evangelistic meetings? You know, we're going to albuquerque in - now just a few weeks - to do our landmarks of prophecy series. By the time this program airs, I expect the meetings will be in progress. And I was telling some of our friends, as we're thinking about how to advertise the meetings, that there was an evangelist in one city - and I don't remember the city, I heard this said in an evangelistic council years ago - one of the evangelists hired an actor to dress up like the devil and carry a sign back and forth in front of the coliseum where their meetings were and it said, 'prophecy seminar unfair.

Do not attend.' And he thought that would actually have an opposite effect. I thought it was really clever. You know, we might even make the news if we did something like that. 'Do not attend the landmarks of prophecy' - but make sure you dress him up like the typical view of the devil, right? And, of course, that would reinforce the wrong image but it is clever advertising. But who would want the devil to advertise for them? Jesus, whenever he cast out these devils they'd say, 'we know who you are.

' And he told them to be quiet. Mark 1:23, "now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit." - Do devils go to church? They do. Did Judas go to church? Sometimes there's thieves in the church. So don't be discouraged if there's hypocrites in the church, Jesus had hypocrites in the church. The devil wants to turn people away so there'll always be false representatives - and unclean spirits - oh, wait a second - Mark 1:23 "now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit.

And he cried out, saying, 'leave us alone! What have we'" - now is there more than one in this man? - "'What have we to do with you, Jesus of nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are - the holy one of God!'" You remember in Mark chapter 5 - actually, it's in Luke chapter where he cast the demons out of the man. Jesus said, 'what is your name and they say 'legion, for many devils had entered that man.' And so, yes, the devils believe. And again, Luke 4:41, "and demons also came out of many, crying out and saying," - it's talking about the ministry of Jesus - "demons came out of many, crying out and saying, 'you are the Christ, The Son of God!' And he, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that he was the Christ." Was that going to save them? Alright, Jude 6 - you got that one? We'll get to you in just a second. You'll be doing Jude verse 6 and Revelation 12:12, let me read this. "Therefore rejoice, o heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.

" Does the devil believe that he's going to meet his end? He believes he has a limited time? Alright, go ahead, read for us Jude, verse 6. "And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day." So these are angels who were once saved but then they lost their everlasting abode. They're reserved in chains of darkness. That's kind of like the chain - it talks about satan being bound in Revelation 20. These devils are all kind of restricted to our world now.

They can't maraud through the galaxies anymore and try and tempt others. Balaam - I talked about him just a few minutes ago - balaam the prophet. He was a prophet. He knew about God. He believed in God.

Matter of fact, in one of his prophecies - in Numbers 23:10 he says, "let me die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his!" Now that's a good sentiment that should be emulated. But did he? He didn't die the death of the righteous, even though he knew that Israel was right, that they were blessed by God, that their God was the right God. He didn't surrender to that and so, he perished. Alright, next section. We're going to talk about Abraham here for a moment.

And somebody's got Hebrews :17. Alright, you'll be next and I'm going to read James 2:21 - continuing through James chapter 2 - "was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Okay, you ever heard of righteousness by faith? There you have it. Abraham believed God and it was counted - or imputed to him - as righteousness. We receive the righteousness of Christ by faith but what did Abraham do to show he believed God? He surrendered everything. If someone says, 'alright, if you're going to follow Jesus you've got to do what that rich young ruler did.

You've got to cash out your bank accounts, give it to the poor, put your house on the Market, just get your clothes on your back and follow me. That'd be pretty tough. But you know what's harder than that? Offer your child. Is there anyone here that would not give everything they have to save their child? So when Abraham showed that he believed God, what test can be brought to any human greater than the love of a father for the child? Not just any child, this is the child through whom all the promises were going to come and let's face it, this was Sarah's last chance because, you know, she had this miraculous baby at ninety. It's not like she's - he's going to come back and say, 'Sarah' - and now, you know, at this point, Isaac's like 17 so Sarah's now like 117 - 107, sorry - and - that's why she does the checkbook.

So can you imagine him going back and saying, 'Sarah, you know, I know it took you a long time to produce a child and you produced one, but I've gone and wrecked him. You need to make another one.' So can you imagine the faith that it would take him? But - go ahead, read for us Hebrews 11, verse 17. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, 'in Isaac your seed shall be called,' concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense." In other words, when it says, 'whence he also received him in figure, Isaac was bound on the altar with a knife ready to come down. As far as everyone was concerned he had committed to killing him and Isaac had committed himself to dying so it was like a resurrection. That's why it says he was a figure of having raised in that point.

Abraham believed that even if he had followed through, God was able to raise him up, because God had made a promise and that God that promised that through Isaac all the world would be blessed, if he had to raise him up he would do it. Now there hadn't been anybody raised from the dead up to that point. Enoch went to heaven in a - well, we don't know if he went in a chariot or not, but he went to heaven. But up to Abraham's time there were no resurrections, were there? It's easier for you and I to believe in a resurrection because we've got about a dozen of them in the Bible. Abraham didn't have any.

That takes a lot of faith. He's believing that God is going to raise up his son if he offers him. And so when it says, 'Abraham was made righteous by faith, at what cost did he demonstrate his faith? The ultimate sacrifice - willingness to offer everything. Abraham is considered The Father of the faithful. Faith is a big thing.

Abraham believed God. It was counted to him for righteousness. But you know what it says about his faith? Genesis 26, verse 5, "because Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes and my laws." In case anybody wonders if God had law before Ten Commandments, this is a pretty clear verse. Abraham believed - he's the father of the faithful. He's a perfect example of the great believer and we are children of Abraham by faith, the Bible says, but what kind of faith did Abraham have? Abraham obeyed my voice, kept my charge - not only commandments but charges that God gave him, commandments, statutes, laws - any kind of testimony - ordinance - that you could think of is really included in this passage.

It means 'Abraham did everything I told him to do. He not only obeyed the laws' - now, wait a second, didn't Abraham tell a big old fib when he went to stay with the Egyptians? He might have called it a white lie in our terminology today because she was his half sister, but it was very misleading to say Sarah was his sister when everyone knew she was very well his wife. So God is looking at the - he's not looking at was Abraham perfect? He's looking at what is the pattern of Abraham's life? I like that quote you find in the book 'steps to Christ' that it's not the occasional good deed or the occasional misdeed that determines whose side we're on, but it's through the habitual words and acts. What is the pattern of your life? The pattern of Abraham's life was that he obeyed. That's how he showed his faith.

Now it's interesting, both in Hebrews and in James - James identifies two characters to demonstrate that we show our faith through our works. Abraham and rahab - Abraham, was he a jew or a gentile? It's a trick question. He wasn't either, really. The jews - we get the jews as a derivative from the tribe of judah. Abraham was The Father of the jews so he was not a gentile.

Gentiles were typically non-circumcised. Abraham had that covenant. He was The Father of the Hebrews. He was what we would call a semite - semitic. Rahab is the opposite.

Abraham is a man and he is a Hebrew. Rahab is a woman and she is a gentile. And so, by choosing these two opposite extremes, the Bible writers, both Paul and James, are demonstrating - it's interesting, who wrote first Hebrews or James? If you were here for our first presentation on James. James was first. So here's a case where Paul is looking at the book of James and he's using the same two illustrations, but it kind of demonstrates God doesn't have one type of salvation of works for jews and Hebrews and one of grace for gentiles.

I've heard people say, 'they - the jews - are under the dispensation of law. They are saved by works.' Nonsense. Nobody's saved by works. If Abraham is saved by grace then why would any jew be saved by works? Nobody's working their way into heaven. And Jesus, you know, he preached to all the jews - he always told and taught that it was salvation by grace.

Same for the gentiles. Everybody is saved by faith. So rahab, how did she demonstrate her faith? You remember when the two spies came? Well, let's read it. James 2:25, "likewise, was not rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?" But wait a second, we just read in Hebrews 11:21 where Paul says "by faith rahab perished not." Was she saved by faith or works? I heard one pastor - this is an imperfect illustration - there was this old - this is an old sermon illustration. This man came to a ferry where they used to have to row you across rivers.

He was traveling between towns, he got in this ferry boat, he gave them the nickel. The man at the ferry, he sat in his seat and he began to row and the man sitting in the passenger seat of the little boat, he notices that as the man is rowing him across, that as the paddles come out of the water, one paddle has got burned in it the word 'faith' and the other paddle has got the word 'works' burned in it. And he said, 'I see you've got one oar that says 'faith' and one that says 'works,' what's up? He said 'I'm glad you asked, watch this.' And the man pulled in one oar and just rowed with one oar - and you know what happens then? You go in a circle. He said, 'now watch what happens if I just use the works.' He rowed with just one and he said, 'if you want to get across the river', he says, 'we need both.' Now that is really an imperfect illustration because nobody is saved by works alone. There are people that are saved by faith alone.

But if you are saved by faith alone, it will be accompanied by works. And so, you know, don't take that illustration too far because it is imperfect. But it does kind of prove the point that if you really do believe, there's going to be the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, amen? Well friends, I'm looking at the clock and I'm looking at my lesson and I know I have just enough time to remind you about our free offer one more time. So if you'd like to get a free copy of the book 'hidden eyes and closed ears' we'll send it to you. We're glad that you've been studying with us.

When you call, it's 866-788-3966 - that's 866-study-more. Ask for offer #726. You can download it for free at the Amazing Facts website. We will also have the notes of this lesson and - as well as the pdf - if you want to look at the Sabbath school lesson yourself. They are at the Granite Bay SDA website - just 'granitebaysda.org' - thank you - 'granitebaysda.org'. God bless you. We'll study together again next week.

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