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James 2:14-26

James 2:14-26


Sermon: Fruit of Christian Faith: Talking vs Doing
Bible Passage: James 2:14-26

I. Introductory issues:

1. The book of James probably is the earliest NT book
2. This is the most Jewish book in the NT (people call it the wisdom book of the NT)
3. He was writing to Jewish Christian believers who were scattered abroad—Diaspora
4. The church that Apostle James was pastoring was a mixed group of people: Palestinian Jews and Hellenistic Jews
5. Palestinian Jews spoke Aramaic and Hellenistic Jews spoke Greek
6. Generally, Hellenistic Jews who lived in Jerusalem were economically poor and filled with widows who were generally poor (cf. Acts 6)
7. When Apostle James was writing this letter, he was able to reflect pastoral instructions from his own home church

II. Verses 14-16

1. James’ pastoral objective in this passage is that Christians care for needy and economically poor

a. He is addressing to believers, cf., “my brothers”
b. He is not speaking to non-believers who still need to be saved, but to believers who are already saved
c. Faith = confession of doctrine

i. Intellectual faith
ii. Bunge of words

d. Works = deeds/acts of mercy done in obedience to God after they became believers
e. According to James, “works” in believers’ life is the evidence of salvation
f. Faith will not remain in a person idle, but it will bring transformation (cf. Luke 19:1-10)

2. In verse 14, James asks two rhetorical questions

a. What good is it? my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works
b. Can this kind of faith save him?
c. Both questions require “certainly not” answers
d. He is not excited about the mere talkers

3. The issue James addresses is the nature of genuine Christian faith

a. James teaches that Christian faith cannot remain “workless/deedless”
b. It has no benefit for the person who claims such a faith (“what good is it?”)—useless faith—(cf. verse 20)
c. It does nothing to alleviate the suffering of the needy—useless faith—(verse 20)

4. James teaches that true faith goes beyond mere confession or pious sentiment (verses 14-16)
5. According to James, workless faith is dead in itself (verse 17)—evidence of salvation

a. So also, faith, if it does not have works, is dead being by itself (verse 17)
b. For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead (verse 26)—it’s good only to be buried how much it is worth!!
c. You believe that God is one; well and good. Even the demons believe that—and tremble with fear (verse 19)
d. But would you like evidence, you empty fellow, that faith without works is useless? (verse 20)
e. James calls such person “empty fellow”—“foolish man,” “vain man”

6. James teaches that faith must be evidenced by works (verse 22-25)

a. Illustration of Abraham—You see that his [Abraham’s] faith was working together with his works and his faith was perfected by works
b. Illustration of Rahab—she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another way?
c. What you do after salvation is what we need to be thinking

7. Works of mercy is an evidence of the genuineness of one’s faith
8. Faith that is void of works is not faith at all
9. Believers empty words to poor may amount to mistreatment of them (verse 15-16)

Take Away:

Demonstrate your faith with action

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at