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Author:Dr. Wes Bredenhof
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Launceston, Tasmania
 Tasmania, Australia
Preached At:Mission Smithers -- Fort Babine
 Fort Babine, British Columbia
Title:To be saved by Jesus Christ, we need a living faith.
Type:Mission Sermon
Text:James 2:14-17 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Life in Christ

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

Beloved congregation,

Once there was a hunter. He was out in the bush. Finally, after a long time, a big bull moose walked by the hunter. The moose kept on walking. He wasn't even scared. The moose didn't run away. The man just sat there by the tree. He had his gun in his hands. But the hunter couldn't lift up the gun to shoot the moose. He didn't even see the moose walking by. His heart didn't start going faster. You see, the hunter was dead. We don't know how he died. We know that he was a hunter, but he was a dead hunter. He couldn't do anything - only sit there. He wasn't going to get his moose.

That hunter is just like a person who says that they're a Christian. The dead hunter is like a person who says they are a Christian, but they don't do the things that a Christian does. That's what our Bible passage tonight is all about. The Holy Spirit tells us we need a living faith if we are going to be saved by Jesus Christ. We can't be like that dead hunter. We need to be alive. We need to have a faith which is alive. A real faith. A true faith. God can only use that kind of faith to save us.

Our theme for tonight's sermon is this:

To be saved by Jesus Christ, we need a living faith.

We'll see:

1. What a dead faith looks like.

2. What a living faith looks like.

1. What a dead faith looks like.

James starts by asking us a question, "What good is it, my brothers if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?" James is talking here about a person who says they are a Christian. That person doesn't do the things a Christian does. That person cannot be saved. In verses 15 and 16, he gives a picture to show us what he means. He talks about another Christian, a brother or sister. They come to church. They have no clothes. They are cold. They have no food. They're hungry. Now, if someone just goes to them and says nice words, what does that help? It does nothing for the person. All you show is that you know how to say words that sound nice. You know how to say Christian words.

Our Lord Jesus Christ told us the same thing in Matthew 7:21. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven. A person with a dead faith might say "Jesus is Lord." A person with a dead faith might say good words about Jesus Christ. But his life will show that he is not really a Christian. All those good words might trick people, but they won't trick God. God knows that a person with a dead faith is still dead - just like that dead hunter. Jesus Christ will tell a person like that to go away from Him. A dead faith will not do anything. In the end, a dead faith only brings people to hell.

That's because dead faith is not really faith. A person who says all the right words, but doesn't live a Christian life, they show that they don't really believe in Jesus Christ. Their faith doesn't point to Him. Their faith points to themselves. They want people to praise them, rather than praising God.

We all have to look in our hearts and make sure that we don't have a dead faith. Don't look at other people. Look at yourself. Is your faith only words? Does your life show that you are a Christian? That's something we all have to think about. We have to make sure that we have a living faith. Let's now learn from God's Word what a living faith looks like. That's our second point:

2. What a living faith looks like.

James is not telling us in this Bible passage that right words are no good. As Christians, we still have to say the right words. We have to say good words to make other people strong. We have to encourage other people. We can't forget about doing that if we have a living faith in Jesus Christ.

But a living faith also has works. That means Christians live a Christian life. People who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are always trying to follow what the Bible says. If someone has no clothes and no food - we do something to help them. That's because Christians follow God when He tells us to love our neighbour. When we see somebody in trouble, we don't just walk by or drive past. We go and talk to them and find out if there is something we can do to help. Christians are people who love others.

When we do that, our lives point to Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. People will see our love and then they will see the Lord Jesus working in us. Jesus Christ was the one who listened to God perfectly. He had a perfect faith in God His Father. His faith was what our faith should be. Christ's faith always went together with a perfect life. He never sinned. You know, that's something we don't always do. Many times we fall. That's why we need Jesus Christ. We need God to give us all the good things Jesus did. God does that for us when we believe in the Lord Jesus. God also gives us the Holy Spirit to help us to do good things. He comes to live with us so we can say 'thank-you' to God for giving us life forever.

When we really believe in Jesus Christ, we have a living faith. Then faith is what it is supposed to be. When we really believe in Jesus Christ, then we work with the Holy Spirit to do what God says in the Bible. Then faith is alive. Then faith is like a hunter out in the bush, who lifts up his rifle, aims, and takes down that big bull moose on the first shot. When we have a living faith, faith is working. It does what it's supposed to do. We are made right with God only with faith in Jesus Christ. The things we do are not going to save us. But we need to have the right kind of faith. We need a faith that comes along with living a Christian life. To be saved by Jesus Christ, we need a living faith. AMEN.

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
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