Saturday, February 27, 2016

Real Faith (Study on the Book of James)

Real Faith
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Real Faith:  Faith and Works

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?  Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”  You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.  But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?  You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;  and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God.  You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.  In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. – James 2:14-26
If you ask, 83% of Americans will say they are a Christian.

What is a Christian?  A Christian has real faith.  Christ has reformed their lives and it is obvious that Jesus has changed them.  That is real faith.

Does our lives show that we have real faith?  What is real faith?

Works do not save us, but real faith in our lives will reveal works that honor God.  Our real faith will result in works.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
Real Faith
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He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. – Titus 3:5 

 The Question of Real Faith

Our faith is not passive, but active.  Active faith is real faith.  It is seen in trials and temptations.  It is visible in how we speak.  It is all life-relevant.  The results of an authentic real faith is authentic life works.

A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. – Matthew 7:19-21
When there is no fruit, there is no faith.  When someone has real faith, there will be proof.  Evidence is given by fruitfulness.  If your were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian.  Would the evidence be overwhelming?

The Proof of Real Faith

Real faith is:

Not indifferent but involved.

Not passive, but actively engaged.

Not independent, but in partnership.

Not invisible, but displayed

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? – 1 John 3:17

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Real faith is active, vibrant, and growing.

If Jesus has come into your life, people will know.  It will be visible.

Real faith is not intellectual, but from the heart.

Believing in God isn’t enough.  Even Satan and the demons believe in God.  They believe it so much that they tremble.  They believe in Jesus too.  They believe in the resurrection and ascension.  What they won’t do is commit their lives to Christ.  That’s the difference.

Real faith is demonstrated by not simply being a fan of Jesus but a follower of Jesus.

The Illustration of Real Faith

Abraham – Abraham demonstrated his faith in obedience to God.  God never wanted Isaac’s life but He wanted Abraham’s heart.

Real faith moves, acts, responds, and steps out.

Real faith is active.

“If you’re saved and you know it, does your faith surely show it?”

You'll find all my posts about this study on the book of James here.

Hearts in Fellowship

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Hearts in Fellowship
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Whew!  This week has been busy!  I failed to summarize each Bible study for this week day-by-day, so I’m going to summarize the entire week.  This past week in A Woman’s Heart:  God’s Dwelling Place by Beth Moore, we studied the topic of Hearts in Fellowship. Each day’s topic reflected the different ways God encouraged hearts in fellowship with Him.

Hearts in Fellowship

Day One:  The Holy Place

We studied the tabernacle proper, the holy place, and the holy of holies.  Only priests were allowed to enter the holy place.  To apply this scripture passage to our lives today, we are reminded that if we have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we have the privilege of entering the holy place in prayer.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. – 1 Peter 2:9
And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood  _ and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. – Revelation 1:5-6
On this day of the study of the tabernacle holy place, Beth led us through the study of the fine linen ceiling, with cherubim woven in.

Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. -Psalm 61:4

Let me quote a powerful passage from this day’s study:

How perfectly Christ portrays the nurturing wings of El Shaddai, the Caregiver.  God’s wings covered His children with safety, security, joy, and affection.  In His perfect parenting, God is both paternal and maternal, both the loving disciplinarian and the nurturing protector who covers His children with His life.” – Beth Moore
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. – Psalm 91:4  
 Day Two:  The Golden Lampstand

The lampstand was the only source of light in the tabernacle.  It was made of pure gold and its design emulated almond blossoms.  It had one middle shaft and three branches on each side.  The branches symbolized fear, knowledge, might, the Spirit of the Lord, counsel, understanding, and wisdom.

Day Three:  Filling the Lamps
You are the light of the world. – Matthew 5:14
The lamps were fueled with olive oil.  God commanded that the lampstand burn continuously.

If we have Jesus in our hearts and if He is our Lord and Savior, then we are a light to the world, much like the lampstand illuminated the holy place of the tabernacle.  Our light is to burn continuously.

We are the heavenly lampstands of this age to show Jesus to a dark world. – Beth Moore

How often we wear ourselves out by praying for more patience, faith, joy, or peace.  All of these are the supernatural response of a Spirit-filled believer!  A more appropriate prayer is “Lord, purify me and make me a fit vessel for Your presence.  Then, fill me to overflowing with Your precious Holy Spirit.”  The fruit will supernaturally and automatically be produced. – Beth Moore

One of the things that stood out to me most on this day as far as applying this study to my life was at the bottom of page 104 of this study:

Hear Him whisper those same words to you every morning when you open your eyes:  “Today, My precious child, let there be light.”  And at the end of the day, when He tucks you tenderly into your bed, may He delight to say, “There was light.” – Beth Moore

Day 4:  A Table Set Before Him

In the tabernacle, opposite the lampstand, was a table.  The table was made of acacia wood.  On the table was placed dishes, pans, jars, and bowls.  Also on the table was placed the Bread of the Presence.  The Bread of the Presence was to be on the table all the time.  The table was a place of communion and fellowship.

Day 5:  The Bread of the Presence
The Bread of God is He who comes down from Heaven and gives life to the world. – John 6:33
The Bread of the Presence that was to be placed on the table inside the tabernacle holy place was made with 2 tenths of an ephah of flour.  When God provided manna for the Israelites, they were to take an omer daily.  An omer was one tenth of an ephah.  On the sabbath, they were to take twice as much which was 2 tenths of an ephah.  According to God’s command, the Bread of the Presence was to be replaced with fresh loaves every Sabbath day.  God is consistent.

If you would like to complete this entire study in depth, you can get your copy here.  I highly recommend that you go through it.  In order to protect Beth Moore’s copyright and protect her ministry, I only summarize and highlight key points.  Her studies are much more in-depth.

Read all posts in this series here.

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