This Day’s Thought From The Ranch- This Week’s Sermon

This Day's Thought from The Ranch

Faithing- Faith Without Works Is Dead

by J. Jeffrey Smead

Alexander Graham Bell was an amazingly talented person.

He invented the multiple telegraph, the audio-meter …. which is used to test your hearing,…. the tricycle landing gear you find on planes, …. and a host of other machines.

In addition to this he was co-founder of the prestigious magazine Science, …. served as President of the National Geographic Society, and spent his life working with the deaf.

But the most famous of all his creations was the telephone.

It also made his family and his descendants extremely wealthy.

Yet…. he almost lost it all.

You see Bell never seemed to find the time to submit a patent application for the telephone.

Finally, his father-in-law, who had financed much of the research, became so impatient that he filed the patent on Bell’s behalf on the 14th of February 1876, ….. Bell’s 29th birthday.

And it was a good thing he did,….. just a few hours later, another scientist by the name of Elisha Gray went to the patent office and filed on a machine he also had been working on for many years — you guessed it, the telephone.

This story ….. reminds us …. that sometimes it is not enough simply to have or to believe in a great idea.

We need to also …. act on them.

Bell and his father-in-law are an example of the relationship between faith and works.

Bell had faith in …. He believed in his telephone. His father-in-law had faith and works to go with it.

James in this passage expands on what it truly means to be both hearers and doers of the word, what it means for us to “Be Real” . To be the “Real Deal”.

James moves us to how …. “faith” and “works” relate.

James shows us that faith and works are ultimately two sides of the same coin.

Three times he repeats in his thesis “faith without works is dead”

James is stating clearly that “an empty faith” a non action filled faith … is not a true faith, it is not a saving faith, it is nothing more than mouthing words.

James sets out to convey to us that our faith in God and trust in Jesus must work in tandem with our actions.

If not our faith is not really faith at all. It is not the real deal.

Faith is a common denominator. Every one alive daily expresses faith in something.

No one can live a single day without exercising faith.

When you awoke and went into the bathroom this morning you flipped a light switch and you had faith that it would work.

When you get in your car you turn the key and have faith that it will start.

When you mail a letter you have faith the postal system will get it to the right address. Someday!

Every time you walk into a building you are expressing faith in the architect and the workmen.

In each instance there was an action.

You flipped a switch, you turned a key, you mailed the letter, you walked into a building.

I am sure many of you have heard of the great tightrope walker, Blondin.

He was one of the greatest tightrope walkers of all time, and there are many legends told of feats he performed.

One of the most often told stories of Blondin is of his crossing over the Niagara Falls on a tightrope. He reportedly did that several times.

At some point he turned to his large audience, which included numerous reporters from various newspapers, and he asked them, “How many believe I can walk across this tightrope over the Falls pushing a wheelbarrow?”

People cheered loudly — they were sure the great Blondin could do it.

Then he asked, “How many believe I can push a wheelbarrow across the tightrope with a man sitting in it?”

Again, there was a loud response.

Blondin then pointed to one of the most enthusiastic men in the audience, and said, “Okay, you get into the wheelbarrow.”

Needless to say, the man made a quick exit.

Blondin demonstrated that there is often a great difference between belief, ….. the faith we SAY we have, ….. and the action faith we really have.

The measure of our faith is Not our “talk” — it is our “walk”. It is what we do. It is not what we say. It is what we will do!

Simply stating that you are a great race-car driver, basketball player, Christian, …. whatever it is you may be …. Does not mean anything unless you can demonstrate who you are ….. in a way that would convince any and all who saw them.

In the Christian life … and works go together like inhaling and exhaling.

Billy Graham stated it in these terms: “Faith is taking the Gospel in;…… works is taking the Gospel out.”

Inhaling and Exhaling!

You see, faith is never something just to be talked about.

It is something that must be demonstrated in the way we live.

Paul Harvey once said, “If you don’t live it, you don’t really believe it.”

There’s Biblical basis for that statement. James said, BIBLE “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 2:18 ).

Believing is one thing but do you have Faith, …. do you have an action filled faith.

Instead of Faith we should call it Faithing.

It is an verb, it requires an action.

Faithing is also expressed in the spiritual realm.

Your faith is only as good as the object in which you place your faith.

The Scriptures are clear that we should put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Hear the words from Acts 4:12,  “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven…by which we must be saved.”

Hebrews also portrays what real biblical faith looks like.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

True faith brings confident obedience to God’s word in spite of circumstances or consequences.  Faith is described in a two-fold way.

It is the “substance of things hoped for,” and “the evidence of things not seen.”

Faith is the acting foundation that gives a believer the confidence to stand.

The verse could be translated “faith is the “confidence” of things hoped for.”

The question should be ……..”Where does this faith come from?”

First this Faith cannot be earned it is a gift of God, Paul clarifies how faith comes to us; in his letter to the believers gathered in Rome; hear Gods promise:

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Romans 10:17

This truth, this promise is Crystal Clear. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

There are two Greek words translated “word” in the Scriptures. The two Greek words are “logos” and “Rhema”.

Though at times they are interchanged, generally Logos is described as the general word, …. the general knowledge of God.

Through the Scriptures you can receive all the knowledge you need concerning God and his promises; ….But just through reading alone, …you do not receive faith.

You will receive knowledge and understanding about God, ….. but you will not receive faith.

In this Scripture passage ” Faith Comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” …. “word” is not logos, but Rhema.

Faith specifically comes by hearing the Rhema of God.

Logos has been defined as “the written or said word of God,” and Rhema as “the saying, the action word of God.”   Rhema is the Faithing word of God!

That is God giving, a specific word to a specific person for a specific situation.

Faith comes by Rehma.

And the writer of Hebrews informs us 11:6 …. that without faith it is impossible to please God.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word, …. the Rehma of him.

And without Rehma it is impossible to please God.

Peter never walked on the water because of logos, because of a general knowledge of God.

No, Peter required that Christ give him a specific word:

Peter asked, “Lord if you are Jesus, command me to come.” And Jesus replied,  “Come.”

The word Christ gave to Peter was Rhema. The word Christ gave brought forth action faith.

The word Christ gave brought forth …. Faithing.

Peter walked on the water because he had received Rhema.

Beloved, through the Scriptures you can begin to know God.

And you can gain understanding and knowledge about him.

The Scriptures are extremely important in our lives and we are called to read and inwardly digest the Scriptures.

You may listen to the word of God and you may study the Scriptures, but only when the Holy Spirit comes and quickens, …. stirs the Scriptures to your heart …. dose logos become Rhema.

Only then will the Scriptures burn into your soul.

Only then will you receive “Rhema” Faith.

If you are not meditating on God’s word, …. if you never have time to wait upon the Lord,  Then how can the Lord come and quicken His Word to your heart?

It is through action faith, through Faithing that we mature and grow.

Step out in faith and let the love of Christ flow from your inner being.

Our Faith calls us to Love your neighbor as yourself. That is an action oriented faith.

Faith without works is dead.

Be mature in the faith. Revive Gods Rhema and begin Faithing.

Amen and Amen!

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