Faith in Action
James 2:1-10, 14-18
† In Jesus Name †
May the Grace, that mercy and love that God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ cause you to respond, depending on them in everything you do!
Faith isn’t invisible
In the Letter to the Hebrews, the author makes a radical claim,
1 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. 2 The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. Hebrews 11:1-2 (MSG)
The fundamental fact of existence is found in our relationship with God.
We trust in Him, know and depending on His faithfulness that we just praised will never be broken, that it will never fail. So we trust in Him, in His promises, in His presence in .with us.
That faith makes life worth living, As one pastor I read in my devotions yesterday.
And that faith, my dear friends, is seen in how we live. It is visible, even in the midst our struggles, in the midst of challenges, in the midst of our pains, our faith, our trust in Him, and in His presence becomes clearly visible,
it is how we exist, it is what we do…in everyday life,
Our faith takes action, it underwrites what we do, and how we do it.
So it becomes so much part of who we are and what we do, that people realize it.
so let us look at how Faith in Action means something.
Believe in Something, even if it means sacrificing everything
Nike started an ad campaign this week. Some think it is controversial because of the people in it, especially the narrator. Yet the slogan, I think is one we need to re-teach In the church,
This is their new slogan,
Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,
I would phrase it slightly differently, but I really love the idea.
Have faith in Someone, for nothing else is worth it. And act on that faith.
The example James uses in our epistle today is helping the poor or treating them as nicely as you would treat the famous or the wealthy person. Even if it means sacrificing, giving up what you need to help them.
That’s contrary to the nature this world has, to put number one first, to take care of yourself, That is where sin blocks our ability to trust in God, for if we trust in God, we can help anyone, we can sacrifice what is needed to help
In the ad, the narrator noted the problem isn’t that our dreams are desires are crazy, He said our problem is that our dreams aren’t crazy enough.
I’ve got some dreams for you, tell me if they are crazy:
How crazy is it that a broken church could realize that its strength is found in its brokenness, for there it encounters Jesus.
How crazy is it that a group of people praying that God’s kingdom would come in this world then would find itself making the stoles for pastors in a far off place, and building a bakery there, which underwrites all the cost of training pastors. knowing that God is faithful.
How crazy is it that a small church would help people in Sudan, and Turkey, and Papua New Guinea, and in Long Beach and Pico Rivera, and who knows where else next?
How crazy is it that a group of older people, who meet together, make sacrifices so kids can learn about God, then get to see a five-year-old that is so excited to get baptized in front of them he dunks his head in the baptismal font?
How crazy is it that an older smaller church that has become home to young gifted people who are encouraged (and feel safe enough) to share their gifts and grow in use of them? A church that would be called “my church” by someone who mentors them, and our of all the churches he serves, finds himself home there
How crazy is it that a church, which has seen God at work, grows two and three times its size, not because they are focused on growth, but because they care for other people whom they encounter, who are poor in spirit, and desperately need to know the love of God.
O wait, you are thinking that the last one is crazy? Well, if I described the other crazy dreams ten years ago, you would have thought them more than just crazy.
But these things aren’t crazy… they are simply what happens when we see Faith in Action.
Have faith in Him who sacrificed everything, our glorious Lord
When we trust and depend on God whose faithfulness is so great!.
These things and far more happen, things that are crazy, things that add to the praises we sing and speak of the God who is with us.
For ultimately, it is His faithfulness that matters, His belief in a dream that He was willing to sacrifice everything, His place in heaven, His comfort in this life, even His life that makes the difference,
Jesus died on the cross because He believed He could save us from our sin, and bring us home to the Father. That our lives were worth His life, no matter how messed up, no matter how broken, no matter how much guilt and shame we bear.
It is Jesus we have faith in, not just His promises, not just His word, not just in the sacraments, but in the One whose love for us is we need to explore, its incredible width and breadth, height and depth!
A love that changes us, as we begin to trust in Him because of that love. As that trust, that faith leads us to walk with Him, not matter where He leads, no matter what we endure, a faith that acts, which makes itself visible, as it draws people to His side.
For there, in Christ, we find God’s peace… a peace that, like His love is beyond all understanding, as He is our rock, our cornerstone, our safety… AMEN!