The Joshua Victor Theory

The Way of the Christian

September 10, 2012

Sermon on James 2:1-18 for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost, about the proper relationship between faith and good works in the Christian life, and understanding James' teaching in the light of salvation by grace alone. What does the Christian life look like after the Spirit has created faith?

Sermon Talking Points

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  1. How does the apostle James expose hypocrisy in James 2:1-18? Why are words without actions empty? James 2:14-17; 1:22-25; Rom. 2:13.

  1. How did Jesus show no partiality or favoritism between the rich and the poor, between the outcast and the accepted? Luke 18:35-19:10. What are ways in which we might “dishonor the poor” (James 2:6) or show favoritism to others, instead of treating all people with dignity and as made in God’s own image?

  1. Why does incomplete keeping of God’s law, at even the smallest level, make us guilty before God? James 2:10; Romans 3:19-20. What’s the purpose of the law’s condemnation of our sins? What realization does it bring about our situation before God? How are we sometimes tempted to make comparisons instead, to think we’re boosting ourselves up?

  1. Once we’ve accepted our guilty verdict according to God’s law, how are we liberated by Jesus Christ and a higher “law” of God’s? James 2:12-13; Romans 8:2. This higher truth, often called the Gospel or good news, reveals God’s mercy toward us, mercy that triumphs over judgment.

  1. In order to grant us mercy, what did Jesus have to undergo to fulfill the law and suffer our punishments? Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:8

  1. What temptation arises for us to misuse forgiveness to excuse or go further into sin? What are some rationalizations we go through? By contrast, how does the true Christian receive the word of forgiveness and seek to live out their life? Why does faith always give rise to works, and yet salvation depends on the faith, not on works? John 15; Galatians 2:16

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