BEING A GREAT PERSON FOR A GREAT GOD
The GREAT COMMITMENT
James 2:14-26; Selected Scriptures
D.Z. Cofield, Th.M., D.Min.
November 27, 2022
Responsive Reading James 2:14-26 (ESV):
Leader: What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but
does not have works? Can that faith save him?
Congregation: If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily
Leader: and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,”
without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
Congregation: So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Leader: But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show
me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my
Congregation: You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons
Leader: Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from
works is useless?
Congregation: Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he
offered up his son Isaac on the altar?
Leader: You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was
completed by his works;
Congregation: and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed
God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a
friend of God.
Leader: You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
Congregation: And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute
justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by
Everyone: For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart
from works is dead.
1. What you SEE and SAY should move you to SERVE. (vv. 14-17)
James 2:14-17 (NLT) – What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you
say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith
save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or
clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and
eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What
good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it
produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Galatians 6:10 (NLT) – Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we
should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
1 John 3:17-18 (NIV) – If anyone has material possessions and sees his
brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in
2. What you BELIEVE can only be proved by how you BEHAVE, not
by who you say you believe in (vv. 18-25)
James 2:18-25 (NLT) – Now someone may argue, “Some people have
faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith
if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for
you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How
foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? 21 Don’t you
remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by
his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith
and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23
And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and
God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called
the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what
we do, not by faith alone. 25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She
was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those
messengers and sent them safely away by a different road.
Ephesians 2:10 (NRSV) – For we are what he has made us, created in
Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our
way of life.
Titus 3:8 (ESV) – The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on
these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to
devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable
Luke 12:48 (NLT) – But someone who does not know, and then does
something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been
given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been
entrusted with much, even more will be required.
3. What you believe is DEAD and USELESS if it is not supported by
what you DO (vv. 17, 20, 26)
James 2:17, 20, 26 (NLT) – 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough.
Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. . . . .20 How foolish!
Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? . . . . 26 Just as the
body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.
Matthew 7:15-21 (NLT) – “Beware of false prophets who come disguised
as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them
by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from
thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a
bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a
bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce
good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can
identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. 21 “Not
everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’” will enter the Kingdom of
Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will
James 1:22 (NLT) – But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it
says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
Titus 2:14 (NLT) – He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to
cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing
Questions to Consider
1. Who do you know who talks a lot about problems?
2. What is the difference between someone who talks about problems
and someone who does something to solve problems
3. What is the relationship between faith and works? (James 2:14)
4. What illustration did James use to explain how real faith affects a
person’s deeds? (James 2:15-17)
5. How did James describe faith that has no accompanying deeds?
6. What is wrong with having faith without deeds? (James 2:18)
7. How is being a Christian supposed to change the way you live?
8. What can be done to apply what you hear in church to your everyday
9. What are some of the biblical commands which are hard for you to
10. Which is easier for you—talking about your faith with others, or
demonstrating your faith by loving others? Explain
This week identify how you can show your faith and do at least one tangible
thing to serve someone in a home, work, or neighborhood situation.