Faith Without Works
Gar Bozeman | Christian School Retreat
True faith will bear fruit. In this session, Gar walked through James 2 and discussed what true faith looks like. James teaches us that faith without works is dead. You can’t lean on your religion or church for salvation. Just because you have a knowledge of Jesus, doesn’t mean you possess saving faith. There must be evidence behind your faith. Don’t depend on legalism, but remember that your actions point to your faith in Christ.
Let’s be doers who act—not hearers who forget. Let’s look at Scripture to remind us how we should live. Scripture exposes our flaws and our need for Christ. The Holy Spirit will do the work for us, but we need to be diligent to pursue the Lord.
- James 2
- James 1:23-25
- Genesis 22:4-8
- Isaiah 30
- Luke 14
So we’ve got Paul in Romans that says, “Hey, you’re justified. You’re justified by your faith,” and then James comes in and James says that faith apart from works is dead, so we’re justified by our works and not by faith alone. So it seems like a contradiction, and even to this date, there are some major theological arguments where people will get on the side of Paul or James and say, “No, you have to… It’s work-based, you have to work it out.” And there’s others that will say, “No, it’s just faith alone,” but we know that the Scripture doesn’t contradict itself. There’s never gonna be two opposing ideas. So what’s happening here is Paul and James are saying the same thing.
The problem is, is that in our modern church, in our modern society, we’ve lost a good respect for what the definition of faith is, it’s not it’s one or the other, it’s that we’ve believed this idea that somehow faith is just believing in Jesus, and somehow that’s enough. But James is making it clear that true faith is gonna bear fruit, and that you have to be fruitful as evidence of your faith. So we’re gonna go into James 2:14-26. I’ll read this, alright.
It says, “What good is it my brothers if someone says he has faith but does not have works. Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 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? So also faith by itself which does not have works, is dead. 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 works. You believe that God is one, you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 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. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”
So James is addressing this church. This is people who are active in their church, they’re proclaiming Jesus, that he’s the son of God and died and resurrected, but he’s also confronting them as believers, and he says, “What I’m seeing guys, your faith is useless. It’s not doing anybody any good. It’s not doing you any good, ’cause all it’s proving is that the faith inside of you is dead and you’re not serving anyone around you.
Cause what’s happening, the churches are showing partiality, people are coming in and they’re picking out the Ridge and the people that have money and think that they can help grow their structures and expand them, and the people that are coming in that are poor and reflected, they’re kind of pushing off and putting them in a corner. So he’s highlighting that this faith that you say you have, I don’t see any evidence of it. So, alright, you guys ever go on your computer and start looking up YouTube videos, and then two hours later you’re like watching cat videos or something? You’re just way off track?
Alright, so that happened to me last night. I was just getting ready to teach this and I was like, “Man, faith apart from work is useless, and there’s gotta be some good examples of useless things,” and then like two hours later, I’m in the cat videos section looking up useless stuff, but I was completely amazed by amount of useless things in our society. So I pulled up some pictures, and I wanted to show them to you. You guys have got them back there? No? Okay, alright. A handicap ramp to stairs.
Alright, just ’cause you played Minecraft doesn’t make you an engineer. Alright, that is useless. Alright, what’s next. Oh yeah, I know some of these girls have rocked this right here, toeless rain boots. Right? That’s pretty stylish. Alright, what’s the next one? Oh yeah, a peephole with a glass door. If he would just open his right eye, it would all make sense. Alright, I think there’s one more. Yes, these subtitles. I don’t even know how that works. Cries in Spanish.
So we have… There are so many useless things in our society. One of them I saw, it was just too long a video to post, but it was a treadmill bicycle. Literally, it’s a long bicycle with a treadmill on it, so you can run on the treadmill while you’re outside and you’re actually going slower than if you were to run. I mean, look this up when you get back. Treadmill bicycle. It was awful. Probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen. But James is saying the same thing like, “This is useless.
It doesn’t serve anybody.” So let’s unpack the scripture. Alright, so starting in verse 14, he says, What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food 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? So also, faith by itself that does not have works is dead.”
Alright. So this is what he’s starting to point out, right, that they’ve brought these people in, that they’re in need and they’re inflicted and they’re just, man, they’re going through the motions, like they’re just saying the Christian thing to say like, “Oh man, praying for you.” “Go in peace. Be warned, be filled.” So what good is that? If somebody is poorly clothed, or they’re starving, you can’t just walk by some guy on the street and be like, “Man, you should put some pants on and go get a Chick-fil-A, that’ll help you out. See you. Praying for you.”
If he had the ability to clothe himself, he would. If he had the ability to feed himself, he would. So to come along and to encourage them in this way, man, it’s just, it’s not doing anything more than mocking them. You’re just coming across completely, completely vain and empty. Proverbs 3:27-28 says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, go and come again tomorrow and I will give it when you have it with you now.” So the first verse says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it.” So think about that.
To whom it is due. So it belongs to me, but it’s due to them. How does that work? Like that was my Chick-fil-A sandwich, now you’re saying it belongs to him. Well, the whole idea in this proverb is that we weren’t created for ourselves, we were created for others. Whatever you have is due to someone else, whatever abilities you have is to serve other people. We weren’t created for selfish gain. We see so many time on Facebook and Instagram where people… People that live just houses down from each other will go in and they’ll say something like, “Man, we’re really struggling.
My mom has been diagnosed with cancer, my brother is sick, we have this surgery coming up. I’m waiting on the results from this test.” And that you can be a couple houses down from somebody and they’ll go on social media and be like, “Praying. Good luck.” What good does that do people? Prayer is good. Absolutely. But wouldn’t that prayer mean so much more if you walked a few houses down and actually lived it out? If you actually served?
Why would you simply pray for somebody when you have the ability to possibly be an answer to their prayers, be an answer to what they’ve been asking for. This is what James is addressing. He’s like, man, your faith is empty because I don’t see any evidence that you really want to live out what you say you believe. So the first point he makes is that our love for God should translate into a love for people. So true faith cares for people. So then he goes on, now he interjects this guy, right? This make-believe guy who’s gonna come in and argue with him. So we get the idea that he’s kind of preaching a sermon here.
And he says that, 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 works. You believe that God is one, you do well, even the demons believe and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?” These are Jews, people who grew up in a Jewish society who have now come to faith in Christ. So they’ve grown up with with the Torah, right? Well, we call the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. And they’ve grown up with this wisdom literature, and they’ve grown up with all the Proverbs and the Psalms. So they’ve grown up in Scripture. This is something that they’re aware of, deeply aware of. So they kind of, they’re leaning on their religion for salvation.
Does that not sound like the American church in so many ways, where we kind of lean on our religion. Now, I was listening to another pastor preach, preach a sermon similar to this one a few weeks back, and he said something that really stuck out. He said, “I’m not surprised when the recovering drug addict or the child that was abused their entire life comes to salvation in Christ, because they know how broken the world is, and they know their need for Christ.” He’s like, “I am absolutely amazed when young men and women who have grown up in the church come to a saving faith, because it’s so easy to grow up in a Christian home, in a Christian school, always going to church and you learn to just go through the motions.
You know how to talk the talk, you know the right things to say, you know when to say it, you know how to put on the atmosphere. Like, “I can just put this or on and walk around.” You know how to navigate that without ever really living it out. So how much more amazing is it is when somebody really comes to saving faith in Jesus. That’s a difficult road to come out of, because it’s so easy just to fall into a routine like they have in this passage, where they’re just relying on their religion, they’re relying on their ceremonies and their practices. They’ve never really put their faith into action.
And he says, “And you believe that God is one? Great, you believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead. That’s great.” He said, “Even the demons believe that.” They’ve got good theology. Demons know more about God and Jesus in the spiritual realm than any pastor on this earth. They’ve been in that world. They’ve been in that presence. And they know but they shudder because they don’t love God and they don’t pursue God. So they know the wrath that awaits them. I think what’s so troubling about our society is we don’t have that same fear of God. We just put on the religion and we just kind of walk through it.
Brody Holloway, some of you guys, you know, he’s one of the cofounders of Snowbird here. But Brody and I went to a little country in Africa in March called Togo to look at the church planning movement that’s happened in there. And in Togo, the primary religion is Voodoo. So I mean, this isn’t like the Voodoo you see on TV that’s kind of just watered down and they make it seem like it’s this weird magic, where they have the dolls and the pins and the needles. It’s not that. We’re talking like real spiritual manifestations, demonic activity, human sacrifices kind of voodoo.
In the capital city of Ouidah in Benin which is just across the border, we also went there. I mean, that is the Voodoo capital of the world. The Voodoo that you see in Brazil and Haiti, and all around the world is exported from there. But directly across from this temple of the pythons where they go, and they make sacrifices to the idols, and they go in there and they worship the actual Python snakes. There’s like 40 pythons in there. But they go and they worship them. Directly across the street is the Catholic Church. And the people will go in the morning and they’ll go into the Catholic Church, and they’ll pray to Jesus. And then they’ll go through all the motions. And then as soon as that church releases, they’ll walk right across the street and they’ll go and they’ll start sacrificing to the idols. They’ll start praying to the snakes, because in their view, there’s two paths to God. You can take the light path through Jesus and get to God, but you could also work through the demons. There’s power in both.
This is what he’s talking about. He’s like, Just because you have knowledge of Jesus, just ’cause you believe in Jesus that is not saving faith. There has to be works, there has to be evidence behind it. There’s a guy named A Barnes and he said… After reading that scripture, he said, “If demons can have such faith in Jesus and remain eternally separated from him, then we have to believe that man could have such faith and be eternally separated from him. Knowledge is not enough. We can’t rely on our education and the church we grew up in to save us.
We have to work out our own salvation like it says in Philippians. So James 1:23-25. He’s already spoken to this, he says, “But be doers of the word and not hearers only deceiving yourselves, for if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he’s like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror, for he looks at himself and goes away at once forgetting what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty and perseveres being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
So ladies, what are mirrors for? Not a trick question. What do you use a mirror for? To see yourself, right? What about yourself are you looking for? Spots, pimples, flaws, right? I see my wife do this every morning, and it drives me crazy. But she will get up and she will get about that far from the mirror. You can see her breath on it. And she’s like, going every which away. And if she finds any spot, man, she’s fixing it just like that. And that’s what James is talking about. He’s talking about this man who looks intently in the mirror at himself, and then walks away and forgets what he looks like.
And he says, “That’s what Scripture is to us. That’s what Scripture is supposed to be. We’re supposed to be able to open up the word and use it like a mirror and look intently at ourselves compared to the Scripture, and it’s supposed to expose our flaws. It’s supposed to expose our nature and our need for Christ. And we’re supposed to go to work and becoming sanctified, becoming more like Jesus, and the Holy Spirit’s gonna do the work through us.”
But too many of us open the word, like the man who looks in the mirror and walks away and forgets what he looks like. We open up the Scripture, and we examine ourselves and we go, “Yeah, that’s me.” And we close the book, and we don’t do anything about it. He’s saying that this knowledge of God alone is not enough. You have to work out your salvation, you have to create change. If we say that I believe, I believe in Jesus, I believe that he died and rose from the dead, and salvation is for me, but then 5, 10, 15 however many years down the road, you find that you’re just as self-centered and self-absorbed and sinful as you were on day one. There’s no evidence.
You haven’t allowed the Holy Spirit to do the work in your life. You haven’t allowed yourself to be conformed to His image. So we’re saying one thing and living something different. So what we learn from this is that true faith changes us. If we truly believe what we say we believe, true faith will create change in our lives. So now James moves on to giving us examples. So he’s made a statement, he’s made his point, now he wants to give us a couple of examples.
So in verse 21, he says, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?” You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works. 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. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. So how many of you guys know the story of Abraham and Isaac?
A good bit. Okay, so Abraham… Abraham’s… Everybody’s gonna be blessed through him, all the nations, all people, his descendants are gonna be like the stars in the sky. And now he has a son, Isaac, who everything is supposed to flow through, and God says, “Let’s sacrifice him.”
This is a test of Abraham’s faith, because if we look back at Abraham, that change we’re just talking about where faith has to really create a change in our lives, he’s had to work that out. Abraham didn’t just hear from God and go, “Yep, I got you,” and he lived at 100%, like he was all about it, always perfect from then on out. No, we see from the Scripture that through Abraham’s life, he is being more and more changed. Whenever we first meet him, he comes out of the land, and then as soon as he meets some fearful people and he sees that the king has kinda taken a liking to his wife, he goes, “Yeah, that’s not my wife. That’s my sister.
You can have her.” And he gives his wife up. ‘Cause I don’t care what state you’re from, you can’t call your wife your sister. Get it? Yeah. Okay. Anyways, so… [chuckle] But he didn’t just do this once. He did it twice. It was twice that Abraham’s just completely gave up on his wife ’cause he feared for his own flesh. He didn’t have faith in the promises of God. So then later on, God kind of comes back in, he says that He’s gonna bless him with a son, and he knows he’s old and his wife Sarah’s old, and things just aren’t gonna work out, or so he thinks.
So as it progresses, Sarah comes to him, and he believes this lie that Sarah tells him. Sarah says, “I’m too old. It’s not gonna happen. If this is gonna happen at all, it’s gonna be through my servant. Hagar, you’re gonna have to take her. That’s the only way you’re gonna get a son.” And he says, “Okay,” so he takes Hagar and he has a son named Ishmael. And God says, “No, it’s not what we do. I’ve told you it was gonna come through Sarah, and then you got impatient and you made your own way.” He’s like, “Ishmael is not the blessed son. Sarah’s gonna have a son, and it’s gonna be through him.” So this is Isaac. So now we have Isaac, the son that everything is gonna go through, the one who’s gonna be blessed. Everybody’s gonna be blessed through this, and God said “Let’s sacrifice him.
Now, Abraham has gotta be thinking, “What? I’m over 100 years old, I’ve finally got the son that you said everything was gonna come through, all the nations are gonna be blessed through him, and you want me to kill him?” But he didn’t stumble.
Genesis 22:4-8 gives an account of it and it said “On the third day, Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. Then Abraham said to the young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey. I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” And Abraham took the wood in the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac, his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went, both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father,” and he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went, both of them together.
See, Abraham didn’t stumble. He told his servants before they went up, he said, “Y’all stay here with the donkeys, me and the boy, we’re gonna go up, we’re gonna worship, and we’re both gonna come back down.” And then Isaac asked him, “Where’s the lamb?” He’s like, “God will provide.” He doesn’t see it. There’s no way he can possibly see what the Lord is about to do, but he had enough faith to believe that even if he got up there and he sacrificed Isaac, that God would raise him from the dead. That’s the kind of faith he was working with. But he didn’t just arrive there. It wasn’t just given to him on day one. We see that he worked out his salvation through his entire life.
But like we said before, it hadn’t always been that way. So what happens in our lives where we have these seasons of great faith and what the Lord is gonna do, and then we get really impatient about what’s going on around us and we start making our own ways? Right? There’s an example in Isaiah 30. So what’s happening in Isaiah 30 is that the Israelites are starting to panic, this Assyrian army is starting to grow and they’re starting to bear down on them, and they think they’re gonna be rolling, they’re gonna be conquered. But what they do instead of going to God and praying to Him and seeking his wisdom, they start to make their own way, they start to develop their own plans and their own schemes.
In Isaiah, starting in chapter 30:1, he says, “‘Ah, stubborn children,’ declares the Lord, ‘who carry out a plan but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin, who set out to go down to Egypt without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt. Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation, for though his officials are at Zoan and his envoy reaches Hanes, everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit but shame and disgrace.
An oracle on the beasts of the Negeb, through a land of trouble and anguish, from where it comes the lioness and the lion, the adder in the flying fiery serpent, they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels to a people that cannot profit them. Egypt’s help is worthless and empty, therefore, I have called her ‘Rahab who sit still.'”
The people are fearing for their life, but they don’t consult the Lord, they don’t ask the Lord what they should do about it, they don’t go to Him in prayer, they don’t read the word, instead they go, “Let’s pack up all our’ riches, let’s put it on donkeys and on camels, and let’s load it up and let’s go give it to the Egyptians for protection. We’re gonna go buy security.”
Like the people who have killed them for centuries, they’re gonna go back to them and give them treasure to buy security. But what was the root of it? ‘Cause they didn’t trust the Word of God. They didn’t consult him. ‘Cause I’m guilty of this in my own life so many times where I feel like I’m up against it and I get pressured and I just start creating my own way. I start finding my own solutions. And I’m so impatient to find an answer that I don’t seek the Lord, I don’t ask the Lord what He would have me to do. I don’t go to the Scripture. It’s part of our sin nature. This is what we do, we’re prideful and we’re arrogant.
But I want you to ask yourselves, as you look at that text, “How often do I give away my treasure? How often am I giving my treasure way for security?” ‘Cause the fact is, is right now in this room, there are young men who have never learned anything but how to take, and they’re wrecking their lives and they’re wrecking the lives of young women because they’re seeking security in some relationship. There’s young women that are finding validation and they’re finding security in a sexual relationship because it’s the only place they feel needed or wanted. There’s kids that are trying to earn mom and dad’s respect and love through academics and they’re trying to work for that. We live in a society where we’re broken and we’re gonna try to make our own ways. But the hope in Jesus is that we don’t have to be that way.
He tells us that His hope and His promises are good. We don’t have to try to find security in these things that are gonna end up in our shame and our humiliation. He says, “Believe my promises.” ‘Cause ultimately, Jesus is the only thing that’s fulfilling. Those relationships, they’re not gonna fulfill you. Right? That addiction is not gonna fulfill you. Whatever it is you’re pursuing outside of Christ is never going to fill that void. You have to have patience to pursue the Lord. The fact is, the Scripture tells us that if the man who says he believes one thing but lives another thing is like a wave tossed by the wind, he’s unstable in all his ways. If we say we believe in Christ and we believe His promises are true, but we go and we live something completely different, it says you’re unstable, but even more so it proves that your faith is dead.
He says, “You say you believe in me, but you’re not willing to live it. You’re still gonna make your own way. You’re gonna find security in something other than me. You’re gonna find validation in something other than me, whether it’s a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a substance, he says, “You’re not looking to me for the answers.” So in the example of Abraham, we learn that true faith, true faith is trust God and trust God’s promises. Last example he’s gonna give us, and I like this one ’cause it’s pretty provocative. He says, starting in verse 25, “And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the Spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”
So imagine this, these people, I’m telling you, they’ve grown up in a religious society, they know the Torah, they revere Abraham like he is the top of the food chain, and then James comes in under this and says the same faith that Abraham had is the same faith that Rahab was working with. Well he just took this elderly, successful patriarch and put him on the same playing field as a teenage prostitute. Because what we know about Rahab is Rahab was in the city of Jericho, and this is just like a transient fort where this merchant city where all these merchants are passing through, and she’s probably between the ages of 13 and 15 years old, and she is being prostituted out. So as all these travelers come through, she’s selling her body to make a living.
But what’s happening though is as all these people are coming through and taking advantage of Rahab, she’s hearing about these people that their God has parted the Red Sea for them, their God’s led them out of Egypt, but their God is destroying everybody in front of their path that he’s making a way for them. And Rahab didn’t grow up with the knowledge of God. She doesn’t know the Scripture, but what she does know, and she goes, “That God, that’s the God I wanna serve.”
So whenever the spies come in to spy out Jericho, and word starts to go through the city that they’re there, and the king sends out his guard to look for them, they think, “Well, everybody… All the outsiders kinda go down to the prostitute’s house and that’s where they hang out. So they’re gonna be on the wall, this is gonna be a safe place.” So they kinda tuck into Rahab’s thinking that that’s a good place to hide. They’re gonna be safe there. So Rahab says, “I’ve heard about your people, and I wanna hide you, ’cause I believe in your God, I have faith in your God.
So whenever your god delivers Jericho to you, just remember me.” I do understand the magnitude of Rahab’s faith. She doesn’t have scriptural knowledge. She hasn’t read the stories about this God. All she’s gotten is what she’s heard from these awful men as they come through to take advantage of her.
She is the lowest of society. Like women in this age and in this society were already kinda down at the bottom of the totem pole, but now make her a prostitute, and a teenage prostitute at that, like she is abused and rejected. But she’s heard about this god and she says, “I believe he’s gonna deliver them.” So she’s wedged herself between basically two faiths, but only one of them is gonna work. One of them is gonna lead to life. Because if she’s wrong, if this god doesn’t show up, then her and her family are gonna be executed by the king. They’re already coming for her.
But at the same time, these guys that she just let go and has to be remembered, if they come and they sack Jericho and the walls come down, and they go in, they slaughter all the people and they don’t remember her, then she’s killed with everybody else. So she’s stuck between these two opposing forces that are getting ready to go at it, and she is putting all her faith that this god is who he says he is, and she just asked to be remembered. I was like, that is enormous faith.
But it’s such a beautiful picture because we see this young woman who’s been taken advantage of and she’s been beat and she’s been abused, and she has been the lowest of low, and she is remembered, and the Lord rescues her from Jericho, and then she is put in the blood line of Jesus, the great grandmother of King David, She is literally adopted into the family of Christ. How beautiful, what a picture is this, that this simple faith, like, “Just remember me.” This simple faith is what leads to life and her adoption in the family of God. So last point is that true faith will cost you everything.
We can’t just go through life and say we have faith, but it’s never cost us anything. Luke 14, we’re closing this, Luke 14:25-33, Jesus is in Jerusalem and the crowds are gathering around and people were starting to follow him, and they’re not all following him because they just love him and they believe He’s the Messiah. They wanna see miracles happen, some just kinda wanna be a part of the fanfare. It’s kind of a big party.
Everybody’s doing it. They’re just going with the flow. But Jesus turns around and He says this to them, “Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
For which of you desiring to build a tower does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it. Otherwise, when he’s laid a foundation and is not able to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish,’ or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with 10,000 to meet him who comes against him with 20,000? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and ask for terms of peace. So therefore, if any you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.'”
So what does Jesus say? And he doesn’t stutter at this. He doesn’t pull any punches. All these people are gathering around him, and he turns around and he tells them, “The son of man is worthy, the son of man is sufficient, but you’ve gotta count the cost.” Because it comes with a cross to bear. Don’t start to build this tower and lay a foundation, but then realize you don’t have what it takes to finish it. Don’t go out to make war with the world and realize that you don’t have the ability to overcome it.
We know that Jesus is worthy. We know that His promises are true. But he tells us, “Don’t take it lightly. True faith will cost you everything. True faith will cost you that relationship. True faith will cost you that friendship.” To proclaim the gospel in this day and age, it is social execution. If you go and you proclaim Jesus, you will not be as popular as you once were. So count the cost and understand what it means to truly walk and live in faith.
Alright, let me pray for us. Father, we love you and we thank you for your word. I pray that you continue to work in these students’ lives. I pray that there’ll be a bold generation that goes and makes change in our communities and ultimately goes and makes changes in the world. We know that the day of persecution is always at hand. We know that we’re living in a society where, Lord, you’re offensive, you’re offensive to people.
The fact that you are so exclusive, and the only way to salvation, we pray that we would be bold enough to proclaim that message, because we know that ultimately it gives life to those that we would tell. I wanna pray that we would also be bold enough to sacrifice whatever relationships we’d currently be in that don’t honor you, that we’d be able to sacrifice whatever we’re pursuing outside of you, whether it’s in trying to gain love and trust and affection through sports or academics.
Whatever it is that we’re putting before you and your word, Lord, I pray that we would lay that down and that we seek you first. And we thank you for the opportunity that we have to be here together, to fellowship with you. I challenge these students to move forward and truly walk in a lot of your word. Lord, we love you and we praise you. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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