Steadfast – Week 3

Steadfast Works (pages 67-93)
James 2:14-26

Lisa: Welcome to Week Three. Courtney said this brings us to the most controversial passage in James and she walked us through it so well. I know that I had such clarity of the issue but also understanding the passage and how it aligns with Paul versus contradicts. Breanne Fuelling will be our teacher today.

Breanne: I am so excited to be with you today. We get to look at the book of James as we see how steadfast relates to our foundation, obedience and this week our works. As we look at our works we find they are by faith alone. I love that we are spending this time in James as there is no more appropriate book for our goal to Arise and what it means to be equipped to go, grow, and overcome. One of our greatest desires is that Village Women would be known for their steadfastness.

Lauren mentioned how James almost didn’t make it into the Canon and today we are going to talk about one of the main passages for that concern. Was this book inspired? Martin Luther (google him to learn more) is really the father of the protestant church. As he was looking at the book of James and translating it from the latin and he was so confused about why this book could be okay. The word justification and relationship with works and faith and salvation. Once he looked through the Greek translation he was able to again more understanding. He saw that this doesn’t contradict Paul but this word/concept has a symantec to it. Just like you can make a right turn and you can be right. This word “justification” in James is being used to “prove” our faith. Courtney does a great job addressing the theological components of this text. James has pattern where it is almost like a warm hug – he exhorts us so much. He starts with phrases like – consider this, know this. But then he gives us an affectionate connection and then he gives us the exhortation.

It is almost like he is saying – answer this my brothers….is your faith good? Can it save you? Does it have substance? Does it have realness?

We have a value for our women to think through hard things and be women of the word who are thinking and digesting the word and teaching it to other people. We hope you are asking questions on this passage that you don’t know. Don’t stop asking questions until you have the answers. Courtney really helped us know that FAITH = Salvation & Works. Works flow from faith but they are part of this picture to know if our faith is real.
The personal part of the question. Everytime I see a question in scripture I want to pay attention to them as though they are being spoken to us personally.

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” James 2:14

I want each of us to look at ourselves. I had a client a long time ago that when he walked in the room he was always disheveled – shirt misbuttoned, zipper down, hair unkept and not put together. It was almost as though he had never looked in a mirror. One of the steps we employed was a mirror check. He had to look at himself in the mirror before he left the house to make sure what he saw is what he wanted to go for. Julie talked about the mirror last week and this was an assessment tool. This passage this week is giving us another assessment tool, are your works showing your faith by what you are doing with your hands, head, and heart? Is the gospel alive in you? Is your faith alive or not dead?

Matt 7:22-23 was a passage as a young child I remember that it rang in my brain. Lord Lord – and the response was depart from me I never know you. How do people get to that point where they think they are all in but Jesus says no? This passage ties into those same questions. How do you know that your belief is different than the demons? How when you get face to face with God He will know you?

This is the assessment we have for our faith. To look at ourselves in the mirror.
To look at our works. When we look at our works, it helps us see. Our knowing about ourselves is limited to what we see. So if we aren’t seeing ourselves, we aren’t looking at ourselves – then we have no opportunity to know ourselves and if we don’t know ourselves then it is very hard for us to do intentional work of changing with the power of the Holy Spirit to become more like Jesus. Sanctification is the process of God changing us to be more like Jesus – his working. But it is our intention to pursue that holiness at the same time – to chase after change.

We see a comparison of Faith, Pg 73

False Faith: dead, dying, foolish, useless and inferring it is empty, confusing, and negative.
Real Faith: flows out of us, alive, active, secure, useful, proven, justified, positive, steadfast.

So Whats…

1. Holy Week Reflection: Courtney does such a good job on day 5 – our works would never be able to get us to the place to earn our salvation. We look at the works of Jesus we get to see how he accomplishes it. In a recent sermon Pastor Michael mentioned the people the “could but don’t” and in this passage all I could see is the “COULD NOTS” We could not have good enough works. We need Jesus. How fitting we get to reflect on this for Holy Week and Easter?! We can both wonder and worship Jesus as we have this discussion. It is Jesus’ perfect sinless obedience and his works of his – life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, sitting down at right hand of God, giving us the Holy Spirit, and now He intercedes for us. His works free us from having to do the work because again, we are the COULD NOTS – we can not accomplish our own righteousness.

2. How do we get the information we need to answer the personal question if our faith is real and alive?

Breanne: I use the tool, Johari Window, to assess. It has 4 categories to understand feedback on ourselves – hand, head, heart. I look through all these windows to have a thorough assessment. TIme of reflection.

  1. I Know/Others Know = public things
  2. I Know/ Others Don’t = motivations & attitudes, thoughts
  3. Others Know/I Don’t = blind spots. Pursue feedback from others.
  4. Unknown To Me And Others = this is where the Holy Spirit works.

Lisa: Assess not through structure as much as rhythms and life and experiences and relationships. One main is by being in community. Specifically structured around God’s Word and spiritual life with accountability. I have had seasons of deep growth in these experiences. You can’t hold onto that season as the time of growth. “You are living the same year of your spiritual life over and over again and clinging to that one time ten years ago.” Mark Jobe. Sometimes I have to assess what I need and it isn’t something being offered at church or an obvious way so I have to pursue it. One season of accountability where I met with a friend for a phone date to talk through life and assess, we would ask specific questions and one was – “Have you repented of sin?” and I would reflect I hadn’t been burdened by my sin to seek the Lord in it. It was such a good check. If I am just using people for assessment and its not connected to God’s Word, there has been an emptiness to that time because the conversation and thinking wasn’t being fueled by God.

The Goal of assessment is for change. We assess, admit, and act.

Is this gospel coming out in my head, heart, and hands? TERMS of discipleship – (Truth, Experiences, Relationships, Ministry, and Spiritual Disciplines.) Are these things in my life? Are they alive in these areas?

What if you assess and you feel like “maybe my faith is dead? ”What should I do?

The remedy for being dead is to be undead. The only way to be undead is to have new life breathed in us.

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11:25-26

Jesus is the new life.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
2 Cor 5:17

If you find you have reflected and assessed and come up empty handed – run to Jesus. Ask him to build your faith. Take a deep dive as a doer into what it looks like to have a faith that is alive.

Our hope is that as we assess this we take action on what we find.
If you have questions on this – continue to pursue those answers. Reach out.

What does steadfast works mean…..

Flow from our faith. They are the opportunity we take to consistently see people and act on meeting their needs.

Links From This Week:

In This Week’s Video:

Breanne Fuelling
Breanne Fuelling
Lisa Lewis
Lisa Lewis