Have you ever been confused by James’ teaching regarding faith and works? Alistair Begg suggests that the real concern of James was not about faith and works, but about true faith and false faith. When an individual has been declared righteous through faith alone, it is inconsistent for that person to do anything but serve the God that showed such grace.
14What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good2 is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18But 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. 19You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23and 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. 24You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25And 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? 26For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
Wisdom isn’t a matter of age, education, or experience. It’s the product of God’s Spirit at work in a life that has been transformed by the grace of God. In Volume I of this series of messages from James, Alistair Begg examines the Christian’s call to live God’s way in God’s world. This biblical wisdom is demonstrated through patient perseverance in trials as the Christian finds joy in God’s purposes. It is seen as we endure the onslaught of temptation. It is experienced as the members of the Body of Christ learn to love one another radically and with great sacrifice. Godly wisdom is a work of God Himself expressed in every aspect of our lives.
|When Trials Come, Part One||James 1:1-3|
|When Trials Come, Part Two||James 1:2-4|
|Asking God for Wisdom||James 1:5-8|
|Rich Man, Poor Man||James 1:9-11|
|The Genuine Article||James 1:12|
|When Tempted...||James 1:13-18|
|The Word of Truth||James 1:18-21|
|Don't Kid Yourselves!||James 1:22|
|Do What It Says!||James 1:22-25|
|Religion, Part One||James 1:26-27|
|Religion, Part Two||James 1:27|
Genuine faith results in action motivated by thankfulness for all that God has done. In volume 2 of this series, Alistair Begg helps us discover what true faith looks like in the life of a Christian. True faith in the Lord Jesus Christ produces godly wisdom, which is demonstrated by how we conduct ourselves toward God and others. James gives us tremendous insight into temptations Christians often face - from showing favoritism to having an uncontrolled tongue. As God’s Spirit enables, we can learn true wisdom and find strength to serve God and each other.
|Favoritism, Part One||James 2:1-4|
|Favoritism, Part Two||James 2:1-7|
|Favoritism, Part Three||James 2:8-13|
|False Faith||James 2:14-17|
|Faith: True or False?||James 2:14-26|
|Abraham and Rahab||James 2:21-26|
|A Warning to Would-Be Teachers||James 3:1-2|
|The Power and Danger of the Tongue||James 3:3-12|
|Who is Wise?||James 3:13-18|
|The Wisdom from Heaven||James 3:13-18|
|Such "Wisdom"||James 3:14-16|
The Christian life involves a constant battle against sin. Christians are often guilty of “respectable” sins that may not seem gross by the world’s standards, but about which the Bible speaks quite strongly. As Alistair Begg continues our study in James, we see how far short we fall of God’s perfect standard. God’s law reveals that we are desperately proud, prone to controversy and slander, and often inclined to mismanage our time and money. This wonderfully practical study reminds us of our great need of a Savior and points us to the Cross, where we find complete forgiveness and peace. Having peace with God compels us to resist these sins as God draws us ever closer to Himself.
|Fights and Quarrels||James 4:1-6|
|Submitting to God, Part One||James 4:7-10|
|Submitting to God, Part Two||James 4:7-10|
|Saying No to Slander||James 4:11|
|Only One Judge||James 4:11-12|
|Planning Properly, Part One||James 4:13-17|
|Planning Properly, Part Two||James 4:13-17|
|Listen, You Rich Men||James 5:1-6|
|Ill-Gotten Gain, Part One||James 5:1-6|
|Ill-Gotten Gain, Part Two||James 5:1-6|
Alistair Begg ends this series in James by highlighting important principles that help Christians live in an unjust world. We may be prone to grow impatient toward God’s plans, which can cause us to become complacent in bearing Christian fruit. When we realize that everything in life is under the control of God and will ultimately be made right, we can live in a way that is contrary to human nature. The way we talk, worship, and pray becomes God-centered, not man-centered. Viewing the world from this perspective is a gift that can only be given to us by God’s amazing grace. When His grace captures a human heart we have a new song to sing and a loving Heavenly Father to whom we can humbly bring all of our cares.
|Be Patient, The Lord is Coming, Part One||James 5:7-11|
|Be Patient, The Lord is Coming, Part Two||James 5:7-11|
|Telling the Truth||James 5:12|
|Prayer and Praise||James 5:13|
|If Anyone is Sick..., Part One||James 5:14-18|
|If Anyone is Sick..., Part Two||James 5:15|
|Confession and Prayer||James 5:16-18|
|Bringing Back the Wanderers||James 5:19-20|