‘Reformation Celebration 2016’ message by Rev Dr Jared Hood

jared-hood

In this message on James 2:14-26, preached at our Reformation Celebration held at Eaglehawk PC on October 30th, 2016, Rev Dr Jared Hood explores the topic of the believer’s justification and whether it is by faith (as taught by Paul) or by works (as taught by James). Is there a conflict or do the two fit together? Or is something else the basis of our justification? And if so, where do works fit in?

‘Taming your tongue’ (James 3:1-12)

In tackling these verses from James 3, Joel Thomas reminds us that what we say is a big deal. Words can hurt and destroy when they should encourage and uplift.  And the problem is our all at the tip of our tongues!  It’s not enough to just keep our tongues from ‘speaking evil’. They should also ‘do good’ to others and promote the gospel.

‘Faith: the real and the not so real’ (James 2:14-26)

Faith is a concept that both unbelievers and believers can struggle with. This part of the book of James tackles the question of faith head on, showing that genuine faith will be seen and shown by deeds. No deeds will mean that there is no faith present or even that we have the faith of demons (whose belief in God leads them to do no more than quake in their boots!).  So how do faith and deeds sit together? James points to the examples of  Abraham and Rahab so that we might know!

‘Breaking the law of God without knowing it’ (James 2:8-13)

Following on from James’ practical warnings about showing favouritism (2:1-7) comes this Scriptural foundation. While we may think that showing favouritism ‘hardly’ breaks God’s law, James reminds us that in God’s sight sin is sin and all sin deserves His judgement, yet (thankfully) that He also acts mercifully to those who show mercy. By these James challenges those who claim to love God and keep His law, if we would pass His test.

‘Words for the (would be) wise’ (James 1:5-11)

Trials have a habit of making us think soberly about life and help us to see that we lack wisdom. God has a habit of generously giving wisdom to those who ask Him, but James reminds us that faith will be an essential pre-requisite. Wisdom will also be needed to live in this world where the rich seem to have status over the poor. James has something to say about that too.