We continue our sermon series entitled “Faith under pressure”. Preaching from Andrew Jackson (Net Church). Service led by Brian Dickson.
God instigates and gifts us with faith when we are open to the work of Jesus’ death and resurrection in our lives; this may be accurately defined as a divine persuasion. The most common word used in James 2 and various other New Testament passages is pistis. It’s God who starts this, Paul makes the point in Philippians 1:6 it’s not us just doing our best, but God doing in us and through us what only he can do! When we are open to this and give God permission to do what he wants in us, this faith causes or leads us to action.
God calls us according to James 2 to be faith and action people. He states in James 2:26, As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Faith and action people hear God’s exploits in the past and believe he can do them again in their life – after all God’s track record is flawless.
The word ‘hear’ (used in Joshua 2:10) in Hebrew is šāmaʿ – which when transliterated means to hear intelligently with implication of attention, obedience.
One of the lessons we learn from Rahab is that God is able to give us courage in difficult situations. For example, in everyday conversations that require grace and sensitivity -we can have a confidence that the same God that was faithful back then is faithful today and will forever be. To know that God lives on the inside of us gives us confidence that he goes with us as we speak the truth in love.
Faith & action people have a perspective that God is here and now, as well as in heaven. That God is not distant or far away but near. Joshua 2:11 reminds us ‘…for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.’
Jesus in Matthew 26 prays, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” This is the best example of Godly perspective. He invites us into this way of life when He teaches us to pray to say, ‘your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.’ This is faith in action.
Joshua 2:11 sees Rahab use the word Lord here. It’s possibly capitalised in your Bible? That means this is the covenant name of God. That’s Yahweh. This is an important step of faith for Rahab. Here she demonstrates her faith. Notice two things she practically does in Joshua 2:15-18. Firstly, she keeps and ties the scarlet cord (a picture of or foreshadowing of the cross in the Old Testament) in her view and secondly tells the men that they are to wait three days. Another picture of what Christ would fulfil. Faith and action people keep the cross at the forefront of their mind, not just for themselves but for others too.
Questions for further study
1. What songs inspire your faith?
2. Rahab hears about God’s miraculous power, in the past and realises the same God is available for her in her unique situation. Which stories from the OT most inspire your faith?
3.Tell the group about a time when God spoke, you obeyed and explain what happened next.
4. Getting God’s perspective on a situation changes everything. What situation now do you need God’s perspective on? How does knowing God is with you impact how you process the situation?
5. Rahab is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus, because of her faith and action. Her faith and her actions are recorded for all to read thousands of years after the event. Share your story of how Jesus changed your life. Also share some of the actions your faith has inspired you to do.
6. Rahab’s life reminds us it’s never just about our starting point in life, but how allow God to use our lives for his glory. This requires surrender. Is there anything that is holding you back, that you need to give over (or give back to) God?
Sermon Title: Are you all talk and no action?
Bible Reading: James 2:14-26
Preacher: Andrew Jackson (Net Church)
Worship Leader: Brian Dickson
Download Service Audio here