Victoria Fellowship Church (VFC)
International and Interdenominational
House Fellowship for week commencing 15th November 2015
Quarter Theme: Living by Faith
Topic: Faith, Works and Patience
Texts: James 2: 14-26, Hebrews 10:35-39
Memory Verse: Hebrews 6:12 “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised”
The concept of faith in the context of work (and patience) can easily be misunderstood especially in the light of Hebrews 10:38- “the just shall live by faith……” In the words of John Calvin, “Faith alone justifies, but the faith which justifies is not alone”. Faith go with works and James 2: 14-26 explains the relationship between faith and works by stating that we are saved by faith alone and not by works; but genuine faith produces fruit – good works. James explains that if someone’s profession of faith is not followed by works, such faith is useless. In effect, a workless faith (a profession that produces no subsequent fruit) – like faithless works – is unmeritorious before our heavenly Father
James brings an action-oriented perspective to the principles that we can trust God to provide for us and that we must work for the benefit of others in need. If faith is real—if we truly trust God—then our faith will lead to all kinds of practical actions for the benefit of others in need.
The insight that Christian faith always leads to practical action is in itself a lesson for the workplace (or outside the church). We cannot divide the world into spiritual and practical, for the spiritual is the practical. In James 2:22, it was emphasised that Abraham’s faith was active along with his works,” Therefore we can never say, “I believe in Jesus and I go to church, but I keep my personal faith out of my work.” That kind of faith is a dead faith. James’s words “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (Vs. 24) challenge us to work out our commitment to Christ in our daily activities.
We inherit the promises of God with faith and patience. During the time of waiting, we must keep our faith active through works. The virtue of patience must be exercised in faith as admonished in Hebrew 10: 35-36. The promise of God can only be received through perseverance since God’s timing may be different with ours (Psalms 90:4). The scriptures is filled with examples of saints who received what was promised by waiting patiently- from Noah, to Abraham, Joseph etc. Patience is that quiet assurance and trust in God that He means well for our lives no matter the present circumstance. It is developed through repeated application of our faith in moments of delayed answer, trial and trouble.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. James illustrated a situation which shows faith without works in James 2:14-15. Can you share similar example of a situation you have observed or been involved in? What could have been done differently in those situation to show faith with works?
2. What does Jesus say about faith and works (Matthew 7:26-27)? What is wrong in having faith without works?
3. Discuss practical ways to patiently hold on, by faith to God’s promises which is spoken to you either directly or through the scripture, but is delayed? Hebrews 10: 35-39
4. You are faced with two options: talking about your faith with others or demonstrating your love toward them. How would you answer this if the other person was: (A) a non-believing family member (B) a close friend who is a Christian (C) a member of a club or group you belong to who tells dirty jokes and especially likes ones that mock “religious” people (D) someone of a radically non-Christian faith (eg Muslim etc.)