Archive for April, 2024

A Faith That Works – Part Two

“So with faith, if it does not lead to action, it is in itself a lifeless thing.”
James 2: 17 New English Bible

Our generation has watched the unweaving of America’s moral fabric. As a result many seem to go through life standing at the “complaint counter.” There is a better way. Genuine moral awakening begins when we gain the perspective on life shown by an old Polish Rabbi, Hafez Hayyim, who was being visited by an American. The guest was amazed to see the old man’s home was furnished with racks of books. The only furniture was a table and a bench.

“Rabbi, where is your furniture?” asked the tourist.

“Where is yours?” replied Hafez.

“Mine? But I’m only a visitor here.”

“So am I,” said the rabbi.

Had we that attitude we would tend to focus more on spiritual matters.

As doers of the word we can begin to impact our national moral condition. One young man put it this way.

“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change my nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realized that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family, and I could have made an impact on my town. Their impact could have changed the nation, and thus I could have indeed changed the world.”

Get away from the complaint counter, change your own moral life and thereby help change the world.

James relates the same truth in this way.

“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the word, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:23 – 25).

To know God’s word and not do it is sin.

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

Reading in order to obtain Bible knowledge and facts is important, but the listener must translate it into daily life. Otherwise we are like a person who eats often but his digestive system never allows the food to be assimilated. Such a person, though well nourished, becomes malnourished.

To know and not do the word is to deceive ourselves. Get away from the complaint counter and go over to the assignment desk.

A Faith That Works – Part One

Consider this scenario. You have just made a big decision, a transformative decision. You want to be known as a chess player. That is to become your life long persona. From now on you will be known as a chess player. A friend has just given you a helpful book entitled, “How to Be a World’s Champion Chess Player.” You enjoy reading from it for a time, but rarely make the moves taught in the book. You don’t do the things the book advocates. You don’t practice the basics. As a result you never become the chess player you started out to become.

This is a parody of so many Christians. They fail to do, that is practice, what the Bible teaches. Receiving a truth should be followed by learning it. However, it is expedient that learning a truth be followed by making it a part of the inner person. Facts in the head must be infused as truth in the heart. Scripture asserts: “Be doers of the word and not hearers only.”

The Bible teaches that we must practice, that is do the word, not just know it. The Greek word for practice “prasso” refers to continuous action. It means to practice as a habit. The text is a present imperative which means to continually practice Bible truths as the norm in life.

The word “prasso” can also be translated “do.” To know a truth and not do it is failure to “…prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1: 21).

Doctors are spoken of as practicing medicine. That is because their profession maintains a normal routine of doing what they know to do. In this light Christians are to practice Christianity.

Upon trusting Jesus as Savior we experience justification by the blood of Jesus. Martin Luther said of it, “Justification is by faith alone, but it is not by faith that is alone.”

True saving faith is “Fides Viva” living faith. That is, a faith that results in the person being a doer of the word and not a hearer only.

With the precision of an Olympic marksman the Scripture fires a well targeted shot: “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).

The Holy Spirit is relentless in pursuing the issue. In staccato fashion, faith and works are linked thirteen times in this brief passage.

It is possible to profess faith without possessing faith, but it is not possible to possess faith without practicing it.

A person can be enlightened in his mind and stirred in his heart and still be lost.

Even demonic faith can be emotional as well as intellectual. The devil is depicted as accepting the facts about God and trembling.

The New English Bible has a clear translation of verse 17: “So with faith, if it does not lead action, it is in itself a lifeless thing” (James 2: 17).To believe in God and not obey Him is the very essence of sin. Faith must show itself in action. Today practice your faith, go do your faith.

A Call to Renewal – Part Three

II Chronicles 7:14

On three occasions before America has been lulled into the sleep of a spiritual slumber.

In the early 1790’s, as this young nation was emerging, a poll was taken at Harvard and could not find a single believer.

At Princeton they found only two. There they found only five who were not members of the “Filthy Speech Movement.”

The Chaplain of Yale opened his Bible and a deck of cards planted there by students fell out in chapel.

At Dartmouth, students conducted a mock communion service.

With a national population of only 5,000,000 there were over 300,000 alcoholics. The Whiskey Rebellion was so destructive that President Washington had to call out the national guard.

The churches were so decadent that Chief Justice John Marshall wrote to Bishop Madison of Virginia: “The churches are too far gone to be redeemed.”

In 1797, a godly Baptist named Isaac Baccus called upon America to wake up. God’s people practiced II Chronicles 7:14 and a great spiritual awakening resulted.

A few believers, there need not be many, need to get themselves right with the Lord.

If you are a parent of a young child and are a nominal Christian, only casually active in the practice of your faith, now is the time to reassess your values and commit yourself and your family to the Lord as never before. That includes getting actively involved in the local church.

My dear young friends, if you are fighting against the tenants of loving Christian parents and inclined toward rebellion, now is the time for your own sake to change. Involvement in the rebellious segment of the youthful society has proven over and over to be self-destructive. That means something beautiful is destroyed. From the vantage point of admirable youth it is impossible to imagine what a beautiful life that destroys. Those of us who have lived it and enjoyed it appeal to you for your own sake “don’t blow it.”

Let them bind themselves together to pray for spiritual awakening. Here is the dangerous step.

Let them put themselves at the disposal of God to be used in turning others to Him.

Part of this involves working to elect responsible people who hold the view of George Washington as expressed in his Farewell Address: “Virtue and morality is a necessary spring of popular government.”

WAKE UP AMERICA. There is a great civil war of values being waged and we dare not sleep through it. If we attempt to, we will die in our sleep.

A Call to Renewal – Part Two

II Chronicles 7:14

We are rapidly letting our religious freedom erode. John Quincy Adams said, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this, that it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government and Christianity, never to be separated.”

By twisting a statement from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson ten years after the Constitution was written, proponents of separation of church and state demanded a great wall of separation. Jefferson wasn’t even a member of the Constitutional Convention. His letter was written to a group of Baptists who were fearful the government was going to make the Presbyterian church the official national church. He was writing to assure them the government was prohibited from interfering with religion. This statement has now even been stretched to imply separation of Christianity from society.

The minds of our youth are being stolen. The “dumbing down” of American students is now an established fact. There are many conscientious educators who are doing all they can within the system to further academics and truly educate children. There are many outstanding students who are excelling. There is much that is good. However, upper level bureaucrats are moving the educational system toward cognitive education in which students are to become PC. This rootless relativism is producing a generation among which many are morally confused.

Edmund Burke noted: “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains on their own appetites.”  This we are not doing.

A moral catalyst is addressed to a people “called by my name.”

A feature editorial in the “Wall Street Journal” (3\6\96 P. A20) might well serve as our text for what to do. It opens:
“A growing body of social science evidence shows that one of society’s most effective weapons against social ills is an old-fashioned one, namely religion. You don’t need a computer printout to figure out that kids who do God are less likely to do drugs, or turn to crime or get pregnant… churches are often the only institutions that still work.”

Writing about the army of drug-crazed youthful predators now headed for our streets in a few years, Princeton’s Dr. John DiIulio offered a prescription in the “Weekly Standard” saying, “My one big idea is borrowed from… well known child-development experts — Moses and Jesus Christ…”

The Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found in a survey that one of the best predictors of whether a child will stay free of drugs is whether he or she practices a religion.

A moral problem demands a moral solution. Jesus Christ is the embodiment and primary advocate of the standard which it is getting late to apply. It is not too late for people of faith to pray.

A Call to Renewal – Part One

II Chronicles 7:14       

Jesus scoped out the scenic city of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives and wept. It was not the structure he saw but the soul of the city. As a result He lamented:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”  (Matthew 23:37).

Had Jesus such a vantage point of America, He would feel such a separation and be grieved similarly.

There is a strong viable faith community in America, the core of which loves the Lord dearly and seeks with diligence to serve Him. The moral and spiritual contaminants that eat at the very soul of our society virtually engulf the faith community.


The spiritual, moral, social, and ethical decay in America indicates we are a nation suffering from internal decay.

The death of virtually every former great society has begun from within before external forces could overcome it.

Long before Alaric’s Goths poured over the walls of ancient Rome, the empire had decayed from within.

Wake up America! The Goths are at our door.

America, a sick land, needs healing. The land must be healed as a body is healed — one member at a time. Therefore as we talk about our society, apply it to your life personally.

Our carnal condition is called “wicked ways.”

Our “offend nobody,” “tolerate anything,” and “stand for nothing” philosophy has caused us to unbutton our brains and expose them to playwrights or “play wrongs” with themes belched from a Hellywood sewer.

Secular songwriters are all flats and no sharps.

Our musicians have found the lost chord, but lost the message.

Our movies are a witch’s brew of sensuality and brutality.

As a nation we are a living demonstration that self-government without self-discipline won’t work.

Our nation is in a perilous position like an elephant hanging over a cliff clinging to a twig by its trunk.

Without a spiritual awakening, America has no more chance of continuing to enjoy the blessings of God than a bat has in a radar room.

Wake up America!