Faith Leads to Works

This year in our Sunday School lessons we are going through the books of James and Proverbs to look at the Practical Living from God’s Word.  What is located below are the high level points we discussed this week.  Please use this tool to follow up with your teens and see how they plan to apply this to their life.

James 2:14-26


Have you ever heard someone brag about something they are good at but then never be able to back it up?

How about when a person tells you all the stuff they can do but then they never actually carry it out?

I met a kid in college who told me all about how amazing of a singer he was.  This kid spent so much time telling me about it but when it came to choir tryouts we discovered that he was completely monotone and tone deaf.  He was stuck because his actions did not match his claims.

You know what is just as bizarre?  A person who claims to be a believer but then never backs it up with a life change or a life of compassion and service could be called a hypocrite.

Why is it important that our spiritual life matches our spiritual talk?

This seems to be a theme that James keeps picking up on.  In James 1:22-25 he talks about the silliness of not doing what you believe.

I.          An Example of Faith and Works (2:14-17)

Verse 14 – Is James saying that works is a part of salvation?

“People have no right to believe that we are saved if they do not see a change in our lives. A sinner is saved by faith, without works (Eph. 2:8–9), but true saving faith leads to works (Eph. 2:10). Being a Christian is not a matter of what we say with the lips; it involves what we do with the life. (Note that the statement in v. 14, “Can faith save him?” ought to read, “Can that kind of faith save him?” referring to the first sentence in the verse.)[1]

Verse 15-17 – So he gives a great example by proposing a question.

If you see someone in need and you say to them I hope you get the help you need but you do nothing to help that person than what good is your concern?  How do we do this?

So you see the bizarre nature of the person who says they care about others but never show any concern.

We are to be like Christ in more than just desiring to go to heaven or even to live a holy life.  Part of being like Christ is having the same compassion for those who are hurting.  List 3 examples from the Gospel of Jesus showing compassion on those who needed help.

II.        Faith Requires Works (18-19)

Verse 18 – There is a trend in Christianity that wants to make sure that we stay so far away from doing things that people could think means that we are being legalistic.  People make statements like doing that would be legalistic or for the wrong reason.  That is possible I am sure but what is scary is that there are a lot of people out there who are doing nothing with their faith and so their faith is never evident to others.

“Action is the proper fruit of living faith. Because life is dynamic and productive, faith that lives will surely produce the fruit of good deeds. Therefore, if no deeds are forthcoming, it is proof that the professed faith is dead. Notice that James does not deny that it is faith. He simply indicates that it is not the right kind of faith. It is not living faith, nor can it save.[2]

Verse 19 – Just having faith is not good enough.  There are a lot of people (even the demons) that believe and are never changed because of it.  Faith that does not produce action is a dead faith.

“Read Matt. 8:29 and Acts 16:17 to see how the demons acknowledge Christ. Still, this kind of faith will not save them.[3]

III.       Look at History (20 – 26)

Abraham – showed his faith by being willing to sacrifice his promised son.  His faith caused his works to match his trust.

Rahab – took a major risk by deciding to trust God who was of the Israelites and because of it her faith was proven.  (Joshua 2)

Do your works show your faith is real?  What risks are you taking because of your faith?  Are you seeking your comfort over God’s Will?


[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992), 724.

[2] Donald W. Burdick, “James” In , in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 12: Hebrews Through Revelation, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 183.

[3] Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1992), 725.

Johnny Kjaer
Johnny is married to Tori. They have 4 children Leif, Tryggve, Kjirsti and Hroarr. He has been a part of the youth ministry at Faith since his internship began in 2010. He served as the Pastor of Student Ministries from 2013-2023 and now serves as the Pastor of Faith East Community Ministries. Johnny is an ACBC certified counselor. He also serves the church by directing the Lafayette Living Nativity.