Sermon : Work of Law -vs- Good Works Page 1

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1 Sermon : Work of Law -vs- Good Works Page 1 Works of Law -vs- Good Works Text : Rom. 3: ; Jas. 2: S#1. A. For centuries there has been a debate raging about a possible S#2. contradiction between the teaching of James and the Apostle Paul. 1. The James ( Jacob ) to which they refer is the Lord s brother, not the Apostle. 2. They point to the conflict between Peter and Paul as being instigated by James. Gal. 2: 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to S#3. eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. 3. In light of Acts 15, it is doubtful that these men actually came from James. S#4. B. Peter was influenced to withdraw by peer pressure, not by doctrinal conviction. 1. Peter could not have been led by the doctrine of these men. a. Peter was an inspired Apostle and these men were not. b. Acts 10.. Peter was the one to introduce Gentiles into the kingdom of God. c. Peter baptized the household of Cornelius, but did not circumcise them. 2. Peter responded to social pressure and possibly apprehension, NOT doctrine. a. Both momentary fear and rash responses were part of Peter s history. b. James was the most influential leader of the Jerusalem church. ( cf- Ax 15 ) c. It is doubtful that Peter though these men were representing James. 3. These men were from Peter s home congregation in Jerusalem. a. That congregation was predominately Jewish. ( from James = from Jeru. Cong.) b. Party of the circumcision simply means they were Jews. ( poor translation ) c. Peter exercised poor leadership skills, but did not publically contradict James. 4. Peter s actions were influencing others so Paul called him out on it. a. Jewish Christians were still required to obey the Law as the civil law of Judah. b. For example, the Apostle Paul observed the Law when in Jerusalem. Acts 21: 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, purifying himself along with them, went into the temple giving notice of the completion of the days of purification, until the sacrifice was offered for each one of them. C. This supposed conflict is actually a very significant theological issue. S#6. 1. First, if there is a conflict or contradiction in the bible, it cannot be from God. 2. Second, the supposed conflict is a result of ignorance and misinterpretation. 3. Third, many of those who see a contradiction do so b/c they are ardent Calvinist. S#5.

2 Sermon : Work of Law -vs- Good Works Page 2 D. This is the supposed contradiction : ( There is no disagreement or contradiction. ) 1. Paul : Gal. 2: We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; S#7. 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified. 2. James : James 2: 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. 3. Paul : a. Rom. 3: Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those S#9. who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. b. Rom. 4: 2-5 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to S#10. boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? ( Lived prior to the "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." the Law of Moses ) 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 4. James : James 2: But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith S#11. without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. S#12. Our lesson will address the question, How can works be both required for salvation and unable to contribute to a person s salvation? We will observe : I. There is a difference between good works and works of the Law. II. Good works are essential to salvation, but they cannot save. III. Good works are the fruit of faith, the proof of life. S#8.

3 Sermon : Work of Law -vs- Good Works Page 3 I. There is a difference between good works and works of the Law.. S#13. A. What are works of the Law? S# Works of the Law are the things the Law requires people to do. Mark 7: 1-4 The Pharisees and some of the scribes gathered around Him when they had come from Jerusalem, 2 and had seen that some of His disciples were eating their bread with impure hands, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat S#15. unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; 4 and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.) 2. Acts 10 Remember the vision given to Peter on the rooftop. B. What are good deeds? S# The life of Jesus was characterized by good deeds. Acts 10: 38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 2. The healing of a lame man was called a good deed. Acts 4: 9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, 3. The anointing of Jesus feet was called a good deed. Mark 14: 6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. 4. Good deeds meet pressing needs. Titus 3: 14 Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. 5. Good deeds are spiritual sacrifices. Heb. 13: 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. S#17. S#18. C. Good works and works of the Law are done for different motives. S# Works of the Law are done to establish one as righteous. a. Rom. 10: 3-5 For not knowing about God's righteousness and seeking to S#20. establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 5 For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness.

4 Sermon : Work of Law -vs- Good Works Page 4 b. Seeking to establish one s own righteousness is an appeal to God on MERIT. Luke 17: 10 So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded S#21. you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done. c. No one can successfully appeal to God on his own merit. 1) Rom. 3: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God S#22. 2) James 2: 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 2. Good deeds are done to glorify God, not self. a. Matt. 5: 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. b. Obedience to Christ is a good that glorifies God, but is not meritorious. I Pet. 2: 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the S#23. thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. 3. Good deeds reflect a heart of compassion. Mark 1: 41 "If You are willing, You can make me clean." 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." D. Thus, works of the Law and good works are done for different motives. S# Works of the Law are done to earn favor with God and impress men. 2. Good works are expressions of a Christ-like heart. * 3. Good deeds done to impress are the same as works of the Law. II. Good works are essential to salvation, but they cannot save a person.. S#25. A. Clearly Salvation is by grace through faith to the exclusion of works. S# Eph. 2: 8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that S#27. not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. a. Works are specifically eliminated. b. God makes it clear that no one earns, merits, deserves salvation. 2. Rom. 3: Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law

5 Sermon : Work of Law -vs- Good Works Page 5 B. One is NOT saved by the deeds he does in his life. 1. Titus 3: 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in S#28. righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 2. Eph. 2: 8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. C. Though one is saved by faith alone, the faith that saves is never alone. 1. James 2: 20, 24 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith S#29. without works is useless?. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 2. James 2: 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. ( Faith must affect one s life. ) III. Good works are the fruit of faith, the proof that one s faith is alive.. S#30. A. Faith creates within one a new heart. 1. John 3: 3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, S#31. unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 2. Rom. 6: 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 3. II Cor. 5: 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; S#32. the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 4. Ezek. 36: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. B. The new heart which results from faith creates a new lifestyle. 1. Rom. 12: 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by S#33. the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 2. Gal. 2: 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. C. This new transformed life is the visual manifestation of one s faith. S# James 2:18 But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."

6 Sermon : Work of Law -vs- Good Works Page 6 2. James 2: 1-9 It causes one to treat all men well. 3. James 1: 27 It causes one to be concerned for the helpless. ( widows, orphans 4. James 1: 27 It causes one to seek sanctification ( unspotted from world ) 5. James 1: It causes one to receive, implant and do the word of God. 6. James 1: 1-5 It causes one to patiently deal with tribulation. ( count it all joy ) D. Thus, good deeds are the fruit produced by faith in one s heart. CONCLUSION : S#35. A. Works of the Law are attempts to comply to the demands of a legal system. 1. They are done for the purpose of earning merit before men and God. 2. They can never be successful for two reasons. a. One, no one can be perfect in obedience; all sin and fall short. b. One can never do enough to compensate for transgressions. (perfection is demanded) Luke 17: 10 So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done. B. Good deeds are part of the nature of faith. S# They are an outpouring of love for our Savior. 2. They are the fruit of a Christian mindset. 3. They are the proof that one has a living faith. James 2:18 But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." INVITATION : A. What does our life tell the world about our faith? S#37. B. Have you placed your faith in the one who died for you? S#38. Communion slide

7 Sermon : Work of Law -vs- Good Works Page 7 Lesson Text : Romans 3: Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. 21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. James 2: But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." 19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

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