Sunday School Lessons


Commentary by Walter Albritton


September 14


True Faith Leads to Action that Reflects the Love of Christ  


James 1:19-2:26; 5:13-16


Key Verses: Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

        James 1:22


            Imagine if you will, that Jesus met with his disciples once a week, for one or two hours, on the Lord’s Day. There he taught them the principles of Kingdom living. He taught them “the ways of the Lord.”

            Sometimes they met by the seashore or on a lovely hillside. Occasionally they met in the home of one of his special friends. The disciples loved his teaching; they realized their teacher was on a mission from God.

            Now try to imagine Jesus saying at the end of each session:

             “Go back home, my friends, and be careful to live exactly like the pagans. Keep my teachings in your minds, but do not practice them in daily living, lest someone think you are one of my followers. Whatever you do, avoid being different. I would not want your lifestyle to offend your pagan neighbors. Then, be sure to come back a week from now, so that I can teach you some more about life in the Kingdom of God.”

            I hope that by now, you are laughing aloud, and saying, “No, No, He would never say that!”

            If so, you are right. Do you see my point?  Two thousand years since Christ came, we Christians still meet one or two hours a week and then live in our culture as though Christ wants us to blend in with pagans and not disturb them with the radical thinking of the Kingdom of God!

            Read the gospels again and observe that, having taught his disciples, Jesus sent his disciples into their towns and villages to practice the faith. He knew that by living out Kingdom principles in their daily lives, the disciples would challenge the status quo. He wanted them to be different. To be holy is indeed to be different!

            Jesus wanted more than to change the way people were thinking. He wanted to change the way they were living! He knew that to accomplish this, he would have to change the way people thought about God, so he gave them a new concept of God as a loving Father.

            He painted a new picture of God, a God who was more concerned about love than law. Paul saw the plan and explained it this way: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

            It was James, however, our Lord’s brother, who drove home the point that faith is not enough. Understanding is not enough. Thinking is not enough. Talking and singing about the faith is not enough.

            Faith, to be real, must result in action that is driven by love. Faith must lead to action that reflects the love of Christ. We must do more than “hear” the word; we must find loving ways to “do” the word.

            James warns us against false religion. To please God, our religion must express itself in caring for widows and orphans. We must strenuously avoid being contaminated by “the world” and strive to live by the higher standards of the Kingdom.

            Action for James meant more than offering the poor meat and potatoes. It meant praying for the sick, believing that prayers of faith could save the sick. Our culture tends to recommend new drugs; James would have us call upon God for healing!

            Our society does not take sin seriously. James urges us to confess our sins “one to another, and pray for one another,” that we may be healed. Here is great truth: confession of sin can lead to glorious healing, and victory in Jesus!

            Brothers and sisters, we must not be content to meet once a week and talk about the faith. We must be willing to practice the faith in our homes, in the market place, and in our churches, so that the world we know we belong to Jesus Christ!

            Hear the word only? No, just do it! James would shout that slogan in our ears! Faith must lead to action that shows forth the love of Christ! + + + +