The works that James writes of are those that come from the Spirit. We walk in Him. He has put in us His life that we live out. (James 2:17)
Speaker(s): Bailey Norman
7:00 PM on 4/20/2022
P. Bailey Norman –
Thank you. Amen. P. Manny. The legend, isn’t he? It’s good to be here. Welcome. Welcome? There it is,
greetings. Greetings! Greetings from Marlborough, Massachusetts and the church there. We’re
alive up there. It’s amazing. God is so faithful. We’re seeing a lot happen. I don’t know how else
to say it. God is doing a great work and we’re happy to be on the wave. It’s amazing. It’s
We just had – P. Schaller came up a few weeks ago and we had our Northeast Conference. It
was incredible. It was an incredible time. It was so alive. P. Schaller is such a great pastor. What
a guy. I had so much fun with him and then he just took the time with the Body of Christ in
Marlborough and sat in the middle of the café and talked to everybody he could. It was
beautiful to see it. I was thankful that the people in our church could really know him. It was a
So, we’re like, we’re just busting at the seams in Marlborough in the sense that we are active.
It’s been so much fun in the last couple years. God’s been doing a lot. We’ve been doing a lot.
It’s like the momentum is building. We had our conference a couple weeks ago and then we
just had our Easter play which is an experience. I can’t really summarize it unless you’re there.
Tommy was Jesus one year. It changed his life. Look at him now. He’s a different person!
Avery’s been in it. Steve. We had an amazing week. It’s Wednesday night to Saturday night and
we do 18 performances. Yeah, right.
You’re tired just hearing about it. What it is is every 30 minutes a new group starts and it’s a walkthrough throughout our entire property. So, every room in the church is a different scene in the holy week, Easter week. It’s amazing. You can tell people hey, we do an Easter play and you could say, yeah, yeah. A church Easter play. I get it.
People come through and they’re like changed. It’s amazing. It’s amazing. So, we had 400
people come through our building, come through the play. People start out and they’re
thinking, oh, this is good. That person is wearing a curtain! They’re wearing bed sheets
obviously. I can see the Martha Stewart tag hanging out of their hat!
The songs are fun but then you get inside and the Last Supper and you go into the Garden of Gethsemane and it gets
serious. Into the courtroom scene with the three judges there and down into the crucifixion. It
changes. It gets serious and you see what Christ went through. Then we go out back in the
backyard and you got an extension cord stretched across and the basketball court is over there,
the brick building, and then tomb. Christ comes out of the tomb and we preach the gospel right
So, a lot happens in our church and as our church grows, more people are a part of it. Pray for
us as God is doing a great work and we’re just preaching the Word. It’s great. We have our
missions conference coming up in June, June 9, 10, 11. You’re welcome to come up. P. Scibelli
will be there. That’s what’s going on in Marlborough. Let’s pray. (Prayer). Open with me to
James 2. We’ll read one verse and then talk about it. Alright. Is that a good plan? Okay. That’s
the plan for the evening. James 2:17, King James says, “faith without works is dead.”
How many people have read that verse or you’ve talked to somebody who read that verse and you were a
little anxious, a little fearful, a little concerned about yourself? We can hear it. People can say it.
People say, faith without works is dead. We hear this a lot. And even in our own meditation we
can think about it.
I think a lot of times the two words we focus on in this verse when we read it are works and
death. We get so consumed about our works and we get so worried about them being dead
that we miss the life. We miss the point of the works. We miss the point of our faith. What I
want to say tonight is if we really look at our faith, more than my faith or your faith, but more
so the faith that we live in, then we will come away refreshed. We will come away excited and
energized that it’s true that we could have works in our life and they can be living and they can
If we think about this faith, faith is amazing. We just had a chapel with the Bible college
students and we talked about from Hebrews 11 what happens by faith. When we live by faith, what
happens? It was great. It was good. I enjoyed it so much. But our faith is incredible. Our faith is
like nothing else. Have you noticed? There is a motivation and an ability to go very hard for a
very long time because of faith in what we are believing in. If we want to be active – have you
read that verse in Daniel that says they who trust me will do great exploits for me? Have you
ever read that and yes, I want to do great exploits. But I don’t know how to do it and I don’t
know where the motivation comes from. But it’s simple. We can look at some of the things that
we believe in our faith and if we really believe what we believe, then a lot will happen through
But I think sometimes as believers we get distracted by things and we don’t really believe in
what we believe. Do you know what I mean? We don’t really lean on the things that we believe.
A lot of times we push them out to the periphery and we say yes, those are things in my life but
this is what is happening. I think about Daniel and the three Hebrew boys when they are in
Babylon if you can imagine how difficult that would be. These young guys are dragged out
hundreds of miles away and they are at the whim of this king. But they live an extraordinary
life. How on earth did they do it? How did Daniel live in such an honorable way with such
integrity that he wouldn’t bow to anything else and he wouldn’t deviate from what God had put
in his life? It’s because he actually believed it, right? He actually believed it. And even in the
unbelievable pressure of Babylon and all that it is and you can read about it. It’s a pretty crazy
Actually, we could say that we live in a Babylon where our world is crazy. I don’t know if you’ve
noticed. But it's wild. People are believing crazy things about themselves and they are living
based on those crazy things. But here we are living in the midst of it and how are we different?
How can we show a different life but only by actually believing in what we believe in. What I
mean is I’ll actually take a step of faith and I’ll put the weight of my life onto this promise that God has given me. We could say I will understand myself not as a member of Babylon but I will
understand myself and identify myself as a child of God, as a citizen of heaven, as someone who
is forgiven, as someone who is actually dwelling in eternity as I live. That gives me a different
point of view. That gives me a different perspective.
So, here’s Daniel. Do you know that Daniel lived in captivity most of his life? That 70 years.
Seventy-years he was there in Babylon. That book covers an unbelievable amount of time. We
read the stories. Okay. They’re in a fire pit. He’s in a lion’s den. All this stuff is happening. He’s
praying at the window. It happens in sequence, but actually it’s happening over a 70-year
period. And he is not changed by Babylon. Sure, the king gave him a different name but he is
not changed. But instead, he is able to stand and understand he is able to have influence in
Babylon. Who does the king recognize? If you read the first six chapters of the book of Daniel,
everyone of them ends with somebody glorifying God because of young men who were not
changed by Babylon. And if you think of Ezra and Nehemiah going back to rebuild the city of
Jerusalem, how does that happen?
It happens because Daniel is in a prominent position in Babylon. It’s unbelievable. He’s one of the top three guys in the whole country, in the whole kingdom. He has influence. He is listened to. He is recognized but he does not change who he is. He doesn’t change his identity.
I want faith like that. I want faith to walk through this chaos that I live in. I want faith to lead my
children through this murky wilderness with an identity and a confidence that I know who I am.
I know who my God is and I can do it by faith. What are the things we believe, and what are the
things that I can believe in that will sustain me through chaos? We can go all the way back that
God is. God is. In the beginning, what? God. God. He was good. He was content. He was
satisfied. He wasn’t needing anything, but there he is in the fellowship of the Trinity, perfect,
But in his unbelievable wisdom and in his perfect knowledge he says, you know what? Let’s
create something and not just create something but create something in our image and in our
likeness, and we’ll put inside that little ball of dust a space that is made for us where we would
be in fellowship with man. And in his creativity, he made this universe. Isn’t it amazing? Have
you looked at a telescope? Have you looked at your hand and thought about how it moves? It’s
incredible. You see a baby and they just sit there and go like this. I do the same thing
sometimes. Oh my gosh! Fascinating! Unbelievable! How does it do it? But we like creation is so
unique. The world is so unique. Nature is unbelievable.
Like sand and swimming across the Pacific Ocean. Trees growing. Everything. It’s unbelievable and all of that is given to us. It’s given to us. We are created for God. It’s incredible. We are created in his image and his likeness
and it is his plan and it is his desire that he would be in fellowship with us. Do you believe that?
Do you believe that God cares so much for you? And that he would make you in a specific way?
Psalm 139 that we are fearfully and wonderfully made in our physical construct but also in our personality. Each one of us has a way that we know God and he meets us in that way so
personally and so perfectly. That’s incredible. We are made in his image and his likeness.
The nation of Israel is an amazing testament to the faithfulness of God, isn’t it? How do they
still exist? Only by the hand of God.
Their entire existence has been contended. Contested. But God has sustained them. We can look at the nation of Israel and say, God, you are amazing. You are true to your Word. You keep your promises. You are faithful. But when you read in Isaiah, one of the servant songs, Isaiah 49 maybe, it says that it’s too small of a thing that I would only
redeem Israel basically. But also, my servant will be given as a light unto the Gentiles so
salvation can be unto the ends of the earth.
Do you believe that God cares for you so much that he would send Christ? Do you believe that
in your lost state, you are not outside of the reach of God’s grace? That none of us have done
anything so bad or so vile that he would disregard us or cast us off, but instead, he came down
into this little ball of dust that we live on and he dwelt among us. You are such of great value
that God would dwell among you in such a humble way that he could die for you and he could
take your sins upon his shoulders. Isaiah 53 is an amazing song, the servant song and repeatedly
throughout it he is bearing our sins. He will bear our sins. Why? Because we couldn’t. Is it time
to go?! Because we couldn’t.
There was a weight on us that we could not handle. There was something that by our own construct, our sins are nobody’s fault but our own, right? And what are we going to do with them but they are too heavy for us. They are too heavy for us. We cannot bear them. So instead, Christ came to bear them. He took them off of our shoulders and
put them on his own shoulders. He took them away rightly and perfectly.
It says in Isaiah 53, that my servant will deal prudently. It’s a beautiful verse. It means he will do
everything right and just. He's prudent. He’s doing it the way that God had it and it’s perfect.
We can have confidence in it because he is prudent. Have you ever seen anyone take a short
cut on their job or something? Did someone promise you they would fix something but they
used bubble gum instead of like a screw or something. You get it and this is fantastic. My car is
fixed. Hallelujah! This is great. And the guys like okay. He cashes the check and he’s like, see ya!
You get down the road and the thing falls apart.
It wasn’t prudent. He wasn’t prudent. If you were to go to another mechanic, you would not trust maybe. Imagine if God took shortcuts in what he did for us. Imagine if he left some things out? Well, as long as they don’t actually do
that sin, it shouldn’t be a problem. Then we find ourselves over there and he’ s like eeesh! I was
really banking on you not doing that. Geesh! You could have stayed out of the back yard or
something like that. But no, no. He has dealt prudently.
He has gone so broad and he has done everything. He has done everything perfectly and rightly
so that I have no doubt in my salvation that there isn’t a misstep that I could take that would be
outside his grace or outside of his cross or outside of the blood’s work. I am so saved. He has
dealt prudently. Do you believe that? There are so many things as we live in Babylon or however you want to say it, there are so many things that would tell us otherwise. No, he didn’t
pay for that one. Really? Imagine if Jesus came down here and then he all of a sudden saw what
we are really into and he’s like never mind! Never mind! I’m going back. But instead, he comes
down and he comes to the cross. He sees everything that we are about. We look at him like is it
bad, huh? And he looks at us and he says you actually have no idea how bad it is. I know the
depth of depravity that you are terrified of. I have been there. And I have borne it myself and I
have taken it away. Do you believe it?
We say no, you couldn’t be that good. Oh, I’m so good. I’m so gracious. Do we believe it? There
could be a kind of Christianity that would lead us into doubting. Doubting this truth of the
veracity or the effectiveness of Christ’s work on the cross. But he repeatedly tells us throughout
the Bible I have done it. I have done it. I have done it. It is enough. It is enough. It is enough. Do
you believe it? Okay, so do you believe that God is? Do you believe that God created you? Do
believe that God is working in your life? Do you believe that the cross is enough for your
salvation? Do we believe it? Do we believe that he is pleased with us? This is maybe the hardest
thing about being a believer. Do I really believe that God is pleased with me? Do I really believe
that he has seated me in heavenly places?
Do I really believe that there isn’t anything more that
he can give me. He has already given me everything. He has not withheld anything. Romans 8:32
says that he who spared not his own Son will he not also freely give us all things? If he has given
us the greatest thing that is ever – the greatest value, the greatest thing – will he hold back
from supplying for my life? There isn’t anything that he has held in reserve.
He spared not his own Son? Do I believe it? Do I believe it? Do I believe that he will come back
for me? The idea of the Rapture, HARPAZO. The idea that he could physically remove us from
this earth. It’s happened before. Do you know that? Enoch was raptured. Elijah was raptured.
Jesus was resurrected. There are a lot of hints that it is possible that the physical body could be
removed from this earth. But there will be a day when imagine the sky will crack with a sound
that we never heard before. And then all of a sudden gravity is losing and we’re going up. We
will meet with him in the clouds. Do you believe that? Is that a reality or is that some fairytale
that we tell ourselves so we can endure the affliction down here? No, it’s true. It’s true.
And then do we also believe that he is returning and there will be a day when Christ will again
stand on Mt. Olives and it will split in half under the weight of his glory. Do we believe that’s
going to happen? Do we believe that we will be coming with him and we will ever be with the
Lord? Do we believe it? This is our faith. These are some points in our faith. Do we believe
them? I think what James is saying in James 2 is not leading us into anxiety or fear, but instead
he’s leading us to delve deeper and deeper into our faith and find out more and more about
the reality of Christ’s work for us. The more I go into it, there will be an amazing work
happening in my heart. I cannot be the same if I really believe that I have resurrection life.
Romans 6:4 says that Jesus walked out of the grave and you also have the right and privilege to
walk in resurrection life just like he did in the newness of life. We have it. Do you believe it? We
spend so much time looking for life and death. Remember when the angel said why are you
looking for life where death is? We spend time there foraging in the tomb. Can I find anything
useful here? A linen cloth. That’s nice. No, that thing is useless. It’s over. It says in Acts 2:24 that
Christ walked out of the tomb. Why? Because it wasn’t possible for death to hold him. Not
possible for death to hold him.
Do you believe that you also have the authority over death and it is not possible that it can hold
you? Do you believe that sin is dealt with and you are not subject to it in Romans 6:14? That we
are not under sin but we are now under grace and in grace we have freedom over all of this
stuff. Do you believe it? Is it true? Is it real? Yes, it is.
Turn with me to 2 Peter 3. 2 Peter 3 is a fun chapter. Peter is amazing. Peter is amazing. You know
how he writes? He writes like a fisherman. This is the way it is. That’s it. He just makes the
statement plain and clear. Believe it or not. It’s up to you. I love it. Paul is like a scholar. Peter is
a fisherman and they write accordingly. It’s so fun. You read Peter and he hits you right
between the eyes. Throughout the book, there is a word that is throughout both epistles and
it’s “therefore.” Therefore. Therefore. Therefore. Therefore. It’s an amazing word because he’s
presenting a great truth and he’s presenting something that brings us into eternity but then he
brings it back into our life. He says “therefore” live this way.
So, in 2 Peter 3, he’s warning that in the last days there will be scoffers. Have you met any
scoffers, right? “Well, I’ll tell you what he really did.” Whatever! So many opinions and all the
stories come out. We said that this evening. We said every Easter there’s some crazy story that
came out that Jesus was living in a cabin in Alaska and he was a fisherman or something. Why?
This stuff is just a joke. They minimize our faith. They draw us into it, too. Really? I thought he
was – no, no. Just nothing. He had like three wives and fourteen kids or something like that.
What? That has nothing to do with Christ. But scoffers they’ll say – he says in 2 Peter scoffers
will come in the last day saying nothing has changed since our fathers have died. Nothing’s
changed. Nothing new happening. You’re wasting your time. Where is he? He said he’s coming
back. Nothing’s happening.
But then the reality is and what we are seeing by faith we see that big things have happened. By
faith we know that big things have changed, and by faith we know that our lives have been
changed by faith. We say, no, no, no, no, no. Actually, since the fathers slept, there has been
humongous things. The flood happened. Big things have happened. The gospel has changed the
world. The world was turned upside down. All of this happened. The only reason he hasn’t
returned yet is because he’s gracious. He’s longsuffering. Why? So that you would be saved.
He’s not willing that any should perish. Our attitude is, you’re a scoffer? Okay, you’re out. Done.
Smoke. Done. But God’s attitude is, you’re a scoffer? I am longsuffering. I love you and I am not
willing that you will perish and I will give you so many opportunities.
We have a guy in our church he was an atheist. He was an atheist and now he’s one of the most
amazing believers you’ll meet. Incredible guy. Incredible. Why? Cause God is patient. God is
kind. God is gracious. Okay. There it goes.
But then he talks about the world in this chapter. We’re closing here. In this chapter, he talks
about the world in three ways. The world that was, the world that is, and the world that will be.
The world that was before the flood was destroyed. The world that is will be destroyed by fire.
And the world that will come we will be in. He says it. vs. 10. Do we believe that? Do we believe
he will come like a thief in the night and the heavens will pass away like a great noise, vs. 10. It
will be burned up. The world and everything in it will be burned up. Where do you find your
identity? Where do you find your purpose? Where do you find what you are believing in? Is it
here in what will be burned up or is from beyond the sun? Greater than it. That’s where we find
it. That’s where our faith is. Our faith is in someone who is greater. Our faith is living in some
place that will not be burned up.
And then this is the verse. Vs. 11. That’s a good question, isn’t it? What kind of people should
we be? What kind of people can we be? We can be bitter people. We can be judgmental
people. We can be grumpy people. We can be like carnal people. We can do all that. That’s
easy. But how about we would be godly people. And then by that, by our faith in all of these
things, – here we go, James 2:17. Faith without works is dead. But this kind of faith, this faith in
really believing these things will produce amazing works and it won’t be about the works.
There’s not anxiety about the work and there is not fear about it being death. But instead, all of
it is being generated from God’s life in me and these truths building me and inspiring me and
moving me into a mission and I don’t even think about what I am doing. But I’m just going by
God’s Word and big things happen.
There’s a couple in our church they recently came through our Easter play maybe seven years
ago. We’ve done it ten times. Ten times in 12 years because we missed two for some weird
reason. Seven years ago, they came through the play and they got saved, this couple, Carlos
and Damaris. They’re amazing. They got saved. They have five boys. They said before they got
saved, they would argue over everything. Does that sound familiar? They would argue over
everything and their boys knew it. Their family said they saw it. They got saved in the play and
they started coming to church. They started listening to Bible preaching. They said her brother
came to them and said, what happened to you guys? You’re different. They could look at each
other and say, I don’t know! The boys said, hey, you guys are a lot nicer. This is nice being home
now. The change happened not because they tried but because Christ was working in them.
What I’m saying is when we really believe these things in our faith, when we really believe them
and place the weight of our life on them, something happens in our life and it starts to
percolate in us. We think differently. I think differently. And if I think differently long enough,
eventually I’ll act differently. If I act differently, people see a whole different thing coming out
of my life. Those are the works. Those are great evidences of your salvation. Don’t look at the
works and say I have to prove my salvation. Works are not validating your salvation. Like we’re
over here clanging weights together, right? We drew a 45 on the 10 pound weights. Look at us,
Lord! We’re really doing good for ya! He’s like, what are you doing? Who told you I wanted
that? That’s like a mess. You don’t even know what you’re doing.
But instead, the works come out of a great salvation. They come out of a salvation. So don’t try
to validate your salvation by your work. That won’t happen. That will end in death and
frustration and eventually you say, this doesn’t work. Christianity doesn’t work. But instead,
start with the greatness of your salvation and allow that to move you and as it moves you, you
will do great works. You will. It will happen. People will say, how did you do that? I don’t even
know what I just did. Your kids will look at you and say, wow! It’s so nice to come out of my
room without a helmet on! This is so good! But it will start to work out in our lives.
So, faith. Our faith. James here is not leading us to doubt our salvation, but instead, James is
leading us to lean more heavily on our faith. James and Paul agree that our salvation is by faith
alone. But James is talking to a different group of people and he’s saying, listen guys. Just
because you say it doesn’t mean you have it. You got to believe it. Believe it. Believe. Believe.
Will you believe, right? Take a radical step of faith and actually put the weight of your life on
the promises that Christ has given. It’s the best adventure you can ever go on. Amen? Amen.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.
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