I am generous. Do you believe me?
I am kind. Do you believe me still?
I am a nice guy. I’m sure you can tell just by looking at my picture.
Skeptical? I certainly hope so!
13For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
14What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
1Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:1-6, King James Version)
No, I started at v13 of James 2 intentionally. It’s a matter of motive. It’s a motive of attitude. If you do not show mercy out of gratitude that God has been merciful to you, then you need to do some “soul searching”! You will not be able to carry through on the following verses with the correct attitude.
Notice, though, attitude must be backed up by works. You must do something. Otherwise, there is no proof of your faith. In fact, James says it is “dead”. The works do not exist because the faith that creates them does not exist.
Words are empty. Words are hollow. I can claim to be “good” all day long, but my actions will bear out the truth. I can claim to be “Philadelphian” but without the proof in the works, it shows the opposite. In fact, it reveals our motives are to appear righteous before men.
Love starts with forgiveness. It starts with mercy. God forgave us, and so we must forgive even our enemies.
How do you measure mercy? Love? In the number of TV stations you broadcast on? The number of booklets you publish? How about the number of website you put up? Those things are important, certainly, but they are not the main thing!
How about feeding the poor? Calling up a sick person? Visiting someone in jail? Do you think perhaps that is what Jesus will measure us by (Mt 25:31-46)?
I honestly do not think it is the number of poor you feed or sick/imprisoned you visit, either. You can only feed so many people, after all. You can only afford so much gas, you know. I think the quality of the time has a real bearing upon it as well.
It is not the one who hears the word that will be blessed but the one who does the word (Jas 1:22-25; cf Mt 7:24-27).
How do we know we are following through with love? Because we know how we would want others to treat us and so we do likewise to others (v 12).
“Philadelphia” means “brotherly love”. If you do not want Jesus to have anything against you (compare the church at Philadelphia to the other six in Rev 2 – 3), then you must show brotherly love. And so, I challenge you to be a Philadelphian today.
Go out and show love perfectly to all people today. Easy, right? Sit down and figure out how well you did at the end of the day. If you fell short of perfection, then keep practicing it everyday until you get it right.
Once you have it down perfectly, be sure to repeat each day the rest of your life.
Again, easy, right?
Easy to say you are Philadelphian; now go out and prove it.