Dead Faith: Ignores a Brother… in Need Part 4

How do I respond to those in need?

Yesterday, to understand a faith that is dead, we LOOKED at those who say, who make that empty profession, and have no works.

Today, we will pay close attention to the illustration James gives in v15-16 to understanding why he concludes in v17 that faith without works is dead.

Open GODcha to the Book of James.

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OR use your hardbound Bibles and follow along.


Remember To Pray

O LORD, James’ message is so critical, and we need Your help to understand. Please soften our hearts to hear Your truth. Don’t let us be brought into unnecessary guilt, or condemnation, but do help us to examine ourselves to see how we demonstrate our faith in You.

Consider CONTEXT

What proves if your faith is dead or living?

How you and I respond to:

  • Trials
  • Temptations…where you place the blame in temptation…
  • Our response to the Word…
  • Our response to the poor and the needy…

reveals if we have dead faith or living faith.

James is giving a series of tests by which we can evaluate whether our faith is living or dead.

Do you remember James wanted to turn a sinner from the error of his ways so his soul would be saved from death?

How many, then and now, who in this life may never know their faith was dead until they wake up in hell?


LOOK at What God Says

Let GODcha usher us through Truth.

Open GODcha’s LOOK Segment >

What shall we do first?

READ God’s Word

Read James 2:14-20 again, asking the 5W’s and H.

True Faith Produces Works >


Focus on James 1:15-17.

What is the illustration James gives to help explain a dead faith?


To understand this illustration of a brother in need, let’s peruse some Cross References.

God Uses Truth to Explain Truth

CR-Cross References-Word Search Tutorial >

1. What did you learn from the parable of the Good Samaritan that parallels James’ illustration?  

Who had a faith that was deadWhy was it dead?

Understand: The road from Jerusalem to Jericho was a dangerous road.

The priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan each had a faith, but neither of them paused to assist the dying man at the side of the road.


the Samaritan (Jews and Samaritans were enemies):

Had eyes to see.

Did not rationalize who this man was, perhaps a Jew.

Was not afraid, thinking the same thing could happen to him.

Took the time to stop and attend to the man’s needs.

Used his resources to bandage the man’s wounds.

Didn’t leave him, but took the time to take him to an inn to mend.

Paid for his care and recovery. (Luk 10:25-37)

THINK: a doer of the Word would:

NOT ignore one in need;

Have love and compassion for those in need.



Which of these 3 am I like? 

When did I last feel compassion on a stranger and help them? 

Am I guilty of limiting my kindness to those I deem worthy?

Respond to God…LIVE it out!


2. What does John say that parallels James’ illustration?

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

We don’t love with word and tongue, but in deed and truth. (1Jo 3:17-18)

We see: How we respond to a person in need reveals what is in our hearts.



Do I have the world’s goods? If so, when have I closed my heart to a brother in need?

What are my works? How do I love a brother in need? With words, or deeds?

Respond to God…LIVE it out!


Now, let’s LOOK at some Cross References that show us those who had a ‘faith that was dead.

Let Truth Explain Truth

CR-Cross References-Word Search Tutorial >

1. Who believed? What was lacking?

a. Many believed – but Jesus did not entrust Himself to them, as He knew them. (Joh 2:23-25)

Understand: It was one thing to respond to a miracle but quite another thing to commit oneself to Jesus Christ and continue in His Word.

We see: John makes it clear that it takes more than believing in miracles for a person to be saved.


Do I say I have faith; I believe, but am lacking?

Am I lacking a wholehearted commitment to Jesus? Why?


b. Nicodemus believed – but it wasn’t enough.

He needed to understand being born again. (Joh 3:1-3, 5)


Am I lacking a new birth?

What will I do to be born again?


c. Judas believed – but he was not a new creature.

He became a traitor. (Mat 26:24-25); (Joh 17:12)


Am I lacking because I am not a new creature? 

When and why have I turned on Jesus?


d. Many disciples believed – but no longer followed Jesus.

They rejected His Word. (Joh 6:63-66)


Am I lacking because I am not willing to follow Jesus? 

Why have I rejected His Word?

What will I do to receive His Word?


e. Simon believed, was baptized, continued with Philip – but thought the gift of God could be purchased with money and is told he would perish.

His heart was not right before God. (Act 8:12-21)


Am I lacking a new heart that makes me right before God?

Am I lacking a transformation that leads to obedience to the Son, giving me eternal life with Him?

RESPOND to God…LIVE it out!


2. What does Timothy tell us the Lord knows? How does He know it?

The Lord knows those who are His. Everyone who names the name of the Lord, is to abstain from wickedness [iniquity].  (2Ti 2:19)

THINK: a doer of the Word abstains from wickedness.

What does God mean by wickedness?

HINT: Define and do a Word Search on ‘wickedness’ so you understand what this involves.

 Word Search Tutorial >

Do you remember James 1:21?


Am I the Lord’s? Am I rejoicing to understand He knows I am His?

If I name the name of the Lord, how do I abstain from wickedness?

Respond to God…LIVE it out!


3. What does Titus say about those who profess (‘say’)?

They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. (Tit 1:16)


What do I profess?

What are my deeds? Do I deny the Lord by my deeds? 

Why do I want a faith and salvation that doesn’t demand anything? 

Or, how do I manifest my faith? 

Respond to God…LIVE it out!


4. What does James conclude in v17?

Even so, a faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.


Do I have a faith that doesn’t work? Is it dead?

Don’t I want a true faith?

What will I do?


What Did We LEARN

Sum It Up! 


There are those who SAY they believe but are lacking! 


A Priest and Levite had a faith, BUT have no mercy, compassion.

Many believed in Jesus, BUT did not commit themselves to Jesus or continue in His Word.

The Pharisee, Nicodemus, believed in God and believed Jesus was from God, BUT needed to be born again

Judas, 1 of the 12 disciples, believed, BUT betrayed Jesus.

Many disciples believed, BUT refused to follow Jesus and rejected His Word.

Simon believed, was baptized, continued with Philip – was motivated by selfish reasons; an external act to gain the power Philip possessed, BUT his heart was not right toward God; told he would perish.

Many profess to know God, BUT by their deeds they deny Him, and are worthless for any good deed.

One who has True Faith, a doer of the Word, is the opposite of those who ‘say’.


The Lord knows those who are His.

Those who are His:

DON’T love in word and tongue.

Love in deed and truth.

If we name the name of the Lord, abstain from wickedness.


A mere ‘profession’ of faith does not mean one ‘possesses’ genuine faith.


Now with all that you have LEARNED, THINK about James’ question:

What use [benefit, good, profit] is it if someone habitually says he has faith BUT he has no good works/deeds to back up that claim?

If there is no demonstration of a changed life as a new creature, what would be the answer?

Can faith that has no works save anyone?


You Knocked It Out of the Park!

Yes, we have spent 2 wks on these verses.

Why would we be in a hurry with Scriptures that are so vital for us to understand?

How has God corrected your thinking when it comes to genuine faith vs. dead faith?

Ponder on all God has taught you. For the one who meditates on God’s Word is blessed, (Psalm 1:1-2). 

Walk and talk with your Creator all day about the Truths He is showing you.


Journal in Your Notes

Don’t forget to record these critical Truths about dead faith in your Notes.

Video Tutorial>  Notes Tutorial >

These Cross References will be invaluable as you try to lead others to the knowledge of the Truth.

Oh how wonderful to have your notes all in 1 single place, organized and easy to find.


Turn What We Have Learned Into a Prayer


PRECIOUS FATHER IN HEAVEN, FULL OF MERCY AND GRACE, thank you for loving us enough to awaken us to the reality of our lives that if there is not true genuine faith, while it can be difficult to admit, even embarrassing, we know You are leading us to You! We don’t have to live in guilt or condemnation. You so desire that we no longer be deceived! Show us our hearts. Help us to evaluate our hearts. Help those who say but are lacking turn from walking independently today, surrender to You, truly commit, be born again, receiving a new heart and You Holy Spirit to be right before You! For those of us who do have true genuine faith, we know we have not arrived and need You to continue to do a work in us. May we run to You for fresh grace and mercy, for You alone can help us! We ask these things in Jesus most precious name! Amen!


Next: We will LOOK at v18, about ‘showing your faith’.

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About the Author:

Janette has started Bible studies everywhere God has moved her—most filling up to over a 100 men, women, young adults and kids. She continues to make disciples and raise up leaders, training and teaching the Word of God.

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