Demonic Faith

Bible Book: James  2 : 18-19
Subject: Faith; Faith and Works; Demons

James 2:18-19

I believe every one of us wants to walk the Jesus walk. I really do. I think we want to pray as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. I believe we want to talk as He talked and walk as He walked, but it's all a faith issue. It all boils down to whether or not we are truly living by faith or whether or not we're faking it. Is your faith real? Is your faith lasting? Does your walk match your talk? Today we're going to look at a deeper level of faith, an examination of the soul that goes beyond the surface and right down to the heart. The title of this message is "Demonic Faith."

Do you have that kind of faith? If you do, there's a solution for you. In James 2:18-19 we'll discover what James had to say to those early believers and what I believe the Holy Spirit has to say to us as a church and as individuals and as families. The scripture reads, "But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.' Show me your faith without deeds, and I'll show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder." Demonic activity  is nothing new. It's been around since the beginning of time. The church, in earlier times, recognized demonic activity more strongly and visibly; but there seems to be a recurrence and a resurgence of curiosity about the balance between good and evil.

Movies today portray that quite openly and vividly. There's an ongoing debate in Christianity about whether or not we should be proponents of Harry Potter, whether or not we should go see movies such as Lord of the Rings or whether we should even promote Christian authors such as C. S. Lewis, all of which brings us to the understanding that our world is continually curious about good and evil. God is more than curious about it; God has a cure for it. He doesn't want us to be ignorant of   the fact that there always have been, and will continue to be, those forces that seem to come in opposition against God's forces of good.

Even our president has identified our terrorist attacks as being evil, "These evil attacks from wicked ones who would bring a subversion to the freedom and the democracy for which we stand as a nation." We do stand against evil and it is not only a good thing; it's a God thing! As we expose some of the deeper understandings of what the faith walk is all about, I want you to understand that greater is the Spirit of God inside of any true believer than any disruptive spirit that would come to divert you and your attention from what God is trying to say about your faith. So don't worry over it; but listen carefully and examine your faith.

I. There Is A Difference (v. 18a)

James was saying in the first portion of verse 18 that someone out there could say these words: You have faith; I have deeds. The first portion of verse 18 poses this kind of dynamic tension - faith and deeds - and what I'm trying to say is that there is a difference. Some say that it makes no difference  at all; it's no problem. "You're just a person of outer faith, an extrovert, and I'm a person of inner faith. I don't show the way I believe." But there is a difference. There is a vital and life-changing difference between those who believe and those who act on their belief. James is teaching us once again that faith without works is dead. He wants to bring life to the Body of Christ. He wants you to have a living faith. He doesn't want you to limp along troubled and spoiled. He wants you to find that there is truly a victory in your faith.

A. Someone Could Be Anyone

The fact is that James poses this person as "someone", but you see "someone" could be anyone. Someone could be anyone like you, anyone like me, because I too could say the same thing, "I've got faith; you've got works. No problem, no need for us to get in an argument about it. It's just a matter of you're one way and I'm another way." But there is a difference and God is trying to impress upon us that there's a need for the marriage of the two together. You can have an intellectual faith and yet you must marry it with an active faith so that they come together. Surely some do express their faith more outwardly than others, but there still must be an opportunity to express it and you must give yourself to it to express it outwardly. Someone could be anyone - a dynamic personality or an introvert.

Somewhere, somehow, someone could confuse you and say, "It makes no difference," but there is a difference.

B. It's Not Faith Versus Deeds

I want you to also understand that it's not a matter of faith versus deeds. You know, "I'm a person of faith; I'm better than you. All you do is just work at the church all the time." Then the person who works at the church all the time or seeks to do good works might say, "I'm proving my faith by         everything I do. I do everything I can. God, can't you see that I'm on your side? I'm doing this for this committee, this for this group, and this in the way of outward witness. I'm better than that person who says they are a person of faith but always spend their time in the prayer room and say they can gain power from God on their knees. I'm out doing the work; look at the calluses to prove it. These are Christian calluses." It's not faith versus deeds; it's the two together. There is a difference between them and yet there's a desire in God's heart that they be brought together.

II. There Must Be A Demonstration (v. 18b)

Secondly, I want you to see that there must be a demonstration. Oh my friend, if there's a difference between faith and works, then there also must be a demonstration of our faith by our works. There must be an outer demonstration that we have come to the acceptance and the retrieval of Christ as our Savior and that there is a heart change, not just a head change, in our lives.

A. An Answer For The Argument

What James does here is to bring an answer to an argument. Someone posed that difference. Someone brought an argument to the surface. Someone said, "I will show you my faith." "But I will show you," says another, "by my faith through what I do." Is there an answer? Sure there's an answer to this. The answer to the argument is Jesus and His perfect activities. The answer is a clear reminder of the discussion that there must be a demonstration of our faith or else it will be nothing but dead faith. James clarifies an activity in our life and brings us to the focus of saying, "I must do as Jesus did." Our Savior talked so magnificently. Do you know anybody who talked like Him? He talked and He walked the same way. They just weave themselves together.I'm reminded of Matthew 5, 6  and 7; we call it The Sermon on the Mount.

I was privileged several years ago to be in that very spot where Jesus spoke. The Sea of Galilee is behind and it's like amplification because as He spoke the water and the wind come roaring and people by the hundreds could hear without the power of a microphone.In that scooped out, bowl-like amphitheatre they were listening with their ears; but they were also watching with their eyes because He never told them to do something that He hadn't already done or wouldn't do Himself. Now that's what it means to walk the Jesus walk and to talk the Jesus talk, it's to follow the model and the demonstration of Jesus because He answers every argument.

B. To Show = To Do

Note that in the latter portion of James 2:18, the word and verb show is used twice. The scripture reads, "Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." To show means to do. "I'll do my works; I'll show it." It really means that there's a way by which you can prove that you really do love God, because you show Him. Now you can't show Him before you love Him because all you'll be doing is just an empty, outer work. But when you do it with the implication of your life being changed inside and outside, then it becomes an opportunity for you to put your faith into action.I like the way that Thomas Watson said it. He said, "Faith is full of good works. It believes as if it did not work and it works as if it did not believe." What's he saying? My faith is not built upon the works that I do outwardly, but my works are built upon my faith because they are an overflow and expression of my faith in Jesus Christ." How much proof are you sharing with God that you really do love Him, that you have a deep faith in Him and that you're not faking it, but you're faithing it in life?

There's got to be a demonstration.

III. There Must Not Be Disunity (v. 19a)

The first portion of James 2:19 gives the third level I want to share - there must not be disunity. God's favorite number written in all of the scripture and written all over the life of Jesus is the number one (1), the power of being at one with God. Jesus prayed in John 17, "Father that they may be as one as you and I are one." Over and over again we hear the expression of unity and harmony and oneness and we're reminded again even by James' writing here that there is still power in one. I look to the New Testament and I find in Mark 12:29 as a young teacher of the law came to Jesus and he said, "Jesus of all the commands, which is the most important?" And Jesus said, "The most important this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.'" What a great command. In First Corinthians 8:4-6 Paul writes to the Corinthian Church, "Yet for us there is but one God, the Father from whom all things come and for whom we live." Then Jesus said and it was recorded by the apostle John in the 14th chapter and the 1st verse, "I am the way, the truth and the life and no one can come to the Father but by me." Exclusivity? Yes! The power of one!

Since September 11, our world has been calling for tolerance and plurality of religion. We have been invited, each of us at one time or another, to some kind of interdenominational, extra-  denominational, multiplicity of religious meetings that would identify that all ways lead to God. I want to discourage you from being a part of that. I want to encourage you in your understanding that Jesus is God and He is the one true Living God to take your faith and to reveal it to others because they are looking and searching today for truth and He is truth and we must reveal Him to others. It doesn't mean that we snob them and put them out of our witness and our life. It means that we draw them even more closely into what is truth because our world is wanting to know today what is truth? His Name is Jesus!

A. The Shema Is The Solution

I think James had a particular passage in mind. I think it goes all the way back to the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 6:4 is The Shema. You'll see that The Shema is the solution. If you're asking, "What's the question?", the question is, "How can I know that my faith is real faith and not demonic faith?" Because it must be rooted in the One True God and not just the concept of God or that there are many gods, because in the Old Testament when The Shema was written, there were a multiplicity of gods. There were the baael gods, the god of the Canaanites, the gods of the unbelieving nations.

There was every type of god that you could hold and feel and look to and bow down before. But the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, the God who is the Author and Finisher of life, who exposed and expressed Himself to the Son whose name is Jesus, is the One True Living God. He is the One and The Shema becomes the solution and the word Shema in the Hebrew literally means hear... hear. Deuteronomy 6:4 says, "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one." Oh, they   knew it well. The readers of the writing of James knew it quite well because it was a part of the dichotomy. It was a part of the ritual. It was a part of the orthodox faith of the Jew. They knew it very, very well. In fact the Bible commanded them that they would impress it upon their children, they would talk to them about it, they would tie it on their hands and they would bind it on their foreheads, they would write it on their door frames and they would even put it on their door posts - that was the command about The Shema. It became, again, for James a reminder that that's the solution...that's the solution.

B. It's Not Good Enough

You know what? James said, "You believe that there is one God. That's good." That's real good because it goes way back to the reminder that there is but one way to God. But you know what? Hang on to your seats! It's not good enough! It's not good enough! Because to believe in something and to have a creed as a part of your memory does not mean that you are literally walking by faith. Do you know the Apostles Creed? We don't use it often within the Baptist faith and expression of worship, but in many denominations they reach back to that second century saying and it is powerful and it is theologically correct.

Let me remind you of it if you don't remember it: "I believe in God the Father Almighty and the creator of heaven and earth and Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord, who was born by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was buried. The third day He rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and He sits on the right hand of the Father. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, in the communion of the saints, in the forgiveness of sin, in the resurrection of the body and in life everlasting. Amen." That is powerful! My friend even if we sing the wonderful hymns of worship and even though we are able to repeat the Creed and yet we have no deed behind it, it doesn't mean that we've received even though we've believed.

IV. There Are Believing Demons (v. 19b)

The final and perhaps the most dramatic of all of the understandings in this scripture in the latter portion of verse 19 reads, "It's good that you believe. But even the demons believe that and they shutter." You might ask, "What do demons believe?" You see there are believing demons just as there are believing believers who have never truly come to the point of surrendering their total self. And you've got to ask this question of yourself and it's good to ask it because it's good to know exactly what we're dealing with: What do demons believe? What do they believe? It may surprise you.

A. The Existence Of God

One of the things that they believe is this - they believe in the existence of God. You say, "Well how could they do that? I thought they were in opposition to God. I thought they were their own gods." Oh, my friend, demons are nothing more than the source of a disbanded, disobedient angle whose  name was Lucifer. We have that opposition that was in heaven on earth as well, as a continuance of our sin control because of our own disobedience that was inherited by the very first man and woman who also chose to go their own way. And if they didn't blow it then, we would have blown it now. It's just a part of us. We want it our way. Do you believe in the existence of God? Well good! Does it surprise you that demons are not atheists or agnostics? It shouldn't. All throughout the scripture they are seen as recognizing the existence of God and believing it. After all they've had enough experience don't they to have seen the power that He expresses.

B. The Deity Of Christ (Mark 3:11-12)

What else do they believe? Well the demons believe in the deity of Christ. They do! They believe that Jesus was the Son of God. How do I know this? The scripture teaches us in Mark 3:11-12, "Whenever the evil spirits saw Him (that was Jesus), they fell down before Him and they cried out, 'You are the Son of God.' But He gave them strict orders not to tell who He was." Do you see what happens in this passage? They recognized that Jesus was the Son of God and Jesus affirms it by saying, "You don't need to tell everybody right now." Folks, that's powerful. An affirmation of Jesus saying, "I am God," and the demons saying, "We know who you are and we believe you."

C. The Existence Of A Place Of Punishment (Luke 8:31)

They believe in the existence of a place of punishment and I'm up against a lot of people who say, "There's no real hell. Why would a loving God send somebody to hell? Is there really a heaven?" Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions... I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Are you going to be with Him? The demons knew that there was a difference in a distance in a place of punishment. We see in Luke 8:31 where Jesus asked the demon possessed man, "What is your name?" His response was, "Legion...because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss." Where is the Abyss?

Revelation 9:1 also speaks of the Abyss. The Abyss is the place of separation from God. It is the place of punishment. The demons believe in it. Do you? If they do, why don't you? They are closer to it than you are and should know everything about it.

D. The Place Of God As The Judge (Mark 5:1-13)

They know and believe that the God's place is uniquely that as the Judge of the Universe. They know Him to be the Judge. Do you know Him to be the Judge? Some of us have taken that upon our own selves. We've said that we are judged enough, my father, my mother..they are the judge enough of my life. My teacher, my mentors...they are judge enough. My boss, he's the judge enough of my life. I'm the judge enough of my own life!

God is the only Judge. Mark 5:1-13 reveals to us that a man with an evil spirit was entombed. He lived in the caves. He was chained and yet when they chained him, he broke the binding of the chains because of the strength of the demons within him, and they were afraid of this man. Jesus encountered him and commanded the demons to come out of him and to go into the pigs that were feeding on a hillside close by, and the Bible says that 2,000 of them leapt off of the hillside and drowned in a nearby lake.

Do you think that would have gotten your attention? It sure would have gotten mine!Some of us have a distorted picture of the devil and his demons. Some of us think that he's really easy to recognize and we wait for people who are chained up and bound up and who are foaming at the mouth and rolling all over the ground. But let me tell you something - Satan is a very slick deceiver and he is a duplicator and he masquerades as an angel of light.

All of us would like it to be as simple as the pitchfork I use from my farm to take the hay to my horse, which she desperately longs for and waits for. I dip the pitchfork into the bail of hay and put it out where she can reach it. Is it that easy to recognize? Is Satan that easy? No, he could be anywhere doing anything at any time through any person.

What I'm trying to do is not to scare you, but to bring you into the reality that sometimes what we project on the outside is not always the way that he's operating. Some of us wouldn't think that he would believe in the Deity of Christ or the existence of God or the existence of a place of punishment or to truly believe that God is the Judge of all; but he does believe in that.

E. They Know The Power Of God

James said, "The demons also shudder from fear." Why? Because they know the power of God.  They know Him for who He is. They know Him as holy, set apart, vital to life; and they know they don't have that and that they are everything that is in opposition to what God wants us to have, so they shudder. The word shudder there is the word phrisso, and I only say that to show that it is a word that is inclusive of an emotion. To shudder from fear doesn't mean because a cool breeze comes in and you think it's uncomfortable and you want to put a sweater on. It talks about an inside, in-depth kind  of soul-stirring shudder; and demons shudder from fear. One translator put it this way as he said that when the demons are in existence and in the presence of God, the hairs on the back of their necks stand up - they bristle up! Now that's pretty demonstrative isn't it? That shows a pretty powerful expression. But you see if they feel that way, then how much more should we feel that way?

The Bible has a lot to say about fearing God. Proverbs 9:10 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So do you fear God? I hope so, but you don't need to fear Him like the demons do. Oh no, because you see the Bible also tells us in Psalm 46 that God is our refuge and our strength, therefore we shall not fear and even though the mountains would shudder and quake and the waters would roar, we don't need to fear God. Then what am I trying to say? One part of the Bible says, "Fear God," and the other part of the Bible says that our fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. What should we do?

Look at this very carefully. I knew what it meant when my mother would raise her eyebrow across the table. It was the first non-verbal queue that I'd stepped out of line. Then when she raised her voice and said, "John Carlton," I knew it was really time to listen up! But then if she raised not only her eyebrow and her voice, but she also raised her hand to reach on top of the refrigerator where the switch lived, I knew that this was serious! Now would she punish me because she hated me? No! Would she do that to abuse me? No! She did it because she loved me. You know, I feared bringing disappointment in her life more than I feared her punishment of the switch. I really did! I didn't want to break her heart and I knew that there were times in my life, particularly in my teenage years, when I put her to the test over and over again and Mr. Switch came off the refrigerator until the time that I could beat him, I could break him and I could run from him. God loves you. He wants you to fear Him with an awe-inspired, worshipful kind of love. He does not want you to fear Him, as the demons who shudder out of fear do, because they know they are going to be punished and there will never be a loving act that will come after that. Every time my mother had to ultimately switch me, she'd open her arms and love me! That's what God wants to do to some of us today - to bring us back into  obedience and bring us into His arms.

F. Intellect + Emotions = Salvation

The difference between living faith and dead faith is a matter of intellect or what you believe in your head. The Bible amplifies that in saying, "You believe that there is one God. That's good (intellect)." We've looked at what the demons themselves feel on the inside, and that's emotion. Let me show you one final truth: Intellect, plus emotions, do not equal salvation. You can have it in your head and you can fear Him as well and shudder because you know the power of God, but it doesn't mean you have lasting faith. Then how do you have lasting faith? You believe and receive. That's the difference.


Three final questions: First, "Do you believe?" Well, even the demons do. Then could I maybe tighten this question a little more and ask, "In whom do you believe?" Now let me ask, "Have you received?" The dynamic difference between believing and receiving could be the difference between heaven  and hell. It could be the difference between being obedient and receiving the rewards that Christ has for you, or simply just being a believer who says, "I've done what I need to do and that's all the fulfillment I'm going to give." How do you receive Christ? You admit that you are a sinner. You were born that way; it's not your fault. But you know what? You inherited it and Christ wants to forgive that and build a bridge. Some of you have never received, though you have believed, and today you can receive.

The final question is, "Are you ready to reveal?" Some of us have received and yet we've not revealed. I'm asking you to consider revealing your faith before others, and be willing to say to another person, "Jesus is my Lord; He is my Savior." Some of you need to reveal that before your church. You don't need to be a secret believer any longer. You don't want to just be comfortable on your pew. Don't be satisfied with just soaking it in and being a hearer of the word alone, but never being a doer of the Word. You want to marry the two together. My friend, let's examine our faith and may God give us the strength to be sure we have dynamic faith - not demonic faith, and surely not dead faith.