Thursday, May 11, 2023

Lesson 23 - Give


Principle 8: Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.

Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires.” (Matthew 5:10)

Step 12: Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)


Our text for today's lesson comes from James chapter 2. James in this book is describing the profit received when faith is accompanied by works. He is not talking about our eternal salvation, but rather our temporal salvation. This bears directly on our recoveries, since the profit received by faith that is accompanied by works is our recovery.

Jas 2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

The question here is the efficacy or effectiveness of faith. Faith is believing what God says. Can we be “saved” by believing alone, even if we don't produce works.

The word “saved” in these passages in James is translated from the Greek “sozo”, which in this context means “to keep one “safe and sound” from a temporal perspective, “to rescue from danger”, “injury or peril”. This is seen in the following passage.

Jas 5:15 And the prayer offered (works) in faith will make the sick person well (temporily); the Lord will raise them up (profit). If they have sinned, they will be forgiven (profit).

The question is clarified when we consider that the issue is not whether we have true faith or false faith, but rather, the question is do we have faith that is alone vs faith that is accompanied by works.

This is the “faith” that James is speaking of in James 2:14. So the question is paraphrased as “Can faith without works save (profit) anyone's physical life”?

We can see that further in the word “profit”, which is translated from the Greek “ophelis”, which means “to heap up, I.E. accumulate or benefit”.

So the question in James 2:14 has to do with whether or not there is any personal profit to be gained if someone has faith but no works. Faith alone saves them, but there is contemporary and eternal profit in works.

At this point, some should be seeing the connection between faith that is accompanied by works, and recovery. While faith that has no works may be sufficient to bring eternal salvation, there is no present temporal profit from dead faith, or faith that has no works. This directly connects recovery to works as works bring “profit”.

From an eternal perspective, there is profit to be had from works at the Bema Judgment, where our rewards are handed out. But it is also true that there is a contemporary profit in our present life here on earth while we are yet alive.

The kind of works James has in mind are seen in James 1:27, that can be seen in context as giving, and avoiding bad influences.

Jas 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James details this by showing that the works he has in mind have to do with being giving of oneself for the benefit of others. Virtually all volunteer work is giving of oneself to others.

Jas 2:16-17 If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (17) In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Notice the question, “what good is it?”. This question is asked on behalf of the person without works accompanying their faith. What good is it to tell someone to go in peace without doing something to meet their need. There is no profit in that, so “what good is it?”. To “heap up profit”, faith is accompanied with works that meet needs.

In the context of Celebrate Recovery, as a Christ centered program, this is what giving is all about. Perhaps this is why the Church is set up with many opportunities for volunteers. By doing this, we are given a lot of opportunities to give, and thus fulfill faith with works. When you get involved, the profitable works that you do will benefit your recovery.

So let's take a look at some of the ways that you can “heap up” benefits and profit from your works of faith.


God first

I becomes we

Victories shared

Example of your actions

The G stands for GOD first.

Rom 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Paul corroborates what James says here, and James gives context to what Paul says. We sometimes wonder why we pray and wait on God and nothing seems to happen. Faith accompanied by works are at play here. We can believe, but works release the profit. Jesus will give us all things, but we must have faith and works. Faith to believe, which is sufficient for eternal life, and works for profit in this life.

The second letter in give is I. When we give, the I becomes we.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 “You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. (10) If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble.

One of the benefits that works (giving) provides is fellowship. A giving person will “heap up” friends. Friends will provide support and encouragement. A person who is needy and a taker will find friends fleeing from them.

The third letter stands for VICTORIES shared.

2Co 1:3-4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, (4) who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Paul here talks about the cycle of blessing. As we bless others with action (works), we both profit and are comforted by the Holy Spirit. Then as we are each comforted, we can continue the cycle by blessings others with our actions (works), and so it goes.

Some people keep this cycle going through regular volunteering. Volunteering on a consistent weekly basis keep a consistent flow of blessing coming our way.

E: EXAMPLE of your actions.

First John 3:18 (NEB) says, “My children, love must not be a matter of words or talk; it must be genuine, and show itself in action.”

John here is emphasizing what James taught. Words and talk can show the content of our faith, but without works, that faith is dead, or unprofitable. But when our faith is revealed in action, our faith becomes profitable and brings blessing (recovery) into our life.


Faith alone is sufficient for eternal life.

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Eph 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- (9) not by works, so that no one can boast.

Faith accompanied by works result in temporal salvation (recovery).

Jas 2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?

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