Written by Pastor Lawrence Neisent
Faith and works are synonymous and inseparable.
It’s like complete and finished. A linguistics expert was asked to explain the difference between the two. ”When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE. But, when you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED. And when the right woman catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!”
John 6:27-30 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval." 28 Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?" 29 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." 30 So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? NIV
The works God requires is to believe. If we aren’t careful we relinquish responsibilities and slip into Pentecostal charismatic laziness thinking we believe and God does the rest.
Let’s be reminded of what we just studied a few weeks ago as the disciples looked to Jesus when the 5k were hungry and needing to be fed. Do something Jesus! What did he say? You feed them!
Faith produces works and works deepen faith.
James 2:18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. NIV
Clearly the Bible defines a disciples as one who is bearing much fruit.
John 15:8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. NIV
A person can attend church all their life and never mature in their faith. They can be cranking, rude, irritable and never develop a strong love for people. The reason this is possible is because church isn’t the answer. Jesus is the answer. It’s our willingness to surrender to Jesus that positions us effectively as the church that makes a difference.
Many would say, “But we are saved by grace through faith and the Bible says it’s not about our works right?” Let’s evaluate the context of this particular verse that is so commonly used so erroneously. We so commonly reference Ephesians 2:8-9 but neglect the very next verse that brings the more complete picture into focus.
Eph 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast. 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. NIV
James goes so far to say that faith without works isn’t even true salvation. Can faith save us if we don’t have works?
James 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? NKJV
Works undersold in church for far too long. Faith without works is simply dead – James 2:20
The greatest tragedy of indifference is life we never live and the difference we never make in the lives of other people.
The Bible actually speaks of two judgements: (John 5:24) = Salvation & (2 Cor 5:10) = Works.
When you stand before God for salvation judgment you cannot claim works. But also when you stand before God for works judgment you cannot claim salvation.
We should all have 2 testimonies: Salvation and how the world is a better place because of how we connected the gifts God placed in us with our world.
1 Cor 4:20 The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk...
So many believers have amputated the hands and feet from Christ’s Body and have kept only a big mouth. We must learn to let our love be louder than our agenda.
Mark Twain said, “Noise proves nothing - often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had just laid an asteroid.”
The original purpose of the church had nothing to do with judging the lost. 1 Cor 5:12-13 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
The problem in our world is not the abundance of darkness. Problem is the absence of light.
2 Chron 7:14 If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray & turn from their wicked ways I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin & heal their land.’
It’s easier to judge and blame the lost than it is to take responsibility as storms descend on our Nation. However we must realize that the storm in Jonah’s day didn’t descend because of how bad Nineveh was. The storm descended because the man of God was disobedient. When Jonah came into alignment with his assignment this capital city of paganism turned to God in just one day!
GP4RL: Take somebody with you on your journey of faith by inviting somebody to church next Sunday so they can meet some of God’s amazing family and be introduced to Jesus in a fresh new way.