The Work of Faith
Nov 27, 2017 // By:Dave // No Comment
(a video recording of this message is available)
“What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that afaith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “aAND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God.
You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”
Scripture says in Eph 2:8-9 that we are saved by faith.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
This is not a contradiction … it is a definition of real faith!
Works prove that the faith is genuine.
- I ask my little boy if he trusts me.
- He says “of course”
- I tell him to jump off a couch into my arms, so I can catch him.
- if he does it, he proves that he trusts me (and everyone in the room just saw it)
- if he refuses, or even hesitates, he shows that he does not really trust me
our outward actions reveal our inner thinking
Proverbs 23:7 “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”
Luke 6:45 “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
the things we say and do, provide a window into our minds. So if we claim that we have faith in God, we ought to be revealing it. Proving it. Justifying the claim with our choices, our very lifestyle.
Have answer ready for the faith that is in me
1 Pet. 3:13-16 “Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.”
Study to show thyself approved
2Tim. 2:14-15 “Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
Be transformed to prove what the perfect will of God is
Rom. 12:1-2 “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not abe conformed to this world, but
be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
And it’d that’s not enough, we have Weapons of warfare not of this earth that can tear down enemy fortresses and Wordly thinking that are used to resist the truth of God
2Cor. 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”
Works, evident faith, showing, proving, defeating darkness all outside demonstrations of inner change
There is an intended outward expression of the inward charge of each believer
God expects His Spirit (that He places inside each of His children) to be obvious to everyone on the outside looking only at the outside. He expects His love to be shown and demonstrated to all.
What example of faith, that is in me, is supposed to show on the outside enough to make people ask about it so I can have an explanation ready for them?
What am I supposed to be doing, that is so radically different from the world, that will be an agent of proof of God’s will, attractive enough to the unsaved that it looks better than the bait they are chasing, and powerful enough to turn the tide of battle against the darkness that rules this earth?
It is not just desired, it is expected, it is commanded by God Himself
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
All the physical stuff, evangelism, feeding, clothing, building, all are to be motivated, empowered, and seasoned by Love.
1 Cor 13:1-3 Works without love is nothing
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
Luke 10:27 “Love the lord your God will all your heart mind soul and strength and love your neighbor”
“Unto the least” of these is found in Matt 25:40-45
Matt. 25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like:
1-13. parable of the ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. (being ready with your light showing, know not the time of His return)
14-30 parable of the talents (trusting and investing the masters talents for profit of His kingdom – being about His business)
33-46 parable of the sheep and goats, then goes into unto the least of these (35-40) (separate followers from non-followers, obedient sheep who trust the master from those who do not-the goats, those who give in the name of the master from those who refuse to give to anyone in need.
- notice that the ones who do not give unto the least of these are on the left (hmm vs 33 tells us the goats are on the left)
- the ones who do not follow the shepherd, who do not obey, are the ones who do not love, and are the ones who are told to: “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the beternal fire which has been prepared for cthe devil and his angels”
Love is the outward work that reveals the inner faith (and the degree to which we love others is the measure of how well we know the Father. If there is no love, there is no evidence of following, there is no faith. (it is dead)
He who is Forgiven more forgives more
(that is: “perceived” mercy results in expressed mercy)
Experienced love results in expressed love
People don’t normally have a problem with God our Father (they may have a problem with the Father they have been shown though)
Once you start to really know our Heavenly Father for who He is, and begin to really understand and experience His love for you, two things happen:
- Drawn closer to Him (James 4:8) and he will draw closer to you.
- Motivated to show others.
The more goodness of the Father you taste, the more you want to help others taste as well.
The more you draw close to the Father’s love, the more you understand His love for those around you.
(Psalm 37:4 tells us that as we find our pleasure in Him, He can than give us the desires of our heart) This is because His desires become our desires, and they are good to fulfill.
- If you are not being asked to explain the faith that is in us, then those around us must not be seeing anything different to ask about
- If we are not showing them anything different (loving one another), they can’t see we belong to Him.
- If we are motivated to love one another as the highest priority, it’s because we haven’t drawn close enough to Him in the first place
- Don’t want to offend the person (but we are willing to offend God)
- Awkward to share the gospel (but it’s ok to stand before the Father and day that you were embarrassed to talk about him to another)
Our focus is on what people think of us rather than how God thinks of us and desires us to think of Him
If we are not on fire for Him, that’s ok (because it’s not complicated to fix)
- Lukewarm (He spit you out of His mouth – Rev 3:16) You need to get fired up again with God
- Not warm enough get closer to the fire.
- Wanna be on fire, get even closer to the fire.
There is a Story of a dream about a fence:
In the dream, a stone fence separates to properties. Jesus is standing on one property and is calling the man over. The man is not sure if he wants to go over and join Him, but is also not sure if staying where he is might be considered rejecting Jesus.
So he climbs up on the fence, which is wide enough to walk on, and begins walking down the length of the fence while thinking. After a short distance, he sees another figure standing not far off also standing on the fence and asks him who he is.
the figure says “you would call me Satan. I would call myself victorious for I have gained another who chose me over Jesus”
The man replied “but I did not chose you, I chose the fence between the two of you?!”
Satan replied “the fence is also mine”
there is no middle ground!
everytime we think we are ok “not making a choice” we forget that “not making a choice” is making a choice.
Matt 12:30 (Luke 11:23)
Matt. 12:30 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
Think like men, or think like Christ.
Matt 16:22-23 (Mark 8:33)
“Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You. But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
It is not for us to think like mere men. That is where Peter messed up. He was thinking as a mere man, rather than belonging to God. Insisting that we are “mere men” is a lie from Hell ( we are a new “species”, we are children of God)
we are called to do something only a supernatural species can do:
- See things from God’s perspective (through the eyes of His Spirit)
- Love our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength
- Love our neighbor
anything less is merely human, breaking the very command of our savior, and inviting the same rebuke to get out of His way.
Our faith is justified by love. proved by love, and empowered by His love.
We are supernatural and our Father needs us to live like it or no one will ever know it.
Our supernatural faith is only shown to the world by His supernatural love, that we channel and pour out.
Loving others is a privilege, not a task and it is the only image of Christ that can impact the world around us.
You have no idea what God can do with you if you just let Him
Imagine a coffee mug arguing with the master sculptor who want to put a different drink in it so others can be refreshed, saying: “I cant hold that, I cant do that !! I’m just a coffee mug!”
The master replies, “I made you and know what you can do far more than you know yourself”
We need to remember and claim Phil 4:13 and let Him just use our obedience, and let others be fed by it.
Love … let Him fill us any way he wants, and pour it out to anyone He wants !
εν διακονια τω θεω, Dave Cadieux