Christian Universe ™
Faith With Works
March 30, 2014
Many emphasize faith in Jesus as being the only step to becoming and remaining a Christian for life. Faith is only the beginning of what God asks of us. It puts us upon the pathway to righteousness, but is foundational. We need it first, but we need to prove our faith by doing what God has told us to do. One might talk about his or her faith, but do their works substantiate their claims? God will judge according to the deeds that we have done while in this fleshly body. - Bernie Parsons
Faith With Works
by Bernie Parsons
Presented to Globe church of Christ on 03-30-2014
Presented to Load church of Christ on 04-20-2014
We have been looking at working our faith. God made us to work. He brought forth believers in Christ to do His wonderful works. Let’s look at some of the ways that we can do His work.
Doing the work of God can be as simple as giving a cup of water to a thirsty person.
Matthew 10:41 "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."
Note that it is not merely the giving of a cup of cold water, but doing it in the name of a disciple. The context here is to support the work of the Lord as we live among the unblelievers.
Taking it to a more complicated level, it can mean using one’s talents and resources to help others who are worse off, as did the lady named Tabitha, at Joppa.
Acts 9:36 "Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.
39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them."
You begin to see that the context is one of helping the less fortunate, whether that help is on a simple level and involves little work, as in giving the cup of cold water, or making clothes to give to those who need them, which entails more work and cost.
Doing the Lord’s work can be complex, such as rendering assistance to someone who is severely injured, and seeing that later needs are also met.
Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise."
In the above account, several decisions to do God’s work took place.
First, the Samaritan made a decision to possibly put his own life in danger in order to check on the injured man.
Second, he administered what amounted to first aid, saving the man’s life. He took time out of his own journey and business to do this, spending his own resources to save the life.
Third, he transported the man to a safe place where he could receive continued medical care.
Fourth, he left money to pay for the care, and promised to pay anything above and beyond what he left with the caretaker.
The truth is that our faith is meaningless unless we exhibit that faith in the lives that we live, and the assistance that we provide others during their times of need.
James 2:14 "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
We say that we have faith. Let us “put our money where our mouths are”. Our deeds will prove our faith. Abraham believed God, and so prepared to offer his son as a sacrifice. Will we step forward and do even less than that by responding to the pain that our brothers experience?
Talking about love is not the same as performing love. Hoping that someone’s needs are met is not the same as seeing to it that their needs are met. Wishing someone well is not the same as relieving the suffering that they are enduring.
Some tell me that God will take care of His own, but they fail to understand that God largely does His work through His children here on earth. We are taught to take care of each other, to make the troubles of life more bearable, and to alleviate suffering as we encounter it. Christianity is not just saying that we believe that Jesus is Christ, the son of God, but also living as people that God will claim as His own.
How else will we persuade the unbelieving?