Summary: faith shown by works
"Faith in Action"
Intro: Have you ever had anyone give you advice about applying for a job. Often what you put down on the resume is not nearly as important as how it is put down. Most professionals look for a professional looking resume. If you get an interview, often the answers you give will not be nearly as important as the way you give them, the air of honesty and integrity about you, the impression your dress and appearance give, etc. Whenever you apply for a new job, there always a sense of expectancy as you wait to find out what they thought of your application.
In any hiring process, many of those applying and expecting to get the job never make it. Their application gets thrown out.
In the same way, when we consider going to heaven, we need to remember that not everyone that would like to get in will. "Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
There are many who are trusting on church attendance, money given, or a good, moral lifestyle to get them into heaven. But when it comes right down to it, what really matters is your relationship to Jesus Christ. Have you made Him your Lord and Savior. I’m not asking if you ever prayed a prayer, but I’m asking about relationship. The book of James talks about the difference of faith and works. James says, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." Our faith is truly shown by our action.
Matthew 25 deals with being prepared to meet the Lord. We see in 24 that the Lord will come as a thief in the night. We need to be prepared. We are told to watch in the parable of the ten virgins. We are told to work in the parable of the talents. And here we are told to welcome others in the parable of the thief and the goats. Let’s start reading in verse 31.
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ "Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ "The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
The passage goes on to talk about the punishment of those who did not serve the Lord by ministering to the needy: they are cast out into eternal punishment. We somehow here get the idea that God is serious about this business of ministering to the poor and needy. Back to the book of James [2:14]
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
The church in America does a great job of ministering to herself. If we have a need, you can bet we will all pull together and help each other. But how willing are we to reach out to the unlovely, to those who are a little different than us. A lot of what we’ve been talking about in this 50 day adventure is about reaching out to others, stretching us beyond our confort zone. But that’s really what we need. Whenever we get comfortable, we can pretty well say we are not right with God. Whenever we think that everything is fine in our lives, we are doing all we need to do, we might as well say, look at me, I’m backsliding!