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Summary: A Pastor and a Soap Maker went for a walk one day at the park and studied the people who had come out to enjoy the warm summer day...

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FAITH REQUIRES ACTION

Matthew 7:21-29

A Pastor and a Soap Maker went for a walk one day at the park and studied the people who had come out to enjoy the warm summer day. After going about a mile along the path the soap maker suddenly turned to the Pastor and said to him, “Pastor, what good does it do to have faith in God? Look at all the trouble and misery that exists in the world! There is still such sin and sadness, even after so many years of teaching and preaching about goodness and truth and peace. If having faith in God is good and true, why should this be?”

The Pastor said nothing. They continued walking until the Pastor happened to see a child playing in the dirt. The Pastor said to the soap maker, “Look at that child. You say that soap makes people clean, but look at the dirt on that boy. Of what good is soap? With all the soap in the world you would think that the child would be clean, yet the child is still filthy. I wonder how good and effective soap is after all!”

The soap maker protested and exclaimed to the Pastor; ‘But Pastor soap cannot do anything unless it is used.”

With a nod the Pastor said; “My point exactly.”

In our text Jesus is making the same point the Pastor made to the soap maker, namely that ‘Faith Requires Action.” Listen to what Jesus said to his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

Our text clearly indicates that faith HAS a “doing” component to it.

As the Epistle of James states; “Faith without works is dead.”

Our faith, like the soap, must be used to be relevant for our lives!

I think this is a very difficult concept for us to appreciate. Many of us grew up hearing countless sermons berating the vices of work-righteousness. Martin Luther and other 16th century reformers protested against a FAITH that wasn’t really FAITH but self-achievement that tried to please God WITH OUR EFFORTS.

Haggai 1:6 Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.

Do you think God cares about our efforts? Our money? Our time?

Yes He does, but no He doesn’t!

The reformers were right in their fears concerning works-based salvation.

But the end result today may be that we have forgotten that faith does have an “action” component. Faith requires “doing” on our part, not to please God but in response to what God has done for us.

Most of us can remember the children’s song about the wise man who built his house upon a rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand. How foolish it would be, the song implies, for someone to put thousands of dollars into building a beautiful house and forget the basic pre-requisite of a good foundation. Even with all the latest appliances and gadgets the builder is probably headed for disaster if he or she has not paid attention to what lies under the building.


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