FAITH REQUIRES ACTION
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.
*****Houses at Cross Lanes*****
*****George Shinn- owner of the New Orleans Hornets*****
The rock the rest of his class was built on.
In 1992 Hurricane Andrew destroyed thousands of homes in South Florida. Yet in an area where the wreckage looked like a war zone, one house remained standing, still firmly attached to its foundation.
When a reporter asked the homeowner why his house had not blown away like the others, the man replied ‘I built this house myself.’”
“I also built the house according to the Florida State building code. When the code called for 2x6 inch roof trusses, I used 2x6 inch roof trusses. I was told that a house built according to code could withstand a hurricane – and mine did.
Jesus said “Everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on a rock. The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on a rock.”
It is foolish to hear God’s Word but not believe it or to put it into practice and to not build ones life on it.
Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the ones who hear and obey God’s message (Luke 11:28).
James said something similar when he wrote, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22).”
Unfortunately, there are many people who love going to Church and enjoy meeting fellow Christians. They love to sing hymns and read Christian literature but do not associate what they are doing and saying with what is happening in their life. The Word of Christ does not penetrate to the point of making a difference in the way that they live their lives.
OUR PASTOR TELLS A STORY ABOUT A BOOK THAT HE READ.
On many Sundays after Church my family would eat lunch at a local restaurant. On one occasion I over heard one waitress inform another waitress how much she hated to wait on people on Sunday mornings. Why, because many of the people that had just come from church were the most difficult people to please. You would think; the waitress went on to say, that people coming from Church would be a joy to wait on.
This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Anyone who hears these Words of mine and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”
My friends, it pleases the devil very much when someone hears what God has to say and lets it enter in one ear and exit out the other. For you see when we allow this to happen, we are in fact missing out on what will sustain us through the storms that will come our way.
This message is not a lesson on how to avoid storms, but rather how to build our lives in order to withstand the storms that will come.
It’s a message about foundations, not finding storm free places to live.
A message about hearing and responding to the gospel and applying it to our lives so we can journey through the storms and trials and enter into the kingdom of heaven. Amen.