Summary: DO we really need works if we have faith?
2 COR 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
What does that mean "examine yourselves"? We say it a lot. Just as we get physical check-ups, Paul urges us to give ourselves spiritual checkups. We used to say Christians need a check-up from the neck up....but I suggest that we need to examine our hearts.....from the neck down...to see where we are with God. What kind of things should we look for to know where we stand? The biggest thing we should look for is a growing awareness of Christ’s presence and power in our lives. If we’re not taking active steps to grow closer to God, we are drawing further away from him.
Christians cannot just sit idling in nuetral going nowhere. You are either growing or stalling out. Pastor Rhonda was reading the book of James to me as we were driving home yesterday. Some things really stand out that I want to share with you and we can all hopefully examine ourselves closely for this coming year.
God has been dealing with me over the last few weeks. I need to do more for Him. I am in His service, as are you, and I feel like I can give more to Him. He is my light and my salvation. He does not serve me, but I serve Him. Jesus said in MAT 20:28 that even He did not come to be served, but to serve.....It is not all about what God can do for me, but what can I do for God. I ask us all tonight to examine ourselves as God does......where do we fit into His plan and how can we better serve Him?
I’m gonna talk about works tonight. Your works, my works, our works. JAMES 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
This is part of our self examination. What are you doing for God? Well, preach’a....I try to live for God, witness when I can...... tell others about church and stuff.....GOOD! That’s what you’re supposed to be doing. Is that really working for God? I suppose it is. Doesn’t really seem like work to be sharing the gospel with someone, though.
Why do you suppose it’s so hard to get volunteers for work days or get enough Sunday school teachers? Thank God that we have folks who do this work here. But it is the same ones that do it all the time. Christians ought to be standing in line or on a waiting list to do something for the church, for God. To serve Him....Our text says that "as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also". Dead bodies don’t grow anymore....they decay and decompose.
And did I mention that all works are not "fun" works? Not everyone leads praise and worship. Not everyone teaches a class. Sometimes the work you do will only be known by you and God.....and that’s even better for you! MAT 6:1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.