SCRIPTURE Jas 2:20, 26 DECEMBER , 2015
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
SUBJECT - NO WORKS EQUALS NO FAITH!!!!
The message for this month, is very simple and straight to the point for those that are being led by the Spirit. And that point is, if you will read the entire context of the passage of scripture it is taken from [v 19-26], you, without me even expounding on it, will get the point.
However, for those of you who are not so Spiritually-minded, this message, I hope, will enlighten you in the area of faith in God, through Jesus Christ.
If you will take notice to the parts of the 2 verses that are underlined, you would be able to get the gist of what this message is going to be about.
Both of those parts say the exact same thing, hence the title of this message, NO WORKS EQUALS NO FAITH!!!!
What this is saying, is that those of you that claim to be Christians, in order for you to be looked on as such, in God's eyes, need to be doing something more than making unsubstantiated claims to being one.
In reading the entire passage, we see the writer is telling us that we need to provide evidence that backs up our profession of having our faith in Jesus Christ. Just as people who put their faith in other things, be it religion, philosophy or some other lifestyle choice, make it plain and clear as to what they believe and why, so too, Christians need to be doing the same thing.
For example, let's look at the gay community.
Here are a group of people, no matter how you feel about them, have started to stand up in the face of all types of criticism and persecution, and let everyone know what they are, and like it or not, they are going to be 'in your face.' There was a time when they were, as we called it, 'in the closet,' kept out of sight, as if they didn't exist. They were too scared to let anyone know that they were outside the norm, when it came to who they were. But, no more.
Today, they are professing who and what they are, and have even gotten most of society to buy in to their lifestyle, so much so that recently the Supreme court has determined that they have a Constitutional right to get married, and to enjoy all the benefits that were recently ascribed to married couples.
We have a man who, back in 1975 and '76, won the prestigious gold medal for the decathlon, the most grueling of all events in proving how much of a man, in physical challenges one is. He later gets married, has kids, and settled down as a husband and father.
Then earlier this year, he announces that he really is a woman trapped in a man's body, and proceeds to undergo an operation to change his gender. Today, he is known by a female name, and is the talk of the nation.
If you will notice, I didn't mention his name because he is not the issue. Thousands of men and women have undergone sex change operations to satisfy the urge within them that says, 'you are in the wrong body.' What this implies is, God made a mistake and you need to correct it.
Now, my point is, individuals like these, and others, have no problem standing up for, and claiming what they believe. They will fight, and in some cases die for it, without reservation.
Look at radical Islamists, and ISIS with their suicidal actions, killing thousands based on a misinterpretation of what the Koran teaches [according to others that have read it, not me]. However, what they have in common is that they believe something enough to die for it. They essentially act on what they believe, and they will not change because of what people think.
Then, we have those of us that call themselves Christians. I am using the term 'call themselves Christians', as opposed to just Christians, lest people think I am talking about all Christians.
These so-called Christians proclaim the Lordship of Christ, and on the surface, carry on as if they truly are followers, and believers in Christ. Many of them attend church every Sunday, and others even some times even during the week. Many will say that church attendance is accounted as a sign that a person is a believer in/follower of, Christ.
If this was the sole evidence of a person being a Christian, then we could say that the Devil is a Christian as well, because he is in the Church more than anybody.
However, as you can see, there is a lot missing when it comes to standing up for what they proclaim in that, the minute they get criticized, or persecuted for what they claim they are, they shut down, put their tails between their legs, and go in to 'the closet.'
What this means is, they are willing to claim something, but, when the time comes to perform what is required of those that are part of the Family of God, they don't want any part of it.
Listen, the bible says we are saved by Grace, and not by works [or/of Righteousness]Eph. 2:8. However, now that you are saved, there is work to do, and you are required to do your part, not so that you have to do it to stay saved, but, because you are saved. It is like you going to your job. When you got hired, you were assigned certain tasks to do by your employer, and, as such, if you want to keep your job, you do what you are assigned to do.
As I mentioned though, your salvation is not predicated on works, but, if you will consider this, your blessings/rewards, the things that God has in store for you in this life, are!!
The bible tells us that, without faith, it is impossible to please God[Heb. 11:6]. So, in order to get any blessings/rewards that God has for you, you have to please Him. And, the only way to do that is to essentially do what He says you need to do, or to put it plainly, be obedient to Him.
Now, what does being obedient to Him entail, you might ask??
Well, for starters, you are acknowledging that He is your Master, and as such, you are His servant. And, as such, you are to follow His direction in every thing you do.
As a result of your being obedient, you obtain His favor, and as a result, you are rewarded/blessed. Now, here is something that is key to those rewards/blessings. The more obedient you are, the more favor you have with Him, and that translates in to more rewards/blessings.
You want to know why some saints seem to have it all while you are just barely able to make it, because of sickness, disease, depression, and overall bad luck [even though there is no such a thing]?? It is because they have more favor with Him than you do, based on several factors, the main one being, their obedience to Him.
Let me ask you this. Have you read or heard something that I or some other minister that is communicating to you under the anointing of God, that you totally rejected because you believe that it is a lie, or is something that is being said to judge you, because it is putting the blame for your problems totally on you???
That is rejection of His direction for your life. Notice now, I am talking about a minister speaking under the direction and authority of God.
You say, How am I supposed to know what you or they are saying is the Truth?? Well, the bible does tell us to 'Study' 2Tim 2:15. And we are to do it both in a group, and individually. Groups have a good purpose in bible study when it comes to things that are specific to the entire body of Christ.
However, when it comes to what is God's specific direction for you as an individual, then that is where individual study and prayer is called for because, God may have a specific thing He wants you to do that the group may not agree with. If the group can't see it, and you go along with them, that is disobedience.
Remember Jesus is supposed to be running your life, not the group, or even the pastor. There comes a time when a person may have to leave the church they 'grew up in', because God told them to, but they stayed because that is where they have been all their lives and they want to be faithful to that group. Disobedience!!
A common action that takes place all the time where this disobedience, and its results are undeniable is in voting for leaders of our cities, states and nation.
I can't tell you how many times I and others have warned against voting for politicians that support every major thing that God hates, simply because the group tells them to do it.
The black community in this nation is suffering the most because of one thing. The disobedience of those that say they are saved, yet run out and support politicians that are at war with the Christ they claim to be Lord over their lives, because of what the 'group' or their pastor says. Abortion, gay marriage, affirmative action[God is no respecter of persons, and neither should we be], idolatry [animal rights and environmentalism], just to name a few.
Statistically speaking, if it is violence, bad health, illiteracy, poverty, or any other thing that is bad, we rank at the very top of the list. But, I thought God says He would make us the head and not the tail!!! We would be above and not beneath!!! We are supposed to be walking in Divine health. Our enemies would scatter before us!! But, since blacks claim to be the only reason these politicians have the power they do have, then that puts us on a collision course with Christ.
The bible says, Jesus speaking, 'if you deny me before men, I will deny you before the Father.!![Mat 10:33].
Disobedience or rejection of His Word/Direction means you denying Him, which translates in to your not having any Faith in Him. And since, as you read earlier, without faith it is impossible to please Him, then you can see why you are in the mess you are in. It is all your fault. You are not pleasing God, so your blessings are limited or cut off, which then opens you up to curses. It's that simple!!!
People go around claiming that God won't more on us than we can bear [1Cor 10:13], therefore they figure a lot of their suffering is God's will and that they have to deal with it.
That is nonsense!!
What it actually means is that God won't ask/command us to do something that we are not able to do. However, He won't stop you from adding burdens on yourself. Example. If God knows you are only able to carry a 100 pound weight, and still be able to function as you should, that is all He will put on you. But you, being full of pride, opt to take an extra 50 pound weight to carry. Then later you collapse under the weight, and blame God because He put more on you than you could bear.
Or how about this practical example. You have a job and want to get some nice things on credit. God, says, you can only afford to pay a certain amount a month, and still be able to live comfortably. But you want to keep up with the Jones's. So you take advantage of every credit offer that comes your way. Several years later, you lose your house and car, and have to file bankruptcy. Disobedience to God's Word, is the problem. You put yourself in this situation. Don't you dare blame God!!
Faith in God/Christ, means Faith in His Word. When you reject His Word, you are rejecting Him.
When we are told by Him to walk after the Spirit, and we choose to walk after the flesh, then, that is rejecting Him.
When we refuse to acknowledge our evil ways, and try to twist what He says, in to something that uplifts us, rather than convicts us, then that is rejecting Him.
There are 66 books/letters in the bible. When He directs us to study His Word, all of it, but we choose to only study those scriptures that make us feel good, and reject those books/letters/scriptures that don't fit in to our image of God, then that is rejecting Him.
When we, would rather show ourselves friendly to those that are our enemies, to the point where we support them by compromising the principles Christ gave us to live by, that is rejecting Him.
So what can we deduce from this???
Obedience is the work that shows others, but especially God, your faith in Christ.
Oh, you might still be saved and get in to Heaven, or maybe not, but your life here is going to be far less enjoyable than it would be if you put your total faith in, and acted on His Word.