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Faith or Works?

Chris Buttery
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Isn't it true that we are saved by grace through faith and not according to works? Can a person have genuine faith despite their actions? On the other hand, doesn't Scripture constantly call us to obedience to God? And doesn't it consistently teach that we are judged by our works? What does God really want of us - believing or doing? Does He want both? How do we understand the relationship between faith and works? Find out in this vital message with Pastor Chris Buttery.



  • July 11, 2015
    11:30 AM
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Today's message as you are aware and you see in your bulletins is entitled faith or works. We continue our series. In the whole truth we're dealing with the whole truth in the series. And today we'll be talking about faith. And works. Now some of you probably are familiar with the story that took place. Not too long ago. You heard about the Son of Sam killer. It was David Richard Boucher with. And he had terrorized New York City for months. Apparently he had killed six victims and injured seven others. He was indicted on eight shooting incidents says and he confessed to all of them and claimed that he'd been obeying the orders of a demon manifested in the form of a dog by the name of Harvey who belonged to his neighbor San hence the Son of Sam. Everyone was relieved when he was arrested and with all the media coverage. It came out that he had earlier gone forward and he had made a decision for Jesus at a very fast growing church in Kentucky. On hearing this one woman responded on national T.V. while the least he was a Christian. At least he was a Christian. What does such a statement like this tell you about this woman's idea about Christian faith is it possible that she not only she's not the only one with a warped understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Why was the statement absurd. Isn't it true that we're saved by grace through faith and not according to works. Could the Son of Sam killer have been had have had genuine faith. Despite his action. On the other hand doesn't scripture can sconce only call us to obedience to God and doesn't it consistently teach that we are judged by our works. What does God really want of you and of me does he want us to believe or does he want us to do what does he want from us or does he want both how do we understand the relationship between faith and works. The debate over faith and works is as old as the New Testament itself Protestant Christianity has rightly focused on faith as the only requirement for salvation. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone. Unfortunately that has often implied that what a person does or at least some people have taken to mean that what a person does is of no importance in effect. People just say and you've heard it said just believe it doesn't matter what you do. How did anyone in end up concluding that it doesn't matter what a follower of Jesus does. How did anyone ever end up concluding that unfortunately this confusion is just one example of the many views of faith that don't do justice to the biblical teaching. Now these types of views leave us with a faith that will not accomplish our salvation. Someone wrote that such faith is the same as having no faith at all and I would tend to agree. So we asked the question this morning. What does faith really mean isn't it. Simplistic to think that faith alone is enough to save us. And let's ask the question as well while we're at it. How it works fit in to the scheme of things. So we go back to our scripture reading to Hebrews chapter eleven verse one where we have a very clear biblical definition of faith Hebrews chapter eleven and we read verse one. It says. Hebrews eleven verse one now. Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. So if you want to know what faith is Hebrews chapter eleven verse one tells us it is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen Now before we get too much into describing and defining what faith is and just kind of breaking this down a little bit. Let's first set aside some misconceptions regarding what faith is probably a more but let's look at for misconceptions about faith. So here we go. Number one number one faith is not a one time decision. We're just going to kind of roll over that that that that cow if I could put it that way. Faith is not a one time decision. Ask a person about his or her faith and you might hear about an experience that took place on such and such a date on such and such a time way back in the past maybe five maybe ten maybe thirty maybe forty years ago. Perhaps because we have placed a necessary emphasis on the need to make a decision for Christ some that some well meaning Saints think that is all that faith is all that really is needed at one time decision. That's all that faith involves a one time decision. You need to make a decision for Christ and it's right that we say that it is correct that we say that but perhaps some people have heard that and they think that perhaps just that one time decision constitutes faith and those who espouse that type of thinking usually also tend to believe in the concept known as eternal security the belief that if a person was once saved. He or she is always saved you can never be lost. You were saved at this point in your life and you can never be lost. Eternal Security but there is no security in this. Type of faith. Of course we know that the problem is that a perfect Lucifer became a perfect devil. The problem is that Adam and Eve were truly made in the image of God but they fell away the scriptures tell us that King Saul after the Spirit came upon him would be be a changed man to him and me to first Samuel if you'd be so kind First Samuel Chapter ten let's look at verses six and nine. The Bible. Speaking of King Saul talks about actual change that came over him. It's the first Samuel chapter ten and verse six notice what it says and says Then the spirit of the Lord will come upon you and you will prophesied with them and be turned into was another man and that doesn't refer to his his his body or his looks his external features. It's talking about his heart. We know that when we look at verse nine. So it was it so it was when he had turned his back to go from Samuel that God gave him what another hot gay soul another hot all those signs came to pass that day. Now this all of these Old Testament phrases could have come right out of the new test and lexicon of born again theology King Saul was a truly changed man according to what we read I meant. There's no doubt about that but he sadly turned away from the Lord he was truly saved but then he became sadly truly lost so Saul went from being saved to Lost. Simon Maggot's believed in next up next chapter eight vs thirteen and twenty one he believed but he so misconstrued God's purposes that Peter told him that he would have no share in the Gospel. You see salvation isn't a transaction worked out with God at some point in time only Nor is faith some warm fuzzy feeling we had in response to some emotional revival that we attended over a weekend too many people. I find a false security in some act of the past now is faith is merely a decision on our pot then we have turned faith into a human work something we do to accomplish our salvation decision is important and one must make a decision for Christ. Amen surely but this doesn't constitute all that faith that Biblical faith is so number one faith is not a one time decision. But two faith is not a system of doctrine. Faith is not a system of doctrine while doctrine is crucial in that it gives us a correct view of God and His truth. We must understand that faith is more than an affair of the mind it is not merely what we think although as Christians we ought to think I meant. We ought to be intelligent individuals we must think you see is not merely faith is not merely what we think we are not Christians because we believe certain facts or theology to be true. Just as decision is important so other facts of truth important as well. We cannot be Christians. Without believing that certain things are true. Fundamentally the death. The life the death the resurrection and the high priest the ministry of Jesus Christ the Lord God The Ten Commandments these things are facts these things we must believe but faith cannot be reduced down to just doctrines. James Chapter two verse nine turn there with me. James Chapter two verse nineteen rather says something very interesting about the devil. James Chapter two in verse nineteen it says you believe that there is one God you do you do. Well these folk believe the fact they believed a theory or at least a fact they believe the theology verse nineteen. Even the devils demons believe in what tremble the Demons demons believe in tremble. You see James two nineteen tells us there. Demons believe demons fear which ought to make those of us with merely a rational faith very uncomfortable and so faith is not merely a system of doctrines. Number three. Faith is not the ability to believe the unbelievable. Faith is not the ability to believe the unbelievable. Faith is not as a little boy put it believing what you know isn't true faith is not that way at all. Faith is defined in Hebrews chapter eleven verse one that we read earlier as the conviction of things not seen the conviction of things not seen not seen should not be confused with impossibilities. When faith is understood as the quantity of the amount of believing that we do it borders on being understood perhaps as magic and that is not faith faith is not the ability to believe the unbelievable number for faith is not a set of rules. Faith is not a set of rules how we live as Christians is extremely important but rules are not faith rules are not faith to suggest that they are is to give merit to our faith to give merit to our faith it is common for people to keep the rules to appear to be good and still have no faith in the Pharisee in the parable of the Pharisee in the tax collector kept all the rules. He even listed them off lifted his head to heaven and said God I'm glad I'm done this and I've done that and I'm glad on a like that publican that standing over there. The Bible teaches and Jesus teaches us that he didn't experience forgiveness because his heart was filled with pride. He appeared to be good. He was living by a set of rules but he didn't experience salvation a person can perform numerous religious acts and attend endless religious meetings and that would be a good thing. But they can still do that without genuine faith. Just as faith is not what we think neither is faith what we necessarily do the root problem with these four areas and these other misconceptions is the assumption that faith is merely a part time job is just something that we do kind of on the side. Tell me what decision to make Tell me what doctors to believe. Tell me what X. I need to perform so I can get them behind me and get on with my life. That's what those four assumptions about faith teach us but faith is not something that you and I can put behind us we can't just check in at the beginning of the day and check out at the bit at the end of the day with when it comes to faith these misconceptions provide a valid element of faith. Yes Absolutely no doubt about it but they don't adequately describe faith. So essentially and listen carefully Biblical faith Biblical faith requires all that we Biblical faith requires all that we our faith actually involves the intellect. It involves the will. And it involves the emotions. It takes in all of our being. That's why Jesus warned would be disciples to count the cost before they would follow him. He said count the cost figure it out. Look at it carefully before you follow me because when you going to follow me it's going to involve all of you. It's going to involve your mind your intellect your will. It's going to involve your emotions it's going to involve all of you. It's also the reason that poll directs Christians to test themselves to see whether they're actually in the faith and you can read that in second Corinthians chapter thirteen in verse five Peter even mentions that as well and says make sure that you're calling in your election is sure you see. The concern of the Bible the concern of scripture is not that our not for our feelings of Al security the Bible's not interested in our feelings of security but for the reality of our faith. That's what the Bible. That's what God is concerned with you remember the rich young ruler. You see he came to Jesus and he was seeking security about eternal life. What must I do to inherit eternal life and what did Jesus tell him what did Jesus tell him go sell what you have give to the poor and then come follow me and the Bible records a very sad occurrence that took place. We're told that the rich young ruler went away sorrowful and he went away sad when Jesus confronted him about the shallowness of his thinking the shallowness of his understanding with regard to what it means to follow Jesus is see him as a matter of fact in John chapter six. Jesus is talking about himself being the bread of life. He was the man of that fell from heaven He is the Bread of Life eat he said eat my flesh drink my blood or you won't have a part of me. Of course he is not referring to cannibalism in any way later on he says the spear words that I speak they are spirit and they are life their spirit in their life. Take in my words take in deep drafts of all that I'm teaching you and then I'm telling you. And then I'm showing you in my life and you'll become a part of me is what he was telling telling us telling his disciples back then and those that were listening to him thinking that they were going to crown him king of Israel Messiah. Left him. The Bible says never to follow him again. Why because they didn't count the cost. They did not understand what it meant to follow Jesus they didn't understand that it would require all of them all that they were to follow the Messiah to follow the savior of the world you see but is it easy enough to say faith encompasses all that. We are. Perhaps we be inclined to think have I thought Have I done. Have I felt enough and then do I have enough faith. If we were inclined to think that perhaps to say that faith encompasses all that we are then still isn't enough. Could it be that it is most of all a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Could it be. Let's see now the Bible presents God as a god who seeks his people. God is the one who's pursuing planet Earth. He's pursuing you and me. And he's a stablished a covenant the Bible calls it a ever lasting covenant is established a covenant relationship with his people and you see that both in the old and you see that also in the New Testaments the word Testament actually means covenant. In other words God commits himself to a relationship with his people. That's what the covenant is a covenant is based on promises made by two parties on certain with certain requirements you see. And so the covenant is God committing himself to a relationship with his people his he promises to be their God and he promises to be faithful to them and on the other hand we are asked to affirm our relationship with God and to be faithful to the covenant in the way that we live our life connected to Jesus. You see. So in order to understand what Biblical faith is we need to do so in connection to this covenant relationship to understand faith we need to understand what it is in connection to the this everlasting covenant this covenant relationship. We need to see faith as an expression of this covenant. Faith then could be considered as a life lived in the this covenant relationship with. God it is our response to the relationship that God has a stablished Could it be said that faith is a response. Could it be said that faith is considered is a life considered a living living in this covenant relationship a life in response into this relationship to God as a stablished Could it be. That's what faith is and when we go back to the Old Testament God established a covenant with Israel and he lived in the midst of his people as a matter of fact the wilderness sanctuary. And the permanent Temple in Jerusalem taught both the terms of entering into that covenant relationship as well as maintaining that covenant relationship. There was no getting around the fact when you read the Old Testament that God just wanted to dwell in the midst of his people. That's what God has always wanted a man wants to be with his people want to have a relationship with his people in the New Testament the terms and conditions haven't changed. Not at all instead of an earthly sanctuary we have a shadow. We have the stops and struggle of the shadow in Jesus Christ who was the Lamb that was slain and who was our High Priest ministering in the heavenly sanctuary his life his death his resurrection and his high placed priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. He was the substance that met the shadow that all of those. All of those ceremonies pointed forward to you see he was a man you well he was God with us John said he was God who He was he was the Word made flesh and he tabernacle. With you and with me and through Christ the Holy Spirit continues to dwell with his people as the church who he is building up to become a what it Peter. Called you and me the church as a living. What a living temple is modified to get even more personal because in first Corinthians six and in fact. The in sri poll says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit God just wants to dwell with his people can you say amen out there is no doubt about that and this is what the covenant relationship is about God bringing his people to his side you see entering into that saving relationship with God now. Usually when we think of our relationship with God We use the language of God or Christ living in us. We go to Revelation chapter three in verse twenty one we're told that Jesus is standing at the door and he was knocking at the door of our hots and he wants to do was come in. So we normally talk about when think of this relationship with God We use the language of Jesus living in our hearts we say that when we've exist except to Jesus. With accepted him into our hearts and our minds and if we were to say that we would be one hundred percent correct. There would be nothing wrong with that at all. And when Paul wrote for example he really spoke of Christ in us He did speak of Christ in this. There's no doubt about that he. Some have suggested about five times I've counted and is about that or just a little bit more on the other hand he uses a phrase over one hundred times and that phrase is being in Christ. It is good for Jesus to be in us but we also need to be in Christ. It is possible it is possible that without usual picture and some of mistaking that this wine and it's not the Bible's fold it's not God's fault it's not the church's fault but some people just have a wild imagination. Sometimes people have a usual picture that Jesus is about two inches tall and we are sure into him into some corner of our hearts but we ultimately are still the ones in control of our lives. That's the picture the some people have to speak of ourselves. However in Christ can reverse that image the whole being is. In Christ. It is in the Lord of the universe. You see we are members of Jesus' body. We are made a pot of Christ. According to officials five in verse thirty and at the same time we are made pot of other Christians as well and you can read that in the same book chapter four verse twenty five so authentic faith is relational authentic faith is relational Christians are people who live in Christ and reciprocally Jesus or the Holy Spirit lives in them. That's a wonderful thing to consider it is as if Christ were a sphere and we live our lives in that sphere our lives are to be lived out within that sphere you see Jesus said and we can understand this probably another way when Jesus said I am the vine I am the true vine and you are the world we are the branches That's exactly right. You see as the branch is connected fuse grafted into the stock into the vine so Al lives us we Christians are to be connected to Jesus who is the true vine you see to have faith to have faith is to live in and with Christ. Just as he lived in harmony with his father and let that relationship direct and order his footsteps and his life. So what does it mean to live in Christ. What does it mean to be in Christ. Mostly it means. Mostly it means that we understand we identify we experience the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ in our lives in other words we are so united to him by faith that his death is our death and his life is our life faith for Paul faith for the Apostle Paul involved both dying with Christ. And rising to a new life in Jesus. Perhaps the best definition of faith could be summed up in Paul's words in Galatians chapter two verses nineteen and twenty. If you'd be so kind to him there with me. Let's take a look at what he said over here. If Asians Chapter two verses nineteen and twenty feet two sorry Galatians two nineteen and twenty. Thank you for keeping me straight. I certainly appreciate that. Elation Chapter two verses nineteen and twenty. Paul says full I through the law died. To the law that I might live to God I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me and the life which I live in the flesh. I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Paul The Bible says pole life his life involved both dying in with Christ and rising to a new life with Jesus Christ one of the probably one of the best descriptions definitions of faith in the Bible living for Jesus dying to self just as Jesus died for you and for me. Now go over the Philippians chapter three because it. We want to keep building on this idea at least we want to see what the how the Bible builds on this idea. Philippians chapter three verses seven through ten I want you to notice here we're talking about a covenant relationship experiencing the death and resurrection of Jesus being grafted to the vine the branch connected to the vine. Let's go on. Philippians chapter. Would I say flip in chapter three. There is first a seven through ten. Philip is up to three verses seven to ten but what things were again to me this is Paul speaking Paul writing but what things were going to me. See these I have counted loss for Christ yet indeed. I also count all things loss for the excellent C. of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish that I might what gain Christ man he goes on we're going to keep reading but just just reflect on those words for a moment he was willing to give up his reputation he was willing to give up his social status. He was willing to to give up his. If he had riches his riches he was willing to give up so that he may gain Jesus can it be said of us that we are willing to give up those things for him going Jesus cannot be said that we are willing to do these things gay to gain Jesus the excellent C. of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Now notice. Notice he wanted to gain Jesus notice verse nine and be found where in him not having my own righteousness which is from the law but that which is through faith in Christ the righteousness which is from God by faith that now notice he goes on to speak about this experience of faith. He said that I am a wad know him that I may know him. Now you know the Bible. Well and you know that when the Bible says that when in John Chapter seventeen verse three Jesus prayed to the Father and prayed that we would come to know the Father and Jesus Christ whom he has said to know God is to love God to love to know God is to love God to love God is to give our lives to God and to serve God to know God is to enter into a intimate saving relationship with Jesus Christ. That was poles desire. That's what he wanted more than anything that I may gain Christ that I may know him and notice I also want to know why. The power of His resurrection and on the old self just to rise like it does. I wanted to be dead. I want to know the power of the Resurrected Christ in my life I want to know what it means to be free from sin to live above sin to live all a victorious life in Jesus. I want to know him. I want to know the power of His resurrection and I also want to know the fellowship of His sufferings. Now you know if it were me. I'm not sure I'd be so keen to want to enter into the fellowship of Jesus sufferings you look at the life of Jesus and Jesus life was he was hounded by spies may use go back to when he was a child you read in that beautiful inspired commentary on the life of Jesus desire of ages where Jesus was misunderstood even by his parents ridiculed by his siblings misunderstood and yet he continued to do what was right and we entered into his ministry as Messiah entered into that wilderness tempted became victorious entered into villages and towns and preached people didn't understand him he was driven out of towns. He was hounded by spies who were trying to trip a trip him up corner him so that they could destroy him and then ultimately Jesus would come into this world to bear the sins of the world do we desire to enter into the fellowship of His sufferings to know what it means to suffer as Jesus suffered that doesn't mean that we would bear the sins of the world. Jesus did that we can freely give him our sins and our guilt and they are washed away the burden has been lifted and has been rolled off and we are free. Indeed in Jesus is no doubt about that but when we serve Jesus will experience what Jesus enjoyed what was the greatest thing that Jesus must have suffered. Apart from get so many in the cross. Probably when people left him to follow Him and serve him no more the most difficult thing that I have to experience as a pastor and then you would experience to as you witness and share your faith with others is people who would turn their lives completely and away from you because you believe a certain way and you follow Jesus. It's not about me it's not about me. It actually hit Jesus first it affected Jesus tears would roll down his eyes as they would yours as they have mine and people do not respond to this to the call of Jesus on their life. Enter into the fellowship of His sufferings and he doesn't in there he says I want to gain Jesus I want to know him. I want to know the power of His resurrection. I want to know the fellowship of His sufferings and I want to be conformed unto His Why there. Is that your desire today to be conformed done to Jesus death. The old man the old woman. Being dead to sin. Sometimes we like it when he rises up occasionally speaks a word or two in our favor. But Paul said I want to know him. I want to be conformed to His death in these versus we see Paul renounce essentially all that he had value for him that he may gain Jesus Christ His desire was to be found in Christ to know the power of His resurrection to share in his sufferings to be conformed to the likeness of his death. Paul described this process as being conformed to His death the words may seem strange to us but they are merely a variation of geezer's own words in March after a verse thirty four when he said If anyone wishes to follow me let that person deny himself herself take up his cross and follow me. We gain life essential. By giving it away by losing it to identify to embrace to experience the death of Jesus simply means a break in our relationship with sin and to the things and customs of this world that are opposed to God a politician who was a Republican and then became a Democrat probably would not be welcome at a Republican rally. Or vice versa. Should we feel similar discomfort when we leave God out of our picture identifying with the resurrection of Jesus experiencing the resurrection of Christ means that we transfer lordship no longer am I. Lord of my life but Jesus Christ is Lord of my life. You see Christ is now Lord and not my own interests not my own pursuits not my own aspirations that now merged together as a politician as as a politician who changed parties would be instructed by a new party platform we too have realigned our lives and we too have a new agenda as we follow Jesus and this friend all takes place at conversion it all takes place in conversion and it is testified to at baptism. But it is not just an act of the past while it is and did take place in the past. It is also very much present and it also very much is future. We are to experience the death and the resurrection of Jesus. It is the pattern for our lives we also anticipate the future with the death and the resurrection will be a reality. If the Lord doesn't come first for some of us those a do pass on to their graves will experience the resurrection power when Jesus calls you from your dusty bed and arise. It causes you to arise to sleep. No more one a day that's going to be when Jesus comes back that we may know him. That's what Paul wanted and I pray that's what. We want often in discussions of faith. People often ask well how much faith is enough. How much is my putt how much is God's part to speak of faith as being in Christ essentially removes all need for these types of questions. Faith is no longer viewed as a quantity of believing if I can just add up my believing points then I have enough and that should be sufficient. Faith is not what we are able to conjure up instead it is our living in that covenant in that saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We cannot separate our part from God's part but because he is the vine and we are the branches he abides in us and we abide in Him. You see in the book Christ object lessons page three hundred eleven talking about the righteous the righteousness of Christ or the robe of Christ's righteousness. Listen to the way Ellen wide defines the righteousness of Christ. He says when we submit ourselves to Christ when the heart is united with his hot when the will is merged in his will. When the mind becomes one with his mind the thoughts are brought into captivity to his we live his life. This is what it means to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Wow Hot united to his heart will merged in his will. Mine connected with his my thoughts brought into the captivity to Christ we essentially live the life of Jesus. While whole powerful all that is available for you and for me is remarkable. So to say that a person has faith is to not speak of what that person does. Rather it is to focus the attention. On the God in whom our faith is placed to say I have faith then is to say that God is faithful. And that God is a trustworthy and faithful God That's what it means and someone's going to say Well isn't that just too simply simplistic focus on faith isn't life more complex than that especially the Christian life is it possible that we can be as easy it can be as easy as that. And if it is as easy as that. That's why probably you hear some people say just have faith and everything will be alright. Life is complex and faith is not magic. So that we can escape life's struggles life's sufferings and life's death faith understood as a saving relationship with God is not simplistic to understand it is simple but it is not simplistic. It doesn't seek to get things finished with God put them behind us so we can get on with our lives. Nor does it seek to escape the difficult questions that life pose. Rather it faces life in the presence of God that faces life in the presence of God Still they've always been attempts to say that faith was too simplistic and the something else was needed to be added in fact several New Testament pistols were written to reject the idea that something else needed to be added to faith in Christ in Galatians the problem was Jesus plus the ceremonial law in First Corinthians it was Jesus plus spiritual gifts and in kolache ns to the church in colossal it was Jesus. Plus a spiritual experience. In each case. Paul didn't allow for something to be added to faith in Christ your church history is also witnessed various theories the Puritans they stressed faith and assurance of salvation ten. Cost alls they argue for faith. Plus the baptism of the Spirit Wesleyans switch in whichever form have stressed faith and entire sanctification the answers to all of these attempts is the same as Paul gave centuries ago in Colossians three eleven Christ is all and all you need you cannot have Jesus as Savior listen carefully. Now you cannot have Jesus as Savior without him being your Lord is not possible. You cannot be a Christian without the presence of the Holy Spirit for it is the spirit that accomplishes conversion and writes God's law in our hearts and in our minds you see there is no such thing as faith without obedience there is no such thing as faith without sanctification it's embodied in the concept of Biblical faith faith is enough for faith binds us to the Lord of the universe in whom are hidden the treasures of wisdom and knowledge faith has and he says quality sometimes we could consider faith as Velcro stuff sticks to it. We are stuck to Christ it attaches us to Jesus because Jesus is sufficient. You got to believe that today. So we talked about faith. What about works where the works or fit in. What role do they play in our lives of faith when Paul presented the gospel. He presented a gospel of faith not apart from works. Now we can read some statements pretty quickly. Like in Romans Chapter three where it seems as though he separates faith and works. Seems as though he presents a gospel apart from works but it did he mean that works one important as some of maintained and when you go to the Book of James James says faith without works is. What dead. Did he mean that faith was not sufficient. But you needed works as well. Some Christians get stuck because they see a contradiction between the letters of Paul and the letters of James. Actually there is nothing contradictory in their teaching since they are dealing with two different proper problems. Ultimately both reject the perversions of the Gospel in his letter. James is concerned about those whose faith has no effect in their lives. James his purpose is to show the difference between a dead faith or and a life faith or a true faith and you can read that in James Chapter two verses seventeen eighteen and twenty six his conclusion is that any faith that is not active faith resulting in acts of love is not faith at all dead faith in other words he says is not a valid faith and Paul would say the same thing he would say the same thing if we asked Paul did Paul know of a faith that doesn't work. The answer is a resounding no no in Paul's letters. It's interesting the plural word works works often as acts as shorthand often axis shorthands shorthand expressions for the works of the law which refers to human effort to present one's self righteous before God which is him in a possibility for us to do in this context the word is almost wholly viewed as negative. Interestingly enough on the other hand when poll used the word work in the singular it is almost in a positive does so in a positive turn that refers to the productive life of faith. It is this level sense of the term that James is concerned with and his conclusions are one to which. Apostle Paul would say a hearty amen faith apart from works would not be acceptable to Paul. Well take you to a few bible verses now just flip with me to several verses First Corinthians thirteen and verse two First Corinthians chapter thirteen and verse two will look at three bible verses here where Paul does not separate works from faith faith apart from works would not be acceptable to Paul it's not acceptable to God. Notice what he wrote here first Corinthians thirteen those two in the great love chapter. He says and though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge and though I have what all faith so that I could remove mountains but have not love. I am was nothing. So right here. Paul poll shows that faith has an expression in acts of war laugh and if it doesn't have an expression in love then you and I are nothing. You see how about Galatians chapter five and the six go over there with me. Just before if Asians right after second quintile chapter five and verse six. Notice what Paul says again with regard to the relationship between faith and works collations chapter five and verse six. Paul says For in Christ Jesus. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything. But faith working through laugh. That's right. Faith working through life so there it is again Paul doesn't separate the two you see faith. Actually according to Paul works and what type of works as a do works of love works of love works of charity you see and then go over to a parallel passage back in first Corinthians Chapter seven and verse nineteen First Corinthians Chapter seven verse nineteen notices apparel. Passage. Notice what he goes on to say here he says circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing he just got through telling us that in Galatians chapter five or six but notice what he says but keeping what the commandments of God is what matters. So according to Paul genuine faith I would base genuine a faith keeps God's commandments such passages like these can be multiplied over and over and over again and the result will be the same. As we are as First Corinthians fifteen fifty eight puts it always a bounding in the work of the Lord. That's what the Bible. That's what the Bible teaches That's what Paul taught there is no such thing as faith without obedience. In fact Paul sometimes uses faith and obedience interchangeably in Romans Chapter ten verse sixteen he said but they have not all obeyed the gospel for Isaiah says Lord who has believed our report. But you notice how he uses the word believe and obey interchangeably. He's quoting eyes and eyes I says who has believed their report and Paul takes that statement and says not everyone has believed that everyone has but a you see. So Paul often uses the word faith and obedience interchangeably. Paul summarizes his missionary purpose as seeking the your obedience of faith among the Gentiles. So when we consider the message of Jesus the result is the same everywhere there is and expects spectate. That a life connected to God involves loving obedience to God And then of course love to neighbors there is no such thing as salvation without obedience someone right. He said We cannot have faith without being faithful. We cannot have faith without being faithful. The only time that there might be a conflict between faith and works is when there is a mis understanding of one or the other there is no contradiction between faith and works because properly understood faith in compass is works. And the sesa Tate's productive living in other words faith works but it doesn't use its works to prove to God or anyone else that the believer is more righteous than anybody else you see when you and I make a decision in keeping with our faith that does not make us more presentable to God does not make us better than anybody else. This is what faith just us faith just works faith just does God's will. It has a new agenda and it seeks to work it out in the life a life of good works is not separated from faith. It grows out of a saving relationship we have with God by faith good works are only made possible by faith and I want to take you to one last verse as we close efficiency Chapter two verses eight through ten. In the Chapter two verses eight through ten. You know the verse as well. Paul wrote For by grace. You have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God. Not of works. Lest anyone should boast for we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for why good works. We are saved for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk. In them. I want to read a statement to you as I close from faith and works and it's found on page forty eight forty nine. I'm going to ask is Will Will you here where I will. William is are you here. I've asked William to do something for me on the piano. There. Yes. Praise the Lord areas. I'm going to step down here. I'm going to read this statement to you and William is going to play for us something in just a little bit but let me just begin by reading this quote faith and works go hand in hand. They act harmoniously in the work of overcoming. Now William has two hands hold them up when. William's got two hands when William plays with his left hand on the piano What does the. What does the song sound like he's going to be playing faith is the victory which is a closing him so he's going to play that just once for a couple of verses here. So what take Will's left hand as faith and will take right Bull's right hand is works let's hear what the right hand sounds like without the left. Sound a nice didn't it didn't sound quite complete. Now if we asked William to play with both hands. Man beautiful thank you William pre-shared that say she says that faith and works go hand in hand they act harmoniously in the work of overcoming cannot be separated. You see if you want life your life to produce beautiful music for Jesus. You're going to have to have faith and works you see she goes on to say works without faith are dead and faith without works is dead works will never save us. It is the merit of Christ that will avail on our behalf. Through faith in him. Christ will make all our imperfect efforts acceptable to God the faith we are required to have is not a do nothing face saving faith is that which works by love and purifies the soul. He who will lift up holy hands to God without wrath and doubting will walk intelligently in the way of God's commandments and she closes by saying faith and works will keep us evenly balanced and make us successful in the work of perfecting Christian character faith and works and attempted good works without faith in God is as futile as the branch of a peach tree trying to produce peaches separated from the peach tree. By faith we respond to God's grace and that grace works in us to the extent that we live faithfully for God Obedience productive living absolutely essential aspects of faith. Some of us understood poll and ended up with a do nothing religion. No wonder they are Christians who don't mind disobeying God or living a faithless life. Some are like those in Titus Chapter one Verse six who profess to know God by their works tonight him people who are quite detestable disobedient and unfit for any go. Deed the words are harsh but the Biblical message is that either one lives the life of faith. Or one does not have the life you remember Abraham the father of the faithful the Bible says that he believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Abraham was called by God to leaver of the Calgary. He left that God's call to faith work faith worked faith obeyed him throughout his traversing through the promised land that land that would be given to his ancestors the children of Israel. Abraham's faith worked. He made some mistakes along the way messed up a couple of times but God it exonerates Abraham and his faith before you and before me. It had to take his son up to the top of that mountain you remember the story. It took him up there because God had said I want you to offer up your son as a sacrifice and so I Abraham's faith worked again and then in obedience went up that mountain with his son laid him down built the altar laid him on the altar raised the knife into the sky and then the Bible says a God sent an angel to stay the hand of Abraham and God said don't do it. I provided a rare in the thicket that will be your sacrifice. Jesus said Abraham saw my day and was satisfied in that act Jesus saw the greatest sacrifice of all in God sending his Son to die for you and for me. He did that so that we might enter into that covenant saving relationship with God that we might be saved into His eternal Kingdom to be with him or to live with him forever. The question for us here today. As it always is. Have we. And are we experiencing that life of faith in Jesus. Are we in in that covenant relationship with God are we in that saving relationship with him. Does Jesus have our hearts as Jesus have our minds as Jesus have our hands are we living that life of faith that works by love that purifies the soul this media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse. If you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W.W.W.. Audio verse or.


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