Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
II. When works work--text, 17-18; John 15:5ff.; James 2:20-22, 26; 1 Thess 1:3; 1 Tim 1:5; 2 Pet 1:5-8
The Handbook of Bible Application: Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (Luke 3:8) Faith naturally leads to action. Confession and a changed life are inseparable. Faith without works is lifeless (James 2:14-26). Jesus’ harshest words were to the respectable religious leaders who lacked the desire for real change. They wanted to be known as religious authorities, but they didn’t want to change their hearts and minds. Thus, their lives were unproductive. Repentance must be tied to action, or it isn’t real. Following Jesus means more than saying the words; it means acting on what he says. ...Jesus was saying, therefore, that the quality of our goodness should be greater than that of the Pharisees. They looked pious, but they were far from the kingdom of God. God judges our heart as well as our deeds, for the heart determines our real allegiance. Be just as concerned about your attitudes, which people don’t see, as your actions, which are seen by all.
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THE MESSAGE FOR CHILDREN
We all know people who brag. Most of them can’t back up what they say. Imagine someone bragging like this: "I can throw a baseball 96 miles per hour." There are two words we can use whenever someone brags to us: PROVE IT!
So let’s try it out: "I can hit a home run as far as Barry Bonds." PROVE IT! Or how about this one? "I can lift 300 pounds!" PROVE IT! One more: "I can hit 3 baskets in a row from half court." PROVE IT!
In Bible times there were people who claimed to be right with God and did all kinds of bragging about it. One of them even bragged to God about how he did MORE than God asked of him. The problem was they did not have faith in Jesus as their Savior. And that’s like trying to run a game with a run-down battery. There’s no power. Works must have faith to give them power; otherwise we are only bragging and we can’t PROVE IT! In one of today’s readings, the Apostle James wrote: "Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do" (James 2:18b).
Jesus said that you know a tree is alive when you find fruit on it. It is the same with our lives. So whenever you and I think to ourselves "I have faith," we still have to add those two little words: PROVE IT!
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This page was revised on: Monday, November 13, 2006 01:00:47 PM