Friday, April 7, 2017

Looking for the Evidence that Proves Our Faith to the World

The issue I've been pondering lately is how to tell someone is a believer if they don't do anything for Christ. The answer I've finally come to is pretty simple. I can't, and neither can the world.

Of course we can argue that we see the outside but God sees the heart, and that would be true. We can't, however, disregard the words of Jesus' half-brother, James.

"Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself."James 2:17 nasb 

The word translated as "dead" is nekros, and in this instance indicates that it's "powerless, destitute, without force." (BLB/Thayers) Nekros here does not mean non-existent or lifeless, but that it has no power. 

This is how the Christian life looks: faith results in works. Period.

If we don't have works, how can we "prove" our faith? We can't. It's that simple. It's that hard.

Believing that God exists is not enough. Satan believes God exists, and so do his demons. Salvation does not depend upon the belief that God exists. 

Belief is a good starting point, but salvation requires that we surrender to the Son of God as our Lord. 

We must take up our cross and follow Jesus. 

To be perfectly clear, it doesn't matter if I can tell that someone is a believer, or not. What matters is that a lost and dying world can tell. 

In the first century, the change in a person who accepted Christ was so remarkable that it was recognizable. Believers were first called Christian, or "little Christ," because His love, His heart of service were evident in them. 

Lost people see our love for Jesus by our works.

People without Jesus are drawn to the evidence of Christ in our lives because the love of God is the strongest power on earth. For people to be drawn to our Jesus by our lives, He must be evident in us by our works. 

If all we have is pew-sitting faith, we don't have enough Jesus. 

The Lordship of Christ will not leave us unchanged.

It will not leave us sitting on the sidelines.

It will not leave us comfortable and untouched by the need of the world.

The model Jesus set, and that was evident in the first century, is for us to go outside the walls of our church to serve, into the world. We aren't called to merely love each other. We're supposed to be loving and serving in the world, as well. 

I've struggled with this concept for weeks. I have faith, so what are my works? 

I understand that my "job" as a missionary pretty much guarantees that I'm busy for the kingdom. The concern, for me at least, is that it's entirely too easy to do all my works with and for believers, and leave the lost of our world untouched.

Please don't misunderstand me. I love building up the body of Christ. I love serving the body of Christ. Jesus, in His last hours on earth, prayed that we would have perfect unity. When I serve His people, I'm doing exactly what He prayed we would do.

The unity for which Jesus prayed wasn't an end in itself, however. The goal of our unity was so that the world would know the great love of God exhibited through Christ for them.

Unity in the body of Christ is important work, but it's directional goal must be toward the world. We must work together to demonstrate God's love to all those who walk in darkness. Including the people most like us and the people least like us.

Today is the day to look at our faith and ask ourselves how much power and force are evident. 

Does our faith result in works or not? 

If so, what works? If not, why not?

Are all our works directed inward, toward the Church, or do we also serve outward, in the world? If not, what needs to change? 

Let's be the force of love Christ intended us to be, and show our love by our service.

"I am praying not only for those disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one... And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent Me." John 17:20,21 nlt
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If you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: When Our Clothes Reveal Our True Religion and It's Not What We Thought.

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