Do you TRULY Believe in God?How Do you know you believe in God?
How do I know? Because He is my Father. He has given me all things pertaining to life and godliness (2nd Peter 1:3) And I trust in Him.
Oh…you trust Him?
Trust is a corresponding action to the presence of Faith. If you believe in God…then something, somewhere in your life is going to show it.
This is the Imperative of Faith. Belief. Faith plus action equals belief
Belief. Greek Word Pistis
conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it
If you believed you were standing under a 300 ton Boulder that was going to fall, in the exact spot where you stood. Would you remain there? No. The corresponding action to your belief that that monolith is going to wreck your millennium is to boot scoot and boogie out of the way.
If you believed that a 700 ton rampaging mastodon was heading on a bee line for your living room, hurling snot and police cars in it’s wake. Would you sit blithely on your sofa munching your Pringles, or would you high tail it to the nearest safe place.
The corresponding actions to these beliefs are obvious. Why then is it so difficult for us, sometimes, to muster up corresponding action to the faith we have in God? He is the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE! Nothing exists apart from Him and yet so often our response to Him is as lackadaisical as Adam on the Sistine chapel, only missing the touch of God because he refuses to extend his finger. (Oh, I could get so mad at Adam for what he did, but I’d have to get off my couch)
We will answer this question in a second.
There is an imperative to Faith. Faith DEMANDS Action. Let’s look at some Scripture.
Faith Without Works Is Dead
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16and 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? 17Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18But 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. 19You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! 20But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
I was tempted not to use the scripture because so much misunderstanding abounds in some areas of the church regarding this. But I used it at the Lord’s leading, because the scripture is not at fault, only our perception and understanding of it is.
So lets sweep aside some misunderstandings first.
First. Works do not save a man. Never have, never will.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
We are not saved BY faith, but we are saved TO them
The key to understanding the scripture is to know that FAITH…real faith…alive Faith, works. And something that substitutes for faith….counterfeit (dead) faith, doesn’t. Also notice the word “says” that James Uses.
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
We are not talking about real faith here….but reported faith. This reported faith….it if does not evidence works, is dead. That kind of counterfeit faith is ….destitute of force or power, inactive, inoperative
But now that we’ve dealt with what this scripture ISN’T saying…..what IS it saying.
What it is saying is the Imperative of Faith
Real living faith must have some works grow out it. The key verse is this:
22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
Faith is perfected by works. Does this mean you HAVE to do works or your faith is dead….. yes and no. What it is saying, is that real faith HAS works. Faith is like a seed in our life. If you plant any seed in the ground it will grow, if unimpeded. So to will the Kingdom of Heaven grow in the heart of the believer, if unimpeded. Jesus likened this process to a mustard seed.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Matthew 13: 31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”
So this passage of James is not devoted to telling us we have to work, not at all. It is telling us that if we have living faith…we WILL work, we can’t but avoid to have that seed grow in our life. Works happen, and there is nothing we can do to stop them, if we have a true and living faith.
So then, we come back to our earlier question?
“Why then is it so difficult for us, sometimes, to muster up corresponding action to the faith we have in God? ” The answer is simple….because sometimes we impede the seed. Things get in the way. Things that we dread…like worry doubt or fear. Or things that we seek after, like desires, lusts and appetites.
Back to Matthew 13
Parables About the Kingdom of Heaven
1 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
The Parable of the Sower Explained
(18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Reading the parable we see that the groups of people can be divided up into two. People who never receive the seed, the unsaved. And those who do receive the seed. The saved. Everyone who received the seed, the word of God…Jesus in their heart is saved. Even if their production capability is off. Salvation is never in question. Remember Ephesians 2-8:9 saved by grace, not of works. In this situation we are talking about LIFE. because once you are saved, it is expected that you in turn will sow life and be a producing Christian. So what stops a person from producing?
Three kind of people received the seed, one type produces, two don’t.
The first type is this:
20But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
This is the person who, after their saved, does invest the time and effort into the devotion of God necessary to create a deep, substantial root of support in times of trouble. A deep abiding faith, where in our first and only reliance is on a loving father and His provision for us. You Know, 2nd Peter 1 3as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue When our reliance is on Him and His provision we can stand against the tribulations of life, both from the enemy camp, and simply from our families. This person’s faith withers in the face of adversity and they can no longer produce or even thrive, they simply wilt. Raise your hand If this has happened to you? (I would but I can’t type one handed ;o) )To keep from falling victim to this “Seed Impeder” we need to dig our roots deep into the things of God.
The second type is this:
22Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
This is the person who after coming to God turns back into the things of the world. Not leaving God, but not completely leaving the world. They Like God , they want to be Christian, but they can think of any number of excuses why God wouldn’t mind this guilty little pleasure, or that little tiny sin, or this desire or this lust, and soon they become so entangled with the weeds of their own desires that their roots to God are crushed in the avalanche of compromise and suddenly, they just don’t “feel” God anymore. And they may even go to church, but they don’t produce….and they slowly wither under the weight of compromise and fall to the ground. When a person comes to Jesus, they must cut their ties to the world, turn their backs on their old lives and move into the new life God has for them. Does this mean abandoning their friends and family, no not necessarily but it does mean that you make your friends and family know that your life is now different and you won’t go with them to the bar, or anything else God would disapprove of. And then we tighten our sails and sail a steady course, straight for Holiness. And expressing the Holiness in our hearts….into our lives.
So what do you do if your a withered stalk? Do you give up? Do you kick in your chips and wait to die, so that you can FINALLY “feel” Jesus again?
Certainly not. While your faith is not dead, it most certainly is comatose and you need to wake it up. Tend your soil, remove the rocks and the weeds from your heart, resettle your roots and start growing again. To be come a producer of 30 60 or 100 fold. Plant the seed and watch your faith become awake again. Get help if you need it, Pastor and I are hear for just that purpose. We all have failures, we all have set backs….we all wither from time to time. But it is OUR JOB as Christians to always re-root and dig deep. It is OUR DUTY as sons and daughters of an Almighty God to come alive again in our faith and produce that thirty sixty and one hundred fold.
It is the Imperative of Our Faith.
I pray that you I and the whole family of God will find ways to strengthen our roots, and clear the weeds of the word out of our lives, so that we can survive and succeed into producing Christians sowing our seed into the lost world to produce yet more in the family of God.