31 July 2008

Actions Speak Louder Than Words – 3.4.08

In Hebrews 13:7 we find that one who is given the responsibility of ministering the word of God MUST have a life that backs up the message they preach. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. A preacher who allows his life to be directed by the word of God is one who adds a certain level of credibility to the truth he preaches.

As Christians, it is our responsibility to minister and represent Jesus Christ. And we know that it is not enough to talk about Jesus' saving power. We have to live a life that backs up that message. We must preach Christ, and we must allow others to see Christ in us…BECAUSE ACTIONS DO SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

In Matthew 15:8 and Mark 7:6 Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites and said, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. In Matthew 23:2-3 He warned, The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

1 John 3:18 instructs us as believers, My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. We have Jesus Christ as our example. He did not just declare His love for us, but (v. 16) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

What evidence is there in your life of the power of Jesus Christ to deliver from sin? Is there any evidence in your life to suggest that you really do love God? That you love others? Forget about what you say, what do your actions reveal about the condition of your heart?

James 2:14 says, What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? The two examples given in this chapter are from the lives of Abraham and Rahab.

Abraham was said to be justified by works when he offered up Isaac (James 2:21-22; Genesis 22). By comparing scripture with scripture, we find that Abraham was justified by faith many years prior to this event (Genesis 12:1-4 w/ Hebrews 11:8-10; Genesis 15:1-6 w/ Romans 4:1-5, 12-13; Genesis 21:1-8 w/ Romans 4:16-22). However, up to the point in Genesis 22 when God tested Abraham and Abraham passed the test, there was no visible evidence in Abraham's life of the faith he possessed. Who would have called Abraham a righteous man? Sarah? Hagar? Ishmael? Abimilech? But after Genesis 22, who would have denied it? It is in this sense that he was "justified by works" – his works were the evidence of his faith IN THE SIGHT OF MEN. When Abraham acted by faith in Genesis 22, men could see and say that he was righteous (this is the strict definition of justification – the word does not always have reference to salvation – see 1 Timothy 3:16).

If you read Rahab's testimony in Joshua 2:9-11, she had faith in the one true God before she ever met the 2 Hebrew spies. But who would have known it? She was a harlot! On the contrary, after she hid those spies and let a scarlet chord out the window and escaped God's judgment in Jericho, who would have denied it? Her works proved that she had the faith she claimed to possess.

What about you and me today? Are we justified by works in the sense that no one would deny that we really do have the faith we claim to possess in the One true God and Savior Jesus Christ?

Lifestyle evangelism will never work. God commanded us to preach the gospel (Mark 16:15; 1 Corinthians 1:21). But it is important to back up the talk that we talk with the walk that we walk. The disciples in Antioch didn't call themselves Christians. They were called Christians (Acts 11:26) because the life of Jesus Christ was evident in all they SAID AND DID.

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