God has a plan for each of His children. He is not limited by your environment, nor even your own expectations and perceptions. God can do anything, at anytime, anywhere, for anybody.
Pastor Gordon Banks
Sunday Nov 4, 2018
Main Idea– God has a plan for each of His children. He is not limited by your environment, nor even your own expectations and perceptions. God can do anything, at anytime, anywhere, for anybody.
God cannot be limited
- God cannot be limited. Likewise, God’s children are not limited by things that will stop other people. The things we see around us do not stop God.
- God gave His children dominion over everything on the planet. Genesis 1:28 – “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
- When you accept that dominion - and use it in unity with what Jesus and the Father will – what you desire will take place.
- The Holy Spirit will show you God’s will, so that you can be in unity with it.
- John 14: 6-17 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
- When we understand that the purpose of our life is to direct others’ attention to God, we will be less likely to limited by our expectations.
- Do not let the limits of your own understanding prevent you from having the fullness of what God has pre-ordained for your life. John 3: 34-35 – For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.
- Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
From before Creation, God had a plan for you
- Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
- Romans 8:28-29 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
- Use the Holy Spirit to help you know the unique plan and purpose God has for your life.Believe that thing, and move to it, as God opens doors for you.
- Build a reliance on the Holy Spirit to guide you through every circumstance of every day of your life.
- God is aware of everything going on around you; and will step in, open doors, and set things in motion so you will continually operate in your purpose.
- Your own perceived shortcomings and fears are not a hindrance to God. His desire is to bless others through you.
- There is a 100% chance God will do something great through you.
Things that will limit God’s work through you
- Limits you place on yourself by your own methods.
- 2 Kings 13: 14-19 – Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die. Then Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over his face, and said, “O my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and their horsemen!” And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and some arrows.” So he took himself a bow and some arrows. Then he said to the king of Israel, “Put your hand on the bow.” So he put his hand on it, and Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands. And he said, “Open the east window”; and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot”; and he shot. And he said, “The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria; for you must strike the Syrians at Aphek till you have destroyed them.” Then he said, “Take the arrows”; so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground”; so he struck three times and stopped. And the man of God was angry with him, and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times.”
- The king’s own limited expectations compromised his ultimate effectiveness.
- There are enemies that need to be destroyed – to be taken out of the picture – so that God can move uninhibited.
- Shift your thinking, and expectations, so your thoughts are not limited.
- Stay in pursuit of God’s plan for your life. Don’t stop and give up.
- If you have made previous bad choices in your life, confess those things and ask for forgiveness. God will cleanse you, so you can move forward, on to what He had originally purposed for you.
- 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- The love of money
- 1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Seek wisdom as you follow the Holy Spirit
- Proverbs 3: 13-18 – Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain then fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.
- Seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance continually.Study God’s Word regularly. God will lead you step-by-step in His purpose for your life.
Reflective Questions for No Limits
- Pastor Gordon taught that we should not allow what we see around us to limit our expectations of what God has predestined to accomplish through us. How might one learn what God’s purpose is for him or her?
- If God has given you a sense of something He wants to do through you, what should be your prayer back to Him?
- Why is it necessary to develop the habit of consulting the Holy Spirit as you walk through the daily events of your life?
- How is knowing that God usually does things in order - through a process – a comfort to you as you accomplish His purpose for your life?
To have staying power one must know his or her true identity and capabilities. God loves, favors, and blesses His children. Knowing that, we can live a life through peace, not fear.
Sunday Oct 28, 2018
Main Idea– To have staying power one must know his or her true identity and capabilities. God loves, favors, and blesses His children. Knowing that, we can live a life through peace, not fear.
Jesus activates your true identity
- Something comes alive in us when we accept Jesus as Savior.
- Everyone is God’s creation, but not everyone is a child of God. God’s children are different. Matthew 5:14 – You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden
- However, you will not be able to stay in this new identity if you don’t know how to stand in it.
- John 1:12-13 – But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
- We may have been raised wrong, but we have been ‘raised up’ right.
Satan attacks your true identity
- As soon as one accepts Jesus, the devil will try to come against the new identity.We should not be naïve and ignorant of the enemy’s plans.
- 2 Corinthians 2:11 – so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
- The devil would like to keep you ignorant about who you are in your identity through Jesus. Satan can only operate in the areas where you are ignorant.
- Hosea 4:6a – My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge
- The world thinks that behavior influences beliefs: “If you act in a certain way, then I will believe you.” But, in truth, it’s the other way around: beliefs influence behavior.
- So, what you believe about yourself will determine how you will behave. Don’t try to have peace by your own strength.
Your behavior must not be based on your own strength
- Ephesians 6: 10-11 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
- You were not created to bear up under the world’s burdens. Give your burdens to God. Let Him deal with what concerns you.
You are deeply loved, favored, and blessed. Have peace knowing that.
- You are deeply loved by God.
- Ephesians 2: 4-5 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)
- Romans 8:1 – Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- You are highly favored.
- You are richly blessed to be a blessing to others.
Work from peace, not from fear
- Because you are deeply loved, favored, and blessed, you don’t need to worry.You can relax. Psalms 37:7a – Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him
- Your salvation is perfect. You don’t need to add anything to what Jesus did.
- If you lose your peace it may be because you started thinking about yourself. It is not about you, it is about Him.
- When you become psychologically or emotionally tired it may be because you lost focus on your identity as a child of God. Hebrews 12:12-13 – Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.
Trust God and love people
- Sometimes we treat God like He is human and humans like they are God.
- Many people become weary or hurt because they put their trust in people. The Bible does not tell us to trust people.
- The Bible tells us to love and trust God –
- Matthew 22:37-38 – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the great and foremost commandment.
- Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding
- The Bible also tells us to love people
- John 13: 34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
We will not grow weary if we are gathered together and love one another.
- 1 Peter 4:8 – Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
- Love among Christians is different from how the world demonstrates love. Luke 14:26 – If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
- Love among Christians is not judgmental. It is not based on individual performances.
- Others’ actions should not influence our love for them. Even though there are people we should not associate with, we should love them nonetheless.
- 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 – Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
Back to Eden
- Before Adam & Eve sinned, they had a stress-free existence. They were not created to carry burdens. Neither are we.
- Jesus’ death and resurrection enables us to return to that original worry-free relationship with God.
- 1 Peter 5: 6-7 – Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
- Don’t let the world’s thinking contaminate your thinking about yourself.You are God’s child. God will handle the weight of anything that might worry you.
- Believing the right things about yourself will enable you to act accordingly: loving yourself and others.
Reflective Questions for Staying Power
- One of the main ways Satan attacks us is to convince us we must solve our own problems. Can you identify some Bible verses from this lesson that prove that idea is false?
- Why does trusting God start with knowing He loves you?
- Have you ever been hurt or disappointed because you placed your trust in another person? How do you feel about Steve Hage’s teaching that we should love & trust God, and then love people?
- In Luke 14:26, Jesus used a word that has been translated as “hate.” What was Jesus saying in that verse? Was He saying we should actually hateour own family? How can that make sense if we are also told to love one another?
As He traveled across Israel - teaching and proclaiming the Kingdom of God - Jesus healed and helped people in difficult situations. Then, He sent out His followers to do the same thing. Sadie Keller is an example of someone who wanted to help others, and then followed-through by taking action. We have freely received, so we freely give.
Faith is Found – Part 3
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday Oct 21, 2018
Main Idea– As He traveled across Israel - teaching and proclaiming the Kingdom of God - Jesus healed and helped people in difficult situations. Then, He sent out His followers to do the same thing. Sadie Keller is an example of someone who wanted to help others, and then followed-through by taking action. We have freely received, so we freely give.
Our faith is demonstrated when we help and encourage others
- Faith is active. People who have it look for opportunities to help others.
- Sadie Keller had childhood cancer. She understood what was happening, and then wanted to help other kids who were dealing with the same situation.
- She, herself, felt better when she made other children happy.
- But, she didn’t wait until she was healed to do something. She formed her foundation (Sadie Keller Foundation: sadiekellerfoundation.org) when she was in the middle of her own fight with the disease.
- She also inspired the passage of the STAR Act for Childhood Cancer – Survivorship, Treatment, Access, Research – which funds money for the fight against childhood cancer.
Jesus sent out His followers
- During His ministry, Jesus sent out his followers in pairs to do the same things He was doing.
- He empowered them supernaturally to do this.
- He sent them into towns He was soon going to go to Himself.
- Matthew 10: 5-13 – These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!” (NKJV)
- Luke 10: 1-12 – After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road. But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’ But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city. (NKJV)
The harvest is great but the laborers are few
- Jesus continues to send out His followers today.There are many opportunities for each of us to help others who are in difficult situations.
- Because Jesus is not physically here right now, we are His hands and feet that bring the Holy Spirit’s blessings to people.
- Like Sadie Keller, you will receive happiness when you help others.
- Don’t let fear, or a previous bad experience, prevent you from receiving the blessings that come with “going ahead” of Jesus. The Holy Spirit accompanies you.
- When you are welcomed by those whom you meet, freely give.
- When you are rejected, keep your peace and move on to the next opportunity.
- For the latest opportunities to serve, go to covenantchurch.org. Click on “Ministries” and then “Serve Your City.”
Reflective Questions for Faith is Found – Part 3
- What is it about Sadie Keller’s story that is most amazing, or inspiring, to you?
- Why, do you suppose, Jesus sent out his followers in pairs?How do you think they felt when He first gave them this assignment?
- Why, do you suppose, He told them to go out without money or extra clothing? How might that apply to us today?
- Have you ever experienced something where your greatest fear became the source of your greatest happiness?
- Is there a spiritual reason the ministry of helping others is oftentimes difficult for us to commit to?
The most significant things a believer can do is pray for, have concern for, and help someone else. Every day God will provide opportunities for you to be used by Him. Sometimes, those opportunities seem inconvenient. Like Abraham, “great” people of God respond to the opportunities.
Faith is Found – Part 2
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday Oct 14, 2018
Main Idea– The most significant things a believer can do is pray for, have concern for, and help someone else. Every day God will provide opportunities for you to be used by Him. Sometimes, those opportunities seem inconvenient. Like Abraham, “great” people of God respond to the opportunities.
Faith and good works go hand-in-hand
- Faith is active. People who have faith do not sit around, but are continually using that faith.
- James 2: 14-18 – What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and 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? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead. But 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. (NKJV)
- Jesus is evaluating us – watching who among his followers are doing what He told them to do.
- Matthew 7: 21-23 – Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (NKJV)
- Luke 6: 46-49 – “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” (NKJV)
- The good works done by believers are like fruit. They draw people to Jesus.
Look for opportunities
- Galatians 6: 9-10 – And let us not grow wearywhile doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all,especially to those who are of the household of faith. (NKJV)
- There are many opportunities for each of us – and our local churches – to do good.
- We don’t always know when opportunities will come, or in what form they will come.
- God chooses the opportunities. We don’t always get to pick them.
- No one is able to do everything by himself or herself. The Bible tells us not to grow weary doing good. One reason we gather together in local church groups is so none of us will grow weary; as a group great things will be done.
The difference between great and good
- Abraham and Lot are two significant men in the Old Testament. However, the Bible seems to regard Abraham more highly than Lot.
- Genesis 12: 1-3 - God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land I will show you. I’ll make you a great nation and bless you. I’ll make you famous; you’ll be a blessing. I’ll bless those who bless you; those who curse you I’ll curse. All the families of the Earth will be blessed through you.” (Message)
- 2 Peter 2: 6-8 – God decreed destruction for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A mound of ashes was all that was left – grim warning to anyone bent on an ungodly life. But that good man Lot,driven nearly out of his mind by the sexual filth and perversity, was rescued. (Message)
Abraham obeyed God by faith, even when the task seemed too big
- Hebrews 11: 8-10 – By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (NKJV)
- Abraham understood God’s promise, but had no idea how it possibly would come to be. Nevertheless, he trusted God would provide the way to make it happen.
- Most believers experience the same thing. They know God has given them great promises and tasks, but can’t see how it all will be accomplished. Mark Batterson described it this way: “Faith is walking out on a limb and cutting it off and then watching the tree fall.”
- The things God has given us to do will often seem too big for us. That is a normal reaction to a promise – or a task – from God. In such times pray for peace, not comfort.
Abraham responded to opportunities to bless others even when it was uncomfortable
- To seal the covenant between God and Abraham, God instructed Abraham and all the males under him to be circumcised.
- Genesis 17: 10-11 – This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.
- This procedure surely was painful for Abraham.Nevertheless, very soon afterward – in Genesis 18– Abraham gladly hosted three angels outside his tent.
- He also interceded for the citizens of Sodom (Genesis 18: 22-33).
- InGenesis 19 the angels visited Lot in Sodom. Lot’s primary concern was for himself and his own family.
What this means for us today
- Even when it was uncomfortable – and the task seemed too difficult – Abraham responded by being concerned for others, not himself.
- God is your Father. He knows your needs and has promised to take care of you. Matthew 6: 31-34 – “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
- When you pray, pray for someone else. Like Abraham, have your first concerns be for the needs of others.
- That is the difference between a great believer and a good believer.
Reflective Questions for Faith is Found – Part 2
- The Bible tells us to be observant for opportunities to help others. The Bible also gives examples where God - not the humans in the stories - provided those opportunities. Why is it important to be obedient to the opportunities God provides, and not to make up our own? (Use Galatians 6: 9-10 above to answer.)
- Why does God often provide opportunities to help others at times when it is inconvenient for us?
- From what the Bible tells us about Abraham and Lot in this message, identify the reasons Abraham is more highly regarded.
- Can you give an example of someone you know who helped others even when it was inconvenient?
- Why did Pastor Stephen say we should pray for peace, not comfort?
When God’s Word says that faith without works is dead, it is telling us to combine actions with spiritual behavior. They must work together; one without the other accomplishes little.
Faith is Found – Part 1
Pastor Stephen Hayes
Sunday Oct 7, 2018
Main Idea– When God’s Word says that faith without works is dead, it is telling us to combine actions with spiritual behavior. They must work together; one without the other accomplishes little.
Faith Must Produce Actions, and Actions Must Be Accompanied by God’s Word
- We must help others in their place of need. We are not doing God’s work if we simply pray for people while we also have the ability to help them materially in their need. James 2: 14-18 – What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and 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? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead. But 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.
- Likewise, it doesn’t accomplish anything long-term if we only give philanthropically.Our gifts should be accompanied with prayer and the expression of God’s Word.
Matthew 26:11 – For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.
Isaiah 55:11 – So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Begin Your Faith Journey Toward Your Destiny
- The Old Testament patriarch Abraham is known as the father of our faith. Abraham knew God’s promise for his life, but he did not know how he would get there. Nevertheless, he took actions based on the faith knowing that God would lead him to the destiny.
- Hebrews 11: 8-9 – By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance.And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;
- Another popular phrase that says something similar is: “Faith is walking out on a limb and cutting it off and then watching the tree fall.”
- There is no short-cut to our destiny. Each step prepares us for the ultimate purpose. We usually don’t know the route the journey will take when we follow God in faith.
Be honest With Yourself Before Beginning the Journey
- It’s impossible to begin a journey toward something without knowing your present location.
- It’s impossible to begin a journey following God without being honest about your current condition.
- Studying the Bible and listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit will help you understand your current condition. Like GPS and a map, God will help you locate your current place, and will guide you as you go.
Faith as a Verb
- James 1: 23-24 – For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
- In John 15: 1-8, Jesus described himself as a vine, and we believers as branches. The fruit comes out of the branches, not the vine. Every unproductive branch gets pruned. Jesus was telling his followers they needed to produce something.
- The Greek word for abidein verse 4 is “meno”, which is a verb.
- The Greek word for faithis “pistis”, whichhas a verb form“pisteuo” – to think to be true. It is an action word.
- If faith does not have movement, it isn’t faith.
Jesus is Serious About This
- InMark 11: 12-14Jesus cursed a fig tree that did not have fruit available when he needed it. If the figs are a metaphor for works, and the leaves on the tree are a metaphor for faith, the tree was of no use to Jesus because it was not producing works and faith at the same time.
- Matthew 7: 21-23 – Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
Luke 6: 46-49 – “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
- Works and faith - working independently without each other - are not likely to bring someone to faith.
- If we are serious about following Jesus to our destiny, we should combine good works with the good Word we share.
God is the Source of Good Works
- God the Father took action. He sacrificed His Son.
- In the process of accepting Jesus as Savior, God gives us the essential faith and we then take action by confessing it. Romans 10: 9-10 – that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
- Express your faith to others while showing it by your actions.
- Do nice things for others as you express your faith.
- God is the source of both the faith and the works.
Reflective Questions for Faith is Found – Part 1
- For the past 2000 years, some Christians have been troubled by the New Testament verses in James that say “faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead.” Why is this sometimes confusing for people?
- Why is it impossible for someone who has genuine faith to remain inactive from doing good things for others?
If Jesus said, “the poor you have with you always” why would He still place such a great importance on us helping them if we’re not going to solve the problem of poverty?