Faith Saves & Transforms Us: Good works flow out of the faithful lives of the People of God. (Sermon Excerpt)


We see in the challenge of Hebrews 11 that it is our faith that will save us.  Even the ancient and the prophets were not commended (spoken well of, or considered good witness) because they did great works.  The Hebrew writer acknowledges some of the things the Ancients and Prophet may have been doing as a part of in their lives: facing death, shutting the mouths of lions, going through a flood, facing death, and destruction.  The writer is wanting us to see it wasn’t about simply receiving the blessings, or about doing great things for God that showed people to be great witnesses.  The author wants us to see that it wasn’t the stuff or the activities of doing great things for God that would earn them credit with God. 

This is one of the main problems with most religions of the world.  At some level, most religions of the world believe that we must do certain actions within the world in order to earn credit with God, or whatever they may believe is the center of the universe.  They believe that by doing more acts of goodness or more acts of defending their faith they will earn  some sort of credit with God.  Most even carry this to believe that if their good or dedicated credit outweighs the bad or weak dedication then they will be saved or given a reward.

The People of God do not believe that their actions will gain them favor with God.  They believe that it is faith that saves us, and not the works that we do within this world.  The truth is that the good works that we do in this world are not really done to gain the favor of God, but flow out of the changes within our heart that  flow out of our faith.  In faith, we come to God through Jesus Christ, and in faith, we come to understand God’s Word.  Through the Word of God and the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in our hearts our lives are transformed into new more godly ways of thinking, and out of this actions of goodness and righteousness flow.

One great example given to us in Scripture is that of Paul.  Paul was seeking to follow God in his own human understanding, as a part of the Pharisee’s.  He believed that in his role he should defend the Jewish way of life, and thought this even if it meant killing others to do so.  In this zealous nature, he pursued, and helped to bring those who were following Jesus to trial and even helped in the process of having them killed.  However, Jesus came to him in a vision and showed him the right and good way of what God was doing through Him.  In His encounter with Christ Paul’s faith changed from being against Christ to being a committed follower of Christ.  As a follower of Christ, Paul was just as devout and zealous about promoting faith in Jesus Christ as he had been fighting against Him.  Jesus Christ initiated the ideas and call to Paul’s heart and life, which caused the transformation of Paul’s life.  This all led Paul to take action by his faith to share the Gospel and seek to do the righteous acts of a true follower of Jesus.

Like Paul, we all need the transforming power of God to change our ways into more godly and righteous ways of living.  We need Jesus to initiate the work within our hearts, souls, and minds.  Then as we are transformed more and more into His likeness, we will better be able to do true acts of love and goodness in the lives of those we encounter daily. 

 

May God help you in your Journey with Jesus this week, so that you can be transformed and act out of the inner transformation of your life.

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