The necessity of action in faith

Today’s verse is James 1:22.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

This is a hard one. It’s so easy to just listen to what God is saying in the Bible and not to act on it. I can go to church and sing the songs and listen to Pastor speak and nod and say Amen all I want, but what good does any of that do me if it stops there?

Faith in action is difficult.

Faith in action means that you not only have to know what the Bible says about finances but you also have to do it. You have to know what the Bible says about people and you have to do what it says. You have to know what the Bible says about life and you have to do it.

Otherwise, you’re a liar.

I think it’s in this same chapter where the Bible says that faith without works is dead. Doing good things isn’t what saves us. That much is clear. THere is no good thing we can do that will redeem our souls. The only action we can do that saves us is choosing to follow Christ. But if you say you follow Christ and don’t do the things He tells you to do, are you really a follower of Christ?

I can’t see another person’s heart just like someone else can’t see my heart. People can’t judge each other. But God can judge all He wants. And the Bible says that good works are the evidence of faith in Christ. To me that says a Christian who just sits on his blessed assurance needs to take a good long look at his heart.

Can you be a Christian and not do good works? Sure. But that just means that you’re lazy or selfish or that you’re allowing yourself to be ruled by fear. And none of those things come from God. So if you truly believe in Christ but you aren’t following Him, you need to take a good long look in the mirror . . . because the more you claim to be a Christian and the more you refuse to live like Christ, the greater the possibility that God is going to have to do something drastic to get your attention. I don’t want to be the hypocritical Christian who claims to believe God but never does what He says.

Can you do good works and not be a Christian? Absolutely. If you’re trusting in the good things that you’re doing to save you, you aren’t following Christ. You’re following culture. You’re following yourself, your own heart, if you will, and people are broken and flawed. We can’t save anyone. And if you think that all you have to do to get to heaven is be good enough, then how good is good enough? What is the standard?

All I’m saying this morning is that we need to stop beating around the bush. If you don’t believe God, that’s fine. That’s your choice completely. But if you say you believe Him and you don’t follow Him, you’re lying to yourself. Wouldn’t it be better then to say that you don’t follow Christ if you have no intentions of living like Him? At least then you could be honest with yourself and the people around you.

And we Christians need to get off our backsides and start working. There’s a lot of work to do. I go to an awesome church of 5,000 people, most of whom are new believers. And probably ten percent of that 5,000 are actively involved in ministry. That’s not good.

If we say we follow Christ but we aren’t doing good works, how can we show people that God makes a difference in our lives? If we aren’t willing to stand up and work and let God use us, how can we help anyone? Because I guarantee you can’t help anyone in our own strength.