All day today, I have been trying to bring together a message which I have given before about the church needing to wake up. It’s a good message, but it has been a lot of effort in the making. I could have just copied it from my Facebook posting from over a year ago, but pride was keeping me from doing that, and I was putting in a lot of effort to try to update that message. I will have to locate it and actually just copy it for the benefit of this blog. This experience, and some good preaching and teaching has brought out a different message altogether.
There are many teachers out there who are giving a message of the things we can do for God, as though God needed anything. He doesn’t. (Acts 17:25-26) He created all things and He is able to sustain all things, from the Higgs Boson (or “god”) quantum particle holding the known physical world together, to the protein Laminin which binds the cells within us together, to gravity and physics forcing the Universe to expand, yet remain stable and together. He made all things in between and He even created us, in His image (Genesis 1:26&27), for we are wonderfully and fearfully made. (Psalm 139:14) God does not need anything.
Jesus was once asked, “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28) To which He replied, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent.” (John 6:29) Understand, God had given mankind the Ten Commandments, which are good, very good. (Romans 7:12) But, those commandments (The Law of Moses, or simply “The Law”), were impossible for any normal man to keep. Jesus discussed this as well when explaining how God views things versus how we view things. To lust after a woman is to have committed adultery with her in our heart. (Matt 5:28) To hate a brother is to be a murderer. (1 John 3:15) All of this stems back to one simple fact. God’s Ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9) God knew that we could not keep the Law, and that the Law was only good for teaching us that we need His help, because the Law could not save us. (Acts 13:38-40 & Romans 8:3) That was something only Christ could do, and He did it by dying on the Cross, that we might receive Grace.
Some may say, what about the good works we are to perform? Doesn’t the Bible teach us that faith without works is dead? I would have to reply that it indeed does say that (James 2:26), however, the works that we are to be about is God’s Work, not ours. Jesus said the work of God is to believe in Him. So, then, how does all of the charity, volunteering, teaching and preaching, hospitality, and so forth come about if not us? So glad you asked. Through our believing in Christ and what He accomplished for us, and placing our faith exclusively in Him, that allows the Holy Spirit to work within us, transforming us day by day, and working through us as we allow Him to change us and use us as vessels. When He is working through us, good works are being performed. To call them good works would be the same as calling them works of righteousness, or for righteousness’ sake.
Let’s then look at what God thinks of our righteousness. God says that we are “all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;” (Isaiah 64:6) That means all of our effort apart from God and His divine work is as nothing to Him, worthless, vanity. As far as our works themselves, God no longer wants us to labor to try to gain His favor or His grace. Jesus said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28) This means that He wants us to trust Him for everything, and set it all down. Stop attempting to do the work that has already been done. He did it. So, then what are the good works? The good works are in our faith and obedience to His commands. Believe. Love God. Love others. These things allow the moving and the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives to work through us.
In Hebrews, there is an entire chapter about the apostasy of the church. It says right smack in the middle of the chapter filled with bad foreshadowing of the church in the last days (which, by the way, we are) as many fall away from the faith, that “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed toward His Name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” (Heb 6:10) God is here saying that as we have denied ourselves, and have picked up the Cross, and have followed Jesus, we have allowed the Holy Spirit to work within us and through us (Romans 8:2) and as His Love flows through us, that has directed us to speak the Truth via the Words given by the Holy Spirit as we minister to others. This has brought the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon the words and has given them power to penetrate the hearts of men who have repented and been gained in the faith. (1 Cor 1:18)
We know this to be true, because Jesus said, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:45) It is God Who pulls us in, not our words, nor our actions. God uses those things to witness to others. Jesus authored those things within us in the first place. (Heb 12:12) All we can do is believe. No amount of works will get us any closer to God, and could sideline us altogether, for in going back to do something in our own strength, we are placing our faith no longer in what Jesus has done, but in ourselves and what we are doing. This harkens to the verses leading up to Him not being unrighteous to forget our good works. It is bringing Jesus to an open shame, saying that Him being crucified wasn’t enough, and doing the works of our own hands is akin to crucifying Him again (Heb 6:6).
Finally, I can share with you my own testimony, which I briefly touched on at the opening of this blog. So many times in my walk already have I tried to do something which I thought was good, and that would further the kingdom of Heaven. Yet, so many of those things were not anointed, and were a struggle to perform, like my attempt to write about the church needing to wake up. Though it would have been true, it wasn’t what the lord wanted to do with me today. He wanted me to write about this subject of works, and I have to tell you, these words have flowed readily, and it didn’t seem like work at all. I have been blessed to write this to you. May you be blessed to see the Truth in these words, and abundantly blessed to heed them in your walk.