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Has the Church failed to get the faith/works issue right, and thereby failed to thrive? (Part 7)

11/21/2014

Did you know God longs to spend time with you, right here and right now? God does, but God also wants you to spend eternity with him. He wants this so badly that he made a way to assure you are there, with him, in an eternity of beauty, light, peace, joy, and love.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

Not one! God wants not one to perish. Not you, not me, not your mother, father, sister, brother, son, or daughter. Not one!

So he sent his son to pay the price for our sins, whether large or small, so that when we pass from this life into the next we are sinless and can enter a sinless eternity.

Can you fathom a love so great as that? And it is offered to EVERYONE.

Jesus may be standing at your door knocking now. Are you going to let him in?

“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thes. 2:10 NIV)

What about you?

We have considered the role of faith and works in six sessions. If you have not read them, please go back and do so. I believe the Church (God’s people) has failed to get the balance of faith and works correct, and that is why so many church buildings are closing their doors.

You see, God calls us to first make our own commitment to Christ through faith, and then to share that with the world, helping others to open their hearts and souls to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Step one: Make our own confession of a need for a savior, and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Jesus then places within us his spirit, the Holy Spirit, to help guide and strengthen us. It is the Holy Spirit of God that opens up the meaning of God’s word so we can grow in faith, love, and peace.

Step two: The Holy Spirit gives us gifts to be used in God’s service. Each of us is given gifts and are asked by God to use them to bring his good news of Christ to others. He has given his Church work to do. We are to increase the population of heaven. Imagine that! Once we are saved by Jesus, then we are given the tools for the task ahead.

Step three: Is the actual works – the work we do, using our gifts, to spread the love, mercy, and good news of Christ. We feed the sheep of the great Shepherd. We take care of each other. To the hungry, we send food. To the sick, we lend help. To the home-bound or those in the hospital or nursing homes, we visit and assist. To the thirsty, we provide the water which never runs dry. To the wanderer, we provide direction to their eternal home.

This is the third truth Jesus imparted to his disciples as he was nearing his death, and eventual resurrection. His whole ministry on earth is summed up in these three. 1) We need a savior, 2) We need to help others find the savior as well, and 3) We need to take care of each other.

“One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matt. 22:35-39

Watch for it next week, starting on Monday.

Blessings my friend.

M.

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