So that's the what the lead minister, Andy, asked Aron to speak on tomorrow. And can I just say that this topic has literally kicked our rear ends in every way imaginable this week. Theologically, practically, physically.
I have never seen Aron wrestle so much with a message; our kitchen table is filled with books and he's put in close to 40 hours already just pouring over the topic. As Aron explained, when you teach on a topic, you can't just know your stuff, but you have to really examine yourself with a fine tooth comb.
If we really believe this Jesus guy and all that he claims, then our faith (or deeds) should reflect that. James puts it this way:
14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
Jesus said all we must do is believe in Him and confess or sins. Yet, James is pointing out that belief leads to action. It moves from head knowledge, to heart knowledge, to a changed life. If this doesn't happen, do we really believe in Jesus? Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING we can do to ever earn our salvation. It is a free gift. But this gift God offers us requires us to believe with our whole heart, and this belief changes who we are. Good deeds are evidence of that change. Because once we encouter Jesus, our priorities shift. We start to care about the things God cares about. Our deeds simply mirror our heart so it seems.
Jesus used the analogy of trees bearing fruit. Good healthy trees produce big, juicy fruit (healthy faith=evidence by love, deeds, joy, kindness, ect). Dead trees do not produce fruit and are good for nothing but to be cut down (dead faith = no evidence of faith, no action, apathy, self centeredness).
Speaking for myself only...Ouch!
So time for a confession. For the longest time Aron & I have wanted to sponsor a child from Compassion. We've talked about doing it, said we were going to do it, but month after month we neglect it. Mostly because of busyness, but isn't that kinda like saying, "Go, I wish you well. Stay warm and well fed."...and doing nothing about it. Yes it is; I'll answer my own rhetorical question.
This morning I read this verse from Hebrews 13:16
"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."
It is time for action. Good intentions are not enough. So I sat down at the computer and signed us up (finally!). I want to be what I believe.