It’s a Lutheran thing. We love to dive home that central message that we are not saved by our good works. And yet, did you hear what Jesus said? He said there is a work that saves…it is to believe in Him. This might be a new thought – Faith is a work. It is like love in marriage. To be successful you must work at it.
To be saved means must work at our faith so that it continues to exist and grow. The spiritual bread comes as a gift, but faith is needed to receive it. In this sense, faith is all important for without the Bread of Life – without Jesus Christ we cannot be saved. Let’s consider this morning the work which saves.
1. Salvation is a gift of the Bread of life – Vs. 27 Do not work for food that perishes but for food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal on Him.
A. There are many things of which we must work for – a new car, a college education, items we need to maintain our standard of living. Items need to be budgeted, and it takes time and effort to work for these things.
B. Yet, “that one thing needful,” what we really need, life with God, a relationship with Jesus Christ all comes to us as a gift. It is by grace that you have been saved through faith says St. Paul. It is all the wonderful workings of the Holy Spirit. Luther explains it this way, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him. But the Holy Ghost has called me by the gospel; enlightened me with His gifts, sanctifies and keeps me in the one true faith.
2. Faith is the receptive agent – Vs. 29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God: to believe in the one whom he has sent."
A. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 1 John 3:23
B. Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father. 1Thessalonians 1:3
3. Faith needs working – Vs. 29
A. You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; James 2:22
B. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son. Hebrews 11:17
We are saved not by works but by a work - the work of Christ. That work is active in your life. It’s the gospel light, the light of Christ. Therefore let your light so shine before men that they may see your good work and give glory to your Father in heaven.