Pentecost 11 – Proper 13
August 5, 2018
Saved by Work, not works
Certainly most in the parish know that we are not saved by our good works. Yet Jesus says in our text there is a work that saves. How so? It is to believe in Him.
To be saved by the work of God simply means…
- That salvation is a gift from Jesus - the Bread of Life –V.27
- That faith is the receptive agent – V.29
- That faith needs working –V.29
I. To be saved by the work of God simply means that salvation is a gift of the bread of life –
A. Salvation is not something to be achieved – Jesus tells us “Do not work for food that spoils”
1. Man with His own schemes. Plans. And agendas. Will attempt to please God. By his vain attempts to be good. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.” – Proverbs 21:2 “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” - Psalm 14:2-3
2. Yet we can’t come to God on your own terms. Scripture is quite clear. By nature we are;
a. Blind – “But the natural man cannot accept the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually appraised.” – 1 Corinthians 2:14
b. Dead – “You were dead in your trespasses and sins.”- Ephesians 2:1
c. An enemy of God –“The mind set on the flesh it is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the Law of God, for it is not able to do so.” - Romans 8:7
B. Faith rather places its focus on Jesus. Who took all of your sin to Himself. Thus Jesus will say, “Work for food that endures to eternal life.”
1. Since we cannot achieve eternal life “by our own reason or strength,” we receive it as a gift. With no strings attached. If it were a loan. There would be an expectation of repayment. With a gift it becomes a gracious inheritance.
2. Because this salvation is a gift. It becomes your most prized possession. Days after the devastating Hurricane Katrina rolled through the Gulf Coast. There was a discussion. As to what would you take with you. Had you to evacuate your home. What would you take with you? Pictures of your family? Jewelry? A rare family heirloom? We place value on those things. But there is something that is so valuable. That there can be no price fixed. It is your salvation.
A pastor who had lost everything was asked how valuable his library was. He commented, “The only books I have left are the ones I gave away.” Your salvation was “given away” freely by your Savior. When He was nailed to a tree. For this reason you salvation is priceless!
II. To be saved by works means that Faith is the receptive agent. Jesus tells us “The work of God is this – to believe in the one He sent.”
A. Jesus came into this world with a purpose. – To destroy the work of the devil. “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” –1 John 3:8
B. Jesus came into this world to re-establish God and man. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” - 1 John 1:8-10
C. Jesus came into this world to bring peace to a sin sick world. Which knows nothing but disharmony, bitterness and despair
D. As He has won this salvation. He now imparts it to you. In His Word preached. Taught. Read. And shared. He also attaches His forgiveness to things which are tangible. In Baptism. In His Supper. In His word of absolution.
III. To be saved by works means faith needs working.
A. The faith is certainly taught. – This is what we do. And what we want to do well. Through our educational ministry. Be it at Wyneken. In our Adult Bible classes. In our Sunday School. Or our Oasis youth ministry.
B. The faith is also caught. – By living your life for Christ. Being a witness. Living your life with a noble purpose. – To be salt and light in this sin filled world. Giving hope to those in a need.
This may be a new thought – Faith at work. Is like love in marriage. To be successful you must work at it. To be saved means we must work at our faith so that it continues to exist and grow. The spiritual bread comes as a gift. Yet faith is needed to receive it. Faith is all important for without the Bread of Life (Christ) we cannot be saved.