Saved by a Work – Not Works
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 we 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.
I. Salvation is a gift from Jesus 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. All the striving in the world won’t change a thing!
A. The world is constantly striving for the things of this world. When things do not come easily, or when we see things we have worked so hard for waste away man can become worried and anxious.
B. We need not become anxious for Christ has promised He will provide. In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus said. “25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in his entire splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34)
II. 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 what the entire New Testament teaches – to believe in Christ becomes the chief work of the Christian. Listen to how John explains it in his first epistle. 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. St. Paul is in agreement also. Listen to his words, 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. 1 Thessalonians 1:3
III. Faith needs working – Vs. 29 “Jesus said, the work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”
A. Says James - You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; James 2:22 It becomes easy for some to walk around saying constantly “I believe.” Belief is shown forth in words and deeds. Works is nothing more than faith put into action – faith that is put into practice.
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 Often we are called to do the impossible. But trusting in God’s promises as Abraham did our faith can triumph any obstacle.
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.
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