Works Sermon - Pastor Steve Winter

This is my text that I used for tonight's 8/14/2004 sermon
It should be available in audio format at
http://www.pentecostal.biz/audio

There is much discussion in religious circles regarding faith and works. Most would agree that no one is justified by their works in the sight of God. Do we not know of many who think that because they do "good works" that they will somehow compensate for their sins? For anyone trying to do that I would offer:

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Romans 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Of course, we must consider how did God know that Abraham "believed" Him? Certainly it was because Abraham "obeyed" him.

Genesis 26:5 Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.

Here is another scriptural example of how obedience is a measuring stick for belief or lack thereof.

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

Another example I feel to mention here is that many consider baptism to be a "work" so they believe that it is not part of salvation (though many will concede that it is a "good thing to do". But we find Jesus saying:

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Sure seems like a quick trip to join the eternally challenged to reject baptism, eh?

But, consider this little mentioned fact: Baptism is not something you "do" or in any way a "work" that you do. Baptism is something that you allow a preacher to do to you because the Bible says to in order to have your sins washed away or remitted. So clearly Baptism is God's work.

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Pretty blunt for anyone with any sincerity regarding the Word of God, eh? "as many as the Lord our God shall call" doesn't leave a whole lot of wiggle room does it? Water baptism in Jesus Name being a part of the Christian rebirth is not a "salvation by works" doctrine, just as receiving the Holy Spirit baptism is not a "work". It is God who does the "filling". These are things that one "obeys".

Dare we change the salvation plan from Word of God simply to fit some human tradition to which we have become accustomed? Some most certainly do dare, but not I.

Involvement of the believer in their salvation through obedience does not equal "works".

Romans 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

Galatians 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

Many confuse obedience with works, however. Here is another clear example of how man benefits from God's works by OBEDIENCE.

John 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
John 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

Notice carefully that Jesus declared twice that God's works would be demonstrated.

John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
John 9:6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
John 9:7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

Here is a strong Biblical foundational principle for your consideration. God's works did not benefit the man UNTIL he OBEYED what God told him.

John 9:8 The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?
John 9:9 Some said, This is he: others [said], He is like him: [but] he said, I am [he].

John 9:10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?

John 9:11 He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

The blind man's "OBEDIENCE" did not in any way "cheapen the grace of God" (as some false preachers imply when they confuse "works" with "OBEDIENCE".)

The blind man was saved by FAITH, through GRACE and not of his own works.

People who obey Acts 2:38 become Christians by FAITH, through GRACE.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.

We see many commandments with a promise. Just as Jesus commanded the blind man to wash (and he was not healed until he obeyed); people are commanded to be baptized in Jesus name "for the remission of sins" (and they remain "in their sins" until they obey.)

Hopefully any honest heart will see now that the preaching of obedience to the Word of God is not a "salvation by works" doctrine. But that also does not negate the fact that we do benefit from good works.

Now that we understand that obedience is not works, let us take a quick look at how important works are.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

So while none attains salvation by "good works", one who has salvation will do good works. All who do good works don't have salvation, but all who have salvation have good works.

James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

So while we would never teach "salvation by works" we should not ignore the importance of good works.

Blessed is the soul who does good works based upon the rock of true salvation and holiness.

Pastor Winter