Sunday, March 3, 2013

WORKS, GOD'S GRACE, AND FAITH UNTO SALVATION

For by grace are we saved through faith that it is not of yourselves lest any man should boast. It not of works. I will read it again: Ephesians 2:8 for by grace you are saved through faith that not of yourselves but a gift of God not of works lest any man should boast… I have been crucified with Christ and is no longer I who lives in me but Christ…Gal 2:20. now these two verses are extremely misinterpreted by the majority of the Christians in this world, and we must understand that without Christ we can do absolutely nothing. If we say we follow Christ then he will live through us. If we say that we can be good enough to enter heaven, that means we can boast in our own good works. But if we continue to sin we will enter Hell. So what is the way out of this predicament? It seems like either way we are doomed. It's like if we try and keep the law of Moses we are doomed but if we break the law of Moses, God's laws, we will also be doomed. There is only one way out and that is to have Christ live through you. So I read it again Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. So I live by faith in the son of God hallelujah. Now this is what's happens to people who have come to know Jesus and that's what happened to me when I turned away from my sin. I turned to Christ and he started to live through me. It was no longer I living; the old me became a new me. I stopped doing all the things that I used to do and the old flesh stopped living through me.

Some Christians will say Christ will renew your spirit but you'll still live in your flesh. This is a lie because if Christ lived through you and you are dead to yourself that means you can't live in the flesh. Because Paul said himself that if you live after the flesh you shall indeed perish but if you live after the spirit you shall inherit eternal life, hallelujah. In Daniel 12 we read: some will rise to eternal life at the time of the end and some to shame and some to everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars for ever… So I want to talk to you about these good works and deeds that Jesus Christ talks about. In Matthew 25 Jesus Christ says: then he will say to those on his left; depart from me you cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger and you didn't invite me in. I needed clothing and you didn't clothe me and was sick and in prison and you didn't help me. And they'll say “Lord when did we ever see you hungry and thirsty or a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and we didn't help you. And Jesus said I'll reply to them, “Truly for in as much as you didn't do it for the least of these you didn't do it for me”… You can read that in Matthew 25. and so we can clearly see dear friends that there is a big emphasis here on the works of a Christian.

Now since we cannot enter heaven by our good works lest any man should boast that he got there of himself and not through faith in Christ, why is it that people profess Christ and just go on and live like a sinner? It is clear because we read in James chapter 2 where James writes: show me your faith by your good works… and you say you have faith well prove it by your good works… Because he goes on to write that faith without works is dead. And so we got another predicament; we have people who are saying that okay I have to live a holy and sinless life and be doing good works to enter the kingdom, and they say well within me there's nothing good and I continued to do evil daily and I just can't seem to stop… I get many people writing to me and they say “I struggle with sin so much and daily I just keep falling to the same addictions the same desires and the same problems”. Daily they say they have trouble with lust and trouble with all these problems, all these addictions. They cannot really stop lying or swearing. People say that they just feel so far from God and they say “well I do go to church and I believe in Jesus but I can't stop sinning, and I feel far from God”. I want to tell you that there is a way. There is a way that you can be righteous. There is a way that you can have a new way inside of you that you can do good deeds and have Jesus say “come my worthy servant you have helped me when I was sick, you did righteousness”.

It is when you realize that you need to turn away from your rebellious sinful heart and your flesh properly, deeply, really turn away from it, and you need to come to Jesus Christ that he can change you and that's what he will do. It is a supernatural change because Christ is real. It is not just some person the pastor talks about. It is not some thing that people just think is in the Bible. He is the living God who is alive NOW and he hears NOW and those who seek will find. That's what he said he said: those of you who seek they will find. So when Christ died for us he freed us by his grace for it is written that Christ died for the ungodly. So while we were sinners and evil and he didn't have to die for you while you were a rebellious sinner who didn't care about God anyway! H e died for you to them so that when we were ungodly Christ came and died for us, and that's why there can be no boasting in heaven about your good works, because it is through this wonderful grace of Jesus Christ that we can be saved hallelujah. Praise the Lord. So none of us can boast in any good works because while we were ungodly Christ died for us. Nobody wanted God and cared about God, he died for us that if we believe and return to the Lord we will find this wonderful grace, this wonderful change of heart.

This wonderful new way, this wonderful freedom from sin, power to turn away from evil. And that's what I want to talk about is how Jesus sets you free from doing evil and how he gives you the power to turn away from your flesh which is so full of evil desires, daily. Now since Christ has died for us and he has put upon himself to to take our sins and to forgive them all, then we can indeed cast aside every evil thing and go to him, hallelujah. I want to read to you what one Christian quoted about this grace. He talks about one man crying out, “My lack of strength lies in this direction; that I cannot quit my sin, I don't know that I cannot go to heaven and carry my sin with me”. Well I'm glad you say that because what you know is quite true. You must be divorced from your sin or you cannot marry Jesus Christ…Now will you love that your sins and go to hell? Or will you quit your sins and go to heaven! And this is where the good news lies is that; this power that you need to have a new heart and new way, the grace of God lies in prayer to Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ has that power. He died that there would be freedom from sin. Freedom from falling to sin. Freedom from being addicted to sin.

You know people they they go and smoke and they go and drink and they go and curse and swear and they are in bondage to it. They can't stop, but Jesus came that there would be freedom from those things and all you have to do is go to him, cry out upon the name of the Lord, and ask him to set you free, because that is how I found freedom. When I asked Jesus Christ to set me free because that is what true faith is. And then with this true faith comes good works. The good works will work in your heart once you get a new one and you'll be going around and doing them IF you are dedicated, IF you are serious. And now this is where your part comes in. Jesus has already done it. He has already made the way, but it all depends now on YOU. It depends now on YOUR decision whether or not you want to turn away from your paths, your sins, your ways, and whether or not you want to turn to Christ properly in full dedication not hard deduction.

Because that's what I used to do. I used to be dedicated to Christ one half in the world and one half in church, and you cannot dedicate half to Christ and serve him. You have to either be divorced from sin to marry Christ or you cannot marry him. You cannot have his power in your life. You cannot be made a new creation, if you do not make that choice. Now I want to read on. This is a question that every man will have to answer; for there is no going on in sin and going to heaven, that cannot be. You must quit or quit hope…. that's true. If we cannot turn away from our sin, if we cannot decide to do that, then there is no point going further because if you want sin ultimately, then what are you going to do! Are you going to have sin? Yes we choose who we serve, and this is the part where many people stumble. It is because they are having a problem with a doubleminded. Most of them wants sin, a little bit of them wants God, but the most part wants to continue doing evil. And if that's what you want to choose, that's what you're going to have, evil.

And that's what people are choosing these days. They're saying they believe in Jesus and they say they are saved by grace and faith, and yet their fruit is bad. They don't know Jesus. He is far away from sinners. He doesn't listen to the prayers of people who like to continue to sin. You tell somebody to repent of living an immoral lifestyle, who also claims Jesus, and often they'll get offended with you. It is because they want to stay in that sin. But a child of God would not be offended about the message of repentance. He'll want to turn away from his sins. He will agree that this is wrong and will get on his knees and cry out to Jesus Christ to set him free hallelujah. Now I want to read on about some quotes from some certain serious Christians in the past. This particular Christian was quoting John Bunyan and he says here: Personally I could never have overcome my sinfulness, I tried and failed. My tendencies were too great for me, till the belief that Christ died for me and I cast my guilt upon him and I received a new soul, a new spirit, I overcame my sinful self. There is nothing like faith in Jesus Christ, it overcomes all evil. For Christ died for me who am ungodly and with no strength, and Christ died for me but I must arouse myself to love and serve him who has redeemed me. I cannot trifle with evil which slewed my best friend, so I must be holy now for his sake for how can I live in sin when he died and freed me from it!… We turn to Hebrews chapter 6, also chapter 10 where we read that those who got on in sin and willful sin, they are recrucifying Christ and that's what this Christian said, this old Christian, he said: “How can I live in sin when Christ has died for my sin and saved me from it.” so he is free from sin so how can he go and re-crucify Christ, when it was his sin (and our sins) that caused Christ to have to go and die.

It goes for us too dear friends; how can we go on in choosing evil, choosing ungodliness unrighteousness, choosing false paths, and thinking that this is okay, when Christ died for our sins and freed us from them. It is time to make no excuses for the flesh anymore and it is time to get Jesus Christ to set us free from our sin, for that is the gospel of grace hallelujah. And that's what I came to find; I came to find this wonderful freedom from sin. And don't get me wrong the flesh will try and take you back every day so you must keep him up on that cross and must nail the flesh to cross, keep him up there. He will come down if you let him. So everybody who's tasted the saving grace of God has become a new creation in Christ as Paul writes that; he's become a new creation in Christ and he has become a divine partaker in the divine justice, divine grace of the Lord and he is a new creation….

Jesus said that, (John ch3), that he who believes and has faith in the son of God becomes a new creation. He becomes born-again and the old way becomes new. But Jesus goes on to say that: the verdict is that the light has come into the world but many people love the darkness and they wouldn't come into the light because their deeds were evil, and so they refuse to come into the light lest their sin be exposed. And that is why we must expose our sins to Christ today and stop hiding the stop covering them up. Let us stop making excuses that following the world is evil, because it is! Let us stop making excuses that we can continue to chase after this TV movie loving world of crime and evil, and let us not make excuses that porn is not wrong because it is wrong because lust is wrong. And let us not make excuses for partying foolish lifestyle that doesn't glorify God and doesn't allow Christ to live through us! Now I read back at the start Reading from Galatians chapter 2:20 that: I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live but Christ in me… Now if Christ truly does live through you then is he living through you? What are your works? Are they the works of Christ living through you?

Jesus Christ came and gave me some new works. He gave me the power to live a new way and put out the old way. And we are going to have to keep doing that every day and if we fall we are going to have to get up and have to keep going hallelujah. Because a man of God is not going to be following the flesh. Because all who fall away to the flesh and follow the flesh are going to die. The renewed man is a man who Christ has saved. He is the man who Christ has changed and it is the grace of God that brings us on to repentance that we can turn away from sin. So I ask you; what is it that you need to turn away from today? What sin are you secretly doing or hanging onto that you need to turn away from and put out? Is it that you are holding onto something that is displeasing to God?

That is why there is a block up between you and him and Christians say: “Well I just feel so far from God and I don't have any peace”. It is all that sin you are letting into your life that you are actually doing each day. And we can do sin also in our hearts, because a lot of us and a lot of religious folk and lot of church folk, can look very righteous on the outside and they don't go around and do too many blatant sin like you will see in the world, but inside they're full of evil deeds, lustful eyes, secret sin, doing things that God doesn't approve of in private, doing things that are righteous, and hearts of malice and evil, and we can have all these problems in our hearts that we need to repent of, and we need to get Jesus Christ to straighten us out and to put his new way in our hearts. Because I tell you truly if you have come to know Jesus he will touch you and make you a new person. He will change your heart, give you a new way, set you free hallelujah! He will free you from your sins and your burdens and bring you to God. So I want to talk about these good works, good deeds, and why we cannot enter heaven by any good works lest any man should boast. You see without Christ in us, without him working through us, all our good deeds are as good as filthy rags. And people say: “Well I'm pretty good”. It is because in our pride and our arrogance we just can't see how dirty we really are and our good works are all selfishly motivated and they might look good but they really are FALSE good works and they are selfishly motivated for our own agenda. But it is the works that come out of a heart that is changed by Christ that are good works that are through Christ, that he will turn to us on the last day; the people on his right. And you'll see that you have given to brethren who needed help. You will see that you have loved others as he loved you. You will see that you went and visited people who needed it who you knew. You will see that you didn't ignore others in need that were around you that you could have helped (were able to) because when you have the Spirit of Christ he cannot do things (which are evil and heartless). That is why he will say to the people on his left: “Go away you cursed you didn't do anything for me”. Because they never sought him and never repented and they never had him live through them, so they never had a heart to go and help those around them. Instead they just looked at them (those in need) and said: “You know you brought it upon yourself your own fault.” They might have accused some of the least or they turned a blind eye to some needy children. Or they just didn't help anyone. You know that's who Jesus will say, “Go away you cursed”, because they didn't have the right heart. And if you feel you don't have the right heart today, you need to get to Jesus to ask him to fill you with his heart. You need the heart of the Lord, his new way inside. It is the only way.

I read a story about one particular man. He was a photographer and he went to Africa during the great famine and he is photographing people there, starving people. He came across this toddler who was crawling along the road which this big vultures sitting there waiting for the child to die. But the team was told not to touch anybody lest you get sick. However he could have taken the child another few kilometres further to the aid tent, but he didn't. He took the photo and he sent the photo and he won a prize for the photo and it became a famous picture. But not long after that he committed suicide, because he couldn't live with what he had done. He had neglected one of the least and Satan didn't leave him alone, and he didn't turn to God and he didn't repent. And what the demons do is they drive you to commit suicide when you sin, if you can and they can (push you to choose that way). so you see dear friends there is no hope for those who don't repent and live after Christ's way. There is no hope for those who don't have the love of Jesus in them.

All their good works are in vain. I'm sure that man had plenty of good works before that. Maybe he had helped someone here and there, but it's all selfishly motivated. We have the heart of the world in us when we don't follow Christ and all our good works are like filthy rags, they won't save you. And that is why we need the heart of Jesus Christ inside. You see a lot of other people had the heart of Jesus Christ and they went to these places and they started bringing Jesus there. And the Kingdom of God came there and people started getting healed and healing came to the land and they started to help the people who were in need of help. And Jesus will say to them: “Come ye blessed, you helped me when I was in need because in as much as you did to the least of these brethren, the least of these people, you do unto me”. So I want to read you from Ephesians chapter 2: For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God has ordained for us from the beginning that we should walk in them”… Dear friends is Jesus living through you that you are completing your good works for the kingdom of God? Or are you saying that it's all by grace not good works lest any man should boast? And then Jesus Christ will say to you: “Depart you cursed because you didn't help me, you didn't help me”.

Now we should be doing good works because it is through the grace of God that we can get this new heart to have Christ lived through us that we can do the good works that have been ordained for us to walk in from the beginning. Now Matthew 5:16: let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven”… This is another example of Christians who have Jesus inside of them. They have a light of good works, of righteousness, holiness. Now ask yourself this question; show me your faith by your good works, do you have these good works or are you just a sinner still? If you're just a sinner still your blind, pitiful, poor, naked and bankrupt before God. Dear friends it is time to cry out onto the Lord and you will find him because only he and his grace can change you. Now James 2:14: What does it profit you my brethren, though a man say he has faith but no good works, can his faith save him? No! I want to read to you from 2 Corinthians 5:10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that every man receive according to his deeds in his body according to what he has done whether good or bad… So once again for the grace camp of Christians who claim that it's all by the faith and no works and they continue to sin, just be aware that you will appear before the judgment seat of Christ and you'll be called to account for the things you have done in your BODY, your body, the actions of your hands, minds, and DEEDS, according to what you have done whether good or bad it is written in 2 Corinthians chapter 5.

So friends are we going to be turned away as the sheep or the goats on the left? Or are we going to be the people on the right who have had Christ work through us good works, righteous deeds, holiness, freedom from sin, no longer continuing in the works of evil. I want to continue reading. Now Hebrews 6 verse 10: For God is not unrighteous to forget your works and your labor of love for which he has shown towards his name. There you go this works and this labor of love comes from God, comes from Christ working through you. You need to get to know the Lord Jesus Christ hallelujah. He is only a prayer away. Now I want to read on: for God is not unrighteous to forget your works he will reward you according to what you do in Christ. Hallelujah, I want to read on in Galatians 2:20: I am crucified with Christ and nevertheless it is not I who live it is Christ in me! Hallelujah! Once again we have Christ living within us who turn to him live for him and experience him.

Now what happened to Paul? He fell on the road in Damascus and Christ appeared to him and changed him at that point. What has happened to you? Have you had an experience? Has Christ set you free? Have you got on your knees and asked Christ to know you? To show you, to free you to change you, to make you have a a new way in your heart? Or are you just stuck in dead religion that doesn't have any reality of Jesus at all. So many people don't know the Lord. They never ask. They just read the Bible and they just do religious things but they don't know him. They got no faith. Now I want to read you about the lazy servant. Now Jesus talks about the unprofitable lazy servant and he said that this lazy servant was cast out into the outer darkness because this servant didn't do the works that was required of him. So once again we are coming back to all these WORKS. Works, works, works, all these good works of service to the kingdom, getting your talents improved, increasing your talent like the parable of the talents, he doubled his money that the master gave him. Now in your case you are increasing the kingdom of God that the Lord has given you. Now are you doing that or are you not increasing God's kingdom but you are just following your own path? You are just living your own sin? Just going to your own parties living a life like a sinner and saying your saved by grace lest any man should boast! Dear friends let us not be deceived because the axe is at the foot of every tree that doesn't bear good fruit and as is written by Christ, Christ himself when he spoke where he said that: “The axe is laid at the foot of the trees that do not bear fruit”…

Once again it comes down to you and to me. WE have to make the choice for Christ has ALREADY made the way. The grace is already there. The grace to do good works, the grace to live righteous is already there through Christ it shall be done. We shall be righteous through Christ, but it is down to you and is completely reliant on you now if you want to not be cast away, you MUST go to the Lord Jesus Christ to get changed and made a new creation. Many believers think they're born-again, they think they must be saved, yet they are not a new creation. The old is not new. They are still living their old life, their old sins. Going on in immorality and evil. They are not turning away from paths of sin, unrighteousness, they are not able to help those who are lost, starving, and naked, in need of Christ because they themselves are not a light. We need to realize that we must turn to Christ today for his reality and get change on the inside. Now he did it for me and he will do it for you if you go and spend the time crying out to him. And don't stop until you find him.

Now I want to read to you here that we need to have the power of the Holy Spirit with us to give us the power to keep walking because Jesus said that when he goes he will send us a HELPER and it was written that this spirit of truth (now I'll read about the helper) he said (John 14:15-17): if you love me you'll keep my commandments and I will pray to the father and he will give you another helper that may abide with you for ever and it is the spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. But he will dwell with you and he will be with you… Now this Spirit of truth is the Holy Spirit of God that comes to those who obey the commandments of Jesus and the reason why people don't get to know the Lord and the reason why they're not filled with the spirit is one reason and that is because they do not obey the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. But we have to obey his commandments and turn from our sins, it is the only way. And so let us do so while we can lest we get cast away. Now I want to read to you what happens in acts chapter 11 where Peter began to speak he said: The Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles just as it fell on us in the beginning, and since God gave the Gentiles the same gift that he gave us, then who are we to stand in God's way!… And what was this way? This way that the apostles were given and what were they given? They were given the Holy Spirit through fire, the tongues of the Holy Spirit speaking in tongues, this was the first evidence of the Holy Spirit.

And other people say that they have the Holy Spirit but they don't speak in tongues. They got no evidence and the Holy Spirit causes you to speak in tongues because that's what happened to the Gentiles as Peter said: As I began to speak the Holy Spirit fell on them just as he fell on us at the beginning… You see every Christian has the right to repent, turn away from sin and get filled with the Holy Spirit. And that's what I'm urging you all today that if you're able to turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and if you're able to have him set you free, and if you are able to repent of all your sins, what is going to happen is that he's going to give you the Holy Spirit. But you got to go and ask and you've got to be serious and dedicated because it is the Holy Spirit living in us, that gives us the power to live a righteous life and be holy. Do you know Jesus and does Jesus know you? Everything boils down to that. That if you want the good work living through you, if you want the righteousness of God in your heart, if you want his Holiness, if you want to have these good works that are going to bring you into the kingdom of God through the grace of God lest any man should boast, then you need to get to know the Lord Jesus Christ and the way to know him is in prayer. It is only in prayer.

If you want to know him we have to pray and if you don't know him today and he hasn't set you free, and you still go on in sin, then you need to pray to the Lord Jesus Christ and get him to set you free, hallelujah. Because he's the only way and without him you cannot be saved, you cannot do good works, you cannot do the works that Jesus requires where he's going to turn to those people on his right and he is going to say to them: “Come you blessed because you saw me when I was hungry and you gave me something to eat and you gave me a glass of water”. He said, “In as much as you did it for the least of them, you did it for me”. And that's where you have this wonderful heart change in this wonderful new way to turn away from all immorality and evil and ways of Satan, and it is when you have a new way come inside. It's when you get to know Jesus Christ and that's why I stress to you: DO YOU KNOW HIM?...