[Included here are sermon notes from Sunday morning at Omaha Bible Church. Also included are applicational questions for further review and meditation (Col. 3.16)]
The most dangerous thing about these lies is that they are giving people assurance when they do not have anything to be assured about. Some feel that if they are busy doing religious stuff and then everything will be ok with God.
The Word is the most powerful tool to lie-proof us as Christians. God uses the Scripture in concert with the Holy Spirit to confront, change, and equip us.
Lie number one was discussed last week (that you can earn your way to God, or that you can earn part of your way to God). When we understand the depths of the depravity of Ephesians 2, where we are spiritually dead, with nothing to offer God, save our own hostility, we magnify the cross, exalt its power in our lowliness.
The only bragging rights in Christianity are Christ’s!! (cf. Gal. 6.14).
In this study we’ll consider the 2nd Lie that Too Many People Believe:
A person can be saved and not live a life of good works
Many people misunderstand biblical Christianity because they do not know where the good works fit in. Remember that we were dead in our sins and God makes us alive; but alive for what?!
Look at Ephesians 2:10 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Why did God save the sinner by faith alone, in Christ alone? To have you continue on your way to hell? C’mon!!
What did the all-powerful God do when he saves sinners? Notice that that he creates believers in Christ Jesus for good works! Salvation leads to good works, this is the design!
Unless, of course you are willing to promote and defend a theology that states that God is a failure. For God says that he prepared the good works!!
This is simple in the classroom, but it is the application to the people that you may care about; those who profess Christ but live for the devil. Remember that we are not called by God to build our worldview by our experiences, but to submit humbly to his word and then evaluate your world from there.
The cart and the horse analogy works well here. The good works are not the horse but the cart. The good works come after salvation (the horse). If you confuse the two, and put the cart before the horse you have a different religion…but do not deny the cart, it is there!! Good works come, but it comes after salvation!
This is all over the Bible. If you don’t like Paul…I’ll give you Peter; if you don’t like Peter…I’ll give you Jesus….if you don’t like Jesus…well then you have a bigger problem.
Titus 2:13-14 Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
The text here is connected to the cross, to make believers greedy for good deeds!! How do you spot believers? They are zealous for good deeds!! They used to be led around by the nose by the devil, but now they are free to do good deeds, zealously!!
This is all tied to the cross!! It magnifies the cross! Jesus didn’t just try like a weakling to save! He secured sinners from themselves, and implanted new passions in them to glorify his son. The grace of God is so powerful that it doesn’t leave a sinner dead and acting like one on his way to hell!! It actually changes lives…how powerful is this grace!!
Jesus concludes his loving Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 7:21-22 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
Notice that Jesus casts them into hell not because they did not make a profession of faith, but because they did not obey him! Their lack of obedience demonstrates that they were actually hypocrites!! Remember that the good works come after salvation.
Luke 6.46 Jesus asks why professing believers do not obey him. Why do you call me Lord and then not obey? This is the ultimate example of taking the Lord's name in vain!! For it is this empty profession of faith that is far more deadly and deceiving vain speech.
All professing believers should be constantly examining and evaluating their lives to be certain that they are indeed regenerate! Contemporary evangelicalism often tells folks not to look hard at their lives and profession, but the Bible does quite the opposite:
2 Peter 1:10 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you;
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
1 John 2:4 4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
1 John 3:6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
We must be sure to quote the following verse in light of the previous verses in the context of 1 John…
1 John 5:11-12 11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
Ephesians 5:5-6 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
We are supposed to know these things with certainty. God saves by grace and lives change.
Be careful not to affirm yourselves or others who have no fruit just to make them feel better only to lead them to the end of Matt. 7 to have them greeted by an angry Savior who never knew them!! Rather, lovingly exhort them by the truth to the truth that they may know them for certain! We have a responsibility to God and to others to tell them the truth.
- Identify the place of ‘good works’ in salvation.
- Why is it so important to keep the ‘cart’ (salvation) before the ‘horse’ (good works)? What happens if the two are reversed?
- The salvation of ‘bad’ sinners is a great demonstration of God’s goodness. Run through the book of Titus and identify the placement of the word ‘good’. Discus what is ‘good’ in the life of a believer as a result of God’s grace.
- Have you ever found yourself affirming another’s salvation based upon emotion rather than upon fruit?
- Why is this dangerous? What would the most loving and God honoring thing to do be?
- How does the reality of Ephesians 2.10, specifically the fact that Almighty God has prepared “good works” for you to do, affect your day to day life?