Berís Sermon on the Saved versus Works issue


When I was a teenager I baptized many of my friends in a cold creek near our place.

Why? Because I saw John the Baptist doing it on TV and my catholic church taught me that you could never go to heaven with original sin on your soul and that the only way to erase the original sin of Adam and Eve was through baptism.

I didnít want my friends going to hell.

I didnít really know what Baptism was all about back then, let alone what being saved really meant. Without knowing it I was getting a head start on the works part though.

A couple years later, when I was about 16, a friend of mine asked me if I knew for sure I was going to Heaven. I said, "Iíve been baptized, catechized, pasteurized and homogenized, what else is there?"

He said, "That is not what I asked you. Do you know for sure if you are going to be saved?"

I said, "No." At that time I had insufficient knowledge upon which to base such a conclusion.

Do YOU know that you are saved, without a single doubt in your mind?
What is the criteria you use if you say yes?
Can you be unsaved? Can you lose your salvation once saved or is the rule ďonce saved, always savedĒ?  Itís not.
Can you LOSE your place and your name be erased from the book of life?  Yes, you can.  Itís all in HOW you SHOW you believeth.
Keep that word believith in mind as we move on.
 

God has provided for sinful man to be cleansed and to be able to be saved. There is only one way, through the cleansing blood shed of His son, Yahsua our Messiah.

Some teach that all religions lead to Heaven.
This is a lie developed by the Devil to keep people from learning the truth.

The first thing we must realize is that we are all sinners before a perfect and holy God.

God cannot allow sin into Heaven. If He did, it would soon be like Earth. We are hopelessly and helplessly lost. God created the universe, He owns it and He makes the laws. God gave us His commandments and we have not kept them.
Turn to Isaiah 53: 6, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;"
Romans 3: 23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Unless a person realizes and admits they are a sinner, and repents of their sins, they cannot be saved.
You (and I) have broken Godís laws and commandments.
This is called sin. God is a perfect God and cannot allow even one sin or sinner to enter Heaven. Because He is Holy and Just He cannot look upon sin. So God had a problem. He loves you and wants you to live with Him but your sins had made that impossible.

Secondly, we must realize and admit that the penalty for our sin condemns us to hell. I Kings 8:46; "there is no man that sinneth not," Ezekiel 18: 4; "Behold, all souls are mine; Ö the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Romans 6: 23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." We cannot save ourselves. We are guilty before a righteous Judge who cannot overlook our sin.

The only thing that can pay for sin is death. In the Old Testament it was the death and blood of the unblemished lamb that covered their sins from Godís eyes. So God Himself became a man (Jesus) and died on the cross in our place. He is called "The Lamb of God" in the Bible. However, this lamb was different. His blood does not cover your sins, it washes them away. The only problem now is how can I get the blood of Jesus put on my sin account.

God loves us and wants to save us from our sin.
John 3:15-16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  Keep that word ďbelievethĒ in mind.
John 10:28, "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
Since we have all sinned, only a perfect substitute can die in our place.

An illustration may help here: Suppose you had murdered someone and were standing before the judge being tried for your crime. The judge must be fair and obey the law so he pronounces you guilty and sentences you to death for your crime. Then, the judge takes off his robe, steps down to where you are and says, " I love you. I donít want you to die. I will take your punishment for you. I will die in your place. This is the only way the law can be satisfied and you get set free at the same time. This is what God did. We were guilty of sin and deserving of death but He took our place." Now, His blood can pay for our sin if we ask Him to save us. All we need to do is believe that He died for us (and rose from the dead) and receive His free gift of eternal life. Again ďbelieveĒ is the key word here.

Jesus did the work, went through the pain and paid our sin debt so we could have eternal life. Romans 6:23 says: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Jesus once told a man in John 3:3, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

The way you get "born again" and become Godís child is by receiving Him. John 1:12 says: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" The way to receive Him is to call and ask for His forgiveness and salvation. The Bible says in Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Some churches teach that our works somehow make us acceptable to God. Nothing could be further from the truth. Isaiah 64:6; "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;"
Eph. 2:8-9; "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Titus 3:5; "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us," The Bible is clear that nothing we can do can save us, help save us or keep us saved.

Sounds simple Ė right? Is grace a free ride to sin if we say we believe?

So what about works?
Are they important if we can get to heaven on salvation and grace alone?
Or do we show false faith when "head knowledge" is not followed by action? How do we show we BELIEVETH on him?
John 3:15-16, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, ďthat whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

We will be judged according to our willingness to believe (our faith) and our works!
Revelation 20:
11: And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
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.
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.

Revelation 2:23    ... and I will repay each of you according to your deeds"

Are works important?
Or is it heresy to preach the importance of doing good works?

I am not speaking about works of the flesh; Galatians 5:19-21
19: Now the works of the flesh are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lust,
20: Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21: Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

I am speaking about works of the spirit. The fruits of the spirit are how we show we believeth. How we treat our fellow man is showing we believeth.
Gallations 5:22-25
22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23: Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24: And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Colossions 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Witnessing our faith to others is a works of the spirit. We are not to keep quiet and assume new names in some federal witness protection program. The agape love of God shed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit will compel us to share the good news of salvation with others, especially those who are hurting, oppressed, broke, sick or lonely. 

We'll be concerned for the lost, the unsaved, the backslidden and want them to experience the same peace, love, victory and joy we have found through  the precious Blood of Jesus. By witnessing to others, we also strengthen our own faith. The way we live in obedience to the Word of God is our most powerful witness for God. This is where people can see our faith in action and can know we believeth. Let love overcome any fear that we may have about witnessing for  perfect love casts out fear. Reach out and touch someone and tell them what God has done for us. 

Read yourselves James 2:14-25
James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
The implied answer to this question is: No, faith alone cannot save him.

17: Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18: Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
20: But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21: Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22: Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23: And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24: Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25: Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26: For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James is saying that to be effective, faith must demonstrate itself in works. Your works are not of your own; but come about by having the holy spirit within you. If good works are not present, then the so-called 'faith' is in reality - 'dead faith.' And dead faith will certainly not get anyone anywhere; least of all into the Kingdom of Heaven.

There are many Bible verses exhorting believers to do good works. In fact, Yahweh's objective when sending His Son to earth was that we should be saved from sin to live righteous lives. To suggest that good works are unimportant is a sign of ignorance, of spiritual blindness. It is an argument only used by the workers of iniquity: those who do not want to obey Yahweh's commandments and whose lives are in contradiction of the faith they profess.

2 Timothy 4: 14: Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord will reward him according to his works:

Matthew 7: 21: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

All these things Ė professions of faith, casting out devils, prophesying, long fasts, endless prayers, church attendance, singing songs of praise;

important as they are, count for nothing if obedience, good works and fruit are missing.

Few realise that the word 'works' is synonymous with 'fruit.' Both words mean - the outcome, the end product. The Almighty closely considers people's works, their behaviour, their actions, their fruit. He takes note of what we do. Every motive, every thought, every word, every action is recorded in the divine registers above. The Bible teaches that on the Day of Judgment, everyone will be judged according to their works - their fruit.

Matthew 12:

36: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Jeremiah 25:

14:... and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands.

Matthew 16:

27: For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Revelation 2:

23: And I (Yehshua the Messiah speaking) will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

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.
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.


Works  means faith which is reflected in obedience to the Almighty's commandments. This may include obedience to the clean/unclean food laws as well as honoring Godís Holy Feast Days.

Good works is expressed in the fruit of the Holy Spirit: (love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,& forgiveness) The Master said in his sermon on the mount: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

 

The Saviour knows our works, better than we can imagine. He is extremely interested in the performance of every member of his church. He knows our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, pressures and persecutions. He knows everything about us all; and he will judge us on the basis of that knowledge. These are sobering thoughts; which we do well to keep in mind.