VIDEO Words and Works Matching

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 1 John 1:6

A mother finds her three-year-old son standing in front of his bedroom wall, a crayon in each hand, admiring his artwork. When she asks if he drew on the wall, the child’s answer is a sheepish “No,” “Are you sure?” “Yes.” “Well, who colored on the wall?” And the discussion goes on. Most parents are familiar with this exchange.

Words are important—but actions (works) are important too. What we say ultimately has to be verified by what we do. For instance, if we confess (say) we believe in Jesus, we will be saved (Romans 10:9). But if our actions (works) don’t reflect the righteousness of Christ, we reveal our words to have been untrue (1 John 1:6). That doesn’t mean we have to be perfect. But it does mean that our life will, in time, reflect the new person we have become through faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we become a Christian, Christ dwells in us and will be reflected through us (Galatians 2:20).How has your life changed since meeting Christ? Let Christ change you by living His life through you.

Faith is the engine driving all our actions. John Blanchard


Paul Washer | 1John 1 | University Lectures

Fueled by Fire

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us . . . . But even if he does not . . . we will not serve your gods. Daniel 3:17–18

When two firefighters, weary and sooty, stopped at a restaurant for breakfast, the waitress recognized the men from the news and realized they’d spent the night battling a warehouse fire. To show her appreciation, she wrote a note on their bill, “Your breakfast is on me today. Thank you . . . for serving others and for running into the places everyone else runs away from. . . . Fueled by fire and driven by courage, what an example you are.” 

In the Old Testament, we see an example of courage in the actions of three young men: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3). Instead of obeying the mandate to bow down to a statue of the Babylonian king, these young men courageously showed their love for God through their refusal. Their penalty was to be thrown into a blazing furnace. Yet the men didn’t back down: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not . . . we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold” (vv. 17–18). 

God did rescue them and even walked with them in the fire (vv. 25–27). In our fiery trials and troubles today, we too have the assurance that God is with us. He is able.

By:  Alyson Kieda

Reflect & Pray

When have you felt God’s presence during a difficult trial? What gives you confidence to press on when challenges come?

Almighty God, thank You for being with me in the fire and for comforting me with Your presence.

Faith Is Action

Hebrews 11:7-16

Faith is often thought of as a thing we have—a belief in something or someone. But in the Scriptures, faith is more than a passive possession—it’s a firm confidence that results in action. In today’s passage, an action follows every mention of faith. Noah prepared an ark, Abraham obeyed without knowing where he was going, and Sarah confidently anticipated the son God promised.

Instead of sitting back, believers should count on God’s promises and act accordingly, as did the men and women listed in Hebrews 11. The Lord accomplished amazing feats through their lives when they believed Him and moved out in obedience. Like a muscle, faith grows the more we put it into action. In this way, believers strengthen their trust in God and His promises, even when they don’t live long enough to see the fulfillment in their lifetime.

Are you acting on your faith in God and His Word? When you see a command or warning in Scripture, do you obey it? Are you letting biblical truths about God’s character and power shape your thinking and responses? If so, your faith is growing strong.

The “Shall Nots” of John’s Gospel

“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.” (John 3:16)

There are many wonderful promises to the believer listed in the gospel of John. Many of these promises are things that “shall” happen, but let us consider seven of these that teach of things that “shall not” happen to the believer whose trust is in Christ.

Teaching of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christ said, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (4:14).

Similarly, “Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (6:35).

Furthermore, He taught, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (8:12). Our deepest needs are met in Him.

Having once believed, we are placed into His family, and He promises, “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (10:28). In Him, we are utterly secure. Why? “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (5:24).

Consequently, we have no fear of death. “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (11:25-26).

As the familiar verse in our text tells us, if we only believe “that he gave his only begotten Son,” we shall “not perish, but have everlasting life.” JDM

As Thou Hast Believed”

Matthew 8:5-13

IN Matthew 8:5-13 we have the account of the healing of the centurion’s servant. Centurions figure prominently in the New Testament. There was the one at the cross who said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” There was also Cornelius, the Gentile convert.

First, this centurion showed concern. He came beseeching Jesus for his servant, who was probably a favorite and a valuable man. If we are to receive anything from the Lord for ourselves or others, we must be concerned. “No man cared for my soul” might well be the text for a sermon entitled, “Who Cares?” There are salesmen selling toothpaste and hair tonic over the radio with more zeal than many of us are preaching the gospel. And now many parents and friends today are coming to Jesus with the needs of their loved ones, concerned half as much as this centurion over his servant?

Next, he showed contrition. He told the Lord, “I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof.” Today people argue, “I didn’t ask to be born; God ought to save me.” We read such signs as “Your soul will be saved if you make it worth saving.” But if we are to be blessed by Jesus we must come as beggars, deserving nothing. Jacob, faced with a crisis, prayed, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant” (Gen. 32:10). John the Baptist was a fearless preacher, but he could say of Jesus, “Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear.” The prodigal son had to be humbled to say, “I am not worthy to be called thy son.”

Then the centurion showed confidence. He asked Jesus merely to speak the word and his servant would be healed. Jesus said, “As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee.” Faith is the only hand that can receive anything from God. Without faith, we cannot please God. Jesus complimented this man’s faith; Jesus always told those whom He blessed that their faith had done it. We keep thinking that there is some other key to blessing, but it is simply according to our faith.

Then the centurion obeyed Jesus and went his way. He showed conformity to our Lord’s command. He took the word for the deed and went home to find it so. Hannah took God’s word and went her way with her countenance no more sad (1 Sam. 1:18). When Jesus cursed the fig tree, He did not stay there to see whether it died or not. He went His way, and when He came back it was dead. He used that to instruct His disciples that when they prayed they were to believe they had what they prayed for and they would have it (Mark 11:24). We say that God is able to help us, and we hope He will, but Jesus says God has done the thing we ask for in faith and we are to go on believing it. As the lepers went they were cleansed, and so are we.

Finally, there was confirmation. When the centurion reached home, he found the servant healed. Of course he did! It is always as the Lord says. When the Zarephath widow obeyed Elijah, I read, “And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord which he spake by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:16). When the disciples went to prepare the place of the Lord’s Supper, they found as He had said. It is always so. The faith which believes shall see!

Clinging to His Creeks

Asher remained at the seashore and stayed in his harbors.—Judges 5:17

One of the greatest mistakes we can make in life is to block the efforts of the Divine Eagle when He attempts to push us out of the nest of the accustomed into the world of the adventurous. Asher did this—the account in the Moffatt translation reads: “Asher sat still by the seaboard clinging to his creeks.” Although the metaphor is changed, the principle is still the same. There was Asher sitting by the seaboard, clinging to his creeks, when he could have launched out into the ocean and experienced the joy of a great adventure. In the face of the big, he settled for the little. They were “his” creeks and he wasn’t going to let the accustomed go to venture into the unaccustomed no matter how great the possibilities.

Asher is a type of the Christian who wants to stay by the safe and secure and finishes up by doing nothing and getting nowhere. I am not advocating spiritual recklessness, nor am I arguing for an unmindful approach to the Christian life; I am simply saying that we ought to be ocean-minded and not creek-minded Christians. The people who try to find inner security by clinging to the creeks are invariably unfulfilled, for we are inwardly made for growth and creativity.

A turtle doesn’t get anywhere until he sticks his neck out! To cling to our creeks for safety and security is to be upset at every call of the big. We are made for the big and are restless in our littleness. We cannot be content this side of God’s purpose.

Prayer

O Father, You are calling and I must come. I come from my littleness and watch it sink into the bigness of Your purpose for me. The great calls and I must come—at any price. Amen.

Further Study

1Sm 17; Mt 21:22; Mk 11:24; 1Jn 5:14-15

In what ways was David adventurous?

On what was his adventurous spirit based?

The Christian Hope

John 14:1-3

Jesus left many bequests free and clear, requiring only the acceptance by the beneficiary. However, He left one special gift in the form of a testamentary trust (a trust formed under the terms of His will).

Jesus looked into the troubled eyes of His disciples and responded to their unspoken grief with sympathy and reassurance. “Do not let not your hearts be troubled,” He said. “Trust in God; trust also in Me. In my Father’s house are many rooms… I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-3).

The Christian hope is not a wish; it has substance. We can depend on it. Faith is personal, an attitude which we can choose to have—or not to have. The Christian hope exists independent of our attitudes.

If there is one distinction which separates the Christian faith from other religions, it is the Christian hope. Without what the Church fathers called “the sure and certain hope of the resurrection,” the Christian faith crumbles. It becomes a lovely, impractical dream. When Jesus presented Himself as the hope of the world, and proved the validity of His promises through His resurrection, He made it possible for the common, unremarkable person to live an uncommon, remarkable life. This is a life of victory with the sure and certain knowledge that our Lord has not forgotten us, but will one day return to claim us as His own.

As a beneficiary, I am able to draw from His trust freely, day by day, even moment by moment whenever the need arises, without diminishing the assets. This daily draw-down on the Christian hope makes it possible to move ahead in faith, knowing that God can fashion beauty from ashes when they are given over to Him.

The Christian hope rescues us from grieving over what might have been—or what we might have done better—and challenges us with all that God has yet for us to accomplish in His name. The Christian hope keeps us from wrapping ourselves in the encumbering robes of self-pity and despair. It sets us free to praise and honor the Lord in word and works, in spite of what happens in the world.

Sharon Robertson, The War Cry