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True Christians Do

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Jam 2:17.

Joe calls himself a farmer.  He has incredible knowledge of good farming and fertilization practices.  He reads many books in order to learn all the new techniques to grow more produce each year without increasing the size of his farm.  He is very proud of what he has learned and shares his knowledge with anyone he can.  However, there is a serious problem with Joe.  In all the years he has had his farm, he has never planted a single crop.  He talks a good talk, but has never done anything that a farmer is known for.  So, this begs the question, is Joe a real farmer?

I have attended many services since becoming a Christian in 1977.  In those many years, I have determined that there are three major groups in most churches here in America.  You can find more if choose to become more granular in your analysis, however, for this discussion three will suffice.  The first are the uncommitted.  These are people who have not made a commitment to Christ but are attending church in order to find out what Christianity is all about.  At some point, they may join one of the other two groups I will be discussing later, or if they do not find reality, they may forget about church, not seeing anything worth giving their life to.  I would liken them to someone, going back to the farmer analogy, who looks into starting a farm to see if they would like to become a farmer and what it would take to get started.

The second group is what I would call the committed.  These are Christians that are all in, live the real Christian life in all aspects of their lives, or in most while striving to become true to the cause of Christ in all.  They have made Christ Lord of their lives and are growing in Him every day.  They go out and strive to make a difference every day.  If there is an avenue to serve God and they have the means to make it happen, they will.  I would liken them to the true famers who not only learn about farming, but also go out and plant crops each year.  They learn from each year and strive to become a better farmer each year.

Now, I come to the third group, which is the one I want to focus on.  These are the ones who claim the name of Christian, but really do not act like one.  Oh, they go to church.  They read their bibles or devotionals.  They sing their songs and give their tax deductible gifts.  However, their focus is on what they can get out of Church, and how they can look good in the process.  They do little to nothing to help the needy and hurting, and when away from church, little thought is given to God.  I would liken this to the farmer example above, the one who called himself a farmer, but never planted a crop.

James said in the second chapter of the book named after him the following, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  Jam 2:15-17.  True Christians love God, love their brothers and sisters, love the unsaved, and love their enemies.  And love necessitates doing something.  In fact, true love is not a feeling, but an action.  If you love your brother, then when you see him struggling, you will be there with him, either in alleviating his struggles, or helping him through the struggle.  This may take the form  of monetary assistance, counsel, prayer, etc.  It can also take the form of an encouraging word, however, if you have the means to do more and choose not to, is this true love?  I would say no.

True Christianity is total devotion to Christ and submitting to His Lordship.  This means that if He tells us to do something, we must do it.  We are called to go out and spread the gospel.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Mat 28:19-20.  We are also called to love our enemies.  “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’  To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.‘”  Rom 12:20-21.  If our enemy is in need, meet that need.  This is an act of love to him, and who knows, the kindness you show him may be what is necessary for his salvation.  We are called to love the brethren.  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  “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 no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.'”  Mat 25:31-45.  

Being a Christian is more than a proclamation.  It is more than saying a prayer and now you are safe.  Being a Christian is being Christ-like.  It is loving and doing, just as He did.  Many times, this is not convenient.  It is more than just not doing the don’ts, we must, I say must, do the do’s.  Therefore, as Christians, works are essential;  Not for salvation, but in living the life you profess. So, going back to the farmer analogy, have you planted a crop, or have you only talked and studied with an empty field?  I am going to make a pledge that I will act as I profess.  Will you take this pledge with me?  You may already be, but we can always do more.  And make this pledge to God, not to me.  He is the one we are serving.  I have found the more I give, the more fulfilling my life becomes.  Try it, I believe you will find the same to be true.

Categories: Theology
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