The Moody Preacher's Blog
The Lord had a few things to say about “works” when He had John write to the seven churches in Asia. To all seven of these churches, Jesus says, “I know your works…” (Rev. 2-3). In and of itself, this is signficant. Yet, within these letters are a few admonitions that resonate as we ponder the importance of "WORKS" in a Christian’s life, particulary as they are involved in our judgment and salvation (emphasis in each quote is mine, jlp)…
- “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first WORKS, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent” (Rev. 2:5).
- “And I will give to each one of you according to your WORKS” (Rev. 2:23)
- “And he who overcomes, and keeps My WORKS until the end, to him I will give power of the nations…” (Rev. 2:26)
- “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your WORKS perfect before God.” (Rev. 3:2).
- “I know your WORKS, that you are neither cold nor hot, I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:15)
These quotes only illustrate where the word “WORKS” was explicitly employed, and not where "works" are implied. Clearly, our Lord Jesus pays a great deal of attention to what we do and our WORKS play a large role how he judges us. Therefore, always contingent upon God’s grace because we will sin and fall short (Rom. 3:23), and never independent of the faith because without faith we cannot please Him (Heb. 11:6), our WORKS are obviously a deciding factor in whether or not we will be saved or condemned (Jas. 2:14). We will not only be judged for our bad works, but our good works as well (cf. 2 Cor. 5:10-11).
Five letters and three words led to the single most amazing event in the history of mankind -- "SO I DO."
Jesus, the Son of God, received a commandment from His Father. He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. . . . Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:11, 17–18).
A little later, as Jesus instructed His disciples on the importance of keeping His word and promised to send the Holy Spirit to them, reminding them that He would soon go to be with His Father in heaven (John 14:22-30), He set the bar for those of us who chose to follow Him.
He said, "But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, SO I DO. Arise, let us go from here" (John 14:31, emphasis mine, jlp).
Those three amazing words -- "SO I DO" -- were the prelude to the event that would not just change the world, but give those of the world the only hope possible of redemption from their sins -- the promise of salvation. Those three words took Jesus to the cross of Calvary, where He endured the suffering and agony that led to His death, freely giving His life to save you and I from the consequence of our sins (cf. Rom. 6:23)!
Consequently, those three words contain a phenomenal challenge for you and I. The next time you read a command from God from His word, challenge yourself to be a "SO I DO" type of follower! Let those three words -- "SO I DO" -- be your commitment to go where ever it is the Lord will lead you in any command He gives. Whether His command leads you to repent and be baptized -- be a "SO I DO" believer. Whether His command leads you to share the gospel with others -- be a "SO I DO" believer. Even if His command leads you to the die for Him -- be a "SO I DO" believer!
He certainly died for us! What is there that He asks of us that we can't answer with a humble, yet emphatic, "SO I DO"?
As I was looking for some graphics to use for this website on modesty, I stumbled on this gem.
When all else fails, resort to stick figures. We will let the sign do the talking and leave a couple of passages to ponder as you give it some thought.
1 Peter 3:1–6 -1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6 just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. (NKJV)
1 Timothy 2:8–10 -8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. 9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. (NKJV)
Here is a quick thought that has been stirring about in the back of my head. Instead of viewing modest apparel as something inconvenient or tiresome, or even just the mere fulfillment of a command of God (though this is a reasonable start), why not look at it as a way of serving and loving one another?
The illustration comes to mind that was presented to me at some point down the road, after years of teaching on this topic. One man regretted the fact that altogether too often, he had to avert his eyes as he served the Lord's Supper to his sisters in Christ. Yeah... WOW.
Before you think this silly, think about those skirts that seemed appropriate when you were standing up, but actually hiked up to the mid-thigh when you sat in the pew. Think about those low-cut blouses that were fine at eye level, but are very revealing when you are 2-3 feet lower than your brother's eye level. Think folks.
How is this serving the man who has made a covenant with his eyes (Job 31:1), even as he tries to serve you? Even while out and in the world, what are we doing to love and serve those who are trying, despite Satan's best efforts to undermine them, to keep their hearts and minds on God? You can't stop a pervert from lusting, but you can love and serve.
So, think of your modest attire as a service born of love. I know your brothers, and many whom you will never know, will appreciate it.
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit." (Psa. 32:1-2, cf. Romans 4:5-8).
As I have been studying God's grace, I find myself reflecting on this passage, and most particularly how David, "a man after [God's] own heart" (Acts 13:22) viewed God. Did David view God only through an avenue of grace, or did David also view God through an avenue of law? I believe David viewed God through both avenues!
If anyone would understand God's grace and His law, David would (2 Sam. 11:1-12:23; Psa. 51:1-19). Not only did David sin—he confessed his sin, he faced the consequences of his sin and received God's grace for his sins. A study of David's sin(s) with Bathsheba from beginning to end is very enlightening in view of the aforementioned question.
Yet, to fully complete this study, it is also good to see how the Psalmist, who obviously completely trusted in God's grace, also viewed God through His law. Take the time to read through the entirety of Psalm 119, whom most scholars attribute to King David. Whether or not David wrote it, there is something very profound about the way God can be viewed through His law, without in any way compromising our understanding of God's grace.
Does your view of God allow you extol both His grace and His law? For your prayer and meditation.