Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, April 28th. Some things just go together. For example, according to the Bible, faith and works just go together. Learn how they complement each other in Part 1 of The Companion of Faith. The Christian life is a life of faith. We have faith in God. We have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have faith in the Holy Spirit. We have faith in the Word of God.
We trust this to be the Word of God. Our whole life is a life of faith. We talk about walking by faith, living by faith, dying by faith.
We pray to God in faith that He is listening, that He cares, and that He will hear and answer our prayers. So faith has become a very, very vital part of all that we believe and all that we do and all that we are as a Christian. Now sometimes, because we place such great emphasis on that part of our particular Christian life, sometimes it almost appears as if we neglect some other very important part. Because you see, while faith is absolutely essential to everything we do, that is only part of the Christian life. And oftentimes people can become very satisfied saying, well, you know, I've trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I'm eternally secure in Him, and so that's it.
There's an entirely different side of all of this. And what I want to talk about in this message is this. I want to talk about the companion of faith. There's something that goes along with our faith, something that we cannot afford to neglect in God's eyes, something that He holds us accountable for, something we are responsible for. And so I want you to turn, if you will, to 1 Thessalonians, and I want us to look, if you will, in the first chapter, and I want us to read these 10 verses, because here is a good example of the relationship and the right relationship between our faith and our works. And beginning in verse 1, Paul says, Paul and Silvanus, or Silas and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians, in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for all of you making mention of you in our prayers.
Now watch this. Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren, beloved by God, His choice of you. They were chosen by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit. And with full conviction, just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake, you also became imitators of us and of our Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need, listen, He says, to say anything.
We've heard all about it. But they themselves report about us, what kind of a reception we had with you and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead. That is Jesus who rescues us from wrath to come. Now the Thessalonians had placed their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and had been rescued, as it were, from idol worship. And as a result of that, they began to imitate the apostle Paul and his companions in sharing the gospel. And as he says, they received that in much tribulation. And then notice verse 8, if you will, he says, for the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith has gone forth. And so what Paul is saying here is that as God spoke to him and God spoke through him and it entered their heart, they began to share their faith and they became like a sounding board to all of their area, not just Macedonia, but areas beyond Macedonia. They became the voice of God as they began to share their faith and began to express what Jesus Christ was doing within them. He says, we have heard of your good works.
Nobody needs to tell us, but he said, we've heard of what's happening. And what's happening is that since you turn to God from idols to serve a living and true God, he says, the word of the Lord has sounded forth. He says, you have become a sounding board to all the area in which the Lord Jesus has allowed your voices to go forth. Now they were beginning to share their faith and their works were being heard about all over that part of their world. God had done a miraculous work in their life and as a result, their works were being shared. Now think about this for a moment.
When you trusted Jesus as your savior and he began to live on the inside of you and he gave to every single one of us the responsibility of being a sounding board to people around us about who he is, what he does, how to receive him as our personal savior. Think about this. It would be absolutely totally unthinkable and unbiblical, unscriptural to think that Jesus Christ would live on the inside of you and me and be quiet about himself.
It doesn't even make sense. He came to live on the inside of us because he says the church is the body of Christ, that is, his hands, his arms, his feet, his eyes, his heart, his ears. That's who we are. We're the sons and daughters of God. We have become the body of Christ. He's seated at the Father's right hand and he is living on the inside of us in the presence of the Holy Spirit. So having given us the responsibility of sharing with the world who he is, why he died on the cross, his resurrection, his coming again, it would be absolutely unthinkable for Jesus to live on the inside of you and be quiet. So therefore we too should be the sounding boards of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the office where you work, in your home, among your friends, among your pleasures, among your laborers.
He's his sounding boards for the gospel of Jesus Christ. And so when Paul was saying that he was giving thanks to them, he was thanking God, he says continually because, because as a result of their faith they were expressing and engaged in all kind of works that was bringing glory to God. Their love was their motivation and their steadfastness was inspired by their hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. So these were not just words. These are basic things that they could see. These were things they were grateful for, grateful for their steadfastness, grateful for their motivation of love and grateful for their faith in the works that were being shared around the world.
Now think about this. Should not every single Christian church be known for being a propagator of the gospel? The people who make up that fellowship are sounding boards of the truth that transforms men's lives and absolutely makes it possible for them to become children of God, to live in this life with peace and joy and happiness amidst their tribulation, trials and heartaches, and die and go to heaven with great glory. A church should be known as a propagator of the gospel. And yet churches today are known for all different kind of things.
But that Thessalonian church, they were known for being heralds of the gospel, proclaimers of the gospel, good deeds everywhere you turn. So when we think about our faith, for example, let's think about it in this light. And that is oftentimes because of the emphasis we place on faith, and it is a very strong emphasis and it is an emphasis that is legitimate. We place a very strong emphasis on our faith because we say we do not want anybody to be misled, misled into thinking that you can go to heaven and be accepted by God by doing good works. And so we place great emphasis on the fact, for by grace are you saved through faith that not of yourselves, not of works, lest any person should boast. But we are His creation created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Now, the result of our faith in Christ is good works, but it is not because of our good works that we're saved. And so we place a great emphasis there. And so we quote lots of scriptures and we every single Sunday point people to the cross because we know that the cross is the only way and the only means by which anybody will ever be able to get to heaven.
So it's not works. And so we make no apology for saying, the Bible says, not by works of righteousness which we've done are we saved, but by the mercy of God. We want to make it very clear that no matter how good and how moral and how ethical a person is, you don't get accepted by God for your good works. You may be a moral person, very ethical, in many ways the problem is this, your morality, your good works, listen, your ethics, none of these deal with the real major problem. The real major problem is the sin problem, that we have a sinful fall in nature.
My works can't correct that and cannot change that. So what we say is listen, don't be misled by thinking that you're being good and doing good works that is good from your perspective will get you to heaven because you haven't dealt with the major problem that separated you from God, which is sin. And the only way that can be dealt with is at the cross. When Jesus Christ died, He took your sin debt in full, paid it absolutely in full, and when you receive Him as your personal Savior, listen, your sin problem is dealt with, you're forgiven and cleansed, your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, you become a child of the living God. Now the problem is that many people stop with that and say, well, thank God I'm finally saved.
Sit down. And yet that is not what God says at all. So we place great emphasis on that. And oftentimes that emphasis is so strong, people sometimes think, well, you know, now that I'm saved, that's it. They do not realize they have an obligation, obligation to serve the living God. So I want to take you through a number of Scriptures and I want us to read each one of them because I want you to see, listen, faith has a companion and that companion is works. That is, we're not to work to be saved.
We can never work that hard, that long, that much. But because we are saved, we have a personal responsibility to be sounding boards of the truth that transformed our life, sounding boards of the gospel. Listen, vessels of God, tools of God, channels of God, through whom He can express His goodness, through whom He can help those who are in need, through whom He can help those who are poor, through whom He can help those who are sick, through whom He can help those who are discouraged and depressed. We are the body of Christ. He's left us here in order to live His life through us and to do through us for others what He knows they need and He's chosen us as the vessels through whom to do it. And because you're saved, you have positioned yourself to be a vessel and a channel of the Lord Jesus Christ. So I want you to think about this in the light of that. Now listen to this. Let's go through some Scriptures.
Well, this first one, I'm sure you know by heart, but maybe some people do not, so I don't want to miss anybody. And if you'll turn to Ephesians chapter two for a moment and listen to what he says as he explains salvation, look how he follows that up. Look in verse eight. He says, for by grace, that's God's goodness and kindness toward us without regard to our merit or what we deserve. And so grace is God's unmerited love and forgiveness toward us.
He says in verse eight, for by grace you've been saved through faith and not not of yourselves. It is the gift of God. That's what salvation is, the gift of God, not as a result of work so that no one may boast. Listen, God did not plan His salvation plan so that you and I can boast about anything. It's grace.
It's a gift. It's all a gift and no works. Then he says, he says, not as a result of work so that anyone should boast, but we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus that is born again through Him for good works which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. He says, listen, one of the things that God had in mind when He saved you and me was that you and I would become, watch this, available living vessels filled with the Holy Spirit, empowered by the Holy Spirit to be a sounding board for the gospel of Jesus Christ and vessels through whom Jesus Christ could serve other people. He says we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works for the purpose of good works. So that good works, engaging in good works, listen, is an obligation.
Listen to this. It is the expectation of Almighty God that you and I would live and listen, have a lifestyle of good works, being sensitive to, being willing to help, being a vessel of Almighty God. Well, let's look at another passage. Let's go to Titus and there's a whole bunch of verses there. Look in Titus, first and second Timothy.
Titus, before you get to Hebrews there, listen to what he says. Beginning in this second chapter and verse seven, Titus chapter two verse seven, he says, in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds with purity in doctrine and dignified, sound in speech which is beyond approach so that the opponent will be put to shame having nothing bad to say about you. He says, listen, when you and I are good examples in good deeds, good examples of our Lord Jesus Christ, sound in our doctrine and our faith, he says, you know what happens? We put to shame those who are enemies of the Christ.
And so he says we have a responsibility. Look, if you will, in that same second chapter in the fourteenth verse. He says, speaking of Christ, he says, who gave himself for us to redeem us, now watch this, from every lawless deed and from that lifestyle, and to purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good deeds. When he saved us, what did he do? We repented of our sin and we took an about face. Instead of, listen, living out a life of lawless deeds, now we live out a life of godly deeds, good deeds. Look in the third chapter, verse one, remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed.
He says, be ready for every good deed. There is no way that a believer can disengage themselves, disconnect themselves from the principles of scripture that say, once you've trusted Jesus Christ as your personal savior, we as it were become sounding boards of the gospel. We become vessels and channels through whom God intends to reach a dying, lost, hopeless, helpless, blind, sinful, wicked, vile world, and at the same time become the healing, listen, the healing elements in lives of people who are both physically and emotionally sick.
We're it. That's what the believer's about in life. While faith is important, works are an expression of our faith. And James said, you show me your faith and I'll show you my faith with my works.
Because listen, the true genuine faith, the quality of faith that pleases God is a quality of faith that, listen, begins to express itself in the lives of other people. Can you imagine what would happen if every church member in this city and your city, wherever you live, if you went to work tomorrow morning and you recognize I'm a sounding board for the gospel of Jesus Christ. That doesn't mean you walk in, grab somebody to the neck and shake them and sell them, I want to tell you about Jesus. But it means that you walk in sensitive to the opportunity.
You walk in knowing that you have the privilege of impacting somebody's life that very day. And you see, what we don't realize is we don't realize that we're sending out messages continually. Whether you're sitting in your office or whether you are, whatever you may be doing. You're sending out messages all the time. When you talk to somebody, you're sending them a message with your eyes, a message with your accountants, a message with your gestures, a message with your voice. You're sending them a message by your emotions. We're sending message.
Why not send the message that makes the difference? That is, look for every single opportunity to get God in on the conversation. Listen, you don't have to shake the Bible in somebody's face.
You don't even have to have a Bible. You know what? In your accountants, in your eyes, they can tell whether you have compassion or not. They can tell whether you care or not. They can tell by your tone of voice whether you are approving or whether you are disapproving, whether you're encouraging or discouraging. They can tell by the warmth of your handshake. They can tell, listen, when somebody finds themselves in a situation and they need some physical help. They need some material help. They need someone to be there. They can tell whether there's something different about us or not. He says, By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have loved one toward another.
Love cannot keep itself to itself. He saved us to live His life through us. Not just to live His life in us but live His life in us and through us, that you and I may bear fruit. What does He say? He says, I'm the vine, you're the branch. He says the sap that runs in the vine runs in the branch. And the sap in the vine, listen, runs in the branch and produces the grapes. And so branches don't produce grapes. Branches bear grapes. It is the sap in the vine that produces it.
You and I don't produce fruit. It is Christ living in the Holy Spirit in us who's producing the fruit. He's the one who speaks through us. And Paul was saying to these people, he said, he said, When we came to you, we came to you not in word only but also in power, in the Holy Spirit with full conviction. He says, It was God speaking through him. And he began to speak to them.
And what happens? They began to be like a sounding board to the people in that area of who Jesus Christ is, that He had redeemed them and rescued them from idolatry. Now they had genuine hope, not based on some God who could not speak, God who could not see, God who could not feel, God who could not touch. Now they were in touch with the living God and they were sounding it forth everywhere.
You know what? Sometimes I think that so many of us who live in this area and people who live around lots of churches, we have the truth of the Gospel. And every church ought to be known for being a church that is sounding forth the truth of the Gospel to as much of the world as God would allow them to do it. And we are graced by Almighty God to have the awesome privilege of sharing the Gospel with the entire world. It is a responsibility. We are accountable to Almighty God to sound forth the truth.
But sounding it in word is not sufficient. In our good deeds, every single day as we relate to one another, people who lost and people who are saved, he says, We are his body. And so when you look at all these verses, and we could keep going with some more there in Hebrews and so forth, we have enough verses to entitle us alone to make us realize we are obligated under obligation to God to be listened as a lifestyle of those who are giving themselves away to the glory of Almighty God. Thank you for listening to The Companion of Faith. We would also like to invite you to join us in celebrating 45 years of God's faithfulness. Stop by InTouch.org slash 45 years to learn more. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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