March 31, 2016
As we go through this life we concern ourselves with various activities such as earning a living, raising a family, and doing what we can to get by, but seldom do we consider what will happen to us after we die. Everyone will live forever, but not everyone will spend eternity with Jesus. There’s only one way to be assured of life in Heaven and that is to admit that you’re a sinner in need of a Saviour. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. That’s very clear and leaves no room for any other god, path, or religious system that Satan likes to confuse people with. Building your faith on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ is essential. Salvation is through faith and not works, yet works are evidence of faith. Fully giving yourself to Jesus and the works of the Kingdom should be a top priority for Christians.
When we think of giving, most people think of giving money. If a problem comes up, throw money at it and the problem will be solved. Sometimes money is the need, but there are other ways to give. Filling a need in a neighbor’s life is doing God’s work, such as cooking a meal if they’re sick or just visiting and talking can fill the need of a lonely widower. If you do things with no thought of payment or gratitude then you have done them for the Lord. Giving of yourself requires effort on your part, but helping a neighbor in need shows Christ’s love and may give you a chance to witness to someone about Christ. For a Christian good works should be a part of life. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26. Christ gave everything for us and we can never repay our debt to Him. The best way we can show our gratitude is to show His love to others.
When a Christian gives it shouldn’t be to draw attention to our self. All giving should be done for the glory of Christ. It’s good to drop donations into the offering plate and hope that the money is used wisely, but we shouldn’t stop there. Alms are something given to the needy. Should you give to the man on the street holding a sign asking for help? Pray and ask God for guidance. When I see someone in that position, if I feel led to give I usually get some food and water and give to them. That way I’m sure the alms go for nourishment. Sometimes it’s better to offer a testimony for Christ in order to change a life. Peter and John encountered a man who was needy. He was crippled and asked for alms. Instead of giving him money they gave something better. “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Acts 3:6. They gave this man what he really needed. The man was thrilled and went “…walking, and leaping, and praising God.” Acts 3:8b. Whether financial or spiritual, that’s what giving should do. Benevolence, alms, and good works should always bring praise to God.
Helping someone in great need is also doing the Lord’s work. Jesus told a parable as an example of helping a neighbor, even if the neighbor is a stranger. Most people have heard the term “Good Samaritan”, but have you read the parable? As the story goes, a man was robbed, stripped, beaten, and left for dead. People walked by but nobody helped. When a priest came upon the scene, he crossed over to the far side of the road so as not to get involved. A Levite came by and gawked at the man, but went on his way. The people who we would expect to help this man wouldn’t get involved. Finally a Samaritan came by and he was the only one who gave assistance. Instead of going on his way, this Samaritan took care of the stranger’s wounds and took him to a place where he could be cared for. He even paid for the stranger’s expenses. The question Jesus asked His listeners was “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?” Luke 10:36. Which one do you think showed neighborly kindness…did God’s work? The Samaritan didn’t wait for the government to step in and take care of the man, nor did he go on his way because it was up to someone else to help. He did what was needed for this stranger.
Christians need to reach out to others in the name of Jesus. He is our foundation and we need to build on Him. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11. When you build on the solid foundation of Jesus you have solid values in life. You care about people and help when you can. Alms? You don’t wait from some organization to filter money through their overhead expenses to give a fraction to the needy. One of the saddest things I was a witness to was one day a man came into a worship service my family and I were a part of. He was scruffy but needed money for gas to get to the next town. An elder in that congregation asked him to leave. That was a poor example of what Christ expected. Then and there my husband decided that we would never depend upon an organization to do what we should be doing individually. When you do kindness to others you share God’s love and there are rewards. For one thing when you help others it gives you a good feeling. You also earn rewards in Heaven if your good deeds are done for God’s glory and not for your own. When you help someone, don’t broadcast it so that everyone knows that it was you who did some great thing. God sees what you have done and that is reward enough.
Everyone will face God’s judgment one day. Those who haven’t accepted Christ will face His wrath, but the Christian’s judgment will be based upon what we did for Him. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10. If that doesn’t encourage you to live for Christ, I don’t know what will. For the Christian this judgment is not for condemnation, but for rewards…or the lack of them. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-13. When Peter and John said they had no silver or gold to give the crippled man they spoke the truth, but when he was healed in the name of Jesus they earned some gold, silver, and precious stones. There are things in my life that I know are wood, hay, and stubble, but today I yearn to only have gold, silver, and precious stones so that when I stand before my Lord and Saviour He will be honored. I hope you also yearn for that.
There will be rewards at that final judgment. Scripture tells of crowns we earn for various attitudes, such as yearning for His appearing. These crowns all belong to Jesus. When we face the judgment seat, whatever was not done for Him will burn because it is wood, hay, and stubble. Useless time spent participating in worldly activities will be burned. Activities done to honor Christ will not burn, but will be rewarded. “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:14-15. Our works may be burned in the judgment fire, but we will not lose our salvation. That is a comfort to rest upon. That isn’t a license to live a worldly life and not work for the Lord. You will be very disappointed if you stand before Jesus and watch every part of your life go up in flames. When the flames subside and you’re left with nothing that shows you were thankful for your salvation you will then know that you should have worked for Him in this life. Works won’t save you, but they do honor Jesus.
It isn’t too late to start working for the Lord. Not for your own rewards on earth, but for eternal rewards that belong to Jesus.
God bless you all,
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