NOT by works but by grace

“Don’t be too quick to appoint anyone as an elder, and don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. Don’t continue drinking only water, but use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. Some people’s sins are obvious, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others surface later. Likewise, good works are obvious, and those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden.”  1 Timothy 5:22-25 These are more character molding hints to help us become the people we are to be as believers. We are told that some sins are obvious and some are not that obvious, yet they will become so with time. I read of a VA doctor who was sentenced to prison for a misdiagnosis. It started long before because he had an alcohol problem. Being a specialist, he ordered a drug that gave him an alcohol high but did not show up on alcohol screening tests. His sin was deceptiveness. His actions lead him to misdiagnosis. His work was found out because of his addiction. Some think they can hide their sins and are viewed as upstanding citizens but eventually they will be found out by their works.  Ephesians 2:10 tells us: “For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”  We know that salvation is NOT by works but by grace through faith, but as believers we have a behavior that needs to be evident so that people will see. Just because we are saved by grace and not works does not mean that we are free from behaving Christ-like. Jesus’ three years of ministry were filled with works because He wanted to be obedient to the Father. He wanted to show us how to walk in this world and how to behave in this world.  Our works will find us out, they will reveal the intentions of the heart sooner or later. So the encouragement today is to, NOT share in the sins of others. If you see believers doing something that your own heart says is wrong, it’s probably wrong, even though they claim they are Christian. Let’s keep our focus on Christ and not on other believers. Some will have you believe that you must be working, but working for self, to show God how righteous you are, is not faith, it’s works. Doing nothing, because you don’t want to let work interfere with your faith does nothing. But only faith that brings you to the place of sitting with the Savior, wanting to do for the sake of others; wanting to work because every cell in you compels you to do what is on your heart for the sake of the faith. That’s a heart prepared for good works.  Those kinds of works are for the right reason and are prepared by God in us who believe that we should walk in them.  So let’s stop looking at others to see whether we are in the faith. Let’s look at Christ and He will examine our heart and through the Holy Spirit either convict us to stop, or convince us to continue. We are His creation, not the creation of the church, or of men. Let’s make sure that our work is what God has given to us, and then, let’s get involved in it. Make sure you know WHY you do the things you do. Either it is for God or for the flesh, and the flesh is pretty deceptive. Pastor Andy

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