< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Faith in Action

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Faith in Action

This is the end of my lesson based on Steve Berger's book "Between Heaven and Earth". The book is available on Amazon.

Jesus tells four parables in Matthew 24 and 25. This is at the end of His life. He knows he’s leaving soon, so you know what He’s telling His disciples at this point is extra important.

The first is Matthew 24:44-51. A parable showing a contrast between a faithful and an evil servant. The faithful servant worked in expectation of his master’s return. The evil servant was all about “now” and himself.

The second parable is the wise and foolish virgins. Matthew 25:1-13. The wise ones kept the oil burning waiting for the bridegroom. The foolish ones weren’t prepared. They didn’t know the truth of the Word and wasted time and energy on foolish things.

The third parable is the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-50. This one goes even further in explaining how important serving in the harvest is to Jesus. One day there will be a settling of accounts. The 5 and 2 talent workers were wise because they took what their lord gave them and worked hard. They doubled what they’d been given. And their lord rewarded them with more. This is where he says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  The one talent worker was unthankful, bitter and rebellious. He was an excuse maker. And he was cast out into darkness. The last parable is the sheep and goats in Matthew 25:37- 46. The people represented as sheep served the last, the least and the lost.  Because of their faithfulness Jesus invited them in. They loved God, they loved people and their love for people manifested itself in serving others. By doing that they were actually seeing Jesus. The people representing goats were in trouble. They rejected serving other people and God and Jesus took their reward away. (Not truly saved!)

Remember the 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 passage mentioned earlier? Paul tells us that God is entrusting work to us. Then it is to be tested by Him. That work will either be something of eternal value or not. Enduring work will receive a reward. Work that is burned will be a loss. There will be a final accounting and how we serve will determine our rewards in Heaven. The very Christ we serve here is the One we will stand before in judgment. That shouldn’t distress us if we’ve been doing His work and look forward to His return. Every person we serve, everyone with whom we share Jesus, and every moment we spend praying with someone whose life is broken is a treasure stored up for us in heaven. It’s part of our reward.

Let me end with a couple promises about heaven.

In John 14:2 Jesus tells us that in His Father’s house there are many mansions. If you are a believer one of these is yours!

Jeremiah 31:33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” This verse makes it clear that God wants to be among us. Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God shows the fulfillment of this promise. Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. shows God’s promise of happiness.

God gives us hope in Revelation 21:5-6 – hope because His promises are absolutely true and faithful. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.

Colossians 1:4-5 God’s promises of heaven are reserved for you. They give you hope and that hope causes you to reach out in love for all God’s people. It’s a calling based on His promises.

James 2:17-18 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.

Our faith makes a difference in what we do. Real faith is accompanied by works. Faith in action. Get in His Word, let the Holy Spirit guide and lead you into the harvest. See the need, have compassion and meet it. Live a profitable life for Jesus right now – it’s not too late. And you’ll discover the joy of heaven, the joy of serving others and the joy of seeing other people receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.



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