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We make a big mistake when we think of being a Christian as merely a "relationship" that we sustain to the Lord, for Christianity is as much something we do as it is something we are. God's kingdom is a realm of activity, and to be in the kingdom of God means being a worker in the kingdom. Paul wrote, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10).
Nearly every description of God's people in the New Testament is a description of those who are to be engaged in activity. We are "branches" (Jn. 15:1-8), and branches bear fruit. We are "laborers" (Mt. 20:1-16), and laborers work. We are "soldiers" (Eph. 6:10-20), and soldiers fight. It is clear that God wants us to be disciples in deed as well as word. Being a Christian is an active endeavor.
We often point out to our religious friends and neighbors that faith alone will not save a person, but do we recognize the application of that truth to ourselves? Jesus was talking to us as much as anyone else when He asked, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?" (Lk. 6:46). And we as much as anyone else need to think about the point He made in Mt. 7:21: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Heaven will be for those who have served the Lord actively and faithfully, not those who have merely professed to belong to Him.
The day is coming when we will stand before the Lord who died for us and account to Him for the stewardship that we have exercised in His work. Until that day arrives, we need to be diligently working, so we won't have to be ashamed of our workmanship. Paul wrote, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).
This week, let's be thinking of ways we can improve the quality of the work we're doing in the Lord, both individually and congregationally. Let's set a good example for each other in our participation in what is, after all, the greatest work in the world: the work of the Lord.
Monday: Ephesians 2:10
Key Idea: We are "in Christ Jesus" in order to work for Him.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean that we are the Lord's "workmanship"? What does it mean that we are "created in Christ Jesus for good works"? How should we define "good works," and what does it mean to "walk" in them?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:15.
Tuesday: Matthew 21:28-32
Key Idea: What we actually do about God's work matters more than what we say we will do.
Questions for Family Growth: What was the difference in the attitudes of the two sons in this story? Is it important to have good intentions? By themselves, are good intentions enough? What did Jesus mean that "tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you" (v.31)?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:16,17.
Wednesday: John 9:4
Key Idea: Eventually, the time for doing our work in the Lord will run out.
Questions for Family Growth: What "works" did Jesus have to do while He was in the world? What was the "night" that He spoke of? What are we encouraged to do in Eph. 5:15,16? How does Eccl. 9:10 apply to our work in the Lord today?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:18.
Thursday: Matthew 20:1-16
Key Idea: God will bless us according to how much we have used the opportunity we had.
Questions for Family Growth: Why was it right for the owner of the vineyard to pay all his workers the same? How is it that "little" things can sometimes be as great as "big" things in the Lord's work? In Mk. 14:8, what did Jesus mean when He said, "She has done what she could"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:19.
Friday: 2 Timothy 2:15
Key Idea: We should work so as not to be ashamed of our work before the Lord.
Questions for Family Growth: What does the word "study" (KJV) mean in this verse? What are we to "study" to do? Is it possible for us to be "approved" in God's sight? What are some things that might make us ashamed when the Lord inspects our work in His kingdom?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:20.