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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Serving Leftover Actions

Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38 NIV)

The Church spends so much time focusing on the fact that we are saved by God's Grace, which we are, that we can "downplay" good works as being necessary too.  Rather than call good actions necessary, we refer to them as "good," "important," or something to "work toward."  We will quote passages like the one in James that says, "In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."  (James 2:17 NIV)  While this is true, it's still not a strong enough statement.  Being Holy is a command, a mandate, and is necessary.

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." Since you call on a Father who judges each person's work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. (1 Peter 1:14-17 NIV)

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won't you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, 'This person began to build and wasn't able to finish.' "Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won't he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples. "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear." (Luke 14:27-35 NIV)

The conclusion is clear.  Leftover words are not good enough.  Leftover actions won't get it done.  God should be first in all things.  Count the cost.  Consider what He wants.  Put Him first.  Serve Him first.  Leave the leftovers for someone else.