People love to hear stories about “random acts of kindness,” those thoughtful little things that people do to help one another. God calls us to do these and more. Join me as I encourage you to reach out with some “deliberate acts of kindness” based on God’s desire that we put our faith into action. (Recorded June 27, 1999)
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“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:15-26, NIV).
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV).
Here’s a summary of the key points of this message.
1. Random Acts of Kindness are Good.
You may have heard of people who do “random acts of kindness.” Such people have stumbled onto one of the great truths of the Bible…it really is good to do to others as you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12).
Yet Christ calls us to more than just “random acts of kindness.” He calls us to intentional acts of kindness. Random implies chance, haphazard, aimless, stray, casual, or hit-or-miss. Intentional implies purposeful, premeditated, conscious, calculated, or planned.
2. Intentional Acts of Kindness are Even Better.
Our faith in God is important, but if our faith doesn’t change us, doesn’t cause us to do anything different in our lives, then our faith is not a living faith. It’s dead. And God very much wants us to put our faith into action.
Here are two passages from the Bible that describe how our faith and our actions work hand in hand: James 2:14-26, Ephesians 2:8-10.
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that– and shudder.
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
3. What we do is vital.
Doing good is not optional for those who follow Christ. In fact, Christ himself said some very strong words to show that our actions are vitally important to proving our faith.
Here are Christ’s words from Mark 10:17-30 and Matthew 25:31-46.
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good– except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields– and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Paul and James were men of faith…men who put their faith into action, as evidenced by their words in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, and James writings in the book of James.
James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Closing and Prayer
We’re saved by the grace of God, through our faith in Jesus Christ, believing that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for all the sins we’ve committed. But we were saved for a reason…to do the good works God has prepared in advance for us to do.
Don’t let you faith be inactive, inert, and dead. Bring your faith to life by putting it into action.
If you’ve never put your faith in Christ, and want to know more about it, read a simple, clear explanation at the Lover’s Leap. Then make that decision today.
Thank you Lord, for saving us, and sending Jesus to die for us. As He was willing to die for us, let us be willing to live for Him. Help us put our faith into action. In Jesus’ name, Amen.