Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Church and Your Demon Faith

In my previous post ( ) I spoke pretty boldly concerning those who do not see a need for the local church to be deeply involved in their lives. So it only seemed fitting that I defend, from scripture, WHY it IS so important.

So we will string together a few texts: first James 2:14-26
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
Without being exhaustive, James' obvious point here, is that you will produce works if you have true faith. To have faith apart from works, James implies, is to have a "demon faith". So your works are proof of a true faith, and works and faith are inseparable.

So now that we have established that faith and works must go hand-in-hand, what does this have to do with the Local Church? The author of Hebrews answers that for us:
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
(Hebrews 10:19-31 ESV)
 Verse 24-25 is the third "let us" phrase used in this text. And it is interesting how the author links these three phrases with "sinning deliberately" in verse 26. The Local Church IS necessary to hold YOU accountable for your sins! The Local Church is necessary for you to be stirred towards "love and [the] good works [ that prove you do not have a demon faith]"!

So how does the Local Church do this? First, we cannot "neglect to meet together". The Church must regularly gather together in order to stir one another.

Second, we MUST be involved in one another's lives. How can we "stir one another" if we don't know one another? And how can we know one another if we are not around one another on a regular basis. You might ask yourself,"What's so bad about that?". And I would say, "Nothing...on the surface." But many times, this is where it gets messy for people. This is where they get nervous. "The people from the Church actually knowing all my mess?! No way!" But it's necessary; practically and biblically. It is necessary.

For you to claim faith in Christ and not be established in a Local Church that is continually investing deeply in your life, is to have a demon faith. For you to neglect meeting regularly with your local church is to have a demon faith. And for you to run when things get hard, or shut down because you're not comfortable with the church knowing you on a deep, intimate level and not being willing to work through that is to have a demon faith.

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