Knowing God and Doing Nothing?

“If you really have been born again, the evidence that your faith is genuine is demonstrated by whether or not you have gone and borne good fruit for the Kingdom of God. If you really know God, you will be serving His purposes and working for His Kingdom. You won’t be able to sit around while the world goes to Hell.” (Living Waters by Brother Yun – Pages 236-237)

Very strong comment by someone who, over the years, has been on the front lines of the growing Church in China and has suffered for his faith and his boldness in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A comment that Christians in North America need to hear and heed. At least the majority of Christians.

Let’s admit it – there are really only a few who are out there witnessing to the lost with their words and actions. Apparently – at least by my observations and most survey results – there are few actively sharing their faith with the lost.

So, in general, the Church needs to heed these words by one who has been through the fire of persecution and pain because of his boldness to reach the lost and teach and equip the new disciples as they enter into this new life of following the Master. He has earned the right to be heard.

We are born again by grace through faith – not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). But – read verse 10 – God, after we are born again, lets us know the “good works” that He has prepared for us to do. These good works will, of course, line up with His plans to win the lost which is why He came and is the one common feature of all that He does upon the face of the Earth. Luke 19:10 states that Jesus came to “seek and to save the lost”. And Matthew 28:18-20 states that He wants us to share in this work as He sends us out into all the world to preach the Gospel or Good News that He saves. So, everything we do in His name should be a means to an end – the end is to tell people that they are sinners who are in need of a Savior.

Jesus said: “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men“. If you are not fishing – you are not following!

Jesus taught that you you can’t claim to know God yet do nothing to serve Him.

Matthew 25:41-46 “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.”

We need to take His comments seriously. Afterall, He is the Head of the Church and Lord of our lives. It seems from these verses that our deeds are imporant to God. In this parable, people’s eternal destination apparently depended on the fruit of their lives that was expressed through their actions. What mattered here was what they had done because of who they believed in. There should be no such thing as an inactive or non-ministering believer or disciple.

And, the purpose of our serving and ministering is to show people the unconditional love of the God we worship and serve. As we serve others we must remember that we are doing this so that we can verbally share with them the Good News that Jesus saves. It is not simply ministry or loving action for the sake of loving action – the purpose of all we do is to tell people (in words and deeds) that Jesus died for their sins and is offering them forgiveness, a new life, and an eternity and relationship with Him starting right now.

So, a believer is someone who has accepted God’s offer of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. When we recognized that we are a sinner and, with godly sorrow and repentance, turned away from sin and towards God asking and receiving forgiveness – He gave to us a gift called “eternal life” (Romans 6:23). This gift is defined in John 17:3 as a relationship (an intimate relationship) with God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son. You begin, as a born again believer, to walk out this relationship and every day you come to know more and more of His heart as well as His plans and purposes … which always includes saving the lost as this is His heart.

Thus, it is hard to believe that a person is really in a dynamic and intimate relationship with the Lord (as many say they are) when they are not actively sharing their faith and talking about their relationship with God – and His offer of forgiveness and a new life with others …. inviting them to enter into this ‘new life’ as they have already done. I mean, how can you know God and do nothing? How can you know God and not be sharing your faith (and your Jesus) with others who you know need Him and who, without Him, will go to an eternity in hell separated from God forever? I mean, how can you say you know God and do nothing? How can you?

I don’t believe you can! Which means my other conclusion is that many who declare they are saved and thus in a dynamic relationship with the Living God are not and are sadly self-deceived.

14 replies
  1. Sharon Kuhn
    Sharon Kuhn says:

    How far iin left field am I this time, Ralph?
    Let’s take a little detour back to the wilderness. The Israelites were called to consecrate themselves and wash their clothes and prepare to meet God!!!!!! …they failed, why? Because like most Christians, myself included, there are still things in our lives we like more than to meet God face to face, cause if we did meet Him He would expose these sins we still desire. The interesting thing is that most of us should be at the place where Joshua was, (God told the people He was bringing them to the promised land, BUT, they were to TAKE the land.) we are there now, we are to take the land, the only thing is we look like grosshoppers in our own sight, we are not prepared to get rid of all the “ites” in our lives yet and therefore we will miss it all because we weren’t prepared to meet with God and seek first His kingdom and righteousness. Amen.
    Sharon

    Reply
  2. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Hi Sharon,

    I don’t believe people don’t want to meet with God face-to-face because they have sin in their lives. I believe that today’s generation of believers have little idea of real sin and what sin means to their relationship with God. I think sin is almost a useless term today as there are so many definitions of it and so many approaches to it. And, for the majority of people – believers and non-believers it is not a reference point any more. So, I don’t think people avoid God because of sin in their lives.

    I believe the issue today is that they don’t want to know God. If they come face-to-face with the real God (and not one of their own design) then it means they will have to change and they don’t want to do that. And, it will mean they might have to do something or go somewhere for Him and they don’t want that either as it will be an inconvenience and detour their plans for their future.

    I believe it is not an issue of sin – but an issue of Lordship. We have an easy believism that states (indirectly and subtly) that you can have Jesus as Savior without having Him as Lord (Master – Owner – Controller – Boss). I believe that biblically that Lord and Savior are inter-connected and cannot be separated. Thus, the reason most can say they “know God” (Savior) and “do nothing” (a Lordship issue).

    Just a thought!

    Reply
  3. Sergei
    Sergei says:

    In order to define sin we should have some kind of absolute moral standard. This is something that modern, or post-modern society does not have. Therefore, it is true – they do not have sin as their reference point.

    Reply
  4. Sharon Kuhn
    Sharon Kuhn says:

    Okay; I can understand that. Both of you seem to have hit the nail on the proverbial head. I think deep down inside I knew that too. So, in each of your opinions what do we as leaders in the body of Christ need to do to change this way of thinking. I know we can do nothing of ourselves but all things are possible with God. Can we put our heads together and come up with a viable solution with the help of the Holy spirit? The Way of The Master is definitley a place to start, but you know as we prepare to start a second round of this, I can honestly see where even the “christians” and I use the term loosely, don’t understand the significance of “sin” in their lives.
    We almost need to go back and start with the pablum and milk, how about we actually judge ourselves so we won’t be judged and then step out in faith and start to call sin what it is. The Bible is very clear as to what it is and what it is not, yet we tolerate a watered down version or definition of it so we don’t rock the boat. I personally am tired of people avoiding the only issue that stops them from receiving the fullness of a relationship with the Lord, Savbior, Master and Boss of our lives. Our democarataic thinking has spoiled us for the kingdom principles. One Lord, One government and its on His shoulders. People get with the program. sorry. His Word says obey My voice, obey My commands and I will…
    i know that I’m being narrow-minded, but the road is narrow and so is the gate by which we will be saved. Jesus is the ONLY WAY> Amen
    Sharon

    Reply
  5. Karen
    Karen says:

    I wouldn’t call it narrow minded to care if people spend their eternity in hell or not.

    I would call it very loving, faithful, prompted,lead and guided by the Holy Spirit.

    I can’t stand it any more, I can’t stand me any more if I do not do what He has called me to do.

    So, classify me as judgmental, narrow minded, opinionated.

    I am.

    – I am weighing and judging as He leads me.
    – I am focusing my mind, body and soul where
    He would have me to go.
    – I am speaking His opinion on matters.

    What kind of a person would I be to see all the pain, garbage and sorrow that I see in any given day and keep what I know to myself?

    Can’t do that anymore.

    So judge me. Then join me. And let’s go get them for God!

    Reply
  6. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Sergei,

    We have a definite moral standard – the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). And we have biblical definitions for sin:
    1> Sin is the transgression of the Law (1 John)
    2> Sin is knowing what is right to do and not doing it (James)
    3> Sin is whatever is not of faith (Romans)

    However, people don’t want standards. BUT, if they did – they are readily available in God’s Word.

    I even work with pastors who don’t believe that believers today have to live by these moral standards (The Ten Commandments) because we are no longer under the law. Can you believe it?

    Jesus came to fulfill the Law (by living it perfectly and without sin) but He did not come to do away with it. In fact, He took it to a higher “grace” level by redefining murder as thinking hateful thoughts and adultery as not just the physical act of sleeping with another man’s wife but simply lusting afer a woman in the heart.

    My how far we have strayed from the Bible.

    Reply
  7. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Karen,

    As long as we are all growing in our willingness and boldness to speak up and speak the truth we will see change in our world one person at a time. And, I hope and pray that as we do it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that it will be truth spoken in love and thus received as it was spoken – lovingly.

    If people see us as harsh, judgmental, rejecting, narrow-minded – I believe that speaks volumes about them and litle about us. I think it is them that are judgmental and narrow-minded and it keeps them from even hearing and considering the truth as contained in God’s Word.

    So be it! But let’s not let the possibility of being classified as fanatical or radical keep us from speaking up. I don’t really care much any more what people think – just what Jesus thinks.

    Reply
  8. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Sharon,

    Here’s what I think Christian leaders need to do:

    1> Stop compromising and deal with the sin in your own life

    2> Stop watering down the gospel

    3> Share the non-watered down gospel every Sunday even if there are no visitors present – good to practice and good for the regulars to hear it (they don’t know it well enough to share yet so it won’t hurt them to have it repeated)

    4> Stop ignoring sin (including the sin of rebellion when a believer is not witnessing and sharing the gospel) and confront it lovingly but head-on all of the time

    5> Don’t disciple or mentor or train or equip people into their callings and ministries (prophetic words) until they are doing all of the basics – weekly worship, Bible reading and Bible study, tithing, witnessing, etc. Then, and only then, begin to move them forward into their calling as revealed prophetically. First do what all Christians are called to do – then the “fun” stuff!

    6> Set an example yourself by going out witnessing regularly – daily even!

    7> Get on fire for God – set yourself on fire and the world will come and watch you burn (John Wesley, I think). While they watch – preach the gospel from among the passion and the flames (Ralph Howe, I think…).

    That should shake things up somewhat – and even give us fewer dead horses to drag around. They will simply leave or come under such conviction that they will change.

    Reply
  9. Sharon Kuhn
    Sharon Kuhn says:

    Good day everyone;
    Thank you Ralph, Sergei, and Karen;
    It really does make a difference in how we look at the things that seem to try to overwhelm us when there are people like you in our lives (blogs)to give us encouragement to move on.
    My biggest stumbling block I guess is the fact that it hurts me to see people going to hell and they don’t see it, even when it comes right up and slaps them in the face.
    I do love everyone of them to pieces and want nothing but the best for them, (saving grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ) but as most people including a few christians (myself included) seem to allow just a little of the spirit of pride to control us, so until we are aware of this and realize there is only room for one on the throne of our hearts and that is Jesus, and when this spirit of pride is allowed even the slightest foot space it will always come out on the offensive and never look at loving correction as anything more that criticism and a judgmental attitude, superior to theirs. It doesn’t matter how we sugar coat it or wrap it in pretty paper and ribbon. Until the ground of their hearts is broken and prepared to accept the seed and produce fruit we are casting our seeds on stony ground.
    Sharon

    Reply
  10. AngieF
    AngieF says:

    Amen Amen Amen
    When I first was saved and started witnessing I used to wonder what I was to tell unbelievers about thier sin. Some people think they have no sin, so things were a bit confusing for me at that time. How were they to need a saviour if they think they have no sin. So I asked God “what is thier sin ” He said “not believing in me”. That made things so much easier. This summer I read “The world’s sin is unbelief in me. John 16v9 I have read over that verse how many times and now 15 years later it came to life.
    I know I don’t witness as much as I should and I am going to make a greater effort to do so.
    But one thing I know is the Lord gives us the words to say because one fellow I was witnessing to this summer I remember telling him that you can’t work and buy your way to heaven with good deeds. He turned out to be catholic so……..We never know whats going on in someones life but God does and one little seed can change someones life forever. Imagine if he had 5 other christians witness to him that same week or even that same month.
    My prayer for myself this year has been greater desire for Jesus, I want to be on fire for the Lord. I am learning that there is no other place to be. In that place all you want to do is please Him.

    Reply
  11. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Hi Sharon,

    I think you are talking about two things in your entry to this blog.

    1> The fact that many you would like to see respond positively to the gospel simply don’t want it.

    This is for many reasons – hurt by a Church in times past; they know a “christian” and they certainly don’t want what they had; the world and its philosophies have hooked them (Humanists, Atheists Agnostics, Secularists, etc.); the flesh does not want to be tamed; the world is too attractive; the Devil has blinded their minds (2 Corinthians 4:4); and others…

    If we can know the reason why they are rejecting such good news then we can present the gospel in a sensitive way that might get through their defences.

    2> Secondly, it seems you are saying that those – like yourself – who should be out there sharing are not and it seems to be a pride issue. Is it? Or is it that we have not died to ourselves – identified with Christ’s crucifixion – and so, even in our our lives, the flesh wins out and appears in many shapes – what will people think; I don’t have time for this, I’ve tried with them before …. A sign of having not died or not taken up your cross daily is the inability or unwillingness to receive criticism and seeing constructive input as criticial and destructive.

    3> A third concern is the feelings issue. “It hurts to see people…” I agree. But, we cannot do any of our witnessing relying on feelings. We do it because Jesus told us to and we are simply being obedient. If I wait until my feelings are right I would seldom share. And, if I went on my “pastoral feelings” which want everyone to go to Heaven and know Jesus now… I would be sharing with everyone motivated by my feelings for them and not led or guided by the Holy Spirit. So, my suggestion is that feelings, in general, be kept totally out of the picture or else they will either steer you to do nothing or overwhelm you so that you make many mistakes guided by the feeling and not by Him…

    Just some thoughts! Let me know if they help.

    Reply
  12. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    Hi Angie,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Jesus said: “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men”. I believe: not fishing, not following. So, good to hear you want to do more fishing.

    As well, to fish effectively you need to understand the type of fish you are trying to catch…their likes and dislikes, their feeding habits, where they hang out. It is the same when we go to catch men and women for Jesus. So, take some time to understand those you will witness among – in my case, those who frequent tattoo and piercing shops, those who are often called “street people”, skate boarders, etc. and the “old folks” who walk their dogs where this old man walks his.

    I think, as well, that you need to focus on your pasion for Jesus – increase the level of fire you experience in your relationhip with Him. Then pasion will supernaturally overflow into comPASSION for the lost.

    Hope that helps …

    Reply
  13. Sharon Kuhn
    Sharon Kuhn says:

    Thanks Ralph;
    It does help a lot to hear what I said interpreted by someone else, it helps me to get a better prospective on what exactly the issue is. Along with what you said and what I experienced last night at the Care Home have given me a whole new outlook on what my part in this is. I can only obey God and leave the consequences up to Him. I was super encouraged before and after yesterdays service as I believe God is clarifying a whole busnch of things for me. I am to share His word He will see to it that it does not return void.
    Again thanks for hearing me out on andoff the blog.
    Blessings. 2009 and going to be the best year yet.
    Sharon

    Reply
  14. AngieF
    AngieF says:

    Yes Ralph thank you, that does help. My group to be witnessing to then would be old people and teens it would seem, as these are the ones I have been talking to a lot and getting to know. Its a small place so I see alot of the same faces,kinda makes it easier.
    I will definately focus my passion on Jesus also.I agree that I need to increase the level of fire in my relationship with Him. Yesterday in church He spoke to me also… so that will be my priority and focus.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *