Have you ever wondered why so many churches are relatively inactive out in the world? Perhaps we have overlooked
something: Inactivity is what we in our classrooms were taught years ago and what we in turn teach when we become the
teachers ourselves in the next generation. How?
We teach by our actions that Christianity is (1) going to worship services, (2) listening, (3) discussing, (4) going home.
For all the world knows, they see us entering a building and coming out again; and that's the end of that! We are not any
different and they are not any different. No wonder people of the world think Christianity is boring. If that is all we do, then it
is. But it doesn't have to be.
Studying alone is not Christianity - never was and never will be. Faith alone is not Christianity either. They are both dead
by themselves (James 2:17). Christian worship services are spiritual feasts where we eat of the bread of life. But if all we do is
eat with no exercise, we get spiritually fat and lazy. Now who wants that? No one, really, of course.
The purpose of the worship assemblies is specifically spelled out in Hebrews 10. It is ironic how we use the first half of
verse 25 by itself to reprimand those who do not attend all our worship gatherings when they could if they wanted to. By
putting this with the rest of verse 25 we condemn many so-called "active" Christians also who are missing the whole purpose of
the assemblies. Notice:
[WHO?] Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from
a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
[WHAT?] Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may
spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
[WHEN/HOW?] Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and
all the more as you see the Day approaching.
[WHY?] If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but
only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Let us show each other how to love and be filled with good works, and then encourage each other to do them. Otherwise
we sin wilfully; there no longer remains a sacrifice for our sins but rather a terrifying judgment. Remember, the devils know all
about God and believe and tremble (James 2:19), and it does not benefit them anything. Let us put behind us always being a
learner by just "being there every time the doors are open;" for that only makes us a hearer of the word and not a doer...like
unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass; for he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what
manner of man he was (James 1:23,24).
Do not misunderstand. Being at the worship services and Bible classes is extremely important and should not be
minimized for one moment. In fact, Hebrews 10 states that we should assemble ourselves together "all the more" as we see the
day of judgment approaching. Actually, the early Christians met daily (Acts 2:46). But as the old popular song asks, "Is that all
there is?" No, of course not.
As important as these times of study and worship are, as important as eating is, this is only the beginning, not the end in
itself. This provides the spiritual bread of life so we can go out with spiritual energy and be able to do our Christian daily
works. In fact, it creates a cycle. For the more Christian works we do, the more spiritual food we need, the more we want to
attend Christian assemblies so we can get more spiritual food to go out and do more work.
Actually, once you become vitally involved with daily Christian works, the worship hours will develop a new meaning to you.
Suddenly you will realize that it does not matter that much if the song leader drags the songs, the Bible reader stumbles over a
word or two, the preacher preaches the same sermon again. For while you are doing all your Christian works during the week,
you are loving in action, you are showing people God (who is Love), you are Love's ambassador. Thus you learn to love your
Christian brothers and sisters so much that you do not even realize they are not perfect. 1 Corinthians 13:5 states that love is
not provoked by the weaknesses of others, or by anything else. Love does not notice, but prevails.
Out in the world day by day you will be loving others so much that you will be overwhelmed by the tremendous capacity of
love you feel from God through those around you. And you will want to adore and sing praises to him and thank him, and learn
more and more about him all the time ~ all the more as you see the day approaching. It will no longer be a matter of HAVING to
go to worship, but LOOKING FORWARD to going because your very heart would burst if you could not.
In the Old Testament, sacrifice was the center of worship. In the New Testament era sacrifice is still the center of worship.
Hebrews 13:15,16 states, Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that
confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Not only do
we sacrifice the fruit of our lips in worship, but also the incense of prayer (Revelation 8:4) and the incense of giving (Philippians
Perhaps you do not need any encouraging to do or keep up your good works; but maybe those others who do need it will
be there at the assembly waiting for you to come and encourage them. On the other hand, there will be times when you will be
needing encouragement; this happens to everyone. According to Hebrews 10:25, we encourage one another when we
assemble together. We must never let the other person down. That is God's plan, God's way.
The worship period is only the beginning of our worship, the beginning of our service. In the worship assembly, we offer
the sacrifice of our lips, our ears and our minds. Notice carefully Romans 12:1. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of
God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - which is your spiritual worship. The King
James Version states that it is your reasonable service. It is only reasonable to expect a Christian to be full of good works and
to encourage others to be. That is the fulfillment of worship to God.
Matthew 7:16,20 both quote Jesus as saying, By their fruits you will recognize them. John 15:16 recalls Jesus explaining
to his disciples, I chose you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last. Romans 7:4 tells us what our purpose in life is once we are
born anew as Christians. So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to
another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
Are you bearing fruit? Are you a Christian in every way? Do you claim to be Christ-like? Jesus said in John 15:5, I am
the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Are you apart from Jesus? Have you been doing nothing? Jesus went on to warn in verse 6, If anyone does not abide in me,
he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. Jesus
said we must bring forth fruit. He commanded it.
Let us not be one of those to whom he said, And why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not what I say? Matthew 7:21
gives this warning: Not every one who says to me, "Lord," "Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the
will of my Father who is in heaven.
We often use the above verses to illustrate that if some religious groups do not organize themselves according to the
instructions in the Bible, do not become Christians according to the Bible, and do not hold worship services according to the
examples of the Bible, they should question their salvation. This may be true. But we must not forget that it applies just as
strongly to those who call out, "Lord!" yet do not go into the world around them and bring forth some fruit. 1 John 3:18 gives
this gentle warning, Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
Today, dare to put your Christianity in to practice. Today, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and every day until it has
spanned the rest of your life. Make the decision for today, and for tomorrow's today, one day at a time. You will soon find that
such practice becomes a driving force in your life which you cannot stop. You will become addicted to it! 1 Corinthians 16:15
speaks of a family who had Addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints (KJV). Yes, this can happen to you, and it isn't
that hard to do.
How can you get started if you have not been used to doing daily good works and bringing forth these fruits? Again, go
back to Hebrews 10:22-27. Assemble yourself more and more with other Christians so you may give and receive
encouragement. This is the first vital step. Your Bible classes and worship services are two forms of assembling.
Other forms of assembling include setting aside one or two days a week to get with someone you can work with and spend
time visiting people. Have class projects, and take some of the work home with you to do before the next class time. Have a
quiet time set aside each day at home for private works if not employed outside your home.
Try to do as much as possible by twos or more. We need each other. This will help you not put things off you know you
should be doing and deep down really do want to do. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins
James 4:17). Jesus recommended it. The disciples practiced it. This is God's wisdom. Do not depend on yourself alone. The
early Christians were always together doing some sort of good work. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple
courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of
all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:46,47).
You can't miss it! If you are daily teaching and doing good works with each other, there will be many conversions to
Christ, for people will notice the church (kingdom of Christians) think favorably of it, and want to be a part of it so they may
have the happiness and peace you have. That's how it works. It did in the first century; it does now.
Even the contribution at your congregation will go up automatically, spontaneously. Not because someone told you and
the other Christians to, but because you will be so involved in good works, you will see more and more needs even in a
monetary form. You will want to give so you through your money, as well as time, will be able to accomplish those good works.
We too often think of giving as something we have to do or the preacher will harass us. (Sometimes, though, if a preacher
preaches on it twice a year, we think of it as harassing. Guilty consciences?) After you get to work, you no longer think of
giving as putting some money in a cold impersonal plate, and it going to pay for just the building, the utilities, salaries, and
class books. Your money will be doing many good works and you will be glad.
Giving of our money is just one part of the giving and seed planting involved in your Christian life.
Remember, you are to offer your body as a living sacrifice. Everything you give is just a part of that sacrifice. And the
more of one thing a person gives - such as time - the more of other things that person wants to give. Our whole way of thinking
Every time you buy something, you will catch yourself thinking, "How can I use this for God?" After all, everything we have
is God's anyway (James 1:17). You will find you can use your new house to entertain in. You can use your new stove to cook
meals for the sick, lonely, or needy. You can use your new refrigerator for cold drinks, storing fruits, vegetables, etc. to share
with those you enjoy being with and enjoy helping. You can use your new car to pick up people to go to a Bible class, to take
to the doctor, to take shopping, etc. When you get new clothes, you can give your outgrown ones to someone who needs
them. When your children buy new toys, they can share them with their friends. And, of course, everything we have been
blessed with through the years -not necessarily recently ~ we can share with others. After all, God is sharing them with us!
In another sense, Jesus said in Matthew 25:34-40: 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 these brethren of mine, you did for me."
In the midst of beginning your new life of service, you must be aware of subtle and not-so-subtle forces to stop you.
There will always be those weak Christians who may criticize you for all your good works. Or shall we call it persecution? They
may claim all kinds of things about your motives for doing the good works. They might even make up a few things about you
that are false. As hard as it is to say - it is harder even to do - you must never let this discourage you and stop you. Instead,
turn it around and use it as a spiritual thermometer to see how well you are doing as a Christian. Remember, the more good
David did to Saul, the more Saul hated him and tried to kill him. And the more good Jesus did, the more the "faith-only"
religious people hated him and tried to kill him.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you
when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad,
because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the
salt of the earth Matthew 5:10-13a). See there? It's your thermometer. Worldly Christians or weak Christians (same thing) will
certainly criticize you. The more you work, the more Satan will try to get you to stop - even through your own friends and
Perhaps it is that those who shout the loudest are those who deep down envy you the most. so take note of those people.
Get better acquainted with them, and invite them to do some of these Christian works with you. After awhile, they will probably
say that you have changed and aren't so overbearing and all those other things they perhaps used to call you. Actually, what
it really will be is that they will have changed and will see you now through the eyes of love and brotherliness, as a fellow
worker. This has happened over and over through the history of the world, and is probably the best way to get rid of a critic ~
make them a participant.
Lastly, be careful of your motives. At first your motives to do good works will be good, but as more and more people begin
to condemn or praise you for doing them (they will do both), your motives may change you into being a people pleaser rather
than a God pleaser. Always keep in mind 1 Corinthians 13:3: If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the
flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Whenever you go out to do a good work, refer to yourself as so-and-so from the church or the body of Christ. Your
motives will not be as easily misunderstood, and you will always be reminding even yourself of your purpose in doing these
things. Christ is your purpose. You are a fellow worker with him (2 Corinthians 6:1). By glorifying his church, you will be
glorifying Christ, the Head. And this is what you want above all else on earth.
Now take the challenge! Of course you can do it! God bless you!
Look Around, Act, and React