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Repentance From Dead Works (14)


We shall begin in this broadcast, to discuss the second aspect of the first foundational doctrine of Christdead works. But before we immerse ourselves into this discussion, may we reiterate a very vital aspect of repentance, which we did not emphasize enough in our last broadcast when we summarized on repentance; and that is the fact that, by repenting of a thing, you are saying that you will not repeat that thing again. Every genuine act of repentance includes a clause and intention in the heart of the repentant sinner, not to sin again. If indeed you have realised that sin is truly sinful, you will do everything possible to ensure that you dont go the way of sin ever again! Thus we not only forsake sin, but we also do away with anything that can remotely lead us to sin again, like getting rid of friendships that lead to sinful acts, and avoiding places that are sinful. There is no need to want to win your friends to Christ, when your own standing in Christ is still very fragile. What you should focus on is how to be built up in Christ through bible study and prayers; but in the interim, you can pray to God for the salvation of your friends!

Now to the discussion at hand: the first of the foundational doctrines of Christ, also called the fundamental principles of the Christian faith, is Repentance from Dead Works; and for quite some time now, we have been discussing repentance, which is the first aspect of Repentance from Dead Works; now, we shall begin to discuss the second part, which is, Dead Works. The phrase Dead Works has two words, Dead and Works. When we say that someone is dead, we are talking about someone who has died; not someone who is about to die or someone in a coma, or someone who has fainted. We are talking of a lifeless beingwithout breath, and without any spirit in him. We are talking of a corpse that cannot perform any human function whatsoeverit cannot speak, it cannot see, it cannot breath, it cannot smell, it cannot think, it cannot reason, and so on. And no help, assistance, or support can make a dead body perform any human function! There is only one thing fit for a dead body, and that is, to be buried deep into the earth where the stench and unsightliness of decomposition will go unnoticed. In other words, a dead body belongs in the land of the dead! Works on the other hand, are acts or deeds and activities which people engage in, as religious functions, like tithing, giving to the work of God, taking care of the motherless and the needy, church attendance, evangelism, singing in the church choir, working in the church in general, church planting, engaging in a church building project, and many more acts and activities too numerous to mention here. The acts and activities mentioned here, all seem to be good, and may make one to wonder how they can be tagged as dead. Generally, there are two kinds of worksdead works and good works; and this is the crux of our discussion today: what makes a work dead, and another good?

Death in the real sense of the word is essentially the absence of life in anything; so, if there is no life in a thing, it is dead. In John 1:1, 4, the bible says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. These verses of scripture reveal that the Word is not a literal written or spoken word, and, being written with a Capital W, the Word here, refers to a Being or a Person, Who is also God; though not God, the Father, and has been with God, the Father, from the beginning; that is, since eternity past. It is in the Word that there is life. The Word is therefore the Giver of life. In Revelation 19:11-13, John, the apostle, describes a scene in heaven thus, And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns, and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called The Word of God. In this bible passage, Someone called Faithful and True is seen riding on a white horse, and is being referred to by another name, known as, The Word of God. This is the same Person referred to as The Word in John 1:1. So, The Word in John 1:1, who is also God, though not the Father, is that same Word of God referred to in Revelation 19:13. And from John 1:14, 17, which states, And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ; we see that The Word is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Hence, Jesus Christ is the Giver of life, and, apart from Him everything is without life, or dead. Thus, even though a man may be breathing physically, yet if he is without Jesus Christ, he is lifeless or dead in a spiritual sense! In John 14:6, the Lord Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life ...; in 1 John 5:12, it is written, He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life; and in John 3:36, it is written, He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. All three passages of scripture, when put together, tell us that, the person who believes or depends on Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, and as his Saviour and Lord, and therefore owns Him in his life, is the person who has a life which is more than an earthly life; he has a life that is everlasting! The everlasting life which Jesus Christ gives is the real life, and it is spiritual and eternal. The man who does not have the life of Jesus Christ in him, is a man who is living independent of Jesus, and therefore cannot possess everlasting life; rather, what he possesses is a temporary or virtual life, which lasts only for a short time here on earth. Such a man is spiritually dead! In the same way, when we talk of Dead Works, we are speaking of acts and activities that are spiritually dead; acts and activities that are not dependent on Jesus Christ, our Lord; acts and activities that Jesus Christ, our Lord, has no part in; acts and activities that cannot endure unto eternity with God. And the only place fit for such dead works, is hell; where their stench and horrid look, will never be observed by God, the Father. Dead works are consigned to the land of the dead, along with their perpetrators! Only the works and people that have the life of Christ, can enter into heaven, the abode of God; the land of the living!

In Matthew 7:21-23, the Lord Jesus said, Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. The New Living Translation of v. 23 states, But I will reply, I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorised. Many people may wonder why those who prophesied, that is, those who preached; those who cast out devils, that is, those who conducted what is commonly known as deliverance; and those who did wonderful works; that is, those who performed miracles; all in the name or authority of Jesus, are refused entry into heaven by the Lord? In fact, the Lord labelled them as people who work iniquity; that is, people who are engaged in a sinful or wicked act. The reason why these people were refused entry into heaven is, because, they used the name of Jesus without His authorisation. To use the name of Jesus without authorisation for anything whatsoever, even if it may seem to be for a good cause, is a sinful and wicked act, akin to impersonation or name-dropping. If you are stranded in traffic, you wouldnt mind anyone controlling traffic; and even if such a person is a madman, you would yield to his direction, so long as he is directing traffic. But if that same madman puts on a police uniform to direct traffic, you are unlikely to heed him, and could even challenge him, because he is adorning a uniform, and may now go beyond controlling traffic to making arrests. Such is the case of all those who act without the authorisation of Jesus Christ, the Lord of all things. All acts done without authorisation by the Giver of life are dead worksthey are sinful and wicked; and are acts done in flagrant disregard of Gods word, command, or instruction. In Acts 19:13-16, the bible gives the account of seven sons of one Sceva, in Ephesus, who were exorcising evil spirits, what we call deliverance today, in the name of Jesus. Now, not being authorised by the Lord to do so, the evil spirit in the man who they were trying to exorcise, pounced on the seven brothers, beat them mercilessly, stripping them naked in the process, and inflicted on them, grievous bodily harm. To engage in any activity that is unauthorised by the Lord Jesus Christ, has dire consequences for the person thus engaged, which is torment at the hand of the devil both here on earth, and in hell. A man who preaches or prays to God with his head covered, as with a cap, is doing so in flagrant disregard of Gods word, which in 1 Corinthians 11:4 says, Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head [that is Christ]; and he therefore, engages in dead works, and will be tormented both here on earth and in hell, by the devil, unless he repents. A woman who preaches or prays to God with her head uncovered, that is, without a head tie, is doing so in flagrant disregard of Gods word, which says in 1 Corinthians 11:5, every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head , and she therefore, engages in dead works, and will be tormented both here on earth and in hell by the devil, unless she repents.

We summarize as follows concerning dead works:
1. They are acts and activities that lack the life of Christ.
2. They are acts and activities that Christ has nothing to do with.
3. They are acts and activities that are independent of Christ.
4. They are acts and activities which Jesus Christ has not authorised.
5. They are acts and activities done in flagrant disregard of Gods word, command, and instruction.
There are, sadly, people who are involved in church work or ministry, even as we speak, without Gods authorisation. These people really, are engaged in dead works, and are in danger of becoming victims of the devil and his demons both here on earth, and in hell forever, unless they repent; for the Lord said, I [will] profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Anyone who departs from the Lord Jesus Christ departs into an eternity in hell!

It is therefore imperative for every Christian to review his actions and activities, be they secular or spiritual; and evaluate whether or not these acts and activities are authorised by God! You should note that every dead thing ultimately, decomposes, stinks, and is unsightly and disgusting. Dead works are indeed abominable to God, and those who habitually engage in them cannot enter into heaven! You should not be presumptuous; but humbly seek Gods face to know, first and foremost, if you qualify for heaven, and then, to find out if what you are doing will count in heaven. The bible says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? If Jesus Christ is not in your life, no matter how many times you attend church; no matter how much you have given to the work of God; no matter how close you are to a pastor; and even if you built a church; you have become like a good-for-nothing (a reprobate) and unqualified to enter heaven. The truth is you are a dead work yourself! But that can be changed, if only you will go to God in repentance, ask for His forgiveness for your sins, and receive His free gift of salvation and life everlasting through Jesus Christ, His Son. Only then can you go on to assess your activities; whether or not they are dead!

Let us pray!