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Repentance From Dead Works (32)


In todays broadcast, it is our intention to summarize what dead works are, so that we can recognize them, and turn away from them, peradventure we are engaging in them, or, avoid them. If you dont know what dead works are, you cannot truly repent of them; for it is your realization and acknowledgement that an activity is dead works, that makes it possible for you to repent of it, and turn away from engaging therein again! This has been our mission over the past several weeks.

Dead works are activities which are done contrary to the will of God; hence, they lack the approval and support of God. They are lifeless, and send forth a stinking or putrid odour to God; and are thus revolting and not pleasing to God! Good works on the other hand, are activities which are done in line with the will of God, they have Gods approval, and are well pleasing to Him!

In summary, the following are dead works:
1. Hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you are not, and do not intend to become. Hypocrisy is being two-faced, insincere, and deceitful. The church in Sardis, for example, gave the impression that it was a living church, whereas, in reality, it was a dead church; this is hypocrisyto knowingly act in a manner that conveys an impression to people that you are what you are not, and dont intend to be! To engage in an activity so that people can say that you are doing something good, is playing to the gallery. Doing something for the media or for public consumption is pretentious or showy, and therefore, it is dead works. This means that many of the social programmes that churches organize and advertise to attract accolades from the public are in effect, dead works.
2. Things that are not approved by God. No matter how laudable a programme may be, if God has not approved of it, it is dead works! In Matthew 7:21-23, the Lord Jesus spoke of people who will say to Him on the Last Day, that they preached, prophesied, cast out devils, worked miracles, built churches, planted churches, and so on, in His name or by His authority; and in response, the Lord said that He would say to them that He never knew them, because they did what was not authorized by Him; they acted lawlessly; hence, their activities were dead works! In 2 Samuel 7:1-17, though King David desired to build God a temple, which is a good thing ordinarily, yet he was not permitted by God to build it. Now, had David gone ahead to build the temple, because he had the power and resources, it would have been accounted as dead works, though many people would have commended him! It is always best to seek Gods approval, before embarking on anything. Dont be presumptuous; ask God first!
3. Things that are done with wrong motives. By wrong motives we mean insincere, dishonest, or ungodly intentions. So, while an activity may seem good, if its intent and motive is insincere, dishonest, ungodly, or if it is meant to deceive; that activity is dead works! For example, to give a donation so that your name can appear as one of those who donated or so that you can be recognized by the community or church that you were one of the donors; as is the practice in some churches, where church leaders promise embossing the names of donors on chairs, pillars, and so on, is dead works. To give money to the work of God as a means of obtaining a blessing from God or appeasing God, rather than seeking to honour God and live righteously, is dead works, because, the motive for giving is completely wrong! We do not give to the work of God because we want something from God; we give to God because we love Him! The bible says, who has first given God anything that he might be paid back or that he could claim a recompense? [This is the Amplified Bible translation of Romans 11:35]. Remember that God saved man from sin, without any effort from manHe sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to die on the cross at Calvary, thus paving the way for the salvation of any man who believes, accepts, and declares this act of God as being for his own benefit, and salvation! Salvation does not require that you give God any gift! In Acts 5:1-10, a man and his wife, Ananias and Sapphira, sold their land and brought a portion of the proceeds to the church. But when they were separately asked whether the money they had brought was all of what they had sold the land for, they lied that they had indeed brought the whole amount to the church. Their lies resulted in their sudden death as a result of Gods judgment, for their motive was wrongit was insincere, dishonest, ungodly, and intended to deceive; therefore, their donation was dead works!
4. Practices that do not agree with sound scriptural teaching. Any practice that does not emanate from the sound teaching of the word of God is dead works. It may sound good to the ear, feel good to the soul, be good to look upon, and so on; but, if it is not in line with the Holy Scriptures, it is dead works! In Genesis 3:1-6, for all the good that Eve saw and agreed with Satan, of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of which God had said they should not eat of; the very act of agreeing with the devil, and of eating of the fruit thereof, was dead works; and, it led to the sentence of death for all men forever! There are practices which God did not authorize or mention in His word, and to which there is no scriptural antecedent, but which many people who are Christians are practicingsuch practices are dead works, and do not glorify God. A classical case is the celebration of the birth of Jesus on December 25: this is an unscriptural practice! Jesus birthday was not as significant to God as His death and resurrection; hence, the bible teaches that we commemorate the death of Jesus, but makes no mention about the commemoration of His birth! In 1 Corinthians 11:26, the Scripture says, For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Referring to the Communion here, the bible makes us understand that we are to partake of Communion as often as possible; and that, as often as we partake of it, we are declaring the death of the Lord till He returns! Whilst we do not have the time to elaborate here on the commemoration of Christmas or Easter, suffice to say that no day was appointed for any of these events in the Scripturesthey really are pagan activities foisted on the church by unscrupulous men! All similar celebrations like, yam festival, and so on, are equally dead works!
5. Things done without love for God. This is especially critical because there are many Christians today, who are involved in the service of God, not out of love for God, but out of obligation. The Lord was especially critical of the Ephesian church in Revelation 2:1-7, when He told them that even though He appreciated their works, labour, patience, intolerance of false doctrines, among other good works that they were doing; yet the absence of love for God in their service, made all their works no more than dead works! Thus, the Lord is counselling you, as He counselled the Ephesian Christians, to return to your first love; that is, to return to loving God, so that your works can be acceptable to Him!
6. Doctrines that lead to and encourage sin and sinful living. Every message or teaching that encourages people to live in sin is a doctrine from the devil, even if it is preached by renowned preachers. We call all such teachings or doctrines, false doctrines, and those who perpetrate or proclaim these false doctrines, are called false teachers or false prophets! Thus, all false doctrines; that is, teachings that do not emanate from the bible; teachings that do not follow sound biblical principles; and teachings that are not in line with Christs teachings; lead people to sin and sinful living, and are therefore dead works. If you are in a place where false doctrines are being taught and declared as the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, you would do well to leave that assembly, for it can only be the synagogue of Satan!
7. Tolerance of sin and sinful living. To overtly or covertly tolerate sin and sinful living among the people of God is itself a sin, and therefore dead works. No matter how understanding you claim to be; if you are tolerant of sin and sinful living, all such tolerance is dead worksit does not glorify God, neither does it make people turn away from a life of sin. If you are living in sin, and still attending a church where sin is not preached against (and many people actually know when they are living in sin, and seek a church which does not preach against it), both yourself and the pastor, and the entire local assembly or denomination, as the case may be, are engaging in dead works! And in case you may not be aware, it is a sin to worship God while exposing certain parts of your body. God was particular about the priests of old wearing linen breacheswhat we call underwear, before wearing their priestly garments, so that their nakedness would not be exposed. So, to attend church, wearing see-through clothing and other apparels that expose certain parts of your body which are considered privatewhether you are male or femaleis an abomination to God, and therefore your church attendance is not worship, but dead works! Also, for a woman to worship God publicly with uncovered head, is dead works; for a man to sing songs in worship to God with a hat or cap on, as is the practice these days among people who say they are gospel artistes (whatever that means), is abominable, and it is dead works.
8. Spiritual lukewarmness. Spiritual lukewarmness is a state in which an individual or a church is lacklustre in their devotion to God. It is a state in which spiritual fervency is all but gone, and complacency or apathy becomes the order of the day. It is a state in which people act as they like, and nothing is restrained from them. Spiritual lukewarmness is a malignant cancer which must be excised from the Body of Christ, else, the whole church will be infested, as was the case with the church of the Laodiceans. All activities engaged in, in a state of spiritual lukewarmness, are dead works!
9. Doing things without first asking God. Activities that are engaged in without an okay from God are dead works. This is very common with people who have the means and resources to perform certain things. For example, people who have money can buy whatever they desire, without first asking God whether or not to buy; those who have the anointing can perform miracles without first asking God whether or not they should; those who are of marriageable age believe that if they have seen a lady or a man that they like, that is all there is to getting marriedno wonder the divorce rate among Christians is increasing, and embarrassingly so! Not first seeking God before doing things, even when we have the means, was the problem of those in Matthew 7:21-23they preached, prophesied, cast out demons, and worked miracles in the Name of Jesus, but they did not seek Gods authorizationtheir deeds were dead works, because they were done independent of God!

Other activities or actions which constitute dead works are; living according to the dictates of the sinful nature; that is, the flesh (Romans 7:5); having the form of godliness with no corresponding power to live holy, which is religious formalism (2 Timothy 3:5); seeking worldly pleasures (1 Timothy 5:6; 1 John 2:15-17); doing things that seem good, but which are not done in obedience to God (Matthew 7:21-23); seeking accolades from men, rather than from God (Revelation 3:1); and, not living a loyal or wholly devoted life to God (Revelation 3:15-16).

The list of dead works is by no means exhaustive. What is important, though, is that a person who realizes that he has been engaging in dead works, acknowledges it, turns to God in genuine repentance, and begins henceforth, to seek Gods face in order to do good works!

Let us pray!