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Repentance From Dead Works (34)

Before we pick up from where we stopped in our last broadcast, let us quickly reiterate the main point of that broadcast: Because the list of dead works is inexhaustible, we separated dead works into two major categories, namely:
1. All acts and activities engaged in by someone who is not born again are dead works, irrespective of how good or spiritual they may appear to be; and,
2. Acts and activities engaged in by someone who is born again, but such acts and activities do not have the approval of God, neither are they done in the power of the Holy Spirit. We said that even though a person may be born again, yet, his refusal to yield to the Holy Spirit, Who has been given to all born again children of God, means that such a person is invariably engaging in dead works, because his actions lack divine authorisation.

Now, to our discussion for today. Many people who attend church services; who are workers in church; and are even ministers, pastors, and bishops, are living in error in their profession as Christians. These people erroneously believe that Christianity is about becoming a great person in a worldly sense, owning fine homes, owning a fleet of cars, having the best employment in town, and so on. Unfortunately, these acquisitions on their own, are certainly not a proof of Christianity, otherwise, wealthy sheiks and rich atheists could be said to be Christians! Being a Christian is about living a life of obedience, sobriety, and humility unto God. Being a Christian is about doing the will of Godwhatever that may be. It is about no longer doing your own will, but the will of God, no matter what it will cost you. Being a Christian is about letting Christ live His life in, and through you. This is what Paul, the apostle, meant when in Galatians 2:20 he said, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Friend, if Christ is not living in, and through you, every work you are claiming to do in His Name, is dead works, even though, you have received the gift of salvation!

It is important to note that all works or activities engaged in when a person is not born again are dead works, which cannot be carried over into the new life! For example, church attendance as an unsaved person, singing in the choir, playing of musical instruments during church services, preaching or going out to evangelize when you are not born again are, unfortunately, all dead works! Also, you cannot bring into the new life in Christ, the way and manner you did things before. For instance, if when you were not born again, you attended any church you liked, when you liked; now that you are born again, you should only belong to the local assembly which God instructs you to be a part ofno more, no less! Now, if you are engaging in any of these activities, that is, going to church religiously, singing in the choir, playing the keyboard in a church, going for evangelism, sweeping and arranging the church, ushering, etc., and you are not yet born again, please, know of a certainty that everything you are doing now is called dead works! Do not be deceived into believing that merely engaging in these activities will earn you salvation; No, they cannot! The good news though, is that you dont have to labour in this manner to earn salvation. Salvation is a free gift of God which is available to anyone who believes that the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is payment for their sins! Do you believe this? If by the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your heart, you accept, and declare that Jesus death was payment for all your sins, then, you will be born of God, and receive the gift of salvation. Then, you will experience the new nature which only desires to live for God in holiness and righteousness!

After a person has become born again, he is expected to begin to live according to the new nature which is now in him. Unfortunately, not many people live according to the new nature; which explains why a person can be born again, and still engage in dead works. For people who are born again, but still engage in dead works, it is convenient for them to live according to the old nature, or the dictates of the flesh, which always leads to sin. Hence, we see people who say they are born again, but still live like they are not! Imagine a person who comes from the village into the city, but who has not left behind the village way of life? He literally imports the village lifestyle into the city. Indeed, all that has changed for such a person is just his location; his way of life has not changed! Such a person may, for instance, take his bath not in a bathtub which is available, but on the bare floor of a bathroom. We once had a house-help from the village, who tried to turn off the gas cooker flame by pouring water on it, as you would with firewood! We could not blame her, because she never knew how to put off a gas cooker flamewe merely assumed she did! What we should have done was to have shown her how to put off the gas cooker, rather than assume that she already knew what to do! In the same way, though a person has been born again, he still needs to be taught about the new life that he has now come into, otherwise, he will still be living the old life of dead works, which he ought to have left behind! So many born again believers today assume that all there is to being saved, and doing good works, is to attend church services and carry out some assignment in the church! No! There is much more to being born again than these. This is the essence of the teachings on Repentance from Dead Works.

Once a person has become born again, he needs to learn the new way of life that he has come into. And this can only be done through correct teachings from the unadulterated word of God. Without proper teachings about the new life, a person will engage in dead works, even though he is born again!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 reads: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. It is through teachings from the Scriptures that a born again child of God is prepared and equipped for every good work! Without such teachings, you will be engaging in dead works, even though those works or activities may be spiritual!
Ephesians 4:17-32 reads: This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. [Friend, you cannot take your compass for living the Christian life from the worldit is like being led by a blind man, because the world is blind to the things of God] But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. This passage tells you about those things which you must put off from your life, that is, your old way of life; and also tells you about the new things or new behaviour that you must now put on, that is, the new way of life.

You cannot be a true child of God and exhibit a nature that is apart from Christ. The old corrupt nature of sin before your salvation has no place in the new life of holiness and righteousness which is fashioned in the image and likeness of Christ. Friend, though you may be born again, you still need to learn what it means to be truly born of God, otherwise, you will still be manifesting dead works. The statement, Ye have not so learned Christ implies that there is a learning to be done by you, if you are born again, about the life that Christ lived, and which He desires to live in, and through you! When teachings of the truth which is in the word of God is absent in a mans life, he will continue to engage in dead works, even though he is born again! He will not see anything wrong in following the fashion of the world in dressing, business, family life, and in the pursuit of fame and glory; neither will he see anything wrong in applying worldly principles to matters that are essentially spiritual. The grace of God which many people today have abused to mean licence to do as they please, actually teaches us contrary to the popular opinion of today, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (Titus 2:11-12). When for instance, a lady is delivered from demonic oppression, if she does not submit herself immediately to learn how to live like Christ wants her to live, but instead, talks about being under grace as the basis for her to live as she pleases; she will soon find herself fall back under a worse form of oppression. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 12:43-45, When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. The man who has been delivered and who has not submitted himself to learn, imbibe, and live out Jesus teachings on the new life, is the man whose life has been swept clean, and is empty; such emptiness in a man will open him up to be inhabited by the unclean spirit which was earlier cast out, which now returns with seven more wicked spirits to inhabit him, thereby making him a candidate for perpetual deliverance! Friend, if this is your case, please understand that if Jesus has delivered you, you are indeed delivered. What you now need to do, is to fill your heart with the word of God, which if you heed, will enable you to keep the devil out of your life. So start attending a New Believers Class, and other bible teaching and prayer meetings where you will be taught the truth about Christ, and the new life He wants to live in, and through youattending church on Sundays alone is not enough! In Proverbs 11:9, the bible says, through knowledge shall the just [or righteousthose who are born again] be delivered. Once a person is born again, and is not dabbling into sin, his deliverance is made permanent through sound teachings of the word of God, which he must apply in his everyday life. The bible tells us that in the Early Church Age, after people were born again, they continued in the apostles doctrines, among other things (Acts 2:41-42); that is, they received Christs teachings about the new life, and put those teachings into practice in their daily lives. Friend, the difference between a person who once was homosexual and is no more, after being born again; and another person who remains homosexual even after he has been born again, is that the former, submitted himself to learn and live as Christ wants; while the latter did not submit himself to Christs teachings, neither did he live as Christ wants. If you find yourself in a church where all they are talking about is how to make money and how to continue to live the life of the world; friend, we make bold to counsel you to run away from that place and seek a church where the undiluted word of God is being taught, and where you will be encouraged to study the word of God on your own, and to learn to pray for yourself, so that you can grow in the intimate knowledge of God. Many people are born again, but continue to do dead works because they have not been taught about the way of Christ, neither have they submitted themselves to the control of the Holy Spirit. Next week, we shall see more reasons why people who claim to believe in Christ still engage in dead works.

Let us pray!