Works that are the outcome of active faith
James teaches that faith is developed like a muscle in the human body, through much usage (James 1:1-6). To not to try to squirm out of problems, and, if unsure what decision to make, ask God for wisdom and expect an answer. God will not make the decision for us, or tell us what to do. Patience is developed through the ‘trying of your faith’, which is brought to the surface in difficulties and trials (Gr peirasmoe: temptations: to try, to prove . 1 Cor 10:11-13 etc).
The Holy Spirit will bring the Scripture to mind that applies to the situation and it is up to us if we choose to walk in wisdom. This is one of the ways the Holy Spirit works within, bringing to remembrance whatsoever things have been taught us. If we have studied and learned our lessons well, we will be easily instructed. If we allow the Word to judge us, we will not be judged with the world.
A lack of peace is a sign that our own mind is condemning us (Gr. kataginosko: ‘know a thing against us’ (1Jn 3:20,21). Nevertheless, God is greater than what we think about ourselves. Our responsibility is to pull down these strongholds of self-condemnation in our mind, and believe what God says about us in the Word. People take it upon themselves to be judge and jury and condemn according to their own interpretation on a matter (Prov 17:15). Those who condemn the just are an abomination to the Lord (Jas 5:6; Isa 50:9; 54:17).
Do not pass judgment on yourself or others and you will not be judged. Jesus coming to this world pronounced God’s judgement on the inhabitants of it, and at the cross this judgment was poured out on him. ‘And the Lord has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all’ (Jn 3: 17-18. Rom 14: 22)
Believers of all ages suffer from condemnation. It eats away at the peace and joy salvation deposits in our minds. Condemnation is opposite to one being justified righteous (Deut 25:1). John is known as the apostle of love and peace (they go together and can never be separated). In view of this, one would expect John to address the issues of condemnation, justification, and peace with God. Perfect love casts our all fear (of judgement, brought on by condemnation in the mind).
God does not force the revealed will, (found in the bible) upon us: faith is developed through obedience. Faith has corresponding actions; these actions are carried out according to our obedience to the Word. Hebrews teaches ‘faith is the evidence of things hoped for; the substance of things not seen’ (Heb 11:1). Faith without corresponding works is dead. To have faith is to obey God’s word. True biblical humility is obedience to what God has said. It is not just hearing the Word of God but doing it.
We pray God to use us because we want to win people to the Lord. When we find ourselves alongside a person who tries our faith (which works through love) it is an opportunity to deepen our love. I find what works for me, when I get those murmurings in my mind about someone, I immediately change my mind, by asking the Lord to bless them, I thank God for them. I consider their good attributes. Oftentimes, instead, people miss the opportunity to grow in grace, they may even resign from their job, or seek a divorce, or stop contacting a son or daughter, or a friend, and look for an easier path.
Faithful people’s lives are full of good fruit. The fruit is the proof of true biblical faith in action. It is easy to have faith for preaching to a large crowd of people and to see many hundreds come forward for salvation. In that context, other people’s faith has already been exercised; the preacher is there to reap the harvest of many hours of work, faith, and tears, reaping where they may not have sown.
However, the faith needed to continually see people saved through ‘one to one’ evangelism requires even greater faith and boldness. God the Holy Spirit wants to develop this faith for personal evangelism in the church! Every generation must take the baton from the hands of the previous one. I am offering it to you through my teachings here. They are the result of fifty years in the work of winning souls. Therefore, by faith, accept the trials; become determined to live happy, contented lives.
You need great patience to be an effective soul winner. Do not be double minded. Should I speak or not? SPEAK! Moreover, God will perform the counsel of His messenger; it will be confirmed with God’s gracious loving saving power. Learn to obey the Word of God from your heart and then you will have God’s approval in all you do. Be zealous of good works for many souls will be won that way.
You will never be an effective soul winner if you show partiality, favouritism or greed. James says it is sin (Ch 2: 9). Remember the story of Naaman? Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, revealed he had greed. (11 Kings 4: 27, 15, 20). These are a sign that covetousness is in your life; You want what you cannot have (James 2:4). It is idolatry and to be avoided at all cost. Check your motives! Stay clear of it at any cost. It will ruin your testimony and put your salvation in jeopardy. There is a definite question mark over the faith of the believer who is envious and covetous.
How many unsaved husbands remain unsaved, yet none of the men or married couples in the church ever go and visit them to make friends, or invite them for a meal? Don’t just pray, do something!
The prayer offered up for the poor, the widow and the fatherless to be blessed is sheer hypocrisy if works do not follow. All that is needed for them to be blessed is right there in the midst of that prayer group. Go and visit the widow and orphan in their affliction, do not just pray. This includes single parents and their children. This is what James is referring to when he says, So you see, it is not enough just to have faith, you must also do good to show proof of it.
The effective witnesser is also one who begins to supply the needs of those around them. You will not see many breakthroughs in your soul winning, if you do not show mercy. Faith without accompanying works is dead. Witnessing without generosity of love, hospitality, and practical giving to meet the needs of the inquirer is not preaching the gospel of love!.
The important verse in James, concerning the doctrine of faith is found in Ch. 2:24. ‘So you see a person is saved by what they do as well as by what they believe’. Faith that does not result in action is dead in the same way as the human body is dead without the spirit. James also shows what kind of wisdom should be employed in soul winning. The spirit of wisdom in the worker will manifest itself in purity, gentleness, peacefulness and courteous deeds and speech. (3:17). Such wisdom allows discussion for the other person’s point of view, and is in no way stubborn or argumentative (1 Cor 13).
The great chapter on agape love will be a hallmark of the faithful witnesser. Mercy, good deeds, wholehearted straightforward sincerity will be evidenced in the life of the wise faith-filled foundation-layer. James 4 gives some clues on how to be successful in evangelism. Lovers of the world are enemies of God. The true ambassadors for Christ will find themselves in the company of the unsaved as much or more than with the saved.
This will result in problems for the worker with impure motives. Also, people who are highly motivated by mercy and empathy, but lack wisdom, will eventually get into trouble by too closely identifying with the troubled inquirer. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is the principle thing, therefore, get wisdom.
Self-confidence instead of confidence in the Holy Ghost is another snare to be aware of. This is no place for the boaster, ‘scalps in the belt’ type, whose chief motive for doing this work is to boast about it to the more retiring in the church, namely, those who do not venture outside the four walls of the church building to exercise their faith.
True faith does not boast and brag about tomorrow’s plans but rests in Gods intention and interest in all of their plans (Jas 1). Planning is good, for without a vision the people perish. However, it is not to be used to stir up envy and strife, as if you are the choice one God works with and everyone else is under par in their faith and in relation to God’s favour. There are no super saints. There are no great women and men of God, only women and men of the Great God.
One of the problems with the ‘harvest of the eleventh hour’ is that when the householder went out and found workers idle in the market place, and asked them, “Why are you standing here idle all the day?” they replied, “No one will pay us.” Very often, the church robs the workers who are reaping the harvest. Instead of building bigger edifices, or a more modern car for the Pastor, churches should first be providing finances for full time evangelists to go out and reap the harvest (Jas 6:1-5).
One of the greatest harvests today is in the church. Mature Christians of all ages filling the pews, paying the tithe with no opportunity to develop their own vision and faith. Nevertheless, I believe we will see a great number of harvesters go forth in this decade. Leaving the church confines they will launch out into the deep and put their nets over on the other side of the boat we are travelling in together. This will release workers into the Lord’s harvest fields throughout the world.
Forget hankering after the best seats; turn a deaf ear to those who insist upon it. Avoid the clamour, the spot light that successful evangelism may bring; it will hinder your effectiveness in winning people to Jesus. Examine yourself for any mixed motives you may be harbouring in reaching out to the lost with the gospel. Go after God with all your heart, mind, and soul.
Desire with all your heart to be an instrument of great faith, in order that you might evangelise the lost. Stay pure and walk in truth no matter what it costs you. Faith means becoming poor that many may become rich. This was the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ in respect of persons (11 Cor 8:9). The Apostle Paul, a Jew, went to the Gentiles with the gospel. He instructs us from his own life: I became all things to all people that I might win some,
Repentance guarantees the Spirit-filled life
Why not try taking time out every day, to close our eyes and meditate. Meditate on the love of God. Think about the grace of God enveloping us. Bring others into this presence of God. See in your mind’s eye the love and compassion of God for all people. Allow you mind to go back over the day’s events thus far. See where you missed the mark. Ask forgiveness and ask for change. Only grace can change us.
Repentance is a part of every positive decision and a way of life for the believer. Remember, repentance is not tears, although tears may accompany repentance. It is not only being sorry for our present state, but also turning around and walking in the light. God seeks our turning (repentance), and He is unimpressed with weeping and moaning which bears no fruit. Christians flock to the alter and perhaps this looks very impressive but it does not mean anything necessarily, a little chat and a little prayer but no real change. Procrastination is the thief of time, and this leads to deception which is worse.
A course of action with Christ included, is needed when we discover we have no clear-cut decision and specific direction in our lives. There are usually four main areas, and we will consider them here. There are many decisions that can be made for the areas mentioned below. Any positive and definite decision that is carried out will be profitable to yourself and the Lord.
- Yield to God Yes, we all say we want to give ourselves more to God, but get specific. In what area do I want to increase being yielded to the Lord? Ask the new believer and when answered, suggest they write it down in the front of their new Bible. Ask them when they will begin and how they will go about it.
- Repent daily Prayerfully consider all that it is that is hindering your/their walk and service. Write out ways to deal with these. Treat them like weeds in God’s garden. Take definite measures to eradicate them, this is the start of turning around the great ship which is your life. It starts by confession of what needs to be forsaken and what will be undertaken to effect the desired changes sought (Mt 3:2).
- Prepare the way, make the paths straight This is reflected in how you go about closing the gap between what you say and what you actually do (Mt 3:3).
- Bring forth fruits meet for repentance Now, you set your heart toward the goal. You do what you know you have to do to bring about the desired results in your life. No amount of counselling can do this for you. If it is going to be it is up to thee! Choose to be a choice one for God (Mt 3:8).
See the visual results out of a fresh dedication to God
Paul said: ‘For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed’. ‘Through mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about unto Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ’. Romans 15:29: ‘And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ’ (Rom 15:18-19).
All of us want results yet many of us currently are not seeing the results we yearn for. What is wrong? Is the Gospel we are hearing and preaching watered down? What did Paul mean when he said he had fully preached the Gospel? The Gospel must be preached with ‘demonstration’. Jesus preached in Word and deed, showing the necessity for both. Good works are important, not just words, the world is full of idle useless words (1 Cor 14:10).
The cults have many persuasive arguments. The political parties are mostly rhetoric with little action. The Gospel when fully preached is more than words. It is also works, supernatural and practical. The lame beggar at the temple gate, received his healing because Peter was prepared and looking for any opportunity to demonstrate the power of God (Acts 3:4-11). Acts 3:16, explains how it was done: through faith in the name of Jesus.
Now whether it was the gift of faith Peter received in that instant I do not know, but personally, I believe Peter’s attitude was right, and God did the rest. The successful soul winners will be those on the lookout for hungry hearts, and the miracle workers will be those ready at any time for God to use them in the realm of the miraculous.
True proclamation of the Gospel will be confirmed by a demonstration of the power of God. This is in keeping with Jesus ministry (Lk 1:1). Luke’s gospel was of all Jesus began to both do and teach. New Testament evangelism includes doing and teaching (Rom 15:29).
Salvation must be shared. It is a very real and definite experience and is brought about by the revelation of God himself by his own mighty power to the human heart. It is a heart changing experience and we must preach for change if we are to see souls saved.
Do not settle down and be satisfied until you see souls being gloriously convicted and changed by the power of God. Christianity is not just attending church on Sundays, mid-week bible studies and fellowship, singing those songs of how wonderful Jesus is. You will certainly experience greater freedom in the preaching of the Word week by week, but not without caring for those who are lost eternally.
The Worker’s Harvest
The fully preached Gospel is to see obedience in the lives of those convicted. To believe the Gospel is to obey it. Close study of the book of Acts and other relevant Scriptures reveal that only twice did it seem convenient to Paul to give his own personal testimony for these actions. This was in defence of himself to the Jews, and there were no conversions at that time. Other Scriptures show us that Jesus said he was a witness, testifying to those things he had seen and knew.
The Worker’s Testimony
The woman at the well testified to her friends, “I’ve met a man who told me all that I ever did” (Jn 3:11, Jn 3:32, Jn 4:39). The Scriptures themselves testify of Jesus. The Holy Spirit testifies also of Jesus, and Jesus told his disciples they could bear witness to Him (Jn 5:39;1 Jn 5:9; Jn 15:26-27). In Revelation 12:11 the church overcame Satan by testifying.
Testify of the Blood
To expound this a little, so as to give further insight, the blood of the lamb has overcome Satan and his power over us. The blood shed on the cross has removed judgement of sin and hell and eternity from us. Jesus’ blood has paid the price, therefore the sinner is set free. We have overcome Satan by the blood of the lamb.
Rather than saying “I pleading the blood”, bear witness to what the Word says the blood has accomplished on our behalf. This can mean we either overcome by testifying what the Word says about the blood, or we testify to the gospel of grace accomplished through Christ’s fulfilling all of the sacrificial laws. Dying, on the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished”, as he yielded up his spirit to God
Love Not Your Life
No one is freer than the one who is ‘dead to this life’. Crucified with Christ yet I live. For me to die is gain. The point I am trying to make is this: Often, far too much emphasis is placed on giving our testimony to the world. However, not enough is made of testifying to the finished work on the cross.
To be effective in testifying, we need to understand what happened when Jesus saved us. There is a place for this, but for the Holy Spirit to act upon our testimony, it must be our testimony to the Gospel of Grace, not our testimony about our lives before we were saved.
That is ‘what’ God has saved you from, but it is not ‘how’ God saved you.
The book of Acts shows that wherever the Gospel was preached souls were saved and miracles occurred. Again, the gospel is not our testimony of what baddies we were before we were saved.
Study, to show our selves approved unto God. Save our personal testimony of salvation for the right time and place. Let us preach Christ and the glorious Good News of His Grace. True evangelism is not only getting decisions. It is carrying the responsibility before God, to discipline the new convert that they might become responsible members of the body of Christ.
Miraculous healings and other signs will be a prominent part of a fully preached Gospel. The New Testament Gospel is confirmed with signs and wonders. The New Testament Church is a healing Church, moving in the power of the Holy Spirit and looking for that blessed hope. (Acts 19:28, Jn 2:23, 1 Cor 12, Acts 8:6, 9:35, 9:42, 13:12 and Tit 2:13).
Since Jesus is the High Priest of our profession (our lifestyle), it follows that the one who overcomes is the one who brings the Word of God to the Throne of Grace in prayer. Meditating in the Word is muttering it in prayer, praying it back to God, testifying what the Word says about you. Talk to God about everything, how you feel, what is bothering you, what’s making you feel anxious, making your requests known to God. Knowing God has heard us takes away fear and replaces it instead with confidence, and peace.
‘This is the confidence (free spokeness, boldness Gr parrhesia), that we have in Him, that if we ask anything, according to His will, He hears us, and if we know that he, hears us we know that we, have the petition, that we desire of him’ (Prov 3: 26; Prov 14:26; 1 Jn 5:14 Is 30:15).
Laying Strong Foundations
It is essential that the soul winner makes sure that the right foundation stone is laid ready for the entrance of the gospel of grace to build upon. This is in their own life and in the life of the one they have led to Jesus.
Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded (1 Pet 2:6).
He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great (Lk 6:48-49).
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon (1 Cor 3:10).
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Cor 3:11).
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (1 Cor 3:10-15).
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone ( Eph 2:20)
Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim 6:19).
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity (2 Tim 2:19).
Teach them to observe your walk and to follow you as you follow Christ.
‘Be a follower of me’, Paul said,’ as I am also of Christ’. No baby Christian should ever be left alone for any length of time. We should become their friend, their confidant, and their comforter, their exhorter and encourager (Isa 35:3-4). The evangelist is one who is successfully fulfilling the Great Commission, by making a disciple of the new believer, until there is successful reproduction of that work in their lives. (Mt 28:19; Matt 10:42).
All church activities should revolve around the winning of souls and the nurturing of newborn Christian babies (Psalm 55:14). There should be no social event that the new baby in the family has not been invited to. Bible studies and the weekly prayer meetings are also an opportunity to involve them in their new life (Mk 9:37, Jn 17:21 and 23, Jn 15:4-7). Our giving and going should be in the light of winning and making disciples (Ecl 14:9,10,12).
The Church as an education body, teaching people how to go about fulfilling the Great Commission.
Adult training classes are necessary if this task is to be fulfilled (Jer 8:20). Rather than making a set of fabricated rules to live by (a gospel of works), teach the Word. Let the Holy Spirit do its own work and they will learn to obey God from the heart (Heb 3:13). The same example used in another place can apply here. If we pull fruit off the tree before it is ready to be picked, we can destroy the tree.
Some of us are too hard on ourselves, and do not give ourselves the necessary nourishment in prayer and rest. This will result in a too harsh attitude toward others. So it is with tearing off obvious fruit from the old life (sins of the flesh), in another’s life. Leave them alone, for the Holy Spirit knows how to work in the believer’s life (Rom 14:23; 11 Pet 1:4).
Simply live the life yourself, be an example, and people seeking more of God will automatically follow you. If you have difficulty understanding what I mean by that, I suggest you ask God to teach you how the Holy Spirit works (Lk12:12). Put aside all your ‘laws, rules and taboos’ (Rom 14:23). Stop offering advice, and ask God for the need to be fulfilled in your own and in the new converts’ life instead (Jn 14:21-23). Watch the Holy Spirit at work. Let the Word loose and allow it to do its own work (Lk 24:32 and 2 Pet 1:4).
If the new convert is not seeking your company, then you have to conclude that it is time to examine yourself and your approach. Is it one of friendship or lawgiver (1 Cor 9:20-23; Heb 12:15)? Teach them full and utter dependence on the enabling indwelling mighty Spirit of God to transform them from within. As you continually ‘put off’ old clothing that is no longer fitting for a servant of Christ desirous of a rich fruitful anointing, and you put on the new lifestyle they will automatically follow. 
The believer, who is living the life, walking the talk, and not just talking the talk, is held in great esteem by those outside of Christ who are hungry for reality. To live in God’s grace is a beautiful life to behold. To walk in God’s grace, peace and love requires great humility, whose chief characteristics are, meekness (submission to God, obedience unto death above all others, loyalty to God 
Rooted and grounded in love, nurtured by the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit (faithfulness, goodness, kindness, patience, love, peace, self-control and gentleness) will abound. The fruit will provide sustenance for our own needs as well as others. The lifestyle of the disciple of Christ is impossible to achieve without daily drawing from the source, of our new life – Christ. We cannot carry out this high calling in our own strength (Eph 2:8-10).
Are you an encourager or kill-joy? Are you the counsellor to end all counsellors or a friend and an encourager? Are you ‘know it all’ about what God says and what Jesus is saying, ‘in this situation’, or are you ready to admit, when asked something about God and the Kingdom of Heaven, ‘I don’t know, why not ask your heavenly Father to show you.’ Even when you are asked for advice, try not giving it for a change. Just pray with them instead, asking God for direction. This helps them to obey the inward witness and the Word, and not rely on you so heavily. (Isa 11:2).
The word ‘teach’ (Gr didasko), has a twofold meaning, to instruct orally, and to make a disciple, (to carry it out together). The person who can see with his mind’s eye (heart), and his eyes, can reach out, touch the soul of another person, and the spirit within, and reveal the good that lies within him or her. Success is easy once you believe in God and in the gifts God has given you.
 Rom 2:1; Rom 8:1-3 & 8 34; 1 Cor 11: 3; Heb 11.7; Jas 5: 9.
 Gal 3:27; Eph 4:24; 6:11; Col 3;10-12; 1Thess 5;8,
 Mt 11:29; Mt 26:63; Lk 23:9); Phil 2:8, Isa 53:7.