1. How human works relate to salvation has long been a point of controversy, Jno. 6:28-29. Clearly, God expects each person to be active in his salvation & service, Jas. 1:21-25; 2:14-17, 24.
2. Question:Is it God working or man working when truth is believed & obeyed; when Christ is followed & God is feared?
ANS: Both occur, Eph. 2:5-9 (Faith is a work we do, Jno. 6:27-29; 1 Jno. 3:23).
a. Without Christ we can do nothing (implies ability to do), Jno. 15:4-5.
b. Paul could “do all things” thru Christ (Paul was active), Phil. 4:13.
3. We must abide in Christ – His word abides in us – to be saved & bear fruit; to do all God wants us to do, Jno. 15:4-5, 7-8; Eph. 2:10.
I. YES, GOD WORKS IN THE LIVES OF CHRISTIANS.
A. “The Power that Works in Us,” Eph. 3:20-21.
1. Not a mystical experience; not a direct action of the Holy Spirit.
2. CONTEXT identifies the power (dunamis) that works in us:
a. Father grants strengthen with power, 3:14-16.
b. Spirit of God works on the inner man, 3:16.
c. Result: Christ dwells in heart by faith, 3:17 (Jno.14:21,23-24)
d. Benefits: Rooted in love, able to lay hold of & know the love of Christ & be filled with all the fullness of God, 3:17-19.
3. 3:20: The power that works in us is the power of the gospel (produces & strengthens faith, Rom. 10:17; Jas. 1:21; Col. 3:16); cf. the power of faith, 1 Jno. 5:4.
4. Col. 1:9-11 is parallel: Both God & man are active.
5. Phil. 2:12-13: God works in us as we work for Him:
a. Man (katergazomai): to perform, accomplish, achieve…to do that from which something results.
b. God (energeo): Effective, to be operative.
6. Heb. 13:20-21: God works in us thru Christ (faith) [2 Cor. 5:9].
II. HOW GOD WORKS IN OUR LIVES.
A. Through the Gospel, Rom. 1:16; Acts 2:37, 39 (calls, convicts & saves); 16:13-15 (heard, Lord opened heart, baptized…faithful).
1. God uses the gospel to convict & convert, Jno. 6:44-45.
2. Otherwise, God is blamed for closing some hearts while opening others, Acts 10:34-35 (1 Tim. 2:3-4).
3. God is effectively working (energeo) thru His word, 1 Ths. 2:13.
B. Through Human Agents.
1. Rom. 10:14: Preacher…hear…believe…call on the Lord…saved.
2. Acts 8:30-39: Teacher Philip did not negate God’s power that saved the man; introduced him to it.
3. “We are God’s fellow workers” (laborers together), 1 Cor. 3:9.
4. The work of men (inspired & uninspired) helps perfect us, Eph. 4:11-13.
5. God works through us, 2 Cor. 6:1 (Matt. 25:34-40).
C. Through Prayer & Providence, Matt. 7:7, 11; Jno. 15:7 (1 Jno. 3:22); Matt. 6:25-34.
1. Prayer taps into the Power of the universe, the love of the Father, the devotion of a trusted Friend.
2. His word abides in us…keep His commandments.
3. God supplies all our needs (Matt. 6:33; Phil. 4:19).
III. WE MUST DO GOD’S WORK IN OUR LIVES, Jno. 6:27-29; 9:4.
A. Faith is a Work we Must do (a command we must obey, 1 Jno. 2:23; Phil. 2:12-13); “Trust & Obey.”
B. False Notions we must Carefully Avoid:
1. Any “work” is earning salvation (merit) (Eph. 2:9; Jas. 2:24).
2. Any “work” denies grace (Acts 10:34-35).
3. Any “work” is of human origin (Eph. 2:10).
4. Any “work” denies God’s power (Phil. 2:12-13).
1. We must allow God to work in our lives. God works in our lives through faith (which comes from the word of God).
2. When we live by faith, God is working in us to produce what pleases Him (Heb. 13:21).