After we have found the faith of Jesus Christ, our lives our changed. We start living righteous lives. It is in living righteous lives that we are able to do good works. The good works are how we live our faith in Jesus Christ.
No matter how many times John Wesley and the early Methodists spoke about doing good works as a result of being justified by Christ, they still got into trouble with other Christians. There has been a controversy over good works ever since that first Pentecost. Some Christians have been criticized for saying it is our good works that get us into God’s kingdom. Some Christians have been criticized for saying we do good works after placing faith in Jesus Christ.
We United Methodist Christians are among those who believe because of our faith in Jesus Christ we do good works. We don’t say it is our good works that get us into God’s kingdom. We do say we do good works after placing faith in Jesus Christ. We even agree with Paul who wrote that any good we did before following Jesus is as filthy rags.
Jesus helps us see the importance of the work we do. It is by following Jesus, believing in Jesus, that we do good works. As we examine Jesus’ words a bit closer, we see it is God who works through us as we do these good works! By believing Jesus, we get to do good works, even greater works than Jesus did. It all stems from our believing in Jesus and the Father.
A. We can believe Jesus (14:8-11)
1. Philip the disciple wants to see God the Father
2. If you see Jesus, then you see the Father
3. Jesus is in the Father, the Father is in Jesus
4. The words Jesus speaks are the Father’s words
5. The works Jesus does are the Father’s words
6. Believe Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus
7. For when we believe, Jesus is in us!
8. Look at the works Jesus did
a. Water into wine (2:1-12)
b. Jesus heals a boy (4:46-54)
c. Jesus healed a sick man (5:1-46)
d. Jesus fed 5000 (6:1-15)
e. A man born blind receives sight (9:1-12)
f. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (11:38-44)
9. Belief in Jesus is of the utmost importance in our lives. How else will we see the Father? When we realize who Jesus is, we realize the Father is working among us. The work Jesus did was because of his communion with the Father. There was an enduring, personal communion between Jesus and the Father that was lived out in the works Jesus did. The good works showed up in Jesus’ life. What happens when we believe Jesus?
B. We do greater works than Jesus did! (14:12-14)
1. When we believe Jesus, we do greater works than Jesus did
a. Water into wine?
b. Heal someone?
c. Feed over 5000?
d. Give sight to the blind?
e. Raise someone from the dead?
2. Jesus will do what we ask him, so the Father may be glorified
3. We ask in Jesus’ name
4. This believing in Jesus is not just for a moment or two of life. When we believe in Jesus, we gain a communion with Jesus for all of our life. We have an inward, enduring connection with Jesus that shows up in the works we do. After we have been justified by Jesus, we keep on believing in Jesus. We know Jesus through the several means of grace available to us. Praying, reading the Bible, going to weekly worship, receiving Holy Communion, fasting, and tithing are not the good works Jesus is referring to when he mentioned greater works. But our connection with Jesus increases, even strengthens, as we use these means to speak with and hear from the Father. As we commune with Jesus, our faith becomes active in love. That is we do greater works than Jesus because we know Jesus and Jesus knows us.
Yes, we can believe in Jesus. He is the Son of God sent into this world to save us from our sins. As we believe Jesus, we not only see our sins removed from us, we see a new life with God and others. We are able to know the Father because we know the Son. As a matter of fact, we see the Father when we see Jesus.
Life doesn’t end there. We live out our saved lives by doing good works. These are the works that Jesus did. We will even do greater works than Jesus did. How is this possible? Jesus is with the Father now. As we spend time with Jesus, we get to know him. Plus we get to know the Father. By knowing Jesus we can ask Jesus for anything, then the Father is praised for the work we do in this world.
We spend time with Jesus. We do good works. Jesus comes first in our lives. From our believing in Jesus, we do good works. As we leave this place, tell me how the church can encourage you to live your belief in Jesus and do good works.