Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

1 John 3:18

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Actions speak louder than words! Have we all heard that phrase? Husbands and wives say it to one another – young people dating say it to one another – parents use it with their children. Have you ever used it? We want the person we are speaking with to understand that mere words are not enough – we want to see actions as well. Actions speak louder than the words we use. We can say we love someone – we can say we will do something – but words are merely words unless we back them up with actions.

Politicians are infamous for saying anything to get elected and when elected doing whatever they wish (although some are starting to do what they say of late). If we could find a number of leaders that would do what they say – we might just turn our nation around! Continue reading

January 24, 2018 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Must We Do to Be Saved?

Acts 16:31

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

RayBlogAs an Evangelical the question that often gets asked is what must we do to be saved?  Some may talk about good deeds and ways to earn their way to heaven – and they would be wrong.  Some may talk about doing nothing because we are chosen by God’s choice – and although they are closer to the truth than the first group – they too would be off some from the truth.  Today’s passage gives us a clue to the answer to the question that many ask.

Today’s passage falls within a very powerful story.  Here it is in a little larger context.  Acts 16:22-34 – 22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God — he and his whole family.

The answer to our question today is in this story.  He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household.”

Here it is said in another way – this time by Jesus.  John 6:26-29 – 26 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” 28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Paul wrote the answer to today’s question another way in another Epistle.  Romans 10:9 – That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

The answer to our question than is to believe in Jesus – to accept that He is the One the Father sent – the Messiah – the Lord of Lord’s.  I need to say one last thing about this belief.  One of my favorite sayings about faith is as follows.  If I told you there was a bomb in the room and you believed me – it would cause you to take action.  Believing in Jesus will cause action – it will cause a response.  James – Jesus’ own brother wrote – James 1:22-25 – 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  James 2:14-17 – 14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

To be saved – we must believe on Jesus – and that belief will cause a change within us.  2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  Please don’t get me wrong – we are saved by grace as Paul writes –  Ephesians 2:8-98 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Questions, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Mature Christians Requires Action

James 1:22

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

As we talk more about maturing as Christians – we will look at what really makes a mature Christian.  As I mentioned in last week’s sermon (listen to it here) – maturing as a Christian is not really about gaining knowledge as much as it is about walking out our faith.  We can lecture every Sunday – and we can listen and take notes and learn – but until we begin to put our faith to work – we will not mature as a Christian – we will remain babes in Christ.  Here is another Scripture that confirms this truth.  Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

So we shouldn’t deceive ourselves and think because we go to church – even on a regular basis – that we are Christians let alone mature Christians.  Remember what I always say – you can spend a night in a garage but that doesn’t make you a car.  Being a Christian is more than head knowledge – it is about doing the will of God – it is a heart knowledge.

Today’s passage is found in a section that speaks volumes about this fact – as Jesus’ own brother James writes.  James 1:22-25 – 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it — he will be blessed in what he does.

If we want to grow in our relationship with Jesus – if we want to deepen our faith and enrich our walk and mature in the Lord – than let’s get busy and do what God has called us to do.  We ought to be about God’s work every day – every moment – not just on Sunday or when it fits our schedule – because we were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

Tweet this Blog Post

Please continue to pray for General Conference 2012 which is underway in Tampa, Florida.

April 27, 2012 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , | Leave a comment

Listening to God – Following His Directions

Matthew 7:24

24Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

OK – be honest – how many of us are good at taking directions – or even reading directions?  When I put things together – and that is not a regular occurrence – I like to put it together and if I get in trouble – I’ll look at the directions.  Anyone with me?  I have ended up with parts left over – but they always send extra parts – right?

How are you at listening to directions?  How many times have you come out of worship – thinking that God was speaking to you – through the music – the prayers – the message?  From time to time I have had people ask me if their spouse had called me – because the message hit home so clearly.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Shouldn’t we hear and listen – make a change?

James 1:22-25 – 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

If we would just listen to the directions – the marching orders – from God!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

September 8, 2010 Posted by | Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey | , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: