WFW: If Any Man's Work Abide...

The following is a study I did as a result of reading Amy Carmichael's biography, A Chance To Die (which I have not finished reading yet). For a better understanding of what I will present here, see "Every Man's Work," by my good friend, Alice. Something that struck me was that even though Amy was doing all these wonderful things for God, she still felt like her work was wood, hay, and stubble, as it says in 1 Corinthians. I began to ponder this, and I wondered, "How do I know that my works will last?" Thus, today's WFW. I am not a Bible scholar, but this is what I found. If there are any Bible scholars out there who have something to add, feel free do leave a comment. Thanks.
Proverbs 17: 3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts. tries -- to test (especially metals); generally and figuratively, to investigate:--examine, prove, tempt, try (trial). Example -- Abraham's heart was tried when God told him to offer up his son Isaac on the altar; did he really believe God? "And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me" (Genesis 22:11-12). Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. watch -- to keep awake, i.e. watch (literally or figuratively):--be vigilant, wake, (be) watch(-ful); through the idea of collecting one's faculties; to waken; i.e. rouse literally, from sleep.... from ... inactivity; stand temptation -- to test (objectively), i.e. endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline:--assay, examine, go about, prove, tempt(-er), try; (through the idea of piercing); A TEST, i.e. attempt, experience:--assaying, trial. willing -- ready, willing, passion[ate]; to rush (breathe hard, blow, smoke), i.e. (by implication) to sacrifice (properly, BY FIRE, but genitive case) weak -- strengthless, feeble, sick 1 Corinthians 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire WILL TEST each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. test -- to test...; by implication, to approve:--allow, discern, examine... (ap-)prove, try; acceptable; seem good; to show [In other words, to test those works that seem to be good to show what they're really made of and to show that they are acceptable] Gold -- gold; by extension, a golden article, as an ornament or coin:--gold; from a root meaning " to furnish what is needed" -- Proverbs 1:8-9, "My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother; For they will be a graceful ORNAMENT on your head, And chains about your neck." Proverbs 4:7-9, "Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ORNAMENT of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you." Silver -- means, simply, silver -- Proverbs 2:1-5, "My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; "Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as SILVER, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God." Precious stones -- means, valuable -- 1 Peter 2:1-9, "Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as *living stones, are being built up a spiritual house,* a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion A chief CORNERSTONE, elect, PRECIOUS, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame." Therefore, to you who believe, He is PRECIOUS; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone," and "A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense." They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..." The cross reference for this verse is Isaiah 28:16 ---- "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a PRECIOUS CORNERSTONE, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily." Wood, hay, stubble -- means wood, grass, grain -- burnable things -- John 15:6, "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned." I mentioned in a previous WFW that if a branch is thrown into the fire and burned, it is obviously dry, because a wet branch would have some difficulty burning. In this verse, the dry branch will be burned up for not abiding in Him. But I also believe that if you aren't abiding in Him, but you are doing something for God, you are like a dry branch that is slightly wet: your works will be burned up, but you will be spared, but it says that you will be saved "so as by fire." The fire tests what quality each man's work is, because wood, hay, stubble -- these burn easily. But gold, silver, precious stones -- these don't burn as easily. It also seems to be clear that the work that we build on top of the Foundation must be the Word of God and nothing else, because Wisdom is refered to as an ornament and as silver; we know that Jesus, the Word made flesh, is our wisdom. So the wood, hay, stubble would seem to be the things that people try to do for God, but they don't do it exactly as He said to do it. Moses hit the rock instead of speaking to it, and God still gave them water, but Moses ended up being punished later by not being able to enter the promised land. In other words, Moses didn't die on the spot for disobeying God, but God must punish disobedience eventually. So you may not be doing something exactly the way God wants you to do it, and that may be your "wood, hay, stubble." You partially do what God said, but, "that part sounds too ridiculous! I think I can get away with just doing this instead" -- or not doing that part at all; "after all, I did what God said." Yes, but you didn't COMPLETELY do what He said. Jude 1:23 says, "And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." This sheds some further light on the topic. This makes it perfectly clear that "the garment spotted by the flesh" is the "wood, hay, stubble" that is burned up. Remember? It said, "You yourself will be saved, yet so as by fire." The works that you are doing -- the wood, hay, stubble -- is the deeds of the flesh. Maybe this can help to illustrate my point: Jesse Duplantis was once taken up to Heaven. He noticed that many people had the beautiful, white robes of righteousness. But there were some who had on different robes. When he inquired why, he was told that these just barely made it into Heaven! Why? They probably had a few spots here and there on their garments. They were serving God, just not in entirety. And we need to be very careful that we don't fall into that category, because Jesus said that there would be many who would call Him, "Lord, Lord," and not do what He says. Matthew 7:22-23 states, "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" The word, lawlessness [KJV says, iniquity], means "wickedness, transgress(ion)... unrighteousness; without law." In other words, the lawless ones think they are above the law, that they can get away with anything they so please; they let the flesh defile their garments. Think of it! These people had done much for God, and yet He said that He never knew them! And it was all because of their defiled garments. Revelation 3:4 states, "You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy." Interestingly, right after Jesus said, "I never knew you," He said, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock [Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh]: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." So you see, one man did it God's way, and the other did it his own way, and God said to the one who did it his own way that He never knew him. "If any man's work abide..." Abide means "to stay... continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for)..." Remember, "Abide in Me, and I in you; as a branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me" (John 15:1). In addition, a key word in the above definitions is "STAND." Ephesians 6:3-17 gives us a pretty good description of what that means:" Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and HAVING DONE ALL [to work fully, i.e. accomplish; by implication, to finish... perform, work (out).], TO STAND. STAND THEREFORE, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God..." In ancient times, when a battle was waging, at the end, the one who was still standing was the victor! And in 1 Corinthians it says that if your work abides, or stands, you will receive a reward. What is the reward? James 1:12 states, "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Remember that in test means "approve." So, how do we know that we can stand, that what we are building on Jesus Christ the Foundation will last? How can we be sure that our work will not be burned up? The following Scriptures tell us how: Romans 14:4 "Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand."
Romans 11:19-20, "You will say, 'Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.' Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear." 1Corinthians 16:13 "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong."
Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage."
Luke 21:36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." In the Jude passage that we mentioned earlier, the very next verse after it says to save people with fear pulling them out of the fire, it says, "Now unto him that is able to KEEP YOU FROM FALLING, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
1 Pet 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ...
UPDATE: I think this Scripture really sums up what I was trying to get across, and I thought the picture went with it quite well...


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