James 2:18 “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”
The book of James is not trying to validate that works are needed for salvation, but that your salvation is not real to others without them seeing your works. The verse above says that faith does save, but that your faith cannot be seen without your works. For you to say that you are saved is wonderful, but nobody will see the fruit of salvation without you living for Christ. James was saying that the only way you can show someone your faith is by the works that you do. In other words, the inward justification that comes from Christ is done by faith, but the outward justification to man that your faith is real is proven by your works.
Let’s take this thought to determine which way is the right way to serve the LORD. I strongly believe that the old paths are the right way to serve the LORD. The reason I believe the old paths are the right way to serve the LORD is because I have seen the works of the old paths. The only works this “new fundamentalism” has to talk about are not souls being saved, but believers backsliding and churches looking more like bar scenes and rock concerts than they do like a church. The works speak for themselves. This pacifist Christianity that wants to play all the time has no works but shrinking churches. Why would I want to follow something that has dying churches over something that has proven itself over the years? My friend, the works vindicate themselves. The works of the old paths still work today. Let me give you a couple of thoughts about the works of the old paths.
First, there is history behind the works of the old paths. Soul winning, bus routes, old-fashioned preaching, holy living, and Sunday school, to name a few, have a history of working. I look to history and find that Dr. Lee Roberson built the great Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee on the old paths, and see that his works vindicate the old paths. I look to history and see that Dr. Jack Hyles who built the great First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana on the old paths and see that his works vindicate the old paths. I look to men like my father-in-law, Dr. Steve Heidenreich, and other men like Dr. Bob Gray Sr., Dr. Tom Malone, and Dr. J. Frank Norris all built large churches that reached thousands for Christ and sent out many people to start other churches, and I realize that their works on the old paths vindicate the works of the old paths.
Second, the works of the old paths are vindicated because they are still working today. When I took the church that I am currently pastoring, it was a struggling, if not dying, work. This is no criticism of my predecessor, but the church was growing old. I decided that I would not try and recreate the wheel to make a name for myself, but I was going to take the old paths and just work them in my church. At the writing of this devotional, it has been three years since I started pastoring this church full-time, and the LORD has blessed the works of the old paths to grow our church by 350+%.
My friend, the old paths of soul winning, running buses to bring people to church, old-fashioned preaching, Sunday school, holy living, and the King James Bible has worked my whole life, and they still work today. If you will just copy the works of the old paths that have been vindicated for decades, you will find that they still work today if you will work them yourself.