8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
We use to sing a song that said “We’ll work ‘til Jesus comes.” The sentiment of the song was that we needed to be busy about the Father’s business right up until the time the trumpet sounded His return. Right up until we were caught up to meet Him in the air. It seems to me that today people want to sit back and wait until He comes. They want to study and study and study the word, but not do the word. They sit with their commentaries and concordances and multiple translations to pick out key verses linking Revelation, Daniel and Ezekiel all to try and figure out exactly what is going to happen and when. They listen to teaching by David Jeremiah and get the prophecy bible of John Hagee so they can claim to have a handle on the prophetic end of the age. They are all wrapped up in what is to come and forget about the day at hand. All the while, what Jesus wants is for us to work until he comes.
Why is it so important to know what Heaven will be like? Why must we know when He is going to come? Shouldn’t our every day be lived as if it were our last? Shouldn’t our lives reflect His love every moment of every day? Yes, Paul told us to study to show ourselves approved unto God, but James said the faith without works is dead. We can study and learn and quote scripture (with the address of course) all we want. But if we are not going about doing the Father’s business, we are not doing what we are supposed to. We are not living the word. James told us to be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Here, Paul tells us that we must affirm constantly that we are careful to maintain good works. Constantly. In the NIV, this verse says to affirm confidently. A rarely used word, it means to be emphatic until the end, to se it all the way through. That tells me that I must be sure I am doing good works all the way through my life.
I am not writing to condemn, but to admonish. Isn’t it time the church start to do what the church is supposed to do? The church was not a social experiment. It was not designed to feed the full, but the hungry. It was not designed to give solace to the well, but to heal the sick and broken. It was not designed to have million-dollar budgets to operate, but to distribute the money of the rich to help the poor. I’m not saying that we should be a socialistic nation as some are saying this would be a scriptural society. What I do believe is that the church should be socialist in a way. The New Testament church described in the first few chapters of Acts acted as a group of people who took care of each other’s needs. They did not give because they were promised it would be returned pressed down, shaken together and running over. They gave to help each other by having a common pool through which to bless the members. The apostles were charged with distributing to the necessity of the saints (Romans 12:13). This same verse also says they were given to hospitality. They actually had group meals and fed each other regardless of social status.
In today’s society this would be quite a church. A mechanic who works on people’s cars in the church and does not charge. A plumber who will help someone without fee in an emergency. A snow remover taking care of a church member who does not have the ability or the means to get his snow removed. Doing whatever we can to help each other. Giving all we can to help each other and not holding back. Look at what happened to Ananias and Saphira! They both died because they did not give what they said they were giving. They only gave part of what they had the ability to give. I am guilty of that quite often. What else can I do for God’s kingdom? I’m not talking here about witnessing and sharing the Gospel, although that is a piece of our works. Some people are more gifted with that ability than others, and it is important that we share the word whenever we are given opportunity. I am talking about our ministry to the needs of others. The needs they have today, not what might come tomorrow. Today is what counts to these people. Right now they need a touch from God, and I believe God wants that touch to come from us. We are His workmanship, created for good works (Ephesians 2:10). Some translations use the word masterpiece instead of workmanship. I love being thought of as a masterpiece, but a masterpiece that does not do what is intended to do is of no use. It will wit collecting dust.
Jesus said that He had to be do His Fathers business (Luke 2:49). We must do the same. By now you are probably saying “Okay Pete. We get the message. Please tell us what we are supposed to do!” I’ll be happy to. Don’t think for a minute that I have all this down pat. I have a long ay to go to be able to ay I am doing the Father’s business all the time. But I always try to do my best when a situation presents itself. And I am not going to get into a long diatribe of what each thing is, nor will I supply a comprehensive list. But I will give you some food for thought which will lead to action, I hope. I am just going to give a few scriptures that tell us what we should be doing.
First, Let’s look at Luke 4:18-19 (or Isaiah 61:1-2). 18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Jesus said this was His mission. Is this not ours as well? Jesus places the Holy Spirit within us when we are born again, soi the Spirit is upon us. We don’t do these things, the Spirit within us does. But we should be praying these things for others all the time, and proclaiming the year of the Lord.
Next, I take you to Matthew 6:14-15. 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. We are not to bear grudges or keep anger inside us. We are to forgive and put the matter behind us. This is a hard work but it is a very good work. Do you have someone you need to forgive? I suggest you do it quickly and constantly!
Now, Matthew 7:12 ” 12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Jesus said it was all summed up in this verse. Treat others like you would want to be treated. Very simple, yet so profound. If only we would all live like this every day.
I could actually just take the whole Sermon on the Mount. It is full of ways we can do good work. But I will move on to a few other places.
Ephesians 4:29 says 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Do I speak grace at every occasion, or do I fall into the trap of being angry, or complaining, or grumbling? Another verse that coincides is Philippians 2:16 “Doall things without grumbling or complaining.” Oh my! How many of us follow this sage piece of advice?
Then there is Romans 12:6-21. I am not about to put this whole section of scripture into this blog, but I will give you a snapshot of the good work that can come out of following these words. Prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, showing mercy, show love that is pure, hate evil, not slothful in business, bless them which bless you, rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with those that weep, live in peace with all, don’t take vengeance, treat everyone equally, don’t be conceited, don’t return evil for evil but overcome evil with good,
That’s a mouthful! All of these things out to be a part of our lives. They ought to reflect who we are as children of God. I could use a good dose of many of these things in my life how about you? I think a majority of the time we think of good works as doing something tangible and we stop at that. But how many of the things on this list are intangible? It’s the attitude of the heart that is the greatest work of all. We can give, attend, lead, socialize and do deeds all we want, but if we don’t get these things down right, we miss the mark. Which brings us to the greatest work we can do – Love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-8a. “13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth
Do this, and you’ve done good work!