Theme for December: Created for good works
I have a message for the church. The theme for the month of December is “Created for good works.” It is taken from the second scripture that came with the theme for 2019, Titus 2.14. My topic for this morning is “Zealous for good works.”
Read Titus 2.13-14 from the ESV and NLT.
Why Jesus gave himself for us
In this scripture the Apostle Paul mentions very important reasons why Jesus gave himself for us. One was to free us from every kind of sin. What it means is that when we come before the Lord as children of God, sin has no dominion over us.
Secondly, it says to cleanse us—to purify us and make us holy. As children of God we are people who have been cleansed, purified, and made holy. Thus, we don’t need to die for someone to perform certain rituals before we become saints. By virtue of what Jesus has already done, we are already saints.
He goes further to say that he has made us his very own. He died to get unto himself a community—the community of saints, the church, that is totally committed to good works. So, if you are in the church you belong to someone—you belong to him. That makes us not ordinary people but people who belong to Jesus and are God’s own people. We may not be respected by men but God has made us his own people.
It also says he died to make us a people who are zealous for good works, and that is our topic for today.
What it means to be zealous
To be zealous means to be enthusiastic. It also means to be passionate, to be keen, and to be eager. So, when the Bible says that we are to be zealous for good works, what the scripture is saying is that God wants us to be enthusiastic about good works—passionate, keen, and eager to do good works. This is what the NLT puts as people who are “totally committed to doing good deeds.”
People are zealous about many things. In Ghana, many people are zealous about politics. In the morning, on our radio, you hear discussions of all sorts made with passion. People are passionate about football. I see also that people are zealous about entertainment. These are not necessarily bad but whatever we find ourselves in and whatever God wants to do with us, he has called us to be enthusiastic about good works. One of the reasons God has called us is to be enthusiastic, zealous, and keen about good works—totally committed to good works.
What are good works?
These are deeds or works that are done for the benefit of others. That is, you don’t do it to benefit yourself but others. Good works refer to you seeking to be a blessing not only to yourself but also to others. Your motivation and desire is to be a blessing unto that brother and that sister. God does not want us to be selfish but wants us to be selfless and a blessing unto many other people so he called us unto good deeds.
Good deeds also include showing love to others. It is about showing love unto all others, including people you think do not deserve your love—showing love to all categories of people, including people that we think do not even deserve our love.
Good deeds do not save but we are saved to do good deeds
Good deeds are not a means unto salvation. In other words, salvation does not come just by doing good. The Bible has made it clear that salvation comes only by grace and through faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, salvation does not come to us because we qualify. If God had looked for people who were qualified, we would not have made it but God by his own grace located some of us who were in the hands of the evil one—people he was using for his own purpose—and saved us.
The Bible says,
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that on one may boast. (Ephesians 2.8-9 ESV)
However, good works and good deeds are appropriate responses to God’s redemptive work on the cross. In other words, when you are saved and redeemed by grace, that which should follow you is good deeds. So, our redemption is tied to good works. We have been redeemed by grace, saved by grace, but when you are saved by grace, what must follow you must be good deeds and good works.
We are God’s workmanship created for good works
For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. (Ephesians 2.10 AMP)
The recreation refers to the new birth experience. God had preplanned some good works for us but we had to be recreated or born anew so we could do those good works. Thus, one of the reasons that God recreated us or repackaged us is that he had prepared some good works for us and he wanted us to work in those good works.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2.10 NLT)
One of the things that God planned for us is for us to be men and woman of good deeds. Good created you in Christ so you would be a blessing to others. God did not create you only for your benefit and for that of your wife and children but for the society, the generation, the community, and world at large. He has made us his masterpiece so that we can do the good things that he planned for us long ago. Becoming God’s workmanship is not achieved by good works but it results in good works. We are not saved by good works but are saved unto good works.
I pray that the church would understand this so we would understand that one of the reasons we have been created is so we can do good things and be a blessing to others.
We must let our light shine before men
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5.16 ESV)
From this scripture we can understand that one of the evidences that our light is shining is that we are doing good works. One of the things that will prove that your light is shining whether you are a blessing to others. Once you become part of God’s kingdom, you become a light but you have to do good and be a blessing to others before they will see the light of the kingdom. The whole world is in darkness and they want to see a light. By doing good your light shines. By doing good the world sees the light of the kingdom through your life.
Secondly, we see from this scripture that his glory is seen when we do good. When somebody is hungry and you bless him with money or food, you are doing good and as you do that the name of the Lord is glorified and blessed. When someone is bereaved and you go to the person and console them and help comfort them, you are doing good and, by so doing, the name of the Lord is glorified. When a community is without water and you go there and provide a borehole, people see your good deeds and glorify God.
Many of us think spirituality and anointing is just about speaking in tongues. Some also think it is about frowning your face, wearing a terrifying look, and giving some kind of prophecy that will scare people but in Acts 10.38 the Bible says,
And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. (NLT)
Jesus was the very embodiment of anointing yet the evidence of his anointing was that he went about doing good. I remember a time after he had finished preaching he asked his disciples to find food for the people. There was no restaurant or chop bar around but he took bread and multiplied it for them. May your anointing translate into good works. This is not about tongues-speaking. Where is your faith? True religion is about supporting the widows and needy. God created us to do good.
We shouldn’t get tired of doing good
God expects us never to be weary of doing good. In two books of the New Testament Paul advises Christians not to be weary of good works.
As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. (2 Thessalonians 3.13 ESV)
It means one can grow weary of doing good. At all times do good, no matter what happens. In this scripture he does not say why we should not give up in doing good but one reason people grow tired of doing good is lack of appreciation. Another reason is when they do good and are paid back with evil.
In a second scripture he gives a reason not to give up in doing good.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6.9 ESV)
Every good thing you do is a seed that has been sown because in due season you will reap it. There is such a thing as a due season. The Bible says God is not mocked for a man reaps what he sows (Galatians 6.7). Today the good things you are doing appear not to matter but I came to give a prophetic word for someone’s life that it may appear you are not being rewarded for the good things you are doing but in due season…
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13.2)
Abraham was at home when these three visitors were passing by. He quickly called his wife and, with her, he got the visitors some food. By serving them, he was entertaining angels. I saw what my parents did, so I am not surprised that God is blessing me too. Whatever good thing you are doing is a seed you are sowing. Sometimes when you are preparing for exams people don’t see but when it is graduation everybody comes around to celebrate your success. When you are sowing a seed people don’t see it but when God begins to bring the results they will see and then they will say all kind of things but your good deeds will bring a harvest. Don’t be tired of doing good for in due season you will reap.
God said to tell his people not to resign in doing good for in due season they shall reap.
Titus 2.13-14, Ephesians 2.10, 2 Thessalonians 3.13, Galatians 6.9