INTRO: From the earliest days of the Christian faith came great examples of good works ... charitable goodness. Unfortunately, there have also been unspeakable atrocities committed in the name of Christianity. Such horrible acts and ages of apostasy have broughtGod no glory. It is the selfless deeds of loving kindness which have always caused people to glorify Him.
I. GOOD WORKS ARE EXPRESSIONS OF OUR FAITH
A. Eph 2:10 ... created ... unto good works ...
1. good works do not merit salvation - 2:8,9
2. but good works are very much the fruit of our new status in Christ!
3. good works are expected because we are Gods workmanship ... and goodness is essential to Gods very nature (so, Mt 5:44,45,48)
B. 1 Thes 1:3 remembering ... your work of faith ...
1. so, Gal 5:6 faith which worketh by love
2. certainly, I would not want to neglect the obedient faith which responds to specific commandments revealed from God (Rom 1:5)
3. but good works are manifestly the product of our faith in the day to day affairs of our lives
II. GOOD WORKS ...
A. Will be seen - Mt 5:16 & 1 Pet 2:12
1. compare Mt 6:1 ... here, being seen is criticized
2. the difference obviously is that they sought glory for themselves ... and it was likely apparent
3. good works from pure motives will bring attention and glory to God as they are seen
B. Look beyond self - Acts 9:39
1. Dorcas saw the needs of others
2. note 2 Cor 8:13-15 ... no denial the self has needs, too ... but good works are able to see beyond ones own need and to be involved in needs of others
3. think of Jno 3:16 - God looked beyond Himself!
C. Are becoming to the gospel
1. Titus 2:7-10 adorning the doctrine
2. Phil 1:27 citizenship becoming to the gospel
3. good works say that a person really believes in the life in Christ ... that God made a difference
D. Have drawing power
1. 1 Pet 3:1-4 won by ... !!!
2. 1 Pet 2:12 honest - gracious to look upon
3. the effect of good works coming from a pure heart can be so positive ... can even bring people to a point of desiring to obey the gospel ... so, again, God is glorified!
E. Demonstrate godliness and godly qualities
1. 1 Pet 3:8 - compassion (Mt 14:14)
2. Gal 5:13 - love
3. Mt 7:12 - grace ... initiatives of goodness
4. surely, then, people ultimately look beyond the good work to glorify God - without Whose influence these qualities would not be present
F. Please God!
1. Col 1:9,10
2. our choosing to please God in this way brings Him pleasure!
3. and what is the Christian life all about? pleasing God and glorifying Him by this great choice we make
CLOSE: Many are the bad things which can happen and which in spite or ignorance are attributed to God. How important it is, then, that we be a people of good works ... bringing glory to Him.
Cecil A. Hutson
27 June 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)