Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Good Works
Our church’s Wednesday night Bible study is currently studying Revelation. This week we discussed the repentance issues within the seven churches, and based upon Jesus’ communication with them about their sins, whether a person is guaranteed eternity in heaven if they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but never seek to live a Christ-centered life.
Yeah. It will make you think.
Next week’s “assignment” is to identify the role of works for believers – Jesus wrote to both the church of Sardis and Laodicea about their insufficient works.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says that we are not saved by works, but by grace. However, as our study leader pointed out, many fail to continue reading on to Ephesians 2:10, which says we are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we may walk in them.
Studying for this assignment led me to the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, who both say that those who hear His sayings and do them will be likened to a wise man who built his house on the rock with a strong foundation. Jesus is the cornerstone of any strong foundation, and as John 15 states, He is also the vine, and we are the branches. If we build upon and abide in Jesus, we will bear much fruit.
But, build what? Or, build in what way? For that answer, I went to 1 Corinthians 12, where it says there are a plethora of gifts (talents, skills) that God gives people. Each of us has a unique set of gifts that we can use for good. Jesus has also placed passions in our hearts for various things. Those gifts, talents and passions combined with the passage of time have led each of us to where we are right now.
And, wherever we are right now, if we are focused on Jesus and seeking him over the world, I believe that He will reveal opportunities to us for good works. The closer we walk with Jesus, the more of those opportunities we will notice and respond to, or act upon in a Godly manner. The more we act upon those opportunities, the more good works we complete, and the more Godly fruit we bear. Or, the more we improve upon and build up our house on the rock.
One thing I get hung up on is the thought that good works need to be big things. But, I am reminded that is incorrect. We need to be knowledgeable and prepared for the big opportunities to defend our faith and share the gospel. However, the Bible also covers a multitude of small, every day things as being Godly work. Things we all face constantly, and can likely all find an area or two to work on.
Obeying God, loving our spouse, training up our children, simply doing what we know to be right in each situation, and completing tasks at our job well are a few examples. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 talks about aspiring to live a quiet life of minding our own business and working with our hands. Back in Ecclesiastes 3 it is said a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage.
In Colossians 3:23 the Bible says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Jesus Christ.” Which correlates with Jesus’ letter to the Laodicea church, where He said their lukewarm works will make Him vomit them out of His mouth.
A key takeaway for me is that being a Christian and doing good works, and/or bearing Godly fruit, all requires action. Movement. Doing things. As my parents say, it is hard for God to steer a ship that just sits in port. Get out in the ocean, focus on God, and move your ship with zeal. As Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all toil there is profit, but more talk tends only to poverty.”
We will have to wait to see what everyone else found as they dove into the topic of the role of works for a Christian. I encourage each of you to open your own Bible and spend some time on the subject. It is certain to make you think and motivate you to move.