The Day of All Days

All things in heaven and earth‘That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven
and which are on earth, even in him.”
Ephesians 1:10

Here, in a few words, is the “mystery of  God’s will” revealed. This supernatural event will surpass all others. Creation, the incarnation, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ will all pale in comparison to this day that He has prepared for His people and His eternal kingdom.  That will be GLORY for you and for me.

As I look forward to this event, as I live in light of this promise and this vision, LIFE here has a profound meaning. Each day in prayer and Bible study, meditation, and intercession, fellowship, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and proclamation of the gospel, is in anticipation of that day.

Every day is a day of preparation, especially today—THE LORD’S DAY.  Our heavenly Father prepared this day from the time of creation for that final Sabbath with Him. When Christ was raised from the dead the Christian Sabbath was established, not only for celebrating His resurrection and our new life in Him, but for each Lord’s Day to be a rehearsal for that grand and glorious day when He, the Lord, Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God…AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

“This is the day which the Lord has made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24

Dear Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, make us to know the glory of your presence today, as we seek to worship you in Spirit and in truth with all your saints, here on earth and in heaven—for your glory and our joy. In Jesus name, we pray.  Amen.
Fran
(Original post ~ 2011)
Image: Google

Words of Life ~ Ambassador

We are blessed to have Jim, a brother-in-Christ and a fellow-blogger, offer this guest post in our series Words of Life. He writes from the knowledge and experience of being a servant of our King; a pastor and an ambassador to other countries. You can find his blog here. Thank you, Jim ~ the Lord bless you and your ministry for Him.

*******************

Did you realize that if you are a Christian you are called by God to be an ambassador of Christ? What does that mean and what does God require of you if you are called to be His ambassador?

First, we must ask this question: What do we think about when we hear the word “Ambassador?” For many of us, we picture a man or a woman dressed in a dignified manner in a prestigious overseas assignment as a representative of one’s own country. We picture him/her being welcomed and even honored by those to whom they are sent. But is that what the Scripture and God have in mind when we are to be ambassadors of Christ? Ultimately we want to know what the word “ambassador” means as it appears in the Scriptures?

The best-known passage that talks about being an ambassador for Christ is 2 Corinthians 5:20-21. This is what it says in the New American Standard Bible:

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

The Greek word for ambassador is a first-person plural form of πρεσβεύω. The verb πρεσβεύω appears only in one other place in the Bible: Ephesians 6:20:

for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

We will focus on 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 to see four characteristics of an ambassador of Christ so that we will faithfully represent Christ to others. However, when we look at the fourth characteristic, Ephesians 6:20 will come into play.

Characteristic #1: An ambassador is one who knows God well.
The point here is that if we are going to be ambassadors, we need to know God and know Him well. Recall 2 Corinthians 5:20: “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ.” It is important to know what the leaders really want, otherwise, an ambassador might make a decision that is unfaithful and unwise for the country/state/leaders. Who do we represent as ambassadors? The passage says, “Christ.”

We must know Christ in various ways. Paul says that Christians are to know what the will of God is: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2).  Specifically knowing God’s will involves knowing that “which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Notice here that knowing God will transform us. Where do we turn to know God’s will and also for that knowledge to transform us? The Bible!

We are not just to be familiar with rules of God but also to know Christ and what He has done: “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10). Did we catch that?  We are to know three things: “the power of His resurrection,” “the fellowship of His sufferings,” and “His death.” We also must get a taste of suffering if we are to have “the fellowship of His sufferings”

As an application: do we know God’s laws and rules? If not, how can we represent Him?

Ambassadors would read letters from the leader that sent him or her. Do we read regularly the Bible and vow to learn it more deeply so we know who we represent and what His will is for all circumstances?

A good ambassador who knows the will of the one who sent Him will also act with integrity so as not to undermine the character of the one who sent Him. How much more then, does our knowledge of God lead us to act in such a way that presents a good testimony to people around us?

Characteristic #2: An ambassador is someone who is sent for a purpose.
As an ambassador, we need to know our purpose.  Recall 2 Corinthians 5:20: “as though God were making an appeal through us…” There’s a challenge here: An ambassador is not just living for himself; he lives for his king. As Christians, our purpose is to live for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!! 2 Corinthians 5:20 goes on to say “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” Yet with the challenge, there is also encouragement:  After identifying us as “ambassadors of Christ,” Paul speaks as if God is working through us when we make our appeal.  God is working through us as His ambassadors!  Let us be encouraged. He will help us if we rely on Him!

An ambassador might sometimes be in a country with which his own country does not get along. Dignity and honor might be shown to him from the other country. There may be temptations in that country to cause him to forget why he is there.

To drive the point home, we must ask ourselves these questions: Do we know our purpose in life? It is not enough just to know; are we living as representatives of God towards others? Do we desire a different purpose than what God has given us?  If this is the case, we are in sin. We must realize every other purpose in life would disappoint if it is not centered on God. Is God working through us? When we are making an appeal to others to come to know God, do we realize it is God working in us? This should encourage us?

Characteristic #3: An ambassador is one who is faithful.
Let us look at this portion of 2 Corinthians 5:20-21: “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” An ambassador’s message is not one that he creates.  A good ambassador is measured by how faithful He is to the one who sent Him.  What is our message? The passage states the purpose of our message: “we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20b).  How we are reconciled with God is the Gospel!  “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This message tells us that we are sinners. This message tells us about Christ; that Christ is our substitute.

An ambassador is to please the one who sent Him and not those to whom he is sent; can you imagine if the country is an enemy of His country and the ambassador decides to change his message to make the enemy like it? This ambassador is not faithful; in fact, he has betrayed his country.  He is now an enemy by becoming friends of the enemies of his country.

Now, what about us? Are we faithful to the Bible’s message? Or do we try to remove the parts of the Bible we don’t like? Are we trying to be faithful or are we trying to be liked by others?

Characteristic #4: An ambassador is one who is willing to suffer.
As ambassadors, we must be willing to suffer. Remember Ephesians 6:20 states: “for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” There is the real possibility of suffering as indicated by the mention of chains in the example of Paul’s life.

Some background information might be in order. There are two kinds of ambassadors. Here’s a summary:There are ambassadors (another Greek word is used here: Legati) sent from Rome to foreign nations and into the provinces.”[1]There are also ambassadors (Legati) “who accompanied the Roman generals into the field or the proconsuls and praetors into the provinces.”[2]

Here’s a description of the first kind of ambassador:

“Legati to foreign nations in the name of the Roman republic were always sent by the senate (Cic. c. Vatin. 15); and to be appointed to such a mission was considered a great honour which was conferred only on men of high rank or eminence; for a Roman ambassador, according to Dionysius, had the powers (ἐξουσία καὶ δύναμις) of a magistrate and the venerable character of a priest. If a Roman during the performance of his mission as ambassador died or was killed, his memory was honoured by the republic with a public sepulchre and a statue in the Rostra (Liv. IV.17; Cic. Philip. IX.2). The expenses during the journey of an ambassador were, of course, paid by the republic; and when he travelled through a province, the provincials had to supply him with

Here’s a description of the second type of ambassador:

“The persons appointed to this office were usually men of great military talents, and it was their duty to advise and assist their superior in all his undertakings, and to act in his stead both in civil and military affairs (Varro, de Ling. Lat. V.87, Müller). The legati were thus always men in whom the consul placed great confidence, and were frequently his friends or relations; but they had no power independent of the command of their general (Caes. de Bell. Civ. II.17, III.51; Appian, B. C. I.38). Their number varied according to the greatness or importance of the war,”

What kind of ambassador did Paul have in mind? ~ the second kind; those who are sent to dangerous places.

Paul said “we are ambassadors for Christ,” based on his life filled with hardship, danger, and suffering.  In 2 Corinthians 4:8-11 and 2 Corinthians 11, we see his suffering and trials. When Paul said “we are ambassadors for Christ” he included all who would bear the same sufferings.

I think the closest analogy today to the kind of ambassadors  Paul had in mind are military service members. I remember in Iraq working with a Marine officer who was in Civil Affairs. He’s a Marine still ~ and still armed. But he’s working with the people and the local leaders. He’s there in a spot too dangerous for civilians. We are that Marine, not the ambassador and staff in the luxury hotel of a safe capital socializing all night.

This changes the way we view our mission as ambassadors. Do we understand that we will suffer as a Christian, especially to the degree we represent him and share the Gospel? Are we presently suffering for the Lord in representing Him? We must search our hearts to see if we are compromising, fearing man, etc, and confess our sins to God. He will forgive us; and not only that, He will cleanse us in light of 1 John 1:9!

For any who may be suffering right now for the sake of our Lord, we pray that you find your comfort in Christ. Turn to Him and rest in Him! Abide in Him, commune with Him! Let Him comfort you!

(Gracious Father in heaven, we thank you for Jim, who serves you well as one of your ambassadors. We ask that you send your Holy Spirit to search our hearts. Convict, through the power of your Word, how and where we may be misrepresenting you. Show us your purpose for us as your children and your ambassadors. Open our eyes to see Christ and His sufferings on our behalf and move us to offer all that we are to know Him and to be where you want us to be. Thank you for sending your Son as your ambassador to a people held in bondage to sin to save us and bring us to yourself. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran)

[1]http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Legatus.html

[2]Ibid.

What Day is Today?

Jerry and I have our “senior moments,” sometimes asking, “What’s today?”  Since we no longer observe a five-day workweek, we often forget what day it is — except today.

TODAY IS THE DAY THE LORD PLANNED FOR US TO BE WITH HIM;

A DAY He set aside to be different from other days;

A DAY for the gathering together of His people,

A DAY for His glory, and His worship;

A DAY for His Word to be proclaimed, and received, in power.

A DAY OF SALVATION.

I praise the Lord for every day, but especially for this day, of all days.  It keeps me centered and focused on Him, and remembering the reason we are here.  Everything starts, revolves around, and progresses from this first day of the week. Imagine the central force of God’s power in this day through Jesus Christ, His Son, the impact that it has on the whole week, and all time.

Today is the day He prepares us to go into the following work week, refreshed, and renewed in His Spirit and truth, projecting us to the next Lord’s Day, and to that final rest in Him.

It is the Christian Sabbath, established in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  As Lord of the Sabbath, He brought the beginning of new life for His people and a day of celebration on the first day of the week.

Today is the day we are brought to, and receive, the Lord’s Supper, which is a time of the renewing of the Spirit, and the continuation of our salvation.

According to a quote from an unknown source—our forefathers called today “The Lord’s Day.”  Our great-grandfathers called it “The Sabbath.”  Our fathers and most of the world now call it “Sunday.” The first given evidence for a differentiation, between traditional Jewish “Shabbat” observance and the religious observance of the first day of the week, appears in Acts 20:7 where the disciples met and “broke bread” together.  The Apostle John also refers to the “Lord’s Day” (“kuriake hemera”) in Rev. 1:10. “Kuriake,” meaning “Lord’s,” later became the Greek word for Sunday. Wikipedia)

Let the world have this day as a Greek Sunday for its own pleasure. But, we set this day apart from all others and all things for His name’s sake.

TODAY IS THE LORD’S DAY

A DAY OF GRACE FOR HIS PEOPLE ~ FOR HIS GLORY

LET US REJOICE IN HIM.

“In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right are pleasures evermore.”

Psalm 16:11

Gracious Father, pour out your Holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of those you have drawn to your Son. Fill us with your Spirit of grace to know you through our Lord Jesus Christ. Draw us closer to Him and you, today, through worship and your Word. Continue to grow us in grace and knowledge of Him as we begin this week in celebration of our eternal life in Him. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Necessary Interests

But seek ye first the kingdom of God
and his righteousness.
.
.”
Matthew 6:33

The first thought for this post was the title, Unnecessary Interests, as the Lord has been revealing interests that are not for my growth or are a waste of time. There are some that I need to let go, but as He has been leading me to stop looking at the underside of this world and its interests, and to focus on the upper side and the interests of His kingdom, my thoughts turned to where my interests should be.

From our thoughts to our words and actions, we have much to desire beyond normal and common interests. We can compare what is holy to what is unholy; what is common to what is uncommon; what is clean to what is unclean. Our interest in the news of the world keeps us from the interests of His Kingdom. The interests of the world ~ its entertainments and influences ~ impede our journey with Him.

For the child of God, known as a Christian, our life here has a definite purpose. The purpose of this physical life is to prepare us for eternal life with Him in His glory. We now live and serve Him in what is known as the Kingdom of Grace; His keeping us, sanctifying us, purifying us; making us compatible for Himself.

 If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 

Colossians 3:1

Necessary Interests for a Child of God
So, what are the necessary interests for a child of God? What raises us above the world’s standards; even Beyond a Mere Christianity?

We must start with an in-depth interest in His Word, where we learn to love what He loves. Here we find the truths of God and the filling and leading of His Holy Spirit to the necessary interests that He wants for us. He teaches us how He conforms us to the image of His own Son

Through His Word, He teaches us how to communicate with Him; to pray for the things He has prepared to give (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).

He leads us in the interests of His other children, of like-mind and heart; to participate in worship and the Word preached within His church.

He brings us to others with an interest in their souls, to witness of Christ to them.

There is much that we could cover here, but we don’t have the time or space. If you are reading with an interest in what is necessary for growth as a child of God, I implore you to take your Bible, shut out any other interests, ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit as you read His Word; to speak to you through His Word; to show you His will.

As He has been speaking to my heart, He has pointed out certain interests that I need to forsake and leading me to more of the interests He has for me. One thing for sure is the desire for me to draw closer to Him.

“Set your affections on things above,
not on things on the earth.”
Colossians 3:2

Gracious Father in heaven, whose name I want to hallow, draw me closer to you, to love you more; to seek a deeper understanding of what it means to be your child and a disciple of Christ. Open my mind and heart to those things of your kingdom and displace anything of this world that would hinder your image and your work in me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Show Me Thy Ways, O LORD Psalm 25:4-5

Related Post: Letting Go
(Suggested Reading: The Garden of GOD’S WORD ~ The Purpose and Delight of BIBLE Study)

The Stress-Taker

There are many stress-makers in the world, but only one Stress-Taker.

As with most people, stress was an integral part of my life as a child and into my young married life. But, at a very young age, I was given the knowledge of how to handle the stress that comes from this world. At the time, I did not realize what God had given me, so, could not use this knowledge. He gives the gift and treasure from His heart to ours. It starts in the mind and takes root in the heart as He nurtures the seed of His Word in us. Even before He gave me a new heart and a new spirit for a new spiritual birth, the seed of life was doing its work. Humbling and preparing a fertile heart for His Word to take root was His continual work.

Words from Many Sources
Words from any source can fill a void and produce the fruit thereof. Much more so, the Word of God is the most powerful to do its transforming work in the mind and heart of man. Never underestimate the work of God’s Spirit to bring forth the fruit of His Word when we spend time with Him in His Word; when we teach our children the rudiments of true life that are recorded there.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

The child may be a senior citizen before the Lord brings the fruit of the seed He plants in his heart.

Continuing in His Word
Over the years, the Lord has written more of His Word in my mind and my heart, but the ones I remember from so long ago are preeminent in my thinking and in my life.

Psalm 23 and Psalm 100 were two that I have treasured since childhood ~ more precious and more powerful now than ever.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 100 is one of our album of Scripture Tunes, and helpful to teach young children to remember this Psalm. We are working with a musician to record accompaniments for these.

In the meantime, here is Psalm 100, vocal without accompaniment.

Are you a stress-maker or do you point others to the Stress-Taker, our Lord Jesus Christ?

Dear Heavenly Father, how blessed we are as your children, for you to train us in your Word to know you, love you, trust you and obey you. Thank you for loving us, for adopting us as your own; planting your seed, watering and bringing forth the fruit of your own work in us. Teach us to lay all the world’s ills and our concerns at the feet of Jesus our Lord and in so doing, witness to others of His love and care for us, always ready to share your Word of life with them. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

I Can’t Write Fast Enough

As I begin to write this post, my heart overflows; so much so that I cannot know what to write first. There is more than enough for another book about the ills of a people in yet another generation that stand and live against the Creator of heaven and earth; a generation that is ignorant of the foundation of civilization, of what makes for freedom and peace. But, that is not why my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1).

It is the overflow Jesus promised in John 7:37-39 from the Holy Spirit to those who come to Him ~ those who are thirsty for something that this world cannot give.

While the world has hung Christianity out to dry ~ as Christ was hung on a cross ~ He continues to pour out His blessings from His majestic throne in heaven on those who seek freedom and peace in Him.

This early Monday morning dawns after a day of worship and seeking Him above all things. If the world knew the purpose and benefit of a day set apart for Christ in His glory, they would flock to His church. If they knew the King of kings and Lord of lords, they would put aside the things of this world at least for one day to have the blessings of heaven saturate and consume them.

I cannot, without it flowing into a full-size book, write everything that we continually experience in a relationship that turns me from the chaos of this world and enables me to focus on Christ. But, just for a bit, let me share His kingdom that is present and powerful in this world, a kingdom I continue to write about, the kingdom that He shares with all His people.

Currently, Jerry and I marvel at how Jesus Christ is real, the same today, as He was when He, with joy, endured the cross for us. Sometimes this is more the miracle than when He rose from the dead.  He is present always and speaks in and to every situation.

Jerry woke me last Tuesday night around 4:00, to tell me that there was a snake in the bathroom.

Normally, you would expect the man to take care of these things, but Jerry, being an amputee in a wheelchair, needs me to work things out.  We don’t think the snake was poisonous. Nonetheless, in all his (82) and my (79) years and together (57) we have never had to contend with snakes in the house. I say, snakes, because as I write this, there is another one under a butterfly net in our other bathroom, discovered yesterday morning. We hope to have this one removed when a pest control expert comes today. The first one got away when we were turning on lights and opening the front door; planning to catch him and throw him out.

His Promises
As I lay back down, the words came, “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous, right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

These words ring true every time.

We never know what will happen next as we live in this wilderness, the wilderness into which God banished our first parents when they refused to listen to Him. The world’s ills are a combination of the individual ills of all His creatures. Those who follow Christ have to live in the middle of the sin and rebellion of the whole world. But, we don’t have to be slaves to the god of this world, and the news of its continued upheaval. We have a heavenly Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives true to His promises and witnesses through us of His grace and glory.

His Worship
Yesterday’s attendance of our Lord to His worship was another pouring out of His blessings to carry through this week. To hear again of how He loved us before the foundation of the world; how He proved that love when He sent His Son, and Jesus gave Himself to deliver us from this present evil age; to share this love with our brothers and sisters, is a life that leaves no room for the world’s sensationalism.

To write about the kingdom of God and His righteousness is a full-time job; one that I experience more than I can write about. It is worth more than all the world offers. It is worth all that we have to go through. His Word is the most precious thing to read. To meditate and memorize, to hear it preached, all in the power of His Holy Spirit, is His means of abiding with us and speaking to us in every circumstance.

I could write about all that I experienced yesterday as we jam-packed all that we could in one day, but it would not mean as much to you as it did to me. You had to be there. The personal relationship with the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ is His gift to all His children, those who are born of His Spirit, waiting to be poured out.

He must increase, the world and we decrease, in the sight of His grace and glory. In the showers of His blessings, the world is diminished. Satan and his forces are brought to nothing in our eyes and our world. The river of living water showers us with His blessings, and washes away the filth of the world (Ephesians 5:26-27). We see the triumphant Lord of glory ruling above the fading glory of man. He laughs them in derision (Psalm 2).

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Psalm 2:1, 12

Gacious Father, as we begin a new week, let us continue to focus upon you through Jesus Christ, your Son, whom you have given to be our Lord. Give us repentant hearts, filled with your Spirit for obedience of faith; that we may live in anticipation of what you have planned for us. Make us to experience the truth of your presence and power. Let your words of grace, truth, love and peace flow and bless others so that they know the reason for our hope and peace. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Fran

Image:Google

GOOD WORKS

This post has been in process for a long time as I have gleaned references to “good works” from study over time in God’s Word. (It fits well as a chapter in Beyond a Mere Christianity.) It has been a blessing for me to put together these truths and to share them. It is longer than I had planned, with two sections; to bookmark if you need to come back to it. Comments are welcome.

Especially, I write this for three types of people: 1. those who think they have to work for their salvation; 2. those whose salvation has made them fruitful, but who overextend themselves thinking they can never do enough; 3. those who are fruitful in “good works” because they live in full dependence in the Lord’s working in and through them.

  1. Many people fit into the first category, as they are taught that they must put in a certain number of hours of service in their lifetime, so as to merit God’s approval. They believe they have to measure up to the guidelines set by their religious leaders. Their good works supposedly produce a good life and entrance into heaven.

I am reminded of the words sung by Julie Andrews playing the role of Maria von Trapp in Sound of Music. In the garden scene, in response to Georg von Trapp’s proposal, she sings, “Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.”

  1. We count in the second category those of the Christian faith who enjoy their service to the Lord and His church. “Good works” for some of these include sacrificing family relationships to serve God. They cannot do enough to satisfy their own expectations. Years ago, as a young mother, I committed myself to the church in many different roles. Jerry traveled in his job, leaving me with time that other women didn’t have; sometimes giving 200% without realizing that I was taking time away from my children. I remember growing up in the church with the main emphasis on the Great Commission and evangelism. Being a missionary became the ideal for many young women. One of today’s para-church organizations’ main thrust is to send young women on missions.

We have known such young women to give up thoughts of marriage, in the hopes that their work for Christ is pleasing to Him. Their lives have ended in disappointment, burned out after years of traveling and serving in foreign countries, with no hope for the future.

  1. In the third category are those who have learned through service and experience that the only “good works” truly acceptable to God are those that He works through them. These rely totally on the presence and the power of His Holy Spirit to teach, lead and fill them with wisdom, strength and grace.

In the following references, we will see what the Lord teaches about “good works.”

Jeremiah 48:7 speaks of the result of trusting in our own works.

Jesus spoke of those who prophesied in His name, cast out devils and in His name had done many wonderful works. He said He never knew them because their work was not according to the will of His Father. (Matthew 7:21-24).

Matthew 23:5 speaks of works done to be seen of men.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

In the books of Acts and James, we see that faith and repentance come before works.

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:28-29

 “that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance (Acts 26:20).

“Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” James 2:22

  2 Timothy 1:9 teaches us that salvation is not according to our works but according to his purpose before the world began.

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

Nothing we can do can save us. The following verses which explain His work of righteousness for us is worth our meditation. It has been through meditation that I have come to understand the power of God that saves us and works all His will through us. Understanding these brings the fruit of good works from the root of faith that He has planted within us.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
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.” Titus 3:5-8

 Ephesians 2:10 teaches us that good works are God’s plan ~ making us His workmanship in our relationship with Christ ~ good works that God ordained before we ever knew Him, that we should walk in them ~ that we should do them in His timing.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

In the following we see that as His workmanship, in us and through us, He is the captain who begins and continues the work He has ordained for each of us.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13

The Will, Zeal and Skill

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” Ephesians 3:20

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14 (11-14)

Skill in the work of the Lord comes from knowledge of Him. Paul prayed for the Colossian church that they would be filled with wisdom and knowledge of God for the work of the kingdom.

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:10

Our works are based on wisdom and knowledge and done in meekness.

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”James 3:13

Good works are the result of faith, love, and patience of hope in our Lord.

“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;” 1 Thessalonians 1:4

Good works are done in love for one another and with one another. Good works are not done in solitary, but as part of the whole of the body of Christ in our love and faith in Him. Faith is the root of the living Christ in us.

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” Hebrews 10:24

“And let the beauty of the Lord be upon us and establish thou the work of our hands upon us. Yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it.” Psalm 90:17

“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” Revelation 2:26

From the beginning of time in creation, from generation to generation, all work is attributed to God. Everything accomplished in creation and redemption has been His work through His Son Jesus Christ. From the physical birth of man to spiritual birth by His Holy Spirit, all is the work of His holy will. He worked through the prophets in the Old Testament. In the New Testament we see how He worked through His Son to accomplish our redemption – salvation by faith in the work of Christ alone. From the new birth, to growth and maturity, to the end of this world and eternity, all is from Him and all to His glory.

Dear Father in heaven, before whom we live and do all our work, we thank you for saving us by your grace that we may in your will, with the zeal of your Spirit within us, in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ be skilled in all you have ordained for us. Let us live, be led, walk in the Spirit and rejoice to serve you now and forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Fran

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