Summary: What part do good works play in the Christian life? We're not saved by them (thank the Lord), but is it important to do them? And what qualifies as good works anyway?

Opening Illustration: giving to charities (Salvation Army) during Christmas season

Notice in this passage that everything mentioned is God’s doing, except the very last phrase. We are to be zealous of good works.

Zealous (Gr. zelotes)—most eagerly desirous of a thing

As we look at this survey of good works, we will answer the what, where, when, how, and why of good works.

Q & A: What are good works? The answer is self-evident. They are works you do that are good. But are good works the same thing as fruit? Both are evidence that one is saved. No, they are not the same. Fruit is something which naturally happens in a Christian’s life; ex: a Christian desires to grow in grace and knowledge (fruit). Good works are something which you must deliberately do.

Good works are important for 4 main reasons:

1. We are saved to do good works (Eph. 2:8-10)

A faulty line of thinking has always pervaded salvation; this thinking is, “I’m saved now, so I can do whatever I want.” The Apostle Paul had to deal with this problem, and it’s still with us today.

You were not saved to do whatever you want, you were saved to do good works. Now that you’re born again, you have the ability to glorify God in what you do. In fact, as God’s workmanship, God created you TO DO good works, and has ordained that you WALK in good works.

Q & A: How should you do good works? You should do them in the power of the Spirit, not in the flesh. You should do them out of love, not duty.

Did you ever wonder why God kept us here after being saved? Why didn’t He just take us right up to heaven? The answer is right here: God kept us here to do good works. So if you’re not doing any, then your staying around is pointless.

God did not save you to sit, He saved you to serve.

2. The Bible teaches us to do good works (II Tim. 3:16-17)

We’ve heard these verses a million times, but we don’t often think about that last phrase. The purpose of God’s Word is to teach us what is right, what is wrong, that we may know right, apply that right to our lives, and in the end, be furnished unto all good works.

The word “furnish” simply means “equip.” God’s Word is what will equip you to do good works. It will inspire you, convict you, and give you the necessary tools to do good works.

Perhaps you’re wondering, Does the Bible tell us what kind of good works to do? I believe it does.

James 1:27, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

James calls this “pure religion.” In other words, this is the very best works you could do! Notice that two works are mentioned, one is directed toward others, the other is directed toward yourself. To visit and to love those who are destitute is a very good work, and then to protect and guard yourself from the filthiness of the world is another good work.

Q & A: When should you do good works? You should do them at every opportunity God gives you. You should do them when the Holy Spirit impresses you to do something.

3. Good works should be encouraged at church (Heb. 10:24-25)

We come to church for many reasons, but did you know that one reason we should come to church is to be provoked (or encouraged) to perform good works? You can do a lot of good works at church. Serving the Lord at any capacity in church is good works.

There are times when we are very good at provoking others—to anger, to frustration, to jealousy…But do we provoke one another to love and to good works? Do we encourage each other in the good works that we are doing?

We live in a consumer culture. “I want this, I want that, I have to have this, I have to have that.” And if we’re not careful, we come to church to simply get something instead of giving of our good works. We should not come to church to get, but to give. And if we give of our good works, we will find out that God gives back. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Use your spiritual gift or gifts to do good works for the Lord.

Q & A: Where should you do good works? You should do them in church (using your spiritual gift) and outside of church where the world is watching.

Ex: Going to a nursing home to sing and preach

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