Summary: The ability to do that which is good, yet all of us have the ability to do things that are not.
What is Goodness? It is the ability to do that, which is good. Take a look at the following list:
Adolf Hitler Mother Teresa
Joseph Stalin Albert Einstein
Bin Laden Francis of Assisi
Ted Bundy Jimmy Carter
John Wayne Gacy Jonas Salk
Idi Amin Madame Curie
Attila the Hun Florence Nightingale
One side we see people that history would call evil. The others will be remembered for the good they spent their lives bringing. What really is the difference? What makes the people on the left so different from the people on the right? Every one of us is capable of doing the atrocities committed by those on the left; we are also capable of doing the good of those on the right, what is the difference? The difference is they chose their course of action. However to do good is more than just choosing to do so,
1. We must be prepared for good works
A. We prepare by remembering where we came from
1. Verse 3: At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. We too were at one time all these things. Those who sit here and say NOT ME, look at 1 Jn. 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
2. All of us were at one time God’s enemy. As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
3. In Revelation 2 the angel to the Church at Ephesus tells them: 5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
4. Not many of us are like Hitler, Attila the Hun, Bin Laden or Ted Bundy, but it is not for the lack of potential. (Tim Kellar).
5. Remembering what we have been rescued from should make us humble and more willing to rescue others. Remember 9-11 and those pictures of those who escaped, dirty and dusty, covered with soot and ash. They were now more willing to go back in and help in the rescue efforts. We too, looking back with dusty souls should want to go back and rescue others.
However, remembering our past is not the only action needed to prepare us for Good works we must also:
2. REMEMBER WHAT/WHO RESCUED US
1. Verses 4-7
a. God rescued us by His Grace and Love.
b. The man who comes to the Pearly gates.
2. In Romans 7 Paul laments about his own physical condition. He desires to do good yet evil is right there to tempt him. He cries out “WHAT A WRETCHED MAN I AM WHO WILL RESCUE ME FROM THIS BODY OF DEATH. (ROM. 7:24)
3. His answer comes in the following passage: 25 Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 7:25-8:2)
a. We who were at one time His enemies were rescued by Him, not because of anything we did by acts of righteousness, but because of His Mercy, His Love, and His Grace.
b. Proverbs tells us “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1) the same would be for a gentle action, or a kind action. Proverbs 25:22 tells us PR 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. Some look at this and say, what a great way to get revenge, yet that is not the idea behind this. The idea is to turn away wrath, to turn your enemy around with acts of kindness. That is what God did for us. We, who were once His enemies, got convicted (burning coals) by His kindness. It is understanding what Christ done for me that moves me with conviction.