Old Watch MechanismThose that find the will of God in good works walk in the empowering grace of God – the supernatural power and resources of the kingdom of heaven. They experience the God glorifying work of Matthew 5:16; and the “more than” works of John 14:12. In good works, the signs and wonders of the kingdom bear witness to the gospel of His grace (Acts 14:3).

This is the normal Christian life; for every child of God, and for those called to lead them. It is a tragedy that so many have chosen to settle for less. The purpose of this series is to encourage, edify and equip Marketplace Leaders (and those in their spheres of influence) to search out, discover and walk in such an adventure.

In Part 1, we learned that the “good” of good works is far more important that the “works” themselves. In Part 2, we began searching out the Scriptures that describe good works and the challenges we face in our attempts to walk in them. Here in Part 3, we will conclude with an exploration of God’s provision, our preparation, and His ultimate intention for good works.

God’s Provision for Good Works

Have you ever considered that Jesus could have died, been buried and rose again in less than a week? That is all the time it would have taken for Him to accomplish what many believe to be His only mission. So why was He about the Father’s business for more than three years? It is simple: Because death, burial and resurrection was not His only mission.

Jesus Christ also came to show His disciples how we should live in the kingdom of God. Having completed that work, He commissioned them to do the same:

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” John 20:21

Notice that Jesus was sent by the Father. This may be news to some. It may also be surprising that we are sent as the Father sent Him. Recognizing the deeper meaning of this, A. W. Tozer said, “Only a disciple can make a disciple.” Tozer understood – as we must – that Jesus was not only the first disciple maker; He was also the first of many disciples.

Let that sink in for a minute. As the first disciple, Jesus is the One we can and should look to as our example. So, how did He do good works?

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. John 5:19

Very early in His ministry, Jesus said that He could do nothing of Himself. The Son watches what the Father is doing, so the Son can do them. This is not a matter of imitation, but of participation.

I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. John 5:30

Again Christ says, of Himself, that He can do nothing apart from the Father. He also says that His judgment is righteous; not because of anything He had done and not because of who He was; but because He sought the will of the Father. His mission was about the Father’s will and work, not His own.

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him. John 10:37-38

Jesus is saying that our belief in Him should be based on Him doing the works of His Father. Whose works were they? They were the Father’s works. It was the works that proved the Father was in Him. In other words, the Father was doing His works through Christ.

By this, we understand that God’s provision for good works is God, Himself.

Our Preparation for Good Works

Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter (dishonor), he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21

We must be prepared for the good works God has for us to walk in. This preparation is a part of our sanctification: The process whereby we are being set apart for God’s use. This makes sense.

However, let’s make sure we understand that this process involves the one who “cleanses himself” – an indication of our active participation in the sanctification process. Are you being active or passive in your sanctification?

Therefore, my beloved, as you 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 who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13

Do you see it? Our role in preparation for good works is to get out of God’s way; for He is working to prepare us. Thankfully, it’s more up to Him than to us.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

As with our salvation, the source of our good works is the grace of God; and He is able to provide an abundance of it. That alone gives us a confidence.

…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ… Philippians 1:6

His work is an ongoing process that will make us complete in every good work.

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

So you see, good work is more than an outward expression of God’s grace. It includes the work He is doing inside of us – to will and do to His good pleasure. Every good work that God is doing in us makes us complete and well pleasing in His sight – prepared for the good work that we are to walk in.

Now, going back to our role in the process, there are two critical points to consider.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

First, Scripture is the place to start – and the place to continue – in our preparation for good works. And second:

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24

Good works are group endeavors; requiring encouragement from the fellowship of which we are a part. There are no lone rangers in the kingdom of God. We must be in fellowship with others for our preparation to be effective.

God’s Intention in Good Works

God has a number of good intentions for good works. Some of these are quite practical.

Command those who are rich… that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 1Timothy 6:17-19

And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful. Titus 3:14

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you… that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; Colossians 1:9-10

From these passages, we find that good works include giving, sharing and meeting urgent needs. We also see that these activities are beneficial to those walking in them: Storing up a good foundation for eternal life, increasing in the knowledge of God, and becoming fruitful. God’s intention for good works is clearly for our eternal good.

As wonderful and beneficial as good works are in a practical sense, there is much more going on here. Looking further into this matter of fruitfulness, we discover the ultimate purpose of good works.

You will recall that Jesus said, “I can of Myself do nothing.” He said the same for us in the lesson of the True Vine:

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.                 John 15:5, 7-8

It is in this abiding, “without Me you can do nothing”, that we are productive fruit bearers; for one very important reason: That by “this My Father is glorified”. It was the same for Him:

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. John 17:4

Jesus glorified His Father in the work He was sent to walk in. The same is true for us.

Conclusion – Our Good Work Glorifies the Father

Jesus was sent by God to glorify Him on the earth. Through that good work, and the work He has done in us, we are now prepared to do the same.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

It is important to note that this passage contains a command of our King. Second, His command is not, “Go do good works that will glorify God”. God will glorify Himself (don’t miss that). The command for us is to “let your light so shine before men…” How is that possible? Here we find the key to the good works of God and Man.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5

Our light is the life of Christ. In His life, we find the Father (John 17:22-23). The Father, through the life of His Son, glorifies Himself in the good work we have been called to walk in. Only the Father is good (Luke 18:19). Consequently, good work is the work of God. We are simply His instruments in the good work He is doing for His glory.

 

This revelation gives new meaning to the expression, “It’s all God; and it’s all about God.” I pray that the passages cited here will be life and power to you; for encouragement, faith and transformation. God is preparing a people for a special expression of His glory, in these latter days. Please let me know how I can help you in this regard.

Until next time, share the truth – it will make someone free.

 

Humbly yours and forever His,