THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 1-27-13
LESSON TITLE: “WALKING IN GOOD WORKS.”
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God’s Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer.
This morning we want to start our songs of praise with a hymn that reminds us of the care and guidance of God. Won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we together sing, “Take My Life And Let it Be!”
(SONG # 1)
As we look around the world today we see a lack of respect for fellow man which seems to increase every day. People are often less concerned with committing violent crimes or doing whatever it takes to accomplish a goal when it is to acquire something that they want. How sad it is to continually see the moral decay in our country and throughout the World.
We might wonder, what could be the problem in all of this? Furthermore, it is often difficult to figure out why all of these things are going on? Well, we may not be sure about the reason for all these things, but what we can know for sure is the answer to the problem - God. Yes even when we wonder, “why do people keep doing such bad things or why do awful things happen in our day and time. The only sure and true answer is God!
As our society and the world seem to decline in so many ways, ask yourself the follow question, “Has the world seemed to embrace God more or less over the past centuries!” In my opinion I think we can see that our country has continued to embrace Him less and less as the years go by. In fact, in recent years it often seems like it’s a sin or wrong to even mention God or bring Him up in most settings. Too many have been far more concerned with other people’s feelings and in how they might be perceived by others, than with putting God first. Therefore, God has continually been put on the back burner!
For example, consider our societies view of the home. Does it match up with what God wants any longer? Why not ask the world what a home is today and you will find that they will exclaim it to be anything that pertains to cohabitation, regardless of God’s Will on the matter.
It is our hope and prayer that we can all return to the Word of God and once again clearly establish what God says about the life of a Christian and the need to put God first. Furthermore, may we again address the issues of life from the standpoint of God’s Will, so that we might better understand the roll that we should each play and then be challenged to do things God’s Way. May we each examine ourselves to see if we are fulfilling our function before God or not. And if not let us again submit to our place before God that He might be fully pleased. Are you willing to make the world a better place by putting God first in all things concerning your life?
Today we will be continuing our series of study which focuses on the Christian Walk. Our specific topic today is, “Walking In Good Works.” So please stay with us and in a few minutes our guest speaker of the day will return with this lesson from God’s Word.
We are happy to again have Brother Chuck Northrop with us. Brother Chuck is a full time instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We look forward to him leading our main study after our next song together. So won’t you join in the second hymn of the morning as we sing together, “Standing On The Promises.”
(SONG # 2)
By Chuck Northrop
We appreciate you; we know that without you this is really kind of a fruitless effort. But we appreciate you as listeners and we appreciate you in your interest in Spiritual matters. Our topic this morning is taken from Ephesians 2:10, but before we begin looking at verse 10 I want to give you a little bit about the context of this particular passage. In Ephesians 2 he is talking about the fact that we are saved by grace through faith but there is a motivation that takes place that begins the chapter. In verse 1 he says that we were, “…made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,” and previously we had walked according to the flesh, according to the course of this world, according to the power of the air, but we have received the salvation that is through Christ Jesus. Now beginning with verse 4 he says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly placed in Christ Jesus.” Now let’s notice verse 8 though, he says in verse 7, “…that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in the kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Now as we think about verses 8-10 we know that grace and faith are a part of God’s plan but what does it have to do with this particular passage? It is God’s grace that often motivates us to do or to have faith and that is the reason why we began in verse 1 because God’s grace was shown to us, His mercy was shown to us and His past action aught to motivate us in our present action of having faith in Him. Now what is God’s grace, even though He says that grace and faith are necessary in order to have salvation, we have got to think about what is this grace that He is talking about? Well, that grace in that particular passage represents everything that God has done for us. It would certainly include God sending forth His son into this world that we might live through Him. It certainly would include His death upon the cross, it would include His revelation of the Gospel, and everything that God has done for us it would include every single one of those things. And all of those are done out of motivation of love, care, concern, and desire for us to be saved; every single thing that God has done for us. But then what is in this idea of faith? Well, faith is inclusive of all that we do in response to God’s grace. Everything that we as Christians do aught to be motivated by love and by faith, or by the grace that God has given unto us, and that would include belief that Jesus is the Christ Son of the Living God. It would include belief that God is a rewarded of them who diligently seek Him, Hebrews 11:6. It would include the actions as a result of that faith that is obedience, for we know Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all that obey Him, Hebrews 5:9. In fact Jesus said that, “Not everyone that saith unto Me Lord, Lord shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doeth the Will of My Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 7:21.
Now as we think about this I know that many in the religious world want to just simply say that all we have to do is believe but you know belief is pretty cheap really when you think about it. Belief often motivates something else; if I believe something then I have to act upon that belief. So it is if I believe that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God, I have to act upon that faith. If I believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; I have to act upon that obedience or we have to act in obedience upon that faith. So our acting in obedience would include the idea of confession confessing that Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God. It would include such concepts as the idea of Repentance, turning from our evil ways and turning to God. It would include the idea of being immersed into Christ and raised up to walk in newness of life. All of those things are really acts of faith that we believe that God, and we believe God and what God has done for us. It is a response then to God’s grace for by grace are you saved through faith.
But now notice he goes on to say not of works lest any man should boast. Now the works that he is talking about here are works of merit or works of earning something. It is certain that man cannot obtain salvation in and of itself, he cannot earn it and he cannot somehow gain it on His own, so we need the gift of God. We need Christ Jesus, we need His blood to cleanse us from our sin, and we need the things that He has provided for us because it is the gift of God. But when we think about the things that we do we sometimes hear people say, ‘Well those are manmade works,’ and they talk about the acts of obedience as if they are manmade works. Really when you think about that it is simply not the case that faith moves, faith does something, and we find that in Hebrews 11. The various men of faith acted upon their faith and the women of faith noted there like Sarah and others acted upon their faith and were obedient unto God because they acted upon their faith. So faith is much more than simply a mental assent, knowledge, a fact; it is to act upon those things.
Now notice also we get to verse 10, and now we are getting to the topic we are really talking about and that is, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” We are His workmanship! Now as I think about that particular passage it really indicates the purpose of Christians. Christians are the workmanship of God, we then aught to be inspired to labor and to work. I think about Paul at the end of 1 Corinthians 15 and after he talked about the resurrection he talked about that if the resurrection did not take place, as far as Jesus was concerned, then we are all men most visible. But we because of Jesus resurrection can look forward to a resurrection one day and he says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” You see the grace that God shows to us aught to motivate us to faith and faith then motivates us to act upon that faith. We are the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. That shows purpose, mans purpose, but it is more than just mans purpose because it goes on to say, “…which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” In other words it was Gods design that we would walk in them, its our purpose to labor in the kingdom but it is also God’s design that we be laborers in the kingdom. Both give us the idea of the vision or the purpose in life but we recognize that it is God’s design that He has provided for us.
But notice it is actually taken a step further even because when we look at this passage we see in the later part that “…we should walk in them,” Now what does it mean to walk in them? Well, to walk in it means our conduct of life or manner of living. Not only is it something that we have done in the past that we acted upon that, and we acted upon grace in the past when we became Christians, but we maintain that walk as well. That we walk in them, that we maintain that manner of life that we maintain those things that we do in life. So it’s a continuous thing that we aught to do we walk by faith and that is our manner of life and we act upon those things by the things that we do, the good works that we do to glorify God.
Well, with that in mind I think there is some good cross references that we aught to consider. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount said this in Matthew 5:13-14, and notice He talks about us in two different ways as His followers. He says, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Now we are the salt of the earth and salt influences the flavor of food but in the very least the flavor of food. So it is we as Christians we are the salt of the earth and we season the world by the things that we do, by the preaching of the Gospel, by the teaching and edifying of one another, by the benevolent things that we do; we then provide that salt, that flavor, for the world. Then he says verse 14, “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 lamp stand, 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.” Now notice what He is talking about there because it fits with our text. He says that you let your light so shine before men that they may see what? Your good works, your acts of faith, your acts of benevolence, your acts of working for God. You see we let our light so shine that others may see that but the purpose of letting our light so shine is that they may glorify God who is in heaven. What a beautiful picture!
With that in mind let’s look at another cross reference. In Hebrews 10:24-25, the Hebrews writer said, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as it’s the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” Notice he says let us consider one another how that we might provoke one another to entice one another unto love and unto good works which is the very thing that Paul was talking about over in Ephesians 2.
Then let’s go over to the book of Titus and in the book of Titus we find three references to this very thing of good works. In Titus 2:14, and again very similar to what Paul wrote in Ephesians 2. He says in Titus 2:14, “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” So God then had purified us and He redeemed us. Well, that is the grace that God has given unto us, it’s the grace that He shows to us and therefore He redeems us and He purifies us. Redeemed means to buy back and purify is to make pure and He has done all that. Now notice the result of it. We see what God has done for us, God’s grace, but what is our response to it? Well, he says that we might be a “special people…,” and notice he says, “zealous of good works.” Literally it is the idea of leading in good works and that we lead the world in doing the good works that we do and again some of those good works would be the preaching of the Gospel, the teaching of the Gospel, the benevolent deeds that we do. All of those things are inclusive in that idea. But now let’s drop on down to chapter 3 in the book of Titus because he adds to that concept. In Titus 3:8, he says, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.” Now notice he says that, “This is a faithful saying,” there are actually five different faithful saying given to Timothy and Titus in the books of 1 and 2Timothy and Titus and this is the last of those faithful sayings. But the faithful saying is that we need to be careful, we need to take care and pay attention that we maintain good works. So it’s not something that we just rely upon because that is something we have done in the past. One last verse is verse 14, he says basically the same thing, “And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.” Well if we maintain those good works we are not going to become unfruitful and that is the point that he is making.
So as we journey through life and as Christians let us remember what Paul wrote to the Ephesians. That as Christians we need to remember the grace of God and all that God has done for us so that we can be laborers together with Him, that we can be the kind of people that God wants us to be, the kind of people who labor for God and Labor in doing good works. We appreciate you listening and we appreciate you being a part of this broadcast.
(SONG # 3 - “Sweet Hour Of Prayer!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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May we all strive to walk the good path of Jesus Christ, always submitting to His perfect will. Are you giving your very best to God today and every day?