Good Heart, Good Works
There is something that the faithful, indwelling Spirit of God will whisper to your heart every time you pray.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Well sure, I wait for you to answer, you know that. I care how you are. This is your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you to share with you from the Word of God. I’ve just been praying that God’s precious Holy Spirit might take this living, infallible Word, the Bible, and make it become alive in your heart and life. I try to put a handle on it so that you can get hold of it for yourself.
We’re just finishing Titus, he said, “Let our people also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses that they be not unfruitful”. Stop just for a moment on that word learn. Now many of my listeners are in grown up, adult life already. You’ll never be a teenager again, will you? But the let me ask you something. This book was written to grown-ups, “Our people”, that has to do with those that are in leadership and he said, “Let them learn to maintain good works”, which tells me that it might be a very good idea for me to study this whole matter of a life characterized by doing good things for people and for God. “Learn to maintain good works”.
Would you give some thought, beloved, to the program that you’re following, day by day, in your own life? Is there something, I mean to say, is there something that you and I can learn to do a little better in this matter of maintaining good works? It has to be admitted, doesn’t it, that for the most part we sink into concern for our own selves, “What am I going to do today? I have to do the wash, I have to do the ironing, I have to do the shopping, I have to”, if you’re going out to business you say, “I have to meet that customer, I have to consummate that sale, I have to make a report to the boss, I have to balance the budget, I have to layout the advertising”, or whatever it may be, andwe get, well you know, we get just caught up with our own concerns, which is all well and good.
“Commit thy way unto the Lord and He shall direct thy paths”, says the Word of God. So, it’s very well and good that we are concerned about our lives and that we pray about it and that we take God’s direction for them. The fact is however, that we can do a great deal better in this matter of good works if we give thought to it and if we learn how to make it a continuing program of life.
Next time you see a friend, ask yourself the question, what can I do or say that would encourage this person. I have some friends in a certain town who are my friends since the day I thought, “These people are working awfully hard and I’m going to bring them a coffeecake for their coffee break”. So I went to the bakery and brought them a coffeecake. Well I tell you, they fell over when I marched in with that, but they’ve been my friends through good many years. All it took was a coffeecake at the right time.
Oh beloved listen, you and I can do a great deal more for people if we think about it, if we learn to plan our life program to include doing things for other folks, for Jesus ‘sake. Isn’t that a good idea? Why, I think it is. “Let our people learn to maintain good works for necessary uses”. I want to stop here to comment on the fact that there is no substitute for getting a thing done. Many a person would rather talk or have a prayer meeting, than get into action. I have, I am sure, I have irritated people many times during the past many years by saying, “Let’s get off the dime let’s. Let’s do something, even if it’s wrong, let’s do something, not just talk and view with alarm”. Committees, you know, one of the definitions of the committee is a group of people who deplore, decry, and depart. (Chuckles)
Well– necessary uses. There are some things that have to be done, do them, but then remember Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, do it heartily”, that means psyched up and excited about it. Do it psyched up for God, “As for the Lord and not just for people knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ”. Whatever you do, do it for Him.
Back however to that original concept, talking about a problem isn’t going to solve it. Ultimately, some action needs to be taken, “Necessary uses”. What can you do that would help solve a given problem?
I remember being out in the Northwest somewhere, I forget the name of the state or the town, and that’s just as well I suppose. This would be back in the 1950s and as President of Youth for Christ I had been called in because one of the local groups was in deep financial trouble. So, I met with them and they explained the dilemma to me. They had accumulated a lot of back bills and they weren’t even paying salaries for the dear faithful staff. Things just weren’t going the way they should, largely for lack of some solid funding. Well, I listened and then I open the Word of God to them and then I said, “Now, we ought to talk to the Lord about this problem. Let’s get down and pray about it”, and they did. They prayed very earnestly. Shortly before I closed the prayer meeting, I remarked to them all, I said, “Fellas, the answer to your prayers is in this room. I’ve just been mentally counting up the net worth of the people about whom I know personally, and there is a great deal more money in this room, than is needed to meet these bills. I would suggest that we help to answer own prayers. The money to meet the need is in this room. You want to do anything about it”? And there was a long silence. I thought maybe I had blown it and I thought maybe there was just, you know that I would never be invited back to that place, and then someone said, “I think I could give 500” and someone said, “I think I could give 1000”, somebody else said, “Well I can’t do that much, but can give a hundred”. So, they went on around the room before very many minutes had passed, the entire amount that represented an operating deficit had been pledged, and they were out of the red. “The money to meet the need is in this room”, I remember saying that.
Well beloved, you know that’s true. Many a person would rather pray earnestly and ask God to do something instead of getting busy and doing what he or she can do, by the grace of God. You get the point don’t you? Necessary, some things are not to be talked about excessively, that is, get busy and do something about it.
I remember a man telling me, “Don’t just stand there, do something even if it’s wrong”. Well that of course is an over simplification and sometimes to do something even if it’s wrong might be catastrophic, but anyhow, there is a beneficial, helpful action that can be taken every time you pray about a matter. This is a rule of my life. When you pray about something and ask God to guide you and help you, then take the next step, the step of faith. There is something that the faithful, indwelling Spirit of God will whisper to your heart to do every time you pray about anything. Make that a rule of life. Instant obedience when God whispers to your heart, as a result of your having prayed about something.
Well, God is on the side of work as we were remarking the last time we got together. He says, “Let us consider one another”, I think this is as far as we got. We were just starting into Hebrews 10:24, “Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”. We use the verb, to provoke, generally in the sense of making another person angry, but it’s used here in the sense of motivating, motivating, to motivate another person. Consider one another to motivate the other person unto love and to good works.
How closely do you study members of your family and coworkers and fellow students and people with whom you interact every day? Do you give any thought to studying their needs and their reactions? Even their biases and prejudices? “Why should I do that?” you say. Well, dear friend, because the word that we’ve had from Hebrews 10:24 says, you can motivate another person to love God and love people, and you can motivate another person to do good works, but he says it takes study. “Let us consider one another”. How you do that? You do it by example, the holy contagion of a dedicated, generous heart is what’s involved. You don’t go up to a person and say, “Well you ought to love God more”, no you don’t do that. But, your own life, lived thoughtfully and generously and in a God glorifying fashion, with the love of God shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit, that beloved, is going to produce a reaction in other people’s lives, especially if you’ve given thought enough to the individual to know how he or she thinks. That way, you’re not going to be needlessly either spinning your wheels without any result, or on the other hand, irritating the person because you took the wrong approach.
Consider one another. Husband, do you ever study your wife in terms of what she likes and doesn’t like and what pleases her and what might encourage her? Pat Williams in his book telling the story of the breakup of his marriage, and then putting it back together again, said that someone helped him with the acronym BEST, B E S T. To bless the other person, to encourage the other person, to share with the other person, and to touch the other person. Blessing, encouraging, sharing, and touching: BEST. That was his formula. Well, you can have whatever one you want, but I’ll have to tell you, it would be a sweeter home for many of us, if you take the time to study your partner and your children, or your parents, and just see the point at which you can be of encouragement, and you can be a motivator toward loving God and doing good works.
He says in first Peter 212, “Have your lifestyle honest among the Gentiles, that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God”. This of course is a correlate to Matthew 516, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”. There’s three possessives in that verse: your light, your good works, and your Father in heaven. And the essence of the light is the phrase, “your good works”. The result of the light shining, is that people are turned toward God, not you. “That they may glorify God even though they’ve spoken against you”.
Never worry if people criticize you when you’re doing a good thing. That’s their problem. Leave them with God. Just make sure you’re in the Will of God, doing what He wants you to do and doing it with the right spirit. Don’t worry about criticism. Peter says later, “They’ll glorify God when they think about your good works”. You leave the results with your Lord. Let Him handle your critics. Good idea? Try it out. God bless you.
Dear Father today, may we be people characterized by good works, that come from a good heart, filled with the Spirit of God, I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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