It boils down to just doing something warm and loving and tender and helpful at the time when it’s needed... as the Spirit of God nudges you.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear friends. How in the world are you? Everything all right at your house? Oh, I trust so. I’m feeling fine today. I haven’t got a complaint in the world, thank God. Nice to wake up and feel great and ready to meet the day, isn’t it? I do these broadcasts early in the morning, as you know, because so many of you listen in the early morning hours, and I like to feel like you do when I’m talking with you. So I know what it feels like to have the alarm go off and it’s dark outside, and you wonder whether you ought to get up at all. “You know, there’s some days it doesn’t pay to get up”, the man said. You think is this one of them? The you struggle into consciousness and you get going in the day and pretty soon I’m seated here before these microphones, and the Word of God, and I have you in my heart and mind as I think of those that are fellowshipping with me, by way of radio, and it’s so great. I’m so glad that you and I have this blessed, God given, I consider it a God-given privilege, this blessed God-given relationship. Hallelujah for that.
We’re talking about work and the last time we got together we were thinking about motivating other people to good works. Remember that’s a blessed, holy contagion. That whole truth is better caught, C A U G H T, than taught. Don’t lapse into lecturing when you could have the dynamic of a life that shows by example how Jesus works. James said, “Faith if it hath not works is dead being alone. “A man may say”, he says, “Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” So, this matter of good works actually gives credibility to your testimony.
I had a bitter letter from somebody oh I supposed was 20 years ago now, complaining about the fact that I had been speaking along a certain subject and said, “I wish you knew my father. He had a wonderful testimony, but he never did anything to support the family. He was too spiritual to go out and work for a living and my mother had to take in washing just to put food on the table”. Said, “I don’t like that kind of gospel”. Well beloved, neither do I because the Bible doesn’t teach that. As a matter of fact, Paul said, “If any man will not work, neither let him eat”. I was entertained in an Italian home many years ago, and they were talking about this very truth and the old grandpa said, “No you work, no you eat”, and that settled that.
Oh yes, but you know, he said, “I’ll show thee my faith by my works”. Good works, a God glorifying lifestyle lends credibility to your testimony. Now, we’re saved by grace through faith, plus nothing. There’s nothing you can do to make God like you any better. You know that. It’s His sovereign grace that chose you, that loved you, that sought you, that saved you, and that is now keeping you. We all know that, don’t we? There is nothing you can do to cultivate, as we say, God, make Him like you better. He loves you already with an everlasting love. So, it’s by grace through faith, but you’re living in a world full of people who don’t know God as you do, and the only Bible they read is you, and the only gospel they can see is your life, and the only way they can have any understanding of what you call faith, is to look at the life you live. So, that practice of doing good works is very important in providing the aspect of believability to the testimony you give, that Jesus can save to the uttermost. You think about that?
The obverse is true as well. When you and I compromise, when we’re careless, when we’re disobedient to God, when something unworthy of Christ is said or done by us, that helps to destroy the credibility of our witness. So, ‘Show thee my faith by my works”, good works help to make your testimony believable. Then Peter says, “Having your lifestyle honest whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, glorify God”. We talked about that the last time we got together. I stop on it now, to remind you that payday is coming. “They may glorify God in the day of visitation”, Peter says. God doesn’t pay all His bills on Thursday, and you can afford to wait until God levels some things out. The point that you and I have to be careful about is that every day our lives are honest, God glorifying, and filled with good works, because there will come a time when all of that is brought up as evidence that God was working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Give God time with people, some folk don’t realize how nice you and I are. Isn’t that true? I said to somebody that was disagreeing with me a few years back, I said, “You don’t realize how nice I am”. Ha, no, give God time with people. He levels things out, He evens them up, He settles the score. You don’t have to do that, you’re not God’s policeman. You don’t have to do it. Give Him time. You just make sure that your life is right. What are some of the things that the Bible might mention about good works? Jesus Himself, our blessed Lord, spoke of meeting human needs. “I was hungry and you gave me meat, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you took me in and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came onto me”. He said, “If you’ve done one of the least of these, you’ve done it unto Me”. So, the good works that you do, feeding, clothing, comforting, visiting, encouraging, see the whole range of interaction with other people’s needs, find out what a person needs and help to meet the need without making a federal case of it, and you will endear yourself to that individual. Find out what a person needs and help to meet that need without being officious about it, and you will endear yourself to that individual. Good works often times are simply under the heading of meeting somebody’s need, food, clothing, shelter, comfort, encouragement, or just the presence of a loving heart to be there as the other person is going through sorrow or suffering. You know, that’s not very complex. We tend to make Christian service very complicated, but it boils down to just doing something warm and loving and tender and helpful at the time when it’s needed, as the Spirit of God nudges you, so to speak, in that direction. Always be listening for God’s voice, His whisper, His guidance, His touch. He said, “I will guide thee with mine eye”. You be looking in His direction and He’ll catch your eye and give you the idea what to do.
There’s a story of Mary of course, with the alabaster box of very precious ointment, poured it on Christ’s head as He sat there at the table. When His disciples saw it, they had indignation saying, “What purpose is this waste?, He said, “Why trouble?”, Jesus said, “Why trouble ye the woman? She hath wrought a good work on Me”. Actually, Mary was anointing His body because she had caught the truth that He was going to rise again. She was anointing Him because there may not be any time to do so after His death, which of course exactly was the case. They didn’t have time to do the routine care for that dead body after the crucifixion, so in faith, here is this person doing something loving and tender and precious and special for our lovely Lord and He said, “She had wrought a good work on Me”. All of which brings me to ask beloved, how many things do you do just for Jesus? How many things do you do just for Jesus? No ulterior motive, nobody around to say thank you, no committee to vote a motion of gratitude, nobody to hand you an engraved plaque, nothing in that area, you’re just doing it for your Lord and you’re telling Him so. Would you try to go through a whole day looking for things you can do just for Jesus? And I don’t mean religious things necessarily, “Whatsoever ye do, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the father by Him.” Do all, A double L, that’s all isn’t it?
Little girl in Sunday school’s being asked to define all. She said, “That’s all”. Well, there are plenty of things to do during any given day and they’re not all religious, but they can all be done for your Lord and there are some things which just between you and Him, you can say, “Blessed Jesus, I’m doing this just for you”. I want to tell you, it will encourage your heart, it will dignify routine, it will take the boredom out of a boring task, and it will make you a shining example of a life that is shining and productive in the ordinaries of life. Is it possible, is it possible to be a good testimony when you’re doing something routine and nonreligious? Yes, it is.
I visited, years ago, at the headquarters of the navigators out of Glen Erie, Colorado, Colorado Springs. They were showing me around, and there were two people and I remember, particularly, in connection with what I’m teaching today. One was a man who was digging out the sewer. Now that is an evil, smelly task if ever there was one. Something had stopped up the sewer and he had to dig it out, and he was going at it, but as we walked by holding our noses, he was singing, ‘There is sunshine in my soul today”, and he was working away with a will happy in the Lord. I thought, great day, that’s wonderful. I knew that this man had been a lieutenant commander in the Navy, and after you get up so far in the Navy, you don’t have to dig out sewers. That’s what they tell me at least, but here he was, he was a newcomer with the Navs, and they put him to digging up the stopped up sewer, and he was singing, “There is sunshine in my soul”.
Well we went on a little farther, finally came back into the main building and passed a little cubicle which, well, it was a closet with a glass door is all it was. It may have been 4 feet wide and eight or nine feet long and it was a desk in a table, and there was a man in there, simply radiant again and evidently thrilled with what he was doing. You know what he was doing? He was assembling the beginning memory pack that they give to new believers in that particular organization, has six or eight basic verses that the individual can learn, some advice as to how to live the Christian life, and he was assembling these little memory packs. Certainly not a thrilling operation for a man, again who had been highly placed in the military and who upon his retirement, had joined the Navigator group, but there he was, folding little memory packets and stacking them neatly, getting them ready for shipment, and all that. Whether or not the thought ever crossed his mind, “Was it for this that I went through all of my military training and got all of the abilities I now have? Was it to fold memory packets? Was that what was for”? If that thought ever crossed his mind, it didn’t show. He was radiant. He was happy in the Lord. He was rejoicing. I never forgot those two people, one of them digging out the sewer, the other doing a routine boring task of folding memory packets, but both of them doing it for Jesus, their blessed Lord. Oh, let that be true of you and me. “She hath wrought a good work on Me”, said the Lord.
Dear Father today, may our lives tell others that we are real with Thee, 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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