The Thing Which is Good

Monday, September 3, 2018

“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28 KJV).

On this Labor Day, we talk about work, “the thing which is good.”

In this day and age of increasing “government assistance,” people are becoming less and less aware of our hard work being the Lord Jesus’ preferred method of the source of our incomes. While the physically and mentally disabled are obvious exceptions, the God of the Bible expects all of us to contribute labor in order to provide for ourselves. For children and young adults, even being a student in school is work enough!

Observe the doctrine being communicated in today’s Scripture. The grace life does not merely teach us to quit doing bad things, but it also instructs us to start doing good things (Titus 2:11,12). Once a thief trusts the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork as sufficient payment for his sins, then God expects that thief to quit stealing and find a job so he can provide for his needs!

The God of creation calls work “the thing which is good” (today’s Scripture). Work is not something to be avoided; it is something to be embraced for the Lord’s glory!

When the Lord Jesus Christ put the first man, Adam, on earth, that man had a divine commission. Adam was not to simply loaf around and do nothing: “And the LORD God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to protect that garden, to till its ground, to prepare it for Jesus Christ to come down and dwell in with he and Eve (because of sin, that earthly kingdom over which Jesus Christ will rule is still awaiting fulfillment!).

Saints, may we work to provide for our families (1 Timothy 5:8), and may we work to help those who truly are needy (today’s Scripture). In the words of God the Holy Spirit, that is “good!” 🙂

The Work of the Ministry #7

Sunday, July 1, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [purpose or intent] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16,17). God the Holy Spirit gave us His inspired, preserved Word (in English, the King James Bible) so we would believe it. Once we trust it (1 Thessalonians 2:13), it produces in and through us “all good works.” The greatest Christian good work is “the work of the ministry,” but spiritual development comes first. After all, today’s Scripture says only “perfected saints”—spiritually mature Christians—do “the work of the ministry.”

“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12,13). These church leaders do “the work of the ministry” (cf. today’s Scripture; 1 Timothy 5:17,18), and they need to be especially appreciated.

Ministry is not to be taken lightly or flippantly. It is not “fun and games:” it is “work!” Eternal souls are at stake and they need to hear from us a clear Gospel message they can believe (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)! Otherwise, they will face an angry God and wind up experiencing His eternal fury. Eternal souls are at stake and they need to hear from us a study they can understand (2 Timothy 2:15)! Otherwise, they will experience tremendous loss of reward for their lack of Christian understanding and service.

Dear brethren, how exhausting ministry can be and is, but there is no greater way to spend our time and resources! It seems like we are wasting our time, but God forbid! “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58)! 🙂

Bible Q&A #510: “Can you explain John 1:17?

The Work of the Ministry #6

Saturday, June 30, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

Only one Man in ministry never had any trouble in dealing with the flesh. The God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, faithfully and tirelessly served Father God without fail. He said, “My meat [food] is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work(John 4:34). The Lord Jesus knew His purpose. Unlike so many Christians today, He did not aimlessly wander and wonder what Father God would have Him do in His life and ministry. He took the Old Testament Scriptures, found God’s words to and about His earthly ministry, and worked in accordance with them (Luke 4:16-21 cf. Isaiah 61:1-2; Matthew 8:16-17 cf. Isaiah 53:6; Matthew 12:15-21 cf. Isaiah 42:1-4; Mark 12:10-11 cf. Psalm 118:22-23; et al.).

“But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work (John 5:17). “But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me” (verse 36). I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

The night before His crucifixion, Christ prayed to the Holy Father: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me” (John 17:4,6,8). What work did Father God give His Son Jesus Christ? Heavenly Father wanted His Son to give (teach) His Word to His people. Jesus Christ did exactly that, “the work of the ministry!”

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is ‘shamefacedness?’

The Work of the Ministry #5

Friday, June 29, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

What is the difference between doing good works to become a Christian and doing good works because one is a Christian? The flesh works to (try to) become a Christian whereas God works in the Christian. “The love of Christ constraineth [compels, motivates] us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Grace motivation, love motivation, underlies Christian good works.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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 which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12,13). “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us (Ephesians 3:20). Paul spoke of “the gift of the grace of God given unto [him] by the effectual working of his power(Ephesians 3:7). “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (1 Corinthians 15:10). See Colossians 1:29, which we read earlier: “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

First Thessalonians 2:13 says, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” When we believe God’s Word to us, God the Holy Spirit will take that Word and work in our hearts and lives to produce His desired results….

The Work of the Ministry #4

Thursday, June 28, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

In Acts 15:38, Paul and Barnabas starkly disagreed whether or not to take John Mark with them in ministry, for Paul argued John “went not with them to the work.” The Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples of God’s ministry to convert lost Jewish souls from Satan’s captivity: “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37,38; cf. Luke 10:2,7).

Mary “bestowed much labouron Paul and his ministry associates (Romans 16:6). Tryphena and Tryphosa labour in the Lord” and Persis laboured much in the Lord” (verse 12). Paul spoke of those in 1 Corinthians 16:16 “that helpeth with us, and laboureth.” On three occasions, Paul expressed concern whether or not he had laboured in vain” in teaching Christians who might easily abandon those truths (Galatians 4:11; Philippians 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:5). First Corinthians 3:9 says, “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” And, 2 Corinthians 5:9: “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”

Paul spoke of Epaphroditus as his “companion in labour (Philippians 2:25). Chapter 4, verse 3, tells of “those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.” First Timothy 5:17-18: “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.”

Colossians 1:29 tells us, “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” The key to doing the work of the ministry without growing weary is to let God the Holy Spirit work in and through us as we believe His Word to us….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does Mark 16:18 teach that chemotherapy will not harm us?

The Work of the Ministry #3

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

Long ago, a certain congregation was seeking a new pastor. A deacon asked a prospective preacher if he would let the Holy Spirit guide him in leading them, the irritated preacher replied, “I am here to retire!” He was not interested in “working” at their local church; rather, he wanted leisurely living. According to the Bible, this is not what Christians—especially church leaders—are called to pursue!

The Scriptures invite all Christians to be “workmen,” saints who are diligent in Bible study: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Paul instructed Timothy, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). When sending off His 12 Apostles to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, the Lord Jesus said of them, “the workman is worthy of his meat” (Matthew 10:10).

“This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work (1 Timothy 3:1). “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13:2). “And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled” (Acts 14:26).

“Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do (1 Corinthians 16:10). “We then, as workers together with him [Jesus Christ], beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1). “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Christian living is about “work,” “the work of the ministry….”

The Work of the Ministry #2

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

Ministry—what “work” it is!

Ancient religious tradition has caused terrible confusion concerning someone doing good works to become a Christian versus someone doing good works because he or she is a Christian. Unquestionably, dear friends, there is a major difference! Since God invites believers in Him to do good works, unbelievers have snatched such verses in (futile) attempts to become God’s children. What deception straight from the pits of Hell!! Good works will never, ever play any role in getting anyone into Heaven (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Now, as Christians, we who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have a ministry of “good works” (Ephesians 2:10). True, we are not all pastors, deacons, elders, evangelists, missionaries, seminary professors, or Bible teachers. Howbeit, God Himself says we all have a ministry. The first and foremost “good work” to which He has ordained us in Christ is that we preach the Gospel of Grace to a lost and dying world!

Second Corinthians chapter 5 continues: “[18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

It is “work” to study Scripture and prepare evangelistic sermons. It is “work” to travel to foreign lands and preach the Gospel of Grace. It is “work” to visit sick and shut-in Christians. It is “work” to counsel with burdened and hopeless souls. It is “work” to distribute Gospel tracts. It is “work” to teach the Bible to a congregation. Indeed, it is the work of the ministry….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did my Christian loved one not share the Gospel with me when I was unsaved?