“In 1992, a family in Beattyville, Kentucky lost two teenage sons in
a car wreck.
Darkness like nothing she had ever known settled over
Rosemary. Yet she found solace in her faith. … Not long
after her loss, Rosemary began a ministry called Fellow
Travelers, a ministry to other parents who have lost a
child. … Every day, Rosemary reads the newspaper and
searches the Internet for child obituaries.
She either calls the families or sends them special
packets consisting of books on loss, a music CD, and a
notebook of inspirational messages.
She gets about 50 e-mails a day from people
requesting one of her packets.
More than 5,000 packets — paid for by Rosemary and
her husband — have been sent all over the world. “We are
here to help other people,” said Rosemary. 'It gives me
great joy to think God is using me to help others'”
(Bussabarger in Larson/Elshof). By the way, Rosemary is still
sending out her packets daily some 17 years later!
Jesus said in Matthew 10:42: “And whoever gives one of
these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a
disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose
Someone once remarked that we like to think in terms of
giving as donating $1,000 to help somebody.
“Let’s give some great sum that could really impress
others!” But this is not usually how God desires it to
happen. What God
does is He gives us rolls of quarters each day, and He would
prefer that we give quarters of love, kindness, and help all
day long to everybody that we meet (Craddock)!
Somehow these small acts seem so insignificant to us,
but such is not the case who those who are helped!
A cup of cold water on a hot summer's day can be a
People notice when someone serves them warmly.
Today we want to look at three examples of good works
and three interesting expressions about good works from
The first example of one who did good works is Jesus. We
find this interesting exchange between Jesus and the Jews in
John 10:31ff: “Then the Jews took up stones again to
stone Him. Jesus
answered them, 'Many good works I have shown you from My
which of these works do you stone Me?”
We see here very clearly that Jesus is claiming
to have done good works, and He challenges these hostile
Jews by asking them for which good work are they about to
kill Him. Now
notice their response: “For a good work, we do not stone
You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make
It is interesting that the Jews do not deny that Jesus
had done good works, but they immediate switch their charge
Then notice Jesus' interesting response in verse 37: “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.”
Jesus' good works from God show that He really is divine.
The apostle John makes this further statement at the
very end of his Gospel: “And there are many other things
that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I
suppose the even the world itself could not contain the
books that would be written” (John 21:25).
John admits that his Gospel contains only a few of
Jesus' good works; there were many many more!
Finally, the apostle Peter, in one of his sermons in
Acts 10:38, affirmed: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth
with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing
good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for
God was with Him.”
These passages underscore very clearly that Jesus is
a powerful example of One who did good works!
Secondly, we see that Christians can do good works.
A great example is seen in Sister Tabitha.
Luke describes her in this way in Acts 9:36: “At
Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is
translated Dorcus. This woman was full of good works and
charitable deeds which she did.”
We know that others told Peter how Dorcus had used
her sewing skills to make clothing for them.
Then we read of the great miracle where Peter brings
this industrious sister back to life again!
Now turn to Hebrews 10:24 where we find this
admonition: “And let us consider one another in order to
stir up love and good works, nor 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
The expression “stir up love and good works” is
literally that we may spur one another on to love and good
works, just as a rider spurs a horse to action!
And isn't it interesting how this can so often take
place when we assemble together for worship!
It is wonderful to see some brother or sister launch
a good work in a Bible class, in the foyer, or in the
parking lot! You
can see that they are excited about helping others, and
their genuine enthusiasm becomes contagious as other members
want to help too!
Then the job gets done, and all involved come to
worship again filled with joy that they have been able to
serve others in Jesus' name!
One other interesting passage is found in Revelation
14:13-14: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from
now on. 'Yes,'
says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, and
their works follow them.'”
When Christians die, they leave behind a legacy
of good works for which they will be remembered and
good works live on in the lives of others!
So we see clearly from these passages that Christians
should be doing good works!
The last example is that churches can be doing works.
First of all, in Colossians 1:9-10, we find an
interesting prayer of the apostle Paul for the congregation
at Colosse: “For this reason, we also, since the day we
heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you
may be filled with knowledge of His will in all wisdom and
spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the
Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work
and increasing in the knowledge of God ....”
Notice how Paul says that he is praying that this
church will walk or will live worthy of the Lord.
“Being 'worthy of the Lord' is a phrase that occurs
in ancient pagan inscriptions throughout Asia Minor, and it
pictures a person being weighted on scales to determine
their worth” (Nelson Study Bible). How can a Christian live
in a manner that adequately reflects their love for the
Lord? Notice the
three things that Paul specifically mentions in his prayers
for this congregation as a whole: that they be fully
pleasing to Christ [they are living to do His will], that
they be fruitful in every good work [such good works are a
tangible demonstrations of their love for Him], and that
they be ever increasing in their understanding of the true
and living God [as opposed to the pagan gods in their
surroundings]. Paul is praying that this church will be
manifesting good works.
Secondly, the church in Philippi does a good work by
sending the apostle Paul a gift when he was imprisoned, for
which he is very grateful (Phil. 4:14-20). Thirdly, we see
in Acts 21:15ff and 2 Corinthians 8-9 that several churches
pooled their financial resources together to send aid to
their suffering brethren in Jerusalem.
These passages clearly show us that churches should
be doing good works.
Now let's look at three interesting expressions about good
works. The first
is found in 2 Corinthians 9:8 where the apostle Paul
affirms: “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.”
Sometimes doing good works can be costly.
But isn't Paul assuring us here that God has the
capacity to continue to provide us with more blessings, so
that we, in turn, can continue to do more good works? You
see, when we do good works God also gets to work!
One commentator puts it this way: “There is no risk
in generous giving [for good works done in Jesus' name], for
God will always recompense the giver with [enough] for his
own needs and [with] enough to give to 'every good work' [in
the future] (Clines).
As a child, a girl vividly remembers her alcoholic
mother “weaving down the hall of their ranch home in
Houston, glass of scotch in hand, to wake her up at 2:00
a.m., just to make sure she was asleep.
Then the girl would have to wake her mom up at 7:00
to try to get her off to work.
This girl later became converted, and she was asked
to become a leader of a group which ministered to mothers.
She wondered if she really should take this job
opportunity: 'How could God use me—who had never been
mothered—to nurture other mothers?'
The answer came she said as she looked into the eyes
of other sisters and saw them mirroring her own need.
Then she made this remarkable statement: 'God will
take my deficits and help them to become my offering'”
(Morgan in Larson/Elshof).
If Jesus could make 150 gallons of wine out of water
for a wedding reception, could make 12 baskets containing
leftovers after feeding a crowd of 5000 from five loaves and
two fish, and could cause fishermen to catch 153 large fish
by just casting their net on the right side of their boat,
then we can believe that He will continue to supply our
needs so that we may continue to do good works in His name!
God and Christ will work so that we “may have an abundance
for every good work”!
The next expression is found in 1 Timothy 6.
Let's start reading with verse 17 where Paul gives
Timothy some instructions for wealthy members who are in the
church at Ephesus: “Command those who are rich in this
present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain
riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things
to enjoy. Let
them do good, 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
“Well, Bro. Paul, that passages was talking about
rich members of the church, and I certainly don't fall into
Oh beloved, think again: if you own a car, eat three meals a
day, have at least four changes of clothing, and have indoor
plumbing and a refrigerator, then you are very rich
according the standards of most people in the world!
Did you catch Paul's expression?
If we are rich in material goods, then we need to be
rich in good works! By doing good works, we will be making
investments for our treasures in heaven, and then when Jesus
comes again, we will be ready to lay hold on eternal life!
Let's be rich in good works!
The last expression is found in Hebrews 13:20-21: “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.”
God, who raised Jesus and established a new covenant,
can also make all of us complete, or equipped, or prepared
for every good work in order to accomplish His will.
Jesus works in and among us to help us to achieve
those good works that will be pleasing to God!
Aren't we thankful that the great Shepherd is helping
continually work with us and develop us so that we may be
complete, equipped, or prepared to do every good work that
will help to accomplish God's will right here where we live.
This prayer should provide great strength for us when
we, as a congregation, might be fearful of trying some new
good work. Jesus will enable us to get the job done!
That's what being “complete in every good work”
So we have seen three examples of doing good works: Jesus
did them, Christians did them, and churches did them!
Members' hands become Jesus' hands in order to do
good works in service others!
Then we saw how God will help us have an abundance
for every good work, so we can be rich in good works, and
Jesus will help us to be complete in or prepared for good
telling the story about the good Samaritan, Jesus asked the
lawyer who had questioned him, “So which of these three do
you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise!”
What good works will our congregation be known for?
Jesus will help you to do good works, but you must first
make Him the Lord and Commander of your life! If you haven't
obeyed the Gospel, it is a great time to do so.
You must believe that Jesus is God's Son, then you
must repent or determine to get out of the sinning business,
then you must confess that you want to make Jesus your
Master, and then you must be buried in the waters of baptism
so that your sins can be washed away and you can be
resurrected to live a life transformed by God's Spirit Who
will then live within you!
Then show your appreciation of your freedom from
Satan by living a life filled with good works!
If you've grown weary in good works, why not ask for
Jesus' to help to find new ways that you can serve others?
Cups of cold water, quarters of kindness, and help to
other mothers and parents suffering losses are still badly