“Good works”, the key to minimizing “run-off”
Two days ago we loaded up a Budget truck and made the move from Phoenix to the San Diego area. Needless to say, it’s been a jam-packed and crazy week and because of that, I will be very brief with this post. A portion of what I’m about to share is the result of what God placed on my heart to share on my last Sunday as the pastor of the church in Phoenix. But some of the points from Matt Kottman’s post from the other day (Drought), has also contributed.
I transitioned the church in Phoenix over to a much younger man who is stepping into the role of being a Senior Pastor for the first time. As I prayed about what to share on my last Sunday as the Senior Pastor, the Lord led me to share the truth’s contained in the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000, and then stitch it all together with a quick overview of Titus.
Suffice it to say here that Jesus directing the apostles to be the ones to meet the needs of the multitude that had spent all day listening to Him was a crucial lesson that they needed to learn. Surrendering the insufficient inventory we possess to the Lord and then being obedient to take a step of faith and serve others with that inventory which He will increase to meet the need was an astounding truth they needed to understand. The miracle was certainly a “good work” that they did for others with His favor and power making it a huge blessing to them and those they served.
And then Paul’s emphasis on “good works” in his letter to a very young pastor named Titus as he served a church on the island of Crete. I find that very interesting. What does a much older, ministry-tested former missionary church planter emphasize time and again in a letter to this young pastor? The importance of “good works” from a number of different angles:
2:7 Titus is to “show himself a pattern of GOOD WORKS”
2:14 That the grace of God does many things, which includes producing a special group of people that are “zealous for GOOD WORKS”.
3:1 That Titus should remind his church members to “be ready for every GOOD WORK”
3:8 That Titus should “affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain GOOD WORKS”.
3:14 And that “our people” need to “learn to maintain GOOD WORKS”.
I find that in our desire to teach good doctrine and give our people the truth, especially regarding grace, that we neglect the role of telling our people the importance of GOOD WORKS. Jesus and Paul never neglected to do so.
This may be one of the reasons for the “drought” Matt mentions. The hearts of our people can’t receive any more because the truth that is already there isn’t being put into practice. If it is, the heart will need and demand more truth. The “run-off” will be minimal when that which has been absorbed already is actually being put to use.
Jeff, I pray that the work there in PHX will continue in many good works along the lines you have taught and shown them. May it continue to bring glory to God. The phenomenon of faith—and knowledge—without works is the bane of the church and described by James as “dead.” Unfortunately, in our age, we tolerate, facilitate and even cultivate faith detached from good works. When we fail to let our light shine the world cannot see our good works and have no cause to glorify our Father in heaven.
If there are no good fruits to be shown from a Spirit-Filled life, then how on Earth will the world know what a Christian really is?