“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your GOOD WORKS, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
(1Peter 2:12, emph seb)
What are the good works. There are 5 key things to remember about good WORKS.
Firstly, they must be according to the WILL of God (authorized through scriptures; 1Pet 4:2; Eph 2:10).
They need to be ONGOING in our lives (habitual; cf Titus 2:7; 3:8, 14).
Thirdly, we need to be constantly READY & willing from the heart to do them (Titus 2:14; 1Tim 6:18; 2Co 8:12).
We can KNOW what they are and be taught them (Heb 10:24; Titus 3:14)
Lastly, they are to be SEEN, but not to be seen from pride (1Pet 2:12; 3:1, 16)
The faithful Christian will LEARN, PRACTICE, & MAINTAIN good Works all the days of their life. Here are all the passages in the New Testament that speak about good works.
Mt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Joh 10:32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
Acts 9:36 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
1Tim 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1Tim 5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
1Tim 5:25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
1Tim 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
2Tim 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Titus 3:14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.
Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
1Pet 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
2Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
Php 1:6 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:
Col 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
1Tim 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2Tim 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
Heb 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The person that teaches there is nothing for a person to do to become a Christian and to remain faithful has obviously never read the scriptures.
There is a purpose behind good works. Peter says, “which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” He is talking about using our good works to win others to Him (cf 1Peter 3:1-2; 15).
We’ve already talked about being living STONES, now we turn our attention to the second half of verse 5:
“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
(1Peter 2:5, emph seb)
What exactly are the SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES we are to offer up to God?
Before we attempt to discern what they are, let’s note four things about them.
Firstly, we are to be ACTIVELY doing them, “Offer up…” Being a Christian is not a passive condition, it’s active. Note that we are “LIVELY” stones.
Secondly, our sacrifices must be “ACCEPTABLE to God.” Paul wrote, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God” (2Tim 2:15a; cf. Rom 12:1).
Thirdly, they we are to AIM them “…to God”. Whatever these sacrifices are, they are to be directed toward God.
Fourthly, they are directed toward God through the AVENUE of Jesus; “…by Jesus Christ.” Jesus Himself said, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Paul also wrote on spiritual SACRIFICES, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom 12:1). So, what are they? Verse 6 begins a list from Paul, so we shall look at both Peter & Paul’s letters. “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether…”
We are to SHEW Forth Praises of God. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1Peter 2:9; cf Heb 13:15-16). It reminds me of when Jesus told the healed man to “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” (Mark 5:16).
ALL of our BODY, our whole being is a living sacrifice to God. “that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice” (Rom 12:1). This clarifies how much of our life is dedicated to God, ALL of it. Christ is our life (Col 3:4).
We are to give a CONTRIBUTION for the helping of needy Saints and for the work of the Church. “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God” (Phil 4:18; cf. Heb 13:15-16). “He that giveth, let him do it with liberality” (Rom 12:8). God loves a cheerful giver (2Cor 8:2; 9:7).
“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Heb 13:15-16).
It’s a spiritual sacrifice to submit to Leaders that God has ordained for the local church, and those that RULE are offering up a sacrifice. “He that ruleth, with diligence” (Rom 12:8; cf. 1Tim 3:1-7). This is further supported in Peter’s letter, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1Peter 5:2-3).
Peter’s letter is just as much about how the Saint INFLUENCES the world. “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1Peter 2:12). This speaks to evildoers converting to Christ through the INFLUENCE of good works done by the saints (cf. 1Pet 3:1).
Paul includes Prophecy or FORETELLING in his letter to the Romans. “Whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith” (Rom 12:6). While there was a miraculous element in the 1st century, we today can FORETELL through the inspired written word. Peter wrote, “according as each hath received a gift, ministering it among yourselves, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God; if any man speaketh, speaking as it were oracles of God; is any man ministereth, ministering as of the strength which God supplieth: that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (1Peter 4:10-11). The future return of Christ is just one example.
It’s a sacrifice to be an INSTRUCTOR or Teacher of God’s word. “He that teacheth, on teaching” (Rom 12:8; cf. 2Tim 2:2).
It’s certainly a sacrifice to have COMPASSION (Mercy) on our fellow man. “He that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Rom 12:8). We have obtained mercy through the blood of Jesus. Ought we not show mercy on others?
EXHORTING (to urge one to pursue some course of conduct) is another important sacrifice. “Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation” (Rom 12:8; 2Tim 4:2). Encouraging brethren to better conduct can be a challenge. For example; “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but EXHORTING one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb 10:25).
Finally, SERVING (ministering) our brethren is a Spiritual Sacrifice to God. “Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering” (Rom 6:7). When we serve the brethren, we serve Christ. Jesus listed some things, “For I was an hungred, … I was thirsty, … I was a stranger, … Naked, … I was sick, … I was in prison… Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when … ? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Acts 25:35-40’ cf. Acts 6:1-7).
These are all matters the individual Christian does through their own lives and homes. Some believe we abdicate these to others. These are OUR SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES. May we all offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
There is a MESSAGE for the world. It’s an important message. Dare I say, it’s a vital message to the survival of the soul? It’s the Gospel.
But who shall take this message to the world? According to the bible, we will, the church. It began with the chosen Apostles, and then was extended to us.
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” (2Tim 2:2)
The Creator of the universe has entrusted us with this vital message. Are we up to the task?
Normal is not up to the task. We’re all familiar with the average man and his hesitancy to perform a task. When given such an assignment, will the regular person say, “Here am I; send me?” No, they will rather ask one or more of these questions:
When should I start?
Where do I go?
Who is the world?
Is that my job?
Do you mean right now?
“As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.”
The Lord wants laborers. “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2)
We are the laborers, each of us have been ‘hired’ for this important taks. “And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” (Matt 20:1-16; cf Matt 25:24-30)
Now back to the command; “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matt 28:19) Let us GO. The rest of this article we’ll look at the two qualities we need when we GO into all the world.
Firstly, we need ourselves to be changed people. Before we can present the Gospel to anyone, we must first be partakers of that gospel. Without GODLINESS it will be near impossible to convince anyone of the good news. You cannot teach the gospel just through a godly life, but it’s impossible without it.
“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1Peter 2:12; 3:16)
“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;” (Phil 2:15)
Many folks have rejected the gospel, the church, and pure religion, simply on the basis of the hypocrisy of its members. Let us GO in all GODLINESS. “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (1Tim 6:11; cf 2Pet 1:1-10)
The second part of this simple command is to be of ONE mind with Christ in all that we do. “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;” (Eph 6:5).
Going into the world to preach does not require a vow of poverty nor for us to quit working (cf. Eph 4:28; 2Thess 3:10; 1Tim 5:8). Living godly lives in our work, our home, and our community gives us opportunity to meet folks and to shine our lights. From there we must have ONE mind with Christ, which is to share the life saving Gospel message. “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (Matt 18:11; Luke 19:10).
We as individuals may not reach them all, but all that we meet may be reached, and if all of us reach then some may be saved. “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Cor 9:22b) Go. You need not go very far. “…behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35)
Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper St church of Christ in Borger Texas. If you live in the Borger area and would like a personal bible study, please reach out & let us know how we can help you know more of God’s word.
The last few years have been a rollercoaster of uncertainty. The reality is, since the fall from the Garden, every year is a year of uncertainty.
“time and chance happens to them all.” [Ecc 9:11b]
Even with all this uncertainty, the Scriptures show us that it’s possible to smooth out the hills and valleys.
As we approach the New Year, many of us will be setting resolutions for 2022. Before we decide on what weight we want, or financial goals, let us consider what Paul told the saints at Thessalonica.
Read 1Thess 4:9-12.
v9-10: “But concerning love of the brethren ye have no need that one write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another; for indeed ye do it toward all the brethren that are in all Macedonia. But we exhort you, brethren, that ye ABOUND more and more;” (emph mine seb)
The first thing we notice is the goal to ABOUND in LOVE. That’s a worthy goal. Faith, Hope & Love are 3 great things, but the greatest of these is Love… [1Cor 13:13]
We start by Loving the Lord thy God (Mat 22:37),
We are to Love Others (Mat 22:39),
We must also Love being Virtuous in keeping God’s commands (1John 5:3; John 14:15),
We ought also Love our Enemies (Luke 6:27).
We ought also to Love His Appearing in the Sky (2Tim 4:8).
v11a: “and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business,”
The second thing Paul writes what we might say, STAY IN YOUR LANE. The word “study” is philotimeomai, and means, eager or earnest to do something: labor, strive, study. [Strong’s Greek Dictionary]
In other words, we are to STRIVE for peace, not to STRIVE with others. This is not to say we should roll over whenever someone teaches error. Rather, it’s about not STRIVING over pointless matters. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you,live peaceably with all men.” [Rm 12:18]. We’re to strive for a quiet life, which means that we won’t be busybodies nor disorderly [Rom 13:13; 1Peter 4:15; 1Tim 5:13; 2Thess 3:11-12]
v11b: “and to work with your hands…”
Part of living a quite life is through working to PROVIDE for the care of our own households. This wasn’t the first time Paul wrote about working to provide for our own; [Eph 4:28] nor was it the last time [1Tim 5:8].
v11c “…, even as we charged you;”
This is not Paul’s own guess work; to live a quiet life is an INSTRUCTION from the Lord. [1Cor 14:37].
v12a “that ye may walk becomingly toward them that are without,”
To live a quiet life ultimately is about our influence toward all. Paul wants us to have a good REPORT from outsiders so that we will not hinder the gospel. This is also a qualification of Elder. [1Tim 3:7; 2Co 8:21; Col 4:5; 1Pet 2:12]
v12b “and may have need of nothing.”
Finally, Paul concludes that we are to EXCEL in these things so that we “lack nothing.” Once you carry your own water, you will appreciate every drop. [Gal 6:5]. This doesn’t mean we won’t need someone’s help sometimes, just that we should be striving so that we won’t need it.
Paul often worked so as not be a burden on others so that the gospel would not be hindered. “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” [2Thess 3:7-9].
As we think about 2022, let us ASPIRE to Abound in Love, to Study to be quiet, as Instructed by the Lord, to have a good Report of outsiders, and to Excel more & more. May God bless us all.
Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin & Juniper st church of Christ in Borger Texas.
When speaking about being compelled, we often think that someone is forcibly moving us to do something we don’t want to do.
God doesn’t do that. We obey God because of our love for Him, and because of our reverential belief in who He is, and what He can and will do.
We do this willingly because we believe Him.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
We’re willing participants.
Another way of saying compelled is with the word motivation. I am emotionally motivated by God’s word. We know the will of God only through His divine word. The Bible has many motivating passages, but I wanted to look at just 6 passages that COMPEL (motivates) me to be a better child of God.
The first is what CHRIST said He will say on the judgment day. “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46; cf. Mat 7:21-23)
Another equally compelling passage is about OBEYING the gospel. “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” (2Thess 1:8; Heb 5:8-9). False teachers claim that there’s nothing a person can do to be saved. But that’s why they’re false teachers.
Moving on to living Godly in Christ, this next passage compels me to do better. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col 3:5). To MORTIFY your members is to kill off sin in your life. That’s serious language. He’s not advocating self-harm, rather he’s illustrating the seriousness of sin.
Within this same chapter, Paul adds details that continue to motivate me to living Godly, “PUT off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” “PUT on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” (Col 3:8-17)
Some wonder why I’m so vocal about the Bible. When we realize our helpless condition, and the salvation only through Christ Jesus, we are compelled to obey the Gospel. Then comes the realization that people you love are lost if they die in their sins. Therefore, I’m compelled to EVANGELIZE to the lost world. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Cor 6:9-11; cf. Mat 28:18-19)
The last, but certainly not the least passage that compels me is actually several; those passages about LOVE. It’s best to read them and let them be their own commentary…
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mat 22:37)
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1John 5:3)
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (1John 4:7-8)
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,” (Luke 6:27)
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1John 2:15-17)