The Blessings of Ministry

Eph 2:9 -10

Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. NLT

As Baptists we emphasize grace often above works. And with good reason. A very large portion of church goers today when asked why they think they are going to heaven will refer to good works or obeying the ten commandments.

I had the boys yesterday as we were at the state fair. We passed a Christian booth and all the boys wanted to see what was going on. They people were giving a two question test to see if you were going to heaven. The first question was do you think you are going to heaven. All the boys checked yes. Then there was a list of about seven items to check as to why you thought you were going to heaven; I attend church regularly. I obey the ten commandments. I believe in God. I try to do the best I can. And finally Other: with a blank behind it. Most people will check most of the multiple choice answers. But they are all wrong. It is a trick test for the answer is not on the board. Even believing in God is not good enough. For James say that the demons believe and tremble. Accepting Jesus as your Savior is the only correct answer.

Paul tells us that salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done. If it was then we could boast in our salvation. Good works are a part of our salvation but only after we are on our way to heaven.

But there is a downside to this. Many people saved by grace never get involved in active good works. They pay their bills, never say bad things about others, try to treat everyone fairly, but those things are kind of passive. They just happen.

Some groups teach their people that unless they do good works they will not get to heaven. Sad to say but they often have greater success in getting people motivated. One group trains their people to go door to door and sell their magazines. They believe that if they do not do that then they will not be accepted by God. So very faithfully they go at it week after week. Tragically they seldom come to understand that acceptance with God cannot be earned by weak sinful creatures like us. It was bought and paid for when Jesus died on the cross. The only thing we can do is to believe in the record given to us in the word of God and to trust in the saving power of Jesus' sacrifice.

So then good works are necessary for us to be acceptable to God but good works are a sign that we have been made acceptable to God. James says that if your faith does not cause you to work then your faith is a dead faith. He said, "you show me your faith without works and I will show you my faith by my works." The truth of the matter is that good works are the only way to show others that our faith is real, genuine.

But beside all that there are benefits or blessings of good works, of ministry.

  1. We get to be like Jesus.
    1. He went about doing good.
    2. He came to serve not to be served.
    3. He came to give His life for others.
    4. Self sacrifice to fulfil God's will.
  2. We get to bring praise to God because of what we have done.
    1. David was told that he had given great occasions for the enemies of God to speak evil against God.
    2. On the other hand every time the Apostles work miracles and other good works in the book of Acts the people glorify God.
    3. Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. NKJV
  3. Those who fulfil God's ministry in their lives have peace and satisfaction
    1. A life filled with purpose.
    2. A life filled with gratification to see what is done for others.
      1. If we spend our lives filling our own wants and desires we will not find peace.
      2. Show me someone rich who died happy and fulfilled.
    3. I can so you hundreds who died penny less but with full satifaction.
  4. There will be eternal rewards for faithful ministry.
    1. Rev 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from all their toils and trials; for their good deeds follow them!"NLT
    2. A story is told of Teddy Roosevelt returning aboard a ship from one of his great safaris.
    3. Matt 25:21 The master was full of praise. 'Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!' KJV
    4. You heard about the farmer who didn't believe in God. He wanted to show his Christian neighbors that there was nothing to their religion. So there was this one field that he planted on Sunday. Worked it on Sunday and picked in on Sunday. Then he told them that it had produced just as good a crop as the rest of his farm. But when he told the local pastor what he had done, he said, "You need to remember that God doesn't settle all his accounts in October."

 

 This message was preached at FBC Toulon,

by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com  

Matthew 26:10 But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. NKJV

Mark 14:6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. NKJV

John 10:32-33 Jesus answered them, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" The Jews answered Him, saying, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God." NKJV

Acts 9:36 At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. NKJV

Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. NKJV

2 Corinthians 9:8 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. NKJV

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; NKJV

Colossians 1:10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; NKJV

1 Timothy 3:1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. NKJV

1 Timothy 2:10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. NKJV

1 Timothy 5:10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. NKJV

1 Timothy 5:25 Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden. NKJV

1 Timothy 6:18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, NKJV

2 Timothy 2:21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. NKJV

2 Timothy 3:17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. NKJV

Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. NKJV

Titus 2:7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, NKJV

Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. NKJV

Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, NKJV

Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. NKJV

Titus 3:14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful. NKJV

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, NKJV

Hebrews 13:21 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. NKJV

1 Peter 2:12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. NKJV