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The Priority of Doing Good Works

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Pre Missions  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  31:16
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The Priority of Doing Good Works

Galatians 6:9–10 ESV
9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
(ESV) —9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
This verse is a summary of the core of the Christian life. We are created in Christ Jesus to do good works.
This verse is a summary of the core of the Christian life. We are created in Christ Jesus to do good works.
In his book, “Why I Am A Christian”, John Stott gives as one of his reasons the freedom he has in Christ. He put it this way.

“True freedom is freedom to be my true self, as God made me and meant me to be.

But God made me for loving, and loving is giving, self-giving. Therefore, in order to be myself, I have to deny myself, and give myself in love for God and others.

In order to be free, I have to serve. In order to live, I have to die to my own self-centredness.

In order to find myself I have to lose myself in loving.”

This creates a real problem. If we are to become people who do good works, who respond to needs, who are there for people, how do we stop the avalanche of needs that will cascade down on top of us?
A lot of people need help! If you start heading down this road, when you are known as a person who is not weary of doing good, you will find people with needs will seek you out. Most people came to Jesus, not because they wanted to hear the message, but because they needed a miracle in their life and Jesus gave it. They were sick and needed healing, they were hungry and needed food. Jesus often had to get away because the crowds were so large.
We also have a problem in that we have limited time, limited resources and limited energy. We can do something, but we can only do so much.
The Bible lists priorities. We find one mentioned in this passage.
10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Everyone

We are to good to everyone. That is very clear.
(ESV) —27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Luke 6:27 ESV
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
(ESV) —19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Romans 12:19–20 ESV
19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
(ESV) —19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Church

But there is an emphasis or priority on those of the household of faith.
(ESV) —10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
Hebrews 6:10 ESV
10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.
(ESV) —20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
1 John 4:20 ESV
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
(ESV) —20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
Yet, the Bible places a greater emphasis on your own family, your own household.
Yet, the Bible places a greater emphasis on your own family, your own household.

Family

(ESV) —3 Honor widows who are truly widows. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God.
1 Timothy 5:8 ESV
8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
(ESV) —8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
When Paul speaks to Timothy about church leaders, he says,
When Paul speaks to Timothy about church leaders, he says,
1 Timothy 3:4–5 ESV
4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?
(ESV) —4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

God

Yet, before everyone, the church and the family, God takes first priority.
(ESV) —27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Luke 10:27 ESV
27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
(ESV) —37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
(ESV) —37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
We can summarize the priorities in this way.
God is first, followed by family, fellow believers, and those outside the church.
The kind of good works that the Holy Spirit is working to produce are the good works that come from the heart and are part of our character.
Nahum 1:7 ESV
7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.
(ESV) —7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.
God is good. Just as someone can be mean, helpful, merciful or violent, God is good. It is his nature, his character.
God is good. Just as someone can be mean, helpful, merciful or violent, God is good. It is his nature, his character.
God is working in us to make us like Christ. To be like Christ in part means that we will be compassionate towards others and want to help those with needs.
Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(ESV) —22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
It doesn’t say that the fruit of the Spirit is more conversions, a bigger building, greater wealth, healing from disease, answered prayer, or greater understanding of the Bible.
It doesn’t say that the fruit of the Spirit is more conversions, a bigger building, greater wealth, healing from disease, answered prayer, or greater understanding of the Bible.
It does say that when the Holy Spirit is able to do what he wants to do we will love more, have greater joy, experience deeper peace, exercise more patience, be kinder, more good, faithful, gentle, and have a greater capacity to control ourselves.
In other words, we will be better people. We will be better husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, parents, children, workers, and community members. We will not be primarily known for what we are against, but the overall understanding that we are for all people. We are not for all that people do, but we are for the people.
The primary reason we would be like this is because we love God and we love Jesus.
The Christian faith prompted people to go to unknown people groups, build hospitals, put their language into writing, build schools, and provide aid and help to those who were their traditional enemies.
The Christian faith has also restored families, reconciled enemies, overcome deep divisions and provided spiritual strength and help to others.
People who wouldn’t pay their bills started paying them when they became a Christian. People who had no time for family because involved spouses and parents when they came to Christ. People who lived for -themselves started to live in consideration for others when they started to live for God.
God-family-church-world… those are our priorities for doing good. Let’s not be weary in doing good. For in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
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