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About this series
The Book of Titus
If Christians are “saved by grace,” totally apart from good works, what difference does it make if we Do Good or not? In this series, from the book of Titus, Chip reveals that there are four key reasons why Doing Good matters so much. He also explains how we can become people who habitually Do Good – and the first step begins with who we are, not what we do. According to scripture, Doing Good is not just a suggestion, it is very powerful, and can be costly. Chip encourages us, however, that the price of not Doing Good, can be even more costly. This series clarifies what Doing Good will do in you and then through you, for the benefit of others and the glory of God.
More from this seriesMessage Transcript
Doing good is powerful. Doing good changes the course of people’s lives and as we do good to other people, I don’t know about you, but it does something inside of us as well. Doing good is positive, it’s powerful, it’s rewarding. And in fact, the Bible commands us to do good. But I think we’re living in a day where doing good has kind of fallen on hard times. There’s a couple extremes that keep us from doing good the way God wants us to.
People say, “Well, if it’s by grace that you’re saved, then why do good? God loves me anyway, right?” Then religious people get really upset about that for good reason. And so, they try and correct it with the other extreme. And the other extreme is then, “Well, if you really want God to love you,” then they make it conditional and you need to stop doing these five things and start doing these seven things.
And on these days you always have to do these thing and so you get legalism over here and you get sort of grace that doesn’t have any impact. And so, all the way back in the early Church, these two extremes were troubling and they began to discredit Christianity.
And so, there’s a whole book, are you ready? A whole book in the New Testament written just to help you and me understand what doing good looks like – the “why” of doing good, the “what” of doing good, and the “how” to do good. And what it does for us, what it does for God, and then what it does for other people.
I put some teaching notes, if you want to pull those out, I want to give you a little overview of what it means to do good and as we do, that’s one of those words that has a broad meaning. Webster says doing good is, “The opposite of bad or poor or evil; someone who is good has favorable character.” The word always has a sense of moral purity. And doing good or being good, some synonyms are: it’s productive, wholesome, it enhances, it blesses, it encourages, it helps, it improves, it provides. I mean, it’s good!
The Bible’s definition says: it’s acts designed specifically to benefit others. When we do good works, they are acts that are designed specifically to benefit other people and reveal the characteristics of God.
The apostle Paul, apparently, we don’t have lots of details but he and a young pastor were doing ministry on this island, the island of Crete. A number of people come to Christ and there were a number of smaller cities on this island. And then churches started popping up and there were followers, many of them probably just house churches and some of them were growing.
And so the churches begin to grow but, this island of Crete a couple thousand years ago. They were known for their moral laxness, they were known for their corruption.
And so, the church is beginning to get birthed and they’ve heard this amazing message about forgiveness and grace. But they’re getting pulled back into their old culture. At the same time, a group of people who say, “Hey, we can fix that.” They start making up a bunch of rules and false teachers come in.
And so, Paul writes a very brief letter, three short little chapters, to this young pastor. He says, “Now, we were there. Now I want you to go back and finish the job.” And then he writes an entire book on this issue of doing good, what it looks like, why do you do it?
Notice the three problems that were in the church. And as I read these, they seem to be the three problems in the Church today. Number one, believers’ lives don’t match their beliefs. Believers’ conduct is discrediting their message. And these false teachers are ruining families and destroying the church.
So if you were a non-Christian and you went to Crete and you met many of the Christians there, you would say, “They say they love God and He lived this holy life but, boy, they don’t.” Or they were saying, “You know, you should really investigate what it means to be a follower of Jesus, God has come to the planet, He has forgiven your sins, we’re following Him.” And they say, “Well, you know, when we read about Jesus and when we hear about Him and when we look at your life, this doesn’t add up.”
Sounds a little bit like America. In fact, we have the highest percentage of people ever in America, by the last Gallup report, who say, “I have no spiritual affiliation.” We have a generation of people that are disillusioned with the Church and organized religion, who say, “I’m not against God, I’m not even against Jesus but, tell you what, when I’ve been in church situations and I meet religious people and those who claim to profess being followers, the disconnect is so deep, I don’t trust it at all.”
I had good parents, but they weren’t Christians. I never opened this book until I was eighteen years old and so my parents did what their parents did, they went to a church like their parents took them to. And so I went to a church like that and by the time I was fifteen, what I saw was hypocrisy; people who didn’t take this seriously; they didn’t live it, they didn’t expect me to live it, they said one thing, lived a different way. So by the time I was about fifteen or sixteen I said, “I’m done with God, I’m done with church, I’m done…” I mean, we didn’t use the Bible much, but I thought it couldn’t be any good either. All because people’s lives didn’t reflect what the very words of Jesus taught.
And so, notice his assignment. This young pastor, I mean, I do not envy him, although in some ways I think I’ve kind of got the same job, straighten out the mess, teach sound doctrine, confront error, and transform cities by doing good.
He says, “When faith is real and legitimate and people live it out, the good that they do, they solve the biggest problems in people’s lives, they love people that no one cares about, and literally the gospel and the message is validated by the purity of people’s lives and the concern they have for others by doing good.”
And so, the issue then and the issue now is the same. If in fact we are completely forgiven, have a new standing with God, and are saved by grace, why does it really matter if you do good or not?
And since, I think it’s really fallen on hard times because I think in some ways, even those of us that are really seeking to walk with God, I think there’s sort of an unconscious, at least this is my confession, doing good is important but it’s kind of like icing on the cake. If you do good, you know, great job. But it’s really not required.
And what you’re going to see is, first, look at the structure of this book. Chapter 1 is about doing good in the church. Chapter 2 is about doing good in relationships and he’ll give five specific relationships and define what “good” looks like. Chapter 3 talks to all Christians and says, “When you go to work, when you go work out, when you coach the little league team, this is what it looks like in the everyday, workaday world, this is what it looks like to do good in the world.”
And so the entire book is about doing good and you’ll see that he gives Titus three specific assignments. Let’s just look at chapter 1. I just want to do an overview. Paul says he is an apostle, it’s the longest introduction to any of his epistles. He says, “I’m an apostle, I’m a bondservant, this is from the commandment of God.”
And he’s basically saying, “Look, all my authority is invested in this young guy, and what he has to say comes from God through me, so you better listen.”
And if you’ve been involved ever in a turnaround or a big problem in an organization, you know, a ball team, a franchise, or even a church, if things are going badly and you want to change them, where do you start? Everything rises and falls with leadership.
And so chapter 1 is about, “We’ve got to get good leaders in the church.” So notice in your notes, I just put a highlight, he says, “I want you to appoint elders, leaders in all these different little churches, and by the way, here is what a good leader is, he’s blameless in his marriage in family, blameless in character, hospitable, and then in case you missed it, lover of what is good.”
And then you get these moral qualities, “They are self-controlled, upright, holy, disciplined, theologically sound, and able to guard the truth.” And if you want to fix an organization, you can’t just get good leaders in place. What do you do? You’ve got to get rid of the bad ones!
So it says, “These false teachers, rebuke them! Confront them!” Look at the words. This is non-good. They are deceivers, mere talkers, ruining whole families. They are dishonest. They promote the values and the morality of Crete instead of Christ.
And this will come as a shock, are you ready? As we study this a little bit later, there are people actually using the name of Jesus and saying spiritual things to get rich. Is that shocking or what? I mean, there’s not even TV yet! And he says, “Address that.”
And then notice the summary, after he says, “You’ve got to deal with these false teachers,” he says, “they profess to know God,” their words, “but by their deeds, their actions, they deny Him.” He says, “They are detestable, they’re disobedient,” and look at that last line, “they are unfit for doing any,” here’s our word, “good thing.” So all I want you to know is he is going to address the issue of doing good with the leaders first.
Chapter 2 opens up and he says, “Okay, Titus, it’s one thing to deal with the leadership, now, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to teach people what good looks like in every relationship.
“And so here’s the start. Start with the people that should know the most. Tell the older men, ‘This is what good looks like in relationships,’ tell the older women, ‘This is what good looks like,’ tell the younger women, the younger men, in fact, tell the slaves.”
Because every relationship is a reflection of Christ and the validity of who He is and what He said. Or it discredits Him.
And then after he gives this, right in the center, the second assignment of teaching what is good, we get a theology of doing good.
He says, “For the grace of God that appeared, and that offers salvation to all people, it, this same grace that saves you, it teaches us to say ‘No’ to all ungodliness and worldly passions,” negative, and positive, “to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.”
And then this clause that gives perspective, “While we are waiting for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” and then this qualifying clause, not only is Jesus called “God” here, and our great Savior, but he gives His mission, “who gave Himself to redeem us from,” or out of, “all wickedness to becoming His very own people,” and then notice what kind of people we are, “eager,” or zealous, “to do what is good.” And so the summary is: These are the things that you have to teach.
The third area in this entire book is, “So what’s it look like to do good in the world?” And I hope you’re getting the idea that doing good is more than a little list of good little deeds, “I’m trying to be a nice, little good person.” It’s talking about a mindset and a thought life and a relational aspect where you are literally allowing the Spirit of God to produce a life of Christ and it begins to play out in how you live, how you think, and how you relate inside the Church and outside the Church.
And so doing good out in the world he says, “Remind God’s people to,” here’s what good looks like, “submit to authorities, be ready to do whatever is good, slander no one, be peaceable and considerate, show true humility to all men.” Ooh.
And then he gives the reason that we’re to do good to all and we’ll explore that a bit more when we get to that chapter. And then he gives a theology of not doing good but becoming good.
Because he doesn’t want them confused. He says, “I want you, hey, you do not get saved by good works.” But what he’s going to say is, “It’s by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Spirit; it’s by God’s mercies that you are saved,” and he’s going to make this big point, “doing good doesn’t get you right with God but those who are right with God always end up doing good because of who lives inside of them.”
With that, if you still have your Bibles open, the other thing I did is I started to trace some themes through the book because I want you to get this idea that good has to do with who you are, sort of a godliness and a moral capacity. And look at chapter 1 and I’ll just, I’m just zooming so you don’t have to follow too closely.
Almost lean back and listen to all these words that are repeated about, “So this is what good looks like.” Verse 1, “It’s a knowledge of the truth,” speaking of salvation, “that leads to godliness.” You might circle that word. It’s about being godly or god-like.
And then when he talks to the leaders, listen to these words about what it means to be good in terms of your character. “Be blameless,” verse 5. Skip down two lines, “Be blameless; don’t be overbearing; don’t be quick tempered; don’t be given to much wine; don’t be violent; don’t be pursuing dishonest gain.”
All those are the opposite of being good. And then the opposite of being good are these Cretans, they are liars and evil brutes and lazy gluttons. Nothing is pure.
By contrast, notice, leaders are to love what is good and it’s just the opposite at the end of the chapter, false teachers are unfit for doing anything good.
All I want you to see is he is pounding this home. In chapter 2 you get these same character qualities. Notice an older man is to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, sound in faith, endurance. Those are all character issues.
And then to be reverent. And then to not slander, to not be addicted to much wine, when he speaks of the older women. And then character issues, teach the young women to be self-controlled and pure and to be kind. He says, “Then slaves, don’t talk back, don’t steal, show respect, be trusted, don’t be ungodly.”
And then as you look here, he goes all the way through and says, “Teach them what is good. Be an example,” verse 6, “by doing what is good. A people,” last verse in the chapter, “that are eager to do what is good.”
And then finally we get to chapter 3 and he says that they are to be people who are ready, can you imagine this? It’s like right on the tip of eager and ready to do whatever is good in every circumstance with every person, with every event. This, what he says, is what we need to teach all of God’s people to do.
By contrast, they are not argumentative, they don’t quarrel, they don’t slander, they’re obedient. Have you got the idea that maybe doing good is more than just icing on the cake and trying hard to be a little bit better moral person?
It has to do with your relationship with yourself and integrity; it has to do with how you relate to every person in your home, a roommate, your family, your kids, your neighborhood, and where you work; and it has everything to do, then, with your specific actions that become an agent like Christ that solve the deepest relational and hurting and needs of people around you.
This book is about doing good. And it describes what happens when Christians live like Christians. The transformation that happens through us and the transformation that happens deep inside of us.
Now with that, here’s what I want to do. You’ll notice that there are three assignments, there’s one about the leaders, there’s one to teach about relationships, and the third one here is about God’s people.
But the question, “Why does good really, really matter?” The thesis of his argument is chapter 2, verses 11 through 14. Not uncommon in ancient literature where you have “bookends” and you talk about issues here, you talk about issues here, and often the core of what you want to say is right in the middle of the book.
And so, I want to take the remainder of our time and build the case from what he says, chapter 2:11 through 14, of why doing good matters so much. So I’m on the back page. You ready? If you have a pen you might pull it out because I’m going to give you a little work to do. And here, what you’re going to find, is there are four specific reasons why doing good doesn’t just matter. It matters so much.
Reason number one, doing good reveals God’s passion for people. In fact, you might even put above “passion”, His grace-filled passion, His loving passion is the idea. But Verse 11 says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” When he says, “The grace of God has appeared,” that word “appeared,” we get our word for “epiphany.” And the grace of God, the reference here, is to His incarnation, His perfect life, His love, His resurrection, all that Jesus is and all that Jesus did.
And so what the apostle Paul is saying is, “Look you Cretans! Are you, like, kidding me? The world was dark and the world was without hope. And light burst and the light that came was the very Son of God, fully man, fully God, born of a virgin. He lived a perfect life, He offered His life, He rose from the dead, and there is hope! The grace of God, the hope of all mankind has come, and He offers the forgiveness of sin and salvation and right relationship.”
And what he’s telling them is that your good works either affirm that or deny that. What you do, what I do, the reason that I turned away from Christianity and the Bible and all religion was what I experienced in church. Shining brightly is what God calls us to do.
He says, “You need and I need, in order to shine the light on what is true, let your light so shine, your actions, your good works, let it so illuminate that people could see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Give you a little illustration here, imagine that this little lamp represents our life and when a person places their faith in Christ, Jesus said He is the light of the world, and then He turned and said to His disciples, then and now, “We are the light of the world.”
And when I turn from my sin and receive the free gift of God, I receive the light and it lives inside of me. And that forgives my sins, God is preparing a place for me, I am loved, I am adopted, I have been given spiritual gifts, the Spirit lives inside of me, He is going to then begin to change me from the inside out. This is grace inside of my life.
Now, unfortunately, then and now, sometimes we don’t cooperate with that grace, we don’t take advantage of the means of grace like God’s Word or God’s people or we get busy and sidetracked and we don’t really talk to God and we’re not honest with God.
And so, what happens is our lifestyles are covered. It doesn’t mean that the light doesn’t live inside you, but you just go to work, come to church a couple times a month, read the Bible when you can, when one of your kids is in ICU you pray really deeply. Jesus is a part of what you do and you’re glad and you believe and…
But your character and your relationships and how you live out your faith and how you drive your car and – it doesn’t reveal that.
And the reason I’m so passionate about this and probably God is infinitely more passionate, I grew up around people who said they loved Jesus and told me I should love Jesus and I heard all their little Bible stories. But this is all I saw when I grew up.
And if that is Christianity, if that’s Jesus, if that’s hope, I want nothing to do with it.
Someone said something that really jolted me and it’s true. They said, “Do you ever consider the fact that you are the greatest Christian, at least someone, will ever meet?” Someone at work, someone you know three layers away that you don’t even know them but they know you’re a Christian and they’re watching your life and they’re watching mine.
And so, doing good isn’t optional. Doing good is foundational because our doing good reveals the grace that’s offered.
The second reason that doing good matters so much isn’t simply because we allow others to see the grace of God for their salvation. But doing good reveals Christ’s presence in our lives.
In fact, you might write “presence” and you might even above that write “supernatural.” It reveals God’s supernatural presence. People don’t need to see just good, little, moral, goody two-shoes, trying hard to be a little bit better and moral. He says that when you are in Christ, something supernatural and dynamic happens to your values and your priorities and your life and your relationships.
Look at verse 12. He says, “It,” he’s speaking of the grace of God, does grace save us? Yes. But the same grace inside of us begins to create both the “want to” and the will to transform us.
In fact, the key concept here, it’s very simple, is grace provides life change. Literally, grace produces life change. And so look what it says, “For it,” the grace of God, “teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.”
When the grace of God deposits the Spirit of the living God inside of you and inside of me, it gives us power and a new set of desires to say no to what’s ungodly.
The Cretan lifestyle: lying, cheating, immorality, lack of concern for other people, me-ism, hedonism, I’m the only one that matters. And you say no to worldly passions and the lures, and you say yes, and you say yes to three different things he gives.
And one talks about your relationship with yourself, one is about your relationship with other people, and the third word is your relationship with God. And it says it produces self-discipline. It’s the word, God has not given us a spirit of fear but a spirit of self-discipline.
The Spirit of God begins to allow you to arrange your life in ways that produce the life of Christ. You’re not just pushed here and there by the passions and desires and the feedback in the media of the world.
And then he says you have justly or uprightly, it means you tell the truth to people, you shoot it straight with people, you can be trusted in your relationships at home and at work and in business and in sales calls. You’re upright.
And then finally, godly is your relationship that you live with this reverence of God and rather than fearing what everybody else thinks, you fear, in a healthy, reverent way, what He thinks. And so, what he says is, “This grace,” literally, “when it’s operating in your life the evidence is it produces good works.”
Let me ask you, if you will, I want to read this passage and just turn if you would, to Matthew chapter 7 because according to Jesus, this is really, really big and really important and what I notice about Jesus is He seems to talk about the biggest issues in our lives and the problems they had then and the problems we have now are all the same.
Matthew chapter 7, I pick it up at verse 15. It’s toward the end of the Sermon on the Mount. He is describing what it means to be a follower of His. And we have a warning. It says, “Watch out for false prophets, they come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Question: Well how would you watch out for them? “By their fruit, you will recognize them.”
Then He gives this rhetorical question that, you know, in the day people would go, “Duh, of course.” He says, “Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes?” No. “Or figs from thistles?” Well, of course not. “Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”
And then here’s an axiomatic statement, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” By their outward behavior, by their attitudes, by their time, by how they spend their money, by how they treat people you will recognize them.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will come to Me on that day,” Jesus said, at the end of time they will say, “Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and didn’t we drive out demons, and perform miracles?” I mean, we were religious, man, we were…
“Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; away from Me, evil doers.” I have a huge concern. One of the, I guess, privileges I would call it, maybe the last ten years is I have been in, I don’t know if thousands would be an exaggeration, but at least several hundred churches all over the world.
And whether it’s a denominational church or an evangelical church or a Bible church or a community church or whether it’s a Catholic church or a Baptist church or a Methodist church or a Pentecostal church – we have a rush of people and a throng of people who at least when you look at the visible evidence of their life, of their time and their energy, their morality and their relationships – they live, I mean, zero difference than those that are outside of Christ.
But on a certain day, at a certain time, they raised their hand or they walked down in front of an aisle somewhere or they had maybe a little religious experience, and they intellectually agreed that Jesus was God and they intellectually agreed that He rose from the dead.
And someone said, “Believe that and everything is going to be great.” And they believed intellectually that salvation involves an intellectual, an emotional, and a volitional content where you turn from your sin, the word is “repentance”, and you receive Christ to follow Him.
And what the apostle Paul, this is not new, when he began to look at the lives of the people in Corinth and in other churches, when there was no fruit, he said basically, “Only God knows…” but in 2 Corinthians 13:5, look at this, follow along. He says to these people, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves! Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you?” – unless of course you fail the test.
He’s talking to a group of people whose morality and lifestyles are way away. He doesn’t assume they’re not in the faith. He’s not assuming there’s not a light in here. But he’s saying, “This is all I can see! And if this is all I can see, I’m looking at the fruit, some of you need to really ask, ‘Does this light live in me?’”
Because according to Jesus, if it does, it produces fruit. So I don’t know where you’re at. But I just have this feeling that just scares me. But I think the most dangerous place to be in the entire world would be to intellectually believe, “Oh, I believe in Jesus, I believe He died, believe He rose from the dead, I got a ticket to heaven, I think everything is fine, I live my life my completely own way, I don’t think about God much, I don’t have much desire for His Word, I don’t really want to be around Christians that much, but I believe and I think I checked the box. I’m okay, right?”
What if it’s not? What if you’re one of those people that you say, “Hey, Lord, Lord, I went to that Bible church and when the games weren’t on or when I didn’t have something for the weekends…”
What if He would say, “I never knew you.” And so, I don’t want anyone to do anything other than have an honest talk with God where you say, “If I’m not in, would You show me?” Examine yourself.
When little kids are growing and they love their grandparents, all of my four kids, from little time up through their thirties, have shared Christ with their grandfather.
And if you asked him, “Do you believe?” “Yep! I believe in the Old Man upstairs, Chipper, I think everything is going to be fine.” I mean, there is no fruit. I mean, there’s no concern for his grandkids, there’s no concern for his kids, he’s mean for all the years that I have ever known my wife, he is narcissistic, he has absolutely alienated almost everyone on the planet. I mean, we have been in counseling because of all that my wife has been through. I can say this reverently or irreverently. He’s a jerk and an evil man. But he’d tell me, “Oh yeah, I’m fine. I believe in the Man upstairs.” “Well, do you believe in Jesus?” “Yeah, I believe in Jesus.” “You think He died?” “Oh, yeah, everything.” Zero evidence.
For reasons I cannot understand, and I don’t have time to talk about, he made a genuine commitment and received the grace of God in his life. And to my shame it was like, “I’m going to wait and see this one,” because honestly he’s been messing with my wife and I have dealt with a lot of pain that she has and I have just wanted to take him out. I didn’t have much faith. And then for the first time in thirty-five years that I have known him, he starts to call my wife. He never called her.
And then, he began to care about people. And then he began to ask about my kids. And then he sent a little something for my wife. And now he’s saying, “Thank you.” And all I can tell you, at eight-seven to eighty-nine, dramatic, significant life change. Because good trees produce good fruit and bad trees produce bad fruit.
Why does doing good, why does it matter? It matters because those outside of Christ, they need to see the light to know salvation is real. And it matters because if you have the light, it’ll show up. So you need to examine yourself. This doing good is big stuff in Scripture.
The third reason we do good is because it reveals the priority of our lives, verse 13. Notice after he says, we say no to these things and we say yes, and by the way, that word “it teaches us”, I love that word, just before we go on, “it teaches us”, it’s how a parent teaches a child.
So if you’re hearing, “My life’s not perfect, I wonder whether I’m a Christian,” it’s not saying you’re perfect, it’s says you’re making progress, the leaves are coming out, there’s a little fruit here, a little fruit there.
The grace of God teaches us, it’s three steps forward and two backwards. You have issues, I have issues, we’re all going to have issues until Jesus comes back or you go get to see Him. But it brings about transformation and change that’s visible, that’s real, that’s internal, that’s from the heart.
And then notice it’s while something is happening there’s a focus. He says, “While we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our,” notice how Jesus is described, “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Now, up above, I think I had you circle the word “appearing.” Circle it down here, it’s the same word. And what’s interesting, what he’s saying is, “There was all this darkness and then grace burst and light came into the world,” he says, “There’s an appearing or an epiphany of grace!”
And what he’s saying then is, “When you are in Christ, you’re looking for not just the grace here but there’s a second epiphany and that’s when He returns, the blessed hope, the glorious appearing – it’s when Christ comes back.”
And if you believe that’s true, see, here’s the key concept. Everyone either has an eternal perspective or a temporal perspective. Now, I could ask, you know, like, on a little test, “Okay, multiple choice, are you ready? Do you believe in heaven and do you believe that you will live forever and do you have an eternal perspective?” A) Yes. B) No.
I would guess that about ninety-some percent of all the people in this room would say, “I believe I have an eternal perspective.” And that’s what our minds say and that’s what our words say.
But here’s how you know. If, in fact, there is a heaven and there is a Savior and He’s coming back and He cares about your family and your neighborhood and He cares about the people all around the world and He cares about who shows up at work and what kind of dad or mom or roommate that you are, and you have an eternal perspective, here’s what I will tell you: your time, your energy, your thoughts, and your money will flow to things that last forever, not just things that happen for the right now.
Notice the key concept here is temporal versus eternal perspective. And the apostle Paul, in Philippians chapter 3, after he talked to them he said, “Join together in following my example.” He’s talking about lifestyle, how you live.
“Brothers and sisters, just as you have us as a model, keep your,” notice, “eyes on those who live as we live.” Well, Paul, how do you live? “For as I tell you and often told you before, now and tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ,” he’s speaking to the Church, people in the Church!
“Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame, their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ; who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.”
And so, all I’m saying is, by way of application, be ready. Be ready. God is coming back and my doing good doesn’t just reveal my priorities. They reveal my real priorities.
I’d encourage you to read the passage I put in your notes on, again, Jesus’ teaching out of Matthew 25 where He talks about two sets of virgins and He is giving a picture of the return of a bridegroom and these wedding party virgins. And half of them were prepared and half of them weren’t.
Half of them just brought a lamp and half of them brought a lamp with a jar of oil and they fell asleep and then He came, the bridegroom, when they weren’t ready. And the half were out of oil, they asked for the others’. “Can we have some of yours?” And they said, “No, we won’t have enough.”
And I love this line, I just read this fresh last night, “When they went to buy more oil,” they were off doing other things, “He came.” And then they came and knocked on the door and said, “Hey, we want in now.” And it says, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” See, our doing good reflects my real priorities.
Where my time and my energy and my money and my dreams go reveal my priorities. And so, doing good is profound. Doing good announces the grace of God for others, doing good reveals the grace of God working in me, and doing good talks about this appearing, this epiphany of the Lord’s return for other people.
Finally, doing good, the fourth reason, reveals Jesus’ purpose for our lives. The key concept is you’re His workmanship. It’s interesting, the most classic verse that we quote about, “For by grace you are saved through faith; that’s not of yourselves, it’s the gift of God; not a result of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8 and 9.
Now here’s the purpose clause, verse 10, “For we are His workmanship,” literally His poem, His work of art. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for,” what? “Unto a good work.”
This isn’t just about doing nice little things. The Creator of the universe has a good, unique work that the gifts you have, the family you came from, the circumstances, and the point in history that you are right now, He has something for you to do and something for me to do. Your “doing good” reveals the purpose He has for your life.
Jesus’ last night, He got His disciples together and He said, “Fellas, this is what glorifies God. This is what matters.” He talked about the vine and the branch, the relationship, and then He says, “You producing much fruit,” not some fruit, much fruit. The grace of God, implanting the Spirit of God, that changes a character, that changes relationships, that changes priorities, that changes concern.
You become an agent where the conduit of God’s love and grace flow in you and then through you and it changes people.
Doing good matters. As John Wesley said, “Do all the good that you can to all the people you can as often as you can and as long as you can.”
But here’s the assignment, really, really simple. Each day this week just do good in your home. I mean, just bring someone coffee, say a compliment, do good in your home. Do something good. Just do good at work. And then do good at your third place, and whether that’s the gym or whether that’s where you coach or whether that’s with a group of people you just hang out with or whether that’s a coffee shop.
Just do something good. And here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to start watching, this is just a little experiment, a little ripple of change in people. And here’s what will shock you. You’ll go, “Whoa, that feels good. Because God made you to do good.”