Perfect In Every Good Work

Posted by on Apr 20, 2008

By Pastor Mike Withem

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

April 20, 2008

Sunday Morning

“Perfect In Every Good Work”

Scripture Text: Hebrews 13:18-25

Introduction:

 

A.   As most of you already know, since we launched our new “Spark Of Grace” ministry a few weeks ago, our church has had 7-8 teams of people out every Thursday evening in our community taking what we call the “Official Survey On Religion In America.”

1. One of the questions that we ask on this survey is, “How do you think a person gets to heaven?”

2. Of course, we get all kinds of answers to this question.

3. Some say that the way a person gets to heaven is by LIVING RIGHT.

4. Others say that the way a person gets to heaven is by BEING A GOOD PERSON.

5. Still others say that the way a person gets to heaven is by KEEPING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

6. And so, as you can imagine, we get all kinds of answers to this question, most of which are incorrect.

 

B.   Another answer that we get quite often is this, “A person gets to heaven by DOING GOOD DEEDS.”

1. Now don’t misunderstand what I am about to say, because doing good deeds is very important, however, doing good deeds comes after a person is saved and not before.

2. In other words, God doesn’t save a person because he does good deeds, but rather, a person does good deeds because God has already saved him.

3. You probably don’t remember this, but in Heb. 6:9, the writer of Hebrews wrote these words, “9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.”

4. One of the things that accompany salvation (are evident in a believer’s life after he is saved) is good deeds (good works).

5. The mistake that a lot of people make, when it comes to good deeds (good works), is that they put them before salvation, rather than afterwards.

6. This is truly “getting the cart before the horse.”

 

C.   This morning, as we conclude our study of the book of Hebrews, I want us to focus our attention on the subject of good works.

1. As we look more closely at our text, this morning, especially Vrs. 20-21, there are at least three things that we can learn about good works.

2. Let’s read those verses again, “20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 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.”

3. Notice, first of all,

 

I.       Prescription For Doing Good Works.

 

A.   Notice again the first part of Vrs. 21, “21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will,”

 

B.   I’m afraid that some believers have the attitude that because they were saved on the basis of God’s grace without having to do good works, that good works are not important.

1. Nothing could be further from the truth.

2. The fact is, you cannot possibly be in God’s will (doing God’s will) if your life is void of good works.

3. If you think you can, you are only fooling yourself.

 

C.   Notice that in His Word, God has prescribed good works for every believer.

1. First of all, notice what the Bible says in Eph. 2:8-10, “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

2. This passage teaches us at least two things.

3. First of all, it teaches us that we saved by grace and not by works. (Vrs. 8-9)

4. But it teaches us something else, as well.

5. It teaches us that God has “ordained” (purposed) that after we are saved, that we should do “good works.”

6. In other words, that’s why God saved us, so that we could do good works.

 

D.   Now let’s take a look at 1 Tim. 6:17-18, “17 Charge them that are rich in this world,…18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;”

1. I realize that this passage is addressed specifically to “them that are rich,” however, the admonition applies to all believers, rich or otherwise.

2. After we are saved, God wants us to “do good” and to “be rich in good works.”

 

E.   Now let’s look at one more passage, Tit. 3:8, “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.”

1. To “be careful to maintain good works” simply means to make it a priority in our lives.

2. Not something that we do or think about occasionally, but rather something that we strive for every day of our lives.

3. By the way, I believe that God gives us opportunities to do good deeds every day of our lives, if we will just look for those opportunities.

 

F.    And so, the first thing that we see in our text is the prescription for good works.

 

G.   Notice, secondly, the…

 

II.      Power For Doing Good Works.

 

A.   Notice again Vrs. 21 of our text, “21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight,”

 

B.   While God’s Word makes it clear that He expects us to do good works after we are saved, we must realize that we are powerless, in and of ourselves, to accomplish anything good.

1. Do you remember what Jesus said in John 15:5?

2. He said, “5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

3. And so, we are powerless, in an of ourselves, to accomplish any good work.

 

C.   But someone asks, “How then can we do good works, if we are powerless.”

1. I didn’t say that we are powerless, but rather that we are powerless, in and of ourselves.

2. They key to doing good works (or the key to living the Christian life), is to trust in the power of God and let Him live His life in and through us.

3. Paul understood this truth and alluded to it in his letter to the Galatian believers.

4. Notice what he wrote in Gal. 2:20, “20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

5. Notice also what Paul told the believers in Philippi, when he wrote in Phil. 4:13, “13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

6. Do you see the contrast here?

7. Jesus said, “…without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5), but Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Phil. 4:13)

                   8. And so, the key to doing good works (living the Christian life) is to trust in the power of God and let Him live His life through us.

 

D.   But someone says, “I don’t know, pastor. I realize that I don’t have the power myself to live the Christian life, but living the Christian sometimes is so difficult that I wonder if even God has that much power.”

1. Let me tell you something, we don’t have worry about whether or not God has enough power.

2. Notice again Vrs. 20 of our text, it says, “20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep,”

3. If God had enough power to raise Jesus from the dead, He certainly has enough power to enable us to live the Christian life.

4. This is why we are admonished in Eph. 6:10, “10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”

 

E.   And so, we see the power for doing good works.

1. The power is not in us, but rather in our God.

2. This is why we must let Him live through us!

 

F.    Finally, this morning, I want us to notice the…

 

III.    Purpose For Doing Good Works.

 

A.   Other than being obedient to God, what is the purpose for doing good works?

1. The purpose is also found in Vrs. 21 of our text, notice again what it says, “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.”

2. What is the purpose for doing good works?

3. The primary purpose is TO GLORIFY GOD!

 

B.   Jesus Himself alluded to this in His sermon on the mount.

1. Notice what He said in Mat. 5:14,16, “14 Ye are the light of the world….16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

2. The apostle Peter put it like this in 1 Pet. 2:12, “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.”

3. Now it is true that good works definitely benefit those who are on the receiving end.

4. For example, when we stop to help a motorist in need, that motorist benefits from our good deed.

5. When we give a love offering to help a brother in need, that brother benefits from our good deed.

6. When we share the gospel with an unsaved person and he gets saved, that person benefits from our good deed.

7. And so, good works definitely benefit those who are on the receiving end.

8. However, this should not be our primary motive when it comes to doing good deeds.

9. Our primary motive should be TO GLORIFY GOD.

 

C.   Do you remember what Jesus said just before He raised Lazarus from the dead.

1. Lazarus had become very ill, so ill that it was apparent to his sisters that he was going to die.

2. Martha and Mary sent a messenger to Jesus informing Him of Lazarus’ illness.

3. When Jesus received the message, He said this in John 11:4, “4…This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”

4. Of course, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus benefitted from the miracle, however, Jesus had another reason for raising him from the dead, and that was to glorify God.

5. Again, this should be our primary motive when it comes to doing good deeds, to bring glory to God.

 

C.   This is why the Bible admonishes us in 1 Cor. 10:31, “31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Conclusion:

 

A.   As I conclude, this morning, may I ask you a very personal question?

1. Is your life characterized by good works?

2. If not, at least two things are true.

3. First of all, you are definitely OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD for your life!

4. Secondly, you are definitely NOT GLORIFYING GOD with your life!

5. Now this may not concern you now, but one day, when you stand before the judgment seat of Christ, you will have to tell Him why you disobeyed Him and failed to fulfill the primary purpose for which He saved you!

 

B.   Perhaps you do not know Christ as your Savior.