Thursday, July 11, 2019
In Luke’s version of the sermon on the mount, Jesus spends a substantial amount of time speaking about doing good. But Jesus did more than just talk about it – He did good. When testifying to the integrity of Jesus’ life, Peter proclaimed in Acts 10:38, God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and he went around doing good. Jesus not only preached the good news, but he also practiced it.
For our words to be truly believable they must be substantiated by our actions. In fact, our actions should be the first form of witnessing that the world sees. That is why Jesus spent so much time challenging His followers to do good and charging His adversaries with hypocrisy. People who say one thing and do another are not credible. People who have been transformed by the Spirit of God so that their hearts are filled with the good things of God producing good works are incredible. People like you and me. People who have been touched by the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. People who have been forgiven for their sins. People who have been accepted into the family of God. People who are overflowing with the love of God. People whose actions are the product of the good God has stored up in their hearts.
But for good works to be a truly powerful testimony of the Good News, those works must go beyond what is ordinary and become supernatural. It is ordinary for all humans to do good works. If it were not, then the Scriptures would not tell us that our works of righteousness are as filthy rags. We can all do works of righteousness, but if they are done outside of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, they are worthless. Just look around at all the good that is being done by all kinds of people who respond to human tragedies. Man is capable of doing good.
But for good works to be a testimony to the Good News they must go beyond what is ordinary and humanly possible.
Luke 6:27-36 But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Good works that are the product of the good news will reflect the nature and character of God as modeled in Jesus Christ.
- God’s work will be acts of true love with no “friend or foe” qualification. The ordinary works of the world meet the needs of friends. The supernatural works of God’s people meet the needs of enemies in a spirit of true love.
- God’s work will be done unconditionally, demanding no repayment or reward. The ordinary works of the world are done to people who have the potential to return the favor. The supernatural works of God’s people are done for God with people as the benefactors, so nothing from people is needed in return.
- God’s works will be merciful works, done to the most undeserving. The ordinary works of the world are done to people qualified as those who didn’t deserve to suffer. The supernatural works of God’s people are done to those who deserve to suffer.
As born-again believers in Jesus Christ, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to go around doing good, just like Jesus did. Then when the world notices true good being done, we will have the opportunity to tell them the Good News, and it will make sense to them because they have witnessed the transforming power of God in action.
Let’s spread the good news by doing good.