How to Work the Good Work
Are you truly doing the good work of the Lord? Today’s sermon takes a look at what’s going on in America and asks the question of whether or not Christians are truly doing the good work of the Lord.
For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. – James 1:20-21 NKJV
Today, I tell you that I am quite confused. So many people want and are “doing” the “work of God”. Everywhere you look, somebody is supposedly doing the Lord’s work. Yet, today I can tell you that these people are confusing me! I am confused by the yield of their harvest. Do you get what I am saying today? If not, let me further explain my confusion just a little bit.
When the farmer tills the soil, fertilizes, and plants seed, he hopes for a good crop. The farmer then waters that seed still in the hopes that his hard work will produce a good crop. Farmers have come up with a myriad of ways of preventing either drought or even freezing temperatures from harming their crop all because they want a really good harvest, no matter what.
We, as believers, are sowers of the seed of Jesus Christ. We sow the name of Jesus Christ wherever we go. I would think and believe that work done in the Lord’s name would yield good fruit; not fruit that is bitter and not ripe, but a fruit that is sweet and ripe! Yet, when I take a look around at all the bitterness, the hate, and the anger that is in our country, I begin to wonder what kind of work are we doing?
You may say, “preacher, why do you blame the Christians? How do you always know that it is Christians that’s behind the anger, the hate, and the cause of divisions?” Its actually not hard to tell, to be frank. These people tell you that the believe in Jesus and are actually doing the work of God! In recent weeks I have heard the president, people running for senate seats, others who are professed believers flat out condemn people to hell based on their own judgment.
The hate that I have witnessed, a lot, comes from those that are supposed to be followers of Jesus Christ. I must also say, when you take a look back into history, recent and well into the past, you will say that many people have moved about in their anger and hate in the name of Jesus.
The Crusades were a religious war fought by one side in the name of Jesus. The permittance of slavery and the creation of laws that created division was also supported by those who were in church every Sunday! Even today, the relentless denial of the inequality in this country by those who thump their bibles and are in church every Sunday is absolutely baffling; it makes you wonder, do they have faith in the same Jesus as I do?
How is this possible? Do we as followers of Jesus Christ really believe that He would stand on the side of creating divisions? Do we really believe Jesus Christ would stand and move about in anger and hate against those not like Him? I cannot believe that Christ would support such actions! Jesus is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
If you are doing the work of God: how is it possible that the work of God can create the anger and the outrage that we now see in our nation and in the world today and in the past? Some people really do believe they are doing a good thing, but I cannot seet it! I feel that many poeple that are out here “doing the work of God” are not doing the good work of the Lord!
How do we insure we are working the good work?
Scripture says (James 1:21): “lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness.” In the verse prior we see James, our writer, say “the wrath of man does not produce righteousness.” So, before you can truly do any work that will work righteousness, you must flush out all the filthiness and wickedness from within you!
We must then learn what was considered to be the filthiness and wickedness. I could tell you what is wicked and filthy, in my opinion, but I want to take a look at scripture today so that you don’t believe preacher is simply preaching old rhetoric. The apostle Paul had something to say about this very idea. Paul said (Colossians 3:8) that we must put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, and filthy language out of the mouth.
I always knew that I wanted to be a preacher when I was growing up. Years ago, I decided that I was going to have to let go of some certain words. You see, it is not just cussing but there are very hateful and abusive things that we can say to one another that do no good. (People always believe it is only the swear words they need to clean up but it is more than that). People laugh at me nowadays when they find out that I don’t often cuss, and that I don’t drink any alcoholic beverages, but that is fine to me, I don’t mind the laughing.
Paul also added (Colossians 3:9), “do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man and his deeds.” Therefore, because we have professed our faith and have accepted Christ and His ways, the lying and conniving should be buried! Do you understand this? You are a new creature, therefore those ways (the ways of the world) should be removed!
You cannot produce any righteousness if you still hold on to that lying and conniving tongue! If malice and evil intent is still part of your ways, you cannot work the good work of God! If you are full of anger, wrath, and hatred you should not expect that you are going to produce any righteousness. You cannot be talking about you are doing the work of God but be so full of this kind of mess!
True good begats righteousness
However, I look around, here in America, and see one at the throat of another. I see injustice; I see hate; I see divisions all across the board with this nation’s leader seemingly at the forefront of creating divisions. I am told, however, he is doing the Lord’s work! How can the roughteousness of God come from a place of hatred and evil intentions? The very idea just does not make much sense to me; it doesn’t add up!
People, our very neighbors, have been in need of a helping hand and we want to now apply a price tag to offering a hand of help? I don’t know about you, but that infuriates me! Jesus did not charge for healing the lepers! When the blind could not see, Jesus did not walk up to them and ask them, “how much you going to give me to heal you?” Jesus healed the sick, the blind, and the lame and did not offer one invoice!
How is not lending a helping hand to a stranger, good work or the work of God? If you are capable of helping, you help! I do not understand how one that is supposed to be a follower of Christ can be so filled with hate. All week I have also been asking myself, how can somebody be so filled with anger and hate? I then find myself asking, how can people follow others that are filled with such anger and hate?
Jesus’ teaching is the complete opposite of anger and hate. Jesus says (Luke 6:35), “the Lord is even kind to that are unthankful and evil.” In the very next verse, Jesus says, “be merciful just as the Father.” For us to work a good and righteous work, we must understand this kind of love; we should strive to learn and then use this kind of love! If we are incapable of learning and using this kind of love, then what is the point of following Christ in the first place?
Jesus taught that we should love one another as He has loved us – love your enemies! I have witnessed that there are many people who seem incapable of loving others that are not like them; they simply choose not love people who are not like them. You cannot be a servant of the Lord and be incapable of expressing the Lord’s love; it just doesn’t work that way.
Before we can do the work of God, we must know His way which is a way of love. Those that are calling themselves servants of the Lord, but are hate filled – let it go!