Saturday, May 12, 2012

Good Works!

Have you ever really stopped to think about how much the New Testament encourages, exhorts and even commands believers to be actively doing "good works." Now we know Biblically we are not saved by any of our good works but only by faith in the finished good work of Jesus Christ on the cross. But sometimes we can error in extremes and think that any exhortation to be continually doing good works could come off sounding legalistic or like we're pushing a works based salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually the main point is this, before we're saved our lives are often full of our own works and those works are often selfish and bad, but when God saves us, He Himself comes to live inside of us, and live His life through us, and God is full of good works. Actually that's all He does. And so my point is this, if God is really inside of you, your life should be marked by "good works" because a good God inside of you is going to perform good works through you. He wants to reveal Himself to this world through His people. Let's look at some verses.
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God's workmanship, God's "good work" created in Christ Jesus, for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
You see, when we are saved, we officially become a child of God and that is all God's good work in us. But God saves us as His good work, so He can save us to His good works. And those good works He Himself has planned before we ever walk in them. Some then might say, "So, do predestined good works automatically come to pass apart from our will?"
No! For even in salvation God first changes our will to seek and desire salvation. He doesn't automatically save us without first changing our will and hearts.
And so, with good works, they don't just automatically come to pass, on the contrary, bad works happen automatically, good works, according to God's definition of "good works", must flow from the right heart and mind, that comes from a will to seek and serve God.
Philippians 2:12-13 says God works in us to will and DO for His good pleasure.
What determines whether we are doing His good works?
2Timothy 2:19-21- Cleansing ourselves from iniquity makes us fit for the Master and prepared for every good work. This identifies us as Christ's, belonging to the Lord and as an honorable vessel.
2Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that the inspired Word of God is sufficient to make a man of God complete and equipped for every single good work!
Matthew 5- Jesus says to let our light SO shine that others may see our good works and glorify God because of it.
Titus 3:8- Paul says that believers should maintain good works. That means that good works should be a regular consistant part of our lives. And Paul specifically says that Titus is to affirm this constantly with the Church and leaders. So Paul tells Titus to constantly remind and affirm God's people that they are to maintain a lifestyle of good works and that this is profitable to men.
Titus 3:14- then as if he hasn't said it enough, Paul tells Titus to tell Paul's people/ministry team/ or Church fellowships planted by Paul that they too "learn" how to maintain good works, clarifying that they meet urgent needs so that they're not unfruitful. He is saying that being fruitful is meeting urgent needs and maintaining good works.
Titus 2:14 says also on this same point that Christ died to redeemed us from lawless deeds to purify for Himself His own special kind of people who are "zealous" for good works. So we see here a few things:1-we been saved out of bad works/lawless deeds 2-we've been purified by God, our conscience being cleansed from dead works Hebrews 9:14, and our hearts are now made compatible with the works God has called us to, purified for pure works 3- He's made us His own unique kind of people, a people that are significantly different from those who are not His people, and one major distinction is that we are like God in that we are 4- "zealous" for good works, passionate, ever mindful, contemplating and executing good works. We have a zeal for doing good works, as opposed to being excited about lawless deeds and sin.
Titus 1:16 talks of those who claim to know God but deny Him in works, they're disobedient and therefore disqualified from every good work.
Titus 2:7 Paul exhorts Titus to be a good example to the younger men by showing himself in all things to be a pattern of good works. Titus is a powerful book that reminds us that "good works" are to be a given in the life of a true believer. We are to do good works, maintain good works, be a pattern and example of good works, and be zealous for good works. God's Word could not be clearer that those who truly belong to God should be easily identified by good works.
Hebrews 6:1 tells us that a basic elementary principle of the faith is repentance from dead works.
Hebrews 6:10 reminds us that God pays attention and does not forget our work and labor of love we show in His name towards the saints.
Hebrews 9:14 tells us that Christ offered Himself to God through the Spirit and gave His blood to cleanse our conscience from "dead works."
Hebrews 10:24 exhorts believers that on behalf of Christ's finished work for us we should hold fast to the faith because He is faithful to His promises and we should assemble together as believers to exhort one another and stirr up love and good works until Jesus comes again. We are not only called to do good works ourselves, but we ought to be exhorting one another towards good works.
Hebrews 13:16 exorts us to not to forget to "do good" and to share, these sacrifices (the sacrifice of doing good when we might want to do evil or nothing at all, and the sacrifice of sharing when we'd much rather keep to ourselves) these sacrifices please God.
Hebrews 13:20-21 ends the book of Hebrews with a prayer and doxology that the God of peace, who raised Jesus our Shepherd from the dead, through the blood of the new and everlasting covenant would  make us complete in every "good work," working inside of us what is pleasing to Him for His glory!
There are certainly more verses and passages that address this issue, but we get the point.
Are you a Christian? Then your life should be full of good works for God. If your life is not full of good works for God, then my friend, you are backslidden and distracted with the things of this world, or you are not a Christian at all according to the Word of God. Either way, if we fail to be zealous for good works we need to repent and seek God afresh to work in us His priorities, lest on judgment day we stand before God and hear, "That was not well done, and you were not a faithful servant." God help us to help others!
When God saves a person, He changes their heart desires to conform with His heart's desire, and God desires good things. He comes to live inside of us so that he can live through us. He works on our hearts to think right, and then to do what's right. And our new lives in Christ are one long journey of allowing the Spirit of God to work in us and through us good thoughts, good words and good works for His glory! A Christian is "CHRIST IN" us, and Christ in us will show Himself as Christ through us.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Family Pictures April 2012

We thought we'd post a few family pictures since its been a while. Our love to you all!
Just the four of us stickin together

James loves his bike

It only took 10 tries before we could get this picture

huggin tummy

this was this last winter and we went fishin down at the pond

The Taylor boys hangin out

James and Monkey Joe (Monkey Joes is an indoor bouncy house place for kids)

home in the Spring

gotta get another tummy shot

mamma's boy for sure

we went to Carolina Beach for a weekend

the beach is good anytime

our balcony was right on the beach

it was cool and windy

the water was nice

birthday swim-suit

we love him

more beach

finally a warm day to play

James is upset, that guy stole his surfboard... just kidding

oh, how the joy of a child is so refreshing

remember that Old Testament verse that talks about the Canaanites, Moabites, Ammorites, and boys with kites?