Why we should offer to God sacrifices of good deeds.
This continues the series, helping us to consider the value of our sacrifice and why this leads to success in this world and the next
“Doing good” is a general term for all kinds of practical ministry to others, whereas “sharing” (Greek = koinonia) means sharing the essentials of life with those who lack them and are unable to work to obtain them (2 Thess. 3:10). The Bible is clear that religion that is only God-ward and does not extend in practical ways to others is phony.
James 1:27 states, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James goes on to say (2:15-16), “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?”
The apostle John echoes this (1 John 3:16-18), “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” Jesus taught the same thing when He said that when we feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty, when we invite in the stranger and clothe the naked, when we visit those who are sick or in prison, we are really doing it to Him (Matt. 25:35-40).
The Greek imperative, “do not neglect,” implies here (as it did in 13:2) that some were neglecting this duty and needed to stop doing so. Our responsibility is primarily to fellow believers, but it does not stop there. As Paul wrote (Gal. 6:10), “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” I confess that in our modern world, where we know instantly about needs around the globe, it is not easy to know how much to give and to whom to give. But we should not let that stop us from being “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). Our text makes one last point:
4. God is pleased with our sacrifices of praise and good deeds.
“Such sacrifices” refers both to our sacrifices of praise and of good deeds. If we offered them apart from Christ, they would be a vain and offensive attempt to commend ourselves to God. But when we offer them through Christ, God is pleased with them. The aim of our lives should be to please God out of love for Him. Paul prayed for the Colossians, “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10). He also explained (2 Cor. 5:9), “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.”
We should live every day with the realization that one day we will stand before Him. We should live so that we will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful slave… enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:23). If through Christ, we continually offer to God sacrifices of praise and good deeds, we will rejoice someday to hear those words from His lips.
God created you for the purpose that you would live to glorify Him by enjoying Him forever. How do you do that? By living in a manner pleasing to Him. How do you do that? By coming to faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood as the only way to be reconciled to the holy God. Having trusted in Christ, you please God by daily offering your life to Him as a sacrifice of praise and good deeds.
Here are some ways to put this into practice:
(1) Steep yourself in the Psalms. The Book of Psalms is filled with praises to God. Turn the psalms into yourpraises as you pray them back to God.
(2) Get a hymnal, learn, and sing the great hymns of the faith. If you don’t know the tunes, there are some wonderful recordings available.
(3) Look for opportunities to serve, rather than expecting to be served. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). There are many needs in this church, as well as in our community, to do good and to share. Give regularly to our SOS fund, which is used to help the needy. The Sunshine Rescue Mission and Hope Cottages (for homeless women) are ministries that need workers and givers.
(4) With George Muller, make it your first business of every day to find delight and joy in God. Your chief end is to glorify Him by enjoying Him forever!
- Why is it absolutely essential to realize that you cannot come to God by your good works?
- How can we truly praise God in the midst of severe trials? Should we praise Him even if we don’t feel like it?
- With unending needs in the world, how can we know where to direct our service and monetary gifts?
- Why is our joy in God inseparable from glorifying Him?