03 July 2014

Definition of knowing God: Do good by defending the cause of the poor and needy

Do it today
Never walk away from someone who deserves help. Your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor, ‘Maybe some other time,’ or ‘Try me tomorrow,’ when the money is right there in your pocket.
~Proverbs 3:27-28, Message

Use encouraging words
One of Job’s friends, Eliphaz, reminded him that he had ‘strengthened feeble hands and faltering knees. He went on to say that his ‘words had supported those who stumbled’.
~ Job 4:3-4, NIV

Learn it!
Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
~ Isaiah 1:17, NIV
We are to practice a religion of obedience to God, focusing particularly on justice toward people who are exceedingly vulnerable and without ordinary social protection.
~ Study note from New Revised Standard Version, Isaiah 1:17
Our good works will be rewarded
I, the Lord, search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.
~ Jeremiah 17:10, 32:19, NIV
[See also: Psalm 62:12; Romans 2:6; 1 Corinthians 3:8; Ephesians 6:8]

Definition of knowing God
‘Josiah did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?’ declares the Lord.
~ Jeremiah 22:15-16, NIV
To love God fully includes serving those in need.
~ Study note from New International Version, Jeremiah 22:15-16
What does God want?
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
~ Hosea 6:6, NIV
Mercy (Hebrew 'hesed') can refer to right conduct toward one’s neighbor.
~ Study note from New International Version, Hosea 6:6
God's requirement
What I require of you is to act justly, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with me – wherever I lead.
~ Micah 6:8, NIV

God made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love.
~ Micah 6:8, Message
This is the most memorable statement in the Old Testament defining a proper relationship with God. Acting justly and loving mercy or kindness is the kind of obedience God expects from his people.
~ Study note from New International Version, Micah 6:8

Don’t look for big things
Jesus took a towel and began to wash the disciples’ feet. 
~ John 13:3-5, NIV
This was a menial task normally performed by a servant.
~ Study note from New International Version, John 13:3-5
The great hindrance in spiritual life is that we will look for big things to do.
~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
God's command
This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. 
~ John 15:12-13, Message

Persist in doing good
God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, he will give eternal life.
~ Romans 2:6-7, NIV
Persistence in doing good is proof of genuine faith.
~ Study note from New International Version, Romans 2:6-7
Faith expressing itself
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
~ Galatians 5:6, NIV
Faith is not mere intellectual assent, but a living trust in God’s grace that expresses itself in acts of love.
~ Study note from New International Version, Galatians 5:6

Do not grow weary
Let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. Don’t give up or quit. Every time you get the chance, work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith. 
~ Galatians 6:9-10, Message

Created to do good works
We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
~ Ephesians 2:10, NIV

We are to join Jesus in ‘the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing’. 
~ Ephesians 2:10, Message
Works are to faith as exhaling is to inhaling. Good works are not what we do to win salvation; they are what we do to demonstrate and enjoy it.
~ Study note from New Revised Standard Version, Ephesians 2:10

Pour yourself out for others
Get out there and run on the road God called you to travel, steadily pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love. 
~ Ephesians 4:1-2, Message

God’s extravagant love!
Keep company with God and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. The good, the right, the true – these are the appropriate actions. Figure out what will please Christ and then do it. Make the most of every chance you get.  Make sure you understand what the Master wants. 
~ Ephesians 5:1, 9, 10, 16, 17 (Message)
We are to live for the sake of others.
~ Study note from New International Version, Ephesians 5:1

Prefer others
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
~ Philippians 2:3-4, NIV
Christian love sees others as worthy of preferential treatment.
~ Study note from New International Version, Philippians 2:3-4
As our hearts and minds are directed away from self and toward others in the practice of attentive, humble service, we begin to identify with one another.
~ Study note from New Revised Standard Version, Philippians 2:3-4
Be zealous for good works
Jesus gave himself for us that he might purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. 
~Titus 2:14, New Revised Standard Version

  • zealous of good deeds, King James
  • eager to do what is good, NIV
  • real enthusiasm for doing kind things for others, Living
  • totally committed, New Living

Real religion
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress. 
~ James 1:27, NIV

Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight.
~ James 1:27, Message

Faith and good deeds go hand in hand
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.  
~ James 2:15-18, NIV
Genuine faith will produce good deeds.
~ Study note from New International Version, James 2:15-18
You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove. 
~ James 2:18, Message
“We shall be judged according to our works. This is why we are exhorted to do good works. Grace and active obedience are complementary. There is no faith without good works, and no good works apart from faith.”
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German pastor and theologian (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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I've been using a reading schedule to read through the Bible again this year. Many themes stand out - one of which is ‘doing good’. The scriptures above are included among those I've collected so far. 

I hope you'll take a moment to listen to this classic song. The lyrics are based on Ephesians 2:10.

If You Love the Lord, by Keith Green
    (sung by Jason Jacobs)

If you love the Lord, you will love His will for you.
Instead of questions why, there'll be praise for all he brings you through.
And if you love the Lord, you will love His holy commands.
Delight yourself in them, and everything you do will surely stand.

We are His workmanship, created for good works in Christ.
He calls us to offer up ourselves a living sacrifice.

Well if you love the Lord, his discipline you won't despise.
Cause it will prove to you, that you're a child in His eyes.
And if you love the Lord, you'll seek His face with all your heart.
And even when you're old, from His Holy place you won't depart.

We are His workmanship, created for good works in Christ.
He calls us to offer up ourselves a living sacrifice.

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It's my desire, Lord, that my life will be characterized by good works.
Good works that flow out of my love and obedience for you!
Good works that will bring you glory and honor!

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The only thing that exceeds right-doing is right-being.
~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

In light of Oswald Chambers' comment, see this post on 'Planned Neglect'.


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