MATTHEW 5:16 - Berean Lamp Memory Verse - (Feb 26-Mar 4)

Posted by Nathan Warner on

The Berean Lamp Memory Verse for this week is:

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

We're finishing up our look at the Biblical idea of work this week with another look at Good Works.

As we've pointed out, God's plan doesn't end with works done to mutually benefit creation. Through His Son, God showed us something new - "good" works, which are done in self-sacrifice for the good of others and often at our own expense. God gives His adopted children good works to do in the world in His name as a better picture of His character - works that demand no compensation, nor desire any praise (although praise should be given to God who gave us good works to do). These works are sacrificial in nature as we give of our substance to those in need and get nothing back, just as Jesus laid down His life in living and dying for the physically and spiritually distressed. These included healing the sick, protecting the vulnerable, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, preaching the Gospel, taking the sin of the world upon Himself to restore mankind to God while they were enemies, etc.

When Believers imitate Jesus by His Spirit, these good works go far beyond creating the atmosphere of security, stability, and reliability that mutual work can accomplish - these good works generate an atmosphere filled with the fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). What does that mean practically? It means that people who fall on hard times or go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death can trust that their neighbors will be a source of genuine love and care, joy in any sadness, peace and stability for them in their turmoil, patience when they share their frustration and pain, kindness for their situation, goodness in all their caring and actions, faithfulness in their presence for them, gentleness in their words and conduct, and self control in handling their vulnerability and "nakedness".

In all these things we are declaring the character of the Kingdom of God in practical ways. We can see this when Jesus sent out His disciples to various cities to preach the Gospel and “heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you’” (Luke 10:9). They were instructed to declare this after they had done a good work for the people in the house - the practical correcting of the physical effects of the Fall (in this case, the broad instruction to "heal" those who are sick). This was a good work from God that represented the nature of the Kingdom of God. Ad this has been the model for Christians ever since - that through good works we would be declaring the character of God's Kingdom, which is the manifestation of the Fruit of the Spirit. Through the Spirit's leading, Believers are to be remedying the suffering caused by creation's slavery to corruption, which is a result of the Fall that all creation is subjected to (Romans 8:20-21) and human sin and unrighteousness which brings the sort of suffering Job stood against (delivering the poor, orphan, and widow from oppression - Job 29:12-17).

These good works that God created through Jesus Christ for us to do have made the western world the most caring and free and hopeful community the world has ever seen. In comparison, many pagan communities rejected people who were suffering as "deserving" of the oppression they were experiencing and any help or aid to them was seen as wasteful or even downright immoral. But the common people saw in the good works of God's children a small glimmer of the Kingdom of God. This glimmer made such a difference in the world that by the late 19th century many people falsely believed that their good works were physically bringing Christ's Kingdom on Earth - today, we know this is a misguided theology known as "Kingdom now" theology or Dominionism. We know these are untrue by the massive uptick in violence and suffering in the 20th century, but more than this, we know from Scripture that Jesus Himself will physically establish His Kingdom on earth when He returns, and not even His Church can do that for Him - He will defeat His enemies and establish His righteous Kingdom on the earth.

Even though we cannot bring Christ's Kingdom on the earth, it remains true that through our good works, the Kingdom of God comes near to our neighbors and they can see through those things a glimpse of the character of God and His Kingdom - a practical picture of things to come and the call of the Gospel to make peace with God through Jesus Christ and inherit that glorious future as their own. So, we should take our conduct as Believers seriously in this mighty ministry God has given us in our lives, as the Spirit directs us.

Let's give God the credit for all His wonderful work in our lives. And let us be earnest to imitate Jesus as we wait on the Spirit for the Good Works God has created for us to do. Let us pray the Spirit produces in us the nourishing and healing fruit that will truly make our neighborhoods a place where we can say, as Jesus instructed His disciples to say to those they helped by the grace of God, "The kingdom of God has come near to you." (Luke 10:9). Amen. Come, Lord, Jesus!


Other verses to consider:

THE BIBLE ON WORK

“For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread” (2 Thessalonians 3:10-13).

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve" (Colossians 3:23-24).

“By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:2).

“For He pays a man according to his work, And makes him find it according to his way” (Job 34:11).

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1).

“Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich” (Proverbs 10:4).

“A worker’s appetite works for him, For his hunger urges him on” (Proverbs 16:26).

“He also who is slack in his work Is brother to him who destroys” (Proverbs 18:9).

“The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, For his hands refuse to work” (Proverbs 21:25).

“But He answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working’” (John 5:17).

“Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you” (Romans 16:6).

“Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord” (Romans 16:12).

“Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward” (1 Corinthians 3:13-14).

“To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure” (1 Corinthians 4:11-12).

“For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one will bear his own load” (Galatians 6:3-5).

“But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need” (1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12).

THANKFULNESS AND WORSHIP FOR GOD'S WORK

“Because they do not regard the works of the Lord Nor the deeds of His hands, He will tear them down and not build them up” (Psalm 28:5).

“For the word of the Lord is upright, And all His work is done in faithfulness” (Psalm 33:4).

“Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men” (Psalm 66:5).

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17).

“He waters the mountains from His upper chambers; The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works” (Psalm 104:13).

“The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:9).


GOOD WORKS

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me’” (Matthew 25:35-36).

“Because I delivered the poor who cried for help, And the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, and I made the widow’s heart sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me; my justice was like a robe and a turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy, and I investigated the case which I did not know. I broke the jaws of the wicked and snatched the prey from his teeth” (Job 29:12-17).

“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Ephesians 2:4-7).

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

“For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14).

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Tags: god, creation, work, rest, good works, labor, beneficial, mutual

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