Engaging in Good Deeds

Helping Hand

In Paul’s letter to Titus, he discussed several things related to the young evangelist’s work and what he was to teach. One of the points that Paul emphasized was the importance of engaging in good deeds.

Several times in the second half of the letter, the apostle mentioned “good deeds” and what Titus was to teach regarding them. In this article, we are going to look at what Paul wrote as this is just as necessary today as it was then.

Learn to Engage in Good Deeds

Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14).

The first step in learning to engage in good deeds is to learn what constitutes a good deed. Thankfully, God has not left it to us to determine this since we are incapable of doing so on our own. Jeremiah said, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). Good works have been defined in God’s word. We know this because the Scriptures have “equipped [us] for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Therefore, if we want to “learn to engage in good deeds” (Titus 3:14), we must go to the word of God.

As Paul explained to Titus, Christians are expected to practice what is good in order to “meet pressing needs” (Titus 3:14). In this particular context, Paul was discussing hospitality; but the application can apply to many things. When there is a work that needs to be done, we must learn to meet these needs. Paul wrote elsewhere, “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). We must focus on the opportunities that are before us so that we may be “bearing fruit in every good work” (Colossians 1:10).

Careful to Engage in Good Deeds

This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men” (Titus 3:8).

It is possible to want to do good, know that God’s word shows us what is good, and still do wrong. How could this happen? This can be done by not being careful to make sure we are doing what is right. The word translated “careful” means “to exercise thought” (Strong’s). In other words, we must think about what we are doing, rather than carelessly doing whatever comes to mind, so that we can do those things that the Scriptures define as good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Paul told the brethren in Colossae, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17). This means we must do what He has authorized us to do in His word. Furthermore, we must be careful that we are doing so. Unfortunately, many are not careful. Jesus described these individuals toward the end of the Sermon on the Mount: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:22-23). They will assume they are doing right when they are not. We need to be careful that we are not in that group.

Ready for Every Good Deed

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed” (Titus 3:1).

This carries with it the idea of preparations being made for something to happen. When Jesus told the parable of the wedding feast, He described the invitation: “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast” (Matthew 22:4). An event like this was not something that could be successfully hosted at the drop of a hat. It took much time in planning and preparation for this to happen.

In the same way, there are many times in which we need to prepare ourselves so that we can take advantage of opportunities to do good:

  • In order to be ready to provide help to others, we prepare by working “so that [we] will have something to share with one who has need” (Ephesians 4:28).
  • In order to be ready to teach others, we prepare by studying the word of God (2 Timothy 2:15). The desire to “be teachers” does no good if we “do not understand…what [we] are saying” (1 Timothy 1:7).
  • In order to be ready to assemble with the saints, we prepare by planning our schedule and prioritizing our time so that we can be there to encourage our brethren (Hebrews 10:25).

In examples like these, we need to plan and prepare ahead of time – before the opportunity arises to do good – so that we are ready to perform the necessary good deeds.

Zealous for Good Deeds

Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14).

Since Jesus has “all authority” (Matthew 28:18), He has the right to command us and we have an obligation to obey Him. However, He does not force us to do so. Shortly before His death He lamented over Jerusalem: “How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matthew 23:37). He allows us to choose whether we will serve Him or not. In choosing to serve Him, He also does not want us to do this “grudgingly” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Jesus proved to be zealous to do the Father’s will and save us by dying on the cross. He said, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father” (John 10:17-18). The proper response to His willing sacrifice for us is to have an earnest desire to do His will and be “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:13-14).

An Example of Good Deeds

In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine…” (Titus 2:7).

Paul connected this with Titus’ work in preaching: “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). As he would do this, he was to be “an example of good deeds” (Titus 2:7). Paul gave Timothy a similar instruction: “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:12). This was to be done “in all things” so that others would listen to him.

We are going to have an influence on others – either for good or bad. Therefore, we need to consistently show an example of good deeds. Peter wrote, “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12). Others will be looking for a reason to “slander [us] as evildoers,” but we must not give them a legitimate reason to do so. If we fail to do this, others will see us as hypocrites and will be turned away from the gospel. Therefore, we must be sure that we are setting the proper example before others.

Conclusion

The Lord wants His people to engage in good deeds. To do this, we must learn what is good, be careful to obey His will as He has revealed it in His word, prepare ourselves to carry out His will in various areas of our lives, be zealous for good deeds, and show ourselves as an example of good deeds to others. If we will do these things, we will be pleasing the Lord.


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