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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

DO GOOD AND COMMUNICATE

Hebrews 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Christians are required to make sacrifices. In the verse preceding the lesson text, the writer of this letter to Hebrew Christians, told them, and tells us today, that we must offer the fruit of our lips as our sacrifice to God.That is, we must continually sacrifice by worshiping Him with our praises of adoration and thanksgiving. Here, we are also told that our worship toward God is acceptable only if offered by Him, that is, through His Son, Jesus Christ. We are assured of this in Jesus' answer to a question posed to Him by His apostle, Thomas. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me (John 14:8).Indeed, Jesus Christ is the mediator of the prayers and praises offered to God; it is through Him that we offer the fruit of our lips,as a sacrifice to our heavenly Father.

Our lesson text tells us of other sacrifices for which God is well pleased. Christians are to always make this sacrifice: to do good and to communicate to other fellow human beings, during our life here on earth. Stated another way, God is displeased when we fail to recognize and take advantage of opportunities that arise, to demonstrate our love and concern for others - whatever their need may be. Opportunities to do good deeds for others arise at all times; they are ever with us. It is our duty to constantly be aware of the needs of others, and to fill that need to the best of our ability. With this sacrifice, God is well pleased.

Words of comfort and consolation, words of sound counsel and advice, and words that teach the hope of salvation to the lost, are always Christian obligations. But the sacrifice often overlooked is to communicate good deeds, that is, to perform and carry them out with positive actions, to fill the physical needs of others. James tells us that faith without works is dead. It is not sufficient to say to those that are in need of clothing, be ye warmed, or to those that are in need of food, (be ye) filled (See James 2:14-16). There is no benefit unless we communicate, that is, to render good works, to those having such physical needs. This was the exact teaching of Paul to his fellow laborer, Timothy, when he wrote, Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate (1 Tim. 6:17-18). God will see sacrifices such as these, and God will be pleased.

Paul continues to say that such deeds will serve as a foundation against the time to come, and will help Christian workers lay hold on eternal life (Vs. 19). Christians do not offer the sacrifices of good deeds as atonement for past sins. One's good deeds does not offset one's sins. Only the blood of Jesus Christ remits sins. Initially they are forgiven by being baptized for the remission of past sins. Afterwards, our heavenly Father, through sincere and continual confessions, forgives them by the prayers of a contrite heart. We are to offer our sacrifice to God, by doing good deeds for the benefit of others. This is what God wants us to do, and, when we do, we are pleasing in His sight. Christians need to be obedient children of God, and the apostle John tells us, He that doeth good is of God (3 John 11b).

Jesus told us, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, but He didn't stop there. He followed this by telling us, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (See Matt. 22:37-40). To tell God we love Him is not sufficient; our love for Him must be demonstrated with love for others. To this teaching, John adds, And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also (1 John 4:21). If we love others as God wants us to, we must recognize their need, whether it be spiritual or physical, and to fill that need to the best of our ability. In most cases, doing good deeds is not easy - it is a sacrifice on the part of the Christian. But it is what God requires of His children. To sacrifice is to give up something of value, such as a portion of our time and our possessions to fill the need of others. We are not to forget to do so. And when we give to others in need, with love in our hearts, we are assured that God is well pleased.

The apostle, Paul, in his letter to the churches of Galatia, wrote this: As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10). When the opportunity to do good arises, and is recognized by a Christian, it then becomes an obligation. We are not to wait for a convenient season to do good, rather we are obligated to do good when the opportunity presents itself. Christians will always have sufficient opportunities to do good and communicate. God will supply the opportunities; we will please God when we supply the good deeds to satisfy them.