This is the second blog in the "Church at Work" series. Part 1 can be found here.
Someone asked Jesus the question, “How do we do the work God requires?” To that he answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:28-29) It is in this work that we can perform good works. The Westminster Confession states,
These good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life (XVI, 2-10).
In his commentary on Philippians, James Montgomery Boice states, “We are to act in light and wonder of ‘so great a salvation.’ Good doctrine always leads to practical Christianity. Because God has already entered your life you have his power at work within you. As God works in you, work out your salvation by expressing it in action.” (Philippians 2:12-13) As followers of Jesus we don’t just proclaim the message of the Gospel. We live it out as citizens of the Kingdom of God. We proclaim the Gospel message in both word and deed.
We are all helpers contributing to the Church household. In this, we show how God has given us gifts “for the common good” (1 Cor. 12: 7), and all gifts are needed. None of us is unnecessary or useless. We may even help so often that we might not be aware of it. Listening to someone’s struggles, commiserating with an anxious friend, giving godly advice to a small group member, asking how we can pray. We were meant to live that way. We were meant to walk side by side, an interdependent body of Christians. God is pleased to change and grow us through the help of other Christians. And friends are the best helpers. They come prepackaged with compassion and love. We ordinary people have been given power and wisdom through the Holy Spirit and are called to love others (John 13: 34). With this foundation, we are compelled to move toward others rather than to stay away. We are the ordinary people God uses to help others with the help of Jesus. He also came to serve rather than to be served, and he did it alongside others. As far as we are able, we do this with one another (Ed Welch in Side by Side).
If we all looked after the people in our circle of friends then everyone would be cared for. We could also work through a Navigator Bible Study, for example (by topic or specific book of the Bible) with someone at lunchtime, during the day, or after work. This would create new ministry opportunities and be thirty minutes of very effective discipleship.
We can also use Sunday for ministry to others. According to James Boice again, “We are not justified by works. If we are trying to be justified by works, we are not Christians. But neither can we claim to be Christians if we do not have works.” (Matthew 25:14-30) “Surely, we are missing the boat if Sunday is not a day of spiritual refreshment [and] evangelistic opportunity.” (Romans 14:5-6)
We are the dynamic energy of the people of God. Let’s use the Sabbath for others. Welcome the lonely, encourage those who are down, befriend the friendless. This is how the church works.