Creflo Dollar - The Conditions For Acceptable Good Works - Part 1
Now this is going to open your eyes to a lot of things we've seen in church, churches and religion. You must understand in order for your works to be acceptable to God, it cannot be motivated by fear. Fear is a false motive. Fear is a sinister influence, often offered as a motive for Christian conduct. So, forever, Christian people have been under the motivation of fear to do good works. "I am afraid and I am in fear, and that's why I am doing these good works". Huh, wow. The fear of God's vengeance on the day of judgment, that's been used, the fear I'm seeing it right now. The fear of God's vengeance on the day of judgment. "Oh, I better get busy". The fear of being lost. "Oh, I gotta make it to heaven, do some good works".
The fear of being forever cast out by God unless certain standards of life are met. Look at that, you're being motivated to do good works. And we've heard it preached. This is how I got saved. I hate that I missed the beauty of getting saved, but this is how I got saved. I went in a parking lot and I saw a movie called... What's the name of that movie, baby, that's hell? "The Burning hell". And I saw the movie "The Burning hell," and it scared the hell out of me. And when they had the altar call, I ran up and I got saved 'cause I didn't want to go in the burning hell. I missed the beauty of God's love and how he died for me and how he loved me so much that he gave his life up for me, and that he committed to to produce in me the life that he expects from me.
And I missed the beauty of all of these free gifts and all of these things that he's done without none of my good works. Because fear became the motive for me to get saved, to start doing the good works. I better show up at church on Saturdays. I gotta, you know, I gotta cut the grass when... I was a Hebrew Collipark slave, 'cause, like, I don't know about what all these other people doing, but I got to get into heaven. And this was how I was going to make it in. Fear is gonna become my motivation to do good works. And all of these were manmade. Motivating people by saying, you know, God's vengeance on the day of judgement. Now, you know, there will be vengeance on the day of judgment, but that's not supposed to be used to motivate you to do good works.
You know, there'll be some people that'll be lost, but because they didn't accept Jesus, but that shouldn't be used to motivate you to do good works. There are folks that'll be cast out, not by God, but they'll be cast out because of their rejection of Jesus Christ, but it shouldn't be used to motivate good works. These are all man-made, and they're being maintained even today. Now this may take the form of fear of supposed punishment or purging as a condition for final entrance into heaven, and then use that as fear to do good work. This motive of fear is used to restrain persons from doing that which is wrong and to encourage good deeds. The motive of fear. I'm gonna use fear. I'm gonna use fear to try to get you to do good.
Oh Lord, I'm gonna use fear to try to get you to be holy. And this motivation of fear is also used not only to do good deeds, but also to make contributions to the church. I'm gonna use fear to get you to do good deeds. I'm gonna get you, I'm gonna use fear to get you to show up at church. I'm gonna get you to... I'm a use fear to get you to, "You need to give your money now or you gonna be cursed with a curse," Malachi 3, the greatest weapon that's ever been used in the pulpit to use fear as a motivation, "If you don't tithe, you gonna be cursed with a curse. And if you don't give no money, you gonna be..."
Now, you heard me this morning, giving is good but not being motivated to give out of fear. Are y'all hearing what I'm saying? Not out of fear. While not always so recognized, all of this that I've mentioned is called appeasement. It's called appeasement. Let me give you a quick definition for that. It means to relieve or to satisfy a feeling or a demand. To relieve, I'm gonna use fear to relieve or to satisfy a feeling or demand. Here's an example, we give because it appeases our guilt. We give because it appeases our guilt. So what's happening is you're doing something grudgingly, but not out of liberty. You're giving it, not voluntarily, and I'll show you that in a moment.
Fear is the dominant motive in the world's religion because these know nothing people who use fear to motivate folks, and if you allow yourself to be motivated by fear, you really don't know anything about the love of God that is in Christ Jesus and the grace of God and the mercy of God. But fear is often a motive in the lives of a lot of Christians around the world and in the body of Christ who do not fully understand this grace and this love and this mercy. Fear is a desire to avoid or to flee from that which causes harm. So fear is being used. And I'm gonna use fear, and you think, "Oh, man, I'm afraid, so I better let fear motivate me so I can avoid the harm. I better let fear motivate me, so I can flee from the harm". And fear is used and say, "All right now, if you don't want this to happen to you, you better do that".
And, oh God, I don't want that to happen to me. And so fear is being used and you're thinking you're to avoid the harm. It is the natural feeling produced by the instinct of self-preservation. So what happens is the motivation of fear, when you're being motivated by fear, when you allow fear to motivate your works, when you allow fear to motivate your good works, what's really happening is it's moving you into something called and producing this instinct called self-preservation. Guess what happens now? Fear is motivating me to do something.
So now through self-preservation, I got to not do these good works. You're not doing it out of love. Fear is motivating me, so I got to do this and I got to do that, and I got to do that, and I got to do that. You're in self-preservation. You're in self-preservation. You're trying to preserve your own self by fear, because fear is motivating you, and then all of these things you do because you're in self-preservation. And you don't ever want to live life in self-preservation. self-preservation depends upon self to preserve you and not God to preserve you. Does everybody understand what I'm saying here?
And so what happens is when you understand the grace of God, when you understand the love of God, when you understand the care that God has for you, when you start trusting God and you don't rely on self-preservation, fear will be banished, because I'm not trying to do something to preserve myself. I'm doing what I do out of love. I'm not trying to do something to preserve myself. I do what I do 'cause I'm motivated out of love. I guess somebody on the stream said, "Here go Creflo again. Here he go, trying to disrupt religion". You are right. You must not read my book that I wrote, "Why I Hate Religion". No, it's gotta be out of our heart. All right, take a deep breath.
All right, you ready for the third condition of accepted works? Well, let me show you these two scriptures, before we move on real quick. Ah, fear has no place in the life of a believer. 2 Timothy chapter 1 and 7, you're familiar with these, I just read it real quick. 2 Timothy, chapter 1 and 7, he says, "God has not given us the spirit of fear". All right? So you can't use fear. You can't allow, when fear shows up and try to motivate you, that didn't come from God. When fear comes through the pulpit to try to motivate you to do good works, that didn't come from God. God hath not given us a spirit of fear. So whatever fear is motivating you, it's from the devil. It didn't come from God. It didn't come from God. Are you being motivated by fear to do something? That's a devilish intrusion of your life. For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but he's given us, what? Power, and he's given us, what? Love, and he's given us, what? A sound mind.
Now look at 1 John chapter 4 verse 17 and 18. This is so important, any presence of fear is not of God. "Herein is our love made perfect or complete, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world". Verse 18, "There is no fear in love," wow, "Because perfect love or complete love will cast out fear". That's why it's important that you understand this, that you can examine the good works you're doing, and you can cast out the fear that might be motivating you to do it, and say, "All right, am I doing this because of love? Is love my motivation for doing this"? 'Cause people show up with all types of motivations to do it. Everybody got con games all over the world there. It's a good work, but it's a motive, yeah, it's the motive.
What's moving you to do this? "Well, Reverend Dollar, I'm contacting you today because I want to support... do this and that and this". "No, no, I got a question, why? What's motivating you to do this? What you want? What's your motivation? You must understand ain't nothing free". But we think it is. "It's free". "Oh that's free? I'm going to get mine". Is love motivating you? And I'm specifically talking about good works, okay? Now, number three, here's this third condition for acceptable works. It must be, the work, the good work, it must be a voluntary, joyful service. First base on good works, it's gotta be voluntary. In other words, this is something you do 'cause you want to, and it's something you do because it's a voluntary, joyful act.
It cannot, if it's not voluntary and if it's not joyful, you probably don't need to do that "good work," 'cause there's probably another motive behind it that you don't recognize right now. Voluntary, and that's where you're giving is concerned. It's gotta be voluntary. It's gotta be voluntary and it's gotta be joyful, because doing something grudgingly means exactly the opposite. Now, because the motive for service for God is love, that service must be voluntary. That which is done because of love is never done grudgingly. To do something grudgingly means I'm doing it, but I don't want to. And surely not because of any compulsion. You don't do things grudgingly. You don't do things out of compulsion, except that which springs from, you know, the thing that comes from out of your heart, from one's own earnest desire to do all that's done, it should never be a thought of duty.
I'm doing this out of my duty. It's my duty to perform. It should not be done as a duty to perform, nor should it be done as a responsibility to be fulfilled. That's heavy. He is saying this good work, the good works are accepted when it's not a duty you feel like you need to perform. And this good works are acceptable, when you don't feel like it's a responsibility that you gotta feel, because where's the voluntary? Look at 2 Corinthians chapter 9 and 7. Let's look at it in the King James and then the NLT. You know, we thought it was just dealing with giving. It is, but the whole relationship with God is voluntary and joyful. "Every man, according as he's purposed in his heart, so let him give," now notice how he says to do it, "not grudgingly, or of necessity".
So he's talking about don't do it grudgingly, don't do it as a responsibility or a duty, "for God loveth a cheerful giver". When are you cheerful? When it's voluntary. But we're so scared people ain't gonna volunteer that we're motivated as leaders to go to the fear thing. You know them church folks ain't gonna give, you gotta put a little fear on them for them to do it. Tell them they gonna go to hell three times, then they might give a big offering. "Oh, it outta be your duty to give. Something wrong with you if you don't do it. All the things your church would do, for you to do, and you just get up here without giving". That is not God. Look at this in the NLT, the same verse of scripture. He says, "You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And you don't give reluctantly".
You see, good works should not be performed reluctantly. Think about the number of good works that you perform reluctantly. Or you do it in response to pressure, I'm pressured to do it. "See, that's why you lost that child in 1989, 'cause see, you wasn't doing what you need to do". That is wicked. "Well, I tell you one thing, if you don't get up here in this choir and start singing, you're gonna probably go to hell by 12". And so you joined the choir in response to pressure. God's not getting into your singing, he's not getting into your good works, he's not getting into anything, why? Cause you're not volunteering it and it's not joyful to you. And then church has become a sad institution because everybody's doing stuff they don't wanna do. I'm talking about good works, motivated to do good works voluntarily and not in response to pressure. For God loves a person who does what he does cheerfully.
So if you're doing this good works, the big sign is, are you cheerful about it? Or are you depressed? Dude, if you're depressed about being in the choir, quit. Do us all a favor, please stop, bring that bad energy to choir rehearsal, bringing that bad energy to your usher board meeting, bringing that bad energy to women's fellowship. Until you can do it 'cause you want to, go back and get on your face and let the Lord give you some love to want to motivate you to do stuff that you want to do. Oh boy. The believer's, this is a huge statement, the believer's labor of love, does not partake of the nature of the work of a servant for his master. That is not the relationship between the Lord and those who are his. We keep saying the relationship we have with God should be like the relationship that a servant has to his master.
No, not according to John 15:15. Look at that, John 15:15. Jesus in his farewell talk to his disciples, he's telling them bye, this is what he said. "Henceforth I call you not, I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I made known unto you. And you know what your Lord doeth". It's relationship. This perfect friendship does not measure the labor rendered, nor expect payment in return. This is an intimate relationship. It is without thought of gain or reward. It's an intimate relationship.
The difference between the work of a servant and of a friend is well expressed in these amazing words in Romans chapter 6 in the NLT, look at this. The relationship between the work of a servant and of a friend, Romans 7 and 6, 7 verse 6 in the NLT. He says, "But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and we are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but we can serve God like friends, in the new way of living in the Spirit". Wow. Wow, imagine what it would be like if Jesus had to come here and didn't want to. He'd about, "Oh Jesus, Son of God, I'm blind". "So? Get off around me, I'm tired. I ain't wanna be in the first place. You got me down here eating all this fish. I'm hungry, you know. Ya'll done got on my last nerve. Didn't I tell you not to do that last week, and you're doing it again"?
I'm so glad that he wanted to do this. And the task was very... hoo, awesome. He's coming to die, and he's coming to go to the hell we should have went through. And then he's taking all of our sins on his body, every sickness and every, he takes all of that. He says, "But I volunteer. I volunteer to go into the body, I volunteer to go into this natural human world with all these crazy people. Look at what sin has done to my Father's perfect creation. I volunteer to go to hell and to spend three days and three nights in hell. I volunteer to take the punishment," that we deserved. "I volunteer to take everybody's sin on my body, and to receive their punishment, so that I might one day say, I died for you. I love you. So whatever you do for me, do it in the same attitude that I did it for you".