Creflo Dollar - The Conditions For Acceptable Good Works - Part 2
This morning I'm going to continue. We didn't quite finish last week. We started talking about the five conditions for works acceptable unto God. In other words, we're very familiar with people, you know, doing good works, okay? And good works are, you know, it's pretty cool and the Bible says for us who have been created by God, we've been created his workmanship unto good works. But the question arose last week, what's motivating those good works, all right? You know, the good works, which are an important part of God's purpose for every born-again believer, are acceptable to God only under certain conditions. And we find that, even in the church, we do a lot of good works, but we're being motivated by the wrong things.
We do good works aside from Jesus. We're doing good works to receive validation from people, to receive awards from people, for somebody to say, you know, "You're a good person because you do the good works". But I don't want to do good works and they're not being accepted by God. I want my good works to be acceptable by God. I mean, if you're doing good works and they're not... and you're doing 'em for the wrong reasons, eventually you're gonna get frustrated and burdened, even by the good works. That's what happened with Mary and Martha. You remember Martha, the Bible says, was encumbered, or was burdened because of the good works that she was doing. It said Mary sat at the feet of Jesus receiving from him while Martha was working for him, okay?
And God wants us to sit, to receive from him and not just work from him. And then he rebuked Martha saying, you know, "You got burdened down with a bunch of good works, why? Because you had it out of priority. The priority is sit before me and receive from me before you try to do things for me". And a lot of Christians, they work real hard to do things for God, but they hadn't received from God, and the problem with that, if you're not being moved by the right motives, even doing the good works will become burdensome, tired, you get a bad attitude. "How come everybody else ain't doing no... why am I the only one"? Now, you start complaining about, like Martha did, you know? "Make Mary come in here and help me". You follow what I'm saying?
So I really want you to begin to examine why you do what you do. It's amazing how people really reach out to try to get validation. This is a season where people love... how can I be validated? The social media has helped with that. I mean, you take all kinds of pictures just to get validated and then two people, you get in them comment sections, and they tell you how nasty you look, now you upset because you didn't get what you were after, amen. And then all of a sudden, you're trying to be like somebody else and you exchange something that's authentically you for a cheap copy of you. Are you listening to me this morning?
So we begin talking about what are the conditions for God to accept the good works? I mean, you can feed the poor and clothe the naked, but are you being motivated by the right motivation? Are the conditions right so that God will accept those works? So believers are, every believer should be in a position where he understands that. So a little quick review, number one, last week we said that love must be the motive, that if your works are gonna be acceptable, then love must be the motive. Are you being motivated by the love you have for God? Now, remember, you love God because he first loved you, okay? You loving God is gonna be all about you believing the love that he has for you. I guarantee you, if you don't believe the love that God has for you, you probably don't love God, okay? And so what happens, we got to understand that love must be the motive for all things done in response to grace. Love must be the motive for all things done in response to grace.
So the response to this cannot be fulfillment of a duty. So you don't respond to God in good works just by fulfilling a duty, because no condition accompanies the offer of God's free gift, except faith. No condition. So you going out and trying to fulfill the duty to try to, you know, get some points with God. Nah, it cannot be a return payment because that would be the payment of debt and grace is not putting anybody in debt. And it cannot be to gain the good will of God, because grace is absolutely unmerited. So you're not good, you're not doing good works to gain the goodwill. "Maybe if I come to church this morning, then God might open the door up for me to get a raise this week". No, that's just not how that works.
So everything done apart from love, has no value in the sight of God, so anything you're doing apart from love, any good works that are done out of any other motivation besides the love of God, it's just futile. It's something that is not received or accepted. The second right motivation for acceptable works is that we've got to understand that fear is a false motive. You cannot allow yourself to be motivated by fear. Fear is a sinister influence often offered as a motive for Christian conduct. The fear of God's vengeance on the day of judgment. The fear of being lost, the fear of being forever cast out by God unless certain standards of life. And these are man-made often.
And there's something that we see all the time. I'm going to use fear to try... I'm gonna try to motivate you to do right by some fear that I put in you. I'm gonna try to motivate you to live holy by some motivation of fear. I'm gonna try to even motivate you to participate in the choir or a department by saying, "God don't like ugly". You know, all right, those kind of things. This motive of fear is used to restrain persons from doing that which is wrong. And so you try to, you know, use fear to get people not to do wrong things. Or you even use fear to encourage good deeds. Sometimes you use fear to try to get somebody to do something good, or maybe a preacher might use fear to try to get somebody to make a contribution to the church. It's not accepted by God, and that's the thing you gotta understand.
What I do, I wanna do it and I want it to be accepted by God. I don't wanna do it because I'm doing it out of fear, I'm doing it because I'm scared I'm gonna go to hell, I'm doing it because I'm afraid I'm gonna be cursed. I'm doing it because, you know, the preacher said if you don't contribute to this, then God... that might be the very reason why you ain't getting no promotion. Don't do that, that's fear. And the Bible says that's compulsion and it's pressure and don't allow that to happen in your life because even though you do it, it's not accepted. It's not accepted. Fear is the dominant motivation in the world's religion because these people really don't understand the love of God and they don't understand the grace of God. They don't understand the grace of Jesus Christ and most religions are dominated by the motivations of fear, you know? Most religions are.
You know, if you don't do this, you don't do that. You can't get that. That's not God, that's not how God operates, and I know you might have heard it all of your life, but I'm telling you that ain't how I operate. I tell you one thing, if you don't be nice to your husband, then he's gonna turn out to be the sorriest man in the world. Well, he was sorry when you met him. I mean, you don't have to use fear to try... okay, apologies, but you hear what I'm saying? Don't buy that, don't buy fear as your motivation to try to impress God. God's already impressed, okay? He is love, his nature is love, and his nature is goodness. All right, so here's the third thing we talked about and then we'll begin with the last two.
So, the third motivation to cause your good works to be acceptable by God, it must be a voluntary and joyful service. Whatever you do for God, it must be a voluntary and joyful service, 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 don't want to do it. When you do something out of love, you do it out of a cheerful heart. You wanna do it, and God wants you to do for him because you want to. God don't want you to do good works because you feel like you've been made to do it or pressured to do it. He wants you to do it 'cause you want to. I mean, think about you when somebody does something for you, doesn't it feel better when you find out that they did it because they wanted to?
Well, it's the same way here with God. Shouldn't be done grudgingly and surely not because of any compulsion or pressure. That's not how you wanna do that. It should never be thought of as duty performed, nor as responsibility that's fulfilled. And that's how we look at things. We look at it as, "This is my duty, I gotta perform it. And this is my responsibility and I gotta fulfill it". I used to really hate going to church as a kid. I asked my momma, I said, "We get summertime off in school, when do we ever get time off church"? I didn't know him, now I want to, excited about getting here and worshipping God in a corporate anointing with, seeing what else God is getting ready to do in our lives. And if he doesn't do exactly what I wanted him to do that day, that's all right, I'm gonna still love him anyway.
I mean, whether he does anything or not, It's too late, I'm already in love with him. But we need to begin to understand that God doesn't want us to see it as a duty performed. He doesn't want us to see the good works that we do as a responsibility to be fulfilled. So if you're in a department or you're going soul winning or you're helping out in the children's ministry, it's not a duty to be performed. It is not a responsibility to be fulfilled. It is something that I'm doing because I am so in love with this Jesus, who died for me before I was even formed into a fetus, someone who took my place on a cross. He took all of my sins on his self. And then he went to a burning hell that I'm so glad I ain't got to go to. And he did all that for me? Oh, yeah, I can work in the children's ministry. Oh, yeah, I can do whatever needs to be done because I'm doing it because he loved me first in that he died for me, and now I'm ready to do it from a cheerful heart.
Some of ya'll ain't used to this. You like it better, "I don't wanna hear that. I want the duty and the responsibility. Condemn me, shame me. You oughts to be ashamed of yourself for not coming to the women's conference this past Friday. And see, that's why your marriage ain't no good right now because you didn't come and listen to the Word when it was being preached". And now out of condemnation, you're like, "Yeah, yeah, you're right, you're right". My job is to wipe that out, it's religious fabling that is destroying the lives of Christians and it is dampening our joy. And when we show up in the midst of the world, we ought to show up with such a joy and such a happiness because of who we serve and we hadn't figured that out yet because somebody promised you that once you get saved, you're ain't gonna have no more trouble. And that's not what the Bible says.
The Bible says, "but for those of us who are born again, and they live godly, they shall suffer persecution". So I ain't gonna tell you, you ain't have no... "Oh, now that you're born again, you ain't have no more persecution". I'm gonna say, "Boy, get your armor out," why? All hell getting ready to break through now. Well, I thought we were supposed to be happy and joyous? Oh, yeah, you can be happy and joyous through the persecution, but you fitting to get ready to go through stuff because you got to have something to mature you, Life has a job and it is to present opportunities in you to show you how to respond to it. It's not supposed to be peachy keen unless you know how to respond to it, and it takes time to learn how to respond to it.
It's easy to respond when something nice happens, but when all hell breaks loose... how do you respond to betrayal? How do you respond to somebody dobbing you out? How do you respond to somebody that's a murderer? How do you respond to those things? God shows you how to respond and when you learn how to respond, you learn how to defeat life and instead of life happening to you, you happening to life, and you're knowing how to respond in the right way. But you know what? It stopped us, religion. I asked the Lord one day, I'm like, wow, shame is big, man. Shame shows up and accuses you of something and then leaves the echo there to bother you the rest of the day. And I realized where do I get shamed from? And I was going to church, and I was sitting down there, and the preacher said something and I got shamed. I'm like, dang, you get shamed from church? You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
You know how the old folks do? Shame on you. That's not what this is supposed to be about. That's why we've got to understand the motive, the right motive for doing the works of God. I don't wanna just do something just to get somebody to validate what I'm doing. I don't wanna, "Oh, well, he's just a wonderful person". 'Cause of what, 'cause of what he's doing? Thank God that he's doing good and they're necessary, but make sure you locate the motor and the motive behind what you do and why you do it 'cause everybody ain't coming to church for the right reason. Can I get a witness?
Some people got a lot of reasons to come to church. Some people come to church because they looking for the Mrs. Right or the Mr. Right. They act like they praising the Lord, "Oh, hallelujah, thank ya". And when the right one walk by, they're like, "Oh, thank you Jesus, aiya, thank, aiya, eh". And you think it's the Holy Ghost. That ain't no Holy Ghost. They feel like they done found them. Nah, lot of different reasons why and I just, you know, since God healed me and took the tumors out my... let me explain to you because I don't wanna try to be deep, because I don't want you going home saying, "Oh, the Lord supernaturally took the tumors out of his body". No, I had a medical procedure to get the tumors out of my body and it's okay for a faith person to have a medical procedure because Satan hates healing no matter how you get it.
All I know is I'm standing here cancer free, that's all I know. I had my first test this past week that came back and... okay, I'll finish, and it came back like doggone near perfect. I mean, like three little half points and it would have been perfect, perfect, which simply means that it ain't there no more, it's gone. And listen, and God did that because I wasn't trying to be deep and saying, "Well, I'm not gonna go to any doctor. The Lord's gonna touch me and if God doesn't heal me himself, then bless God, I guess I have to die".
Well, bye. That ain't how God said, that ain't how God told you to do it. If healing is available anywhere, through any procedure, through any medication, through any operation, you ought to reach out in the name of Jesus and grab hold of it and be healed, praise God. If you only knew the number of dead people who went to heaven and say, "God, why didn't you heal me"?
I know you heard the story about the boats. See, a man got thrown out of his boat and he was drowning. And then one boat came by and said, "You need some help"? He says, "No I don't need no help, God's gonna rescue me". He says, "You're sure"? He says, "I'm sure". Second boat came by, he said, "Hey, look like you need a little help there"? He said, "No...I don't need no...help. God's gonna..rescue me". Then the third boat came by. And he had a hand up, and he said, "Hey, you need some help"? He said... "God is gonna rescue me". And then that boat left and then he died. He went to heaven, he said, "God, what happened? How come you didn't rescue me"? He said, "Man I sent three boat, boy, what else you wanted me to do"?
Well, that's what's going on in the life of a lot of Christians, he's sending all the stuff right by you, but you done got so dumb deep that you're ignoring what's necessary to receive the blessing that God wants to put on your life. Can I get an amen, somebody? Get healed. And we do that with a lot of stuff. I don't do well hanging around deep Christians, they scare me. "Could you pray over for dinner"? "Yes". "Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa. Boy, I don't know what you were saying, I don't know what language it was, it might have been of the devil, but I'm not eating my chicken until somebody prays a simple prayer. Something like God bless the cook, no matter how she look, you understand? Just something simple".
And I think that's what's happened to the church and Christian people. We done got so deep that we're off the pages of the Bible, you know, God did give you common sense. And I found out that common sense is no longer as common as it used to be. You don't like me. Some of y'all getting ready to put that finger up right now. This ain't spiritual enough for me, No, you better learn how to live. See, since Carol said this past week, a lot of us have life, but we don't know how to live. You got life today, but you're not living. You ain't know how to live. You need to quit trying to do stuff to impress people and learn what you need to do to impress God.
And I know y'all looking at me, like, how can he say all that? 'Cause I ain't in bondage to people. I don't care about nobody, I don't care what nobody say about me. I just spent 40 years of people talking about me, I don't care. I'm good. It's all right, I'm like James Brown, "I feel good". I'm good and the reason why I don't care, 'cause I ain't reading it. I'm not listening to it. I'm not putting myself before it because I don't want the spirit of cuss to come back on me. I don't want to pull that switchblade. Ya'll remember that switchblade, hit that button? It'll cut your neck. I ain't doing none of that. I'm gonna live a life that Jesus died so I can live, and I want to live it unto him.
I want to live it giving him the glory, giving him the praise. I wanna live it with him in my focus and not trying to get validation from people. The best deliverance you can ever have is deliverance from people. Okay, I don't know how we got in that, but that was for somebody, use it if you can, amen? Now, let's get in these last two points and this is interesting. I want to show you, and this is when I'm looking at the church. We say we live by the Bible, but we ain't reading it. We listening to people preach, and they not even in the book. So all I'm saying is, if you believe the Bible, then I wanna teach it and not the high thought of the day.