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Just What Does It Mean to "Do the Work"?

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“I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you,” God thundered to the nation of Judah (Habakkuk 1:5 Habakkuk 1:5Behold you among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which you will not believe, though it be told you.
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). He meant the forces of the Chaldeans were to come upon them and perform a mighty “work” upon them! However, Luke, in the book of Acts, uses the same expression to describe how God would do a mighty work through His Church! What does it mean to “do the Work?” The words work, works and related words are found throughout the Bible. Basically the passages fall into four categories: God’s work, Satan’s work, our own work and the Work of God. The two primary words in the Hebrew and Greek are: maseh—meaning “an action” and ergon—meaning “work” or “toil.” Let’s examine these areas from the Bible to better understand the work we need to be doing and the work we must avoid! God’s Work God, Himself, does works. His creation is spoken of as His works. David wrote, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained” (Psalms 8:3 Psalms 8:3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;
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). God’s work involved His creation, His re-creation and His spiritual creation as well as His miracles! John wrote of God’s work through doing miracles. After being asked who sinned (when Jesus met the man who was born blind), He replied, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him” (John 9:3 John 9:3Jesus answered, Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
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). Christ’s work involved building His Church (Matthew 16:18 Matthew 16:18And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
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). Jesus spoke of humans being redeemed as the work of God. “Then they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?’ Jesus answered. ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent’ ” (John 6:28-29 John 6:28-29 28 Then said they to him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent.
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). Concerning His healing on the Sabbath and subsequent preaching, Jesus told the Jews, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17 John 5:17But Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work.
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). Christ’s works, which came from the Father, gave witness that Jesus is the Christ (John 5:36 John 5:36But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me.
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). Jesus came to further the work of God and finish His phase of it (John 4:34 John 4:34Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
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). So, we see that God the Father and Jesus Christ do their work! Satan’s Work Satan also has his work. We need to be aware of his works and avoid them! In 1 John 3:8 1 John 3:8He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
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we read John’s record, “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Satan’s work is described in numerous scriptures as deceiving humans, weakening the nations, accusing others, sowing discord and scaring humans as a roaring lion (see Revelation 12:9-10 Revelation 12:9-10 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
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; Isaiah 14:12 Isaiah 14:12How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!
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; 1 Peter 5:8 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
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). He works in humans to lead them to disobedience (Ephesians 2:2 Ephesians 2:2Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
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). He leads people into works of darkness so God may condemn them. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:11 Ephesians 5:11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
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, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” It is Satan’s desire to get us to join him in his works of darkness. Paul warned the Church members at Corinth, “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11 2 Corinthians 2:11Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
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). We must avoid Satan’s works! Our Works Our works will either be good or evil. We must, with the strength of God’s Holy Spirit, determine that our works will be good ones. We will be rewarded according to our works. In Proverbs 24:12 Proverbs 24:12If you say, Behold, we knew it not; does not he that ponders the heart consider it? and he that keeps your soul, does not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
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we read, “and will He not render to each man according to his deeds?” Since we will be judged according to our doings or works now, so will those in the second resurrection be judged according to their works (Revelation 20:12 Revelation 20:12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
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). Let’s look at the good works we may do. Being a light is one of the great works that Christ desires of us. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 Matthew 5:16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
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). Our Christian examples involve the good works that honor our great God. Even a child is known to God by his or her works (Proverbs 20:11 Proverbs 20:11Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
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). Tabitha was well-known among the members of the Church and community by her works (Acts 9:36 Acts 9:36Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and giving of alms which she did.
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). We are all admonished in 1 John 3:18 1 John 3:18My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
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to not love in word only, but by our deeds (works). We need to be careful to “maintain good works” as Paul wrote in Titus 3:14 Titus 3:14And let our’s also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.
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. We are encouraged to provoke others to love and good works especially as we gather each Sabbath (Hebrews 10:24-25 Hebrews 10:24-25 24 And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
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). Though we hope all our works will be good ones, there are warnings against our own evil works. Paul wrote to Titus, “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:16 Titus 1:16They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate.
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). We are urged to move away from “dead works” in Hebrews 6:1 Hebrews 6:1Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
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. We all desire to do the good works as individuals. We fall into evil works as our human nature or Satan gets the best of us. In the end we hope for the praise that will come from our good works as illustrated by the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31:31 Proverbs 31:31Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
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. We may know that God won’t quit on us. “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 Philippians 1:6Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
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). The Work of God If God’s Work is what He does, the Work of God is what He does through others. Collectively and individually we must be about our Father’s business of preaching the gospel to this world (Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
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and 28:19-20). That was the burning desire of Jesus Christ, and it is ours (John 9:4 John 9:4I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.
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). We need to be doing the Work of God! As members of the Body of Christ, we individually serve God through prayer, fasting and service to His Church. Consider Timothy’s example. “And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do” (1 Corinthians 16:10 1 Corinthians 16:10Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he works the work of the Lord, as I also do.
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). Both Timothy and Paul were individually engaged in doing the Work of God. Paul writes of Epaphroditus doing the work as an individual by his diligent service to Paul. Philippians 2:30 Philippians 2:30Because for the work of Christ he was near to death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.
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says, “Because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.” The Council of Elders in conjunction with the home office staff is very desirous to do all that is possible to preach God’s message to this world. Paul referred to those with whom he had involvement in their conversion as “my work in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 9:1 1 Corinthians 9:1Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not you my work in the Lord?
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). Collectively, we support the ministry that is responsible for helping in the work of preparing the Bride of Christ (the Church). It is called the “work of the ministry” in Ephesians 4:11-12 Ephesians 4:11-12 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
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. Paul was pleased to join with other members in the selfless service by sharing the grace of God with others (2 Corinthians 6:1-2 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that you receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 (For he said, I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored you: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
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). The seven churches of Revelation all had one thing in common. They had works! In Revelation chapters 2 and 3 John records for each, “I know your works..” Most of the works were good, but some were not commendable. These churches had works collectively that represented them. When Jesus Christ returns, He wants to see us abounding in His Work. We know that whatever we do for His sake will never be counted useless. Paul wrote, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58 1 Corinthians 15:58Therefore, my beloved brothers, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
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). In the very last chapter of the last book of the Bible we read the inspiring words of Jesus Christ, the Revelator. “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12 Revelation 22:12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
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). Doing and Supporting the Work The Work of God is being done through human beings—individually or collectively. As individuals our examples vividly show that God’s way works. On our knees we individually pray for God to grant us success in preaching the gospel and taking care of the Church. Our individual care for those in need is doing the Work. Some congregations have collectively done the Work of God through their involvement in local programs such as placing magazines in hospital waiting rooms or helping stuff envelopes for the waiting room program. Some have individually taken brochure holders with multiple request cards to various establishments. A few churches have had the talent and means to create public access television programs to share the good news of God’s kingdom and His way of life with those who tune in. Now these programs are available to other areas as they request it. Our Web site is another means of reaching out with the gospel. “Cybercasting” is being used. We have hosted public lectures and open houses and they will continue to be held. Reader’s Digest and several newspapers have been used to place ads for The Good News and booklets. The responses have been very encouraging. Floating advertisements have been on other magazines’ Web sites. A test of the TV guide channel on cable television will be run this fall. The ad will be complete with visuals and audio and will advertise our magazine. Collectively, we have the wonderful Good News magazine and many outstanding booklets. A Bible study course is nearing completion and has been featured in the expanded edition of The Good News. Television and radio spot ads have been used and preparations have begun to test radio and television programs. The Council of Elders in conjunction with the home office staff is very desirous to do all that is possible to preach God’s message to this world. We are trying to do it as effectively and economically as possible. Our goal this year is to build the print run to a quarter of a million. From all of the reports, we are well on our way. We look to God to bless our efforts to fulfill the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20 Matthew 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
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and Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
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). Let’s all pray for the success of the various programs that are instituted and for others to be used to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God. Let’s all be busily doing our best to support the Work of God! UN

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