How Zealous Am I?
In his epistle to Titus, the apostle Paul wrote that Christ Jesus “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good works” Titus 2:14.
As God’s people, we must be zealous (fervent, passionate, eagerly desirous) about doing good works. We must be careful, however, about the works that we do. We are not qualified to decide on our own which works will be pleasing to God. That decision rests with God. “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” II Timothy 3:16-17.
Being zealous for good works requires us to rely on God’s word to direct us in the things that we do. Zeal alone is not sufficient to please God, as Paul said about his Jewish countrymen, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” Romans 10:2-3.
How zealous then are we about doing the will of God? Let me share with you some of my own observations. Since I became a member here at Cedar Park over twelve years ago, we have grown in numbers, and I believe spiritually also. I find myself a member of a congregation of God’s people who show great zeal in worshipping our Heavenly Father, in participating in our bible studies, in supporting men who preach the gospel throughout the world, and in praying for and relieving needy saints as their needs become known to us. We are a congregation that shows care and love for each individual among us. I feel privileged to be a part of this group and want to encourage everyone to keep up the good work. But, there is one area that bothers me…
In the 8th chapter of Acts, we read of the church at Jerusalem being persecuted and all except the apostles being scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Verse 4 tells us, “they went everywhere preaching the word.” In the 19th chapter of Acts, we learn that during Paul’s stay in Ephesus, “all in Asia heard the word of the Lord” (verse 10). Since Paul stayed at Ephesus, this would necessitate others doing a great deal of teaching also, which required them being zealous about spreading the gospel. Do Christians today, and particularly those of us here at Cedar Park, have that kind of zeal for teaching the lost as the early Christians did? This is a question that needs to be answered by each one of us, as we individually search our own hearts.
It also bothers me that some religious groups that espouse false doctrine seem to have more zeal in spreading error than those of us who have the truth. We must be careful that we don’t get comfortable with the status quo. As mentioned before, in the last twelve years we have grown numerically, but much of our growth is due to those who were already Christians moving into our area and identifying with us. Some of our growth is the result of our own children growing up and obeying the gospel. While this is very commendable and shows the zeal of their parents in bringing them up in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4), there is one avenue of growth that we haven’t seen much of. How often have we witnessed the conversion of our friends, neighbors, co-workers, or schoolmates?
The chorus of song #598 in our songbook pictures a judgment scene where a lost one cries out, “you never mentioned Him to me, you helped me not the light to see; you met me day by day and knew I was astray, yet never mentioned Him to me.”
Let us remember that the greatest good work we can do is telling the lost about salvation in Jesus Christ. How zealous are we in doing this?