Three Simple Rules

“I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone.” – Titus 3:8
Since the early days of the Methodist movement in the 18th century, Methodists have sought to live by three simple rules (known as our General Rules in TheBook of Discipline):

  1. Do no harm
  2. Do good
  3. Attend to the ordinances of God (or, as Bishop Reuben Job would later state, “stay in love with God”).

It has longed been believed that if we live by these three simple rules, then we will discover the abundant living of which Jesus taught. Today, I want focus on Rule #2: Do Good. In Paul’s letter to Titus, he writes that we should “devote ourselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone.” What does it mean to do good?

First, we should understand that doing good does not earn our salvation. Paul and James were both very clear about this — salvation from God is a gift that is freely given to us because of God’s love and mercy for us; there is nothing we can do to earn salvation. However, once we have been saved by grace through faith, then we begin to experience a new way of living. Our new faith produces good fruit and we do good works as a result of what God has done for us.

How has your faith impacted your attitude toward others? How has your faith affected your actions toward others? How has your faith led you to do good for others? Our faith should be reflected in our words and our actions. To borrow aphrase from my youth — we must walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

This Sunday, we will conclude our teaching on Paul’s letters as we look at Paul’s letter to Philemon. In this letter, Paul urges Philemon to live a life that reflects his faith. As we study this letter, we will talk about how living in God’s grace changes our everyday living. I can’t wait!

Have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to being with you in worship this Sunday!
Grace and peace,
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