“The Goodness of God”
Exodus 33:18-19, 34:5-7 & NT Passages
Dan Brooks, Pastor
Continued from Sermon Notes (100131 Service)
II. THE HOLY FRUIT OF GOODNESS IN THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVER
A. Good works are part of the redemptive purpose.
1. Contrasts with the pre-conversion state
a. Ro 3:12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
b. Good: (χρηστότητα)
c. We know that means we have done nothing deserving of eternal life.
2. Characterizes the post-conversion life
a. Gal 5:22 goodness: (ἀγαθωσύνη) an active goodness
i. “It is character energized, expressing itself in agathón (18), benevolence, active good.”
ii. “The act of generous giving, with the implication of its relationship to goodness—‘to be generous, generosity.’”
b. Ro 15:14 I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness [i.e., always engaged in doing good]
c. Eph 5:8-9 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good [i.e., what has a positive moral quality] and right and true)
i. “Moral excellence which springs from religious principle . . . and leads to kindness, generosity, and goodness.”
d. 2 Th 1:11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power
3. Essential to the post-conversion purpose
a. Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
i. Good works: (ἔργοις ἀγαθοῖς)
ii. Walk in them: (περιπατήσωμεν) to live one’s life
b. Ga 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good [ἀγαθὸν] to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
c. Point: Doing good is a matter of exercising your gifts, abilities, resources and creativity with a view of benefiting others in life. Learning to ask the question, “What does this person need that lies in my power to give?”
d. “Most opportunities for doing good come across the ordinary path of our day. Don’t look for the spectacular; few people ever have the opportunity to pull a victim from the wreckage of a flaming automobile. All of us have the opportunity to administer the kind or encouraging word–to do the little, perhaps unseen, deed that makes life more pleasant for someone else.”
B. Good works are ordinary acts of life.
1. The example of godly women (1 Tim 5:9-10)
a. 1 Ti 5:9-10 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.
b. Application: This ordinary stuff of life is what walking in good works looks like!
c. Ladies, some of you have been thinking that serving Jesus should include more significant work than what you are doing.
d. Discipling children . . .
i. Which includes the after-school carpool
ii. Which includes holding fussy babies in the nursery
iii. Which includes making time to talk to a teenager about the boy who annoys her or the attitude that surfaced in the basketball game.
e. Hospitality . . .
i. Which includes having friends for a simple dinner
ii. Which included having your children’s friends spend the night
f. Washing feet = serving in the low positions
i. Which may include long hours in the nursery when you’d rather be sitting in the service
ii. Which may include endless piles of laundry—in the 18 year old Maytag that doesn’t wash or dry as efficiently as you wish it did.
g. Mercy ministry . . .
i. Which includes giving rides to the doctor’s office for a friend
ii. Making a meal for someone recovering from surgery
iii. Sitting with someone who is depressed.
h. Point: Family, do you take time to express your gratitude to a wife or mother or sister who lives in this way? Thank them for their goodness to you!
2. The example of godly men (1 Tim 5:8)
a. The daily responsibility of providing for our families is a sacred trust.
i. 1 Ti 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
ii. Provide for: (προνοεῖ) to provide, take thought, care for beforehand.
1.) The physical necessities are in view here. Men, are you looking over your household in order that you might serve them with the kindness and goodness of the Lord?
2.) Every Spirit-filled father wants to provide well for his household.
3.) It’s a challenge, isn’t it?
4.) But it’s also a deeply spiritual and good work!
iii. Point: Family, do you take time to express your gratitude to a dad or husband who works hard so that you have food, clothing and shelter? You will never know what it means to a man to have his family express their gratitude for his Christlike ministry of provision.
b. To the rich: 1 Tim 6:18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.
c. To young men: Tit 2:6-7 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity
d. To the Church:
i. Titus 2:14 zealous for good works
ii. Titus 3:1 ready for every good work
iii. Titus 3:8 those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works
iv. Tit 3:14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
C. Good works are tiring, but rewarding (Gal 6:9).
1. Ga 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
2. Question: Why does the Lord encourage us in this way?
3. Answer: Doing good is work and work is often tiresome, thankless, tedious, and endless.
4. Quoting John Calvin, Timothy George writes: “This precept is especially necessary because we are naturally lazy in the duties of love, and many little stumbling-blocks hinder and put off even the well-disposed. We meet with many unworthy, many ungrateful people. The vast number of the needy overwhelms us; we are drained by paying out on every side. Our warmth is damped by the coldness of others. Finally, the whole world is full of hindrances which turn us aside from the right path. Therefore Paul does well to confirm our efforts, so that we do not faint through weariness.”
5. In the Church at Galatia there were legalists who were forever criticizing and judging the spiritual motives of God’s people. There were also libertines who were forever abusing the Gospel of grace for their own carnal purposes. And pulled between the two extremes are the faithful servants of God who are called to do good to everyone, especially those of the household of faith (6:10).
a. “But I’m so tired of putting up with the criticism and fault-finding and bickering of these legalistic Christians!”
i. Don’t lose heart in doing good . . . you will reap!
ii. What they need to see is that their self-worth isn’t located in adherence to a system of rules. Not even doing good as this verse teaches creates our identity.
iii. They need to see people who serve because they are already perfect in Christ.
b. “But these Christians who abuse their liberty are a perpetual grief to my heart!”
i. Don’t lose heart in doing good . . . you will reap!
ii. They also need to see that their identity is not located in the exercise of liberties, but that real freedom from Christ produces humble, sensitive service.
7. Point: What the Holy Spirit desires is a church full of people who devote themselves to truly holy goodness.
a. Moms, don’t lose heart! There’s a good harvest coming in doing all that laundry for your kids.
b. Men, don’t lose heart! There’s a good harvest coming for providing for your household or providing a service for a client or marketing a useful product that improves the community.
c. Students, don’t lose heart! There’s a good harvest coming for completing your assignments on time and to the best of your ability.
D. Application question: What good lies in your power to benefit others?
1. Good at home
a. Everyone has the power to speak good words in the home.
b. Everyone has the power to initiate good works of service.
2. Good at work
a. Good work ethic
b. Good creativity
c. Good service
3. Good in the community
a. Good consideration of others.
b. Ill.: The big blue pool. I’m sorry that my neighbor even had to say anything!
E. Closing Thought: “Remember, goodness is the activity by which one does good toward others because he cares for them. The word has been contrasted with the term justice. Justice says, ‘Give a man what he deserves’; goodness responds, ‘No, I shall give him what he needs.’”
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