Summary: Goodness is a great quality. This is a slight revamp of a 2006 message.
• SLIDE #1
• What do you think of when you think of goodness?
• I would imagine that each one of us would have a different idea as to what it is.
• Today, I want us to examine the fruit of goodness.
• Whenever the subject of being good comes up, there are not too many who see themselves as not being good. Is it possible that we are all good, and that goodness is subjective?
• In order for us to answer that question, let us first look at:
• SLIDE #2
I. WHAT IS GOODNESS?
• When you think of goodness, what comes to mind?
• Do we think of deeds or actions? Does what you do determine if you are a good person or is there more to it?
• SLIDE #3
1. It is not just “doing” good things.
• If “goodness” is just about doing good deeds, almost everyone would have to be considered a good person. Even the worst people in history have done good things in at some point in their life.
• “Goodness” overlaps kindness in much of its meaning. The tree that is “good” is productive (Matt 7:17); land that is “good” is fertile (Luke 8:8); a “good” employer is generous with his workers (Matt 20:15). This sense of productive generosity is very similar to the useful helpfulness of “kindness.” (College Press Commentary)
• There is more to goodness than what we do, let us dig a bit deeper to see what we find.
• SLIDE #4
2. Uprightness of heart and life.
• Not only does goodness give the thought of “excellent”, “distinguished”, and honorable”, it also includes the idea of uprightness of heart and life.
• What this means is that goodness includes abstaining from every appearance of evil.
• An upright life is an honest one, a life that can be admired.
• SLIDE #5
• Matthew 7:17-18(ESV) 17So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
• True goodness comes from a good heart.
• Goodness can be defined as a “life which expresses itself in always doing what is in the best interest of others. (James Westervelt www.sermoncentral.com)
• Part of goodness includes rebuking, correcting or chastising if it needed. When we think of kindness, this aspect is not thought of, but there are times when for the benefit of another person, we will need to correct, rebuke, or chastise another person.
• SLIDE #6
3. Spirit-created moral and spiritual excellence.
• In a few minutes we will look at why I put “spirit-created” in this definition.
• Moral goodness basically means “conformity to God’s laws and principles.”
• As the Spirit grows in us, we are able to become a better person, we can then more easily do what is best for other people.
• Jesus asks us to do some difficult things.
• SLIDE #7
• Romans 12:20-21 (ESV) 20To the contrary,£“if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
• As the Spirit grows in you, you will be a different person.
• SLIDE #8
II. WHY GOODNESS IS SO IMPORTANT.
• Why should goodness be so important for us to nurture and pursue in our lives? Let us look at three reasons.
• SLIDE #9
1. We were created in Christ for good works. (Ephesians 2:10)
• Why did God save us? Did He send His Son to die for us so we could just live self-indulgent lives or were we saved for a higher purpose?
• SLIDE #10
• Ephesians 2:10 (ESV): 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
• God has a job for us to do; the job is perform the good works that He has prepared for us.
• How much time do we spend seeking His works verses seeking what we want to do? I know I struggle with the issue of self more than I would like to.
• One of the ways you grow in Christ is to work for Christ. You will not find fulfillment in life working and serving your self. You will find fulfillment in Christ and His work.
• SLIDE #11
2. We are called to imitate what is good. (3 John 11)
• We are called to be Christ-like. That means that we are to try to imitate Christ as much and beyond what we can.
• SLIDE #12
• 3 John 1:11 (ESV)11Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.