Summary: GOODNESS IS DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR THE RIGHT REASON
What determines the value of something? A child may think that a quarter is worth more than a dollar bill because the quarter is shiny & pretty, or that a candy bar is worth more than a handful of dollar bills because the child wants the candy more. So what really determines value?
Again, we all have things that we consider valuable. If our house caught fire, one of the first things we would try to save would be a box of family pictures, because they’re valuable to us. But my pictures wouldn’t be valuable to you. So how do you determine the value of something?
During the past few weeks, as we have looked at Galatians 5:22 & considered the fruit of the Spirit. We have talked about some very valuable fruit, like love & joy & peace & patience & kindness.
But what about goodness? I’m afraid that people just don’t seem to be very committed to the idea of goodness anymore. While love & joy & peace are up front, goodness sometimes ends up on the back burner. To many, goodness is just not considered important or even desirable today.
Well, I hope before this morning is over that you will realize that goodness is a very valuable & important "fruit of the Spirit." What is goodness?
GOODNESS IS DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR THE RIGHT REASON
One of our problems with goodness is the same problem we have with love—the word "good" is used in so many ways, just as we use the word "love." We love our children, we love apple pie, & we love a beautiful sunset, but each of these "loves" is entirely different.
It’s the same with the word "good." We say, "I had a good meal," or "I met a good person," or "We had a good cry." They’re different, aren’t they?
So let’s look at how the word "good" is used in the Bible. For instance, we read in the opening chapters of Genesis that God created the heavens & the earth, & then He created life in the sea & in the air & on the ground. After each creation, God looked at it & said, What? "It is good." What does that mean?
Well, I guess it means that when God looked at what He had done, He was pleased with it. So maybe we could say, "Goodness means something that pleases God." Or maybe we could go a step further & say, "A good person is a person who is pleasing to God."
The Bible also tells us that "God is good." Now what makes God good? Well, God is pure. God is holy. God is forgiving. God is generous. So, if we’re good people, then all those characteristics would be true of us, too.
Sometimes, when someone says "goodbye" to me, they’ll add, "Now be good.” In my profession it’s hard to be anything else. Think about that. You expect me to be good because I’m your preacher, don’t you? After all, everybody knows that preachers are paid to be good.
But we’ve just said that "Goodness is doing the right thing for the right reason." Now I suppose we could do the right thing for the wrong reason. I suppose that we could even do the wrong thing for the right reason. But "goodness is doing the right thing for the right reason."
JESUS WAS A DEMONSTRATION OF GOODNESS. During the past few weeks we have been reminded again & again that our model, our example, is Jesus. When you want perfect love, look at Jesus. When you want joy & peace, look at Jesus. And the same is true of goodness.
Now don’t make the mistake of thinking that being good came naturally for Jesus. He lived in the flesh just as we live in the flesh. And Satan tempted Him over & over again.
In the 4th chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we see where Satan tempted Jesus. There are 3 temptations here. The first is the temptation of selfishness. The second is the temptation of compromise. And the third is the temptation of popularity. And Satan is still using those same temptations on us, even today.
1. First, the temptation of selfishness. READ Luke 4:3-4.
Now here is the age-old struggle between selfishness & love. It started in the Garden of Eden & it continues today. Today’s culture tells us that as long as we have food & nice clothing, as long as we live in a nice home & have a good automobile, & are able to live in comfort, then we are a success & ought to be proud of ourselves.
But here is Satan, trying to get Jesus to focus on Himself. He tempts Jesus to turn the stones into bread. Now you have to understand that Satan always tempts us in our area of weakness, & Jesus had been fasting for 40 days. He was extremely hungry, & it would have been so easy for Him to have used His power to do what Satan suggested.