Summary: Kindness is seen in our actions, goodness is seen in our character.
Show Vietnam video. What an amazing example of how goodness and love can overcome trauma of the past, hatred, language & cultural barriers, and bring forgiveness and immediate closeness between two people a world apart.
Today’s fruit is the Apple to represent goodness. After all it’s the goodness found in the apple that keeps the doctor away right?
In both New and the Old Testament, the word “goodness” is often used for beauty.
“Good” in the New Testament is usually the word that means virtuous or valuable.
Also “perfect” in the sense that everything about something is “right”, we say often with spitefulness sometimes, “that person is so perfect (in other words we can’t find any wrong in them)”, or that person is perfect for her” (the person is right for her, a good match).
Last week we covered kindness which is about our actions of love toward others, but goodness, though related to kindness is much bigger, as we will see today. I would like to present you with several aspects of goodness as a fruit of the Spirit today, beginning with:
I. Goodness as a Character Trait
This is where the apple really comes in. When you look at the apple you may consider it to be beautiful I suppose, but the inherent goodness in it is not visible. You only receive its goodness by eating it. Peter says in 1Pet 2:3, “You have tasted that the Lord is good”. Goodness is a noticeable purity in a person where you can sense that they are just “good”. Purity might actually be a good word for this trait, pure honesty, cleanness, pure speech and so on.
The character or essence of the apple is what makes it good, and goodness is the primary characteristic of God. “I am the good shepherd” Jesus says in John 10:11. Matthew 19:17, “Why do you ask me what is good (right), there is only one who is good (right, perfect)”. It is God’s goodness that allows Him to be loving, gracious, merciful, just, holy, and as a fruit of the Spirit offered to us, it is the power for us to become these things as well.
God must transform our character before we can be good as we read in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Also, it’s possible to do good without being good (Ill. “Teenage Devil disrupts church service) It is possible to do good without being good.
II. Goodness is also Perfection
Jesus says be perfect as God is perfect (Mt 5:48). This statement is in the context of loving your enemies and those who don’t love you. In other words, do no wrong and love everyone regardless of how they treat you because that is what God does. God knows we can’t be perfect, but in this context he knows we can be loving to those the world would say we should hate. That is goodness, perfection, God’s will.
In John 8:29 Jesus says “I always do the things that are pleasing to the Father.” There is no compromise in goodness. It is not good sometimes, because then it’s not part of someone’s nature, and its not perfect. To be a character trait, goodness must be present all the time, not just when we feel like it, or when it’s safe to do what’s right.
What does it mean in Romans 8:28 that “God makes all things work together for good”? It means that God’s plan is perfect and that he uses everything, good and bad for the purposes of good. Because there is nothing in him that is not good, and He is in sovereign control of the universe, everything that happens will be used for good.
We read in Phil 1:6 “He who began a good work in you.” The work has begun, we can strive to be perfect or full of goodness, but the perfection will not come until we are with him.
III. Goodness is Beautiful
Physical beauty can be deceiving and seductive. There are obvious evils in our world that repulse us and are easy to hate, holding little temptation for us. But the most dangerous evils are those that are not so obvious and may appear good on the surface. It’s very easy to be attracted to that which is wrong but respectable to our society, and to admire that which is evil but acceptable.
For goodness to triumph in our lives we must learn to identify attractive evil and discipline ourselves to hate it even though it seems so beautiful. Clinging to good is like hanging on to a rope when you’re tired; it’s working conscientiously when your bored, sticking with your marriage when it’s disappointing, being committed in your church when it’s not satisfying you.