Summary: The world's narrative about God is that God is an "Angry God" seeking to destroy us if we get out of line. But Jesus tells us that God is good and just. When we see the final picture, we will be amazed at how good and just God is.
“The Good & Beautiful God:
God Is Good”
January 23rd, 2011
"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
John 9:3-5 (NIV)
> Last week we began a sermon series based on the book, “The Good and Beautiful God” by James Bryan Smith (I recommend you purchase a copy and read it as we examine it together). We began by discussing the false narratives about God that are prevalent in our society.
> We stated that we must examine our narratives about God and compare them to the narratives Jesus taught us about God. This began a little game at our house of identifying false narratives that are prevalent in our home or that surround us in our culture.
> We have become more and more aware of the numerous false narratives that exist. We are training ourselves how to identify them and be aware of them.
> How about you this week? Are you becoming adept at identifying false narratives? Keep practicing. Keep learning. Keep growing.
> This week we will deal with one of the most common false narratives in Christianity—the “Angry God” narrative.
> In his book, James Bryan Smith tells a powerful story that illustrates this false narrative.
> As young parents, he and his wife were informed that the baby his wife was carrying had a chromosomal disorder that would likely cause her to die at birth. He wrote…
“The doctors were so matter-of-fact in announcing this bad news that I wanted to grab and shake them and say, “This is our daughter you’re talking about, not some medical malfunction!” (pg. 38)”
> Of course, this news turned their world upside down. They went from painting the nursery to planning a funeral.
> The doctors were wrong, however. The baby survived the birth, but weighed only a few pounds, had a heart defect, was deaf, and could not keep food down. All of the specialists told them that the baby would not live more than one or two years. They were right, the baby died after two years.
> Smith writes…
“One day a pastor I had known for years took me to lunch in an effort to comfort me. While I was in the middle of eating my salad he asked, “who sinned, Jim, you or your wife?” I said, “Excuse me… what do you mean?” He said, “Well, one or both of you must have sinned at some point to have caused this to happen. (pg. 38-39).”
> This is the classic expression of the “Angry God” narrative. It is the narrative that says, “God is angry with all of us because of sin. He is watching us to see if we mess up. If we behave, He will bless us. But if we sin, He will punish us severely.”
> The pastor friend believed that James Bryan Smith’s baby was born with a chromosomal disorder because of sin.
> Of course, any of us would be able to find enough sin in our lives to warrant horrible punishments from God. If we look at our life in light of God’s perfect Holiness, we all have sinned and fall far, far short of the perfection and glory of God.
> But, for God to strike a child with a horrible disorder—I join with all of us in saying, “If that is God, I want nothing to do with Him.”
> People have pointed to the existence of evil in the world for centuries in order to discredit the existence of God.
> The argument goes something like this, “How could a morally righteous and just God allow such atrocities to take place? If there is a God and He is good, then evil would not be allowed to reign and terrorize the world.”
> And, to be honest, that is a very compelling argument against the existence of a good and beautiful God.
> But, before we give in to that line of thinking lets look at the Jesus Narrative and see what He has to teach us about the evil in this world and the existence of a God who is good.
I. There Is No Justice In This World
> Jesus came into a world where it was very easy to question the goodness of God. Israel was a country under siege from every direction…
Rome, the dominant power in the world exercised their dominance over Israel as well.
Disease and illness lurked around every corner—leprosy was one of the worst.