Summary: The goodness trap: 1- a human question 2- A human response 3- The divine way

INTRO.- ILL.- A young boy traveling by airplane to visit his grandparents sat beside a man who happened to be a seminary professor. The boy was reading a Sunday school take-home paper when the professor thought he would have some fun with the boy. "Young man," said the professor, "If you can tell me something God can do, I’ll give you a big, shiny apple." The boy thought for a moment and then replied, "Mister, if you can tell me something God can’t do, I’ll give you a whole barrel of apples!" Smart kid.

There is nothing God can’t do, that is, in the realm of good. He does nothing but good, because that is His nature.

ILL.- It’s like what Max Lucado said, “You can’t take the wet out of water and still have water. You can’t take the heat out of fire and still have fire. In the same way, you can’t take the love out of [God]... and still have him exist. For he was ... and is... Love.”

God’s nature is love. He is not the extension of love, HE IS LOVE! Consequently, He does nothing but good for people. He is not the author of evil in this world. Someone else is.

ILL.- A preacher was busy in his study, while his little boy looked at a book of pictures. The preacher suddenly decided he needed a large book he had left upstairs, and asked his boy to go get it. He was gone a long time, and after a while the father heard the sound of crying. He went out, and at the top of the staircase he saw his son crying, with the large book he had tried to lift and carry, laying at his feet. “Oh, Daddy,” he said, “I can’t carry it. It’s too heavy for me.” In a moment, the father was up the stairs, and stooping down, took both the book and his boy in his strong arms, and carried them both to the room below.

There is nothing too heavy for our Heavenly Father. Nothing too great, too heavy, too wearisome, or too burdensome for God. HE CAN HANDLE IT ALL!

ILL.- Dr. James Boice who passed away in 2000 said, “The God of the Bible is not weak. He is strong. He is all-mighty. Nothing happens without His permission or apart from His purposes. Nothing disturbs Him or puzzles Him. His purposes are always accomplished…”

Psalm 66:2-4 “Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious! Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name."

ILL.- In 1715 King Louis XIV of France died after a reign of 72 years. He had called himself "the Great," and was the monarch who made the famous statement, "I am the state!" His court was the most magnificent in Europe, and his funeral was equally spectacular. As his body lay in state in a golden coffin, orders were given that the cathedral should be very dimly lit with only a special candle set above his coffin, to dramatize his greatness. At the memorial, thousands waited in hushed silence. Then Bishop Massilon began to speak; slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle and said, "Only God is great."

And he was exactly right! Only God is great.

PROP.- In this text I see human wisdom versus divine wisdom or what I call the goodness trap. In the text, there is: 1- A human question 2- A human response 3- The divine way


Matt. 19:16 “Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"

This is not the question that some people would ask because they are not interested in eternal life. They are more interested in the here and now.

ILL.- Years ago at the Green Bay Packers’ training camp when they were coached by Vince Lombardi (1959-67) he strictly enforced the 11 pm curfew. He caught Max McGee sneaking out one night, and in the team meeting the following day he fined him $125, with the promise that the next episode would cost him $250. Max was caught again and was warned that the price for the next infraction would be $500.

Max loved life and didn’t scare easily. Inevitably, there was another meeting. Lombardi was shaking mad. “Max,” he yelled, “that’ll cost you $500, and if you go again, it’ll cost you a thousand.” The room was hushed. Lombardi simmered down and actually managed to grin a little. “Max,” he said, softly, “if you can find anything worth sneaking out for a $1,000, call me and I’ll go with you.”

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