Summary: A message about our responsibility to serve.
THE SIN OF DOING NOTHING
INTRO: Despite all the good sermons and lessons, many of us never put into practice what we learn. James wrote that this, too, is a sin--the sin of knowing to do good and not doing it, the sin of doing nothing.
I. DOING GOOD IS GODLIKE.
God’s creative activity was evaluated as “good.” That means everything God created was just as He intended it to be. Every-thing God does is good. Creation conforms to His purpose. His activity was and is only good.
Jesus, God incarnate, was called a “good” man and one who “went about doing good.” He restored people to a state of goodness--as God intended them to be. Doing good is what God does.
II. DOING GOOD HELPS PEOPLE.
The parable of the good Samaritan shows us an excellent example of how doing good helps people. The two religious leaders who passed by on the other side surely knew much about doing good, but they were selective in their administration of goodness. Note that these two authorities on Jewish law and tradition did not actually inflict bodily harm on the wounded man; they simply passed by on the other side. However, their failure to do good could have proved fatal for the victim of the robbery. In the end, a despised Samaritan stopped to do good by helping one in need.
When we have opportunities to help people by doing good, we know that our actions will be Godlike. Whether it be helping one in need or voting on an issue that will save human lives, doing good helps people.
III. DOING GOOD IS PROMPTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The Holy Spirit will lead us to do good. He will never lead us to do evil. God’s Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit, directs us toward doing good. In the law God directs us toward positive good, not just away from certain bad behavior. The prophets pointed us toward doing good. Amos admonished us to “hate evil and love good” (Amos 5:15). Micah said “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
The life and teachings of Jesus dominate the New Testament. There we are taught the significance of a cup of cold water offered in Jesus’ name, going a second mile, and helping the poor and needy. Throughout the Bible the Holy Spirit points us toward the good we should do. His continued presence also urges us in the direction of good we know we ought to do.
We can know the good we ought to do. That is not usually the problem. Doing good — that is the problem. Why don’t we do good even though we know to do good? Apparently the problem is not one of education but of translation or application. Just like the priest and Levite we fail to act, we pass by on the other side, even though we know we ought to do good.
IV. DOING GOOD IS OFTEN DIFFICULT.
It is much easier to pass by on the other side, or to be quiet, or to stay at home and not vote, or to ignore the needs of people around us. It takes very little effort to know the good we ought to do. However, it is often difficult to do the good we know needs to be done. With little effort we can know about those who are in need; but to take action, to do what we know we should do, is difficult.
V. DOING GOOD MAY BE DANGEROUS.
The Good Samaritan took a great risk helping the wounded man. He, too, could have been attacked while he tarried there on the roadside. Knowing to do good is relatively safe if we never get involved. Doing good cost Jesus his life. He did good and He was killed on a cross.
VI. DOING GOOD MAY NOT BE POPULAR.
Many times to do good is unpopular and goes against the crowd. To do good often ruffles the feather of others. If you aggressively support your Christian convictions on moral issues and become involved in bringing about change, many will move away from you. If a prominent doctor takes his skill and time down into a ghetto to apply his healing skills to broken down-and-outs, his colleagues may scorn him and call his efforts a waste. Doing good is often unpopular.
VII. DOING GOOD MAY BE COSTLY.
The Samaritan was able to give of his time, his efforts, and his money to help the neighbor. Whenever we take time to give to others, it will cost us. You can’t give to the poor and still have as much as when you started. When we do good, it will cost us. However, we are blessed for our efforts.