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Jericho Ridge Community Church (Archived)

Goodness: God's Character & Our Potential

Opening Remarks

 

Happy Father’s Day!

  • Let’s just take a minute to weigh in on some of the best qualities of a dad? What do you like in a dad? (share)

 

  • Loving
  • Caring
  • Spends time
  • Honest
  • Strong
  • Smart
  • Hard-working
  • Compassionate
  • Funny/humor

 

 

What about goodness?

  • Is it just me or is being “good” or being characterized by/with “goodness” … very “vanilla”?
  • Don’t you want to be “super-dad” or an “awesome” dad, or the “strongest” dad or the “funniest” dad or the “most loving” dad…
  • …but good?

 

It’s as if I were to say that the staff are going to serve you ice cream during my sermon.

  • Just at the mention of ice cream, many of you are already thinking … “yes, I love ice cream. My favorite is mint or chocolate or Oreo or Strawberry with chocolate sauce … oh yeah, I wonder what kind of toppings there’s going to be with the ice cream?  Maybe I can make a banana split or mix up my own version of a Smarties/Skor blizzard?”
  • “Yes, this is going to be so good … I cream is so good.”

 

  • And then after all that, Brad comes out … drum role … and offers you each a plain scoop of Vanilla.
  • Ugh … Brad, come on … is that it! Really!

 

  • Even though Vanilla is still by far the #1 favorite flavor of ice cream in the world, after all that anticipation, what’s your reaction if all we had was plain Vanilla?
  • It’s vanilla … ah, okay … I guess it’s better than nothing.

 

Well, that’s how I felt about being a “good” dad.

  • And that’s how I felt about talking this morning on the fruit of the HS, called “goodness.”
  • Okay … it’s good, but is that all there is it?

Well, yes and no.

  • Yes, good is good … plain and simple (no sprinkles, no fancy fusion of blizzardy flavors).
  • Good is exactly what you think it is … it’s good.
  • But!
  • Good is actually better than you think it is, when you realize that “good” is God!

 

Friends, God is good!

  • It’s one of the foundational realities of life and faith.
  • In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul says that,

22 …the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

 

  • We’ve been unpacking these fruits from the presupposition that God embodies each of these qualities.
  • It’s not just that God can manufacture, create, concoct peace or love or joy … by mixing a little of this with that and hoping for the best.
  • Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are real and possible because they exist at the core of who God is.
  • And the reason the HS can produce any of these fruits in us is because we are created in God’s image (imago Dei), God himself resides in us as Christians, and he is “goodness”.

 

In Mark 10 and Luke 18, we read about an encounter between a rich man and Jesus.

  • Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and a man comes running up to him and asks, “Good Teacher, what do I have to do inherit eternal life?”

 

  • Before Jesus answers that question, he asks the man, “Why do you call me good?”
  • And then he drops this nugget, “Only God is truly good.”

 

  • And in that simple statement Jesus is states this profound, life-changing truth that “good” is not just some “vanilla” “take it or leave it,” “okay but not great” descriptor.

 

  • Jesus says that there’s more to “good” than you and I know!
  • “You may think you know what good is, but let me blow the doors off your thinking about good … only God is good!”
  • “Well, actually Jesus, lots of people are good, I’m pretty good, Ron’s good, Jodi must be good, my dad is good…”

 

  • “Not so quick my friend! Only God is truly good!”

 

 

In the mid-1600s, Thomas Manton, a Puritan Clergyman, was preaching on this statement of Jesus and said,

There is none good but one, and that is God.  He is good of himself, good in himself, yea, good itself.  There is none good above him, or besides him, or beyond him; it is all from him and in him, if it be good.  He is originally good, good of Himself, which nothing else is; for all creatures are good only by participation and communication from God.  He is essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself: the creature’s good is a super-added quality, in God it is His essence.  He is infinitely good; the creature’s good is but a drop, but in God there is an infinite ocean and sea, or gathering together of goodness.  He cannot be better; he is … absolutely good; beyond God there is nothing to be sought or aimed at; if we enjoy him we enjoy all good to make us completely happy.  He is eternally and immutably good, for He cannot be less good than He is; as there can be no addition made to Him, so no subtraction, or anything at all be taken from Him.

 

God is good!

 

Four truths that remind us that it doesn’t get any better than good!

 

 

God is Originally Good

 

First God is originally good.

  • God’s goodness originates with Himself and no other source.
  • That’s what makes good so good.
  • God’s goodness is pure … it doesn’t need toppings or a waffle cone to make it better.
  • God is originally good.
  • And everything that we can identify as good finds its origin in … Jesus said … in Mark 10, God himself.
  • James 1:17 affirms this:

17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.

  • Friends, God is the original good!

 

 

God is Essentially Good

 

Second, God is essentially good.

  • It’s not just that God has the capacity to be good … God is goodness.

 

  • Let’s use gold as an analogy:
  • God’s goodness and the goodness of the created/you/me differ like an object that is pure gold differs from an object that is plated/overlaid/laced with gold.

 

  • When something is pure gold, it’s the entire object in and of itself that gives luster to it … it is gold.
  • But when you have a gold plated object, or a 10 carat gold object … the luster of that object is separate from the substance (core) of the object.

 

  • So in a crass way, you might say that we as Christians are stamped with gold or laced with gold by God, while God is the gold (pure).
  • Like God said to Moses in Exodus 3:14, when Moses asked him, “who should I say you are?”

14 God replied to Moses, “I am who I am.  Say this to the people of Israel: I am has sent me to you.”

 

  • Or, we can just keep it simple like Jesus did with the rich man and say, “Only God is truly/essentially good.”

 

 

God is Infinitely Good

 

Together with being originally and essentially good, we can then understand that God is also infinitely good.

  • While the goodness of a created being (me) is limited according to what I have been given and my capacity to activate that resource…
  • …there’s no limit to God’s goodness!

 

Malachi 3:10… “says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, ‘I will open the windows of heaven for you.  I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in!  Try it!  Put me to the test!’”

  • God is an ocean of goodness, while my goodness is just a drop from that ocean.
  • God is so infinitely good that he cannot be any “gooder”!
  • He can’t love any more, because he’s an infinitely good lover.
  • He can’t be more gracious, because he’s infinitely good at extending grace.
  • He can’t be more just, because he’s an infinitely good judge.
  • He can’t be more humorous, because he’s infinitely funny.
  • He can’t be more forgiving, because he’s infinitely good at forgiveness.
  • He can’t be more creative, because he’s infinitely imaginative.

 

Friends, there is no limit to God’s goodness … it’s infinite!

God is Unchangeably Good

 

And yet, at the same time, God is unchangeably good!

  • Back to Malachi 3:6, God says,

6“I am the Lord, and I do not change.”

 

  • In other words, God’s goodness cannot be diminished or augmented in any way.
  • God is perfection.
  • As Thomas Manton preached nearly 400 years ago, there can’t be any addition to or subtraction from God’s goodness.

 

  • There is no extra “Happy Father’s Day” this year because my dad bought me a car this year.
  • Or “Happy Father’s Day … whatever” because my dad didn’t show up for my birthday again this year.
  • People are changeable, for better and worse … it’s called transformation.
  • You and I can add and/or subtract things from our personality to make us more or less good.

 

  • But the reality of God is that his goodness was, is and always will be … it is unchangeable!

 

 

You, Me and God’s Goodness

 

Wow!  God is GOOD!

  • He is originally good.
  • He is essentially good.
  • He is infinitely good.
  • He is unchangeably good.

 

And Galatians 5:22 says that the HS is producing God’s goodness in you and me for the sake of everyone around us!

  • God’s character in us, activates our potential for good.

In 2 Thessalonians 1:11 (NIV) Paul says,

11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.

 

What might that look like today?

  • Our society is so fixated on the extreme, on pushing the edges out, that we can forget what’s at the core.
  • God is good and he is at work producing/activating goodness in each of us for the sake of others.
  • We can’t just gloss over that … we can’t diminish it like no big deal … it’s not just vanilla!

It’s at the core of who God is.

  • It’s the weave that holds life together when evil is trying to tear it all apart.
  • No matter what, God is good and he is producing goodness in us for the sake of those around us.
  • Jane Goodall says, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
  • The HS is producing goodness in you, what are you going to do with that today?
  • How will that change the people you have lunch with this afternoon?
  • What impact will that have on your family life at home?
  • How can your work place be better because of God’s goodness produced in you?
  • Which relationship will be different because your God is good?

 

Watch the video: "What is Goodness?"

https://vimeo.com/135376147

 

Worship team come on up … and those who are available to pray with people, please make your way to sides.

 

Friends, it’s not rocket science (as these kids remind us)!

  • God is good and goodness changes people.
  • So the HS is producing goodness in you and it can be as varied as the HS is creative:
    • Helping out a homeless person.
    • Putting sunscreen on a child in the summer.
    • Buying ice cream for someone who’s down in the dumps.
    • Cleaning up the street in front RE Mountain Secondary.
    • Praying for the bully in your class.
    • Giving someone a ride to the Dr. office.
    • Holding open a door.
    • Telling someone how you appreciate them.

 

God is good!  Activate that reality in your life today.

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