To Your Faith Add GoodnessSeries: Fruit Of The Spirit
TO YOUR FAITH ADD GOODNESS
Sermon By Terry Siverd / July 16, 2023 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
Two words come from the same root but they are world's apart: sanctified and sanctimonious.
God commands us to live sanctified lives - - lives that are set apart or consecrated for sacred usage - - pure and holy.
But we need to work overtime to disassociate ourselves with the charge of being sanctimonious.
i.e., pretended piety or self-righteousness ... pompous high-mindedness … hypocritically devout.
Our sermon this morning addresses the topic of GOODNESS.
The title of today's sermon derives from the written words of the apostle Peter (2Pet.1:3 & 5/NIV) - -
(God's) Divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who
called us by His own glory and goodness...For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness...
Goodness (moral excellence with courage) is such an important virtue.
It is seldom accompanied by the flair that surrounds love, joy and peace, but IT IS IRREPLACEABLE.
It is a quality that endears us to God and to those around us.
Along with love, joy and peace, Gal.5:22 also underscores the need for patience, kindness and goodness.
Goodness is a magnet of sorts, that both draws others in and holds them close.
Goodness is a fruit of the Spirit that blossoms with the sweet aroma of Christ.
Goodness is a deeply-desirable attribute, but it does not come automatically.
As Peter indicates (2Pet.1:5), GOODNESS often needs to ADDED to our faith (implying that it may be missing).
One of the ongoing challenges of being a Christian comes in the form of a question:
“How can we be GOOD without being goody-goody?”
The story is told of two brothers, Fred and Ed, who were neighboring farmers. Ed was a decent fellow although
he seldom went to church and had his share of bad habits. Fred, on the other hand, was very religious and scrupulous.
He was present every time the doors opened at his church, and he was so “righteous” that most people felt uncomfortable around him. Strangely, it seemed that Fred was always having difficulties. His equipment broke down more often, his crops failed more and suffered worse insect infestations than his loose-living brother's. When these things happened, Fred consoled himself by quoting Scripture: Many are the afflictions of the righteous, and then redoubled his efforts to be good. One day things came to a head. On top of everything else that was going wrong, Fred was caught in his field in a sudden, violent thunderstorm. Drenched and half frightened to death, he fled from the tractor and dashed for cover only to go sprawling head first into the muck and mud. Slowly he rose to his hands and knees. Then, looking up to heaven, he cried out, Why, Lord? Why does everything happen to ME? A voice came back, Fred there's just something about you that ticks Me off!
This may well be a fabricated story, but it works to remind us that God knows our heart.
Real encounters that Jesus had with many of the religious leaders of His day verify that God is not pleased with phonies.
Many of these made a habit of being harshly critical of those all around them, but thought little of their own duplicity.
In Mt.23:3-4 & 23 we can read Jesus' stern words:
...They do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they
themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them...Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, hypocrites!
For you give a tenth of your spices - - mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters
of the law - - justice and mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter without neglecting the former.
We must not let the stain of the goody-goodies stymie us from being really good.
Goodness shines when we are REAL. Our walk must not be tainted with phony baloney.
If we are not authentic disciples we do not truly belong to Christ.
Goodness does not turn a blind eye to evil. Recently we referenced Paul's exhortation (2Tim.2:19) - -
Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.
Goodness takes issue with things that are bad.
It recognizes that the stakes are too high to fall silent while immorality gains a strong foothold.
When evil multiples, goodness impels us to speak up, speak out and speak against things that are wrong.
In Eph.5:6f, Paul warns that the wrath of God visits the wicked (sons of disobedience).
He writes: Do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light
in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of light consists in all goodness and righteousness
and truth)...Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them...
Goodness shows itself when we seek to reflect God graciousness generosity in dealing with others.
Ps.100:5 declares, For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.
Ps.145:8-9 states: The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness.
The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.
Luke's gospel (Lk.19:1-9) tells the story of Zaccheus, a wealthy tax-collector whose life was radically
altered after dining with Jesus. Zaccheus said to Jesus, Behold, Lord, half of my possession I will
give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.
The story of Zaccheus reminds of a wonderful camp song:
God is a GOOD God, Yes He is. He lifts us up; turns us around; plants our feet on solid ground.
As many of the stories we read about in the New Testament, this account is likely condensed or abbreviated.
Whatever Zaccheus saw and heard in Jesus revolutionized his life!!
Alexis de Tocqueville (c.1835) is often attributed with having said, “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” Whether he actually wrote or spoke these has been debated.
More importantly, God has declared, “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov.14:34).
Paul's second letter to the church at Thessalonica (2Thess.1:1) contain his prayer for them - -
...We pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling,
and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power;
in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him...