“But The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Goodness”      1 Peter 1:22-2:3           July 2, 2006

 

SI:  This summer studying the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.

“Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . .”  The fruit of goodness.

 

INTRO:  Over the years we have been on a quest—for a good cup of coffee.

There have been several stages of our quest.

   1.  Folgers coffee and Mr. Coffee maker

   2.  Cuban coffee and Mr. Coffee maker

   3.  Starbucks coffee and Mr. Coffee maker

   4.  Starbucks coffee and French press

   5.  Porto Rico coffee and French press

   6.  Porto Rico coffee and stove-top espresso maker

At each stage we have said to each other:  This is good coffee!

 

People are drawn to goodness at every level of life—

   a good cup of coffee, a good dog, a good movie

   a person of good character, a good conversation with a good friend.

Goodness is magnetic.

 

If you like stock car racing—drawn to the good drivers.

   If you like opera—drawn to the good singers.

   If you like chemical engineering—drawn to the good engineers.

When person is very good, person excellent—then people praise him. 

   They honor him.

   Sometimes it’s hard to explain why something is good—just know it is.

 

Have you ever noticed how much of the Bible devoted to praising God’s goodness?

   Page after page directly or indirectly speaks of His goodness.

Psalms declare His goodness. 

   Stories of Bible show His goodness in action.

   So much of the Christian life is a recognition of the goodness of God.

 

First prayer many Christian teach children is: 

      “God is great, God is good, Let us thank Him for our food.

      By His hands we are fed, Give us, Lord, our daily bread.”

So many songs we sing are about God’s goodness physical/spiritual realm.

 

Very often Christian say:  “God is good.”  or  “The Lord is good.”

   And don’t just say that when everything smooth, even in rough times.

That’s because God’s goodness is an essential pillar of Christian faith.

   Out of God’s goodness flows His redemption.

   All the goodness we possess in our lives comes from Him. 

 

That brings us to the fruit of the Spirit which is goodness.

Of all of the fruit, this is the one that is hardest to get a handle on.

   Looked at patience—saw so many nods—know exactly what impatience like.

   Know exactly what it is like when our plans aren’t working out by our timetable.

 Same for peace—though inward, know peace and turmoil.

   Kindness also very solid sort of fruit—loving deeds.  Have to work out details

 

But goodness seems to speak to the very essence of things.

   Sometimes can’t even explain why something is good, just know it,

   because we taste it and see it.

Also know that goodness is important—because goodness is magnetic,

   attracts people to us and though us they are attracted to the Lord.

Know God is good and that we are called to be good.

   Let’s use that as our outline for studying this passage and subject. 

 

Two headings.

1.  God’s goodness

2.  Your goodness


MP#1  God’s Goodness  

Since God is good, source of all goodness, our goodness fruit of His Spirit,

   If we can define His goodness, get a handle on this fruit called goodness.

What do some of the great theological minds say about God’s goodness.

   Look in the theology books, God’s goodness defined by piling things up:

 

One theologian—God’s goodness:

“The general category in which God’s love, grace, mercy, pity, compassion, long-suffering, kindness, and other expressions of His tender and fatherly character are placed.”

 

Another:

“That which disposes God to be kind, cordial, benevolent, full of good will, tenderhearted, of quick sympathy, open, frank, and friendly; to bestow blessing and take pleasure in the happiness of people.”

 

Is there any way to sum up God’s goodness without losing any of these?

   I want to share with you something that old seminary professor of mine wrote.

   “God’s goodness underscores His condescension.”  What does that mean?

 

Condescension means stooping down.

   Usually use in a negative way.

“Don’t be condescending to me.”  Person—equal/beneath, acting like doing favor.

   But doesn’t have to be negative.  If a great person is condescending to you, good.

   I want to spend time with you, eat with you, give you a gift—that is a good thing.

 

God’s goodness is that aspect of His being that prompts Him to stoop down.

Can see how all these things like God’s love, mercy, kindness, pity, patience, 

   tenderness, sympathy, friendliness are God’s goodness shown in different ways?

All different ways God condescends. 

   Where do you see God’s goodness/condescension?

   Two places—in creation and in redemption.  Consider each. 

 

1.  Start with where we see God’s goodness in the realm of creation:

   The greatest expression of this in all of Scripture—Psalm 104—read earlier.

Begins with skies, mountains, oceans, inanimate stuff

   Why are they so majestic, orderly, good?  Because God stooped down to make.

   When you see a beautiful sunset, God stooping down.

 

Moves on to invisible realm—the angels.  His servants who are flames of fire.

   On few occasions when human being have seen angels, overwhelmed with awe.

   Their beauty, their majesty is part of God’s goodness.

 

Moves on to the whole world of animals.

   Great variety—birds, wild donkeys, goats, lions, sea creatures

 Peculiar needs of each one—special needs for shelter and food

   created by the goodness of God and fed, kept alive by God’s goodness.

   When you see a squirrel find a pecan in back yard, God stooping.  Goodness.

 

Psalmist mentions mankind, all human endeavors—

   Farmer harvesting grain, production of bread, wine, olive oil,

   Merchant ships crossing the sea—human endeavors of commerce

   Good in these things that mankind undertakes because God stooped to give.

   Good movie, good car, good ball game, good concert, good investment

   all that is truly good in them because God has stooped to give.

 

Finally, Psalmist mentions life itself—breath of every creature—God’s goodness.

   Your life, breath drew this morning, eyes opened to sunlight—God’s goodness.

   Psalm 145  “The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”

God is compelled by the goodness of His nature to stoop and give life to creation.

   So all the goodness you see in creation is God’s goodness.

 

Of course, when look at creation everything is not good.

   World n cursed by the Fall, by sin.  Brings to other place see God’s goodness.

 

2.  Also see God’s goodness in the realm of redemption.

We see His goodness in all He is doing to reverse the effects of the Fall.

   Realm of redemption is God’s dealing with sin—focus of the Bible.

 

When did God stoop the lowest?

In the person and work of Jesus Christ.

   When the eternal Son of God took on human nature, human body

   came to earth, born in a stable, laid in a manger, become one with people to save.

How did Jesus Christ live?  Was He good?  Did He condescend?  Did He stoop?

   Yes—the thing that is most attractive about Christ.

   Condescended to all sorts of people—sinners, tax collectors, Samaritans.

   “Jesus, what a friend for sinners.”  Loved, pitied, sympathized, healed.

Read about how good he was to his disciples.  Three years, putting up with them.

   Arguing, bickering, spiritual dullness, stupid comments.

   He loved them, prayed for them, taught them, poured life into them.

 

What about religious leaders and enemies?  Was he good to them?  Yes.

   Even though self-righteous, rejected him, good to them, came down to them,

   answered their questions, debated them, did all he could to point them to Himself.

   When they stood mocking him as he hung on cross—“Father forgive them.”

 

Brings us to the cross—Knew this was where we had to come—to the cross.

The cross is Christ’s greatest condescension and His greatest good.

   God’s goodness is nowhere more vivid than in Christ’s death.

   By His death you can have new life and enjoy all the goodness of God.

 

Peter, writing to Christians, calling them to live a good life, love for each other,

   putting aside malice, deceit, hypocrisy.

   Ends with this statement  “you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

Tasting the Lord’s goodness is the motivation for a good life.

   Quoting Psalm 34  “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

   Mean you need to gulp and drink in all of God’s goodness.

 

When you see God’s goodness in creation—C.S. Lewis—run up sunbeam to sun.

    Beauty and wonder should cause to you say:  “The Lord is good.”

   When enjoying good things of life—good meal, good book—say, “God is good.”

As you grow in comprehension of God’s goodness in redemption:

   You read the Bible, as you understand more of Gospel, redemption—

   and as Holy Spirit gives you greater experiential enjoyment of salvation—

   you ought to praise God for His goodness.

 

“God is good.”  You need to say that more often.  “The Lord is good.”

   It is one of the essential pillars of the Christian faith.  It’s our creed.

Not only affirms what we believe God is like, but how He deals with us.

   How he has dealt with us and continues to deal with us through Christ.

 

If you are going to cultivate the fruit of goodness in your life,

   must believe that the Lord is good, you must taste and see that He is good.

 


That brings us to the fruit of goodness in your own life.

MP#2  Your Goodness

Psalm 119:68  “You are good and what you do is good.”

God’s goodness is an aspect of His being—it is also the way He acts.

   He is good and He does good.

 

The same must be true of you. 

   There should be an internal goodness that prompts you to do good.

   Let’s consider goodness on the inside and outside. 

 

First—goodness inside.

Ask a Christian—are you good inside?  Will get an unusual answer.

   First he’ll say “No!”  Then he’ll “Yes!”

 

In myself, my natural self, my old self, my sinful self—No, nothing good.

   In fact, if goodness is condescension, then the very opposite is in there.

   I’m full of selfishness and I can’t bear to stoop down.

Furthermore, if I do anything that looks good, don’t let that fool you,

   it’s driven by all sorts of bad motives.

Few people as spiritually sensitive as Apostle Paul, Romans 5

   “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.

   For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”

Goodness not something that just naturally resides in here.

 

Then the Christian turns around and says just as emphatically, Yes!

I’m good because God’s goodness has been planted in me.

   In fact, it has created a whole new me, and I’m growing.

   I’m a new creation. 

Peter calls Christians to love from the heart,

   “For you were born again, not of perishable seed but imperishable”

   Christian looks at himself and says—the life of Christ planted here.

   God’s goodness in seed form—and its growing in power and beauty.

 

The self-perception of a Christian is absolutely unique:

Looks at himself like a third party observer.

   There’s my old sinful self—nothing good, selfish, sinful.  And very comfortable.

   There’s my new self, born again, made like Christ, full of goodness, seed form.

 

Now—Here I am faced with this opportunity to do good, in some way—

   show kindness, patience, friendliness, pity, which self will I exert?

   If it’s the old self—not going to grow in goodness, will go backwards.

   If new self—will grow in goodness and old self weakened.

Being born again essential to goodness.  Deliberate growth in goodness.

 

Now let’s consider goodness on the outside.

   Want to be a little more specific here, mention three areas Bible emphasizes.

   These are not all in the text—Peter only deal with part of one of them

 

1.  You must be good to all the things that God has put under your care.

   God has put part of His creation under your dominion—some a lot, some little.

   You are called to be good to your portion—care for it, improve it, look after it.

Understand what I’m talking about?  Property—wealth, house, animals

   Talents, opportunities, vocation, and even the people who are under your care.

   Called to be a good steward.

   You are to stoop down, as God does, and be good to your little part.

 

Means called to take what the Lord has given you and build a good life—

   The “good life” not what Americans mean when say that—two cars, boat, stuff

   Building a good, orderly, peaceful life.

Do that by making decisions based on God’s word, promptings of Holy Spirit.

   A good life like that is attractive to people, and helpful to them.

 

If your life was falling apart who would you go to for help?

   A person whose life is characterized by chaos, panic, wild spending and debt,

   broken relationships and failed promises?

Of course not.  You would seek a person who has a truly good life.

   Know that there would be reserves of goodness to help you.

   Bad living seems so attractive.  Excess, dissipation deplete our reserves.

   A lifestyle that builds up no capital to be good to others.

 

Good life comes through good stewardship of all the things God has given.

   Be good to them—God has given them to you.

   Might not have as much as other people have—doesn’t matter.  God’s business.

 

2.  You must be good to all sorts of people.

“As opportunity, do good to all, especially those of household of faith.”  All kinds.

As you walk through life you are going to meet all sorts of people:

   different races, different religions, social/economic, different moral standards,

   going to meet the washed and the unwashed.

   Can’t say—these aren’t my kind.  God good to all people.  Rain, sunshine.

 

All people are to be objects of your goodness as opportunity presents itself

   Goodness in many forms—mercy, pity, friendliness (all different), stooping.

 

3.  You must be good to those people with whom you are in covenant.

Peter—love each other deeply (each other, fellow Christians, church members)

   special goodness to be extended to fellow believers.

   these are the people going to be spending eternity with.

   wonderful thing about church life—opportunities for good, will see results forever

   also, as stay in a particular church, get to know people, stoop to them.

 

Other covenant that is most binding is covenant of marriage.

Husbands—be good to your wives.

   Woman—wish husband would treat me like dog—pets, hey girl, looks at.

   Often barely says anything, or says something mean and critical.

 

Do you see how hypocritical it is for a man to be good to his car—change oil,

   good to finances—carefully budgets, keeps track of money,

   good to people at work (customers, employees treat with respect)

   not be good to his wife, united in holy covenant?

On the other hand.  When a Christian man is good to his wife—stoops down in

   love, kindness, patience, sympathy—how that goodness overflows

   to children, people in workplace, maybe even to the dog. 

 

What about you?  Is the fruit of goodness present and growing in your life?

   Do you see it on the inside and on the outside?

 

 


CONC:   What was first prayer you learned as a child?

 

      “God is great, God is good, Let us thank Him for our food.

      By His hands we are fed, Give us, Lord, our daily bread.”

 

Then opened eyes and there on table good food that good heavenly Father gave.

   You were able to taste and see that the Lord is good.

 

There is a simplicity to this fruit of Spirit we need to recover.

   Need to become like children again—see the food on table—know God is good.

   Need to be able to taste and see things—draw a line right to goodness of God.

 

Maybe today at lunch you need to pray this childhood prayer—

   even if you haven’t prayed it for years.

Reflect on the simplicity of it—that God in his greatness has stooped to you.

   He has been good to you—in Christ and in this Sunday meal.

   Praise Him for that goodness.

Then taste His goodness as you eat.

 

It will only be a deliberate meditation on the goodness of God—

   that you will be good, begin to work out in practical ways—

   the seed of divine life planted in you by the Holy Spirit.