Delivered on 10/16/16
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
The closer we get to believers who truly walks in the Spirit, the better they look. We don’t get the impression that they’re hiding something. They radiate integrity. We feel that we could trust them with our most deepest, intimate secrets.
Of course they are not perfect. We will likely hear more apologies from the lips of those who truly walks in the Spirit than from any other group of people we know. The believers sensitivity to the Spirit provides with an uncanny ability to know when we have offended or hurt someone, and with the internal security allows us to respond quickly once we realize the sin or error that we have made.
When a sinner gets saved, these nine qualities of the Spirit should start to take place. It may not happen all at once, but it should happen. “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”.
As come to the fruit of goodness. This fruit is closely linked to the fruit of kindness.
In the beginning of the English language, the word “good” carried the same connotation as the name “God.” In Jewish tradition, the title, “The Good” was actually used for God. Goodness may appear to be the most obvious fruit but is in fact, often misunderstood and even maligned.
Our culture tends to make fun of those who are “goody-two-shoes” kind of people. While love, joy, and peace step up to the plate and hit home runs, goodness does its best to just get a single. Many don’t consider it very important or even desirable today.
Part of our problem is that we’ve overused the word. We say that we had a good vacation, a good cry, or a good meal, a good fellowship, that was a good movie. This afternoon I want us to look at how the word “good” is used in the Bible. In particular, I want to focus on an encounter Jesus had with a man who considered himself to be very good.
Mark 10:17-22 Jesus Counsels the Rich Young Ruler
17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ 20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Here’s another great example of Jesus evangelizing about His kingdom. If the question wasn’t obvious enough? “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
Of course, Our Lord is not in the busyness of watering down the Truth. The “Rich Young Ruler”, had to choose, eternal life, or his riches.
The “Young Ruler” did a quick inventory and said, “I’ve kept all these since I was a boy. There’s got to be more. Is there something that I’m still missing? Surprisingly, Jesus did not argue with him or point out that he couldn’t possibly have kept all these commands. Instead, he looked intently at him with eyes of love and then said, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, his face fell. He walked away sad because he had a lot of money.( Possessions ) I see three main truths from this passage that will help us glide toward goodness.
• God is good
• We are not good
• Goodness comes as a result of following Christ
God Is good:
This seeker of truth had everything he needed, or so it seemed. He was young. The phrase, “young ruler” places him between twenty-four and forty years of age. He was well respected. And he had a lot of possession. But he was not happy with his legalistic, performance oriented, graceless religion. He could sense that he was missing something and he wanted to make sure he was on the right path to heaven. Of course, who better to ask than the “Way, The Truth, And The Life…Jesus” The fact that he ran up to Jesus shows us that he was earnest. By kneeling he demonstrates his sincerity. It’s really quite a picture, isn’t it? This “Rich Young Ruler” comes running up to the Preacher from Galilee. All his life he had been taught that he had to do good things in order to be saved, but something was bothering him deep inside. Something was still missing!
Just look at the story…he was convinced that all the “works”, that had to be done, he did. He was obedient. But still…something, or someone was missing. And He ( Jesus ) was standing right in front of him.
He starts out by calling Jesus “good.” Jesus stops him and says, “Why do you call me good when only God is good?” His answer must have surprised the man because at first glance it had no connection with the man’s question. Why would it, what was the question? “what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Whats that got to do with God being good? Instead of answering his directly, Jesus makes the man realize the essence of goodness as exhibited in God alone.
1 Chronicles 16:34
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.
You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes.
( Keep Together )
The young man had addressed Jesus as “Good Teacher.” Perhaps he was trying to compliment or flatter Him. In the definitive sense of that word, Jesus could not be “good” if He was a mere mortal man. Only God was good and that could only mean one thing. Jesus could not be good unless He was also God. Some commentators have suggested that this is one clear occasion when Jesus denies his deity. Actually, Jesus is identifying himself with God, “If you know what good really means, you’ll understand that only God is good. Therefore if you call me good, then you’re calling me God. Are you prepared to acknowledge who I really am? That was His question to the “young ruler”.
We Are Not Good:
Jesus was also making the point that this young man was not good. Only God is. His concept of “good” was mistaken. It clouded his perception of Jesus and it clouded his understanding of himself. Why? Lets look at the obvious, what was his comment? “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” being obedient to the law, works.
Until he could see that Jesus was God incarnate who demanded his complete allegiance, and until he recognized his own sinfulness, he could not truly find the eternal life he was searching for. In short, he thought too little of Jesus and too much of himself. He overestimated his own goodness and grossly underestimated who Jesus was.
It was a common belief in that time that someone had to do something to earn eternal life. That’s still pretty popular today. Many believe that God will add up good works and bad works, and if the good outweighs the bad, then they will get into heaven. Church, we can’t truly find eternal life until we see that we fall far short of God’s standards of goodness and until we recognize that Jesus is God Himself, sent to redeem us from our sins by dying as our substitute on the cross.
The young ruler thought that he had kept all of God’s standards for goodness and was able to say that he had not committed adultery or murder, that he had never stolen or lied, and that he honored his father and mother. While he may have kept these commands, Jesus is about to show him the true state of his heart.
They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good, No, not one.
Sound familiar? It should…Paul quoted the same words in…
They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
While this man was trying to justify himself by pointing to his outward obedience to the law…Romans 3:20
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
The purpose of the law is to serve like a mirror that reveals our blemishes and sins so that we see our need for Christ. Our need to be saved. He may have kept some of the commandments, but it was impossible to keep all of them… all the time. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “That’s really good that you’ve kept these important commands, but you’re still missing out on how to have eternal life. There’s no way you can be good enough to get to heaven. Let me show you what I mean. Sell everything you have and give it to the poor.”
Jesus is showing the man that he had broken the first and second commandments by making money his master. Shekels were his savior and gold was his god. He may also have broken the commandment against coveting as exhibited in his unwillingness to give his money to those who really needed it. The sin of covetousness is subtle and difficult to detect, and yet it can cause a person to break all the other commandments.
1 Timothy 6:10
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
This is exactly what happened to our “Young Ruler”, Our Lord had told him that he needed to sell his possessions, and what was his response? “But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions”. Cant serve two masters, you will love one and hate the other.
Being good, or doing good, comes as a result of following Christ. Even though we may think that…we should feel sorry for this “Young Ruler”, lets look at the response that Jesus made..if you had missed it?
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
After all the bragging of being obedient…Jesus loved him!!!
“Jesus looked at him and loved him.” Isn’t that amazing? Talk about being merciful… This man loved his money more than anything else and yet Jesus still lavished him with love. Jesus could have told the man he was wrong or judged him or rolled His eyes at him. Instead, He loved him. Wow!!! Could we have done the same?
Jesus didn’t love the young ruler because he was good, or because he kept all the religious requirements. Not at all. It was actually just the opposite. Jesus saw that he was trying to do the right things but was deluded. There was no way he could measure up and Jesus loved him anyway. Jesus knew that he was sincere, but his possessions clouded, and covered the only One that can save him. Just look at the story… “one came running, knelt before Him”. “ He came running, and knelt before Him”
1 John 4:10 (NIV)
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
He does the same for you and me. He sees all of our efforts that fall short. He sees our sins that pile up before Him. And yet, He looks at us with love. Out of this abundance of love, Jesus says, “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” To be good means to be kind and generous.
This doesn’t mean that each of us have to sell everything we have if we want to be a disciple. Jesus was addressing a very specific need that this guy had, and in so doing, exposed his heart. He personalized the message for him. Because he was rich, he told him to liquidate his estate and give the money to the poor.
Church… what could be that one thing that is keeping you from faith in Christ? What’s keeping you from full surrender? What is that you’re holding on to right now that is getting in the way of you following Christ? Is it money? A relationship? Is it your time? Could it be a bad habit that you secretly enjoy? Just as Jesus pinpointed the root problem for this man, He looks at you with love this afternoon and says, “This one thing you lack. Let it go, come and follow Me.”
This young ruler turned down the gift of eternal life because his fist was so clenched around his money that he couldn’t imagine devoting his life to anything else. When faced with the choice of loving God and others or protecting his possessions, he chose the selfish route.
Mark 10:22 vividly describes an individual who is more in love with himself than with God and others…
22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
The Greek word translated “sad” gives the picture of storm clouds gathering. The young ruler, who had run up to Jesus, now shuffles away while an internal storm ravages his soul. It’s interesting that Jesus did not go chasing after him. The man was caught in the web of trying to serve both God and money as he realized the truth of, again… “you cannot serve two masters”.
Money is a marvelous servant but a terrible master. It’s good to have the things money can buy, provided you don’t lose the things that money cannot buy. Of all the people who came to the feet of Jesus, this man is the only one who went away worse than when he came.
He had everything that money could buy, and yet he wanted something far more important. He saw it, he knew it, caught a glimpse of it in Jesus and still walked away. People do this all the time. They recognize that Jesus can satisfy all that they need, and yet they don’t want to fully follow Him by giving up that which they are serving. I can’t think of anything much sadder than that. After today…after finding out that one thing you still lack…are you going away sad, or are you going to follow Christ?
Now, how does this passage relate to the fruit of goodness? Only God is good and we are not. We can’t get to heaven by trying to be good because we’ll never be good enough. The only way to be good is to be made good by Christ through conversion. If we want to do good things we must first submit and surrender to the One who alone is good. Then, His goodness will flow through us.
In order to get us away from trying to keep a long list of rules and regulations, Jesus summarized the entire Old Testament by saying there are really only two things that we must do.
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Let me tell you about another man who, when faced with the choice to love God and others, or serve only himself, made the right decision. Instead of walking away in a storm of selfishness, the trajectory of this man’s life was radically altered when he decided to follow Christ. We know that he was wealthy because he came from the island of Cyprus, which was known for an abundance of mines and forests. He was a landowner.
24 For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.
He was a good man because he put his faith and trust in Christ as His Savior and Lord. He wasn’t good because he was born that way, or because he kept some of the commandments. Acts 4 tells us that he was a Levite, which meant that he was pretty religious. And yet, none of that mattered before he knew Christ. He was full of goodness because he was full of the Holy Spirit.
He surrendered his good money to Christ…quite the opposite from our young ruler.
37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
He viewed his assets through the eyes of stewardship, not ownership. A steward is one who owns nothing but is responsible for everything. While the rich young ruler served his money and walked away from Christ, Barnabas chose to serve the kingdom of God with his money.
Greedy people don’t really have a money problem; they have a faith problem. If God is in charge of your money, He’s in charge of your life. If He’s not in charge of your money, chances are, He does not reign in your life. Martin Luther has said, “There are three conversions necessary: the conversion of the heart, mind, and the purse.” Of the three, many of us find the conversion of the purse the most difficult.
We don’t know if it was hard for Barnabas or not, but we do know that he sold his field and gave it all to the church. His actions stand in contrast to the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Of course, we all know that story. Like Barnabas, they sold a piece of property but were deceptive about giving all the proceeds to the Lord. The one thing that stopped them was not really about the money, but that they lied. They had the right to do whatever they want with their property, but chose to lie instead.
They were judged severely for their lying. Their actions revealed that money was more important to them than their integrity and God’s holiness. As a result, they were both struck dead on the spot.
Please…do not mistake this message as a financial push to give type of message. These are just one of the many enemies in our lives that can cloud our relation with the Lord, and with each other. “What is that one thing we still lack”? To follow Christ, if you have not yet done so? Total surrender, if that is your hardest enemy? What is that one thing?
9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
He said good words to believers. After Paul was converted, many of the Christians were afraid of him because of how he used to live. They probably should have been concerned because he was in charge of killing believers.
Paul tried to join the disciples but they wouldn’t let him get close because they didn’t really believe that he was a Christ-follower. This is where Barnabas comes in…
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
A perfect example of doing good…this was Paul, the Christian persecutor, and here we see Barnabas taking interest, and showing goodness. The fruit of goodness is exhibited when we focus on encouraging others like Barnabas did. Can you think of someone who needs a good word today? Is there anyone who is battered by life right now? Let me challenge you to say one encouraging thing to every person you talk to every day. In the midst of every conversation you have, look for a way to express the fruit of goodness through a kind word.
Church… as we walk by the Spirit and mix it up with lost people, we will see a great number of people brought to the Lord! One of the best ways to let the fruit of goodness out is to share the good news of the gospel with those you come in contact with. Think of at least one person right now who you can build a relationship with so that you’ll have the opportunity to share Christ with them. Nothing fancy…no tricks, no agenda, just your good testimony about Jesus. And let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
Lastly: “One Thing You Lack”
47 “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. 48 When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I tell you, Jesus does not water down, or joke around when it comes to His kingdom. Nothing fancy…no tricks, no hidden agendas, just tell them the truth. Jesus did!
Here’s the bottom line. In any church there are true believers and false believers, wheat and tares, good fish and bad fish. You can hear the words of Jesus and determine to follow Him like Barnabas did. You’ll then be a good fish. Or, you can hear what He says and walk away sad like the rich young ruler. That will make you a bad fish and you’ll end up spending eternity in a place you don’t want to be.
We are called to be good...to do good. To abide in His will, and its always…His will be done!!! What… “One thing you lack”?
Pastor Richard Santos
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