“For GOODNESS Sake!”

Scripture Passage:  Romans 8:28; Matthew 19:16-20

When I was a child, my mom taught me a prayer to say at mealtime, especially at THANKSGIVING.

“God is great, God is GOOD, let us thank Him for our food.  AMEN.”

And as an adult, I remember singing this chorus in the church:

“God is so good, God is so good, God is so good.  He’s so good to me.”

We find the GOODNESS of God as a reoccurring theme in the Scriptures:

God HAS to be good…it’s His very nature to be good.

  • WE RECEIVE PARDON.
  • FORGIVENESS.
  • HE HEARS OUR PRAYERS.
  • WE CAN EXPERIENCE FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM.
  • WE CAN TRUST IN HIM THAT WHATEVER HAPPENS IN OUR LIFE IS BASED ON HIS GOODNESS!

SOMETIMES, we don’t SEE God’s goodness, especially when something BAD happens.

When we experience heartache, a tragedy, a disappointment in our lives…it seems like God isn’t GOD.  Otherwise, why would God allow this to happen to us?

BUT FOR GOODNESS SAKE, EVERYTHING that God does…is good!

When God created the world, He stooped and said, “It is good.”  Part of our problem is that we spend too much of our time complaining about 10 BAD things and not enough time rejoicing over the 1000 GOOD things.

Yes, 9-11 was a tragedy…BUT we could be living in Israel where it happens daily.

Yes, I lost my Mom to Alzheimer’s disease, BUT I enjoyed 65 good years with her.

Yes, I have had heartaches and tragedies and disappointments in my life, BUT my GOOD GOD was there, through it all, to see me through every one of them.

THANK GOODNESS!

God sets the standard for GOODNESS.

How do you determine what is “good” and what isn’t “good”?  What is the standard for “goodness”?

Matthew 19:16-17 – 

The Rich Young Ruler had everything money could buy and he was living the GOOD life.  One day he comes to Jesus and asked him“Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

Jesus wants to teach him the standard for “good”…(19:17a).  The Rich Young Ruler didn’t know what “good” was.  He thought it consisted of “good things”, “good circumstances”, “good feelings”.  He even thought that being “good” would get him to Heaven (19:17b-20).

Anything that is GOOD comes from God.

If it’s not from God, it isn’t good!  It doesn’t matter how good it looks…how good it feels…how good it tastes…if it doesn’t come from God, it isn’t good.  AND…if it isn’t good, it didn’t come from God.

LIMA BEANS didn’t come from God…BUT chocolate did!  There will be no Lima Beans in Heaven!  Adam & Eve had no Lima Beans in the Garden of Eden…they came after the fall of man…a result of the curse upon the Earth!  LIMA BEANS will be the main course in Hell…HEAVEN will be full of chocolate.  You get the idea.

The truth is (as much as I hate to admit it), that Lima Beans are GOOD for you.  They even teach us a spiritual lesson.

GOODNESS Isn’t Determined by Experience, But by Its Source.

I’ve had a bad experience with Lima Beans growing up.  My parents were determined to get me to eat what was on the table, saying, “Mel, this isn’t a cafeteria.  You’ll eat the Lima Beans on your plate NOW, or have them in the morning cold, for breakfast. Your choice.”  Their strategy must have worked, because who wanted “cold” Lima Beans for breakfast?  BUT that doesn’t determine whether Lima Beans are GOOD or BAD.

Goodness is determined by its source, not by experience.

Chocolate tastes good…it makes me feel good…it makes me smile.  BUT…chocolate isn’t good for me, especially since I’m diabetic.

EXPERIENCE isn’t the set standard for GOODNESS.

James 1:17 (Amplified Bible)

“Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives light], in [the shining of] Whom there can be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures [a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself].”

GOD TURNS BADNESS INTO GOODNESS –

Somebody might say:  “How can God be good when thousands were killed on 9-11.   I can’t believe a good God would allow such a thing to happen.”

Let’s just say you are right…and that God isn’t good…and that He really doesn’t exist.  You have still got thousands of dead people.  Getting rid of God didn’t solve the problem at all!

How do we answer the fact that God is good…yet bad things happen?

ANSWER:  If it isn’t good, then it didn’t have its source in God.

YES, God is sovereign…He’s in control.  God ALLOWS bad things to happen for reasons that we don’t have a clue!  BUT…God didn’t participate in their sin in any way, form or fashion.

“OUR GOD IS GOOD!”

Our problem is, we use the wrong standard for “goodness”…we use OUR standard.  OUR standard is: “Good” is whatever is “good” for me.  We say: “I am the standard for GOOD”.

God says: “I AM the standard for GOOD.”

The proof of “goodness” isn’t in the experience…it’s in the SOURCE.  Nobody likes to get a shot before dental surgery, but it’s good for you at the time.

God’s GOODNESS doesn’t mean that BAD things won’t happen to you.

We live in a bad, evil world.  BUT…because God is GOOD, He can take BAD things, and bring eternal GOOD out of them.  IF…we let Him.

Romans 8:28

We always want to blame somebody for the BAD things that happen to us.

God is always nearby, so we blame Him a lot;   “If there’s a good God in Heaven, how could He let this happen?”  What are we really saying when we blame God?  We are REALLY saying:  ‘Since God didn’t act the way I expected He should…He’s either WRONG, BAD, or DOESN’T EXIST!”  But, you can’t really be mad at a God you don’t believe really exists, can you?

See how foolish this is?  Are you going to believe in God ONLY if He acts like you want Him to?

Are you going to form your opinion of God from how He acts IN RELATION TO how YOU would act if YOU were God?

You’d be better off worshipping yourself…since you’re putting yourself on a higher level than God.  You’re determining what is “good”.  You’re setting the standard for what is “good”.

I say, NO!  GOD sets the standard for “good.”

God is GOOD…ALL THE TIME!

It doesn’t matter what happens to you and I, it could have been WORSE!

Dr. W. T. Watson used to tell this story at Trinity College:

“There was a preacher who, no matter what bad thing you said had happened to you; he had the habit of always saying ‘It could have been worse!’  One day a man in his church decided to put a stop to this and attempted to stump his Pastor at the door after the service.  He told his Pastor, ‘I had a dream last night’, to which the Pastor replied, ‘It could have been worse.’  The man went on, ‘I dreamed I died and went to Hell’, the man stated.  The Pastor replied, ‘it could have been worse.’  He thought he had the Pastor this time.  ‘Pastor, what could be worse than dreaming you died and went to Hell?’  The Pastor replied ‘It could have been true!’  

It doesn’t matter what happens to you…“It could have been worse.”  Praise God that it wasn’t.  [My Connect Church, June 23, 2014 – Romans 8:28]

Try to focus on His GOODNESS to you!

I don’t always know what “good” God has in mind when He allows tragedy, heartache, and disappointments to come into our lives.  I don’t know…BUT…I don’t have to know.  What happens in my life may not be good…it might even be terrible.  Maybe I can’t see any purpose at the time in it at all.

BUT…What does Romans 8:28 say about what I am to “know”?

I may not be able to see how it’s working for good…or feel like it is…or understand how it’s working for good. 

BUT…I am to “know” that it is!

I need to look at it from God’s perspective…not mine.

Don’t ever think that God’s GOODNESS means that bad things won’t ever happen to you.  God is GOOD…BECAUSE…HE takes the BAD things that happen to you…and brings eternal GOOD out of them.

I may never see the “good” that comes out of it…this side of Heaven.  Or…I may.  BUT…I can “know” that God means it for “good”…OR…He would never allow it to happen.

God, the Father, KNOWS What’s Best!

God has one up on us…He’s omniscient!

You and I can only see things in the present tense lens…God sees things with the Eternal View lens.  God has a lot better view from Heaven than I do in Lynden, Washington!  What happens to you and me may not be good…but it IS working together for good.  And I can “KNOW” that…when I put my faith and trust in a “good” God.

Again God is good…all the time!

That’s His nature…He HAS to be good.  God has given us so much more than we deserve.  If we got what we DESERVE in life,, we wouldn’t have driven to work today in our fine automobile (“It could be worse!”).  We wouldn’t have such nice clothing to wear to church (“It could be worse!”).  We could be in the finest hospital, or the finest jail where we live.  We could be lost and bound for an eternity in the Lake if Fire.

We’ve gotten into the habit of saying to ourselves:  “THIS is good!”  A job promotion, a pay-raise. a gift, a pleasure in life, CHOCOLATE!  We should develope the habit…whenever something GOOD happens to us…instead of saying “This is good!” “For GOODNESS sake, God is so good!”

How can we make God’s GOODNESS…REAL in our lives?

  • Don’t judge God by your standard of “goodness.”
  • Don’t judge God by whether He does what you want Him to do.
  • Don’t judge God by how you would run the universe if you were God.

God says:  “When you start creating universes…and control tides…and keep the planets in orbit…THEN I’ll come to YOU for advice…THEN I’ll let YOU determine what is “good.”

In the meantime, we need to trust Him, For GOODNESS Sake.  

YOU ARE WORTHY!!!  GOD IS SO GOOD!!!

_____________________________________________________________________________

CREDITS:

Music Video:  God Is So Good (You Are Worthy) by Pat Barrett – YouTube 

Bible Translations Used:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); King James Version (KJV); New Living Testament (NLT).

Images/Photos:  Gooogle Images Search.

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