For God’s sake, be good.
MAY 11, 2021
For God’s sake, be good. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. He doesn’t want to be your guru, and he’s not trying to be your mother. He just opens the Bible and gives you the simple truth, that will make you free. Steve’s a lifelong broadcaster, author, seminary professor, and our teacher on Key Life.
We’re looking at the fruit. Hi, thanks Matthew, by the way, I love that guy more than you know, thank you Matthew. We’re looking at the fruit of the Spirit, and we’re looking at love, joy, peace, patience, kindness. And now we’re looking at the goodness that Paul talks about, Galatians 5:22.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness.
And yesterday, if you were listening, and you never listen to me. If you were listening yesterday, we talked about how we believe the lie, that goodness is bland and evil is exciting. That goodness is boring and evil is passionate. That’s not true. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I was having a discussion, just a few minutes ago with Jeremy who produces this program. He’s in the little glass booth, while I do this part. And, he was talking about a preacher he was listening to, who said, we’ve got the Antichrist, as we look at eschatology, the Antichrist kinda messed up. We think he’s going to be this evil, horrible person who comes in and burns our Bibles and kills off Christians. And then Jeremy said, the preacher said, I hadn’t thought about it. That the preacher said that, he’s going to be a lot different than you think, he’s going to appear to be nice and kind and benevolent and compassionate. And he’s going to throw in a few ringers. Listen, isn’t it wonderful what Jesus did, but listen, don’t go too far in that direction. And then there will be more subtle hints and more subtle hints, because Satan is, as Jesus said, the father of all lies and the media and the teachers and the, well, I don’t want to get off on that, but the commercials I’m talking about. They’re lying to us. Evil is exciting and goodness is boring, that’s just the opposite. Do you ever think that when Jesus went into the temple and kicked out the money changers, that was goodness. Goodness is strong. The Greek word, for instance, that Paul uses here for goodness is only used one time in the entire New Testament, and it means, goodness, that is good everywhere at every point. Now listen carefully, kindness will only help. Goodness will be strong and goodness will go into the temple and kick the money changers out of the temple. When someone is good, that person is also strong. And yet we have completely ignored that, we have an unbiblical idea that a good person is weak, insipid. That’s not true. Someone who said the average spiritual temperature of most churches is so low that when an healthy man comes along, everyone thinks he has a fever. Why is that? I’ll tell you, because we’ve come to think of goodness as something that will be dull and sweet. One of the men I consider a friend and I’m proud is Wayne Alderson. R.C. Sproul wrote a biography about him called Stronger Than Steel. Wayne Alderson had a hole in his head and he was involved in the steel industry. And for years he was God’s man for labor management in America. At the first labor management prayer breakfast in Pittsburgh, this has been years ago, Wayne did something by God’s grace that nobody’s ever done. He brought together leaders of labor and management, and it was exciting. When Wayne got up to speak, he spoke of economic warfare in the work world, of his experiences in the field of labor management. Both being on the labor side and the management side. And he said, I say to the churches, quit hiding underneath your steeples, come off your reservation and send God’s people into the work world to live for God. He said, I say to government and people in the political arena, stop being politicians, looking to the next election. It’s time to start being statesman, looking to the next generation. I say to labor and management leaders, give us what we want, a leadership style of reconciliation and power and goodness. That’s goodness. We don’t think of goodness as being that way, but it really is. And Wayne illustrated that, in that first conference years ago, I could spend more time on this, but we really do need to move on. So let’s go to another fruit of the Spirit. If you’re in Christ, you’re free not only to love, to be joyful, to be at peace, to be patient, to be kind and to be good. You are free to be faithful. Look at Galatians 5:22.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love. Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.
If you’re using the King James Version 1611, the Greek word is translated as faith, and it has some of that in the meaning. But in the newer versions, the ESV, it’s better because it translates as faithfulness and it means trustworthiness. It means reliability. Now this word has been used in its non-biblical sense, for instance among the Stoics, without any reference to God. Among the Stoics, it means simply, to trust in yourself, to rely on herself. But when the word moved into the New Testament, it came to mean, trust in God, which was manifested in salvation and then, and the way it’s used here, it means one who is faithful, reliable, and trustworthy, because of that relationship with Christ. Somebody, I probably told you the story about the little boy who was getting ready to play ball on the sandlot out behind the development where he lived. And there was a woman standing at the gate watching these little league kids play baseball, and the boy came over to the woman and he said to her, ma’am uh, do you go to church? And she said, yes son I do go to church, as a matter of fact. And then he reached into his pocket and he pulled out a quarter and he said, would you hold my quarter while I play? He understood. And that’s the reputation, we ought to have, people who hold the quarter when the going gets tough. People who hold the quarter in politics and in ecclesiology and in our neighborhoods and in our world. Christians should be people, who hold the quarter. Let me tell you something, the most reliable person in the world ought to be a Christian. If you work, your work ought to be superior. If you’re being paid to do a job, you ought to give it eight hours of work, eight hours a day. When you speak, you ought not have to swear on a stack of Bibles, because a Christian’s word should be as good as a million dollar bond. I’ve told you about that Mel Brooks comedy album. Some of you’ve heard that, it’s really funny. He’s, one of the funny things in that album that Mel Brooks does, is that he said, were you there when people started worshiping God. He said, Oh yeah, his name was Greg. And the interviewer said Greg, it was some guy name, but I’m using Greg. I don’t remember exactly the name he used. He said, yeah, Greg. He said, Greg told everybody was God, and when he got a big crowd, and one time Greg was out in the field, teaching thousands of people, and a cloud came over his head and out of the cloud, came a lightning bolt and struck him dead. And as he was falling on the ground, the guy next to Greg, began to move away from him. And he said to the crowd, you know, there’s somebody bigger than Greg. At any rate, in that comedy album, the interviewer said, where did you, were you around when Jesus was around? He said, Oh yeah. He said, he made a chair for me. And he said, you know, and I paid him with a check. If I’d kept that canceled check, it’d be worth a pile of money today. And then he said, but you know, it was the best chair that I’ve ever seen. I mean, he did really good work. That’s it. That’s what it means to be faithful, to do really good work. Now you don’t do that in order to get God to love you and to forgive you and to walk with you. He does that already. In fact, if we believe what Paul says about the Spirit in us, what the Spirit is doing is making us into the, that kind of people who are good, who can be trusted with a quarter. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve, Steve Brown there continuing to unpack all the good stuff found here at the end of Galatians 5. Today, we looked at the fruit of the Spirit and specifically the quality of faithfulness. More to discover tomorrow, so make sure you join us then. You know, there are some questions that come from just, I don’t know, kind of a general curiosity, like who invented peanut butter or when did we land on the moon? But other questions come from somewhere deeper questions like, does God exist? Am I really forgiven and free? If all of this is true, then why don’t I feel different? Well, Steve is no stranger to doubts and questions. In fact, he wrote about these things in a mini-book called Faith and Doubt: When Belief is Hard. In it, he explores the reasons behind her doubts, and explains how we can rest in faith. May we send you this mini-book for free? Let us know by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail Steve@keylife.org and ask for that mini-book. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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