Good People

Introduction:

     A popular concept is that most everyone is good.  Many use the word “good” loosely.  For example:  a mother whose son has committed a crime; says, “But he is a good boy!”  When the rich young ruler came running and kneeling before Jesus he referred to our Lord as “good Master.”  That passage states: “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” (Mk. 10:17-18).  It is my conviction that the Son of God was saying to the young man, “For you to call me good is to acknowledge that I am divine just as the Heavenly Father is divine.”  In the ultimate sense only the Godhead possesses perfect goodness.

     There may be some good in everyone.  At least there is some good in all humanity in at least one of the following ways:

Discussion:

I.                   SOME ARE GOOD – BUT NO GOOD!

A.     Such are those who are a menace to society, these include criminals.

1.      We are taught to obey the laws of land.  That is, unless a law directly violates God’s laws.

Rom. 13:1, Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

Acts 5:29, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

B.     Those who are indifferent to the needs of others are self-centered.

II Tim. 3:1-5, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

C.  There are those who refuse to work.

II Thess. 3:10 , “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

1.       All humanity has responsibilities.  From the beginning of time man has been given the obligation to work.

Gen. 3:19, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

I Tim. 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

Eph. 4:28, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”  

II.                SOME ARE GOOD – BUT GOOD FOR WHAT?

A.     They do not harm others, but what good do they do?

Lk. 12:13-21, (Tell of the parable of the rich man who was not compassionate toward the needs of others.)

1.      Many well-to-do brethren give of their surplus instead of generously.  Jesus spoke of a poor widow who gave all that she had.

Mk. 12:41-44, “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

2.      We are thankful that there are brethren who are generous with their time, effort, and money toward furthering the cause of Christ.

B.     In life we have positive responsibilities as well as negative ones.

1.      The passages of scripture at Matt. 7:12 and Lk. 6:31 are often called the Golden Rule.  The words in those passages have been paraphrased as:  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

2.      Another passage which emphasize this unselfish attitude toward others is:

Phil. 2:4, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

C.     Jesus taught several lessons concerning sin of doing nothing.

1.      In the Parable of the Talents Jesus spoke of the one talent man who failed to do anything with his master’s money.  He was reprimanded and condemned.

Matt. 25:24-30, (Relate the failure of the one talent man).

D.    On the day of Judgment Jesus will either commend or condemn those standing before Him on whether or not they helped those in need.

Matt. 25:31-46, (Relate why the Lord will either commend or rebuke us on the Day of Judgment.)

1.      We must have an active faith which is proven by our assisting others.

James 2:14-17, (Either read of elaborate upon this passage).

James 4:17 , “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

III.             SOME ARE GOOD – BUT GOOD TO BE SEEN OF MEN.

A.     Many of the Pharisees of the first century felt their importance and wanted others to look upon them in that way.

John 12:42-43, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

B.     The old hypocrisy is to act better than what you are.  The new hypocrisy is to try to impress the wicked by acting meaner than what you are.

IV.              SOME ARE GOOD – GOOD IN THEIR OWN EYES .

A.     A classic example is the Pharisee who set himself up as being better than others.

Lk. 18:9-14, “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

B.     Such an attitude places such an individual up as his own god, in setting-up his own standard of righteousness.

Jer. 10:23 , “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”

Rom. 10:1-3, “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

V.                 SOME ARE GOOD – MORALLY GOOD.

A.     Morally good people are good neighbors, good citizens, and asset their community in many ways.

1.      Cornelius was just such a man, but he still needed to hear words to be saved (Acts 11:13 -14).

B.     The problem is that they have no promise of eternal life.  Their personal good is not enough to save them.

Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

VI.     SOME ARE GOOD – GOOD FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST.

A.        We are thankful that there are brothers and sisters in Christ who remain faithful and can be counted upon.

1.      Faithful brethren can be counted on to faithfully attend the services of the church (Psalm 122:1).

2.      They can be depended upon to be involved in the work of the church.  They are “…ready to every good work” (Titus 3:1).

3.      Such brethren will support the church in every good way.  This includes providing time, involvement, and financially supporting the work of the church (II Cor. 9:7).

4.      These dear brethren possess a good influence.  “…they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  (Matt. 5:16 ).

5.      It can truthfully be said emphatically that such brethren are steadfast (I Cor. 15:58 ).

B.  The Bible provides us numerous examples of faithful brethren.

1.      The scripture reveals that Joseph of Arimathaea who was “a good man, and a just” provided his own sepulcher to bury the body of Jesus in (Lk. 23:50 -53).

2.      There was Barnabas, a co-worker with the Apostle Paul in evangelism, who was referred to in the Scripture as “a good man” (Acts 11:24 ).

Closing:

     If anyone needs to respond to the Lord’s invitation then I urge you to think of the goodness of our Lord.  The Apostle Paul declared:  “…the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” ( Rom. 2:4).

     It would be wonderful to hear our Lord say unto us on the Day of Judgment:  Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

(I probably preached this sermon more than fifty years ago.  It was probably a “skeleton sermon outline” in Seed for the Sower by the late Leroy Brownlow.  My copy of that book has been missing for several years.  I have enlarged it and adapted it to suit myself.)

--Dub Mowery

 

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