Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ain't God Good

Scripture Text:  Romans 8:28, Psalm 100:5, Matthew 19:16-17, et al

God is good … Can I get an AMEN? I don’t know about you….but I learned this from childhood.  1.- When I was just a child, my mother taught me a prayer to say at mealtime: “God is great, God is GOOD, let us thank Him for our food. By His hands we all are fed. Give us Lord, our daily bread. Amen.”  2.- When I was a child in Sunday School we used to sing this chorus: “God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me.”  As a member of the Praise and Worship team at First Church Alex City….we began each service with a the song leader saying…”God is Good”  and the congregation responding, “All the Time”. And then He would say “And all the time,” and we would counter with “God is Good!”  I loved doing this.  I felt like a cheerleader on God’s team.

In Psalm 100:5 we find the GOODNESS of God as a reoccurring theme in the Scriptures -   “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”  God HAS to be good … it’s His very nature to be good.  And…because God is good:  o We receive pardon & forgiveness.  o He hears our prayers.  o We can experience fellowship with Him.  o We can trust in Him that whatever happens in our life is based on His goodness.

The sad thing is that SOMETIMES, we don’t SEE the goodness of God … ESPECIALLY when something BAD happens to us. When we experience a heartache, a tragedy, a disappointment … it SEEMS like God isn’t GOOD. OTHERWISE, why would God allow this to happen to us … if God is GOOD? If God is GOOD, then why the tragedy of 9-11? If God is GOOD, then why did my Dad die of cancer? If God is GOOD, then why all the suffering, not only in the world, but in my life?

STOP for a moment and think about this … I am going to tell you that EVERYTHING that God does … is GOOD! When God created the world, He stopped often and said “It is good.”.  Part of our problem is that we spend too much of our time COMPLAINING about the 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 every day. YES, I lost my Dad to cancer, BUT I enjoyed 55 good years with him. YES, I have had heartaches & tragedies & disappointments in my life, BUT my GOOD GOD was there to see me through every one of them.

Let’s take a look at the GOODNESS OF GOD:

I. GOD SETS THE STANDARD FOR GOODNESS.  So let me ask you….How do you determine what is “good” … and what isn’t “good”? What is the STANDARD for “goodness”?  Let’s look at Matthew 19:16-17

The Rich Young Ruler had everything money could buy … he was living the GOOD life. 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.  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.  As a child I believed that BEETS didn’t come from God … BUT chocolate did! So…I know that there will be no BEETS in Heaven! Adam & Eve had no BEETS in the Garden of Eden … they came after the fall of man … a result of the CURSE upon the earth! BEETS will be the main course in Hell … Heaven will be full of chocolate.   Just kidding….The truth is beets are good for you…even though I do not like them at all!    We can learn a lesson from beets today…. GOODNESS IS NOT DETERMINED BY EXPERIENCE, BUT BY ITS SOURCE. I’ve had a bad EXPERIENCE with BEETS. But that doesn’t determine whether BEETS are GOOD or BAD. GOODNESS is determined by its SOURCE, not by EXPERIENCE. Chocolate tastes good … it makes me feel good … it makes me happy. BUT … chocolate isn’t good for me. EXPERIENCE is not the STANDARD for GOODNESS.  James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”   Every GOOD thing has God as its source. God only produces that which is GOOD. We might USE IT for a BAD PURPOSE … BUT … GOODNESS is determined by its SOURCE, not by EXPERIENCE.

II. GOD TURNS BADNESS INTO GOODNESS - Somebody might say: “How can God be good when thousands were killed in 9-11. I can’t believe in a God who would allow that.”…OK and Let’s say you were right … and that God isn’t good … and that He really doesn’t exist. You’ve still got thousands of dead people. Getting rid of God didn’t solve your problem at all!  How do we answer the fact that God is good … yet bad things happen? If it isn’t good, then it didn’t have it’s source in God. YES, God is sovereign … He is 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. God is good!  Our problem is, we use the wrong STANDARD for “goodness” … we use OUR human standard. OUR human 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 … but it’s GOOD for you. Dentist …. Surgery …

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 the BAD things, and bring eternal GOOD out of them … IF … we let Him.   We are human and always want to blame somebody for the BAD things that happen to us. God is always handy, so we blame Him a lot. “If there is 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 thought He should … He is 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 sounds? Are you going to believe in God ONLY if He acts like you want Him to? You would be better off carving a god out of a piece of wood … or chipping one out of a rock. 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 would 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”. NO! God sets the standard for “good”.  God is GOOD … ALL THE TIME! AMEN? It doesn’t matter what happens to you, 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’, to which the Pastor replied, “It could have been worse.’ ‘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!”  Let us learn something from this story….It doesn’t matter what happens to you … “It could have been worse.” Ain’t God GOOD to have not allowed it to be any worse? AMEN?

In Romans 8:28 -I don’t always know what “good” God has in mind when He allows tragedy, heartache & 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 be tragic & terrible. Maybe I can’t see any purpose in it at all. BUT … What does this verse say about what I am to “know”? I may not be able to SEE how it is working for good … or FEEL LIKE it is … or UNDERSTAND HOW it is 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 knows what’s best. God has one up on us … He’s OMNISCIENT! You & I can only see things in the PRESENT tense lens … God sees things with the ETERNAL VIEW lens. God has a lots better view from Heaven than I do in Randolph County, Alabama! What happens to you & me may not BE good … but it IS working together FOR good. AND … I can “know” that … when I put my faith & trust in a “good” God.

God is good … all the time. That’s His nature … He HAS to be good. God has given you & I so much more than we DESERVE … AMEN? If we got what we DESERVE, we wouldn’t have driven to church in our fine automobile (“It could be worse!”). We wouldn’t have such fine clothes (“It could be worse!”). We could be lost and bound for an eternity in the Lake of Fire.  God is good? AMEN?

We’ve gotten into the habit of saying: “THIS is good!” (A promotion, a raise, a gift, a pleasure in life, CHOCOLATE!) We should get into the habit … whenever something GOOD happens to us … instead of saying “This is good!” … saying “GOD is good!” AMEN?   So I know you are dying to know how you can make God’s GOODNESS … REAL in your life?

o Don’t judge God by YOUR STANDARD of “goodness”.

o Don’t judge God by whether He does what YOU want Him to do.

o Don’t judge God by how YOU would run the universe if YOU were God.

God says: “When you start creating universes … and control the 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 in the GOODNESS of God.

Let Us Pray



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