Psalm 119:68 – “You are good, and the source of good; train me in your goodness.” (The Message)
1. *Discussion* Ever notice that the “Goody Two-Shoes” characters on T.V. were never really good and almost never cool? Sometimes they were really snotty people, and no one liked them. Sometimes they were easily led and kind of dumb. Who in the world wants to be like that? Surely not Jesus!
2. *Video* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-HL2sFX8RA
Watch this video about a goody two-shoes and her off-beat sister. Do we really want the whole world to be just like Karen? She definitely meets the definition of goody-goody, but is it possible that in our language there is a difference between “being good” and the goodness of God?
3. *Discussion* Look up “good” at dictionary.com and check out some of the definitions. You will notice that there are around 60 right off the bat. How would you define the word “good”?
4. *Discussion* In the movie Spaceballs, the villain Dark Helmet confronts Lone Star (the hero) and states that “evil will always triumph because good is dumb.” The philosopher Nietzsche puts it this way: “Everywhere that [Christian] morality gains the ascendancy, language shows a tendency to approximate the significations of the words ‘good’ and ‘stupid.’” Is there any truth to these statements?
Main Points (Choose ONE)
1. Being “good” is more than simply “behaving.” (Even mean people can do that!)
2. Goodness is not for weenies. No way.
3. You don’t obtain goodness by fulfilling tasks—it’s a relationship!
Mark 11:15-18 – “On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, ‘Is it not written: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of robbers.’ The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.”
à The sellers working at the temple were ripping off the poor people that HAD to have an animal for the sacrifice—but were traveling long-distance, so couldn’t bring one from home—by charging way too much. It was legalized extortion. They excused their rip-offs by claiming that they were offering an important service to the travelers. This is a perfect example of how shallow “behaving” really is: abiding by the rules isn’t the same thing as truly being good.
* This story shows us that not only that the “good religious people” in this story had rotten motives, but also that Jesus had to ‘misbehave’ (culturally) BIG time in order to do the right thing.
* This is only one example of the many times that Jesus became frustrated with religious leaders using ‘goodness’ as a spiritual cosmetic to cover for selfish motives.
* Doing the right thing sometimes causes a fight. It hurts feelings. Goodness is not weakness or passiveness. It’s not the naïve Sandra D. type character at school that is easily influenced. It’s not a sheltered Christian that is afraid of examining truth for fear of discovering that what they believe is a flaw or a lie. Doing what is good takes strength and boldness, sometimes even in a religious environment. Yeah, it’s pretty epic.
Romans 3:21-24 – “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus
* We desire goodness because it is a result of His work in our lives.
* Before the work of Jesus Christ, we were in a lot of trouble. We were completely incapable of goodness on our own, and we were on our way to get punished for it.
* When we “transfer our trust” from ourselves to this new righteousness that has been made known, we are counting on Jesus to take care of it. The best part: it’s free!
1. Goodness is something we often resent because we see others that “behave.” We are not sure we really want to be like these people—especially if their “goodness” is strictly cosmetic!
2. Often we are overwhelmed when we view goodness as a task rather than a result of pursuing the heart of God in a relationship.
3. We don’t know where to turn to obtain goodness. All we feel is the law telling us to “Do better!” and “Try harder!”
1. Before we pursue goodness, we must make a decision that we want it. It is difficult to remain faithful in a new discipline if we haven’t even worked though the reasons we need it or even want it. We must know exactly what it is we want. Ask God to reveal to you His goodness in a new way each day; then make a life-changing decision!
2. I’m sure that God is very happy for you when you always replace the toilet paper when you use the last square or always turn in your assignments on time, but at the end of the day what He truly, truly longs for is a relationship with YOU! A friendship that mutually shares feelings and affection. A relationship that eliminates loneliness in any circumstance. Closeness with God is the beginning. Then come the fruit. As we’ve already talked about before, what is fruit but a RESULT of God’s power in your life!
3. Don’t trust yourself to produce goodness in your life! That would even stress out Snow White or the Care Bears!! There is no need for that if we truly have faith that what Jesus did on the cross bought the righteousness that makes us pure before God and therefore eligible to live with Him in Heaven some day soon.