The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
Course: The Fruit of the Spirit
Lesson Title: Goodness
Lesson Goal: …the student will understand the meaning of goodness and learn to have goodness and kindness working together.
Text: 'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law,' Galatians 5:22.
Theme: The goodness of God reveals the holiness of His nature and character.
Introduction: Goodness (Greek agathosune) is good in character and beneficial in its outworking, but has a different emphasis from the fruit of kindness.
· Goodness is not always gentle because it is primarily concerned with that which is good. Kindness is gentle because the emphasis is on being kind.
· Goodness is the opposite of evil (Greek kakos). Christians should follow after that which is good in character and beneficial to others. 3 John 'Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God.'
The difference between kindness (chrestotes) and goodness (agathosune).
Kindness does not involve 'righteous indignation'. It is tenderhearted and compassionate towards those who it seeks to help.
Goodness can appear harsh because it always seeks to reveal the holy nature and character of God.
Goodness reveals the nature and character of God. Exodus 33:19 'And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.'
God is good and His goodness is good in character and beneficial to others.
Satan is evil and seeks to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John ).
Who we serve determines our character.
Sometimes we can speak truth but we are not being kind.
Sometimes we can be so concerned about being kind that we never tell people what they need to hear.
Introductory Story: The goodness of God is seen most clearly through the cross.
· The cross reveals the love of God towards the sinners. Romans 5:8 ‘But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’
· The cross reveals the wrath of God towards sin. Romans , ‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;’
Question: If God is love then how can He condemn sinners to eternal torment? The goodness of God is associated with the severity of God. Romans ‘Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise you also shall be cut off.’
Answer: The goodness of God reveals His nature and character. He cannot deny Himself. His love cannot oppose His holiness. God cannot allow sin to be unpunished. The cross reveals the love of God in that He took our sin upon Himself so that we can be forgiven. There is no other way of salvation except through Jesus Christ, John 3:16.
1. Goodness is the nature and character of God.
2. Goodness and truth.
· The Lord dealt kindly with sinners, but He appeared to speak harshly with the religious leaders in Matthew 23. His gentleness is seen in His dealings with the prostitutes, tax collectors and sinners because they knew they needed a Saviour. His goodness is seen in His dealings with the religious leaders who elevated themselves through religious means and did not know they needed a Saviour. See Luke 7:36-50.
· Goodness is associated with knowledge to admonish. This means teaching by warning, admonishing or exhorting. It is the Bible principle that every believer must be ready and able to teach others. Romans 15:14 'And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.'
3. Goodness and righteousness. The fruit of goodness will always uphold the righteousness of God. Ephesians 5:9 'For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;'
· Goodness can never be unrighteous or inconsistent with holiness. The Lord's goodness will always declare His righteousness.
· Goodness cannot let sin go unpunished. Whenever the Lord showed kindness, His goodness demanded repentance, Luke 19:1-10. The Lord showed kindness to Zacchaeus. The result of the Lord's kindness was repentance and restitution.
4. Goodness and works. The fruit of goodness will produce good works - this is the eternal plan and purpose of God.
· God's eternal plan and purpose is that we have been created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Ephesians For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. Good works that are not only kind and beneficial to others but also reveal the righteousness of God.
· The goodness of the Lord is seen when He is glorified in our lives. 2 Thessalonians , ‘Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:’ His goodness works in us so that we will become more and more like Jesus. This is the eternal plan and purpose of His goodness His nature and character will be glorified through those that He has saved from the world.
1) Goodness is the nature and character of God.
2) Goodness will declare truth without concern for the consequences. Speaking can appear to be unkind at times, but goodness will say what a person needs to hear not just what they want to hear. But we must be careful to speak in a right way under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
3) Goodness always acts in unity with the righteousness of God.
4) Goodness will produce good works that glorify the Lord. We have been created in Christ Jesus to do good works that reflect the beauty of Jesus in us.
What should the student do?
1) Never let the desire to be kind stop us from speaking truth.
2) Always act in agreement with God’s righteousness and truth.
3) Seek to glorify the Lord through good works.