The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Goodness

Posted by on Mar 18, 2007

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

March 18, 2007

Sunday Morning

“The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Goodness”

Scripture Reading: Galatians 5:22-23

Scripture Text: Galatians 5:22

Introduction:

 

A.   In Mat. 19:16, we are told that a certain man came up to Jesus one day and asked Him the following question, he said, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”

1. Before Jesus answered this man’s question, He asked him a question of His own, He said, “Why callest thou me good?” and then Jesus said this, “…there is none good but one, that is, God:” (Mat. 19:17)

2. This should remind us of something that Paul wrote in Rom. 3:12, where he said, “…there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

3. And also Rom. 3:10, where he said, “…There is none righteous, no, not one:”

 

B.   Now this raises a question, “If it is true that there is none good, but God, and if it is true that there is none that doeth good, no not one, and if it’s true that there is none righteous, no not one, then how do we reconcile this fact with our text, which says, “…the fruit of the Spirit is…goodness”? (Gal. 5:22)

1. In other words, if there is none good, but God, then how are we going to exhibit goodness in our lives?

2. The answer is, “We are not going to exhibit goodness in our lives. You see, we do not have the ability in and of ourselves to manifest any goodness whatsoever.”

3. However, the Holy Spirit does! (Amen?)

4. Look again at our text, Gal. 5:22.

5. Paul did not say, “…the fruit of…

-man is goodness,

-the flesh is goodness,

-human depravity is goodness,” but rather, “…the fruit of the Spirit is goodness.” (Gal. 5:22)

6. The fact is, when a believer in Christ exhibits goodness in his life, this goodness is the product of the Holy Spirit of God working in our lives.

 

C.   Now having said that,…

 

I.       Let’s Begin By Defining This Manifestation Of The Spirit That Paul Refers To Here As Goodness.

 

A.   What is “goodness”?

1. The Bible actually talks about two different kinds of goodness.

2. First of all, the Bible talks about goodness in the sense of graciousness and generosity and benevolence.

3. For example, when we say that God has been good to us, what do we mean?

4. We simply mean that God has been…

-gracious to us,

-generous to us,

-benevolent to us.

5. This is the kind of goodness that is referred to in Rom. 2:4, which says, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”

6. And so, first of all, the Bible talks about goodness in the sense of graciousness and generosity and benevolence, and all of these words most certainly describe our God!

 

B.   However, when the Bible says that “the fruit of the Spirit is…goodness,” it is talking about a different kind of goodness.

1. What it’s talking about is the spiritual quality of virtue.

2. It’s talking about personal holiness or righteousness.

3. It’s talking about personal morality or uprightness.

 

C.   The Greek word (agathosune – ag-ath-o-soo’-nay) from which the word “goodness” is translated in Gal. 5:22, is actually found three other places in the New Testament.

1. For example, it is found in Rom. 15:14, where Paul wrote, “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”

2. The word is also found in Eph. 5:9, which says, “(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)”

3. Finally, it is found in 2 Thes. 1:11, where it is clearly referring to God’s holiness. Listen to what it says, “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:”

 

D.   And so, when the Bible says that “…the fruit of the Spirit is…goodness,” it is talking about the spiritual quality of virtue, or holiness, or righteousness.

 

E.   The second thing that I want to point out this morning is that…

 

II.      We Can Only Be Good Because God Is Good.

 

A.   In fact, the Bible tells us in 1 Pet. 1:16, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” We can only be holy because God is holy!!!

 

B.   Is God holy?

1. Let’s let the psalmist answer this question.

2. In Psa. 24:3, we read, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?”

3. In Psa. 99:5, we read, “Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.”

4. In Psa. 99:9, we read, “Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the LORD our God is holy.”

5. Finally, in Psa. 145:7, we read, “The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.”

 

C.   When I think about the holiness of God, I think about Moses standing before that burning bush.

1. This was when God spoke to Moses and called him to go to Egypt and lead His people out of bondage.

2. If you will remember, Moses was out tending sheep one day, when he saw a very strange sight.

3. He saw a bush that was burning, but was not consumed.

4. As he approached the bush to satisfy his curiosity, God spoke to him from out of the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses,” and Moses said, “Here am I.” (Exo.3:4)

5. God went on to say, “Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Exo. 3:5)

 

D.   When I think of the holiness of God, I think about the prophet Isaiah, as he beheld “the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up.” (Isa. 6:1)

1. Not only did he see the Lord, but he also heard the seraphim cry out, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts:” (Isa. 6:3)

2. Do you remember how Isaiah responded to this demonstration of the holiness of God?

3. He said, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isa. 6:5)

 

E.   When I think of the holiness of God, I think about the vision that God gave to the apostle John, which he recorded for us in Rev. 4.

1. Do you remember what John saw?

2. First of all, he saw “a throne” that “was set in heaven,” as well as the One “who sat on the throne.” (In other words, he saw God’s throne!) (Vrs. 2)

3. And then, surrounding the throne, he saw what he described as “four beasts” (Vrs. 6) who continually, “day and night” were giving praise to God. (Vrs. 8)

4. Do you remember the song of praise that they sang?

5. They said, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” (Vrs. 8)

 

F.    And so, yes, God is holy, and it is only because God is holy that we can be holy.

1. Don’t forget that we are talking about “the fruit of the Spirit,” Who, of course, is God.

2. The third thing that I want to point out this morning is that…

 

III.    Because God Is Good, He Expects Us To Be Good As Well.

 

A.   Listen again to the Word of God.

1. The Bible says in Eph. 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

2. The Bible also says in 1 Pet. 1:15-16, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

3. Finally, the Bible says in Tit. 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

B.   Now there are at least three areas of our lives where the goodness (holiness) of God should be evident.

1. First of all, it should be evident in our actions.

2. In other words, it should be evident in the…

-way we live,

-things that we do,

-works that we perform.

3. The unsaved (those who do not know Christ) should be able to look at us, and by observing our actions, see the goodness and the holiness of God.

4. I believe this is what the apostle Peter had in mind when he wrote in 1 Pet. 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”

 

C.   Not only should God’s goodness be evident in our actions, it should also be evident in our speech.

1. In other words, it should be evident in the…

-way we talk,

-words that we choose,

-expressions that we use to communicate with others.

2. The unsaved (those who do not know Christ) should be able to listen to our speech, and by listening to the way that talk, detect the goodness and the holiness of God.

3. This is the Bible admonishes us in Eph. 4:29 to “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

4. Listen also to Tit. 2:7-8, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”

 

D.   Finally, God’s goodness should be evident in our thinking.

1. Now I realize that the unsaved cannot tell what we are thinking (they cannot read our minds), however, our thought life is still extremely important.

2. Do you know why it is important?

3. It is important because the Bible tells us in Pro. 23:7 that as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he:”

4. In other words, we are what we think.

5. This is why it is so important that strive to have a pure (proper) thought life.

6. But someone says, “Pastor, I really struggle with this. I constantly find myself thinking about things that I shouldn’t be thinking about. How can I stop doing this?”

7. It’s really not that difficult.

8. The way to stop thinking bad (immoral) thoughts is to fill our minds with good (wholesome) thoughts.

9. Listen to Phil. 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

10.   Let me tell you something about the human brain, it can only entertain one thought at a time.

11.   As long as we are having good thoughts, there’s no way that immoral thoughts can invade our thinking.

12.   But someone asks, “How do we train our minds to think only good thoughts?”

13.   That too is not difficult.

14.   We train our minds by filling them with the Word of God.

15.   This is what Paul had in mind in Rom. 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

16.   As we fill our minds with the Word of God, our minds are renewed, the result being that our lives are brought in line with the will of God.

17.   The key to living right is thinking right!

 

E.   And so, because God is good, He expects us to be good as well.

1. This should be evident in our actions.

2. This should be evident in our speech.

3. This should be evident in our thoughts.

 

F.    Now, before I close, let me point out something very important.

1. While God expects us to be good (exhibit personal holiness in our lives), we cannot be good on our own.

2. What do I mean by this?

3. I simply mean that we do not possess, in and of ourselves, the ability to…

-be holy,

-exhibit true righteousness,

-live a life that is pleasing to God.

4. However, even though this is true, because God dwells within us in the person of His Holy Spirit, God is able to exhibit His goodness in and through us!

5. 2 Cor. 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”

6. Notice this verse begins with the words, “…God is able.”

7. While we are not able on our own to live a holy life, God is able live in and through us.

8. This is why it is so important that we “walk in the Spirit” (yield our lives to the Holy Spirit Who lives within us).

Conclusion:

 

A.   What have we learned this morning?

1. We’ve learned the meaning of goodness.

2. We’ve learned that goodness is…

-the spiritual quality of virtue,

-personal holiness or righteousness,

-personal morality or uprightness.

3. We’ve also learned that we can only be good because God is good.

4. Finally, we learned that because God is good, He expects us to be good also, which means that He expects us to exhibit holiness in…

-our actions,

-our speech,

-our thoughts.

 

B.   Let me ask you a personal question.

1. Is the spiritual quality of goodness evident in your life?

2. Do you exhibit holiness in…

-your actions,

-your speech,

-your thought life?

3. Remember now what our text says.

4. It says, “The fruit of the Spirit is…goodness.”

5. If the Holy Spirit lives in your heart, and if He is working in your life, then you will exhibit “goodness” in your life.

6. And if you are not, then there is a problem somewhere.