05 Dec The Art of Being Good
Be a good human being – be a Good boy, Good son, bring Good marks, the lecture was good. Marriage alliance – A Christian family seeks marriage proposal for their daughter aged 41 years, height 5’4’’, God-fearing, fair, good looking, and sound Christian values.
Good is a common term used by us in speaking to people – saying good work done – Good.
Isaiah 5:20 – We do not know how to differentiate between Good and Evil. We are accommodating everything from Gay Marriage / Any Relationship / Anytime Anywhere Pray because God is everywhere. All are said to be good. In Management , they say there are no right and wrong answers- it is situational- it can be right today and can be wrong tomorrow – This has caused the rise of New Age Good Human Beings – who are Disciplined / Eating vegetarian food / Does Exercise / Yoga/ Take Care of Nature/ Well Mannered / Well Cultured / Bright Human Beings. But what does the Bible tell about Being Good.
We will discuss these
(1)What is good about good?
(2)Who is good? Whom do we call good?
(3)Why we need to be good? How do we become good?
The Bible talks about A rich man came and called Jesus “Mark 10:17-18 – a rich man comes – and asks Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life “ Jesus said to him, “ Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is God.
Same thing is found in Matt 19:16-17, Luke 18:18-19 where he is referred to as a certain ruler.
This word is very confusing to a normal listener & people will think a good guy or good girl is one who does good things – good mannered – good character- behaves properly- honors parents- respects elders etc.- he will be good in front of society & also God.
Good – Oxford English Definition
To be desired or approved of.
Having the required qualities; of a high standard.
That which is morally right; righteousness.
Benefit or advantage to someone or something.
The Biblical definition is completely different from the secular definition of good.
The real definition of good is given by Jesus in the same passages wherein He says in Mark 10:19-21
v19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.
v20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
v 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Matt 19:16-17 – Jesus says “verse 17: …… But if you want to enter life, keep the commandments…..
Verse 21: Jesus said if you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me.
Who is good? Whom do we call Good?
Only God is good. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2).
John 10:11 – I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. New Living Translation “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep.
We sing that song – God is good- All the time. Good means perfect- complete / difficult to find fault- and that is the nature of God- because God who is perfect is good.
Gen 1:6 – God separated Land & Waters & God saw it was good. Gen 1:11 – After God created vegetation in the Land, Gen 1:10-God created the sun & the moon, Gen 1:18 says – God saw that it was good / Gen 1:21- every living creature God created – and God saw it was good. Gen 1:24: After creating every living creature- God saw it was good. Gen 1:31 – After man and woman was created – God saw that it was good (KJV)
James 1:17 – Every Good and Perfect gift comes from God, the Father of Light.
Psalms 34:8- States – Oh taste and see that the Lord is good- We sing that song too.
Luke 2:10- The Angel announced Good Tidings of Great Joy to the shepherds- the Birth of Jesus
Only out of God, Good things can come out. God is perfect & He made the world good.
After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s pastor once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak, “A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast,” he began, “when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean.”
The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued, “Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life….to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision.
The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, ‘I love you, son!’ he threw the line to his son’s friend. By the time he pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered.”
By this time, the two teenagers were sitting straighter in the pew, waiting for the next words to come out of the old man’s mouth. “The father,” he continued, “knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us.” With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room.
Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side. “That was a nice story,” politely started one of the boys, “but I don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.” “Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked up at the boys and said, “It sure isn’t very realistic, is it? But I’m standing here today to tell you that THAT story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me.”
“You see….I was that father, and your pastor is my son’s friend.”
God made His Son good for each one of us by dying on the cross of Calvary.
Why We Need to Be Good?
The Bible talks about being not conformed to the world and being good examples – reflecting Christ among men.
I Timothy 4:12- Be examples in word, in Conduct, in Love, in Spirit, in Faith & Purity. I was questioning myself – am I an example of Christ.
Galatians 5:22 talks about goodness as the fruit of the spirit – Does goodness flow from me – the same brightness of Jesus– We say – Let the Beauty of Jesus be seen in me, Oh what wondrous compassion & purity.
This comes from the heart & not from the outward beauty- we should never judge a person by his outward beauty –
When Samuel was going to anoint David as King – God said I Samuel 16:7 – Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.
You can’t tell a book by its cover. That’s a truth which was underscored when a staff member at New York City’s Trump International Hotel kicked multi-millionaire Duck Dynasty star Jase Robertson out of the swank facility. It appears when the bearded Robertson asked the Trump employee for directions to the bathroom, he was cordially and kindly escorted out of the building. It appears the Trump representative took a good look at Robertson, wrongly judged he was a homeless individual who had wandered in from the street, and respectfully sent him on his way.
Reviewing the incident, Robertson said two things:
1. He hoped the employee doesn’t get into trouble, and
2. He would have come to the same conclusions and done the same thing.
No, you can’t tell a book by its cover.
Here’s another example: if you take a look at the folks who gather for worship on a Sunday morning, you are going to see them as a gaggle of nice people who, for the most part, are well dressed, respectful pillars of their communities, who possess excellent moral standards and are guided by lofty principles.
When God looks at that same group of people, He sees folks who, like the rest of humanity, began living as condemned sinners. He sees us as people who need and, unlike the rest of humanity, have come to believe in the Savior.
You see, you can’t tell a book by its cover.
When Jesus was physically on earth and doing the Father’s business of saving us, many people took a serious look at His actions and His exterior. When they did that, they judged Him to be a rabbi, a blasphemer, a sinner, a Samaritan, a partygoer, an anarchist, a disrespecter of the Sabbath.
Very few of them saw who Jesus really was: God’s perfect Son, their Savior.
Even today there are still those who, looking at the Person of the Christ, try to demote Him into being a philosopher, a good-deed doer, a teacher, a healer, a charlatan, and an historical hoax.
The truth is Jesus is who He always has been. He is the answer to our transgressions and the One who rescues from hell all those who believe on Him. By the power of the Holy Spirit, people can see Him for who He really is … when they realize you can’t judge a book by its cover.
WHY DO WE NEED TO BE GOOD? BECAUSE JESUS CAN BE SEEN IN US. WE ARE LIVING BIBLES.
How do we become good?
The answer is loud and clear – we need to follow God’s commandments. Jesus said “If you love me, you will do my commandments” John 14:12-21. Are we keeping His commandments? Yes we need help from God – Only God make us good.How do we become good? If we have to be made perfect we need to learn 3 Steps
Repent – The Bible says that we need to repent for our sins. I John 1 : 9 – If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just – will forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness.
Prophet Isaiah declared in Isaiah 30:15- In Repentance & Rest is Our Salvation
Acts 17:11 – Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is near.
We need to have a habit of repentance. Jesus said in Luke 13:5 – Unless you Repent, You Too will perish- the context of saying was different but it applies to us today as well.
Receive – We need to receive Jesus as our Savior after we have repented.
I Thessalonians 2:13-And we also thank God continually because, when you received the Word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as Word of God which works effectively in one who believes.
Are we receiving God’s Word? I still remember when I was a student, my biology teacher told me – You listen from one ear and release from the other ear. We tend not to listen carefully.
Matthew 13:8/ Mark 4:8/Luke 8:15-17-Parable of the Sower: Some seeds fell on good ground. They are like people who hear the word and remember it. Their hearts are honest and good. These people keep God’s Word. The seeds which fell on good soil, produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Rev 3:20 – Lo, I stand at the door of your heart. Anyone who allows me in, I will dine with him & he with me.
I have many friends who take Jesus as one among their Gods to believe and pray.
Even Satan believes that Jesus is the Son of God the Bible says Matthew 8:29 / Luke 4:41 but he does not repent & accept His Lordship.
Jesus says I am “The way; The Truth- The Life”- No one commeth to the Father except through me. Only Jesus can give salvation – No one else. My receptionist believes in Allah & one day she asked me – If you believe in one God – why do you differentiate Allah & Jesus. Jesus and Jesus alone is the way.
Rejoice – Once you are saved – you need to rejoice in all circumstances and live for Jesus.
Luke 10:20 States Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
I Thessalonians 5: 16-18- Rejoice evermore for this is the will of God concerning you.
Allow God to continue to do the good work in you.
Philippians 1: 6- And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his … has begun good work in you will accomplish that until the day of our coming of Jesus.
So how do We do Good as per God’s standard – By living a Godly and Honest Life –
I Timothy Chapter 2: 2-3- (that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior)
Paul writes in Romans 13: 14 Clothe yourself with Lord Jesus Christ. A very High Standard is God’s expectation
Again we need to be careful that We are made for good works – not by good works (Ephesians 2:10) – The Bible says “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” which the secular world defines – that Do good – You will be good- off course we need to do good – but doing good will not let us land in heaven.
Are we ready to Do Good & Be Good – reflecting Jesus on the way. We are made good only because Jesus died on the cross of Calvary & cleansed all our sins – Anyone who confesses his sins & believes in Him – is made good and we get a place in heaven. Are we sure to go to heaven this Evening? Is yes, Praise the Lord . If not- we need to investigate Jesus & Confess our sins & Believe in Jesus – that is the surety to go to Heaven – Not by works – But by grace alone – Into thy presence we come . Once we have done – David writes in the beautiful psalm – Psalms 23:6- Surely goodness and mercy will follow the days of my life.
God bless each one of us and remember to Repent, Receive Jesus & Rejoice in Christ to be good in this world.
When we Repent / Receive / Rejoice – we become good & Hence the song –
Good Christian Men, Rejoice, with soul and heart and voice….. we sing.
Dr. Samip Baruah
The author is the Head of Supply Chain & Logistics for Education Stationery Product Business of ITC. He lives with his family in Chennai