Romans's 3, 9, 2 26. Okay. What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage, not at all, for we have already made the charge that Jews and gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written, there is no 1 righteous, not even 1.
There is no 1 who understands. There is no 1 who seeks god. All have turned away, they have together become worthless. There is no 1 who does good, not even 1. Their throats are open graves, their tongues practice deceit.
The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness, their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of god before their eyes. Now we know that whatever the law says, it is to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silent and the whole world held accountable to god. Therefore, no 1 will be declared righteous in god's sight by the works of the law.
Rather through the law, we will become of our sin. But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of god has been made known to which the law and the prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Dental for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of god, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement through the shedding of his blood to be received by faith He did this to demonstrate his righteousness because in his forbearance, he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.
He did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the 1 who justifies those who faith have faith in Jesus. Okay. It was sent to Galatians 5, page 1 1 7 2, and, starting at verse 19. The acts of the flesh are obvious. Sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fist of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy, drunkenness, or deeds, and the like.
I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of god. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy. Peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit, let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. My name's Daryl, and please do keep your bibles open. We are gonna be going all over the place tonight. But I'll try to put as many of the verses up on the screen as we can. But you might want your bibles open in front of you as well.
So let me pray for us and then we'll get stuck in. Heavenly father, thank you for your word. Please would you now open our eyes, our ears, our hearts, and minds, to receive what you want to say to us this evening and fill us with your spirit that we might walk closely with our lord Jesus Christ in whose name we pray, amen. Well, the way of the master is an American TV show hosted by evangelists Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. The show seeks to equip Christians to share their faith with others Now most of us struggle to have purposeful and faithful conversations with friends and family about the lord Jesus Christ So the show offers us ideas that help Christians to do just that.
You can get all 4 seasons of the way of the master on the way of the dot com for a small fee. I really enjoy the show. I think the guys are really funny if nothing else. So if you do ever get a chance to watch it, I hope that that will be an encouragement to you and that it will help you to boldly talk to others about the good news of the bible Now you'll have seen that 1 of the techniques adopted by Ray Comfort is the good person test. We've just seen an example of that on the video.
Now, typically, the person being interviewed at some point claims to be a good person. They say, well, I may not go to church like you, but I'm basically a good person. As if god's standards for entry to heaven were like, well, as long as you tried your best, what more can I ask of you? Welcome to paradise. And lots of our friends are subconsciously trusting in that idea.
I'm a relatively good person, and that's got to be good enough for god. But as we've just had read in the Bible, it's not an idea you find in scripture. Romans 3 12 says there is no 1 who does good, not even 1. Reading those verses paints a pretty bleak picture of humanity, doesn't it? And just to make it worse, Paul's actually quoting from Psalm 14.
So the Bible actually says it twice. In fact, 8 times explicitly in fact. So which 1 is right? The world says I'm a good person. The Bible says there is no 1 who does good.
Which 1 is right? And in the TV show, Ray tries to show people that on an honest reflection They're not always quite as good as perhaps they thought they were. So he asks them a few questions based on the 10 commandments. For example, he asks, have you ever told a lie? Yes.
What do you call someone who tells lies? A liar? Have you ever stolen something? Yes. What do you call someone who steals?
They say a stealer? Because a thief. That's a thief. Have you ever used god's name as a swear word? Yes.
That's called blasphemy and so on and so on until the person is ready to concede that actually they might not be such a good person after all. Ray says, So by your own admission, you're a lying thieving blasphemous adulterer at heart. He shows them that they're not a good person. And that if god gave them justice today, they'd be in serious trouble with eternal consequences. When someone recognizes that they're not a good person and that trusting in their own goodness simply cannot work, then they're ready to hear the great news of the gospel that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
In our reading earlier, we heard this great news of the gospel explained. For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. It's very simple, really. I'm not a perfect person. I'm not really even a good person.
I need god's forgiveness. But I'm not put right with god through my own goodness. Jesus puts me right with god through his goodness. But so many of us naturally fall back into this way of thinking from time to time. And so many of our friends desperately want to be known as good people.
But that's goodness according to our own standards. When you compare me to him over there, I'm a fantastic person. When you compare me to Hitler, I'm a saint which may very well be true. I'm a good person relatively speaking. And as long as we keep comparing ourselves, to people who aren't doing something as well as us, we can keep up that delusion for a long time.
But of course, you only have to compare yourself to someone who's doing something better than you for that whole idea to crumble like a sand castle. And when you compare me to god, when you compare me with Jesus Christ, then I really don't look so good. Anymore. Are you really a good person? The Bible shows us quite a different way of looking at goodness and quite a different way of getting right with God.
Now, we've been looking at the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5 in our evening services. And we've come to a part of that fruit called goodness And we're gonna be thinking all about goodness this evening, not the false goodness that we assume that we already have. But real goodness, which is a part of the fruit of the spirit. A slow growing goodness that god developed in our lives as we walk with him. We'll look at what the Bible has to say about goodness, will try to spot the false goodness in our lives, which is really no goodness at all.
And we'll think about how God grows the fruit of goodness as we walk in step with his spirit. So firstly, let's look at what the Bible has to say about goodness. What does the Bible say about goodness? A lot. The word good appears on page 1 of the Bible 6 times.
In Genesis 1, it's talking about creation of the heavens and the earth, which was good. And by the time mankind has been created, God saw all that he had made and it was very good. But we reached out and took the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and now there's evil in our world too amongst the good. And that evil has spread into every area of our lives. Now, this of course holds us double minded humans in contrast to god who is always good.
Last weekend, it was our youth weekend away, and Anna and Rachel, had set the youth various challenges, 1 of which resulted in Nathan Bell shouting out at various points throughout the weekend the lord is good. The lord is good. And he's right, isn't he? The lord is good. And the Psalms are full of this idea.
There's that phrase, isn't there in Psalm 1 0 6? Give thanks to the lord for he is good, his love endures forever. It's 1 of the most repeated phrases in all the Psalms. Some 1 1 9, you are good, and what you do is good. Teach me your decrees.
Psalm 34, taste and see that the lord is good. Bless is the 1 who takes refuge in him. So in contrast to the world, which is good and evil, the lord is simply good. He is everything he should be. He lacks no good thing.
There is nothing in him that spoils him. He is the only 1 without sin. God is completely good. And Jesus agrees when he's talking to a rich young ruler, he says no 1 is good. Except god alone, which is funny because Jesus is the son of god.
Now according to colossians, he's the visible image of the invisible god. It says all god's fullness dwells in Jesus. Hebrews adds, the sun is the exact representation of god's being. So if god is good, then Jesus is good as well because Jesus is god the son. And if we want to see what real goodness looks like in human form, we have to look at Jesus.
The only fully good man to have ever lived. Everything about Jesus is 100 percent good. His words are good. His actions are good. His death on the cross for the salvation of all who believe is good, and we've just celebrated it on good Friday.
His resurrection from the dead, which we celebrate today, is the most amazing good news. Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. The gospel that he preaches is called the good news. Now thinking back to what we saw earlier, the Bible's message is not that we are good people, but rather he is good. Jesus is good.
We are a right mix bunch. The good things we do in our lives are spoiled by all the evil that's crept into every area of our lives, but Jesus is different. Jesus is good, and that is good news for us. For example, there was a dinner at Levi, the tax collector's house. Many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and the disciples, they were following Jesus.
So many, in fact, that the religious leaders at the time asked the question. Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners? What did Jesus reply? He said it's not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. I've not come to call the righteous, but sinners The good news of the gospel is Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Not people who think they're good enough already. He came to seek and save the lost that's the good news. And it's good news that Jesus came to rescue bad people. For if we're not really good people compared to god, we need forgiveness, we need rescuing, saving, And the great thing is that really is the message of the Bible. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners like you and me.
And it's even better than that because he didn't just come to bring forgiveness He came to bring us resurrection, new life. He came to give us his spirit. He came to make everything new. The Bible story moves towards a new creation where there will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain. God says he's making everything new, even us.
1 day, everything will be very good again with nothing to spoil it. And even now, that work in us has begun as Christians are transformed into the very good likeness of Jesus. Because the fruit of walking with his holy spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. What does the Bible say about goodness? God's creation was very good, but we fell.
Now no 1 is good except god alone. God is good. Jesus is good. If you want to know what real goodness looks like in a person, you have to look at Jesus. And the good news of the Bible is that Jesus came to save those who are not good.
God is making everything new, including us by his spirit. If you wanna see good, look at Jesus. 2. Secondly, let's try to spot the false goodness in our lives, which is really no goodness at all. The false goodness in our lives.
What was it in the garden of Eden that deceived us so much. The snake says to the woman, when you eat the fruit, you will be like god, knowing good and evil. When she saw the fruit was good, for food pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. It looked like there was something about the fruit that was good pleasing and desirable. But really, it was just a deception.
It was a false goodness that was really no goodness at all. And it would be great to say that we've learned our lesson and that we're no longer deceived by false goodness in the same way. But don't we still see it everywhere in our world? In the gambler who thinks he's going to win a fortune, but then loses everything that he has. In the affair, that looks like fun, but in the end, destroys marriages and ruins lives.
In the images online that look perfect in every way, but leave us bored with real life and unable to relate to the opposite sex. In the grass that's always greener on the other side. In the advertising that depends upon your dissatisfaction, with what you have in order to sell you something that you don't need. You've already got a smartphone. But now you want to spend thousands of pounds on the same thing just so that you can have an emojis.
I'm sure we're all familiar with the disappointment of a new purchase. We'd hoped it would be so good. But really, it was just alright. It always sounds good, but it's not really good at all. It's a false goodness, a deception, and that's how sin works just like in the garden of Eden.
You think you're getting something good, pleasing desirable. It's pleasing to the eyes, desirable for gaining wisdom, but it's a lie. And it's a lie that we love to believe until it destroys us. Adam and Eve walked away from god. They rejected his word, which brought evil into the world and we still do this today.
When we slowly walk away from god, we reject his word we get seduced by lies about false goodness and bring the effects of evil into our lives instead. What does this look like? Galatians 5 tells us the acts of the flesh are obvious sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry, and craft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions and factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you as I did before that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of god. It's always something that looks good, but it's not good.
It's a false path, a deception, And if it was just out there in the world, then maybe just maybe you could try to avoid it. But we can't because it's everywhere. Even in your hearts, even in the church. Even in our repentance, we sometimes reach out for false goodness. I'll clean up my act.
I won't do that anymore. I just need to try harder to be a good person. Then I'll be right with God. Now, of course, we need to put our sin to death in the power of the Holy Spirit. But whenever we try to get right with god by being a good person, it's a false goodness.
Now let's just look at works based religion for a moment. There are many out there. If you perform all the duties you try to do, all the good things. You try to do all the good works. You'll feel great like a good person.
But real goodness doesn't come by you trying harder. It doesn't come from within yourself. If you look inside yourself, Jeremiah says, the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? No.
Goodness is the fruit of the spirit. It comes from the spirit of god who alone is good. If we try to grow goodness ourselves, it's a false goodness that only leads us further away. Now, You see this very clearly in the story of the Faracy and the tax collector, don't you? There's a Faracy who's a great man.
He's a really good person. He does all the religious stuff that you can imagine. Then there's a tax collector who's done nothing but take other people's money. He's not a good person, and he knows it. Now the pharisee, he thanks god for all the good things he's done, and he compares himself.
Against the tax collector. The tax collector beats his chest and says, god, have mercy on me, a sinner. Then, shockingly, Jesus says the tax collector is right with god, but the pharisee isn't. All the good things he's done only lead him further away from trusting god's mercy and goodness. He's become blind to his own sin.
He thinks he's a good enough person already. Paul summarizes why trying to be a good person never works. He says in colossians too. These rules which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom.
With their self imposed worship, their false humility, and their harsh treatment of the body but they lack any value in restraining, sensual indulgence. Trying really hard to be a good person in your own strength doesn't work. If we follow the human rules, they lack any value in restraining indulgence. Why? Because they come from the heart within, which is deceitful.
And the human heart is not the source of goodness Jesus' Here's the false goodness in our lives looking away from god. We slowly walk away from god and reject his word just like Adam and Eve in the god. And in his place, we look to the poor imitation, false and broken promises of the world that never deliver. And then we try to make things right on our own terms without really returning to god. That's false goodness.
Looking away from God. So we've looked at what the Bible says about goodness, We've looked at the false goodness in our lives, which is really no goodness at all. And now thirdly, let's look at how god grows the spiritual fruit of goodness as we walk in step with his holy spirit. God grows the fruit of goodness as we walk in step with his spirit. The good news for Christians is that god, by his holy spirit, promises to make us more like Jesus.
Jesus who is completely good. And part of that spiritual fruit is real genuine goodness. God wants us to be really genuinely good. How does it grow? Galatians 5 16 says walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Now, what does it look like to walk by the spirit? Well, I wonder if you remember that picture that Pete gave us at the beginning of this series, a dog walking closely alongside his master. When he goes astray, his master's voice calls him back. He walks closely alongside his master, or perhaps you remember being younger, and your parents said to you I don't like you hanging out with that boy. He's bad influence on you.
Well, the opposite of that is hanging out with a friend who's a good influence on you. But part of the problem of living in a fallen and broken world is that its values influence us 24 hours a day, but they're a bad influence on us. We saw earlier how only god is good, and Jesus is the exact representation of his being. Jesus is completely good and he's a good influence on us. He is our lord, our master.
And just like Pete's dog, if we walk closely with him, he calls us back when we go astray. And we spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the world. But how long do we spend each day being purposefully influenced by the good shepherd? Paul says in Romans chapter 12 verse 2, do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what god's will is.
He's good, pleasing, and perfect will. Now, 1 of the ways we can spend time letting god influence our thinking is by reading his words in the Bible daily. This is how to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Now for some people, the Bible reading is not a problem. But for others, it's a real struggle to maintain a daily devotional.
So for the benefit of those who want to tonight, I am launching the Daryl Bible Reading Guide. You've all heard of McShane. Well, this is easier. It's just Matthew in 4 weeks. It's a very simple challenge.
1 chapter a day, every day for the next 4 weeks, and you can start when you get home, strike while the iron's hot. If you forget where you are, the chapter is always the same as the date. If you need to tick off on the checklist, if you like that sort of thing, then you can pick up a copy from the front after the service. And if you want accountability, I'll do it as well. In fact, let's get as many people doing it as we possibly can.
By the end of April, will have finished the entire book. Then we can do Mark in May, Luke in June, John in July and act in August. And at that pace, you can probably burn your way through the entire new testament in a year. That's 1 of the best ways to let god influence our thinking. That's 1 of the best ways to walk closely with the master and hear his voice calling us back.
Only god is good and goodness grows in us as we walk closely in step with his holy spirit. But that's just 1 of the ways. It's good for us to be together here in the church. It's good for us to spend time listening to preaching. It's good for us to sing god's praise.
It's good for us to pray. It's good for us to have fellowship with other Christians. It's good for us to eat together like we did earlier. It's good for us to go away together on the away day. These are all good influences on us.
Make your parents proud. We need to come together as church and walk closely with God in this way too. You can come here on Sundays. You can come on Wednesday to the prayer meeting. Come to House Group, get involved in ministry, in the cafe, in the film club.
This place is great for anyone who wants to walk closely with God because there's always so much going on. But we need to discern the things that we allow to have an influence on us. Are they worldly things? Do worldly things influence us to produce the fruit of the flesh? Or are they good?
And godly things? That influence us to walk in step with the Holy Spirit. God grows the fruit of goodness in us. As we walk closely with him. Now if you're not a Christian here tonight, can I encourage you to taste and see that the lord is good?
Why not spend some time with us here in the church? Why not read along with us in Matthew's gospel to see the goodness of the lord Jesus Christ? It would be great to show you the goodness of god. But if you are a Christian here tonight, then can I encourage you? This fruit grows slowly.
It's not instant coffee. It's more like an oak tree, and you may well have been walking closely with the lord for a long time. But you feel like the fruit is not growing quickly enough. Well, if so, keep going. You're doing the right things if you're walking closely next to the master.
Towards the end of Paul's letter, he says, let us not become weary in doing good. For at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Don't give up. God is growing the fruit of goodness in us as we walk closely with him. Let me pray for us.
Heavenly father, thank you that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And thank you that we don't have to be a good person in order for you to rescue us. Lord, you justify us freely by your grace. Lift our eyes away from ourselves and on to Jesus. Thank you that you are good, that Jesus our lord is completely good.
Help us not to be deceived into believing that bad things are good things. But help us to walk closely in step with your Holy Spirit that you might grow the fruit of goodness in our lives. For we ask you in Jesus' name, amen.