Sermon Notes • August 2

God is good! Follow Him.

Jesus has invited everyone to, “follow him.” We have been invited to follow Him in a commitment that results in being forgiven of our sins. Every believer has been invited to follow Him each day. The primary motivation for following God is the truth that because God is good. Following Him is by far the wisest thing we can do.

God is good. God is good all the time. God is good in every way. There is absolutely nothing about God that is not good. God is “gooder” than anything else in the universe. Read Mark 10:17-18. The word Jesus used for “good” is one that implies “good in essence” or “good in His very nature.” That means that God is always good in all His ways. Read James 1:17, Romans 12:2, Luke 11:13, and Romans 8:28.  God is absolutely, positively, all the time and in every way good. Being good is part of His essence. It is impossible for God to be or do anything that is not always and, in every way, good.

Most people, and certainly most Christians, believe, at least in theory, that God is good. It gets a little confusing when bad things happen to good people and we ask how a loving God could allow that, but the operative word is always allow and never the cause of anything that is not absolutely good. It also gets a little confusing when we assume that good always means pleasant. Good is not always pleasant but it is always good. We say in the physical world, no pain no gain and occasionally God says that is also true in the spiritual realm. Occasionally God says “I am going to have to discipline you and I know that no discipline seems good at the moment but I am too good to let you keep on that slippery path to self-hurt.” God is good, always and in every way He is good. If we believe that, why is it sometimes difficult to follow Him as He asks?

Some people, often younger but not always, when confronted by the claims of Jesus, say they are not ready to make a decision for Him because right now they want to live the exciting life and when they have had all of the good times they want, then they will give consideration to God. That is saying that this is the good life and the life a good God has laid out for them is not all that good compared to what they have now. God never said, “Come unto me all you who are enjoying life and I will make you miserable.” Jesus said, “Come unto me all you who think life is really good and I will show you what a, really good and abundant life is all about.”

Some people don’t want to make a commitment to God because they feel certain God is going to ask them to change a lifestyle or abandon a destructive sin they like. They aren’t sure the life that God has for them will be worth it. But His life is always good.

Too often when people think about following God, they think about the Ten Commandment’s call on us to live and think God gave those rules to ensure that mankind didn’t really enjoy life.

Actually, it is not God but Satan who was determined to make life miserable for mankind. Satan told Adam and Eve that God was holding out on them, that real life was to be found in exactly what God told them not to do. Adam and Eve believed the story when Satan first presented it to them, and millions have believed it ever since. God knows us, knows what we want, and knows how badly we sometimes want it. God is too good all the time and in every way to even give us permission to do that which He, as our designer, knows is not the best for us. Sin is wrong because it keeps us from having the absolute best that He desires to give to us. But we find it too easy to listen to the lies of Satan and question God’s goodness.

Unfortunately, rejecting the goodness of God is just approving of sin. It also comes into play when Jesus asks us to follow Him completely, to surrender ourselves totally to Him. Too many, when challenged to give God complete control of their life, seem to believe, “If I submit to Him God is going to make me talk to my neighbor about Jesus and you know I can’t do that.” Or “If I really submit totally to Him, He will ask me to give more in the offering but He knows that can’t happen, so why not just drop the subject.”

Too many Christians think that following a good God means that God will make the demand will be that will be most difficult if not impossible to comply with. That’s not the way it is, and while we all know that in our minds, it is often difficult to ignore the lies of Satan and just trust God to always ask us to do that which is good and to live in such a way as to allow Him to really shower His goodness upon us.

The truth applies to allowing God to lead and direct in every aspect of the life of our family, especially in the life of our children. Read Jeremiah 29:9. That was a statement to Israel, but it can equally be said of us and of our children. In our society we want to help our children find the profession they will do well in, so they succeed in ways that look good to us. That is totally wrong but at the heart of our prayers for our children and at the heart of whatever we do to help them choose a path in life should always be “find God’s will and follow that for in the end nothing is better for you than His will because He is always good in all He plans for them.”

Too seldom do we say to our kids things like, “Above all seek God’s will for your life.” Somehow, we have allowed that thinking to apply only to those who are going to be pastors or missionaries. The reality is that God has a perfect plan for everyone’s life and we need to regularly encourage our kids and grandkids to find that will because in the will of an always good God is the fullness of life He desires to give them and we want them to have.

Jesus invited us to “follow him.” That invitation was given personally by Jesus 13 times as recorded in the gospels. Actually, that invitation is not really an invitation but in the Greek is in the imperative or command form, so we are not really invited but commanded to follow Him. Some of those commands were very personal, as when Jesus called the disciples individually. Some of them were very general as He commands everyone who would know His blessing to follow Him. Some of the commands seem directed to those who have never considered Him personally and are really commands to follow Him for the salvation He offers. Some of them are commands to follow His example of commitment and to be willing to give up all self-ambition and be and do whatever He asks of us. Jesus wants us to follow Him. The immediate question is simply, “Why would we not want to follow Him?” If God is always and absolutely good, why would there be any hesitation in taking up our cross and following Him? The only reason I can imagine that we would not want to do all He asks of us is that, while we know in our heads that God is good and following Him would never be a mistake, we are still a little uncertain that all of His commandments are good and all of His expectations will be good. Perhaps we are just a little afraid to just trust Him for all good things. Satan is working overtime to get us to believe the lie he told to Adam and Eve. Satan wants us to think that maybe God is withholding from us.

Today, in the midst of so much uncertainty I just want to assure you that because God is good, we can follow His command to become His child. We can follow Him and His example and know with certainty that everything He tells us to do is really best. We can be certain that because He is good, if he tells us to stop doing something, He calls sin it is not because He wants to ruin our life but because He wants to give us fullness of life. Because God is always good, if He asks us to do something it is not because He wants to embarrass us or upset us but because He knows us better than we know ourselves. God is always good so when He looks upon us, He sees us in terms of both time and eternity and knows what is truly good for us.

God is good, all the time. God is good in every way, so why should we not follow Him completely as He has commanded?