Needed: A Few Good Men

Needed: A Few Good Men

The spiritual fruit GOODNESS requires a commitment to 1) help others come to Christ, 2) stand against harmful practices in the culture and 3) only return good for evil. The deepest faithfulness is to our Master. It is whole-hearted allegiance. Jesus described it, And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Unswerving loyalty does not mean that we never fail. In fact, sometimes we fail because we are so exhausted trying to fight for the kingdom in our culture, that we surrendered again to temptation. But Jesus died for that sin a long time ago. Allegiance is quickly getting back into the ring and fighting even harder.

How do we become the kind of men who leave behind a good or even great legacy that matters? How can we stay focused on a destiny that will make the world a better place, bring great honor to Jesus, and great defeat to the Evil One? Scripture teaches that reaping a great destiny is the result of a process that, day-by- day builds character. As someone has said, sow a thought reap an attitude. Sow an attitude reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny. This episode is the third in our April series Building the Mental Toughness of Jesus. Today we examine two more of the fruits of the Spirit, goodness and faithfulness. Today we take another step towards building a destiny that honors our Commander in Chief.

My RTS counseling professor once remarked, “men love the heroic, but struggle with the mundane.” Perhaps that is why building Christ-like attitudes is so tough. It only happens a little at a time. Let’s look at the Scripture behind this sowing and reaping process. Sow a THOUGHT reap an ATTITUDE is the message of Rom 12:2 be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Sow an ATTITUDE reap an ACTION is taught by Jesus, when he remarks, out of the abundance of the heart a man’s mouth speaks (Lk 6:45). Sow an ACTION reap a HABIT is the principle in view when Paul challenges believers to the daily habit of putting off dirty clothes and put on clean ones: put off your old self…and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God. (Eph 4:22-24). Sowing a HABIT and reaping CHARACTER is Paul’s point in contrasting the works of the flesh to the fruit of the Spirit in Gal 5: Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, etc. Sowing CHARACTER and reaping a DESTINY is explained a few verses later in Galatians, The one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Gal 6:8). So how do we build goodness?


The Greek word is AGATHOSUNE. It refers to what is morally pure and right in its character and therefore beneficial in its effect. This quality is the inclination to always pursue the good of others. It is similar to kindness in that its focus is on others. Kindness, however, is more about being sensitive to those around us and thoughtful in addressing their needs. GOODNESS also devotes itself to focusing on others but implies a moral awareness of what is GOOD for them—what helps them be restored to rightness. GOODNESS, as opposed to wickedness, helps others towards what is right, wholesome, and, therefore, beneficial, as opposed to evil, which always harms. Countless times we are urged to pursue what is good.

  • Rom 12:9 Abhor what is evil; cling to what is GOOD.
  • Gal 6:10 Let us not grow weary of DOING GOOD, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us DO GOOD to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
  • 1 Thess 5:15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to DO GOOD to one another and to everyone.
  • Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with GOOD.

Goodness Applied

This work of the Holy Spirit in us generates a posture towards others of always seeking what is best for themIt is the opposite of hostility, apathy, or passivity. It is rooted in Paul’s command to hate evil the way an oncologist hates cancer—because it always destroys. GOODNESS is intent upon restoring to good, what evil has marred. Let’s consider three ways GOODNESS needs to be lived out in 2023.

A. GOODNESS longs for the restoration of every human to a personal relationship with God. GOODNESS leads to a restless intentionality in seeking to introduce Jesus to the lost. It is valuable to take note of how many different approaches there are to sharing our faith. It is not always interrupting a stranger on the beach.

  • Confronting approach: Peter Repent for the forgiveness of your sins (Ac 2:39) This approach to evangelism is often at the end point when the seeds that have been sown are ready to be harvested.
  • Intellectual approach: Paul So he reasoned in the synagogue and in the marketplace every day (Acts 17:7). Friendly apologetics discussions or giving C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity are frequent ways God brings others to faith.
  • Testimonial approach: Blind manWhether he (Jesus) is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.
  • Invitational approach: Samaritan Woman. The woman went into town and said  “Come, see a man who told me all I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”
  • Interpersonal approach: Matthew (Levi). And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. This is warm, friendship evangelism.
  • Discovery approach: Andrew.  Andrew first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Andrew helped Peter find out more about Christ. This could be a book on marriage, parenting, apologetics or the video, Christianity Explored.
  • Service approach: DorcasShe was full of good works and acts of charity (Act 9:36). Acts of mercy powerfully open the hearts of the lost to the gospel.

B. GOODNESS refuses to allow evil to reign unchallenged. Paul commands, As we have opportunity, let us DO GOOD to everyone. This virtue includes the responsibility of God’s covenant people to teach our culture what is good and what is evil because it has been revealed to us through God’s special revelation, Scripture. Paul points out that the appointed role of government is to punish evil and reward good (Rom 13). But how does the state know what behavior is good or evil? The role of the church in God’s design of church/state relationships is to DEFINE good and evil. But many Christians today argue, “Churches shouldn’t get involved in political issues.” The subtext of the argument seems valid:

  • Politics deals with complex issues that can’t be boiled down to a right political position and a wrong political position.
  • All through history, politicians have tried to leverage Christians and the Bible to support their political ambitions.
  • The church must never be too closely linked with a political group or country–but exists universally INSIDE every country. Our true citizenship is in the Kingdom of Heaven, not the USA.
  1. Let’s consider this argument carefully, starting with the term political issues. POLITICS is not a category of issues; it is the PROCESS we use to work through the issues in a democratic republic, where there is government of the people, by the people, and for the people. There are economic issues, moral issues, environmental issues, the definition of marriage issues, criminal justice issues, and educational issues. The political process in the West is what we use to work through any issue as we attempt to order our lives together.
  2. For Christians, the critical question about an issue, then is not “is this issue being debated now in our political system” but “does God care about this issue?

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