Sunday, July 31, 2011

Touching Base! Part 135

God’s goodness is right at your fingertips

(This article can also we found on our website at
http://www.bethelkingston.comunder the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

How offended do you think people would be if they knew that Jesus had said the following, “No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18). I think that this statement of Jesus would irk some. It would be an offense to our sense of decency, independence, progress, sophistication, and superiority. After all, in the 21st Century (and long before) man has put himself/herself in the place of god. Yet the biblical concept of moral and spiritual good is thoroughly theological, and stands in sharp contrast with the anthropocentric view of goodness developed by the Greeks and later thinkers in the Greek tradition.

Our own goodness would, and does certainly “blush” in the face of God’s goodness. Paul understood this when he said that there was no moral good within human nature (Romans 7:18). If there is any good to be found in us, it had to come from God, for we are incapable of producing it ourselves.

In our study this week we are looking at the 7th trait of the fruit of the Spirit - goodness. God’s nature is ultimately defined by goodness and, consequently, so are the actions that flow from His nature. All throughout Scripture we read of people praising, literally boasting, about the goodness of God.

“God Himself is good; that is, He is everything that God should be — the ideal person, the sum total of all perfection. There are no defects or contradictions in Him, and nothing can be added to His nature to make Him any better. He is excellence to an infinite degree, possessing every desirable quality, and therefore of inestimable value. God is good.” Richard L. Strauss

An interesting fact about God’s goodness is that it was the first attribute of God to be brought into question when the enemy came to Adam and Eve and implied that God was less than good for denying her the luscious fruit of that one forbidden tree (cf. Genesis 3:1-5).

This week we answered the question “What is an example of the goodness of God?” The answer comes in the form of our big idea - The goodness of God is right at your fingertips. If the Bible is what it claims to be, and what God claims it to be, then God’s word to us is one of the greatest demonstrations of God’s goodness. He has given us a manual for this life and for eternity!

Let’s develop this big idea by looking at the benefits of Scripture as listed in Psalm 19:7-11:

  • It Revives the Soul
To revive is to return something to it original state, to make a linear motion back to a point previously departed from. There is a healing, restorative element to God’s word. The imagery that I used on Sunday was of a guitar being tuned. Our lives can get out of “pitch” and Scripture can bring us back in to tune. The greatest tune up is when we come to Christ and He restores what was lost in the Fall (in Genesis). Yet as Christ-followers we need to allow Scripture to tune up our lives daily by the power of the Holy Spirit. Notice that the text says it revives our soul. In other words, Scripture does not do what Botox does. Rather Scripture takes God’s healing truth to our souls - the inner person - that often can involve repentance, forgiveness, exposing a lie, attitudinal changes etc. Notice that the implication of this statement, “revives the Soul”, is that we come to Scripture with contrition and openness to its authority. We deceive ourselves when we merely listen to it but do not do what it says (James 1:19-25)

During the day, when do you allow Scripture to revive your soul? I often end my own day reading Scripture and praying through what I read. Sometimes the day has affected my personal tuning and I need God to use His word to help me get back in pitch.

What was a recent tune up like for you? How did God’s word shape you or challenge an attitude?

  • It Makes Wise The Simple
This statement says something about the nature of God’s word: “It has been said that the Bible is like a deep, broad, body of water, shallow enough for a lamb to wade in but deep enough for an elephant to swim in.” (DeYoung, Editor. Don’t Call It A Comeback, p.66) However this statement also says something about humankind. In comparison to God, the most intelligent human being that has ever walked this planet is simple. Not only does our goodness “blush” in the face of God’s goodness but our intelligence and sophistication “blushes” in the presence of God. However, God is so good that He gives us His word. Listen to what the Psalmist said:

“Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me and teach me your law.
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have broadened my understanding.”
(Psalm 119:29-32)

Ever seen any evidence to suggest that in spite of all our advances, man is still somewhat simple? “Simple” means “pertaining to persons that are easily deceived or persuaded, showing lack of wisdom and understanding.”

  • It Gives Joy To The Heart (I will be brief on this point)
Note the benefits listed in this text. Is it any wonder that joy would well up in your heart because of how your life can benefit from investing in God’s word? Let’s remember that the word leads us to the ultimate Word that John talks about in John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It is Jesus who can truly revive the soul, make wise the simple and bring light to our path. It is the message of Christ that is weaved from Genesis to Revelation.

  • It Gives Light to the Eyes
The imagery is pretty clear. The word of God is like a flashlight that casts light onto the path of life. There are other “light” sources that many choose to live by, but God has given us His word so that we can truly find our way. One thing I would say is that we can stick a flashlight on the shelf and only pull it out in case of emergencies and benefit from its light. But the word of God doesn’t work like that. My observation is that if you only pull it out in times of crisis you will fumble around trying to find the right light for the kind of darkness you are facing. And even if you find the right light, you may be so use to living in accordance with another light source that you might have a hard time believing, receiving and submitting to God’s light. God’s word casts the best light for those who daily invest and are shaped by its enlightening truths.

What part of your path needs some of God’s light these days?
How has God’s truth guided your steps in a recent decision?

The goodness of God is right at your fingertips. Are you embracing the goodness of God? Are you daily taking in God’s word? No doubt on a daily basis your heart is being bombarded by messages that are attempting to shape you and make you. God is so good that He has placed in our laps His Word for our lives. Don’t keep just keep it at your fingertips. Embrace it, or you will miss out.


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