Many things cause us to lose sight or even question the goodness of God…this sermon launches a series on God’s goodness. When we forget that God is good…when we lose our focus on God’s goodness it often leads to several destructive realities in our life. This sermon looks at some of those realities and gives a brief overview of the series.
Scripture – Psalm 100:5; selected scripture; Psalm 23
One of the most well-known Psalms in all the Bible is Psalm 23. It’s a psalm that is all about the goodness of God. It is filled with ways God’s goodness is poured out in our lives…all the time [God is good/all the time – All the time/God is good]. What causes us to lose sight of that goodness are the times when…
• We’re experiencing pain.
• We’re experiencing conflict.
• We’re worried or overwhelmed.
• We’re under attack.
Psalm 100:5(LB) – “For the Lord is ALWAYS GOOD. He is ALWAYS LOVING and KIND, and His faithfulness goes on and on to each succeeding generation.”
So, the Bible declares to us that God is good all the time. How is that true in my life? What does that goodness look like, so I know it when I see/experience it? That’s where we are going over the next 3 months [with a break for Holy Week…Palm/Easter Sunday’s].
NOW…I want to do two things in this introductory message. First, I want to consider why focusing on God’s goodness is so important…why when you forget to focus on God’s goodness, it causes all kinds of stress/difficulty. Second, I want to give you a very brief overview of where we’ll be going as we make our way through Psalm 23.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I FORGET GOD’S GOODNESS?
I START TAKING CREDIT for things GOD DID FOR ME.
I Corinthians 4:7(LB) – “…What do you have that God has not given you. And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?”
Whenever I begin to take credit for things God did in me, through me, to me or for me…I am headed for the ditch.
[Luke 12 – Jesus tells the story of a very successful, very rich man… he’s possibly a billionaire by today’s standards…the man says in so many words–look what I’ve done with my life–what am I going to do with all my wealth–I know, I’ll build bigger barns to store all my wealth–then I’ll take life easy and eat, drink and be merry.]
NOTICE…He doesn’t give God the credit for what He has and thinks he’s amassed all this wealth by himself!
[Luke 12 – God then responds to the man with these words…”You fool! Tonight, you’re going to die and I’m going to give everything you’ve amassed to somebody who will express gratitude to me.”]
FRIENDS…Pride and ingratitude for God’s goodness will undermine our walk and relationship with Him every time they rear their ugly heads! Pride/ingratitude is what got Satan kicked out of heaven.
QUOTE – “The problem with the self-made man is that he worships his maker.” [Frank Sinatra song…”I Did It My Way”]
SOMETHING ELSE TO THINK ABOUT…Did you know that not focusing on God’s goodness and being ungrateful for —> God’s goodness is one of the signs of the last days leading up Jesus’ return?
II Timothy 3:2-5(MSG) – “As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals.”
I STOP ASKING God for HELP.
When we forget how eager God is to help us and how good God is on a daily basis…we start depending on our self and often times stop asking for God’s direction and will in prayer.
Matthew 7:7(NIV) – “ASK and it will be given…SEEK and you will find…KNOCK and the door will be opened…”
PERSONALLY…One of the reasons I trust God the way I do today is because He has met thousands and thousands of needs in my life. And seeing His hand at work on my behalf so many times has proven to me that He is reliable and trustworthy and can be counted on no matter what!
Hebrews 11:6(NLT) – “So let us come boldly (ASK) to the throne of our (good) and gracious God. There we will RECEIVE His mercy, and… find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Psalm 69:16a(NIV) – “Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love…”
I STOP TRUSTING God in DIFFICULT TIMES.
When we develop a keen awareness of the goodness of God all the time…we will go to God instantly when trouble comes…we will make Him our first choice and not our last resort! [Well…I guess there is nothing left to do but pray.]
Psalm 16:1-2(ICB) – “Protect me, God, because I TRUST in You…You are my Lord. Every good thing I have comes from You.”
Romans 5:3-4(NLT/NCV) – (Jesus)…”We can rejoice (have joy)… when we run into problems and trials…because we know that these troubles produce…patience…character…and hope.”
Romans 8:28a(NCV) – “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him…”
SERMON…”When God Says, NO!” Or when God answers differently then we prayed or wanted…Bigger perspective – Better plan – Greater purpose.
I BECOME PESSIMISTIC about the FUTURE.
HERE’S THE DEAL – When you forget how good God really is …you become pessimistic about the future…because hope is based on faith in the goodness of God. If God isn’t good all the time–there is no hope…right?
Hebrews 11:1(ICB) – “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for. And faith means knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”
Psalm 27:13(NASB) – “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
IOW…There would be no hope if God wasn’t good all the time–I’d be up a creek without a paddle…I’d be in full blown, melt down despair–if I didn’t know/believe that God is good all the time!
Psalm 27:13-14(NASB) – “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living…THEREFORE…Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”
Here is one of my personal definitions of hope: Hope is anticipating God’s goodness.
Jeremiah 29:11(NLT) – “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a (rock solid) future and a (certain) hope.”
REPEAT…definition of hope…Psalm 27:13-14
SO…Whatever you do make sure you take full advantage of the truth of God’s goodness we will be learning over the next 3 months from Psalm 23! [Overview of Psalm 23]
PSALM 23 – BECAUSE GOD IS GOOD…
HE WILL…meet my needs when I’m worried.
v.1 – “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing (I have all that I need).”
HE WILL…teach me to relax when I’m stressed out.
v.2 – “He makes me lie down (rest) in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters (peaceful streams).”
HE WILL…replenish my strength when I’m empty.
v.3a – “He refreshes (restores) my soul (gives me new strength)…”
HE WILL…guide me when I’m confused.
v.3b – “…He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.”
PSALM 23 – BECAUSE GOD IS GOOD…
HE WILL…walk with me in my dark and fearful days.
v.4a – “Even though I walk through the darkest valley (the valley of the shadow of death), I will fear no evil, for You are with me…”
HE WILL…protect me when I feel insecure.
v.4b – “…Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Those terms don’t mean a lot to us in today’s society or culture–but they were two tools every shepherd used to lead his sheep. They were tools given to the shepherd for the benefit of the sheep…I’ll explain that more when we get to that Sunday.
HE WILL…publicly show His favor on my life.
v.5 – “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
God’s favor is something I plan to talk about often in this series. God wants to pour out His favor on your life…favor is another term for goodness…it’s another term for grace. When we surrender our life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ God says He will publicly show favor on our life–when people attack us…when people criticize us…when people are against us–God says his goodness/abundance will overflow in our life as we put our trust in Him!
HE WILL…be good to me no matter what happens.
v.6a – “Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…”
We can handle anything this world throws at us if God’s goodness and loving kindness are with us…amen?!?
HE WILL…take me to heaven one day.
v.6b – “…and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
That’s a lot of goodness…isn’t it? God promises to…
• Sustain me.
• Bring balance into my life.
• Make me resilient.
• Guide me.
• Grow my confidence in the midst of difficult times.
• Assure me.
• Protect me when I feel insecure.
• Give me God-honoring influence AND His abundance AND His benevolence.
• And last but not least by any means…He promises me a heavenly inheritance forever.
“Father God, I want the life outlined in Psalm 23…a life of sustenance, balance, resilience, guidance, confidence, assurance, protection, influence, abundance, benevolence and inheritance. Thank you for making these things available to me because of Your goodness. I ask you to be my Good Shepherd-the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. I confess my sin and believe upon Jesus for my salvation and forgiveness. Make yourself real to me. From this day forward help me learn to love You and follow You and trust You more. You are a good, good Father–that’s who you are and I’m loved by You–that’s who I am. Amen.”