God is Good

God Is... July 7, 2024 Psalm 107:1-3 Notes

“Is God really good?” You ask. Sometimes you may have doubted God’s goodness. For if any of us has had a trauma, a bad diagnosis, lost a job, or suffered a failed relationship… then we’ve asked the age-old question: “If God is good, then why are these bad things happening to me?” Most of us affirm God’s goodness until something bad happens to us.

Perhaps it is our understanding of God and our understanding of what is truly good that is lacking. For who are we to approve of what is good or not? In Psalm 107, the Psalmist encouraged his hearers to give thanks to the LORD for His goodness. We can give thanks to the LORD for His great goodness towards us.



Good morning, church. It's good to see all of you here today. We're in part seven of our eight week series talking about the attributes of God. We've been going through the attributes of God, his character traits, and studying who God is and learning more about him. And it's time to dig in again.

Today we're going to be talking about the goodness of God, looking at the goodness of God. And before we begin, let me pray, and then we'll dig into his word. Lord, thank you. That we can do this, that we can come together and think about you and know you better. And so, Lord, I pray first of all for those that might have come in today, coming in from a far distance from God, that you would bring them near, Lord, that there are those who are in darkness, that you would bring them into the light of your goodness.

And for those of us that know you, Lord, that today we would be encouraged by your goodness and reminded to give thanks. And so, Lord, I pray for the preaching of your word now, that it would be according to your word and according to your spirit. And I pray for the hearing ears as we listen to your word, that we would hear exactly what you'd have to say to us. Lord, speak to us. We are listening.

In Jesus name. Amen. So we're going through these attributes of God. We're going to be talking about the goodness of God today. And our theme verse for this series is found in the book of John, where Jesus was speaking, and Jesus said, and this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God in Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

And so this is the key to life, Jesus says, and that's to know God, not just to know about him, but to be in relationship with him and to truly know him. And as we grow in knowledge of him, we learn more about him, more about his motivations, his character traits and his actions. And so we grow in these things. And so we've been studying what the word of God says about that over these past few weeks. We've studied God's love, how God is loved.

We've studied his might, his mercy, his fatherhood, his unchanging nature. We've talked about his faithfulness. Now, today we want to unpack this thought that God is good. We want to talk about God's goodness. But somebody might be sitting here today, or you might be watching online this morning, and you might be questioning and say, but is he really?

Is God really good? And so you might be thinking like that today because sometimes you may have doubted God's goodness. For any of us who have had a trauma, you've had a bad diagnosis, you've suffered from a failed relationship. It may have brought you to a point where you actually said, is God good? You might have asked the age old question, if God is good, then why are these bad things happening to me?

Most of us today would affirm God's goodness, but we might question his goodness if something bad happens. For some, this question actually brings them to a point of unbelief. They doubt the existence of God. They begin to ask if then statements. They begin to say, if God is good, then why is there suffering in the world?

If God is good, then why is there evil in the world? So sometimes this question of God's goodness moves people to doubting his existence. The truth is, it's not the purpose of our sermon today, but just a thought about this idea about the problem of evil is that God didn't create evil. Evil is the absence of good, just as darkness is the absence of light. And so humanity has rebelled against God and sin was introduced into God's good creation and man chose darkness over light.

Let us not say that God created evil. Let's instead say that God is good and those that would come into his light are brought out of the darkness. But most of us here today, our question of God's goodness is not so much about whether God is good. We believe that he is, but we might doubt that he's going to be good. To me, the nature of this might be more like, I don't know if I'm good enough for God to be good to me.

You might think of it like that. Like, I know God's good, I know that's true, but there's some bad stuff in my life that's happened to me. And so the nature for most of us here today, because most of us here today came at some level of belief. You came in this morning wanting to worship God. You've left your homes, you've come here on a Sunday morning, so you have some level of belief in goddesse, but your doubt is not his goodness, but whether or not he'll be good to you.

And so that's troubling. It makes us afraid to fully trust him. Like, I know he's good, but I'm afraid to give this to him because I feel like I can do a better job with this area of my life myself because we don't fully trust his goodness towards us, that his good is better than what I call good.

It's this idea that we have about God that can give us a wrong view of God, that somehow his good is inferior to my own idea of good, that we put ourselves somehow in a position of thinking, that we can affirm whether it's good or nothing. And these kind of ideas are dangerous because it causes us to misunderstand God. As the late philosopher and theologian Dallas Willard said, there is no avoiding the fact that we live at the mercy of our ideas. This is never more true than our ideas about God. So when you think of God, when you close your eyes at night and lay your head on your pillow and you say your prayers before you sleep, whenever you do think of God, how do you picture him?

Do you view him as good or do you view him as someone who's just waiting to make your life miserable? Just waiting. Oh, you just give me this. I'm just going to really mess up your life. I mean, what's your view of God?

Do you think of him as a good God? Cs Lewis said that there is only one good and that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to him, and it's bad when it turns from him. See, God is the standard for goodness. Well, in psalm 107, which is where we'll be looking today, the psalmist encouraged his worshipers, his fellow believers, to give thanks to God for his goodness.

And I believe today we can do that. We can by faith say, I believe you are good God, and I give you thanks for your goodness. As we look at the text, I think we'll see three reasons why this is possible. So let's look. We're going to be looking at the three verses.

First three verses of psalm 107. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. This is God's word. Amen.

We're looking for three reasons that we can give thanks for God's goodness. Here's the first reason. Because we are loved by him. One of the ways that we know that God is good is because of God's steadfast love towards us, that God loves us. God's good.

The psalmist here has written a psalm really for use in temple worship. It's part of what was organized. These 150 psalms were organized into five books, and this is the first psalm in book five. And that final book tended to be instructions on worship in fact, we see, oh, give thanks is in the imperative. It's a command.

It's like the worship leaders up front. And he says, church, give thanks. And then the church is supposed to God, you're good. It's an instruction like that. It's in the hebrew imperative.

And so if I say, God is good, you say, all the time, you ready? God is good. And all the time, there you go, church. So now we've obeyed what the word of God says here to us as worshippers, because the redeemed of the Lord are supposed to say, so, God is good, and all the time, there you go. Amen.

There's just something about that declaration that kind of lifts us up to where we're getting in some heaven practice, and we're learning to give thanks even when everything doesn't seem good, that we declare, in spite of this fallen world, in spite of the darkness that pervades, that we still trust in a good God who is bringing all things together for good to those that love him and are called according to his purpose. We just believe it by faith. We give thanks. And so the psalmist here encourages us to do so. Oh, give thanks to the Lord.

It's all caps, l o r d. Do you see that we've learned in the past that when we see in an english translation all capital letters, what does that mean? Well, it means that he's referring to the covenantal name of God that was given to Moses at the burning bush. Moses said, what's your name? And God said, I am that I am, which in Hebrew is Yahweh or Jehovah.

And so it just means the covenantal name of God, the revealed name of God. And that's what we see here with the all caps o, give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good. This is the covenantal name of God. Now, when I say good, I'm not meaning good in a relative sense. Do you know what I mean?

Like, if I say, man, that was a good taco. What I mean is, among the tacos that I've eaten in the past, that was one of the better tacos. And so when we say God is good, we're not using the word good in the sense of good, better, best with I'm good. That was good like that. We're not using it like that as if it were some lower sense that there's a better and a best higher than good.

No, not like that at all. When we say God is good, we're talking about the essence of goodness, that which God is above all others, that he is the standard of all things good. And whatever he approves of is good. And whatever he disapproves of is not good. So our whole definition of good is wrapped up in who he is as we apply it to God, goodness for him, it becomes a category all its own.

In fact, when Jesus was approached by a young man who said, good teacher, and he begins to talk to him and he interrupts him and he says this in mark, chapter ten, no one is good except God alone. He's trying to teach the young man it's not about the definition of goodness is God. He's the only one that's truly good. He's in a category all his own. God is the standard for all that is good.

The fact that God is good means that there's no evil in him, there's no turning of darkness in him. All of his intentions and all of his motivations, all of his actions are good. All of his plans turn to good. God's goodness speaks both of his character and of his deeds. John Gill writes in his commentary, for he is good and does good and is the author of all good.

So whatever he thinks is good, whatever his motivations are, are good. Whatever his actions are, are good. The psalmist declares in another place, psalm 25, good and upright is the Lord. Psalm 119, you are good and you do good.

And so the psalmist here says, oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. So at his very essence he is good. And so his goodness, we see it come out here. The psalmist is bringing it out. It's expressed in his steadfast love.

And indeed, all of God's attributes are in balance with all of his other attributes. You can't take a scalpel and excise any part of it and separate it because then it would lose its essence. All of his attributes are whole part of one, but his goodness seems to connect to all in a certain way. So we say God is love, but we also say God is just. We say God is forgiving, but we also say God is holy.

All of these are in balance. If we excise one and pull it out, it loses its meaning, its essence. So his goodness is connected. His goodness here the psalmist first of all wants to celebrate is expressed by his love for, well, that's an explanation word, isn't it? He's good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

He's got love that don't quit. Steadfast love. We learned this word, I think, last week when we were talking, but it's the hebrew word chesed should take a note. C H E S E d is a good transliteration of that Hebrew word chesed. It's like the New Testament greek word agape.

It's kind of like the Old Testament's version of agape. It's God's covenantal love, his kind of love that comes from him alone. It's this kind of. Some translations, like the King James sometimes translates it loving kindness.

It's a word, as I've said, that can't be translated or taken in isolation from his other attributes. It's expressed, and literally in the Hebrew. The word endures is not there. It's rightfully inserted in order to smooth out the translation. But it literally says, oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good for his steadfast love forever.

It just says it like that. Like, love forever. It's expressed in this kind of way. And so he expresses it so forth. If we read in psalm 100 this, it says, enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him. Bless his name, for the Lord is good. His steadfast love endures forever. This phrase is preaching repeated throughout the psalms. We can see God's goodness chiefly in three areas, expressed in his activity.

In three areas. One is in creation. In creation, we read this in psalm 33. He loves whatever is just and good. The unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth.

And so just looking at creation, when God made creation, you look back in the book of Genesis, every time he made something, he'd say, that's good. I did good on that. So he's really the only one that could approve of his work and all of his work. He said it was good. But then because of man's sin, darkness and sin enters into the world, and God's world is affected.

So creation is affected, but God's goodness is still radiating there presently. And so when we look at creation, I've been alive for 65 plus. In another week, I get another mark of the earth going around the sun again. And all those years, I've never had a day where the sun didn't come up. Now I've only been alive that long.

Some of you have been alive longer than me. And from what you've told me, you've never had a day where the sun didn't come up. Like, I don't go to bed at night going, man, I hope the sun comes up tomorrow. Now I might go to bed at night going, I hope it rains to and praise the Lord. It did.

I kept hearing it was supposed to rain day after day, and it never did. You know, the farmers have been praying for rain. I've been praying for rain. My yard's been praying for rain. So much heat.

Last night, around 08:00 where I live, it clouded up and I heard thunder. And I said, robin, let's go sit out on the screen porch and see if it actually rains. And we sat out there, and all of a sudden, we felt a cool breeze. And then the rain started falling. They say God is good.

He brings rain, he causes the sun to come up and the sun to set. So part of God's goodness is reflected in his good creation. It's not perfect because sin has entered in. And so there are hurricanes and things that happen that are disastrous, that harm people. I have a missionary friend who has a church in Mexico.

I went to seminary with him, and his church is on the coast. And he's got, like, an open air church. It's got one wall on the back end where he preaches from, but then it's three. Three areas are open with, like, this big old roof that's like a thatch roof if you can picture it. And so he showed a video on Facebook a couple days ago and was just thanking people for praying for him.

But his whole, his whole sanctuary, if you will, is just full of palm branches and trees where the hurricane had blown in. He goes, but my roof is still up, you know? And so he was still giving the Lord thanks that it didn't blow my church down. But I guarantee you, if it even would have blown his church down, he would have still been giving the Lord thanks, because there's still bad things that happen in this fallen world. But we as believers can keep thanking God because of his unfailing, steadfast love.

It's revealed to us in the good things of creation. It's also revealed to us in his providence. What we mean by Providence is his provision. Look what the book of acts says. This is Paul speaking.

He was talking to some gentiles who had been bowing down to idols and been caught up in idolatry. They didn't really know the true God. But here's what he says to him. He says, yet he, speaking of God, did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. And so here's Paul witnessing to these gentiles, and he's telling them, you know, one of the proofs of God's goodness and love towards you is the way he's provided for you.

Matthew, chapter five. Jesus talks about it and says that he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, sends rain on the just and on the unjust. His goodness is expressed in his provision, even for those who are most undeserving. And then thirdly, he expresses his goodness in redemption. That's probably the highest expression.

But more on that in just a minute because that leads into our next verse. Let's just pause and think about this idea of how God's goodness is revealed through his steadfast love and how he loves us. Let's bring it down to earth a little bit and think about someone else's goodness that has been revealed to you through love. When I think of that, I think of my mom and dad. I think especially of my mom.

Probably if you were to ask me, did you have a good mom, did you have a good dad, I would say, absolutely. Why would I say that? What would I be thinking? Maybe I could say to you, I think my mom was gooder than your mom. And you would probably say, oh no, you don't know my mom.

But what would we be talking about? Don't you think we might be talking primarily about the way they loved us? Isn't that a saying we say there's a face that only a mother could love. Isn't that something we say of mothers? And so I think that when we look at motherhood, when we look at fatherhood, when we look at parenting, that at its best it's a glimpse of the goodness of God expressed through love.

Now that doesn't mean they might not discipline us. Sometimes they might make us go to bed without having what we wanted or they might make us go to school. When we don't want to go to school, our parents might discipline us. But as we grow up, we recognize even that was an expression of their love and goodness towards us, that they had a better plan for us than we had for ourselves. They had a good plan for us.

And so when you bring it down that way, can you understand how God is a good God and the way he loves you as a father loves his children? What is your right response? What's the only appropriate response to God's goodness? This morning the psalmist tells us we don't have to guess. Give thanks, give thanks because God is good.

And all the time God is good. We're going to have to take you all to class and teach you all stuff, get you all trained. Here's number two. Here's the second reason. First is because of his love.

The second is because we are redeemed by his son. And we're in verse two now because we are redeemed by his son. Notice the word redeemed. It's in verse two twice. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.

Redeemed. That word redeemed means to buy or to make a payment towards. We owe a debt. The Bible says the wages of sin is death. We owe a death.

We owe a debt. But Jesus, God's son, came and paid our debt. He redeemed us, bought us out of our sin debt, bought us out of slavery to sin. And he is our redeemer. He has redeemed us.

Now, as the psalmist is writing here, he's speaking of how God probably in his time period, had redeemed them from Egypt or had redeemed them from their enemies. Because literally, this idea of redeemed from trouble could mean redeemed from the hand of the foe or redeemed from an enemy or redeemed even from the devil or from the flesh or from the world. But it had the idea of an enemy. And so the psalmist was speaking this way. But as we take the whole word, we recognize it had a present meaning in the time it was written, but it has an ongoing meaning because it speaks prophetically of the Son Jesus.

God's intention to utterly redeem us, to set us free from sin. And so he gives us an instruction here. Let the redeemed of the Lord. And there's that, all caps. Lord again.

Let the redeemed of Yahweh say so. In other words, say it. Don't just keep it a secret. Give thanks. And if you're among the redeemed, open your mouth in worship.

Open your mouth and praise. Open your mouth and witness. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. Have you been brought out of trouble? Anybody here ever been in any trouble?

Huh? Two of you have been in trouble, okay? A third person thought about it for a second and said, yeah, actually I was in trouble once. No, look, I don't care how old you are. I got young people down here.

You've been in trouble. If you hadn't, you'd probably get in trouble before the day's over. We've all been in trouble, but he's bought us out and brought us out of our trouble. So say so. That's what he's saying.

Express it. Express the goodness of God. He has redeemed us. This is the ultimate expression of God's goodness, that he would take our place and offer us his, that he would take our sin and offer his righteousness, that he would take our death and offer his eternal life, that he would take our separation from the father and offer his sonship, his relationship with the father. This is the ultimate redemption, and he offers it to us today that we're redeemed.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. God's goodness is revealed in Christ most fully. It says in Titus, our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his possession, who are zealous for good works. In God, we see in Christ, we see his desire for us. Not that he would save us because of our works, because our works aren't good, but that he saves us unto good works.

Through Jesus, his goodness is displayed through his readiness to forgive. It says in Psalm 86, O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. And so we can see his redemption. We can see his forgiveness is an expression of his goodness. Indeed, it's his goodness towards us that should move us to repentance.

The book of Romans says, or do you despise the riches of his goodness? Forbearance and longsuffering. Not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance, and so to recognize his goodness leads us to say, God, I'm sorry. I want your plan instead of my plan. This morning we heard a testimony from brother Bobby Pitman, and he read his testimony to us.

He had written it down as a part of life. On Life discipleship has been my privilege to actually be the one who has been working with Bobby as we go through our life on life discipleship process. And one of the final steps in this process is to write your testimony of how Jesus saved you and what a privilege to work with Bobby and to hear him talk about his story. Now, if you were to stop his story somewhere early, you might say, well, that's not a good story. I don't see how God was good to him.

His mother left him, then he lived with his grandfather, and then his grandfather left him at the children's home. And if you just stopped there and said, well, how's he going to turn out? He's probably not going to turn out very good. He's going to grow up with a wound that makes him afraid that someone's going to leave him all the time. He's going to have that kind of personality, you see?

But that's not God. That's not what God did with Bobby. Bobby has the story that God, every time the world did something to him, even his own family, God would show up again and provide a family for Bobby again. That's his story. And ultimately it was the story that he has a family now and a savior that'll never leave him nor forsake him.

I'm glad that Bobby got up this morning and said, let the redeemed of the Lord say so. And so if we train someone to give their testimony through our life on life discipleship process, we tell them, write it down, try to keep it around 600 words or less. And just read it. Just read it. Because the first version Bobby gave me was a book, okay?

Because everybody's story is really a book, right? I mean, and so I said, let's make it an elevator speech, you know, so, like, if you were on an elevator with somebody, you could tell them enough of the story where they could hear how you are saying, I'm redeemed and Jesus saved me. And you can be too, you know? And so we tell people, write it down and then just read it to the church. Because especially those introverts that are afraid to say so can be trained to say so.

Thanks, Bobby. Thank you, Jesus, for Bobby's story. Amen, everybody. Amen. And so his story had a.

It ain't over yet. Because the part he didn't tell you about, that I feel privileged to tell you about, is that at age 70, which you already told him that, so that's not news. He decides, well, I shouldn't say he decides. He felt the Lord call him. He's retired.

He's at the age where people go, you know, I've already done my due. Let somebody else do it. He felt called to go back to work at the Middlesex children's home. Well being in a small group affected. And we started talking about, what's God want to do in your life now?

I mean, your life's not over. Why are you still here? God hasn't taken you home yet, so he's not finished with you yet, so do something. And so he started thinking about that. He thought, maybe I can go back and help a young boy come to Jesus and his deepest needs.

All this man, if you sit down and talk to Bobby, all he's going to want to talk to you about, you have to forgive him, is he wants to talk to you about Jesus. And he wants to talk to you about them middle school age boys at this children's home that he is one of the house parents for. And how this one just got there, and this one's angry and how this one's starting to open up their heart a little bit to Jesus. And he'll tell you with tears in his eyes because he's right back there again. Because God often takes your deepest wound, your deepest hurt, and he gives you comfort, and he gives you excess of comfort to the point where it becomes your ministry.

It becomes the thing that God does in you, because he gives you more than you need, he gives you grace more than sufficient in the very place you were most broken. And it becomes your ministry because that's a good God. Amen. And so he's the God who redeems us. And then finally, we're in verse three now because we are gathered into his family.

We are gathered into his family. Oh, he's a good God. Not only does he love us, not only does he redeem us, but he adopts us into his family. Oh, he's a good God. Verse three says this and gathered.

So let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands. Gathered in from the lands to gather. This psalmist is talking, probably in his time period, to the Jews that were dispersed, either because of exile or other things. And he's probably in that time period saying he's going to gather them in. That's what the redeemed, he's going to gather them in.

But as we look at it from our point of view, from the New Testament, we see that God's doing a thing even bigger than the psalmist could imagine, and that is he's gathering a family of his own, and he's bringing them in from the east and the west and the north and the south. And all you have to do is talk to some of the people in our church. Like, there's a lot of people coming from the west these days. We've got some new people attending more and more from California. We keep bumping into them, I've noticed.

And then it's been going on for years. A lot of these. It doesn't say it here, but in the Hebrew it actually says, and yankees. Right there it says yankees, yankees and southerners. No, it doesn't say that, but we've become like, our church has become a landing point for people from the northeast, and that's fine.

They're learning to say, y'all and I'm learning to say coffee. You know, you guys, it's all good. Because what happens is, because we've been redeemed, because we've been loved by the father, redeemed by the son, the spirit comes and lives in us and begins to form us into a family. And so our tribal identities, our cultural identities, our racial color identities, all of these things are diminished in the sense that what is primary now is our identity in Christ. And so we're unified around that.

He gathers us, and he gathers us from the lands. Literally. It's the hebrew word that could be translated from the whole earth. He gathers us from the earth. It's beautiful the way it's written.

Hebrew is a very colorful language. East is literally in the hebrew sunrise. He gathers us from the place where the sun rises. And west is literally where the sun sets. He gathers us from sunrise to sunset.

It's beautiful language in the Hebrew. It has an eschatological sense, what I mean by that, an end times sense, because isn't that book of revelation stuff where it says that among those that were before the throne were people from every nation, every tongue, every tribe, every language, right? And so that's what God's up to right now. That's his good plan, is to bring us together into one family. Indeed, as Jesus was departing from Jerusalem, in Matthew 23 he says this, o Jerusalem, Jerusalem the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to.

How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you were not willing oh, Jerusalem how if you would have just let me I would have gathered you like family. Oh, Wilson. Oh, Wilson. I believe Jesus says that today, how would gather you? How he desires to show his love and to adopt us into his family.

There comes a day in psalm 22, talks about it. All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord. And all the families of the nation shall worship you. That's the eschatological sense I was telling you about, that God wants to bring us to him from every corner of the earth. When I think about this whole thing about family, it affects me and it reminds of me of how I was as a young man.

Those of you that know my story know that at age eight, my father passed away. He was only 39 years old. He died of lung cancer. And I remember we prayed all the time. In fact, as he declined in health and kept going down, down, that we started inviting preachers.

First of all, our pastor would come over from our church but then we meet preachers from other churches, and I don't know what my mom was thinking, hey, you want to come over and pray for me? So we would have different preachers come over and pray. We're just praying. And I was eight years old, so I was praying as only a little boy can. I mean, I was praying with full on faith and no doubt.

Cause that's how children pray. Did you know that? That's how children pray. But my father passed away on November 2, 1966. I was eight years old.

I still remember. And it messed my whole family up. It changed everything. Oh, man, I was a daddy's boy. I didn't know what to do with myself.

And then my mom had a nervous breakdown, and we moved in with my aunt who lived in Wayne, Michigan. So I went from where I was to all of a sudden, I'm outside Detroit going to third grade. It's a tough, tough. So then, by the time I was around 1314, I trusted Lord. Now, listen, when I was eight years old, the very year my father died, I went forward in children's church and gave my life to Jesus publicly because I was so afraid of death and of h***, and I wanted confidence, and the Lord gave me that.

But I hadn't put it all together. You know, when you're a child, you have a child's mind. I hadn't put it all together. And there were still parts of my life I was keeping to myself, because the truth of the matter is, the way I viewed God, by the time I was 13 or 14, it became more and more evident that if I gave my life completely to him, like every area, he might hurt me. He might take something else away from me that I loved because my view of God was affected by that event.

Now, I wasn't smart enough or mature enough to connect the dots. It was just working itself out in me that way. And so I doubted God's goodness towards me, not towards you, not that he was good. I knew he was good. I believed by faith he was good.

But I doubted, like, if I give everything to him, he might hurt me. And I had someone that was working with me, and it was an older student at the school I went to. He was three years older than me, and he was discipling me and taking me through the scriptures. And he pointed out something to me that I didn't like. He said, gary, you're one way on Sunday, but a different way Monday through Saturday, especially at school.

You know, you just too cool at school, man. You've got this Persona over there and then this. And I said, come on now. And he goes, you know, when are you going to give your whole life to Jesus? When are you going to give this area, this area?

You know, the area you're holding back? You do. You're like, I'm doing a good job right here, Lord, but I do need you over here. I need you right here. But I got this one under control.

That's the part you're afraid to give to him because you still have a view that he might not be good to you in that area. And that was how I was. And so he said, well, you're always talking about your dad. He goes, if you crawled up in your daddy's lap when you were a little boy and he was still alive, and you crawled up and you said, daddy, I want to be just like you when I grow up, would he have taken you by the shoulders and shook you and said, I've been waiting for this moment, son. I'm glad you said this.

I'm going to lock you in the closet and make you eat liver. No, no, my dad. In fact, I used to say that to my dad when I was a little boy. Dad, when I grow up, I want to be just like you. And he would put his arms around me and say, son, I love you.

I'm so proud of you. I just want you to grow up to be what God wants you to be. That's what my dad would say. And he goes, have you heard what Jesus said about this? I said, what do you mean?

And he read to me from Matthew, chapter seven. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father, who is in heaven, give good gifts to those who ask him? Your heavenly father loves you and wants to do good for you and to you and through you more than even your earthly father ever could.

I think I was around 14 years old at that time in 1314. And I said, lord, I'm going to give you this. I'm going to give you this and I'm going to give you this. And it's still a journey. He's still revealing things to me that I haven't totally surrendered.

You know, it's kind of like peeling an onion seems to be another layer under each one. But little by little, I've become so convinced that God's plan for me is gooder. Than my plan for me. His plan for me is good. His plan for you is good.

And he wants to adopt you into his family. And God's goodness is revealed in the way he wants to gather us into his family. And what does this mean? Well, first, Peter talks about it. He says, therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind.

Like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. Oh, have you tasted that the Lord is good all the time. God is good all the time. Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is good?

If so, put away the darkness, put away all hypocrisy. Put it away and pursue the spirit. And pursue and drink from the spirit and be filled with the spirit. Be gathered in and grow up in your salvation. Now that you've tasted.

God loves us. God redeems us. God gathers us. These are evidences of God's goodness. Let's pray.

Lord, thank you. Oh, you're good. We declare it. But, lord, we recognize that some are here today hurting, and they've been questioning your goodness towards them. Lord, would you speak to each of us by your spirit now and help us apply your word?

And especially for that one who came in today, far from you, but is ready today to be gathered into your family. Is that you, my friend? Right where you are? Right in your seat? Maybe you're watching online, right where you are.

You can make a decision today to be a Christ follower. You can express it through prayer as an expression of your faith. Just pray with me right where you are. Dear Lord Jesus. That's right.

Dear Lord Jesus, I'm a sinner.

I need a savior. I believe you died on the cross for me, that you were raised from the grave and that you live today. Come and live in me. Forgive me of my sin. I want to follow you all the days of my life as my lord and savior.

Adopt me into your family. I want to be a child of God. If you're praying that prayer of faith, believing he'll save you, he'll redeem you. He'll gather you in. He'll never leave you nor forsake you.

Others are here and you've prayed and you've believed and you're a follower of Jesus. But maybe you're like where I was. You know, God's good, but you're not so sure he's good to you right where you are right now. You're going through something. It's like we were praying earlier.

It's a bad diagnosis. It was a failed relationship. You lost someone you loved, you lost your job.

You're going through it. You believe in God, but you're hurting right where you are right now and say, God, I still trust your goodness. Forgive me for doubting your goodness towards me. I'm all in today. I'm not going to hold back.

And so this area of my pain, this area of doubt, I give even that to you today. Oh, lord, you're good. And I give thanks for you. And I say so in Jesus name. Amen.

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