HISTORY: (Lesson 2 of 4) Pastor Barry
The Futility of Doing Good
For me, this has been “one of those months” culminating into “one of those days” and exploding into “one of those terrible nights” where the aftermath leaves you asking yourself “Why?” “Why do I try to do anything good at all?” Have you ever asked yourself or another person that question? Not just as a passing thought or a rhetorical or philosophical question, but as a deep grown from the depths of your heart and your aching brain.
Terryl and I were asked that very question last Thursday night by someone we hold close to our hearts as a very dear friend. As we verbally struggled to convince him of the importance of fighting to do good he responded to our cries of faith in God with: “Well, Jesus lived to do good and look what they did to Him!” That simple phrase stopped us both for a moment as he continued on with how all the good acts in the world are eventually eaten up evil people. We victoriously ended our conversation that night with quotes of scripture and a prayer together, but the very next evening our attempts at doing good were indeed eaten up by evil people and their venomous lies and deceit continue to attack our character and every good thing we have ever accomplished. So…”Why try to do anything good at all? Oddly enough, this is the perfect lesson for me to explore this question with you, and as it would happen, this lesson was previously scheduled to be about the mission of Jesus.
What was Jesus’ mission? Mark 10:17-18 Throughout HISTORY recorded in scripture we see that Jesus was a man on a mission. He had a purpose, which He intentionally fulfilled in the face of every obstacle. Written in the gospel of Mark (10:17-18) we read of a man who addressed Jesus as “good teacher”. Jesus responded to him by saying “why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” We can see that Jesus was God come to earth by the pure goodness He lived out in the face of all kinds of human and demonic evil. His mission was to do good among the bad and yes, He was ultimately crucified at the hands of sinners for it. In a final act of ultimate goodness some of His last words were “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
The fundamental mission of Christ’s time on earth was to fulfill God’s plan of saving the lost. Jesus put it this way in Luke 19:10: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” All of mankind is lost in sin. Since God’s law is to be “good” (sinless) and no one is “good” (Romans 3:10-11,23). There must be punishment.
The punishment for sin is death.
A judge who pardons law-breakers isn’t a righteous judge. Likewise, overlooking sin would make the holy God unjust. Death is God’s just consequence for sin. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Even good works cannot make up for wrongs against the holy God. Compared to His goodness, “All our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6b).
Why did Jesus have to die? A holy God cannot let sin go unpunished. To bear our own sins would be to suffer God’s judgment in hell; however, God being so “good” kept His promise to send a sacrifice to bear the sins of those who would trust in Him. Jesus became that sacrifice on our behalf. He is the only one who can pay the penalty for our sins because He is the only one who has ever lived a perfectly good (sinless) life. His mission was to demonstrate His goodness and then pay the ultimate price for our badness.
All through the Gospels, we see Jesus call to repentance and forgive the worst of sinners. No one is too sinful to come to Him. In fact, He goes after those who are lost, as the parables of the lost sheep and lost coin show (Luke 15:1–10). In the story of the prodigal son, Jesus teaches that God will always welcome with open arms those who come to Him with a repentant heart (Luke 15:21–22, Isaiah 57:15). Even today, Jesus continues to seek and save those who humbly place their faith in Him (Matthew 11:29; 18:3–4; Revelation 3:20)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-17
What Becomes Our Mission? 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
The glory of HISTORY is that Jesus did not stay dead in our sins. He resurrected and ascended into heaven. Just as Jesus raised Himself up from the dead so we also rise up from our old dead (bad) lives and are to now live in new life with a “good” mission! Yes…we are to do good even unto death. We are to follow in His steps and carry out His commission in life.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
The Reality of Doing Good John 15:18-20, Galatians 6:9-10, 1 Corinthians 15:58, Matthew 10:22
Doing good, especially in the midst of persecution, identifies us with Jesus and convicts the world of sin. Doing good is not futile even if it results in death because it reminds the evil dooer of Jesus and their need to repent and turn to Him. This is the Christian mission. HISTORY becomes OURSTORY as we live out His life through our actions. In this we carry out His Great Commission and bring hope to a lost world. When life is finished here we are not delivered into judgment but are rewarded with eternal life with Him.