FEBRUARY 1, 2004



Sermon Notes


Sometimes when you are about to eat, an apéritif can add relish, indeed restore appetite.  For this, let us ask here some questions, and answer them, leading us to the Lord.


1.         WHICH WAY ?

Goodness – perhaps you love good people, seek to be good ? But what ARE good
people ? People who get what they want without causing much harm ? Good for what ? a better world ? why ? better rather than good ? or worse! But better … for what purpose ! for fulfilment ? fulfilment of what ? of self-will ? of exploiting resources, for power and comfort ? Others however might want to exploit them for exploration and greatness – great, however, in what ? in manipulation ? in understanding ?  Understanding however of WHAT ? of truth ? After all, what else WOULD you understand!


Truth, this brings you to its absence if God is not known, and its presence if He is, for He both can and does know the truth, in Himself, without aid or help from any: for He IS the truth. His word is its conveyor, Himself its source.


What then does HE want ? that is the question. What is HIS kingdom ? It is epitomised in Christ.  So to have goodness you need Christ to DECLARE it and to SHARE it. In John 14:6 you see this …


2.         HE IS THE WAY!

Christ declared: “I am the way, the life and the truth, no man comes to the Father but by Me.” In Matthew 11:27 you find this, that no one knows the Son except the Father, or the Father except the Son and those to whom He WILLS to reveal Him. Thus in Matthew 16, we hear that the Father showed Christ to Peter and he understood. Peter’s response:
You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!


He who has seen HIM HAS seen the Father, Christ declared (John 14:9). As His eternal and living word, the Son discloses the realities of God in person (Hebrews 1:1-3, Micah 5:1-3); and as man’s format is such that he can have fellowship with God, thus God could use this format for His own precise, definitive expression of Himself in His word become flesh.


Here then is the GOODNESS, which as David acknowledged in Psalm 23, with the divine mercy likewise, would follow Him  all the days of his life. Indeed, in Psalm 16 we find these words:


               “Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.

              O my soul, you have said to the Lord,

        ‘You are my Lord,

                     My goodness is nothing apart from You.’ ” (Bold added).


– Ephesians 3:19-20, Romans 15:13-14


SURELY goodness and mercy shall follow me … is in the Old Testament, and in the New, in  Galatians 5 we find that the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, KINDNESS, GOODNESS … Again in Psalm 144,  we find that the Lord is not only David’s fortress, but his lovingkindness! Here is the source and the security for it. But what does it do ? In Isaiah 1:17, we are told this:

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;

Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.

Cease to do evil,

       Learn to do good;

Seek justice,

Rebuke the oppressor;

Defend the fatherless,

Plead for the widow.

      “Come now, and let us reason together,”

Says the Lord,

‘Though your sins are like scarlet,

They shall be as white as snow;

Though they are red like crimson,

             They shall be as wool.’ ”                                    See also Micah 6:7-8.

In II Timothy 2:20-22 we are instructed to avoid dishonour but to seek honour, calling on the name of the Lord with a pure heart. JUSTICE, KINDNESS, HONOUR, PATIENCE, BEING CLEANSED and CORRECTED by the Lord, these are steps into goodness, His, which resides in the heart of the believer. Thus in Romans 15:13-14, we find these words:

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness,
filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”
(Bold added – see Heb. 3:13, where this helps people to awake to righteousness, and realise their faith; and HE will NEVER leave or forsake His people, to whom He has given eternal redemption (Heb.  9:12, 13:5).


Now the Lord declares in Exodus 33:17ff., that He is gracious and will be gracious to whom He will! But to whom ? In I Timothy 2:1-4 we find that He would have ALL men come to a knowledge of the truth; but HOW ? In Acts 4:11-12, we find that it is ONLY through the name of Christ, and in Romans 10:9 with I Cor. 15:1-4, by confessing that IN FACT He is one’s Lord, and that one so believes in His power and presence as to believe that His body rose from the dead: LIFE IS HIS.


Ephesians 3:16-17 incites us to know God, that He might dwell in your heart, through faith, so that you might be rooted and grounded in love, and even KNOW the love of Christ which passes knowledge – like seeing a vast lake, you realise it, but its depths are incomprehensible though obvious! It is known, and it is infinite in its beauty, as befits one’s Creator and Redeemer.  In knowing this love, says Paul, he would like you to be “filled with all the fullness of God.”  Indeed, do you now see, that guidance and goodness are inseparable companions. If you seek the one, delight in the other!