Main Point: We should keep our thoughts on God’s goodness.
Key Verse: Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things. - Philippians 4:8
Props: An apple and some mud or dirt
Who can list the fruits of the Spirit that we have learned about over the past 4 weeks? Love, joy, peace, and patience. These are the fruits of whose Spirit? They are the fruit of God's Spirit. When we believe in Jesus, God's Holy Spirit lives in us, and His characteristics grow in us and show in us.
Say: Today, we’re going to have a little history lesson, but it’s a story you all have probably heard before. It’s a very, very old story – in fact, it’s the very first story there is! I’m talking about the story of creation, when God created the world and everything in it. Let’s look at Genesis 1, the very first chapter in the Bible.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth didn't have any shape. And it was empty. Darkness was over the surface of the ocean. At that time, the ocean covered the earth. The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
God said, "Let there be light." And there was light. God saw that the light was good. He separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:1-4
Stop right there and look at that last verse again. What did God think about the light that He made? It was good! God made light, and saw that it was good! I’m going to keep reading and we’re going to see more about what God thought of His creation. I need your help. Each time I point at you, I want you to yell the word “good” as loud as you can! Let’s practice. When I point to you, yell, “good!” Read Genesis 1:6-31. Throughout the passage, each time God calls His creation, “good,” point to the kids and have them yell, “good!”
God saw all of His creation, and thought it was not just good, but very good! But sadly, things did not stay very good for long. In Genesis 3, we learn that Adam and Eve, the first people, chose to listen to Satan instead of God. Satan told them that God was a liar and that they shouldn’t obey Him. Adam and Eve believed Satan’s lie, so they disobeyed God. This was sin. Sin ruins everything. Soon God’s good creation was spoiled.
Say: But we also know that is not the end of the story. God loved us too much to let us stay in sin, separated from Him. Instead, He sent His son Jesus to bring us back to Him. When He was here, Jesus showed goodness to every single person He met. Jesus was just like His Father in every way (John 14:9), so everything about Jesus was good, because everything about God is good. There are many, many examples of Jesus’ goodness in the Bible, and I encourage you to read about them for yourself.
One of these examples is in Matthew 4:23-25. These verses say. “People brought to Him all who were ill with different kinds of sicknesses. Some were suffering great pain. Others were controlled by demons. Some were shaking wildly. Others couldn’t move at all. And Jesus healed all of them (Matt 4:24).” In a world full of sickness and pain, Jesus brought goodness. These verses also say that Jesus was healing so many people that huge crowds followed Him around (Matt 4:25). Jesus’ goodness was so great that crowds of people followed Him to be blessed by it!
Mark 2:1-12 tells another amazing story of Jesus’ goodness. One day Jesus was preaching inside a house in a town called Capernaum, and there was a huge crowd filling the house and overflowing to the outside. Some other men came to the house carrying their friend who was paralyzed on a mat. Mark 2:4-5 says, “But they could not get him close to Jesus because of the crowd. So they made a hole in the roof above Jesus. Then they lowered the man through it on a mat. Jesus saw their faith. So he said to the man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” Wow! Jesus just forgave a man’s sins because his friends had faith in Him! That by itself is an amazing story, but there is more. Mark 2:6-12 goes on to say:
Some teachers of the law were sitting there. They were thinking, “Why is this fellow talking like that? He's saying a very evil thing! Only God can forgive sins!”
Right away Jesus knew what they were thinking. So He said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Is it easier to say to this man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’? Or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
Then Jesus spoke to the man who could not walk. “I tell you,” He said, “get up. Take your mat and go home.”
The man got up and took his mat. Then he walked away while everyone watched. All the people were amazed. They praised God and said, “We have never seen anything like this!”
This was a wonderful day for the paralyzed man! Jesus healed his body and restored his ability to walk, which is what he probably came for. But even better and more importantly, Jesus forgave the man’s sins! The man was no longer separated from God! I can’t imagine how Jesus could have shown any more goodness to him.
Say: Just like all the other fruits of the Spirit, the Bible says we are to have goodness in our lives and good actions for everyone to see. Read Philippians 4:8 with me.
Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things.
This verse says we need to think about things that are “right,” “pure,” “excellent” – all these words mean “good.” What kind of good things do you think this verse is talking about? Is God’s creation a good thing? Yes! God’s creation is a wonderful thing to think about. But what about video games where you shoot people or TV shows that are full of fighting? Are those the kinds of good things we should think about? No. Those things are not noble or right or pure. Or what about math that you learn at school? Yes! All truth, even math, is God’s truth. What are some other good, right, pure things that we should spend time thinking about?
Why does the Bible say we should think about good things? Hold up an apple. Look at this apple. It is a good fruit, and if I wanted, I could eat it. It would be good for me because it’s a good fruit. But what if I got it dirty on the outside? Put dirt or mud on your apple. Would you want to eat this apple now? No! The apple is dirty now and I can’t eat it until I wash it off. This apple is like the Fruit of the Spirit, goodness, that we have been talking about. If you have goodness in your life, people can see it and they want the goodness you have. But if you spend all your time thinking about things that are not right, pure, or good, it’s like putting mud on the outside. Nobody wants your goodness if it’s coated in sin. Instead, think about good things like Philippians 4:8 says. Then, people will see the goodness in your life and it will point them to God – the source of all good things (James 1:17).
Main Point: We should keep our thoughts on God’s goodness.
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