“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Matthew 5:15-16 says, “nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
When the children of God receive the Holy Spirit, their minds and deeds become good.
Through those good deeds they become the light of the world, and the worldly people come to give glory to God.
Likewise, the fruits of the Holy Spirit are not borne only in the heart.
The good things of the heart will certainly reveal themselves in deeds.
This way, the believers become the light that brightens the world and give out the aroma of Christ.
It is the case with the goodness, the sixth fruit of the Spirit that I am going to explain today.
If you bear the fruit of goodness in your heart completely, you will give out the fragrance of Christ wherever you go.
Thus, many souls will come to feel Jesus Christ through you, and they can give glory to God.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will bear each fruit of the Spirit beautifully so that you can give glory to God whether you eat, drink, or whatever you do.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, “goodness” is the quality of being gentle, considerate, kindhearted, and virtuous.
In the spiritual sense however, it is the heart that seeks goodness in the Holy Spirit, which is the goodness in the Truth.
If we bear this fruit of goodness completely, we will have the Lord’s heart that is pure and spotless.
Sometimes, even the unbelievers who have not received the Holy Spirit follow goodness in their lives to some extent.
At this time, the standard with which a person discerns between good and evil is their conscience.
To understand this goodness as a fruit of the Spirit, we first have to understand this conscience.
Worldly people discern and judge whether something is good or evil according to their consciences.
In the absence of having pangs of conscience, worldly people think they are good and righteous.
But this conscience is different from person to person.
It’s because the process by which the individual conscience is formed is different from person to person.
Conscience is the standard to discern between good and evil, which is based on the foundation of one’s nature.
One’s nature depends on the kind of life energy one is born with and the kind of environment where he is raised.
Those children who receive good life energy have relatively good natures.
Also, people who are raised in a good environment, seeing and hearing many good things, are likely to form good consciences.
On the other hand, if one is born with many evil natures from his parents and comes in contact with many evil things, his nature and conscience is likely to become evil.
For example, children who are taught to be honest will have qualms of conscience when they tell a lie.
But those children who are raised among liars will feel it is only natural to lie.
Their consciences are stained with evil so much that they don’t even have pangs of conscience, thinking that it is OK to lie.
Also, even though children are raised by the same parents in same environment, they receive things in different ways.
Some children just obey their parents while some other children have very strong wills and tend not to obey.
Then, even though siblings are raised by the same parents, their consciences will be formed differently.
Likewise, each one has a unique nature, and depending on the time and place, people’s common sense, knowledge, and values are different.
Consciences will form differently depending on the social and economic values where they grow up.
Each society has a different value system, and the standard of 100 years ago, 50 years ago, and that of today are all different.
For example, when they used to have slaves, they didn’t think it was wrong to beat the slaves and force them to work.
Also, just about 30 years ago, it was socially unacceptable if women exposed their bodies in broadcasting.
As mentioned, consciences become different according to individual, area, and time.
Those who think they follow their conscience are merely following what they think is good. However, they are not absolutely good.
But we who are believers in God have the same standard with which we distinguish between good and evil.
We have the Word of God as the standard, which is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Spiritual goodness is to have this truth as our conscience and follow it. It is the heart to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit and seek goodness.
But just by having the desire to follow goodness, we cannot say we have borne the fruit of goodness.
We can say we bear the fruit only when that desire to follow goodness is shown as action.
Matthew 12:35 says, “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good.”
Proverbs 22:11 also says, “He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.”
As in the above verses, those who really seek goodness will naturally have good actions that can be seen externally.
Wherever they go and whomever they meet, they show generosity and love with good words and deeds.
Just like a person who sprayed perfume will give out a nice fragrance those with goodness will give out the fragrance of Christ.
I hope you will check yourself carefully.
Some people long to go into spirit, so they follow spiritual persons and want to have friendships with them.
They enjoy hearing and learning the truth. They are easily touched and shed many tears, too.
But they cannot go into spirit just because they have the longing.
If they heard and learned, they have to cultivate it in their heart and actually practice it.
For example, if you only like being near spiritual persons and stay away from those who are not good, is it really longing for goodness?
Or, if you just diligently hear about goodness and realize your shortcomings, but lack the effort to actually do good, can you really say you are longing for goodness?
You might think you are longing for goodness very much, but I hope you will carefully check yourself as to whether you lack actual deeds of accumulating goodness yourself.
From this point on, let’s look in more detail at what it means to gain spiritual goodness by pursuing goodness and truth in the Holy Spirit.
In fact, goodness is a very broad concept.
God’s nature is goodness, and that goodness is embedded throughout the Bible.
But a verse from which we can sense the aroma of goodness very well is from Philippians 2:1-4.
It says, “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Those who seek goodness in the Lord will support even the works that they don’t really agree with.
They are humble and they do not have any sense of vanity to be acknowledged or revealed.
They not only faithfully perform their duties but also care for other people’s works.
Brothers and sisters, in Luke chapter 10, we have the parable of the Good Samaritan.
A man was robbed while travelling, and he was half dead.
A priest was passing by and saw that he was dying, but that priest just passed by him.
A Levite also saw him, but he also just passed by him as well.
Priests and Levites are the ones who know the word of God and who are serving God.
They know the Law better than any of the people. They also take pride in serving God well.
But they did not show the deed that they were supposed to show when they had to follow the will of God.
Of course, they could say they had reasons they couldn’t help him.
But if they had goodness, they couldn’t just ignore a person who was in desperate need of their help.
Later, a Samaritan was passing by and saw this man who had been robbed.
This Samaritan had pity on him and covered his wounds.
He carried him on an animal and took him to an inn and asked the inn keeper to take care of him.
He promised the inn keeper that he would pay the cost on his way back.
If the Samaritan would have thought selfishly, he wouldn’t have any reason to do what he did.
He too was busy, and he could suffer loss of time and money if he involved himself in a total stranger’s affairs.
Also, he could have just given him first aid, but he didn’t have to ask the inn keeper to take care of him promising him that he would pay the cost.
But because he had goodness, he couldn’t just ignore a person who was dying.
Even though he would suffer loss of time and money, and even though he was busy, he couldn’t just overlook a person who was in desperate need of his help.
When he couldn’t help this person himself, he asked another person to help him.
If he also had passed him by for his own reasons, in the future this Samaritan would probably have had the burden of it on his heart.
He would have continuously questioned and blamed himself thinking, “I wonder what happened to that man who was injured? I should have saved him even if I had to suffer a loss. God is watching me and how could I have done that?”
Spiritual goodness is being unable to bear it if we do not choose the way of goodness, feeling as if somebody was s pulling our ankle, and so we do choose the good things in all things.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, another verse that lets us feel spiritual goodness is Matthew 12:19-20.
This is about the spiritual goodness of Jesus.
Verse 19 says, “He will not quarrel, nor cry out; nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.”
Usually, when we see those people who are considered to be good by others, we see that they don’t have any troubles or problems with anybody.
Just like saying, ‘nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets’, they are so quiet and they don’t quarrel with anybody.
They don’t speak of other people’s faults or shortcomings.
They don’t try to flaunt themselves or to raise themselves up among others. Even though they suffer unreasonably, they do not complain.
Next, verse 20 says, “A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory.”
When we grow a tree or plants, if they have bruised leaves or branches, we will usually cut them off.
Also, when a wick is smoldering, the light is not bright, and it gives out fumes and smoke. So, people just extinguish it.
But those who have the spiritual goodness will not ‘break a battered reed or put out a smoldering wick’.
If there is the slightest bit of chance of recovery, they cannot cut that life off, and they try to open a way of life for others.
Here, the ‘battered reed’ refers to those who are filled with sins and evil of this world.
The smoldering wick symbolizes those whose hearts are so stained with evil that the light of their soul is about to die out.
It is unlikely that these people who are like battered reeds and smoldering wicks will accept the Lord.
Even though they believe in God, their deeds are no different from the worldly people. They even speak against the Holy Spirit or stand against God.
At the time of Jesus, there were many who did not believe in Jesus and even though they saw such amazing works of power they still stood against the works of the Holy Spirit.
Still, Jesus looked at them with faith until the end and opened opportunities for them to receive salvation.
Today, even in the churches, there are many souls who are like battered reeds and smoldering wicks.
They call, ‘Lord, Lord’ with their lips but still live in sins. Some of them even stand against God.
With their weak faith, they stumble in temptation and stop attending church. After doing things that are recognized as evil in the church, they are so embarrassed that they leave the church.
If we have goodness, we should first stretch out our hands to them.
Some people want to be loved and acknowledged in the church, but when it doesn’t happen, the evil in them comes out.
They become jealous of those who are loved by the church members and those who are advancing in spirit, and speak ill of them.
They don’t gather their heart for a certain work if it is not initiated by them and they try to find fault with those works.
Even in these cases, those who have the fruit of goodness will accept these people who let their evil out.
They don’t try to distinguish who is right or wrong or good or evil and then break them off.
They treat others in goodness with a truthful heart and then eventually touch their hearts. This is spiritual goodness.
Of course, if the others continue to show increasing evil, they will fall into the way of death even though we show goodness to them.
But even in these cases, we will not just set a limit of our endurance and forsake them if they go over that limit.
It is the spiritual goodness to try to allow them to seek spiritual life without giving up until the end.
Before the Final Judgment day, we will try to give chances and look at them with hope continually so that they can be saved.
Brothers and sisters, as you have listened to this message to this point, you might have some question.
You might be confused as to how this spiritual goodness is differentiated from other spiritual characteristics.
Namely, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, his acts can be described as charitable in mind and merciful; and if we do not quarrel or raise our voices, then we must be at peace and in humbleness. Then aren’t all these things included in the character of spiritual goodness?
Of course, charitableness of heart, mercy, peace, and humbleness all belong within goodness.
As mentioned previously, goodness is the nature of God and it is a very broad concept.
But the distinctive aspects of spiritual goodness are the desire to follow such goodness and the strength to actually practice it.
The focus is not on mercy of having pity on others and helping them itself. The focus is on the goodness with which the Samaritan couldn’t just pass by when he was supposed to have mercy.
Also, not quarreling and not speaking out is a part of being humble.
But the character of spiritual goodness in these cases is that we cannot break peace because we follow spiritual goodness. Rather than crying out and being recognized, we want to be humble because we follow this goodness.
Let me give you another example. When you do the voluntary works for the church, and if you have the fruit of goodness, you will be faithful in not only one thing but also in all God’s house.
If you neglect any of your duties, there might be somebody who suffers because of it.
God’s kingdom might not be accomplished as it should be.
So, if you have goodness in you, you will not feel comfortable about these things. You cannot just neglect them, so you will try to be faithful in all God’s house.
I believe you can apply this principle to all other characters of spirit.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, those who are evil will be uncomfortable if they do not give out evil.
To the extent that they have evil, they will feel OK only after giving out that much evil.
Even though they hurt others’ feelings or give hard time to them, they can be at peace only after doing what they want.
But the men of goodness are opposite.
If they do not follow goodness, they will have more uncomfortable feelings than when they suffer a loss, and they will think about it repeatedly.
So, even though they suffer some loss, they do not want to harm others. Even though they find it uncomfortable, they try to keep the rules.
We can feel this heart from what Paul said. He had the faith to eat meat, but if it could cause any other person to stumble, he didn’t want to eat any meat for the remainder of his life.
If what they can enjoy might cause any kind of discomfort to others, they would rather not enjoy it and find it happier to give it up for the sake of others.
They cannot do anything that can embarrass others, and they can never do something that can make the Holy Spirit in them groan.
How can these people do evil?
Likewise, those who follow goodness in all things are the ones who are bearing the fruit of spiritual goodness.
If you also bear the fruit of spiritual goodness, you will have the attitude of the Lord.
You will not do anything that can make even a little one stumble. You will have goodness and humbleness on the outside as well.
You will be respectable having the form of the Lord, and your behavior and language will all be perfect.
You will be beautiful in everyone’s sight, giving out the fragrance of Christ.
I hope you will bear the fruit of spiritual goodness quickly and give out the aroma of Christ to the world.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord, that you will give glory to God in all things and be recognized as the children who resemble God perfectly.