Matthew R. Perry

Is Being Good Ever a Bad Thing? (Introduction)

In Church Life, Culture, Sermons on March 10, 2008 at 9:17 pm

(This sermon was preached on Sunday, March 9, 2008 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY. To listen to the full audio of the sermon, click here.)

I remember growing up in a church that categorically believed that all rock and roll music was bad and inherently evil to listen to. Even Christian music that contained any sort of a rock beat that would make a toe tap would be out of the question. And for the longest time I held to this — avoid rock music! Avoid it!

But it didn’t go so well. I had everything from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. But when I went into the ministry, I discarded all that “bad” music with the questionable and unhelpful lyrics. But the more I got into music, the more I got into other types of music to replace the rock: jazz, reggae, classical — all kinds. I would listen to Christian music a bit as well, but I would listen to those others, not necessarily because it was inherently good, but because it wasn’t bad like that other evil music.

We tend to put ourselves in tight, nice little categories and compartments. In these presidential primaries, we have Republicans and Democrats. In Kentucky, we have Cat fans and Cardinal fans. We tend to break people up into rich and poor, young or old, and yes even good and bad. We tend to think that simply being good is avoiding the stuff that’s bad.

But let me ask you a question: is being good ever a bad thing? You may think, “How can good be bad? Those are polar opposites.” But the answer is, “Spiritually speaking, yes, ‘good’ can be a bad thing.” Why? Because we can take pride in our goodness and our outward righteousness rather than our inward holiness. Being good is not enough. When we believe simply being good outwardly is sufficient, that’s bad.

Let’s stand as we read Luke 5:27-32:

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” [28] And leaving everything, he rose and followed him. [29] And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. [30] And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” [31] And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. [32] I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (ESV)

(Tomorrow: Being good does not require a personal relationship
with God.)

  1. […] on Sunday, March 9, 2008 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY. You can read the Introduction or listen to the full audio of the sermon, click […]

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