New Hope Notes

Good Or God?

Pastor John Bevere
February 28, 2016 - W1609

If we judge something as good, do we assume that it came from God? Do we make God and good synonymous? Are we born with the inherent knowledge of what is right and what is wrong? Scripture says, “… by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14) What the Bible is saying, is we must have discernment to recognize the difference between good and evil. King Solomon cried out to God to give him an understanding heart so that he could recognized this difference. “Give to your servant an understanding heart…that I may discern between good and evil.” (1 Kings 3:9)

 I don’t think that good is as obvious as we think it is. Jesus corrected Peter when He said, “You are not mindful of the things of God- you are merely looking at things from a human standpoint.” (Mark 8:33)

A rich and young ruler ran up to Jesus and called Him “Good teacher”, when asking Him what he could do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replied, “Why do you call Me good? Nobody is good but God” (Matthew 19:17) “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (Mathew 16:23 NLT)

Jesus was saying to this young ruler that he had a reference point for good that was different from God’s reference point for good. Good is all about a reference point. Two families move into identical 3 bedroom 2 bath homes. For one family this is good, because they have just moved out of a trailer; however, for the other family this is bad, because they have just moved out of a three million dollar estate.

A while ago I had flown to Sweden for a speaking engagement to six-thousand leaders from sixty nations. While in my hotel room, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about a certain situation that I had judged as good. The Holy Spirit said, “No son, it is not good.” He then gave me scripture to reference, that changed my life forever. The scripture said, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” (Genesis 3:6 NKJV) The Holy Spirit then spoke to me and said, “Son, there is a good that will lead people away from Me.”

Christians can be deceived by evil that is masked with good. Although something may seem right, profitable, wise, acceptable or beneficial, the Bible says, “There is a way that seems right (good) to a man, but its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12 NKJV the Apostle Paul wrote to the church, “But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.” (2 Corinthians 11:3, NLT)

Corrupt means something that was once good, has now gone bad.

In the Garden of Eden, Eve was never abused, lied to or stolen from. She grew up in a perfect environment that was permeated by the presence of God. Let us understand how the enemy had deceived Eve in that environment. This is because, if we are able to understand how Eve was deceived, then we will be able to understand how the enemy can deceive us in today’s corrupt environment.

God created man to put him into the Garden of Eden and said, “You may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree; if you do, you will die the same day.” (Genesis 2:16-17 TEV)

According to Horticulturists, there are over 2,500 fruit bearing trees on this planet, so God was very generous for telling Adam that he could eat the fruit of 2,499 trees.

God did not want us to be robots, so He gave us choices. God brought all of the animals to Adam for him to name. God then put Adam into a deep sleep, took one of his ribs, and created a lady named Eve. Upon seeing her, Adam said “Wo-Man!”

I believe that all of the animals talked in the Garden – this included the snake who approached Eve, and who had a four step strategy to turn her against God.

Phase 1: To get Eve’s focus away from God’ generous provision.

Eve knew that once she ate of or touched the tree in the center of the Garden, she would die.

The Devil got Eve to turn her eyes away from the 2,499 good trees that she could freely eat from, and eat from the forbidden tree. The Devil is trying to get you to turn your eyes away from the things that God has blessed you with, and he is trying to get you to focus your attention on the things that are not good.   The Bible says of the Devil, “He said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’” (Genesis 3:1 NKJV)

Phase 2: The enemy negates the Word.

As the Bible says, “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.’” (Genesis 3:4 NKJV) How often is the Word of God negated in your life? A young man and a young women meet and fall deeply in love at church, and have planned to be married a few years from now; however, the man convinces the woman to live with him to save on living expenses. What he has done is negated Ephesians 5 which says to avoid the very appearance of evil. He has also negated Hebrews 13 which says the marriage bed should be undefiled and fornicators and adulterers will be judged by God.

Phase 3: To pervert God’s character in her eyes.

The enemy perverted God in Eve’s eyes to look like a taker instead of a giver. How often is God perceived differently in your eyes? Maybe you have been praying about something for four months without seeing any results manifested, but someone else with a similar situation may see results in one week.

Phase 4: To offer the ‘good’ being withheld.

The serpent told Eve, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5 NKJV)

This is why the Bible says, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:16-17 NKJV)

Even dedicated Christians can be deceived. So how can we become deceive proof? We need to reference the Word of God. As the Bible says, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true (good) and to make us realize what is wrong (bad) in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong (bad) and teaches us to do what is right (good).” (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT)

Once I had an employee who as part of our team, spoke very disrespectfully to his manager. I thought of reading Proverbs 12:1 to him which says, “He who hates correction is stupid.” Scripture is the reference point for good correction.

Correction is good. My wife and I use to live in Dallas Texas which has a plethora of major highways. If I took the wrong cloverleaf, I could have inadvertently ended up on the wrong highway, traveling many hours before I would have realized that I was traveling the wrong way. Siri is an example of good correction. Siri gets you on the right road, and gets you to your destination.

The Encyclopedia of Biblical Words: Good (tab) says Only because God has shared His evaluation of good in His Word are we who rely on Him able to affirm with confidence that a certain thing, quality, or course of action is beneficial.

Today, people are saying that the church does not speak to this era. Let me expound on this.

The Bible is comprised of 66 books, written over a time span of 1500 years by forty writers from different continents, different generations and who spoke different languages. The Old Testament is comprised of 39 books where 300 predictions were noted, and that Jesus fulfilled. I am going to use Dr. Peter Stoner’s research who was the chairman of Mathematics and Science at Pasadena City College and Westmont College, and who is considered an expert on probability to illustrate the probability of what Jesus did. Using eight prophecies from the Old Testament Dr. Stoner and his staff of 600 students calculated the probability of Jesus fulfilling the following eight prophecies:

1. Christ is to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)

2. Christ is to be preceded by a Messenger (Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1)

3. Christ is to enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9)

4. Christ is to be betrayed by a friend (Psalms 41:9, 55:12-14)

5. Christ is to be sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12)

6. The money for which Christ is sold is to be thrown “to the potter” in God’s house (Zechariah 11:13)

7. Christ is to be silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7)

8. Christ is to be executed by crucifixion as a thief (Psalm 22:16, Zechariah 12:10, Isaiah 53:5)

After much calculation, Dr. Stoner and his staff determined that the chance of any human fulfilling these eight prophecies is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. A one with 17 zeroes behind it. If we had this many silver dollars, it would cover the entire state of Texas. The chance of fulfilling 16 prophecies is one in ten to the 45th power. The chance of fulfilling 48 prophecies is one in ten to the 157th power. Jesus fulfilled 300 prophecies.

Last year, while on an eight hour flight to a conference, I started to edit my book titled, “Good or God”; however, this attractive woman sitting next to me would not stop talking to me. Finally, after 35 minutes, I got the opportunity to speak, and started talking about Jesus. She responded by telling me that she was a devout atheist.  This is why “We must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” (Hebrews 2:1 NLT)

As a kid, I loved to fish at White Lake in Michigan. On one outing, I was so preoccupied with my fishing that I forgot to anchor my boat. I ended up drifting so far away from the shore line, that I did not recognize it. How many of you realize that you may unknowingly drift away from God?

If you had to cross a mine field, and someone handed you a map showing where every land mine and quicksand pit was, then wouldn’t you be constantly studying this map? Today, we are walking across a land mine field. This is why the Bible tells us that the Word is a lamp. We need to take the Bible more seriously.

In closing, I’d like to say that out of nineteen books I have written, the book titled “Good or God” is the most important book that I have written for the Body of Christ. This is because it’s about calibrating ourselves back to God. Machines are calibrated so that their readings will be accurate. Honeywell is the number one manufacturer of gas detectors that are used in every room of a chemical factory. It is important for these machines to be accurate because a little toxicity can kill a person. Our heart is our sensor. The Bible is our calibrator. Every day we should go into the presence and Word of God so that we will not be conformed to the corrupt environment of this world.   Let us calibrate correctly, so that we can enjoy fellowship with our God.


  • What are you doing to calibrate yourself? How can you do more?

  • How can you tell if it is good or God?

  • How can we help our brothers and sisters calibrate back to God?