I’m a Goodfella. – Lies of the Enemy #35– Purity 1047
Purity 1047 05/19/2023 Purity 1047 Podcast
Purity 1046 on YouTube:
Today’s photo of a tranquil morning scene at Persimmon Lake In Murphy NC comes to us from Fred Dimmick who capture this beautiful scene, with the lake’s mirror like reflection of the sky and the morning mist rising off the lake’s surface, back on May 4th as a case study in contrasts as Persimmon’s waters recede in the winter months leaving the shores looking like a barren desert but come May, the lake fills up again to reflect spring’s thriving abundance of life.
Well, It’s Friday and I for one really appreciate Fred’s diligence of practicing and sharing his photography. In my full life, I don’t always have time to check in to Facebook or to plan the “photo of the day” and when ever I’m not sure what to share I have discovered that Fred is a reliable source to go to see the glory of God’s creation on “film”. His penchant for sharing the views from his life consistently and reliably makes me appreciate Fred’s “friendship” and his life’s narrative. Although I have never sat down and chatted with Fred, he has told me bits of “his story” through social media and he comes across as someone who appreciates the simple joys of life in spite of some of the challenges he has faced in the recent years with finding a place to call his home, with health concerns, or with car troubles.
You can’t always know who somebody is from looking from the outside, but I get the overall impression that Fred is a “nice guy”. Although I can’t be certain, I think Fred is a “goodfella”.
Now I use that particular phrase quite purposefully to highlight the duality of man – our mix of good and evil, that can sometimes define who we are and that just may seal our fates.
The phrase “Goodfella” obviously is loaded with meaning for most of us as Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster film is praised by critics and fans, resulting in several awards and nominations, and has been listed as one of the greatest films ever made, particularly in the gangster genre. Based on the life of a real life wise guy, the film narrates the rise and fall of mob associate, Henry Hill and his family and friends from 1955 to 1980 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodfellas). The film’s scenes are gripping, and its dialog is infectious as those who love the film are often known to echo its phrases. While I won’t share any quotes from the film on the blog I am sharing a link (https://decider.com/2022/05/26/ray-liottas-10-best-goodfellas-quotes/) to star, Ray Liotta’s 10 Best Goodfellas’ Quotes if you want to walk back to the dark side of memory lane.
The paradox of the film of course is that Henry Hill and His friends are not “goodfellas” by the standards of traditional biblical morality. They are thieves, liars, adulterers, drunks, swindlers, drug addicts, and murderers. Their zeal for life is to serve themselves and take what they want by any means necessary. However, these men also have families and friendships that are defined by love and a strong sense of loyalty – unless of course those things get in the way of “business”.
Ironically, members of “organized crime” sometimes surprise us by doing good. They give “justice” to those who don’t get it from police or the government. Sometimes they give things to those in need. Sometimes their ill-gotten gains even go into the coffers of charities and churches. They may indeed seem to be “respectable businessmen” to their local communities and churches. With these “good works”, one may wonder if these gangsters aren’t so bad after all, that somehow in the final accounting they may “do more good than bad” and find themselves in a state of grace – that God will declare that these criminals are “goodfellas” after all and welcome them into heaven.
Now as much as I have introduced the subject of gangsters who have obvious concerns about their eternal destinies because of their many crimes, I actually mean to shine a spot light on all of those of us who consider ourselves “nice guys”, “good girls”, or a “good neighbor” who know they “aren’t perfect” but who don’t display any fruit or evidence of having a relationship with God but are putting their faith in their “good outweighing their bad” as the means to getting to be a part of God’s eternal kingdom.
And that brings us to our current series the “Lies of the Enemy”, which is an examination of some of the common lies, sometimes sneakily whispered into our minds as “first person” statements, that the enemy tells us to cause us to doubt our faith, lose our peace, cause division, or influence us to not follow the Lord with the way we live our lives.
So today’s big lie is:
Lie #35: I’m a Goodfella.
This lie is so pervasive throughout the world that it not only infects the realms of supposedly Christian institutions it forms the basis of all false religions and the measure of performance of the world system.
The lie – “I’m a Goodfella” is unbiblical as the Bible tells us in:
Ecclesiastes 7:20 (NKJV)
20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin.
The Apostle Paul expounds on our moral hopelessness, inability to “do good”, and be approved by our own efforts in:
Romans 3:10-20 (NLT2)
10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one.
11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God.
12 All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”
13 “Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies.” “Snake venom drips from their lips.”
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “They rush to commit murder.
16 Destruction and misery always follow them.
17 They don’t know where to find peace.” )
18 “They have no fear of God at all.”
19 Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.
20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.
The lie of “I’m a Goodfella” – that proclaims that somehow God will forgive us because our evil will be less than our “good” is based in ignorance and ignores the word of God that tells us that we will be dead in our trespasses and sins without Jesus.
I am sharing a link to Open Bible Info’s 100 verses about Jesus died for our sins on the blog today (https://www.openbible.info/topics/jesus_died_for_our_sins) if you need the scriptures to convince you that our works don’t save us.
I know that most “Christians” “know this” but the Bible also speaks of those who will claim a relationship with Christ – by works or passing association – that will discover that their “show” of Christianity, “nominal agreement”, disingenuous faith, or infrequent participation in outward signs of worshipping the Lord won’t fool the God in the end.
So before you anoint yourself with the “cheap grace” of having a “passing relationship” with God or of “doing more good than bad” as a means of salvation – Consider Christ’s words to the nonbeliever and to those who profess or try to prove their “faith” with works.
For those who haven’t put their faith in Christ, I offer Jesus’ words in:
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
There is no other way to God but through faith in Jesus. Sorry, Goodfella without Him you don’t get “in”. Christ also said:
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
For those who are “doing more good than bad” but have an inconsistent or virtually nonexistent “relationship” with God, but have “a little faith”. I offer.
24 “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.
25 When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
26 Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27 And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’
Just because you sat and heard Jesus’ teachings and had the Lord’s supper, doesn’t necessarily mean you are a Christian – Christ’s words indicate that we also have to repent of our sins because otherwise our “doing evil” – having regular periodic unrepentant sin in our life may indicate we are “false converts”. If we fail to “work hard” to overcome our sins, we may demonstrate we are not actually Christ’s disciples – those who obey what He teaches.
And as for those who are “working hard” and are proud of it, I offer Jesus’ words in:
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Again, this is for the legitimate businessmen and those who stand out in public and shine a light on all the “good deeds” you have done for God. Christ wants you heart as well as your works, and your good works in the light don’t cover the “lawlessness” you practice in the dark.
Christ call sus to be disciples to be “real” Christians – to seek Him, to love Him, and to practice what Jesus teaches. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not some ultra form of performance based salvation – I don’t think Jesus was suggesting that, but I do think He was trying to convict all of us that we must believe in Him and to do our best to follow His example and to do so as an expression of our love for God – as part of our relationship with Him.
My heart is to encourage people to walk with God humbly and simply but not so simply that we aren’t pursuing Him and seeking to do His will on earth, which includes our pursuing personal sanctification and spiritual maturity.
The reason today’s lie of “I’m a Goodfella” has so inflamed my passion to exhort is because the WHOLE WORLD would consider themselves “goodfellas” – We are all “good” in our own eyes and we would all declare ourselves “good enough” by judging those who are worse than we are. However, the word God tells us we must be right with God through faith in Jesus and through our authentic attempts to follow Him into repentance.
I know so many “goodfellas”, “nice guys”, “good girls. “free spirits” and “characters” that I love, find amusing, and genuinely “like” that have seemingly no relationship with the Lord. They don’t always do the right thing and often suffer for their poor choices but overall they “seem like good people.”
I know others who really seem to have it “all together”. They are successful and kind. They are good citizens and good to their families or friends, but they don’t demonstrate any faith in Jesus.
So I say all this to encourage all the “goodfellas” out their whether you are an Upstanding citizen or a “wise guy”, to stand up and surrender to the Lordship or Christ and to be truly wise by declaring that you are not a “goodfella” and that you need the forgiveness and new life that only God can give you that comes through faith in Jesus and a life that is surrendered to Him.
For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple apologetic will provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
Today’s verses encourage us to work as if we were working directly for the Lord, because we do, and because the Lord will reward us with inheritance when we serve Jesus as the Master of our Lives.
Verses like today’s passage indicate to us that our faith was never meant to be a weekly observance of worship. Our faith is supposed to be a way of life and we are to consider everything we do as something we are doing for the Lord. God made us and He will reclaim us and so we are to show Him that we know who our Master is by being His representative here on the earth.
Everything we do we are to do for the Lord and although it may not always be easy to “do the right thing”, God’s word assures us that He sees what we are doing, and He will reward us for our faithful service.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we begin sharing from The Holy Spirit By A.W. Pink.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. This resource is available online for $0.99 (https://www.amazon.com/Holy-Spirit-Arthur-Pink-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM5292/ref=sr_1_3?crid=AHKAQOM39CTN&keywords=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit&qid=1684376225&sprefix=a.w.+pink+the+holy+spirit+%2Caps%2C96&sr=8-3)
1 - The Holy Spirit continues
The Problem: Effort in the Flesh
In the great majority of cases, professing Christians are too puffed up by a sense of what they suppose they are doing for God, to earnestly study what God has promised to do for and in His people. They are so occupied with their fleshly efforts to “win souls for Christ” that they feel not their own deep need of the Spirit’s anointing. The leaders of “Christian” (?) enterprise are so concerned in multiplying “Christian workers” that quantity, not quality, is the main consideration. How few today recognize that if the number of “missionaries” on the foreign field were increased twenty-fold the next year, that that, of itself, would not ensure the genuine salvation of one additional heathen? Even though every new missionary were “sound in the faith” and preached only “the Truth,” that would not add one iota of spiritual power to the missionary forces, without the Holy Spirit’s unction and blessing! The same principle holds good everywhere. If the orthodox seminaries and the much-advertised Bible institutes turned out 100 times more men than they are now doing, the churches would not be one bit better off than they are, unless God vouchsafed a fresh outpouring of His Spirit. In like manner, no Sunday School is strengthened by the mere multiplication of its teachers.
O my readers, face the solemn fact that the greatest lack of all in Christendom today is the absence of the Holy Spirit’s power and blessing. Review the activities of the past 30 years. Millions of dollars have been freely devoted to the support of professed Christian enterprises. Bible institutes and schools have turned out “trained workers” by the thousands. Bible conferences have sprung up on every side like mushrooms. Countless booklets and tracts have been printed and circulated. Time and labors have been given by an almost incalculable number of “personal workers.” And with what results? Has the standard of personal piety advanced? Are the churches less worldly? Are their members more Christ-like in their daily walk? Is there more godliness in the home? Are the children more obedient and respectful? Is the Sabbath Day being increasingly sanctified and kept holy? Has the standard of honesty in business been raised?
Those blest with any spiritual discernment can return but one answer to the above questions. In spite of all the huge sums of money that have been spent, in spite of all the labors which has been put forth, in spite of all the new workers that have been added to the old ones, the spirituality of Christendom is at a far lower ebb today than it was 30 years ago. Numbers of professing Christians have increased, fleshly activities have multiplied, but spiritual power has waned. Why? Because there is a grieved and quenched Spirit in our midst. While His blessing is withheld there can be no improvement. What is needed today is for the saints to get down on their faces before God, cry unto Him in the name of Christ to so work again, that what has grieved His Spirit may be put away, and the channel of blessing once more be opened.
Until the Holy Spirit is again given His rightful place in our hearts, thoughts, and activities, there can be no improvement. Until it be recognized that we are entirely dependent upon His operations for all spiritual blessing, the root of the trouble cannot be reached. Until it be recognized that it is “ ‘Not by might, (of trained workers), nor by power (of intellectual argument or persuasive appeal), but by MY SPIRIT; saith the Lord” (Zech. 4:6), there will be no deliverance from that fleshly zeal which is not according to knowledge, and which is now paralyzing Christendom. Until the Holy Spirit is honored, sought, and counted upon, the present spiritual drought must continue. May it please our gracious God to give the writer messages and prepare the hearts of our readers to receive that which will be to His glory, the furtherance of His cause upon earth, and the good of His dear people. Brethren, pray for us.
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“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”
Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship
 Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, n.d.).