Page updated 10 Feb 2016
When Good Men Do Nothing
Real Christians fight real evil in the real world, not sit back and reap the benefits as the world eats up and spits out people as yesterday's garbage. -Mike S.-
- Strength in Times of Crisis (Cowardly Christians)
I. Edmund Burke once said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin. James 4:17
A. In the endless battle between good and evil, it is seldom the numbers that determine the outcome of each skirmish.
B. Many times, the side for the right has beaten overwhelming odds.
C. More often evil wins simply because the good men are not willing to stand up and fight for what they know is right.
II. When Good Men do Nothing, they Get Nothing Good Done
A. To be good, one must do good.
1. Luke 6:35But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil.Luke 6 verse 35 - Do good, expecting nothing in return.
2. Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2 verse 10 - We were created to do good works.
3. Titus 2:14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.Titus 2 verse 14 - Christ gave himself to gain a people zealous of good works.
B. The parable of the one talent man.
1. He took what the Lord gave and hid it - Matthew 25:18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.Matthew 25 verse 18
2. He was condemned for returning only what his Lord gave - Matthew 25:25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, [there] thou hast [that is] thine.Matthew 25 verse 25
3. He did not do any outright evil. He did not steal the money. Neither did he do anything good with the money. He did nothing. - Matthew 25:26His lord answered and said unto him, [Thou] wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed.Matthew 25 verse 26
C. The church at Sardis seemed to be alive, but it was dead - Revelation 3:1And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.Revelation 3 verse 1
D. Too many churches and Christians do nothing.
1. They are standing idly by. They are mere spectators, sitting on the sidelines instead of actively participating in the good work.
2. If good wins, they join in the celebration, though they did nothing to produce the victory.
3. If evil wins, they complain long and loud, though their own apathy produced the undesirable result.
E. Learn from the parable of the fig tree - Matthew 21:19And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.Matthew 21 verse 19
1. What will the great Judge do with those who claim to be good and yet do nothing?
2. Heed the warning of John, the baptizer - Matthew 3:10And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.Matthew 3 verse 10
3. Jesus too, gives the same warning - John 15:1-2(verse 1) I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
(verse 2) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.John 15 verses 1-2
III. When Good Men do Nothing, Evil Triumphs.
A. Evilness, sin, and sinful men must be opposed. God commands that the good are not to just avoid evil, but to actively oppose it.
1. Ephesians 5:11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].Ephesians 5 verse 11 - Have no fellowship, but reprove them.
2. Those who do nothing about sin and evil help sin and evil to prevail.
3. Ezekiel 3:18When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.Ezekiel 3 verse 18 - When one is silent before the evil, we become a partaker with them.
B. Elijah challenged the people to decide between God and the evil of Ahab and Jezebeel, yet the people remained silent - 1 Kings 18:21And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD [be] God, follow him: but if Baal, [then] follow him. And the people answered him not a word.1 Kings 18 verse 21
C. In the parable of the good Samaritan, wicked men had robbed and beaten a man, leaving him half dead. The men who did this were very evil. The priest and the Levite, who passed on the other side
(Luke 10:31-32(verse 31) And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
(verse 32) And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side.Luke 10 verses 31-32) were willing to let evil triumph by not doing anything. Only the Samaritan stood up for what was right.
D. In the fight against evil there is no middle ground, no gray area, no neutrality - Matthew 12:30He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.Matthew 12 verse 30.
IV. When Good Men do Nothing, They are no Longer Good
A. Too many have the mistaken notion that good is merely the absence of doing wrong.
1. A person is not good merely because he has done no evil.
2. A good person is one is actively working for what is good - 1 Peter 3:11Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.1 Peter 3 verse 11
3. When we do not do good, we are sinning - James 4:17Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.James 4 verse 17
B. Reuben, the eldest of the sons of Israel, knew his brothers’ plot to murder Joseph was wrong.
1. He started an attempt to rescue Joseph, but while he delayed, his brothers sold Joseph into slavery.
2. When Reuben found out what had happened, he realized that his inaction helped to bring. Instead of correcting his error, he covered his guilt by agreeing with his brothers to lie about Joseph’s disappearance - Genesis 37:29-33(verse 29) And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph [was] not in the pit; and he rent his clothes.
(verse 30) And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child [is] not; and I, whither shall I go?
(verse 31) And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
(verse 32) And they sent the coat of [many] colours, and they brought [it] to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it [be] thy son's coat or no.
(verse 33) And he knew it, and said, [It is] my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.Genesis 37 verses 29-33
3. Reuben had good intentions. He was not present when Joseph was sold into slavery, but his inaction and absence made him just as guilty. His guilt haunted him the rest of his life - Genesis 42:21-22(verse 21) And they said one to another, We [are] verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.
(verse 22) And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.Genesis 42 verses 21-22
C. Obadiah condemned the Edomites for doing nothing when evil befell their relatives, the Jews - Obadiah 11In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou [wast] as one of them.Obadiah 1 verse 11
D. There are Christians today who fail to face the real foe of error and fight the enemy. Instead, they turn inwardly upon their own brethren and brutally attack out of bitterness and hatred.
1. Well did Paul warn about these spiritual cannibals - Galatians 5:15But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.Galatians 5 verse 15
2. Some in their envy of others will provoke Christians, taunting them to misstep so they may feel justified - Galatians 5:26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.Galatians 5 verse 26
3. While the actions of these Christians are shameful, what about those who stand by and do nothing? If you stand aside and do nothing while your brothers are being slandered, are you any better?
V. Those who fail to do so are sowing dangerous seeds - Galatians 6:7Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.Galatians 6 verse 7
A. Do not allow evil to triumph by your inaction.
B. Stand up and be counted. Speak up against evil, rebuke evil men and their wicked ways.