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Godliness, A Great Gain

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
February 7, 2021 7:00 am

Godliness, A Great Gain

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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February 7, 2021 7:00 am

Godliness is not a popular topic in the current culture. In fact, we’ve practically dropped the word from our common vernacular. Yet the term is mentioned 14 times in the New Testament and 8 times in Paul’s first letter to Timothy! Just what is godliness and what characterizes a godly life?

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Godliness is certainly not a relevant topic in the eyes of a modern culture. In fact, the word is practically dropped from the common vernacular units employed often in God's word. In fact, the apostle Paul mentions the term godliness eight times in his first letter to Timothy. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically from its frequent use in Scripture we might surmise that godliness in God's people is important to God. But just what is godliness and what does it look like in the life of a believer joined Dr. Boyce as he expounds on a simple word that has great significance to God and great bearing on the lives of his people. Godliness is certainly not a popular idea in our time in the word itself is an even popular generation or two ago people to at least used it in sayings like cleanliness is next to godliness, but now they don't even hear that perhaps people are any more interested in cleanliness than they are in godliness and at any rate, the word godliness is practically dropped out my vocabulary yet it's an important biblical idea is interesting though, it's important that the word itself isn't scattered around throughout the Bible in a large number of instances since they are in different terms the word itself is really found only in the pastoral epistles and second Peter, which has a pastoral interest that is you find it in person. Second Timothy Titus and in second Peter and in all it's only found 14 times as found eight of those times didn't first Timothy which is the book we are studying and therefore it was obviously a major concern of Paul's as he wrote the letter we just point out some of these instances to you, you find it in chapter 2 verse two he saying there that we are to pray for kings and all those in authority in order that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness divided again in the third chapter verse 16 in the phrase the mystery of godliness and he explains that in the verses that follow the passage were looking at first Timothy chapter 4 occurs twice, once in verse seven where the new international version translated godly and then in verse eight where it appears as godliness, train yourself to be godly for physical training is of some value, but godliness is value for all things then you find it four times in chapter 6 and verse three anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching is conceded there in verse five will been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. In verse six godliness with contentment is great gain and then a final time in verse 11. But you man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Obviously, as we look at those verses. This is something about which Paul was very concerned godliness is an interesting word because it is a truncated word.

Sometimes, you know, in the English language is there are words that start out longer and then because of the difficulty of saying them. They get shortened up the way we pronounce them. Worship is an example real meaning of worship is worth ship you have some extra letters in the air and it means describing the God's true worth. When you understand the longer version than you understand something about the meaning of the word that is shorter. Well it's the same way with godliness. Godliness really is the longer word of God like nests. So when Paul is concerned that we might live in all godliness what he's talking about is that we might live in Oregon like nests might be a concern of our lives since we are the children of God really be like God and let that be known in the way we live way we work, what we do, how we spend our time in a number of other things interesting outline in these verses in chapter 4 and let me share it with you so you can see where were going first of all Paul speaks of the need for godliness or God likeness if I that in verses one through five by the description prophetic of the things will come in the latter times in which Paul undoubtedly also saw beginning in his own age.

Secondly, there is the answer to the need to find verses six through eight, and that has to do with godliness, particularly the kind Paul is going to talk about. Then finally beginning in verse nine, going on to the end or specifics of a godly life. So when the time we have a just look at those one at a time. First of all, it look at the need to be read versus the Spirit clearly says that in latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry order them to abstain from certain foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe in and know the truth. Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it's received with thanksgiving because it's consecrated by the word of God and with prayer is talking about a problem which he said would come in the latter days in which he undoubtedly saw beginning in his own time and it had two parts. One concern something that's happening within the body of Christians and the other concern something that's happening outside the body of Christian first problem is that he says many will depart, that is, they were nominal Christians. They were in the company of the people of God but they fall away for one reason or another, and the other problem has to do with the teaching from outside which unfortunately tends to push itself inside which in some cases is causing those were nominal Christians of all the way. Paul begins to talk about it here seems to have two parts.

One is false teaching. The kind of thing that he's been concerned about from the very beginning. False theology which he speaks specifically in verse seven is mythology that is groundless godless myths that are to take the place of true religion and the other is what we would call today. Asceticism. It's interesting that he would be dealing with those two things because those two things really indicate two different tools the devil uses to get people either one not to take religion seriously, and therefore never come to faith in Christ in the first place or to if they have become Christians to get them off the track by dealing with things that are of no profit. One is an arrogant dilettante is fooling around with spiritual things that has to do with the mythology and the other is the area of fanaticism where we become so fanatic about certain particulars of the faith.

We really miss the heart of it is matter mythology is easy to understand. I'm not sure as I read this. What myths Paul had in mind. In his day, but probably it was the beginning of that kind of mythology that we have in Gnosticism flower shortly after this. That John is perhaps also very, much concern to combat first John second and third John as well.

It focused on the kind of speculative metaphysic that build on the Greek idea of God who is all spirit can have anything to do with the material of the material being evil and God being good so constructed a whole metaphysical system where had a series of emanations from the one true God.

Each one of which was a little bit less than God in a little bit more physical than the one before, and so on, down, down, down sometimes be 50s 370 of these emanations from the one true God. Finally got down to somebody like Jesus Christ with a certain sense is God incarnate, really, isn't God incarnate, but only an emanation so on.

All that was mythology as they are just made up and this is the kind of thing.

The people were doing in that day and was passing off for true religion with the same thing today. There is all kinds mythology the passes for religion. How about reincarnation for an example. All people can get so worked up about reincarnations that a previous life and that having this life after this life is good to be another life when they believe that all reasonably but there's no evidence whatsoever, but you see it's a spiritual kind of religious idea that you can toy around with you.

The real kinds of books about it. You can fill up your head with that sort of thing which is a what you're really doing is fooling with religion. These matters of religion, God and ourselves in righteousness and sin are too important to fool around and that way you people do this rather than come to grips with God's revelation of the truth of things in Scripture and in Jesus Christ, all of which is evidence for it.

The other aerator is this one of fanaticism and particularly in aesthetic matters.

People were saying it's really not enough to believe God has redeemed us in Jesus Christ follow him and serve him in the midst of the world you have to do all kinds of things to show that you really have a pure life and apparently in this day they were talking about celibacy forbidding to marry, and talking about not eating certain kinds of meat. This unfortunately became true in Roman Catholicism. It dominated in a very strong way. In the Middle Ages and is still part of Catholicism today. The idea that it's more holy to be celibate, rather than married added more holy not to eat meat on Fridays and eat meat on Fridays. I recognize it's been changed now because I suppose Roman church recognized that the butchers have to live as well as the fish mongers, so there impartial in that regard. But you see, the tendency is to get wrapped up in these things. Which of the best externals and at the worst, or denying something good God is given for our well-being boss is one of these things are good and God is given them our well-being. Certainly marriages of God and blessed by God and by our Lord Jesus Christ, as we say in the marriage service and it is not more holy to remain single and the got married out. Paul did say sometimes practical considerations come in your to go off. Afghanistan is a pioneer missionary where the danger is great. You might want to go alone rather than drag a wife and family law, or husband along as the case may be, and there may be practical reasons why you don't marry Paul himself seems to indicate that at least the period of his missionary endeavors.

He wasn't married because he was going off pioneering was easier to do that better to do it more profitable to do it on the attached is quite a different matter when he talks about marriage elsewhere he says is a great gift of God, and more than that, it illustrates the relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ the church. Paul is saying you say in the latter days. The devil is going to be very, very subtle and began get you to be a dilettante where religion is concerned is going to get you to be a fanatic but Paul would hold out instead is a life of godliness which he is now about to describe notice versus six through eight. If you point these things out that the brothers shall be a good minister of Christ Jesus brought up in the truths of the faith of the good teaching that you followed have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales but rather, train yourself to be godly. Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise both the present life and the life to come. Centrist Dana C writes that that is talking about teaching say when he's talking about godliness. He's not putting Christian experience over against teaching as if now suddenly were going to live by experience and not by the word of God Apollo began this book by saying what standby asked for sound doctrine, uphold sound doctrine. Make sure Jesus Christ is at the center of your faith that he is the mediator, the one mediator between God and man. Apollo began that way is not suddenly now shifting gears and saying were talking now about experience doesn't mean that all what he means is it in any real Christian life balance Christian like these two things are always going to go together is going to be teaching the doctrine and then that is going to be the life and the life is going to be determined by the doctrine of the doctrine is going to determine the way of living. Now it's interesting that this is what John Calvin saw so clearly in the institutes of the Christian religion. People are afraid of that book because of so much theology there, and some people I suppose turn away from it because it seems the intellectual and because it's an election won't seems to be boring, dry, and they just haven't read it because John Calvin was, not so much a theologian of the head, but we had a head that would put most of our's to shame. But what has often been described as a theologian of the heart. Calvin is concerned to show in the institutes as he develops his theme which is the knowledge of God that the knowledge of God will inevitably express itself in piety and practice.

This is why you know the full title of the institutes is the institutes of the Christian religion, and not institutes of Christian theology. Theology is a word about God and of Calvin were thinking intellectually, he would've written institutes of Christian theology that is everything there is to be known academically about God and said he didn't call it that. He called the institutes of the Christian religion by which he meant Christian piety or godliness is point is simply that the knowledge of God will inevitably affect how we see ourselves and how we live is a knowledge that is nothing more than awareness. You know something you don't know it well you know much about it but you're kind of aware that it's there and he points out that all men and women have this kind of knowledge of God there aware that God exists.

But Paul talks about Romans one even has a special word for it not called Nietzsche all day, even knowledge of God in the cognitive sense, but no petites yeah day.

That is sort of an awareness of God's existence, but without any personal contact with her whatsoever as a second kind of knowledge which goes a little bit further than that. That's a knowledge by experience.

This is the person who would recognize not only that God is out there somewhere, in some abstract way. But somehow that I bought is bearing upon us in our intellectual awareness and send our experiences of life, especially those deep moments of life. When we sense our utter dependence upon the superior being that's a certain kind of knowledge that goes beyond mere awareness, but even that isn't guided knowledge of the Christian is to have and that's to grow out of Christian theology, a better kind of knowledge goes a little bit further his knowledge about this is the kind of knowledge. The theologians that are not only aware of God not only experienced on the can tell you a lot about them. I could even tell you about amusing Latin phrases like on medial deity, and so on. And Calvin being a theologian himself and knowing Latin using that phrase is aware of the advantage of that kind of a knowledge but he says even that you see is not the kind of knowledge that is to prevail in the Christian religion got a knowledge would have is the kind of knowledge that brings us in contact with God.

So we become aware of God and recognize the bearing that the existence and nature of this God has upon ourselves. So as Calvin points out so clearly and in classical language to know God and his holiness is no ourselves and our sin, to know God's sovereignty is no ourselves and weaknesses his creatures, and so on. With all the other attributes of God. That kind of knowledge turns us from our sin to God and his grace is that the manifested the Lord Jesus Christ. As we begin to learn these things we begin to become like him up all very practical and in these last verses. He begins to speak in practical ways we read verses 11 through 16 command and teach these things. He writes: anybody looked down on you because you're young. Seven.

Example restocking you see about godliness and life. An example for the believers speech of life, love and faith and impurity until I come devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture preaching and teaching do not neglect your gift which was given you through prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters. Give yourself wholly to them so that everyone may see your progress.

Watch your life and doctrine closely persevering them as if you do, it was a both yourself and your hearers think he deals with three specifics of godliness. These last verses of that chapter 1 has to do with life itself. Second, with the work we do in the third with the diligence with which were to prosecute each one when he talks about life.

Yes three emphases verse 12 is an emphasis upon law and faith, and purity. One is our relationship to others.

One is concerned with the doctrine that that's our relationship to God.

The third has to do with ourselves. That's a moral life.

These three together make a truly roundabout Christian presence in the world talks about work how intimate these cases had to do with his preaching till I come devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture preaching and teaching things right to apply that our work whatever it may be he was writing to someone who had a secular job. I'm sure he would say until I come devote yourself the job God's given you to do is important to see that because one of the mistakes we make when we talk about godliness is to think that it has to do exclusively with what we do in church on Sunday and it doesn't have anything to do with what we do the rest of the week following the first one to fight that you know is he wrote to the converts of his day, some of whom were slaves, some of whom were engaged all the different kinds of business operations that they had in their time as an hours always encourage them to do a good job and the thing that God gave them to do really work at it.

He said Beatrix to your employer and what you do you do in a way that really brings honor, not merely to your employer because you're a good employee.

But brings honor to Jesus Christ was your ultimate employer, and when you serve. So when we talk about godliness. Paul would certainly want to emphasize were to be godlike and what we do whatever it is God's given us to do. I think Paul would simply say that you can't play Christianity you're going to go God's way, you better give it your all, because the most dangerous thing of all this to be gone halfway in between was a girl like that came to Charles Haddon Spurgeon once she wanted to be in the world and yet be a Christian. At the same time and he said, let me give you an illustration to show where I think you are, you go out of here today. After our conversation, you go out in the streets, bustle, along middle be going off somewhere and you'll be getting one dollars, one of two things you can do it you can stand there on the sidewalk and not get on and let it go by.

Or you can get on let it take you where it's going. But the one thing you can't do is stand there with 1 foot on the sidewalk and 1 foot in the bus because if the bus starts to move will be very mistaken if you don't fall down in the middle of the street. I said life is like that where it has to do with obedience and service of Jesus Christ you wish you can stand there in the world on the streets doing the world's leading enjoying the pleasures of the world and reaping the fruit of that in the end, or you can get on the bus. Bus of salvation.

Let God or Jesus Christ take you away do with you what he will put you in a place of service of his choosing. The one thing you can't do is stand in between. You're going to be godly. The thing to do is get on with the Lord Jesus Christ and go the whole way. The time is coming when will stand before him and receive the reward of our labors may be the case when we stand before our God. We hear him say arts department for me or why have you done so poorly, but rather well done good and faithful servant better and the joy of thy Lord that be true of us.

Each one is a congregation of the glory of Christ our Savior, our father, we ask you to bless these truths take these practical things, especially because of the sink down into our thinking and our hearts as well so that were motivated by what we know what we understand deeply, live lives that are really a credit to Jesus Christ, not because of what we are but because of who he is and what is done for us and bring glory to his name we pray in Jesus name, amen. Listening to the Bible study hours between the teaching of Dr. James Boyce Psalm 112 describes a person who fears the Lord, and honestly obeys his precepts where the fruits of a life soon lived. Find out through this week's free CD offer entitled an acrostic poem about godliness. Also, by Dr. Boyce give us a call that 1-800-488-1888 and will be happy to send you a copy of an acrostic poem about godliness that number again is 1-800-488-1888 a godly life shows itself in many ways including the generous support of God's work.

If Dr. Boyce's messages are a source of blessing to UN and encouragement in your walk with the Lord, would you consider supporting this ministry you can make a monthly pledge or a one-time donation by calling us at 1-800-488-1888. You'll find us online at Bible study our God award in our mailing address 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601.

We thank you for your generous prayers and gifts. How has the Bible study our impacted your life are you more confident in your personal ministry has Dr. Boyce's teaching inspired you in a fresh appreciation for God's word will be sure to tell a friend and then let us know our entire staff will be greatly encouraged by your story when you call all right our email address is contact at the Bible study our daughter will I Mark Daniels and I'm always glad you listen is our study of Paul's first letter to Timothy continues the logical sequence develops sound doctrine leads to godliness, and godliness affects our relationships. Join Dr. James Boyce next time of the Bible study our surveys. Paul's teaching on the importance of our interaction with fellow believers next next time one Bible study hours preparing you to think and act biblically

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