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The Meaning of Godliness

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
March 11, 2021 7:00 am

The Meaning of Godliness

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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March 11, 2021 7:00 am

God's forgiveness is a gift one we literally can't live without. But in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans will talk about the link between being forgiven and being forgiving. It’s a look at the importance of checking your attitude before you pray for God's pardon.

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Going to church in and of itself will not have the power to make you more godly. Dr. Tony Evans says we make a mistake when we only consider God once a week and in one location.

That's why people are not experiencing more of God because they don't live in His presence, they visit His presence. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. A student or employee can complete a first-rate project for their teacher or boss, but they're unlikely to receive credit if what they did was not the assigned task. Today, Dr. Evans points out the failures we experience in life may be the result of working on the wrong assignment.

Let's join him as he directs us to the task at hand. It was about the third year of seminary that I got a major paperback with a big fat F on it. My goal was to make nothing but A's, and I poured everything I had into this assignment. Shocked as I looked at my paper, I read underneath the failure sign a note from the professor. The note said, Great Paper. But underneath the phrase Great Paper was the phrase Wrong Assignment. I had misread the assignment.

I had done the wrong thing with a lot of effort. But a lot of work on the wrong thing still gave me an F. A lot of Christians today are working on the wrong assignment. We're working hard. We're putting in all the effort we think we can put in, and it's just not working. Everything is coming up F. We're failing in our lives. We're failing in our priorities. We're failing in our families. We're failing in our commitments.

We're failing while working hard. And I'd like to suggest to you that is because much of what we're doing is not tied to the assignment we've been given. Today I want to talk to you about godliness, and I would like to suggest to you that is our assignment. That if you are here today and you have been redeemed, saved, you've been saved for the purposes of becoming godly.

We stay busy as people and as ministries doing a lot of things often not tied to the assignment. 1 Timothy 4 verse 8 says, For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also the life to come. In 2 Timothy 3 verse 5, we read these words. He says, Holding a form of godliness, although they deny its power, avoids such men as these. He talks about a form of godliness, something that looks like it but is not it. You can look godly and there be no substance. You can have the appearance of godliness and there be no reality. You can look the part.

How do you know if you're looking the part versus having the part? He says, having the form of godliness but denying the power. He says, you know it's not godly when there's no power attached to it, because true godliness has power connected to it. Religion gives the impression of something related to God that's real. I mean, you can look religious. You can hang out with religious people and there be no power. Many of us knows what it is to go to church for years and not be changed. Going to church in and of itself will not have the power to make you more godly, like going into a garage will not have the power to turn you into a car.

The location in and of itself is not sufficient for the purpose. Ah, but godliness, he says, has power tied to it. So if you're going through the form and lacking the power, that means we're not yet godly or not growing in godliness.

So the question is, what is it? The word godliness is used about fifteen times in the New Testament. Most of the usages are found in the pastoral epistles, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. And you would expect it to be used there since that's the assignment of the church.

The pastoral epistles are written to a pastor to tell the pastor what ought to be happening with the congregation. And Paul tells Timothy, you ought to pursue godliness. So the assignment, my assignment, our assignment is to produce an environment where godliness is understood, encouraged, and achieved. That that's our assignment.

All the other stuff we do must be measured by whether we're making the assignment or else we're working on the wrong assignment and we're not getting a passing grade. Please notice in chapter 6 of 1 Timothy, verse 3, If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the doctrine conforming to godliness. He brings up godliness again at the end of verse 5. Suppose that godliness is a measure of gain. He brings up godliness again in the beginning of verse 6. But godliness actually is a means of great gain.

We're going to talk about that. We're going to talk about how to make a profit by being godly. In verse 11, he brings up godliness again. So even in this one chapter, we've seen four times already this word godliness.

The Greek word decebia means reverence toward God. Here is the definition of godliness. Godliness may be defined as a lifestyle that consistently reflects the character of God. Godliness is a lifestyle.

It's not an event. It's a way of living a lifestyle. It's the way you roll. It's how you operate. It is a lifestyle that is consistent with the character of God.

Now, watch this. Godliness assumes you agree with something. Godliness assumes that you agree and do not disagree with God.

Now, that may sound like a simple statement, but it's deeper than it sounds. You can't be godly and disagree with God. If you're disagreeing with God, you cannot be godly. Because once you disagree with God, you have made yourself your own idol. Once you say, I don't think God's right on this one, you just judge God. And if you judge God, you became God.

Another God is an idol. So you just built a monument to yourself when you disagreed with God, which means you cannot become godly. Godliness assumes what the Scripture says when it says, let God be true and every man a liar. That when God and I disagree, I'm wrong. When God and my peeps disagree, they're wrong. When God and my professors disagree, they're wrong. When God and the rich folk disagree, they're wrong. One of the things that keep us from godliness is that we keep debating God, which will automatically block any hope of ever becoming godly.

You can't be disagreeing with the person you're trying to be like. Godliness is a lifestyle that is consistently reflecting the character of God. So before we go any further, you've got to decide what God says is right, what I think that disagrees with it, how I feel about it, how long I've been dealing with it, what my friends say about it, how I was raised in it is all wrong when it disagrees with God. Unless you start there, the hope of experiencing both the concept and the provision and the power of godliness is lost. Godliness means that I am living my life in light of His presence. There is a consciousness of God's presence, and that presence is affecting me. That's why people are not experiencing more of God, because they don't live in His presence, they visit His presence. See, and as long as you're a visitor, you can leave.

Where you live is where you hang out. God has visiting hours on Sunday morning for most people. And so we give God the visiting hours, but we don't live in His presence, and therefore we don't become revisited. The godly person is obsessed with God's presence.

They're obsessed with pleasing God, because they're ever conscious of where He is, consistently evaluating things from His perspective. What does He think about that? How would He feel about that? What would He say about that? That's constantly on their mind, whether they're saying it or not, they're constantly reflecting on Him, and on His influence on their everyday life.

God becomes the son of their solar system, where the planets of all their actions revolve around Him. Now let me tell you the enemy of godliness. This will stop godliness in its tracks and also regress you. Chapter 2, verse 16 of 2 Timothy says this, But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness. The enemy of godliness is worldliness.

Godliness has an enemy. It's worldliness. He says worldly chatter, worldliness. What does worldliness mean? It's that system headed by Satan that leaves God out. Worldliness simply means you leave God out. You don't have to be a criminal to be worldly.

All you've got to do is leave God out of the equation, and you just became worldly. We talk about the world of fashions. That's everything that's got to do with clothes. We talk about the world of politics. That's everything that's got to do with government. We talk about the world of finance. Everything's got to do with money. We talk about the world of sports.

Everything's got to do with athletics. When we talk about world, we're not talking about a place, although it involves places. We're talking about an orientation that has to do with a central subject. So to be worldly spiritually has the central subject as, God, you're not part of this. I ain't including you in this. You stay over here on this.

The moment you do that, you are operating worldly. Dr. Evans will have more for us on the meaning of godliness when he continues our message in just a moment. Stay with us. Visit to learn more about how you can get the Seasons of a Woman's Life Bible Study package. And that's also where you can go to receive a full-length copy of today's message, part of a short but powerful new series Tony is bringing called, In Pursuit of Godliness. This four-message collection will take you deep into Scripture to explore what it means to be godly, how God allows us to approach him, and just why godliness is so important.

You can get the complete series on CD and digital download as our gift when you make a donation to the Ministry of the Alternative. And right now, as a special bonus, we'll also send you a copy of Tony's popular book, God Himself, A Journey Through His Attributes. This exciting work takes a look at God's wisdom and wrath, his sufficiency and sovereignty, and his goodness, grace, and glory. Dr. Evans, thank you for joining us today. Dr. Evans dives deep into the character of God, giving you fresh new insights that will deepen your understanding and love for your Creator. Just visit us today at, or call us at 1-800-800-3222, make your contribution, and let us send you, as our thank you gift, In Pursuit of Godliness, and Tony's book, God Himself.

I'll have our contact information for you again after part two of today's lesson. We've all seen fish that have been caught and put on a boat. You see its mouth opening, its fins opening, sucking air. You know what that fish is trying to do? It's trying to make it. That fish is trying to make it, but it's trying to make it in an environment it wasn't created for. See, it wasn't created for this environment.

It was only created to do that in water. But now it finds itself a fish out of water, but yet it's using its instincts to try to make it in a world it doesn't belong to, only to discover that trying to make it in a world it doesn't belong to is going to kill it. No matter how hard it sucks, no matter how hard or often those fins open and close, all he's doing is adding death because of the environment in which it is trying to survive. When God's people leave God out and still try to suck the air of the world, all you're doing is sucking in more death because you're operating in an environment you were never created for.

Not once you've been converted, not once you've been redeemed. If you're not a Christian, then you don't have this new environment. If you are a Christian, that is your environment. God is your environment. That's why I'm using the word to become obsessed with God because it is your new environment. And the reason why we often stay defeated for so long is because we're sucking air in a place we don't belong. No, like the Bible says, bad company corrupts good morals. You hang around with the bad people long enough, you're going to become one of the bad people because your environment will suck you in. So, godliness is this lifestyle that becomes consistent with the character of God.

That's what it is. And now I want to give you some really exciting news about godliness. Remember now, we're not going to get into it today, but there's a profit margin in godliness, and it's a big one, profit margin.

Bible calls it gain, gain. But I want to show you something in 2 Peter 1, verse 3. 2 Peter 1, 3 says, seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

Guess what He just told you? Everything you need to be godly, you already have. He says, seeing His divine power has given you everything pertaining to life and godliness. So I just saved you a whole lot of money with that statement because now you don't have to buy all them self-help books.

You don't have to buy all that stuff that they're trying to prop you on television. Everything you need to become what God wants you to be, you have it already. When you accepted Jesus Christ, if indeed you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit fertilized your human spirit. The Holy Spirit fertilized your human spirit and quickened you and made you alive. The problem now is your growth cycle because the job of the devil is to abort the conception.

Satan seeks to abort the growth of the spiritual life within you so that godliness is never achieved or limitedly achieved or periodically achieved. The more God possesses you, you see, His divine power has given you everything, His divine nature. You have a new nature. Let me use another word.

Maybe this will help us. God has given you a new appetite. You have a new appetite.

Your nature defines your appetite. For example, you don't have to teach pigs to like slop. It's in their nature. They don't have to learn to grow on slop. They gravitate to slop.

It's their nature. The new you that is the redeemed you, the saved you, the new nature in you is hungry for God, starving for God, dying for God, because that's the divine nature. Every true believer has divine nature and that nature is being starved to death because God can't get enough of God. God wants all the God He can get so He can grow God in you. He can grow God in me. But if God doesn't get fed God, we wind up weak because it's His nature in us. So here we go.

Here is my challenge. Oh, by the way, just so you know, everything you need to become godly, what God wants you to be, you already have and batteries are included. You ever go buy stuff for your kids and they know batteries and you forgot to bring the batteries? That means you have the parts without the power. I love when I see if I buy something from my grandkids that says batteries included.

That means I don't have to go somewhere else to get the power to pull off the performance. God not only gave you the provision, coming with it is the power to be and to live life in a way that explodes godliness. Dr. Tony Evans will come back with a godliness challenge for each of us in just a moment. You know, the perfect way to build on today's teaching is to request the complete four-message series called In Pursuit of Godliness. As I mentioned earlier, you can get all the lessons on CD and digital download, as well as a copy of Tony's powerful and insightful book, God Himself. This package of resources is yours as our thank you gift when you contribute toward the work of the Urban Alternative.

You can make all the arrangements by calling our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222, or visit us online at You know, there are some great foods out there that simply can't be made when the recipe omits a key ingredient. Likewise, godliness will never be realized in our lives if we leave out the essential component. Tomorrow, Dr. Evans will explore just what that special ingredient is when he unveils the mystery of godliness.

Right now, though, he's back with his final thought and question. Here's my challenge to me, to you, and to us. I want you to work on a godliness degree. One of the primary reasons that you decide to keep going after high school and you go to college to keep going after college so you can get a master's and even to keep going after the master's in order to get a doctorate is because of the financial benefit the degree represents. Oh, you may like the study and you may like the subject, but you think about the money.

Come on, I know what you think about it. I just showed you where God says the godly person gets great gain. So if the profit motive is a motivation for you, I want to offer you a doctorate degree in godliness. However, the higher you go in your degree, the more things you gotta move out of the way so you can get it. You can't carry on the same program and get a degree unless you're gonna take all your life to do it. You got to adjust some things because the degree is worth staying up all night or not looking at this TV show or not doing that or skipping that or not partying over here because I got to get this degree.

I got to get out of here. In the way of sports language, how bad do you want it? Or do you want to do like some folk who spent all their lives in school and never wind up with a degree?

They just pick a class here and a class there, but they never wind up with paper that's profitable. There's profit to godliness, he says. He wants you to see him at a level you've never seen him before. So the question on the floor is how bad do you want it? The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-16 22:56:00 / 2023-12-16 23:04:27 / 8

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