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April 1, 2020 1:00 am
What is godliness and how do we pursue it really is easy to think of our pursuit of godliness like a checklist to godliness is not a list.
It is a lie. If God is holy and pure, desiring purity, both physically and mentally.
Then godliness is pursuing purity in every aspect of life.
Godliness is God likeness. That's why we prefer our little lances there a lot easier found what Stephen was describing a moment ago to be true is a list of things that we do in a list of things that we don't do for successful we become godly today on wisdom for the heart Stevens going to challenge that kind of thinking. Godliness is something we pursue, but we don't pursue it the way we often think before we get started today. Let me remind you that if you'd like to follow along as Stephen teaches, we have the manuscript available on our website which is wisdom online.org now here Stephen Davey with the lesson that he's calling all or nothing.
Let's get started.
Just a few verses from Peter's letter.
His second letter.
The third chapter where he writes do not let this one fact escape your notice. Beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day the Lord is not slow about his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but all the come to repentance you, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men fall from your own steadfastness but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity and to pray with me. What a privilege it is father to gather on this. The Lord's day, and the uniquely worship you and rehearsing these great truths we have a trust in all of our lives spent time worshiping and we can any day, but the uniqueness of this, the assembly causes our hearts to be warmed and challenged and encouraged and even convicted thank you for the reminder of what life will be worth thousand years will pass away so quickly will not even think was more than a day in the meantime, you're warning us not to be carried away with the error, but to be steadfast in the pursuit of your truth.
Your nature and character to grow up in the grace and knowledge of Christ. So thank you that that is our privilege in the assembly, even as we sing and pray fellowship and study so that ultimately were longing for the day that day of eternity. As Peter writes in trusting you serving you along the way for the sake of Christ our Lord. I pray in his booklet entitled absolute truth, the author, a professor at the University of Illinois talks about how he typically introduces philosophy class professor's name is Roger Wengert. He often begins his ethics course by asking how many of the students believe that truth is relative to raise her hand in a course. Most of the students raise her hands. Over 70 believers no absolute truth. Right or wrong. Moral standard without pausing.
Wengert has his students turn to their class notes and begins discussing with them their term paper dates, assignments, exam schedule. He then informs the class that they will actually be graded according to their physical height. Some tall kid usually every semester says yeah. Then he had short students get the best grades.
Inevitably, students raise their hands in protest and say you can't do that, your grading system is fair.
He responds up on the professor, I can grade. However, I wish the students insist that what you ought to be doing is grading us according to how we learn the material you should look at our papers and exams.
You should be grading is on that basis. He then replies now by telling me I should do something that I can't do something that I ought to do something you contradict your belief that truth is relative. If you were true relativist you would realize there is no external standard to which migrating should conform if my truth in my ethical standard lead me to an alternative grading system that you consider inappropriate. Well then that's life.
When he would be right with the typical relativist is only relativist insofar as it doesn't affect him adversely and it dies.
There are laws and rules so we put fences up around the edges of our property and an inch short of anything but these students really are original, are they in our culture is in fact if you go back to the first century will discover the cultural norm on the island of Crete, a population of about a million people has made relativism their way of living back in the opening words of the apostle Paul.
You find them, then hammering away on changeable absolutes.
And there are so many of them.
The first four verses are a sentence from pole Paul begins his letter to Titus, a young pastor on this island and you discover in that opening statement several passion that characterize the life of Paul will call them slave traits, characteristics of somebody for whom it's all or nothing for the glory of Christ.
So the very outset we learn from Paul's own hand that he considers himself to be a slave and God his master and he is simply the messenger boy of Christ.
For Paul, Christianity is wide open and so far we have identified a couple of passions that have captivated the harden in the life of Paulie's been passionate we we studied in our last session about God's elect. That is, he is passionate about the genuine nature of the faith of God's people, he will literally give his life away from them to establish them. Secondly, we learn that Paul is passionate about God's truth. He he is to develop and in exhorts Titus to do the same and the substance of the believers understanding of the truth.
The objective truths of God's word and I thoroughly want to move ahead and have you noticed the Paul is passionate about God's glory back to verse one Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of truth not notice which is according to godliness. One of the things Paul does in clarifying this statement about the truth is to send a warning to Titus and to those who make up the church is on the island. There can hear a lot of messages there to hear a lot of descriptions and it will be associated with what those delivering them say this is the truth. This is spiritual truth. Paul is saying if it doesn't promote godly living. It isn't a valid message. If it promotes materialism and self-centeredness.
It is of the truth if it endorses sinful behavior. It is in the truth if it encourages greed and self-satisfaction and self-promotion. It isn't the truth.
Paul is saying that the gospel will lead you toward godliness, and by the way. In that word is clarifying for us the greater and affect the highest incentive for godliness. She's easy for us to want to grow up and live godly lives in miss the primary motive we can be passionate about growing in godliness in the knowledge of the truth so that we can become smarter. We will amaze people by what we know about the Bible I just know your way around that thing that's that's it's impressive but the noun translated godliness refers to both living out your faith in front of others, but it has the added new lines bound up in this Greek word of reverencing God. In other words, he saying you want to be godly but built into the word you want to be God because you want to reference God.
We want to be godly because we want to build up the reputation of God, the credibility of God, not our reputation and credibility when you try to grow up in our knowledge so we can win a blue ribbon regular name of the bulletin. Whatever were passionately attempting to live out our faith so that God's name receives even greater credibility and honor and glory what author wrote in challenging me as a random video is an amazing what God chooses to do through the lives of people when they really don't care to take the credit. Hudson Taylor, whom I enjoy illustrating several of his biography is a wonderful planar missionary to China, writing in a carriage on occasion when one of his friends as he was older in life and and the man said to him, and I quote, you must often be conscious of the amazing way the Wonderful Way, God has prospered you built the China inland Mission under your leadership. I doubt he said I doubt if any man living has had a greater honor to which Hudson Taylor turned to his friend and said you need to note how I think. I believe God was looking for someone small enough and weak enough for him to use that all the glory might rightfully be his and he found that's the passion of a true slave of Christ is about us, it's about his glory. His greatness, his reputation is honor the apostle Paul and my God forbid that I should ever glory in anything except the cross of Jesus Christ. Galatians, God forbid that anyone should ever take personal glory away from the glorious Lord Jesus Christ and so the claimant for themselves, as was the passion of Paul living out the gospel so that God would be glorified. Would you notice again in the text.
The connection before we move beyond this between truth and godliness. The knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness in other words, spiritual truth that does not produce good is deception, outward behavior will validate inward belief. In fact, how we behave outwardly betrays what we believe inwardly, you can tell a lot about a person by how they behave and what they believe our last session, I I talk a little bit about the law of gravity. Would you believe about the law of gravity determines how you behave when you're standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon that I haven't been there a long time with their college, but I understand now.
They have built this this see-through little army goes over the edge and you can walk out there and I think that's insanity. III would be back over here. Gone.
You know, you guys go ahead of operating over here for your safety, what we believe determines how we behave. 20 saying here knowing determines living.
By the way, let me have though that no way doesn't necessarily eliminate you in the battle of living we tend to think that godly person just doesn't fight as much with the devil flash of the world some old St. you we we think.
Boy I can't wait to get to their age because life will get easier the battles will diminish. So grateful for Prof. of mine, who in his mid-to-late 60s I said in his office as a seminary student and I said to him, I'm sorry I said it, but I said to him, I can imagine I said is that your race that I have the battles and he smiled and kindly said Stephen you need to understand the older I get, the more difficult the battle become joint godliness is something we call a pursuit. Even Paul said, I have attained it is not perfected me to look at me know what is the godliness that Paul is talking about the other side of that new the living out.
This is where we get into trouble. He is, is godliness.
A list of do's and don'ts.
Is it a standard of living in a can we talk in good manners at the table to do that showing be wonderful. I would recommend the use of formative at the lunch today and your napkin in your lap when it comes to defining godliness. You can travel around the world and you can find different definitions of evil. It's appropriate to do with your hands. Dinner, what to wear out how to act and one can be viewed as godly and the other ungodly effect of our preaching and and in a certain Eastern European country remaining that I would've I would've taken off my wedding ring before I stepped into the pulpit because to them it it it's it's not godly it's it symbolizes materialism and and an unnecessary expenditure.
So I take my ring off this and I haven't taken my ring off in years. You know why anybody got a stick of butter. You know I can actually want to keep it on because in our culture doesn't signify materialism. It signifies marriage.
It signifies that I belong to some negative pride out there. I'll be preaching next month, Lord willing, and in Santiago and I've already called ahead and asked what would be appropriate to wear because it only seven of the pulpit and have people presume I and the walking with alert by what I've shown up in a matching suit like this and I checked it twice because of these is illustration of things matching at 530 in the morning.
It might not, but I think it is blue pants, blue jacket that matches might be considered flamboyant or long sleeve white shirt and a necktie might be a symbol of ostentatious wealth.
See the problem with defining godliness externally and I think we ought to be sensitive by the is that it changes from country to country, it changes from the north to the south. One of the eye-opening things to me was to go to seminary in the north, you will believe the ungodly things I do. I know that's what you will move down south because this is where it's at right changes from church to church, let me simplify the word for you that Paul uses in this text will stand up in any culture. Godliness is simply God like this one author defined the word in this text, simply enough, by writing that godliness is everyday expressions that demonstrate the character of God, and hours of God's love God like this is is acting in love to others. If God's mercy, godliness, consists of being merciful God is patient and kind. Godliness is patience and kindness of God hates pride or oral or laziness or gluttony, then growing in godliness means I'm gonna grow in my dislike of my own pride or laziness or gluttony all stop excusing it and begin confessing it. If God is holy and pure desiring purity both physically and mentally. Then godliness is pursuing purity in every aspect of life and on godliness is God like this.
That's why we prefer our little lists there a lot easier I can keep up with my dirty dozen my sanctified seven or whatever godliness is an attempt to demonstrate the nature of God, oh my godliness is not a list.
It is a life. In fact, it is the life of Christ in us demonstrating through us. The character of God, and anything else is just too easy. That's the genuine item Paul is referring to truth will lead toward God like this.
I read recently about an episode on history Channel show about where people bring in their stuff and they get it appraised and the one man found the violin he bought a home in a barn came with it. Shortly after his purchase.
The article said while inspecting the barn. He opened he found an open and old chest covered dust discovered this violin safely tucked inside as he dusted off what what ended up being nearly perfectly preserved instrument.
He found the name Stradivarius inscribed inside his discovery might be worth 1 million.
I do little research on my own after reading this article, there's only 450 some Stradivarius violins out there.
After the violent was examiner.
They told the man the violin wasn't a genuine Stradivarius. The name had been forged. The violent was an imitation produced in the early 1900s worth around $500. The appraiser concluded by saying this. Is this what caught my attention. He said to them, and remember, just because something has a label one doesn't mean it's for real is exactly what Paul was warning here something labeled truth. Something only bold spirituality may not be the genuine item just because God's name is attached to it, doesn't mean it has something to do with God's nature is God's signature has been forged throughout the centuries.
Think forged today. I often hear the name of God and even Christ associated with something that has nothing to do with the truth of God's word is name is being foraged. Be careful, Paul warns, make sure that you're pursuing the genuine item Titus, you need to help the flock there on the island of Crete to grow in the knowledge of genuine truth in the way you know it's the genuine item is that it will lead you to reflect the glory of God and pursue the character of God is living with passion for God's glory. There's another passion in Paul's opening statement to Titus is also passionate about God's presence. Look at verse two in the hope of eternal life, which God cannot lie promise long ages ago and noticed the progression in Paul's opening statement. Learning living all the while looking for the appearing of Christ, he is the hope the blessed hope, this is now the hope of eternal iPhone describing further chapter 2 all reserves, for that, but for now we need to understand that the word hope, we use it differently than the Greeks.
Paul had something entirely different in mind, we use the word hope for something we hope will happen in the future or something.
We hope won't happen in the future we hope it won't rain on her wedding day because it's outdoors you had that hope.
You might say. I hope I get that promotion next week or I hope I'm able to sell my house or condominium this month. I hope our dog doesn't have any more puppies than there would. Paul uses the word hope is a different quality. It's a it's a future reality that might be better translated so we catch it, anticipating we ought to happen were anticipating we can't wait.
It's it's it's that old expectation. In this case of eternal life, which raises a question on my mind I thought we arty had eternal life by what we do. We Artie possess eternal life. These things are written to you. You might know that you have presidents eternal life. For some, 513, the believer already possesses eternal life in Christ.
Paul is referring to something else here, something future is referring here to Titus about that final consummation of eternal life in Christ gathers us to himself. This is the glorious moment believers eagerly anticipate. In fact, Paul said in Romans chapter 8 verse 23 we are groaning for the day of redemption. In fact, you understand the context of of what he saying because of who we are groaning to be redeemed because of our flesh were groaning to be immortalized in glorified groaning for that to happen, but we be so certain that our hopes will be dashed in the future. Do we really have this thing will be so sure you and I must admit to each other. We we we believe in really publicist settled you so sure he answers. Further, verse two, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie promise, God promised and God.
Paul reminds us, is the God who cannot lie that Woodley translated the cannot lie God. There are some things that are impossible for God to do. Did you know that it cannot lie, which was of course a startling claim in this particular generation gods of the Greeks and Romans and the cretins there just as good at lying and deceiving human beings but not this God the glory of Israel will not live for simmer 1520 is impossible to write her papers in chapter 6, verse 18 is impossible for God to lie against his nature to you understand this promise is not from Paul human beings and human institutions can make promises and break them. It's our nature to break a promise is not the nature of God to break a promise what God promises God delivers.
Were going to learn more from this section of God's word because of time will stop here and resume tomorrow.
This is wisdom for the heart.
Wisdom for the heart is the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey were dedicated to the truth that the Bible is the word of God and our commitment is to teach that truth faithfully. In addition to these daily broadcasts we have other resources that will help you in your pursuit of godliness. I encourage you to visit us email@example.com from that site, you can learn more about our ministry, but also access our resource section. Once again, that web address is wisdom online.org it would encourage us to get a card or letter from you, and learn how God is using these lessons to help you grow in your faith.
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