The Benefits of Godliness iv
The Benefits of Godliness (iv)
Pursuing Excellence through the practice godliness
I Timothy 6:1-8; Romans 8:28-29
FUBC 9/28/2008 11AM
I believe that every person present here today has a desire for and in one way or another strives for contentment. Contentment is the one thing we all want. We want to be fulfilled, complete, satisfied, completely self-sufficient. That’s what Greek word (autarkeia – ow-tar’- ki-ah) means. But when we look around, this is not what we see. What we see is a society and a world that’s discontented, about as unfulfilled, incomplete, dissatisfied, empty, lonely, and restless as they can be. Why? Why are so many people discontented? Why are so few people truly contented? I believe that’s what makes this passage so important: it contains the secret of contentment. The secret to contentment is godliness.
"Contentment" means to be completely sufficient, to need absolutely nothing. It means to be fulfilled, satisfied, and complete. Imagine a person who feels totally complete and sufficient, someone who lacks absolutely nothing. This is what Scripture means by contentment; this is what Scripture means by the contented person.
What makes a person content?
What is it that can bring such contentment to the human soul?
Scripture pulls no punches; it unequivocally states that it is godliness. Godliness alone can give man the sense that he lacks absolutely nothing. Imagine being so contented—so fulfilled, so satisfied, so complete, so sufficient—that you have no sense of lack. This is the reason Scripture declares that godliness with contentment is great gain. No greater gain could ever come to a person than contentment.
The word “godliness”, comes from the Greek word “you-see-ve-ia”. The word godly is a two sided coin, one side has to do with reverence, and the other side has to do with fear. So a godly person is someone who fears God, in other words they have a great reverence for God. If you are a truly godly person there are some things that you are afraid to do because you don’t want to offend God. Watch this, we found out in prior messages on the topic of godliness that - holiness is positional, but godliness is always, always, always, practical.
Holiness is positional based on our relationship to God.
Godliness is always practical based on revelation of God.
Godliness has to do with acting upon what you know, - not how much you know, - godliness is always practical. There are no short cuts to godliness, if you practice what God tells you to do, the obedient life will become a part of you and you can begin to experience the contentment that Paul is talking about here in I Timothy 6. And if you live godly the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in your life love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance or self-control (Gal.5:22-23). But, you have to want godliness; you have to be willing to pursue it.
Let’s do a little review, look at - I Timothy 6:11; But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (gr. Word Dioko – dee-o-ko)
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith,
love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
The word follow in 1st and 2nd Timothy is a strong word meaning to “strive after”, to pursue, to hound, to track down even persecute.
The word clearly speaks of dedication, persistence, concern and serious effort.
Let me ask you a serious question, is there anybody here who’s trying to walk in godliness, but you would have to admit that the problems of everyday living, job, relationships, bills, health, pain, hurt, sorrow, loneliness, alienation, aging, death, and all those thing that we have to contend with blur our vision of what God is doing in our lives?
That’s where I want to connect Romans 8:28-29 to the topic of godliness.
I want my young people to listen to me, this applies to you too, learn this principle early and it will save you a lot of grief later.
I think there is nothing more important than for God’s people to understand this profound truth; human problems are not neutral. God is in the problem! The knowledge that God is in the problem so colors and conditions the problem that it will profoundly change the way we see the problem. It doesn’t matter if the problem is a product of your own doings or whether it originated from circumstances completely beyond your control, God was in the events that allowed it to come about. We may never know in this life all the reasons behind those events, but just knowing that there are reasons changes everything. Life is not absurd; it has meaning – God’s meaning. Every happening has a beneficial purpose for the child of God whether we understand it or not. What we need to understand is that nothing, (I mean Nothing) happens in this universe that God is not aware of, God is the master planner and He is directing the course of events toward the good of His people. The trials and heartaches themselves are an essential part of the plan that will ultimately wipe away all tears.
Listen to me Faith United, Romans 8:28 say’s to us, that the source of the circumstances in our lives is irrelevant. God says I will use it in your life. I will fit it into my pattern; He says I will fit it into my great plan for your life, (watch me) to make you like Christ. So there is no circumstance in life from which we cannot learn if we’ll just have the right attitude.
Look at Proverbs 20:30 it has some good news for us: “blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inner most being.” Some of us have experienced the truth of this verse. Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways. In other words, we are not as likely to change when we see the light as when we feel the heat! Why? Because we change only when the fear of change is exceeded by our pain. C.S. Lewis once said that “God whispers to us in our pleasure but He shouts to us in our pain.”
Let’s look at the text; verse 28 begins with the words and we know. Notice he didn’t say we understand, or we enjoy, or we can see, or we can feel, but he said we can know, we know because God said it and if God said it, I believe it. That’s why we need to know what God has said because it gives us a foundation to stand on. It’s interesting when you look at this word for know in the Greek, it’s not “ginosko” to know with knowledge, but it’s the word “eido” – ai-do translated 314 times as see, 5 times as perceive, in other words you know what God said and you look around you can see that it’s true.
We can only hope for the things that are temporal and material in this world, but the eternal and precious things we can know. For example we may lay up treasure on earth and hope that they are safe – yet we may lose everything we have – but we can lay up treasure in heaven and know that they are not where “moth and rust” can corrupt, and where thieves can break in and steal them. We are alive today and hope to be alive tomorrow but we can’t say for certain – but if we are in Christ we can know that we have eternal life, and if I die tonight I know that I’m simply passing from death unto life. That’s what’s so good about being saved; I know I can depend on God – because all things work together for my good.
“All Things”_________ Not some things, not most things, not just pleasant things, or the easy things but all things. You see we have no problem with this verse when everything is going well – but it includes the hard things, bitter and testing things of life as well. All things_____ from the minutest to the most severe crisis, all things work together for good. The truth of matter is that if we look back over our lives, we would fine that some of the hardest things that we’ve had to endure, have in reality been the best for us, they made us stronger, and they increased our faith. People of God, listen to me, no sorrow will leave us where it found us; it either drives us from God, or draws us near to God.
For example____ the remorse of Judas drove him suicide, but the remorse of Peter transformed him from the impulsive disciple into the “Rock.” We have to learn to look at every time of trail and testing as a turning point, you will come out of it either closer to the Lord or farther from the Lord. You see my brothers and sisters God does not promise us that all of our days shall be pleasant ones as a matter of fact Jesus Himself said that in the world ye shall have tribulation, but he also said “be of good cheer for I have overcome the world” and because Jesus is my over comer I can depend on God to make all things work together for my good.
“Work”_____ the word work is in the present tense – it does not say that all things might work, or should work – but it says that all things work, some time we say I can’t see God in this__ I don’t see how any good can come out of this___ but just because you can’t see Him, that’s no sign that God is not working – (wind) – (use to be’s) ___ you see we have to have faith and believe God and Hebrews 11:1 says “faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen”.
“Together”____ not separately or independently, not each thing in itself, but together – it means to create and eliminate, place and replace, connect and group, interrelate and intermingle, shape and forge, press and stretch, move and operate, control and guide, arrange and influence. The words "work together" are also present action which means that all things are continually working together for good. God is in control of the believer's life. Daily, moment by moment, God is arranging and re-arranging all things for the believer's good.
You see you may have many trials, or many test, but they all work together for your good. This is the key to the test. God does not promise all things work together for good – or each thing is good in itself – but – all things work together for good – don’t pick out one trouble or problem in your life and say I don’t see any good in that because it’s just a part of all things. You see we like to focus on one thing even though that one thing might be disastrous – but when you take that one thing and put it together with all the other things it works together for your good.
You see it takes a blending of experiences in life to make it work. When we live in submission and obedience to God’s will every event has a definite place in the plan and pattern of God for your life – it’s like baking a cake, it takes sugar, eggs, flour, flavor, and whatever else it takes – but the point I’m trying to make is that it takes all the ingredients – together – to make one cake, not just sugar. “And then you put it in a hot oven”.
I want you to know the benefits of pursuing godliness. You can depend on God. You can depend on Him to take all the experiences of life and use them to work together for your good.
“Good”___ now I need you to understand what that means. Good does not mean pleasure, comfort, prosperity, health, or joy, but for the good of the soul rather than the body. For the good of the eternal rather than the present – the good is that God takes the experiences of life and the strengths of the inner man – (watch me) God may let the body get sick so he can heal the soul – He may allow you to experience want – so He can show you that He can make a way out of no way – He allows me to see trouble so that He can prove to me that He is a very present help in the time of trouble – see there is no testimony without a test.
My brothers and sisters this promise is not to everyone – “but to them that love God.” Romans 8:1 (NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
You see this is a narrow promise; it’s restricted to the children of God. It does not say all things work together for the good of all people, but rather to them that love God and called according to His purpose. It is clear that this is a promise to the child of God, one who has through faith in Christ been born again. We know that the bible says that the sun shines on the unjust as well as the just – but these two verses let us know that God has special promises for His people, and as we’re pursuing godliness we can rest assure that God not only loves us, but He has special promises for His children.
To them who love God – Jesus had something to say about those who love Him; John 14:15 (NIV)
15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command.
21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."
23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
“He has a purpose”___ Listen, the good toward which all things work is the fulfilling of His purpose. What is His purpose?
Romans 8:29 – answers that question – to be conformed to the image of His son, what a blesseth promise that all things work together for one great purpose that we daily become more like Jesus.
Whether by pleasure or pain, sickness or health – joy or sorrow – life or death – you can depend on God to accomplish His purpose in our lives.
The diamond must be cut to bring out its beauty – gold must be refined to bring out its purity. The vine must be pruned so it can bear more fruit. The clay must be molded that it might become a vessel fit for the master’s use.
The child of God must be cut and refined, pruned and molded that he might become fit for the master’s use – sometimes it seems like the clay will be ruined by the potter, but He’s only reshaping and molding so that the clay will become a vessel fit for the master’s use.
We’re like clay in the potters hand, the potter is unlike any other craftsman, never throws anything away.
That’s why Job could say 13:15 “though He slays me, yet will I trust Him”; in Job 23:10 “but he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Another benefit to pursuing godliness is that in the process, you learn to trust in God, through the storm, through the rain, through the pain you learn to depend on God – He’ll never leave you nor forsake you……
Guide when we don=t know which way to go. Light when darkness overshadows us. Company-keeper when we are lonely. Eyesight when we are blind. Hope when we seem so down and out. Bread when we get hungry Water when we are thirsty. Doctor when we become ill.
You see when you’re truly pursuing God
Every problem...becomes your testimony
Every situation…becomes God's opportunity
Every trial...becomes your testing ground
Every trouble…becomes your proving station
You see when you’re truly pursuing God
The will of God will never take you, where the grace of God cannot keep you
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you.
Where the Spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.
Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.
The will of God will never take you,
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.
You want to know why!
He came down to lift you up!
He took your place so you could take his place!
He lost his life so you could find your life!
He came to be with you so you could be with him!