Effective & Productive

Godliness

 

The last several weeks we have been performing spiritual Lasik surgery.

I want each of us to have 20/20 spiritual vision, I want us to “escape the corruption of the world” (v.4); I want us to be “effective and productive” (v.8); and I want us to “receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord” (v.11).

 

2 Peter 1:3  His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; … 8  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9  But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10  Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11  and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Do you want to escape the corruption of the world?

Do you want to be effective and productive?

Do you want to receive a rich welcome into Heaven?

 

Then add to your faith

Have you been working on the areas we have talked about?

 

Let’s get serious about growing in our faith and putting our faith in action.  Our relationship with Jesus is not just a Sunday activity; it is daily, hourly.

 

Before we can add to our FAITH we need to know what faith is.

Faith is the trusting relationship in God.

Faith is grounded in your knowledge of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

 

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

 

Sure of – Hope  / Certain of – Unseen

We trust what God said is true.  / We have evidence of what is not seen.

Paul give at least 12 specific examples of what faith is throughout the chapter.

Let me read one example:

Hebrews 11:8  By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

 

We must trust God like Abraham – God guides our steps also.

He guides through His word – People will say, “I will pray about that.”  You don’t have to ask God what He thinks if He has already told us in His word.

If you pray and get a different answer than what the Bible says – you are not listening to God.

 

Grow in Faith – Grow in Trust – that means add to your faith.

Add to your faith godliness

 

Godliness – (2150 eusebeia)

The Greek word translated “godliness” was well known in the Greek world, meaning “piety,” doing what the gods desired for one to do.

In the New Testament it takes on a more ethical sense of holy living; it refers to a person’s attitude toward God.

 

Christian godliness refers to holy living out of respect for a holy God.

1) Reverence for God, (not contempt) Respect (not disrespect)

2) Piety (faithfulness, goodness) towards God

 

Pray so we can live a godly life.

1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

 

We need to pray that our effort to live a godly life is not hindered. As our religious liberties are taken away it will be harder to live godly lives, we will be tempted to make concessions so we will not suffer.

 

Exercise godliness

1 Timothy 4:7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

 

We must train to be godly – godliness just doesn’t happen. We have to grow and work, we have to resist and fight the flesh.

 

Be Godly

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives

 

Jesus is coming again – are you getting ready to meet Him?

Are you living a holy and godly life?

 

What does Godliness look like?

 

What does our Holy God want us to do?

God wants us to live a holy life out of respect for Him.

We must do what God expects – not just because you have to but because you love Him.

 

That is what we do in human relationships.  You do what the other person wants because you love them.

If you always do what you want and never what the other person wants the relationship will end.

You won’t be able to convince someone you truly love them and never do what they ask.

 

Our Holy God is asking us to be holy.

 

What does God expect of us?

Let’s start with what unholiness looks like (Colossians 3:5-10).

 

2 Timothy 2:14 …Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. … 16  Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.

 

2 Timothy 3:2  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—5 …Have nothing to do with them.

 

If you claim to be a Christian and look and act like this we are to have nothing to do with you.

 

Let’s look at the Godly life style and attitudes Jesus taught that we should have.

Murder

Matthew 5:21  “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22  But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

 

“I am a good person, I have never killed anyone.”  Really?

If you are angry and call someone a fool you have murdered them.

 

Adultery

Matthew 5:27  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 

“It is ok to look at the menu.” (Window shop)  No! you will get dissatisfied with what you have.

 

It is not only the letter of the law but it is the spirit of the law that Jesus cares about.

 

Divorce

Matthew 5:31  “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32  But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

 

We must honor marriage and be faithful to our spouse; that means showing our love and commitment.  Being faithful to their emotional and spiritual wellbeing also.

 

Love for Enemies

Matthew 5:43  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

 

In light of world events let me make a few comments about the Syrian refugees.  It is interesting that the civil war in Syria has been going on for more than four years and now there is a push for the refugees.  Those who have fled instead of fight in the civil war don’t want to be stuck in refugee camps forever – I wouldn’t either.  I am hearing that 73% of refugees are young men – one question – where is their national pride to fight the evil in their country.  After the terrorist attacks in Paris last week the French military recruitment has tripled.

The refugees as a country are being attacked by their countrymen – there is a fight raging.  Syria is different than just a small segment of the country being persecuted and those being persecuted seeking asylum.

No matter the reason what should a Christian’s response be?

The discussion now is security vs compassion.  The left says we should be compassionate and welcoming and take in 10,000 more refugees (we take in 70,000 a year now) and the right says we need to make sure American citizens are secure.  Taking in Muslims who believe in Sharia Law effects the values of America.

Some say America regretted turning the Jews away before WWII and we better not make the same mistake.  It is totally different, the Jews were not already in a same place.  The Syrian refugees are safe in foreign countries but those countries are being overrun and want to send some to America.  The danger, 13% of refugees interviewed had a positive view of ISIS and at least 25% had a negative view of America.  I am not sure why they would want to come to America.

The sources I read that says American values demand we take in the refugees also quote the Bible – these sources are normally anti-God and anti-Bible but not this time.

They quote the Old Testament and say aliens, strangers lived among the Israelites. Yes, the aliens that lived among the Israelites converted and worship the one true God.  So to be fair that would mean the Muslims form Syria would become American Christians.  I don’t think that is what the left is pushing.

The left quotes Jesus also, I am glad they know the Bible.

 

Matthew 25:38  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40  “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

 

America is not the church – Individual Christians and the church need to reach out and minister to the needy.  That is what I promoted on Orphan Sunday.  But I did not promote going to downtown Cincinnati and picking up a homeless person and have them move into your house.  There are safer ways to help those in need.

 

If the left wants to bring in the Syrian refugees then my suggestion is moving them into their houses.  There are 21 Governors and at least 177 members of Congress and multiple Mayors who want to be welcoming.  There is 132 rooms at the White House – that would accommodate over 300 families.

That would be a good start to housing and caring for the refugees.

Film director Michael Moore posted an open letter stating, “I myself am going to defy your ban and will offer MY home in Traverse City, Michigan, …I will contact the State Department to let them know I am happy to provide a safe haven to any Syrian refugee couple approved by the Obama administration’s vetting procedures.”

To any couple (His home is 11,000 sq ft – a main house with a guest cottage [9 of my homes] if he was going to be generous then invite more than one couple.)

There is a problem with his offer – he doesn’t own the house anymore, it is his ex-wives, and it is being sold.  He owns 8 other homes/condos.

 

As Americans we are not doing a very good job of getting our own homeless and downtrodden back on their feet.  As Christians we need to do more – if that is only one at a time.  We have done that in the past and we need to keep serving those in need.

 

The passage I read said love your enemies – the refugees are not my enemy – they may want to kill us but I love them anyway.  There is not just one way to love and help those in need but we do need to figure out a solution because we want to be faithful and godly.

 

Jesus concludes this section with.

Matthew 5:48  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 

Jesus wants us to be perfect – mature – He wants us to be godly.  We must grow in to become more like Him.

 

Will you add to your faith and grow in Him?

Will you exercise the faith you have and surrender to Jesus – He loves you and died on the cross to save you from your sins.

Will you come as you are today – repenting of your sins and be immersed into Jesus so your sins will be washed away and you will receive the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit.