THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 10-10-10
LESSON TITLE: “IF THESE THINGS ARE YOURS AND ABOUND: GODLINESS”
The Psalmist once proclaimed, “Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful.” Psalm 116, verse 5. Praise be to God that He is gracious, righteous and merciful. It is our prayer that you are serving this God today, and that you have already submitted to His perfect Will!
Therefore, we assemble this day, as those who love God and it will be our privilege today to be uplifted through our commitment to His service as He commands. What a blessing we have this morning to reverence our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won’t you do your part this morning to see that our assembly together is acceptable to God, that we may glorify Him in all things?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
Let’s join in songs of praise to God at this time. Our first song of the day reminds us of just how precious our Lord should be to each of us. So won’t you do your part in this worship to God, as we sing together, “Jesus Is All the World to Me.?”
(SONG # 1)
Earlier we read about many of the great attributes of our God. One which David specifically mentioned was “Mercy.” He proclaimed, “Our God is merciful!” In James 3:17, we read that the “wisdom from above,” includes being “full of mercy!” Here we learn not only that God is to be all merciful, but that we are to be all merciful as well.
I want you to hear another great passage in the book of Psalms that shows just how much David understood about the mercy of God. In Chapter 51, verses 1, we read, “Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your loving-kindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.” In this verse we hear the plea of a child of God, requesting the mercy of God on him, although he had transgressed God’s Will. In the same passage down in verse 3, David confirms his sin, “For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” Wow, what an eye opener.
Like King David we are often guilty of sin, but the great news is that we can be forgiven by God who is all merciful. That’s exactly what David was asking God to do in verse 2 of our text, where we read, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”
As Christians today, we read of a similar promise through the blood of Jesus Christ. Let’s read together from Hebrews 8:12, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Did you catch all of that? Because of our merciful God, Jesus came and died on this earth to enact a new and better covenant. It is through this covenant that we have the opportunity of the forgiveness of sins unto salvation. And when God forgives our sins, He has proclaimed I will remember them no more. To God be the glory! Are you serving such a loving and merciful God this day? If not, choose today to obey His Will, be saved and to live thereafter faithful in His Kingdom.
Today we will continue to focus on the theme, “If These Things Are Yours and Abound.” Our specific sermons this morning is, “Godliness.” So stay with us and after our next song together, we will be lead in our main thoughts of the day.
As far as our speaker, we are again happy to have brother Jerry Sullins with us. Brother Jerry is the Director of the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for joining us today. Well, now it’s time to join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Jesus Is Tenderly Calling.”
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
We would like to welcome you again to “The Living Word” broadcast and we are so thankful that you’ve chosen this program to view this morning and we pray that what is said will be helpful for you as you study God’s Word and as you determine in your life that you’re going to do His Will. We’re so thankful that we have so many regular listeners and we want to again say how much we appreciate your viewing this program every week. It is certainly great encouragement to us to desire to keep this program on the air and with God’s help and God’s Will we will certainly do that.
We are in a series of study that has to do with statements that are found in the book of 2 Peter chapter 1 beginning with verse 5. It has to do with what is commonly called in the religious world “The Christian Virtues.” Things that we must possess in the Christian life if we as God’s servants are going to be acceptable to Him and if we are, as is stated in this series of verses, “Be supplied with an entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
When one becomes a Christian, that person makes a determination within his or her heart that they are going to be as Christ-like and as God-like as they possibly can. Not that they can be sinless because if we say we have no sin, we are a liar and the truth is not in us, even we as Christians, but we do know that if we sin, we have an advocate with the Father, the Lord Jesus who is a propitiation for our sins as a satisfaction for our sins and by prayer we can alleviate ourselves of those sins. We can have those sins forgiven and remembered against us no more. But as Christians we have a solemn obligation and a great desire if we have truly been born again to add certain things to our lives so that we can be God-like.
Now it mentions here in this text as you have read for the past few weeks that we ought to make every effort to “add to our faith virtue, our virtue knowledge, our knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” And it goes on to say, “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” That’s what we want to do, isn’t it? We want to add these attributes to our lives so that we will not be barren or unfruitful, but yet we will abound in all of these things as we have discussed throughout the weeks so that we will have that great promise fulfilled at the end of our lives and that is an entrance into that heavenly home.
But when we consider the subject of the hour, that is “Godliness,” it would be good for us to first define what that word actually means. Looking into the original language, basically it has something to do with reverential fear. It has not only to do with reverential fear, but a godly attitude that a Christian should possess in one’s life. It has also to do with the way that one shows godliness in the life that he or she might be living. In fact it just simply means “God-like” or “God-likeness.” So as Christians, as we stated just a few moments ago, as Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.” So my friend, and my brothers and sisters in Christ, we who seek to be His children seek to put on those attributes of God because we want to be like Christ. We want to be like God. That is our desire within our hearts so that we can truly abound in all those things that will give us the result of that precious promise that has been made to us here in our text in 2 Peter chapter 1 beginning with verse 5.
Well now how can I as a person be God-like? Is there a description in the text that tells us about Godliness? Well certainly there is and I believe one of the most fundamental ones is found in Galatians chapter 5, verses 22-23 where it talks about the importance of the Fruit of the Spirit. Actually the Fruit of the Spirit tells us how God is and it tells us how we can be like God because it says, “The Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control against such there is no law.” It goes on to talk about that “we have crucified those things of the flesh,” that are mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 and we are “living in the Spirit, and so as we are living in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit.”
And so nine characteristics are given here that describe to us how we can become God-like.
Now one person, in fact a well-known preacher that I know has divided these things in basically three categories or three headings. First of all, he says that the first three seem to be applied to our attitude towards God. As you noticed, the first one says, “But the Fruit of the Spirit is love.” That is the love that we should have toward God for that is the love that God has had toward us. “God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son…” You know the verse, John 3:16. He loved the world so much that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever so believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” But yet if we display that same type of love although it might be impossible for us to do that because we’re not God, but we can have a likeness of that love, a God-likeness of that love. And how can we do that? As Jesus was asked that question one time, “What is the first and greatest commandment?” He said, “The first and greatest commandment is this that you shall love the Lord God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and the second is likened to it. You shall love your neighbor and yourself.” So one of those things that we must add if we want to be God-like is if we try to have in our lives that same type of love that God had and as Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Then He went on to say that joy is a part of that characteristic of God that we need to add to our lives and indeed how true that is. It is salvation from God that brings us joy. Have you ever imagined how much God is happy when He sees the great joy that we have in our lives from our own salvation in realizing that God is joyful over the fact that we have obeyed the gospel, what He gave for us in order that we might do that.
And so we see the early Christians having as Peter described in 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 8, “That joy unspeakable.” So no doubt the apostle Paul said in the book of Philippians that, “We are to rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”
We remember in Acts chapter 8 when the Eunuch had obeyed the gospel and after he had been baptized for the remission of his sins, remember he went on his way rejoicing. Rejoicing over what? The fact of his salvation. So joy is a part of that God-likeness that we should have in our lives.
Then it mentions also the third one which is peace. That is salvation supplied to us by God Himself through Jesus Christ brings us great peace. It says in Romans chapter 5 and verse 1, Paul said, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with Jesus through God.” What a wonderful thing. Because of God through Jesus Christ, we have the peace that is really, or we are unable even to understand the implications thereof.
When Paul said to the Phillippian church in Phillippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your request be made known unto God and the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus was the Prince of Peace. His desire was that peace would be all over the face of this earth and God His Father desired that we would have peace in our hearts knowing that we had been saved from our sins and indeed my friends, that is the greatest peace that a man can have in this life.
Then there are three others that are mentioned here, some of the other characteristics of God-likeness. It has to do with our relationship to others. One is mentioned here and it goes on to say, “After the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” Longsuffering is mentioned, and how we need to “be longsuffering to others as God has been longsuffering to us.” Being willing to spend time and time and time again to reach out to the lost because they need us so much in presenting to them that precious message of salvation. Being longsuffering when others sin against us and being willing to do whatever we can to restore whatever we can to a proper relationship not only with us but also with God. Yes, there were times when God’s longsuffering completely was finished. In the time of Noah, his longsuffering completely ran out because the people were so wicked. There may be times when we see that well there is no hope left with this individual to ever want to obey the gospel, but we must continue to have as much as we can a longsuffering spirit and attitude not only toward those who are outside of the Lord’s body, but also to those who are in the Lord’s body.
Look at the next one: “Kindness”. That’s a Fruit of the Spirit. Was God not in every way kind toward us in giving His Son to die upon the cross for our sins? Certainly He has! He has shown in every way that one could show how kind He is desiring that we should obey the gospel that His Son died for. And how we are also to demonstrate this kindness to others. In fact as we read in Ephesians chapter 4 verse 32, God’s people are commanded to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us.” On behalf of Christ, God forgave us and we ought to show that same kindness to others when they are willing to repent of their sins then we should show kindness toward them and to accept that repentance and remember those things against him no more. What a wonderful and precious attitude we need to have toward one another. As we look out into our community today we can see so many times where people are not kind toward one another, and this is what they should strive to be more, to be God-like.
And another one that is mentioned here is “Goodness.” That means “uprightness of heart in life.” It signifies not merely goodness as a quality but goodness in action. We ought to be good to one another. In fact, the Bible says in Galatians chapter 6 verse 10, “As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all men especially to those who are of the household of faith.” So part of being God-like is being good.
Then there are three characteristics that are to be had in what we call the Fruit of the Spirit that causes us to look within and you might see that the next one that is mentioned is “Faithfulness.” The question for us is: Are we faithful to the charge that has been put before us? Are we faithful as parents leaning our children in the proper way? Are we faithful as employers leading those whom we employ and giving them a proper example? Are we faithful as employees as we see in Acts chapter 2 verse 42? It says that the New Testament Christians, the very first ones who are part of the church continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, in the breaking of bread, in fellowship and in prayers.” And who would question the desire of so many of those New Testament Christians in the first century who were willing to die for the cause of Christ? Who would question their faithfulness?
Along with that is “Meekness.” That means “strength under control.” One translation gives it “gentleness.” The meek will submit to God’s Will. They desire to consider others before themselves. This is how they show great strength in being a child of God and showing the Spirit of God.
Then the final one is “Self-control.” An attribute of the Spirit that all of us need to have. When you contrast it with the works of the flesh that are mentioned earlier in the passage, then we see where the apostle Paul said even in his life in 1 Corinthians 9 verse 27 how he had to constantly be aware of what was going on as this war was going on between his flesh and his spirit saying, “I buffet my body and bring it in subjection.” He was doing this on a daily basis so that he himself would not find himself someday to be a castaway. How we should be more and more interested in putting on the Fruit of the Spirit.
I call your attention as we close our comments this morning to the book of 2 Peter chapter 3 verses 10-13, a great challenge is given to us. He starts out by mentioning there in verse 10, this is 2 Peter chapter 3, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.” He talks about how the Heavens will pass away and “the earth and the works shall be dissolved and burned up” and then he said in verse 11, “Therefore since all of these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in Holy conduct and Godliness looking for and hastening the day of the coming of God?” Well how should we be? The answer is given to us there. We ought to be people who are interested in Holy conduct. That means conduct that is separate and apart from this world. Conduct that does not involve itself in the works of the flesh, but conduct which involves itself in the Fruit of the Spirit.
Now I ask you this morning as you’re considering these things: Are you diligently trying to apply these principles of the Fruit of the Spirit in your life? What a challenging question. As Christians we are newborn creatures in Christ then certainly one of the greatest desires we should have is to want to be like Him. I can remember years ago and even now that my greatest desire is to be just like Christ. Have I reached that goal yet? No! And I will never be just like Christ, but I can strive with all of my being to do everything I can to add these Christian attributes to my life and also to enjoy and to replicate the Fruit of the Spirit in my life. So I challenge you with these great comments today from God’s Holy Word and pray that you will be able to put them into your lives and may God bless you.
(SONG # 3 - “Kneel At The Cross!”)
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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May we ever strive to follow God’s pattern of godliness, for we are commanded to be imitators of Christ. Are you following the footsteps of Jesus?