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Godliness (walking with the Lord)

The religious man versus the genuine man of faith

Notes from two sermons, which follows from Cain and Abel Cain and Abel

 

Introduction

Big Idea

The genuine man of faith is godly, walks in His precepts, walks with the Lord…

Godliness is the enactment of the Fear of the Lord.

Why?

We should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Titus 212

You ought to live holy and godly lives (NIV) 2 Peter 311

Bible reading

Genesis 4:2-9
Acts 10:1-2
Hebrews 11:4

Introduction

Read Genesis and Hebrews

Abel had faith and he knowing the will of God offered the appropriate sacrifice. Note that some have erred at this point and assumed that having the faith, he did not need to sacrifice. It was because he had faith he offered the appropriate sacrifice. He knew that sin had to be dealt with so that he could have a relationship with God – to have communion with God. It was because he obeyed that he was deemed righteous – note the words:

By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by (or through) which he obtained testimony of being righteous, God bearing testimony to his gifts, and by it, having died, he yet speaks. (JND) Hebrews 11:4

Abel clearly walked with God. It was not until many years latter did another walk with God – read the next chapter and find Enoch.

Today I want to speak about some aspects of walking with God.

Read Acts 10:1-2

This is a remarkable passage.

The Scene

            A certain man – named Cornelius

            A Roman centurion – living in Palestine at Caesarea

            He worked at a very important military post, part of the Italian Regiment

            He was in charge of a company of solders

            He was part of the military machine that kept Israel under tight wraps

            His had a great longing to know God

                        He was devout

            He feared God – this means he had wisdom – wisdom from God

            He gave generously to the people

            He prayed to God always

I have no doubt the he was saved, although he did not know it. He clearly knew that the God of Israel was the true God. But it was more the knowledge – he had a relationship with God, which was not fully developed, which left a yearning for God.

He was a man walking with God – pursuing godliness.

Why Godliness?

It is a character of God.

For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2

It is a character that profits Christians greatly as it is beneficial for the individual and it is beneficial for those he or she interacts with.

For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 

We have two ways to live – we either pursue the pleasures of the world and end in destruction or godliness. The character of man or woman who is saved, in obedience, will want to pursue godliness. Paul tells Timothy:

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11

The "these things" Paul was warning Timothy against was the love money. How much more today than in the time Paul are these truths most evident. Money is most certainly the root of all kinds of evil – nothing has changed.

Requirements for the pursuit of Godliness

1.     Truth

2.     Salvation of the soul

3.     Doctrine – right teaching

Walking with God

(1) Have you considered your soul?

No man can walk with God unsaved.

There is enmity between man and God and unless this is dealt with – a greater gulf than exits now will forever be placed between God and you.

Have you done anything about your soul?

Do we merely satisfy our consciences with formal religion:

And in vain they worship Me, Teaching [as] doctrines the commandments of men.’" Matthew 15:9

Romans 3:23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Have you received the forgiveness of sins?

This is possible because God has offered a way though Jesus Christ to put away the enmity between Him and you.

[B]y Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:20

It is not of ourselves – we can never create peace. It is with great futility that America seeks to create peace in the middle east in the absence of Christ.

and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. Ephesians 2:16 

This is the first place to start.

Enmity existed between God and Cain. Christ is able to take that enmity between you and Christ  - see chapter 2 of Ephesians.

(2) Have we been converted and do you know it?

"Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven". Matthew 18:3

Only when we have been justified by faith in Christ will have peace with God.

I think Cornelius was converted, but he did not know it. We note in Acts that Cornelius did nothing but hear the words of Peter and the Holy Spirit fell on him because his heart had already been circumcised.

Note here were two aspects:

  1. You must be converted – turned around. This implies all men and women – you and I were once heading the wrong way. This path is referred to the broad and straight – straight to hell.
  2. You must become as little children because godliness means were are teachable. We need to hold to the simple things: we trust in Our Father, we have faith.

(3) Are you born again or has your walk just been form?

Do you

  • Go to Church?
  • Have you been baptised in church?
  • Do your received the Lord’s Supper?

Yet you are not truly converted? Have you ever truly repented and been born again?

And the times of this ignorance God overlooked; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30 

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3 

Yes, our conduct is very important, but it needs to be more than form. It must be in faith, which means from the heart.

Can we truly say as the Apostle says

2 Corinthians 1:12  For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world:

  • in simplicity
  • and godly sincerity,
  • not with fleshly wisdom
  • but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

 (4) Do you abide in Christ

Abiding in Christ is the practice of righteousness

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. 1 John 2:28

Walking with Christ is abiding with Him, and abiding in him is obedience every step of the way.

"I am the vine, you [are] the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Paul interprets this as:

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20 

We don’t abide in Christ in our own strength.

then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment 2 Peter 2:9

Isn’t this a great encouragement? We don’t walk with the Lord alone. It is not trudging along behind because he is beside us, walking every step of the way.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13 

Out of this comes the fruit: godliness is a process that bears fruit. (Mark 4:20)

Romans 7:4Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

This is the evidence of the pursuit of godliness. This was clearly evident in Cornelius.

Abiding is:

Being Holy – Be holy for I am Holy. – this defines the position we must occupy – one set apart. One cannot be a Cain and be holy. Holiness is not an option – it is commanded – You aught to live holy and godly lives. These two always go together and therefore must be our character. It is not something one can put on. Cornelius was devout and I believe he lived a holy life. This was clearly evident by all.

  • Being settled – Are you settled in your walk with the Lord. Do you have confidence in your chief Councillor. A settled person can stop, listen and hear. Do you listen to God’s council? Are you settled enough for this to happen?
  • One of Job’s friends asked:

Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you limit wisdom to yourself? Job 15:8

This cannot not happen with sin in our life. Men who walk in their own counsel end up with a hardened heart – they cannot walk with the Lord.

"But My people would not heed My voice, And Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, To walk in their own counsels.          "Oh, that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways! Psalm 81:11-13

  • Obeying

Obedience is an old fashioned word, but it still exists in the vocabulary of God. Christ obeyed even until death. We are to do the same.

Paul in Romans calls us to obey the truth, not unrighteousness.

Paul exhorts the Galatians by asking 'Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth".

It requires the exercise of the mind and it requires testing, for many have lead others astray into obeying strange and false doctrines.

  • Being Habitual – is your walk with the Lord a part of your life? Is it habitual – never forsaken? Is it a habit? Is prayer a habit? Is reading the Word a habit?
  • These are all needed to pursue godliness.

Practical Godliness

Must go beyond elementary knowledge of justification by faith.

Compare with Feeble-Mind and Much-Afraid in Pilgrims Progress who did not practice godliness.

Attaining Godliness

This is not done by one self: self cannot obtain Godliness. Only through the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ can it be attained.

 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16

Godliness has to do with being in Christ. As Noah was shut in the Ark, so we must be shut up in Christ. Godliness requires listening to the Holy Spirit. We have the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. It requires us to listen to Him.

[A]s His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue 2 Peter 1:3

Godly men and women read the Word

This is more than reading.

It is:

1.     Searching

2.     Meditating

3.     Applying

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. John 5:39

Timothy is urged to give attention to reading the Scriptures (1 Timothy 4:13).

The command was not merely read – it was give attention. It was to open both eyes, both ears and the heard to see, hear and take in the Word of God.

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:1

Godly men and women pray

How odd would it be if one had a friend but never communicated with this person! How odd the relationship if one did not utter a word to the other! We see that there was nothing unusual about Cornelius. He knew God and had a relationship with him, that is, he prayed to God.

Note how he prayed – he prayed always

For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him. Psalms 32:6 

God delights in our dependence upon Him and this is most demonstrable in prayer.

Prayer is the most basic the most fundamental attribute of a child of God.

But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; The LORD will hear when I call to Him. Psalms 4:3 

Godly men and women practice holiness

Hebrews 12:14  Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

1 Corinthians 9:27  But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

2 Peter 3:11  Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

Godly men and women do good

Cornelius was a devout man. What does this mean? I believe this means he did good while abiding in God. He character was so moulded by his walk with the Lord, the external appearance of that man’s walk was clearly evident. He was clearly a soldier. but he did good.

Our example is Jesus:

 "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38

An abiding man or women bears fruit. There is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (Gal 5:22).

Furthermore, faith and works go together. Not works to get faith or even salvation, but works to demonstrate your faith.

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?  Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? James 2:21

We are not told to stand around idle waiting for the Lord. 'An idle person will suffer hunger – spiritual hunger (Prov 19:15). We must keep our idle hands working – busy – else they will find mischief. This piece of advice Paul offers Timothy when he has to deal with widows in the Church. The principle applies to all lives.

Extra Material

Live Godly lives - expanded

Keep away from endless arguments, debates of meaning less questions.

One needs to be immersed in godly edification not the philosophy of this world.

1 Timothy 1:4  nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

Further on Paul talks about wranglings.

In another part Paul states:

But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 1 Timothy 4:7 

Some things we must just reject. Put them aside – don’t go near them.

I strongly suspect the TV and perhaps the internet is one such conduit of 'profane and old wives’ tails [fables]" – what do you do about this?

The way we live must characterise our walk with the Lord.

Titus 2:12  teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

Our relationships

Love epitomises godliness. Read the letters of 1 John to see that without love you cannot be a child of God. Godliness and love go hand in hand.

Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue,…to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 2 Peter 1:5,7

Our dealings with others on this planet must epitomise the character of God – we are His ambassadors. We must pursue peace – live in harmony with each other – especially in the assembly. Thus elders, this does not mean forgoing discipline – no parent forgoes disciple if peace is required: quite the opposite! So peace can reign, disciple is instituted.

Romans 14:19  Therefore let us pursue the things [which make] for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

Ourselves

2 Peter 1:6  to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,

Paul tells it all – 'I die daily". Self must be reduced, pushed down so Christ can abound.

Attributes of Godliness (Expanded)

Salvation of the soul

"The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness." (Spurgeon M&E, 17 April, E). It begins with you coming to the blood of sprinkling without any merit of self. Abel offered a lamb and it was imputed to him as righteousness. Furthermore, Scripture tells us this was a testimony, even today (Hebrews 11:4). But Hebrews 12:24 speaks of a sprinkling which is far better than that of even Abel – it is the of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Truth

Truth is blurred these days. But there is one truth – Jesus is The Way, the Life and the Truth – there is none beside.

Godliness is based upon Truth, that is Christ Jesus.

Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness Titus 1:1 

Our inward and outward character must accord with the Truth – this is godliness.

Doctrine – right teaching

There is clearly a true doctrine and a false doctrine. Paul says only one will lead to life.

Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. 1 Timothy 4:16

Doctrine comes from one place – the Bible. It is not made from endless arguments and philosophies of the world. Theology and false doctrine go hand in hand. In the most they are the same. Jesus had plenty to say about false doctrine. He said it was like leaven which would pervade (diffuse) the entire loaf, that is life – every part will become contaminated with the leaven: the doctrine of the Pharasees and Sadducees was like this.

Spurgeon was able to talk about the "every wind of doctrine" (M&E, 21 Feb, E) – there are plenty of teachers who will teach what the congregation wants – but is it of God? No! In the main, it is neither of God or for God. Doctrine must accord with godliness. Anything else is false. It must match the character of God in every aspect.

1 Timothy 6:3  If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness,

 

David L Simon
(CCC and MP September 2002) Ed 2012
(Notes for a sermon – CCC and MP amalgamated)
\Pursuit of Godliness\Godliness (or walking with the Lord).doc