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Taking on Gods Character
Scripture: Colossians 3:12; Galatians 5:22-23; Gene...
Track 3 of in the series
Running time: 58 minutes, 49 seconds.
In order for the world to understand who God is, it makes it easier if they can see for themselves what He looks like and see Him in action. Jesus depends on us to show the world His nature and character. We do this by our Godly actions.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Taking on Godís Character

As we continue through our study of the quality called Godliness, we are going to start describing what godliness looks like. This is important because it is how we show ourselves to the world that has impact for Christ. In order for the world to understand who God is, it makes it easier if they can see for themselves what He looks like and see Him in action. Jesus depends on us to show the world His nature and character. We do this by our Godly actions.

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as Godís chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

True or False: The Jews are Godís chosen people.

According to Paul here in this verse, Christians today are Godís chosen people. Christians have a misunderstanding about this. But we are His people because of the New Covenant we have with Him. Jews can also be the chosen people still if they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. That is true for all people.

Godliness consists of two distinct but complementary traits and the person who wants to train himself to be Godly must pursue both with equal vigor. The first trait is God-centeredness, which we call a devotion to God. The second trait is Godlikeness, which we call Christian Character. The important point to understand here is that Godly character flows out of devotion to God and confirms the reality of that devotion.

We may express a reverence for God; we may lift our hearts in worship to Him; but we demonstrate the genuineness of our devotion to God by our earnest desire and sincere effort to be like Him. Paul not only wanted to know Christ, he wanted to be like him and he pressed forward with the utmost intensity toward that goal.

Up to this point in our study about godliness, we have concentrated on our devotion to God. Just for a quick review, what is devotion to God? Fear of God, love of God and the desire for God.

Now we are going to turn our attention to the development of a godly character.

Just for definition, what is character? SLIDE 4: A special identity, quality or mark. What is typical of a person. Oneís moral strength. A description of a personí quality. Who and what the person really is.

In our study, we want to look at the identity, the quality, the typical habits of a godly person. The best place to start is with the list of gracious qualities which Paul calls the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

It is important to note that these traits list by Paul are not the only traits. We find in other places additional traits described such as holiness, humility, compassion, forbearance, contentment, thankfulness, considerateness, sincerity and perseverance.

This is a rather awesome list of character traits to pursue. Which ones do you work on first?

Most Christians will say, ďI canít work on all of theseĒ. That is indeed true IF we were left to our own devices. But the truth is, these traits are the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the results of his working in our lives. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us this way.

If it takes the Holy Spirit to produce these things in us, then if I donít have them, is it the Holy Spiritís fault for not giving them to me? What is my role in all of this?

I have said this before; God created and established principles so the things in this world would work. Think about all the principles needed to make everything work. God created all those rules, laws and principles. Things work because the principles are true and they are applied. That is why I am convinced there is absolute truth. God is the truth.

The same is true when talking about godly character. Following are the tried and true principles for developing a godly life. If you apply them, then we have done our part in helping the Holy Spirit change our character. We become godly people.

The First Principle: Devotion to God is the only acceptable motive for actions that are pleasing to God.

Unfortunately, too often our motives are self-centered rather than God-centered. How can this be?

True or False: It is possible to do things for God and not do it out of devotion for God.

Why would someone want to do this and what are some examples of this? Maintain our reputation before others
To feel good about ourselves
We want to live moral and decent lives because it has been drilled into us since childhood

These motives are not God-centered but self-centered and not acceptable to God.

Genesis 39:1, 6-10 (NIV) Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. So he left in Joseph's care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

What was Josephís motivation for not sleeping with Potipharís wife? What would have been the wrong motivation?

The Second Principle: The power of a godly life comes from the risen Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV) Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

The Christian must realize that it is God who enables him to be the person God wants him to be. We canít get it through our effort alone. It takes the power of God to become godly.

How do we experience that kind of power from God? The only way we can experience that kind of power is through our relationship with Him. We must abide in Him. Essentially, we are to live in Him.

Colossians 2:6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Also refer to John 15, the vive and the branches. We must develop a close relationship with God and it is impossible to do this without a complete grip on Godís Word.

The Third Principle: Though the power for godly character comes from Christ, the responsibility for developing and displaying that character is ours.

This principle seems to be a difficult one for Christians to understand and apply. The Christian will hear this and then go out and try to be godly using his own will power and realize the futility in trusting his own strength. So he will then turn it all over to God and abdicate his responsibility that is also wrong. But we can look in the scriptures and see the conflict we are feeling. On one hand we read from Paul that we are to press on, work out our salvation with fear and trembling, etc. All this points to us doing the work. Then we read that the fruits of the Spirit come from the Spirit. The reality is, THERE IS TO BE BALANCE.

When we understand that we are to put into practice the actions described by Paul, the Holy Spirit comes in and works through us much like a coach. It all goes back to what we talked about a few weeks ago. When a person goes out for the first time to play golf, most likely the first day will be a disaster. But if we hire a coach to help us, if we listen to his instruction and do what he tells us to do, if we practice (Godliness) his instructions, we will improve and eventually become good at the game and greatly enjoy it.

The Forth Principle: The development of godly character entails both putting off and putting on character traits.

Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

It is real important that the Christian do both. We must work at becoming Holy and we must work at becoming Godly. Both have to happen at the same time. Again, there must be balance. The biggest mistake new Christians make is they concentrate getting rid of the old self. They try to change their lives by not doing the bad things they use to do. But we learned from Jesus that if we donít replace the old with something new, in time, the old will come back. Christians are not to run around Spiritually naked. Once the dirty clothes are removed, new clean clothes nee to be put on.

The opposite is true also. For many Christians, their focus on the new clothes alone is not good. If a Christian only cares about developing love, joy, peace, etc without getting rid of the old self, in time, the new will become like the old. If you have stinky clothes on and you put new clothes on over them, it wonít take long for the new clothes to stink as well. That is what sin habits do to our lives if we donít pursue a holy life. And unfortunately, this is where many in the church are. They try to be a Christian without getting rid of the old self.