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The Value of All Things
Scripture: Ephesians 2:20-24; John 3:3-5; Titus 2:1...
Track 1 of in the series
Running time: 54 minutes, 12 seconds.
Paul gives us the best list of character traits God wants us to display. He tells us that there are nine character traits of Godliness that he calls the Fruits of the Spirit. But there are other lists also found in the New Testament writings and we will look at those as well through out this study.

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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.

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Practice of Godliness
The Value of All Things

This study is a sequel to the one we just finished, The Pursuit of Holiness. The whole concept of both lessons can be found in Ephesians 4:20-24.

Ephesians 2:20-24 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 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.

This new self, Paul talks about, what do you think it is? What do you think it looks like?

Paul urges us to put off the old self and put on the new self. The Pursuit of Holiness dealt largely with outing off the old self – dealing with sin in our lives. The Practice of Godliness focuses on putting on the new self – growing in Christian character.

John 3:3-5 (NIV) In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

What do you think this born again is all about? Have you actually been born again or are you the same old person? Do you reflect God (Godliness) or do you reflect the same old self?

Paul gives us the best list of character traits God wants us to display. He tells us that there are nine character traits of Godliness that he calls the Fruits of the Spirit. But there are other lists also found in the New Testament writings and we will look at those as well through out this study. All of these traits are important to look at in order to fully understand Christian character.

When you hear the word “godliness”, what comes to mind? How would you describe Godliness? What does it look like to you?

Godliness is more than Christian character. It covers the totality of the Christian life and provides the foundation upon which Christian character is built. There are four that deal largely with our relationship to God – humility, contentment, thankfulness, and joy. There are three that deal sternly with ourselves – holiness, self-control and faithfulness. There are six traits that help us deal with others – peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness and love.

It is my personal opinion that all the traits listed by Paul in Galatians 5 are in the order in which the Holy Spirit develops them in our lives. But it is only the Holy Spirit who can create such a beautiful diversity of sternness and tenderness within a single human personality.

There can be no higher compliment that can be paid to a Christian than to call him a godly person. No mater what else you happen to be as a Christian, a great parent, a faithful church worker, a soul winner for Christ, or a church leader, non of these things matter, if at the same time, you are not a godly person.

The words godly and godliness actually appear only a few times in the New Testament. But the whole Bible is a book on godliness. Paul wrote a whole lot on godliness and most of it was so you and I would become godly.

I guess the best way to define the essence of the Christian life in one paragraph, we cam turn to Paul and what he wrote to Titus about the subject:

Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ

According to Paul in Titus 2, what is the basic lifestyle the Christian is to be living?

Godliness is the same in importance as holiness. It is not an optional thing for a Christian to have. It is not a spiritual luxury for a few quaint Christians of a past bygone era. It is not reserved for the super-saints. It is something expected of us by God. Peter warns the church of the eventual destruction of the earth in the end. But he asks an important question. During that time, what kind of people are we to be? Notice what he says:

2 Peter 3:10-12 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. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed it’s coming.

Why will holiness and godliness be important during this time?

What kind of talent or equipment will you need in order to be godly? The most ordinary Christian has all that he needs, and the most talented Christian must use the same means in the practice of godliness.

2 Peter 1:3-4 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. 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.

Devotion In Action

The Bible begins to give us some clues about godliness right at the beginning. The first 11 chapters of the Bible are considered the foundation of all the scriptures. In Genesis 5:21-24, in the middle of those chapters, we see a man named Enoch. Enoch was the father of Methuselah. In these three verses, we get a summary of Enoch’s life.

Genesis 5:21-24 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.

Moses twice describes Enoch s one who walked with God. The author of Hebrews gives Enoch a place in his great Hall of Fame of Faith in Hebrews 11. But he sees Enoch from a slightly different perspective. He described him as one who pleased God. So form Genesis and Hebrews we learn that Enoch both walked with God and pleased God. He had a close relationship with God. We could accurately state that Enoch was devoted to God. This is the meaning of godliness.

In the earliest meanings of godliness, the idea conveys a personal attitude toward God that results in actions that are pleasing to God. This personal attitude we have toward God is what we describe as devotion to God. But it is always devotion in action.

IT IS NOT just a warm, emotional feeling about God we get when we are singing a neat song to God. Neither is devotion a time of private Bible reading and prayer, a practice we sometime call “devotions”.

True or False: Devotion is all the activities we do in the church for God.

Devotion is not an activity; it is an attitude toward God. This attitude is made up of three essential things:

1. the fear of God
2. the love of God
3. the desire for God

The important thing to note about these three elements, they all focus on God. The Practice of Godliness is an exercise or discipline that focuses upon God. And from this Godward attitude comes the character and conduct that we usually think of as Godliness. Too many times Christians try to develop Christian character and conduct without taking the time to develop God-centered devotion. We try to please God without taking the time to walk with him and develop a relationship with him. This is impossible to do.

A newly retired couple cashed in their stocks and bonds to purchase one of the finest motor homes available on the market. One of the great features was the cruise control. As they were traveling up the West Coast, the husband became tired and asked his wife to drive while he went in the back to take a nap. As she was driving she put the camper on cruise control and it worked perfectly. After an hour of straight highway driving she got up to go to the bathroom. She thought cruise control was the same as automatic pilot, she told the Highway Patrol after the accident. The motor home was totaled in the accident, but neither partner was hurt. It is not only a true story, it is an illustration of many Christians who have put their lives on cruise control and are not in worship, prayer or Bible study.