In this sermon, Pastor Joe Babij begins examining the final section of exhortation in 2 Peter. Pastor Babij explains that believers must remain ready for Christ’s return and continue to pursue spiritual growth and holiness. More specifically, Pastor Babij outlines two of the four eternal perspectives Christians are to apply in view of the day of the Lord and His coming:
1. We should believe in Christ without delay (vv, 9, 15)
2. We should live holy and godly lives (vv. 11-14)
This morning, let’s take our Bibles and turn to 2 Peter chapter 3. I’ll be reading from chapter 3:10-13:
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for, and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
Let me pray. Father, as we approach this passage of Scripture, I pray that You would use it to bring us to the place that we know who You are. We know where we stand. We know what we’re to do. And I pray that You would teach us, that we may grow in the knowledge and wisdom of Christ. And that we would be ready. We would be ready all the time. Lord, whenever You come, will you take us? I pray that You would bless us in this way today. In Christ’s name, amen.
So, are you ready? Are you staying continually prepared? Are you practicing living each day in the presence of the Lord Jesus, before the eyes of God, because you know Jesus will return? Do your eyes and your heart have an eternal perspective? If you’re not there yet, but heading in that direction, may the truth found in these Scriptures push you along to spiritual maturity, stability, and 20/20 spiritual vision.
I’m going to give you a short story to illustrate what ready means. A man was visiting a school and offered a prize to the pupil whose desk he found to be in the best order when he returned. The question of one of the students was – when are you going to return? And when asked, he told them – I can’t answer that. A little girl who was noted for disorderly habits announced she meant to win the prize. You? Jeered her schoolmates. Your desk is always out of order. But I mean to clean it the 1st of every week. But suppose he comes at the end of the week? Then I will clean it every morning. But he may come at the end of the day? For a moment, the little girl was silent, but enthusiastically announced – I know what I’ll do. I will keep it clean all the time.
So it must be with all who will be ready for Christ at His appearing. It may be at midnight. It may be at the rooster crowing in the morning, or at noon. The exhortation is not get ready, but be ready.
This Lord’s day, this message will assist in staying ready – things to do while we are waiting for the Lord to return. It was the apostle Paul who said in Romans 13,
The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
So the night of this world’s rejection of Christ is far spent. God’s intervention is at hand. For the believer in Christ, the day means end of trouble, the beginning of our eternal reign with Christ. The day of the Lord will come when the heavens will be kindled and dissolved and the elements will melt with fire. And finally, the day of God will be followed by what the apostle Peter calls the day of eternity. In the last verse of this epistle, verse 18 of chapter 3, it says:
but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
This teaching is presented with the object of encouraging spiritual growth and holiness in our lives. The apostle Peter desires us to look ahead to what will be and to live in light of the coming glory of God. So while we’re here on earth, we have no continuing city. Like Abraham, we are to look for a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. So let us heed the Scripture’s instructions concerning staying ready. And if you look at verse 11 of chapter 3, notice what it says there. It says,
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way,
and here is the statement question type of what Peter says,
what sort of people ought you to be…
Since this is going to happen, he is saying, yet you and I don’t know when. We know only that it will happen. In verse 10 of chapter 3, it says,
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
In other words, the world will end. And this close of human history will come unexpectedly. When this cataclysm arrives, it will be final. God’ll destroy the cosmos with fire as well as the ungodly. And He will create a new heaven and a new earth for His people. But because of this found in the word of God, we are armed with such foresight into what will happen in the future, foresight that is only available to the children of God. So this statement in our passage – since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be, is first about being what sort of people ought to be, and then about doing. Can’t reverse the two.
I often ask young people – what do you want to be? Immediately, they start telling me, I want to be a nurse, I want to be a physician, I want to be a musician, a doctor, a teacher, a student, a dental hygienist, a surgical medical tech, a carpenter, a plumber, electrician, truck driver stay at home wife and mom, an elder, a caretaker, business owner, scientist, a counselor, a youTuber – that’s a new one today, a receptionist, a hairstylist, a barber, whatever else you can add that. The list goes on. After they are done telling me, I say to them – I think you misunderstood my question. They usual reply with a question – what do you mean? Then I say to them – I did not ask you what you want to do. I asked a different question. I asked what you want to be. You see, it doesn’t matter what you are going to do as long as it is honest employment. What matters most is who you are, especially who you are before God, who you are in your character, who you are in your behavior.
If you notice again in our passage, it says what sort of people. It’s an interesting word in the original language. It means what kind of people. Literally, the usage of this term asked the question – from what country are you? In other words, who you are can explain where you come from, what you’re really about. In the case of our present Biblical passage, do you love this world that is passing away and under God’s judgment or do you have new desires that give you a new perspective on this life and the life to come. Or are you just people who say one thing and do another? A Christian should answer this question like this. Who are you? I’m a saint. I’m alive and free in Christ. Now you may not want to broadcast that to everyone. You may want to do that privately at first, because when you telling people, they’ll say – yeah, right, sure. I see you who you are. I see what you do. But it doesn’t matter in this sense. It doesn’t mean instant maturity. It doesn’t mean sinlessness. It means as a saint, I am provided a basis for hope and future growth. But the fact of the matter is believers in Christ are saints according to Scripture. All you have to do is look at the first couple verses of the epistles, like in Ephesians 1:1:
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus…
Philippians chapter 1, verse 1:
Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi,
Colossians 1 verse 2:
to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae.
And then may be the most amazing one of all is in 1 Corinthians 1:2, a book with multitude of problems, and yet this is what the apostle Paul says about them:
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Chris, Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
So being a Christian it’s not a matter of getting something. It is a matter of being someone. A Christian is not simply a person forgiven and goes to heaven. A Christian is a spiritually born child of God, a divine masterpiece, a child of light, a citizen of heaven. In other words, being born again into God’s kingdom transformed you into someone who didn’t exist before. That’s the newness that happens when one becomes a real believer. God wants us to know who we are so that we can start living accordingly. Being a child of God, who is alive and free in Christ, should then determine what we do. Then we are working out our salvation, not working for our salvation. So understanding your identity in Christ is essential for living the Christian life. It is not what you do as a Christian that the determines who you are. It is who you are that determines what you do.
So again, the passage of Scripture, verse 11:
Since all these things are going to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be…
A particular Greek construction here is indicating that because it is necessary that these things must take place, certain things are expected of the followers of God, of Christ. God saves people but He doesn’t take you right to heaven. He leaves you here. What are you to do now? Well, we’re Christian ambassadors. We’re representatives of Christ. We’re His spokesman. And while we wait, we are expected by God to live a certain way. It is about being. It is about conduct. We are kingdom kids. I once said, I guess I coined a word myself – we’re heavenlonians. We’re here on earth, but we’re citizens of heaven.
So consider with me today on this Lord’s day four eternal perspectives we are to apply in light of the day of the Lord and the coming of Christ. I’ll just deal with two this morning. So because Christians know these things, because we have a future hope these things will take place, what difference will it make in your life? You see, what we believe about what’s going to happen in the future should dictate how we live in the present. Our belief about eternity demands we have an eternal perspective on life, in which our action should be practical righteous living. Practical righteous living. So what do we do while waiting for Christ’s coming?
The first eternal perspective we are to apply in light of Christ’s coming is this – we should believe in Christ without delay. We should believe in Christ without delay. Now first for the church, this is evangelization. It may be the only chance your relative, your coworker, someone in your family may come to Christ by your witness in that family. It may be the only chance they have. So while God’s mercy and patience is operative in this age, we must take full advantage of their availability. Now if you notice in verse 9 of chapter 3, it says:
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
And then in verse 15 it says this:
and regard the patience of the Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul,
And then in verse 14 it says:
Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace,
Now being found by Him in peace is being in the state of being right with God. So we’re to evangelize the lost. We’re to bring the gospel to those who don’t know the Lord. In fact, Matthew 24:14 says:
This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
So it is God’s plan while He’s patiently waiting for bringing the next plan to light, He wants us as the church to not get away from the priority that He’s given the church. So He’s waiting for all that will come to Christ in repentance and obedience, and He’s also waiting and moving the church to do that job. So the church must not move from its first priority as a whole, and that is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ so people will hear and people will believe. That is the main priority of the church. If a church gets away from that, they no longer are a church, at least a biblical church.
At the same time, part of the gospel message is telling them if they don’t believe what will take place. Those who disbelieve Christ and find Christ useless to them, Christ doesn’t just go away. You can’t avoid Christ, ignore Christ, reinterpret Christ, or go around Christ. Christ is an unavoidable obstacle. If anyone tries to follow any other path to heaven, Jesus Christ instead will be a large immovable stone lying in their path to which they must deal. And they will deal with Christ, either now, or He will deal with them in eternity.
Now I’d like you to take your Bibles and turn it over to 1 Peter chapter 2, the passage that we read this morning. Because according to 1 Peter, Christ is either going to be an honored cornerstone, that’s the language he uses, or He is an obstruction, something to stumble over. Now notice in verse 7 of chapter 2, he says:
This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;
See, the cornerstone anchors the building. From it, all the lines and measurements radiate. The cornerstone is the key stone of the building. And if this cornerstone, Jesus Christ, is rejected, or one turns their back on Him, there’s nothing left but ruin. The rejected stone has become at that point the head of the cornerstone. And, of course as the passage says, a stumbling stone – a stone indicated as an object against which a person can strike their foot and cause injury. He also is a rock of offense. Christ instead of being a clear way to salvation and being made right with God, to those unbelieving, Christ becomes a scandal. That is the word used here – an offense, a snare, a cause of ruin to them, and an occasion for falling over, Christ to their ruin and judgment.
So if we put all these terms together, it expresses in the strongest way the seriousness of ignoring or forgetting or rejecting Christ. In the end, God abandons such a person to the error of their ways, to the emptiness of their systems of unbelief, and there are many systems of religious unbelief. And what’s the chief reason for their unbelief and stumbling? If you look in 1 Peter 2:8, the second part of that verse says:
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word,
They’re disobedient to the word of God. Stumbling at the word is the penalty for not believing it.
And so what’s the inevitable consequences of rejecting christ? Well, believing a lie. That’s what the false teachers do. The false teachers, unprincipled men as Peter says, they spin, they teach things that are actually lies, but they use them as truth. And they don’t produce the same results. So when someone believes a lie, it’s usually is something like this. They think there’s many ways to get to God besides Christ. Or there’s no hell because God is a God of love. Or I’ve been a good person, so I guess I’m okay. Or nobody really knows the right way, so I’m not alone. Or somebody might say – I professed Jesus, I believe Jesus, but the church stuff is not for me. And the Bible, I think the Bible is corrupt. I worship in my own way. Or somebody will say, well I had a religious experience so I’m resting on that. Or I had a dream and I’m resting on that. Or, you know, somebody told me if I speak in tongues that’s proof of my salvation. Or someone says, I’ve been confident that because I was baptized that I’m saved. I received the sacraments. And they think like this, but all believing a lie if they are without Christ. Somebody may say – I take my chances with the man upstairs because I think I’ve been a fairly decent person.
Now, why do they come up with those things? Because spiritually dead people are characterized by unbelief and rebellion. And they don’t follow the word of God. They don’t even believe the word of God, and they don’t even give a chance for the word of God to be the truth of God. So when people get Jesus wrong, it is because of the greatest wickedness that exist among humanity, which is the sin of unbelief. And isn’t it a sad commentary, and repeated so often today, that people hear the message of how God provides deliverance by his greatest demonstration of love, dying in the place of sinners, and they dismiss it. They set it aside as if it doesn’t apply to them. What they’re really doing is just expressing their unbelief, expressing their deadness to spiritual things, that they know better than God when they really don’t.
It was Grant Osborne, a teacher in a seminary, who says – no one can dare assume to be able to reject Christ repeatedly with impunity. There are consequences and they are eternal. So those who do not believe have examined the stone, and have determined that there is no value in the stone Jesus Christ. So both believers and unbelievers examine the stone and come to different conclusions and different outcomes. Christ is the only way of salvation. He cannot be avoided. So then to the person who rejects Him, for whatever reason they reject Him, that person remains in a state of ruin and destruction under God’s condemnation and judgment. And if you look with me in chapter 2 of 1 Peter, look at verse 8. The last part of the verse says:
and to this doom they were also appointed.
So this phrase is teaching the stated consequences of rejecting Christ, God’s appointed stone, that God punishes those who reject His Son.
So the church is to be about evangelism, telling people they need to trust in Christ and the consequences if they don’t. But also there is another thing from our passages in 2 Peter. It is that of examination. That means that applies to us for the assurance of our salvation, that a confessing Christian is someone who is sure that they are safe. The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian, it shows that a Christian is a person who has undergone the most vital change that affects their being, the seat of their personality, the inner person including their affections and their mind, and their will. It is like what 1 Peter 2:9 says:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
So if you are a born-again believer, you are light. You never had any light in you, and without Jesus you never could or would have acquired any ever. And why is that? Because Ephesians tells us – you were formerly darkness. Before conversion, before we came to Christ, we were full of darkness. We were ignorant of God, ignorant of salvation, ignorant of our eternal destiny. And like the gospel of John chapter 3 says, we loved to live in darkness. We loved our sin. We also hid away from the light, lest our evil deeds would be exposed. So all of us used to live that way, follow the passionate desires and inclinations of our own sinful nature. But by our very nature, we were subject to God’s anger and wrath just like everyone else is, and under the deception of the devil.
But after conversion, what happens? When we are converted to Christ, we’re no longer in darkness. We’re now in the light. We’re no longer dead in trespasses and sins. We’re no longer ignorant of God, no longer ignorant of ourselves, no longer ignorant of the purpose of life, no longer ignorant of our need of salvation, no longer ignorant of our eternal destiny. Our lives were brought into the light of the gospel, and we saw things like they really were and are. We saw things like we never saw them before. Our whole walk of life is different, and now we actually desire to walk as children of light.
So 2 Peter started off exhorting us to make sure that were saved. Look at 2 Peter 1:10. It says,
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His call and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.
The phrase here to make certain means to be sure that you’re the real thing, that you’re genuinely saved, that there there’s no room for uncertainty as to whether you are genuinely saved and are in the company of God’s elect. And then verse ten says be certain of His calling you. Again, no room for uncertainty to as to whether He called you or not. Romans 8 gives us that golden chain of God’s full and complete work towards the believer in salvation, where he says, all He foreknew He predestined, and all He predestined He called, and all He called He justified, and all He justified He glorified. And the operative word of course is called. Now why? Because the text says for whom He called he also justified, and if they’re called, they will be glorified. So God gathers His children by calling them with the gospel.
But how are we to understand call? I think there’s two distinctions to a call of the gospel. The first one is an outward call of the gospel. I remember I received the outward call of the gospel probably four times before I actually became Christian. While heard by the ears, it can be rejected many times. Matthew 22:14 says,
For many are called, but few are chosen.
So all who hear the gospel are always invited to come. Come to me, you who are burdened, weary by your sin. I’ll no wise cast you out. There’s always that invitation. But this call is ineffective by itself because all men are totally depraved and hate God, even though they may say they don’t. They resist this call and this work of the Spirit. So we’re not saved by anything that we have said, thought, or done because we’re in the condition of deadness. By our experience, we all know that not everyone who received the call of the gospel were justified, because not all who received the call of the gospel and heard it believed it. Remember, because of man’s fall into sin, people are spiritually dead. Unregenerate people can no more choose Christ or spiritual truth than a rotting corpse can play football or debate philosophy. There’s no middle ground between being alive and being dead. Unregenerate people are not just sick. They’re not just handicapped. They’re not just impaired. They’re dead spiritually to God.
W.E. Best, writing on regeneration and conversion, wrote – you may use all human persuasion possible, but you cannot give spiritual life where death reigns. God alone, by creative act, can bring life out of death. Spiritual arguments to an unregenerate person are only warm clothes to a corpse.
So there is the outward call. And that call goes out, and we ought to be giving that call as a church. But there’s the inward call. The inward call usually takes place when the outward call of the gospel is made, where by God the Holy Spirit at that point calls His people to Himself. We call it the effectual call. It’s the effectual working of a miracle in a person’s heart, bringing them to see their need of salvation, to bring them to a place to see that they’re sinners under God’s condemnation. And the only way to be rescued from that is to believe in Christ. And they’re rescued from spiritual death at that point. So this is who Christians are, Christians are people who receive the inward call of the gospel, knowing that they have been called by God. And now knowing because of Scripture, they have been chosen by God. And now they’re saints. Now they’re set apart. And that’s why 2 Peter 1:10, he says there,
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you;
And that is the Greek word eklektos, which means to select, to pick, to choose out. It doesn’t say you are choosing Him. It says He is choosing you. So when the gospel goes out, and God makes you alive to now see what you need to do, then you call out at that point and you ask Jesus to save you.
But what happens at that point? Well, the church is called to evangelize. God wants us to have assurance of salvation so we know who we are. And then it always leads to this next one. Always. If it doesn’t lead to this next one, there’s no salvation. And what’s that? That’s sanctification. That means the second eternal perspective we are to apply in light of Christ’s coming is this – you should live holy and godly lives. Look at verse 11 of chapter 3 again,
Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
That is sanctification. That is something we do because of who we are. So we should be preparing with it, agreeing with God, cooperating with the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying process. And where is He going to do that? He’s going to do that on our conduct and behavior. That means He’s changing our heart. How do you know somebody is really a born again Christian? It’s not because they say they are. It’s because of the way they live. It’s because of the way they treat people. It’s because of the way they talk and behave and conduct themselves.
So what’s the first thing he mentions here? That there will be holy conduct that the Spirit of God creates and helps us to live in. Someone wrote that holiness entails separation from evil and dedication to God, and godliness relates the devotion in worship. That’s probably true. So believers belong to God therefore are responsible to live differently from their former way of life. We are to be holy in everything we do. Like Peter said in chapter 1 verse 15 of 1 Peter,
but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
So holiness means both to live apart from the world, apart from your old manner of life, and live for God. So the saints are to abstain from all vices of their former life, and they want to, and place all their trust in God rather than what they think is right, which usually is always wrong, and what the world says is right. The bottom line is that saints are to be responsible to live right for God and before God. They are to pursue holiness. And a real big reason for that – because holiness is required for our well-being. God has not called us to uncleanness or impurity, says the apostle Paul. So holiness means that we are different. We’re set apart now to God. We weren’t before. Now we are. God’s nature actually demands holiness in the life of the Christian.
So we are called to and must earnestly strive for personal and practical holiness in our life. That means that the believers are to be set apart from evil and separated unto God, consecrated and entirely given over to His service. So that’s important for our well-being to know that, to know who we are. And then holiness is necessary for effective service also. This is what Paul told his church, young Timothy. He says,
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel of honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
He has now effective service. Holiness will bring you into effective service. And then of course it will give you assurance of salvation. It was Jerry Bridges who said – the only safe evidence that we are in Christ is a holy life. If you know nothing of holiness, you shouldn’t flatter yourself that you’re a Christian. There is a bottom line. It’s not those who profess Christ who will enter heaven, but those who live holy lives because they’re in Christ, and because their behavior is being changed, salvation to living a holy life, not a perfect life, a holy life. See we used to be ignorant of who God is and what He has done and what He requires, but no longer. You can no longer claim ignorance or excuse. And by the way, even in the secular life, ignorance is not accepted as an excuse for bad behavior. Christians can no longer be ignorant of being worldly or sinful or have carnal behavior.
The apostle Peter taught on this in his first letter, where he did say to us – listen, be holy yourselves in all your behavior. And where are you going to grow different in your life? Your increasing holiness is going to be seen in your behavior. And this is not really ritual correctness, but it’s genuine holiness. See the old testament, the law did not impart the power to fulfill the man to be wholly. However, the cross of Calvary in which Jesus died and shed His blood and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of pentecost changed all that by providing to God’s children an enablement to carry out God’s command to be holy. He’s given us everything, as Peter says, for life and godliness.
So being ready for Christ’s return means Christians are checking everything – all their attitudes. And they’re doing it everyday, all their choices, all their behaviors, all their desires, to see whether allegiance lies in light of God’s word and then making an appropriate adjustment by repenting of sin, putting off sin, putting on righteousness.
It was R.C. Wolensky, who said, don’t think you can remain among the children of obedience while still fashioning your conduct in line with old habits and lusts. So why are we to live a holy life? Because we are in a new family, in which our heavenly Father’s character guides how we are to responsibly live. God loves all that is pure and good and hates all that is evil and sinful, and so should we. He is holy and calls us, His children, to be holy. That is clear.
So a Christian participation in the divine nature gives believers this new ability to resist sin through union with Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit, in which the desire of the flesh is weakened and the desire to obey the Holy Spirit and please Christ is strengthened. The voice of the Spirit of God becomes louder than any other voice in our soul. We become sensitive to the word of God and what God says in the word of God. And it results in our desire, in our heart, to love God. The pursuit of our will is for holiness as a pattern of our lifestyle. That’s what we want and that’s what God producing in us.
But if you noticed in our text, in verse 11 it says – what kind of people are going to be in holy conduct? And then he says and godliness. He uses another word very closely related to each other, but nonetheless godliness is a bit different to holiness. Godliness really does focus on the worship of God, the everyday interaction with God. And if you’re following in practicing sound doctrine, the truth will lead to a godly life. All true healthy doctrine will always lead to a godly life and a holy conduct. That’s why the false teachers, what they were teaching never led there, never went there. And if somebody is hearing the truth and not practicing it, it’s because they’re not getting what the Bible’s actually saying to have change in their behavior, because that’s a cooperation with the Holy Spirit of God. It’s like what was written in Titus 1:1,
Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
So there are several attitudes and actions recorded in Scripture to help us understand godliness. Godliness is not something that we can’t grasp. It’s something we can actually grasp. It means to walk with God. It means to have a particular manner of life that is characterized by reverence towards God and respect really for the beliefs and practices related to Him. Godliness is also obedience towards God. Lord, I want to obey You in my behavior. I want to direct my behavior in such a way I’m dutiful towards You in what I think, say, and do. Also a godly person trained himself diligently to pursue godliness. It doesn’t just happen to you and you’re zapped with it at salvation. It’s now the Spirit of God puts in your heart desire to be that, but God says you got to put the work in too. You got to work out what I’m working in, right? He begins to illuminate in your mind the areas of sin that you need to take care of, that you need to put to death. He begins to show you the words you’re speaking to people maybe are not the words you ought to be using with that other person and change the way you speak. And then the behavior that you have towards individuals. He’s going to change our whole mindset, in other words, but it takes practice. It takes practice, Timothy uses the word and so did 1 Peter, that we’re to discipline ourselves. It’s an athletic word, gymnazo, where we are to get into the gym, the spiritual gym, and train ourselves in order to discipline yourself it says for the purpose of godliness. Train to participate in the divine nature. So you can’t just lay in your pillow and do nothing. You have to be involved with what the Spirit of God is doing.
And then also a godly person seeks wisely proper gain. It’s not riches that they’re looking for, because the godly person understands the temporary and fleeting nature of focusing one’s desires and time on uncertain riches. And why is that? Because they know in a moment, it could spread its metaphorical wings and fly away. Like Proverbs 23:4-5 says,
Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies towards the heaven.
Easy come, easy go, right? You can’t set your heart on uncertain riches. You going to send it on ahead. Eternal things you’re spending your time. Believe me, holy conduct and godliness are eternal things.
Also, a godly person doesn’t just have a form of godliness, but they are the real deal. A truly godly person is not to be avoided in Scripture. They are to be followed and imitated. But what does Paul tell Timothy?
holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
Especially the false teachers are to be avoided because they have been, the word there is morph, they have been shaped by false teaching. And as a result of this shaping, they only have an outward form or an appearance of godliness. But their heart’s unchanged and they have no desire for holy life or conduct before God. They could act religious but they will reject the power that could actually make them godly. The Bible says then stay away from people like that. That’s why there’s such an emphasis in 2 Peter about false teaching. What are you listening to? What are you reading?
So a godly person is not controlled or directed by trends, or high-profile people, or popularity, or money, or the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes with the pride of life. He and she is controlled by God’s word and a desire for God’s will. So godliness always has two directions. The first direction is duty towards God. Godliness is always worships God and gives Him His due. That’s always first. But secondly, it’s duty towards man. Godliness always correctly serves his fellow man and gives them their due. See, when you are godly in your heart towards God, and you are growing in deadness to self and being alive to God, at that point you take notice and pay attention to people and others. It’s not about you anymore. It’s about others. And so you develop a brotherly affection towards people.
That’s why the two greatest commandments in the word of God is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. You can never get away from that in the Christian life, ever at all. In fact, all the Scripture, no matter when you lived, you can never get away from that. That is with God’s producing in our heart. He’s producing people who are different, who He leaves here to be testimonies for Him and preaching the word of God and showing that God changed my life. I’m not the person I used to be anymore. God works mightily in me and He can also work mightily in you, but you need to trust Christ. It starts with Jesus Christ.
Now next time we meet in this passage we’re going to find out from verse number 12 that living a holy and godly life actually speeds up the second coming of Christ. And we’re involved in that. How that all works out I’m not really that sure, but I know it does because it’s in Scripture. I will look at that next time.
So we should believe without delay, evangelizing those who are lost, making sure we ourselves are saved. And then secondly, genuinely saved people will live a holy godly life. They will. Different levels, different measures, different times we get saved. We’re saved out of different things, but there will be fruit of holiness and godliness in our life. That’s what you ought to be looking for, and that’s what we’re to do while we wait. While we wait, being made ready for the presence of God.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank You again today. The goodness that You have towards us in showing us from Scripture who we’re to be, who we are as Christians, and what we’re to do, let us take it seriously, Lord. And if there’s someone here today that has not trusted You as Lord and Savior, please Lord, don’t let them walk out of this building without talk to someone about how can I know that I’m right with God. How can I believe in Jesus christ? Lord, if there has been believers here that have not shown fruit of salvation, allow them to examine themselves to see where they’re truly at, that they may come to You and believe. And then those who are growing, continue to push them and allow them to desire to grow more and more in Christ. So every month, every year, every decade we’re different because the Holy Spirit of God is making us different, and using the word of God to bring about that process. Thank you Lord for what You’ll do. We’ll give You the praise and the glory and the honor, for not only what You have done already, but what you will do and continue to do in our life. And I asked this in Christ’s name. Amen.