In this sermon, Pastor Babij teaches from 2 Peter 1:6-7 regarding what walking in godliness looks like before others. Pastor Babij explains how living in godliness has two directions, towards God and towards people, and how godliness also leads to brotherly affection and love.
Alright let’s take our Bibles to 2 Peter 1 and we are continuing to look at these passages here. Look at 2 Peter 1:5-7:
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
Let’s pray. I pray Lord this morning we approach the Word of God, that You would continually help us understand it, so that it becomes a reality in our lives and we can live them out and grow in them. Lord, I know that when we do that, it encourages us to see our own spiritual growth which helps us grow stronger in the faith, bolder in our witness, and more confident in the very witness of the character of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord we know that if You want to, You will make us more like Christ. I pray that we would cooperate with that and see these qualities become more evident in our lives as the old stuff drops away for the new to take place. I pray in Christ’s Name, Amen.
So I’ve been saying in 2 Peter here that Christians have everything they need already to grow in godliness. That is the goal of the Holy Spirit and we have already looked at what Christians are to do. We are to do these things and take the human side of salvation quite seriously and put in the effort into our spiritual development because that is the Christian goal.
There are seven qualities we are to grow in. Two are the foundational qualities and five are the directional qualities, but they help to form the image of Christ in our Christian character. They deserve our utmost effort and ultimately lead us to have assurance of our salvation. We see that God is working in our lives and this shows us that we are God’s kids, as is evident in what He is doing in our life. We start to desire what we didn’t before.
We are growing in a higher knowledge of respect, care, and humility for God. Christian reverence rests upon the knowledge we have of God’s holy character and the knowledge we have been given by God in His plan of redemption, and the plan He has for the future. We are heading somewhere and we are not stagnant as believers.
Now these qualities will help us not to be deceived and keep us from being gullible when we hear other things being taught. So we will be growing in these things in discernment, knowing what God’s way is and we want to know what that is. Just considering the gullibility of people, listen to this story.
It is said that many intelligent people possess amazing abilities to know what is true in their particular area of study. For example, a famous nineteenth century mathematician who was also a professor was trapped into buying a total of 27,340 letters for $40,000. These letters were allegedly written by the resurrected Lazarus to Peter, to Mary Magdalene, and to a Gaelic doctor who attended to Jesus Christ. The surprise is that the letters were al written in modern French on contemporary paper. It was fake news, even back then.
There was another story about a man who was a young reporter from Connecticut. His name was Louis Stone and for nearly he invented and sold stories throughout America about freaks of natures. For example, a tree that produced baked apples, a squirrel that brushed his master’s shoes every morning, and a cow owned by two people that was so modest she would not allow a man to milk her. These stories were from the late 19th century and people didn’t have as much an opportunity to check things out back then. He became very popular and made a lot of money, only to be found out a liar. They exposed him as the Winst liar. Winsted, Connecticut became famous for his birthplace today.
Now you heard this before, you can fool some of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. This may be a practical bit of wisdom for the politician or business executive, but for religious deception, the masses are gullible. That’s why Peter says the many will follow their false teaching, because it is not packaged as false teaching but as the truth.
So adding to your faith these qualities will give you a stability and a discernment that you will not be deceived by false teaching because you will not be gullible for every wind that is flying in and out for any particular time. You’re going to evaluate and be discerning.
These foundational qualities of moral excellence and knowledge lead to the directional qualities of self-control, steadfastness and patient endurance. Two things can be included in the word perseverance, which is an attitude and a frame of mind to be patient. Secondly it is something which we adhere to a course of action despite difficulties and testings. We endure through them and gain fortitude when do. The term perseverance gives the Christian the heads up that their life will have its difficulties, troubles, and valleys. We spend more time in the valleys where we learn the lessons. We also know that in thinking that, it’s not going to be a smooth road into the Kingdom of God. It’s going to be a rocky road with many potholes and obstacles. But we can navigate around them and through them be still intact and stronger at the other end because of what Christ is doing.
Remember that patient endurance and steadfastness is the willing, courageous acceptance by God. We take what He has given to us and use it as a stepping stone upward for Christian growth and stability. After adding to our faith patience, the assumption is that walking on the path to perseverance, we develop a strong faith which leads to the next thing that I want to look at this morning. If you notice in 2 Peter 1:6-7:
In your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
I want to try and look at all those three this morning. Add to your faith godliness. There has to be a sense where these things are connected to one another as they all lead into becoming godly. Godliness is an activity of a person’s activity, a life of reverent attitudes and actions. The opposite of the lifestyle of godliness is the lifestyle of corruption through the lusts that are in the world and continuing to live by your old passions and desires. If you are following and practicing sound doctrine, the truth will lead to a godly life. That’s what the Word of God teaches. I want you to take your Bibles at this point and turn to Titus 1:1, and then to Timothy so we can bolster what godliness actually is. So if you are practicing these things, it says 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.
This means that the knowledge of the truth according to godliness will produce godliness in someone’s life. There are several attitudes and actions recorded in Scripture to help us understand godliness. The first one is walking before the eyes of God in a pleasing manner. It’s the particular manner of life characterized by reverence to God or the respect to beliefs and practices related to Him in Scripture. If we go back to Genesis 5:23-24:
So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
That’s a long time to be walking before the eyes God but he knew that he did right and pleased God. God took him from this world because He walked in the way of God. The first thing is that we have to walk with God. Secondly, we should have a dutiful obedience lived out each day before God. If you turn to 1 Timothy 2, you’re going to see an area of prayer and growing in the Word of God. Look at 1 Timothy 2:1-2:
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
In other words, when there are peaceful times, we are to seize them to develop the character that God wants us to in order to lead a tranquil life in all godliness. We seize that time to grow. Many times when things are going well, we don’t take that time to grow in godliness but use it for our own selfishness and our own desires to accomplish that only we want to do. The Bible says we are to be spending time before the eyes of God praying for others so that it can be tranquil and quiet.
If you go down to 1 Timothy 2:9-10 it says:
Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
In other words a woman should be walking and behaving before the eyes of God where she is doing these things. She has to look at developing the inward person and the things God calls for her to develop godliness. Thirdly, godliness is a great mystery the Bible tells us. There is a mystery in the actions that God accomplishes on behalf of the sinner. It says in 1 Timothy 3:15-16:
But in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: he who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
It’s our part and the part that the Lord accomplishes coming together. We can only do this based on what Christ has done on behalf of sinners who come to know Him as their Lord and Savior. Just as Christ was taken up to glory, so also will we be taken up into glory. So there’s an aspect of mystery in the godliness.
Fourthly, a godly person trains himself diligently in pursuit of godliness. It is this diligent pursuit that is the responsibility of living, found in 1 Timothy 4:7-8. The Apostle Paul wrote of the responsibility of godliness to Timothy here:
But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
So remember that this word discipline is the word gymnaso, which is where we get the word gymnasium. That also tells us that it is an athletic term that we can become better and more skilled at something if we put the effort into it and include years of hard practice. The Christian has an automatic gym membership where they can train spiritually. We are to train to participate in the divine nature. A godly person trains himself diligently in pursuit of godliness.
A godly person also desires the right things in life and trusts God’s provision in doing that. In other words, it is not riches that godly people seek. The godly person understands the temporary and fleeting nature of focusing one’s desire on uncertain riches. At any moment, wealth can spread its metamorphic wings and fly away. 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 toward the heavens.
All you need is a little coronavirus and a little bit of fear and you can cripple a whole bunch of people. And there goes your 401K. You thought you were going to retire last month and then the stock market plummets. It just shows you how unstable everything is. The only thing that is stable is the investment you put in in growing in godliness. We are gaining profit by pursuing godliness. God has not forsaken us but is the same yesterday, today, and forever! We cannot put our trust in wealth at all whatsoever.
Now look at 1 Timothy 6:3-8. This hammers home a little bit that a godly person is seeking and desiring the right things on this side of eternity. It says here:
If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
Now God never promised you a big house or a nice car or a great paying job. He promised you food, daily provisions, clothing, and a place to lay your head. That is it! So if we are going to be content with anything , by content with the simple things of life. Now this is how a godly person looks at life. They look at it very simply and they downsize. They are not enamored with bigger possessions and keeping up with the Joneses. Maybe that was you in the past, but it can’t be that way now. It is the desire to be rich and never obtain it that kills you. It is the buying of lottery tickets and thinking you’ll make it big that will destroy you. That is someone who trusts the Lord. A godly person trusts the Lord. 1 Timothy 6:9-11 says:
But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
Paul is doing what Peter was doing, making a list of qualities that we should have. He’s saying that if you’re going to do anything worthwhile in your life, pursue these things. What happens is we let too much time go by before we pursue these things. The Bible says to pursue them now! With whatever time you have left, you should spend it pursuing righteousness, godliness, love, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Jesus wasn’t rich. He had no money or had a family or house. He had no social or political status and wasn’t well educated in the worldly standards. He was a hunted criminal, hated, disowned, and became a suffering servant who died at the hands of His accusers, and was buried in a borrowed tomb.
But where were the Lord’s desires? His desire was fixed on something else, on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. It says in Hebrews 12:2:
Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The Lord pictured sitting down means the work is finished and completed. The Lord had a goal and was heading somewhere. From a worldly standard, He was a complete failure. But from the standard of the work of God, He was a complete success! We have to thank the Lord for that or we could never be saved.
A godly person seeks and desires the right things in life, trusting God for the provisions. Now you can see that we are dumping baggage off as we go through these characteristics. We’re going through what we sued to pursue but we’re not so interested in them now. I realize how I waste all this time and energy and money. That is not true when we pursue the things of God, who will always be faithful to keep His promises.
A godly person doesn’t just have a form of godliness, they are the real deal because they believe in God’s truth. If you look at 2 Timothy 3:5 it says:
Although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.
A godly person is not to be avoided but followed and imitated. Paul writing to Timothy is dealing with false teachers who are teaching false things. False teachers are to be avoided because they have morphed, or formed and shaped by something. They have been shaped by false teaching and as a result, they have an outward form or mere appearance of godliness, but not the substance. We don’t want to be that kind of person. We want to be the kind of person who is genuine and worships God from our hearts. He knows who is His and who is following Him.
The heart of the false teacher is unchanged and has no desire to live a godly life. They will act religious and know the lingo and go through the motions. People will think that is a godly, good person but they are just acting religious and rejecting the power that could make them godly. The Bible says to stay away from people like that who have a good talk but don’t live it out. We know many people like that. That makes the Lord vomit and should make us upset when we see it in ourselves.
Someone can look right and speak right but that doesn’t guarantee they are speaking the truth. And it doesn’t guarantee they are living out what they are speaking. A godly person believes the truth and lives it out, although not perfectly.
So if you’re going to be discerning, you must listen to what’s not being said as well as what is being said and run it through the grid of Scripture. Acts tells us about the Bereans in Acts 17:11:
Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
I think that’s the great mistake that we face sometimes. We read something and think that it sounds true so we go on and believe it. Later on when we are studying the Word of God and growing in the knowledge and wisdom of Scripture, we find it’s not true at all. We should not estimate truth in terms of results or popularity or crowds or movements which come and go. We need to study people’s lives as well as their works. If they don’t line up, watch out! All you have to do is turn on the Internet or TV preachers and find that they line up pretty well with what Peter says.
How many millions of people follow them? You think that just because they have a big smile on TV, they must be true. That is the deception and Satan skilled at packaging things to lure people in. He works through religion and religious systems. We have to watch out for people. That’s why Paul says to Timothy to get away from them and avoid them at all costs. A godly person is not controlled or directed by trends, by high profile people, by polished ministries, by popularity or money, or the lust of flesh or eyes or the pride of life!
A godly person is controlled by God’s Word and desires to do God’s will. Godliness really has two directions. The first direction is a duty to God. Godliness aways worships first and gives Him His due. The second direction of godliness is duty to man. The same with the Ten Commandments: the first part is to God and the second part is how we should live in relation to one another. That’s always how it works in Scripture. God first then others.
When you are godly in your heart towards God, you are also dying to yourself. Things are changing, my views and reasons for living are changing. Everything is changing in my heart and mind because of what the Spirit is doing in my life. When that happens, you start paying attention to other people. Godliness leads to brotherly affection. True salvation changes our relationship with God cease once belief in Christ brings us into the family of God which makes God our Father. When God is our Father and our Savior, we discover in the Word of God that His method to bring us out of sin to a godly life.
The first thing we need to know is that He loves His children because of their belief in Christ. They know that their sins are blotted out and God’s children’s consciences have been purged of the guilt of sin because of the offering of Christ. Therefore, they know they are washed and made clean by the blood of Christ, are made right before Him and are now friends of God. When that takes place and we are reconciled to God, we realize that we are now born into the family of God. We desire to love and serve God but at the same time, we desire to love and serve others. So true service to God must not proceed at all from hope of reward or fear of punishment but only from the love of God that first loved us. And from there, we can love God and others.
So we grow in godliness in our affections for God and become inflamed towards Him in our hearts. Our affections are moved for God and we grow in our love for Him, then our desires for the fleshly things and the worldly things grows less and less as we are inclined to love God more and more. At that point, we are ready to do something that we never knew how to do before. And that is, as cleansed and purified people that are now participating in the divine nature and growing in their vertical nature with, God it spills over into our horizontal relationships with others.
2 Peter shows us that we are to add in our godliness brotherly kindness, and to that we are to add love. We never knew how to genuinely love each other and we are still learning how to do it. Husbands are still learning how to love their wives like Christ loved the Church. Wives are learning how to respect their husbands and children are discovering how to love their parents and be obedient. We are learning how to love God and other people, but it’s not easy. We need divine help for that.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank You for this morning. We lost an hour and sometimes that messes up with our flesh. But I pray that the simplicity of the Word of God would resonate with our hearts and minds. These truths are a reality for all believers. They are not something we can’t have, but they are given to us and we are to participate in adding them to our faith. We thank You for the truth of the Word of God. I pray we would evaluate our lives based on these things and not on other things or even on our own skewed understanding of how we should do that. We are to be evaluated by Scripture and I pray that in doing so, we would come before you in prayer and add those things that we should. Enable us and give us the strength to put those things into practice and we would be able to participate in the divine nature which is to make us more like Christ.