Godliness = The trait of being like God in holiness, righteousness (or blamelessness) and justice (Psa 89:14-20; 2Pe 2:9). This trait (godliness) only comes through: 1) constant and comprehensive study of God’s Word in order to understand God’s laws, 2) constant and precise application of God’s Word/Law to our lives. The reason God’s Word/Law is so essential to godliness is b/c it is the expression of His holy, righteous and just character (Joh 1:1). A person (therefore) who understands and applies God’s Word/Law is a person imitating/expressing the very character of God (i.e. being godly) in holiness, righteousness and justice.
- B/C it is indispensable to being “fishers of men” for our king.
1.1. Godliness is the secret ingredient to becoming effective witnesses/ambassadors for king Jesus and expanding His kingdom on earth. Why do I say “secret ingredient”? B/C when talking about evangelism/reaching others for Christ, godliness is rarely (if ever) mentioned or considered an important factor. Yet when we take a more comprehensive look at Scripture, this is exactly what we see at the center of effective evangelism/kingdom expansion (Mat 28:18-20 w/Mat 6:14 w/Isa 1:27, 2:1-5, 33:5, 42:1-7 w/Deu 4:6-7; Luk 5:10b = Jesus’ words are in response to Peter’s admission to lacking godliness . Therefore the initial phrase, “Do not fear” [i.e. “Don’t worry”] are to be understood as implying that this deficiency wb remedied in order to accomplish the second, the act of “catching men”. As such, Jesus affirms our principle: godliness as indispensable to effective evangelism).
1.2. What then NOT TO MISS in regard to this point = Godly character (i.e. practicing and preserving holiness/justice/righteousness at all times) is not expendable (it is again, indispensable!) to effective evangelism. Or put another way: the gospel NEVER NEGATES godliness (2Co 4:1-7) = Paul’s evangelistic efforts never stooped to compromise to win people to Christ. Rather consistent w/Christ and the gospel, Paul’s life and message were examples of “light” or godliness (versus “darkness”) – the very thing most attractive/effective to those truly seeking God or those God is inviting to Himself (Act 10:34-35). A saying to always remember: What you win them with is what you win them to. According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit’s evangelistic help DOES NOT COME in the conviction of fun friendliness and folly, but “sin righteousness and judgment”(Joh 16:8). Our choices (then) in attempting to win people to Christ cannot negate/diffuse such truths – e.g. hanging out in places/environments w/unbelievers or participating in events w/unbelievers that are associated w/unrighteousness or are idolatrous b/c we are hoping to evangelize them. Such efforts have already been defeated since the message we portray thru such actions is not the message of the gospel or the kingdom it represents (a kingdom that is established on godliness and does not tolerate sin). Instead we send a confusing message – i.e. that our God is willing to accommodate/look the other way at peoples’ sin if they will follow Him. This (btw) is not a contradiction of (1Co 5:9-10) = Association w/the wicked for the sake of evangelism does not mean participating/being a part of their wicked events/environments. You can’t be the “aroma of Christ” – which is always the aroma of godliness (2Co 2:15), if what you are participating in has the “aroma of the world”. All you have done is perfumed up the turd (and nobody is attracted to that!) (e.g. baby showers for children of illegitimate pregnancies – Deu 23:2).
- B/C it is crucial to being fruitful in this life.
2.1. Abundance in our present life (the promise of Jesus to His followers) cannot be acquired – and oftentimes is proportionate to the level of godliness possessed and practiced by God’s people (Joh 10:10, 15:8 w/Deu 7:11-14, 26:18-19; Psa 106:3; Pro 16:20; 1Ti 3:7-10, 6:1-10 = Those who put godliness first – or as the priority in their lives [i.e. this is what they are most concerned about and therefore wb “content” w/ what God gives beyond it] are those who ironically become incredibly fruitful [godliness gives “great gain”] w/o suffering the “ruin/”destruction” that can accompany such fruitfulness).
2.2. What then NOT TO MISS in regard to this point = To NOT place our focus/emphasis on godliness or godliness training is to equally place our focus/emphasis on disappointment, lack and failure in this life (e.g. our careers, our families, our marriages, our health, etc.).
- B/C it is critical to being fortified against the enemy.
3.1. Without godliness, we are defenseless against the enemies of our Christian Faith (Act 20:28-32; Eph 6:10-18a; Col 1:9-11; Tit 1:9-11; Jam 4:7 = Submitting to God which gives us the ability to resist the devil requires knowing/understanding what God’s laws are and what they require of us; 1Pe 5:9; 2Pe 3:14-18; e.g. Jesus enduring the cross [first] got fortified thru godliness = Luk 2:40 w/Heb 5:7-8).
3.2. What then NOT TO MISS in regard to this point = Those who are NOT constantly growing and being built up in God’s Word (and their Christian Faith) are (instead) constantly growing weaker and more susceptible to the deceitfulness of sin since the internal temptations of our sinful flesh and the external temptations of the world and Satan attack daily with the intention of wearing us down (incrementally) to the point at which we are no longer able/want to resist. This is what Jesus is getting at in His comparison between the house built on the rock and the house built on the sand (Mat 7:24-27).
- B/C it is imperative to being fit or ready for heaven.
4.1. Only those who are godly get to heaven (Heb 12:14; 1Co 9:25-27; Tit 1:1-2, 2:11-13 = Notice, God’s grace trains/teaches us to renounce ungodliness – but it doesn’t do it for us, we are the ones that must act in faithfulness; 1Th 1:9-10; 2Pe 2:10-11; Mat 24:36-51; Luk 21:34-36).
4.2. What then NOT TO MISS in regard to this point = Two things: 1) You are what you do (i.e. this is how you wb assessed on J-Day). 2) The standard/mark of godliness is established by God (not us). And it is a pass/fail standard – which means there is no prize/points for trying (but missing the mark/standard). Failure therefore to faithfully live up to God’s standard will mean missing heaven. Hence the reason we are told to “agonizomai” (agonize) to enter thru the narrow gate that leads to heaven/eternal salvation (Luk 13:22-24).
CLOSING CHALLENGE/CONTEMPLATION = Are you training for godliness? Does your home emphasize/focus on godliness and godliness training? There is no other thing that sb emphasized or focused on more in our personal lives, homes and the church than godliness and the training that produces it (1Ti 3:7-10).