Text: I Timothy 3:16
ill. Some of you know that since I turned 40 I've gotten back into running and I'm enjoying it. Physical exercise is good for the outer man. But, Paul points out that there is an exercise that is even better for the inner man.
I Timothy 4:7 .... exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
GODLINESS IS WORTH HAVING BECAUSE THAT IS BENEFICIAL FOR ETERNITY.
We've all heard the saying, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness."
If that were really true JESUS would have complimented the Pharisee's instead of confronting them when he said....
Luke 11:39 And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.
Mat 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
ill. In Israel - we saw 2,000 year old sepulchre's of which may have served as the visual illustration of what Jesus was saying. (Absalom's tomb....)
The point is, you can try to clean the outside of your life - but you can not clean the inside.
Jer 2:22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.
exp. Some men have tried very hard to make themselves godly but have utterly failed.
ill. I have an old copy of Benjamin Franklin's biography. He heard George Whitfield preach but didn't accept Jesus as his Saviour. Instead he tried to be "godly" by mastering virtues. He would focus on one virtue - until he mastered it - would add another.... and then would fail.
ill. Our guide showed us caves where people would live like a monk (lowered down in a rope and then given food in a basked.) He said one place he used to guide had a man who had lived like that for 30 years. (And he was no more godly than the day he began.)
ill. In some countries men have nailed themselves to a cross. They have climbed stairs on their knees and whipped themselves - and have gotten no closer to godliness than when they started their "spiritual" journey.
Godliness is really only found in one place - that place was a mystery until 2,000 years ago when God revealed the eternal answer to man's need for godliness.
THAT ANSWER IS IN OUR TEXT THIS MORNING - SO LET'S SOLVE THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS WHICH HAS A 'GREAT' WONDERFUL ANSWER.
1 Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
Note: The Believer's Bible Commentary pointed out that this verse may have quoted an early Christian song similar to our hymn, One Day "Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried he carried my sins far away, rising he justified freely forever, one day he's coming, Oh glorious day."
But, -the answer to these facts below - is also the answer to the mystery of godliness.
I. WHO WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH? JESUS
God was manifest in the flesh,
def. manifest "to show."
exp. The incarnation brought God to us in a way which our flesh could handle.
ill. Moses - Exo 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
Joh 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Joh 5:37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
A. Jesus is God in flesh. (incarnate)
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
exp. Jesus took on flesh - conceived in the womb of Mary - born into this world just like you or me.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
exp. To put it simply - because he doesn't want you to go to Hell because of your ungodliness.
B. He went from the form of God to the form of man.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
ill. Would you give up sinlessness, unlimited power, full connection with God the Father, to come to earth to die for people who rightly deserved to go to Hell? Jesus did.
ill. Mary Slessor - given 50 pounds to spend on herself wrote back and said - there is nothing that I want as God has supplied all my needs - but she lived as one who owned nothing.
app. Jesus gave up everything for us - we ought to be willing to give up everything for Him.
I Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
II. WHO WAS JUSTIFIED IN THE SPIRIT? JESUS
justified in the Spirit,
ill. the testimony of John the Baptist ABOUT GOD'S SPIRIT AND JESUS- the second cousin of Jesus - Mary and Elizabeth were cousins - was told to wait for a sign of the Messiah. The sign was the Holy Spirit.
John 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
ill. The testimony of Peter ABOUT GOD'S SPIRIT AND JESUS at Pentecost and with Cornelius.
Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Act 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
exp. I got to stand on the Temple steps where 1,000's were saved as Peter preached and in Caesarea by the Sea where Cornelius lived. I also got to stand by the Jordan in the traditional place where Jesus was baptized.
note: God has recorded these instances for us as testimony to the ANSWER TO OUR NEED FOR GODLINESS - This man, Jesus, had the verification of the HOLY SPIRIT regarding HIS IDENTITY AS THE MESSIAH.
ill. Jesus testimony back to John. Matthew 11:
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
III. WHAT WAS SEEN OF ANGELS? JESUS
seen of angels,
question: When is it recorded that Jesus was seen of angels?
AT HIS BIRTH:
Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
AT HIS TEMPTATION:
Mar 1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
AT HIS RESURRECTION:
Matthew 28: 2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
AT HIS ASCENSION:
Acts 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
exp. Remember - he could have called 1,000's of angels - but he didn't
app. but oh how they verify that JESUS IS THE ANSWER TO MAN'S NEED FOR GODLINESS.
IV. WHO WAS PREACHED UNTO THE GENTILES? JESUS
preached unto the Gentiles,
exp. Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles and he magnifies that office with this statement. Jesus was not just the Jewish messiah - but he is our messiah as well.
exp. I love how the book of Acts summarizes the message preached by the disciples.
Act 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
Act 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH - Act 8:35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
Act 9:27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
Act 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
Act 11:20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
Act 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
Act 17:18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
Act 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
Act 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
Act 28:31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
exp. Paul and the other apostles didn't spend most of his time arguing for the Creator God or defending the truth of the trinity. He focused on Jesus.
Ill. Apologetics are good - we need to rationally defend the truth of God's Word. But we need to make the truth of Jesus the priority in our evangelism.
App. Do you preach Jesus? Our evangelism ought to focus on JESUS - THE ANSWER TO MAN'S NEED FOR GODLINESS. Satan will do everything he can to keep us in our evangelism away from Jesus.
V. WHO WAS BELIEVED ON IN THIS WORLD? JESUS
believed on in the world,
ill. The Philippian Jailer - Paul and Silas in stock having been whipped. The earthquake opens the stocks and prison doors. The jailer is going to take his life and Paul stops him.
30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.
33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.
note: Paul himself had persecuted believers in the same way - but he had trusted in Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour.
exp. Those who lack godliness - get it right here. When someone puts their faith in Jesus he takes all the filth out of your life and give you His righteousness. JESUS IS THE ANSWER TO GODLINESS - BELIEF IS HOW YOU RECIEVE HIM AS YOUR SAVIOUR.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
app. Have you BELIEVED ON Jesus? Are you trusting in Him alone for salvation?
VI. WHO WAS RECEIVED UP INTO GLORY? JESUS
received up into glory.
exp. Jesus ascended up into glory from the Mount of Olives. His tomb is empty. He is not here for He has risen as He said. (I saw the place where the Lord lay.)
HE HAS RISEN AND YOU CAN ALSO RISE.
I Thesallonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
app. Jesus is GODLINESS - IF YOU HAVE JESUS YOU ARE READY TO GO TO GLORY WITH HIM - IF YOU DON'T HAVE JESUS - YOU CAN'T GO.
The answer to godliness is one word and one person - Jesus.
You may be a nice person this morning. You may do your best to love others, be a good citizen, be a good parent. But - without Jesus you are ungodly.
THAT CAN ALL CHANGE TODAY - the answer isn't religion, it isn't morality, it isn't good works - it is Jesus.
DON'T LET GODLINESS BE A MYSTERY TO YOU ANYMORE. TAKE THE ANSWER THIS MORNING- THE ANSWER IS JESUS!