Faith Mods – things that we can add to our faith to step into all that God has for us!
Mods – short for modifications – things you do to improve, better, increase, add to.
In the words of the little bobcat guy off Dusty Crop Hopper.
If you want to hear the whole intro on why this matters then just pop back to our Sep 20th service in on our website and it will give full context to this message and the understanding of adding to our faith..
2 Peter 1:5-9 (NIV)
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 But whoever does not have them is near sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Make every effort to mod up your faith.
Faith is good:
- It gets us to heaven
- It saves us
- Without it is impossible to please God
- Faith is God’s currency
- Faith is key
But it can be kitted out.
In fact, this very passage and the verses following say that if we add to our faith we will be:
- Effective and productive in our knowledge of Christ
- It will stop us from stumbling in our faith
- It will lead to a rich welcome into heaven when the time comes
But likewise, it says of those who refuse to add to their faith that they are:
- Near sighted and blind
- Forgotten they have been cleansed from their sins
- Add to that the conclusion is they will be ineffective, unproductive, and easily stumbled
Good enough for me, so let’s read and grow together.
Bruce preached last week on Self Control and Perseverance and so I will keep going and the next one is:
Godliness – Add to your faith Godliness!
The English words that define this in the dictionary, or are closely related are:
Pious, Holiness, Godliness
Sadly, these words have taken on meanings that are far from what God ever intended them to mean and it is more of a cultural misunderstanding on both sides of the fence.
The average person tends to think of this idea as:
- Pious snobs, holier than though types inflicting their beliefs on people
- Beliefs that are typically dead, boring, powerless, irrelevant and out of touch with the common man
- The person that looks down on everyone for not living up to their unreasonable high standard, usually because most of us would die from boredom in trying to do so
There are only so many people that scan live truly boring lives and be ok with that:
- It seems that through history that being ‘good’ has meant you miss out on the fun while being ‘bad’ is to be envied
- I hope to clear that up today
The classic cultural picture of this is Ned Flanders from the Simpsons.
- Love it or hate it, even ignore it if you like, but in reality, that is what most people think of Godliness
This sadly comes because there has been a history of people taking this idea of Godliness and claiming that’s what it looks like.
- They have high minded and useless religious ideas that only serve to make them feel good about themselves or feed some weird complex they have that is beyond what a normal person can grasp
They claim to be so Holy – yet they have never told their face!
- They are not enthusiastic, life giving, encouraging
- People see them coming and run as if the Zombie apocalypse is on its way
- No-one is drawn to it or wants it, rather it serves as a warning to steer clear of that kind of belief set
Such a wrong perspective!
Godliness will add to your life, joy, peace, excitement, purpose.
- I would put to you that to reject Godliness (or misunderstand it) is to miss out on the kind of abundant life God intends for us.
- Jesus was not a sour, sombre joy killer.
- All the best parties wanted Him there
- Kids loved him
- Sinners wanted to be near him
- People were drawn to Him
- People gave up food and went to remote places just to hear Him
- That is not Ned Flanders
This word is only used 15 times in the New Testament and in the book of 1 Timothy it has a bit to say about it.
1 Timothy 4:7-9 (NIV)
7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; (don’t get caught up discussing and arguing rubbish on Facebook) rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.
What I like here is some of the clarity this gives around the issue of godliness.
- It is not useless discussion about things that don’t change lives. Some people want to discuss and debate useless points of view that don’t help anyone. It is useless and most of it on Facebook or YouTube.
- Neither is it about holding on till you finally go to heaven having survived this earth. It holds promise for this life and the next.
So, if we are just hanging on for the sweet by and by, that is not biblical godliness.
- People think Godliness is not spitting, swearing or warming the same pew in church week after week
- But that is incorrect!
- We can do all those things and its simply religious tradition and useless
It is valuable for this life!
- It is so valuable that unlike many things that are only valuable for this life – Godliness goes beyond this life to the next
- It requires effort and training, hence our original verse saying ‘make every effort. It is an active thing.
According to Jerry Bridges:
“The New Testament word for godliness, in its original meaning, conveys the idea of it, a personal attitude toward God that results in actions that are pleasing to Him. This personal attitude toward God is what we call devotion to God.”
Devotion is not an activity, it is an attitude toward God. This attitude is composed of three essential elements:
- The fear of God
- The love of God
- The desire for God
Note that all three elements focus upon God. The practice of godliness is an exercise or discipline that focuses upon God. From this Godward attitude arises the character and conduct that we usually think of as godliness.”
So often we 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.
In order to simplify this or break it down a little, Godliness is a life with God at the very centre of every part of it.
Probably the best scripture that puts it in simple terms is:
Mark 12:30 (NIV)
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.
Godliness isn’t just one thing! It is the way that having God central to who we are which effects everything.
A strange and abstract example of this is insecurity!
- Now when we have insecurity as the centre of our worldview, it doesn’t matter what part of life we look at, it affects everything!
- The way we think is affected
- What we see is affected
- How we act is affected
- If we win or lose is irrelevant because we will view it through insecurity
But in an opposite kind of way, Godliness means that God is so central to who we are that it infiltrates and affects every part of:
- Our love and relationship of God. It is central to our time and life commitments
- How we think
- How we act
- What we believe
- What we value
But it’s all this together – not one or the other that affects our life.
So, to have the strictest of disciplines in character but to deny the relationship with God, makes us moral but not Godly. That is a moralist life – but not Christian
To know about God or even that He loves you but to not have it impact the focus of our life, makes us feel good, but not Godly. That is a person who knows of God yet is not transformed by Him.
To have an intense desire for God and want to know Him, yet to ignore change in our conduct is spiritual, but not Godly. That is a spiritualist life – but not Christian. It all has to work together.
I feel like this is where some of the confusion lies. Godliness is not denying the fun of life and what it offers, but rather acknowledging and surrendering to God in the midst of it!
It’s not that we can’t party – but we can celebrate and honour God within that .
It’s not that we can’t enjoy pleasure – just within God’s plan and honour Him with it.
Godliness isn’t denying sex – it is living out what He has for us. He knows best for it.
Godliness is not that we can’t enjoy music, arts and talents – just honour God for it and with it.
Godliness is not that we can’t have money – just honour God with it.
Godliness is not that we can’t have a highly successful career – just honour God with it.
Godliness is not that we can’t enjoy food and having a great time – just honour God with it and in the midst of it.
Godliness is not that you can’t love sport, camping, or have some sort of fun life – it’s just put God before all those things and honour Him in the midst of them.
Paul the apostle wrote a very interesting and clarifying passage in Romans 14 which speaks to this.
Romans 14:1-15 (NIV)
1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
(Look if you want to eat just veggies, good for you, I am going to enjoy a good, rare steak with a big slither of fat, pork and crackle)
4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. (This is the key) 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”
12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.
This is why it seems Godliness is grossly and usually misunderstood for legalistic, pious religiosity judging people.
- This passage is stating clearly that to judge others with your own religious ideas is ungodly!
- In fact, this passage teaches that Godliness is the opposite of judgemental, instead it is freeing and life giving!
This passage doesn’t condemn living life to the full, enjoying it having a good time, but says, the opposite.
14 I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean…”
Godliness isn’t about missing out on life, but living it! It’s just that the life we live has Jesus Christ right at the centre of it all!
7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.
Now that does not mean we have licence to live however we want and ignore God’s Word.
- Well I feel like I can sleep with my girlfriend and don’t feel it’s wrong, so there you go
- No – that is in direct violation to God’s Word and commands
- Well I feel like I can slack off at work and the boss owes me anyway
- No – that is in direct violation of Gods’ Word and commands
Godliness is having a love and desire for God that is so strong that it affects the way we live! God is central, not peripheral to our life!
So, to just decide you want to live however despite it being against God’s commands does not fit with godliness!
- That is rebellion or disobedience and God is not so cool on those things
- Godliness is God’s ways above our ways not the other way around
Godliness is not about dividing up life into spiritual and natural.
- Give God 15 minutes in prayer then ignore Him for the other 23 hours and 45 min
- It does not be one thing Sunday and another on Monday
- It does not simply sing worship songs Sunday and behave however it wants the rest of the week
It is a God consciousness and willingness to put Him first in every scenario of life:
- In the workplace – Him and His ways are first
- In the home – Him and His ways are first
- In the bedroom – Him and His ways are first
- In the TV room – Him and His ways are first
- With my friends at a party – Him and His ways are first
- In Church on Sunday – Him and His ways are first
- With my money – Him and His ways are first
- With my time – Him and His ways are first
- With my affection and desire – Him and His ways are first
- With what I am passionate about and committed to – Him and His ways are first
Godliness is not just heart with no actions. It is God being so central to both that He is supreme right across our life!
It is not about being a boring, pious, religious zealot – but rather living life to the full with God at the centre of every part!
Let me begin to close with this:
2 Tim 3:1-5 (NIV)
3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
So, there is godliness without power and godliness with power!
- That is when we give God our heart but not our life!
- Or we give our actions but not our heart!
- Being moralist or Spiritualist is not Christian!
They are not the same! There is no power in that kind of life!
The only way consistent with the scripture to add Godliness to our faith is to:
Mark 12:30 (NIV)
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
That means Godliness is:
- Loving God and have relationship with Him
- Desiring God above anything else in life
- Career, pleasure, money, others respect, a sport or passion
- Obeying Him with our actions and our strength!
Godliness is not Ned Flanders or some dead boring, irrelevant life!
True Godliness is a life of all that God has and that has God at the centre of every part:
- Life to the full
Add to your faith Godliness. Living life to the full but with God right at the centre of every part!
So today if you are listening and perhaps you have resisted surrendering your life to Jesus because you thought that was giving up life and having to become some dead boring rule monger.
Then let me tell you the truth this morning! Jesus came to bring life and life to the full.
The devil only wants to steal from you, bring death and destruction to your world. He will promise ultimate freedom – but deliver ultimate death.
Right now, the Holy Spirit will be speaking to you and showing you what He wants you to do.
Today make a decision to turn from this worlds cheap and destructive perversions of life and become a follower of the God who loved you so much He gave His own life that you could know Him and experience His love for you!
Suggestions for discussion
- Discuss what you thought was meant by Godliness before you became a Christian.
- How different is it to what you believe today?
- Discuss what it means to you to put God first in every area of your life. Is this easy or hard for you?