A Recipe for Fullness of Life – Godliness

A Recipe for Fullness of Life – Godliness

We have been given another opportunity today to gather together and learn something new. We are in the fifth week of the sermon series called, “A Recipe for Fullness of Life – A Not So Secret Sauce.

The fullness of life is having faith in a trusting and loving God that we live into every day. And how to live that Christian faith is not a secret. The Christian life is not something that is only available to people who know certain secrets, while the rest of us are left wonder what is missing.

Instead, the Bible offers us the exact steps to follow for a full life with God, the complete Christian faith. For example, the book of 2 Peter 1:5-7 lays it all out for us, sort of like a recipe with different ingredients that when all put together, it turns into this vibrant, strong, beautiful faith.

Peter tells us those ingredients to add to our faith are goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love. When these exist in increasing measure, meaning keep adding and building on them, Peter says that it will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our relationship to God. This is where the life God wants for us is found. God desires and wants each of us to have a true faith, so that we can live a full life with Him.

Today, we are going to be taking a look at the ingredient of godliness. Most of you can probably relate to me in having the sense that I am not all I could be. The sense that God wants more for me than I am settling for right now. The good news is that this is exactly what is offered to us in Jesus Christ.

The word the Peter uses for godliness is the Greek word Eusebia (ew-zib-ia). Often times it is translated as piety or devotion. It has with it a kind of relational saturation. It is an ongoing and very vibrant connection to God, with awe and reverence of God’s holiness.

Since we’re we using the example of a recipe to teach this, let’s talk food. Godliness makes me think about the best way to prepare and grill a steak. If you want a really good steak, in my opinion, it all depends on how long that piece of meat sits in some sort of marinade and cooks slowly on the grill. You need to allow ample time for the flavors and seasonings to permeate the meat. Saturation is key to excellent flavorful and texture.

POINT #1 – SATURATE YOURSELF IN THE THINGS OF GOD

So why not do that with ourselves. When we add godliness to our lives, we are devoting time and energy to allowing the Spirit of God to become a part of us. This isn’t something that just happens or that we are born with. It happens when we intentionally spend time in scripture and prayer and worship. It’s no secret that we add godliness to our lives when we saturate ourselves and marinate in the things of God.

The book of Timothy talks about the value of godliness.
1 Timothy 4:8
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

Some of you in this room spend a lot of time on your physical appearance and health. And I’m glad you do. That is a good thing. I wish I could say I do the same. You get up early to work out before work. You spend hours at the gym lifting weights and running on the treadmill. There is great value in that. Being healthy is an important thing to spend our energy on. Our bodies are temples of God, and He tells us to make sure we are taking care of them.

However, Timothy says that though that is of some value here in this life, training in godliness is worth far more. Godliness impacts not just our life in the present, but also our life eternal. But living this godly life takes training. It does not come naturally. That’s why the recipe that Peter gives us begins by saying that it comes by the power of God.

2 Peter 1:3-4
3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.

We need the Holy Spirit. Think about it this way. The greatest athletes are the ones who are willing to put in the work, right? Even when they don’t want to or aren’t feeling it, they put their nose to the grindstone and push themselves to do what needs to be done to meet the goal.

Take Michael Phelps. His Olympic workouts and diet were insane. His trainer, Bob Bowman, is one of the hardest coaches to train with. Before the Olympic trials, Bowman took his athletes to Colorado Springs so they can train at a high altitude for a month, where the athletes would just eat, sleep and train.

According to a Yahoo Sports article, Phelps said the workouts consisted of: “55 practices across 23 days, plus daily dryland strength workouts, and all of it in the thin air of 6,300 feet. The practice pattern per week: three-a-day, three-a-day, two-a-day, three-a-day, three-a-day, two-a-day, day off.”

And Phelps’ diet matched his insane workouts. He consumed 12,000 calories each day while training. He drank 1,000 calorie energy drinks and a typical breakfast…ready for this…was three fried egg sandwiches with cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, and mayonnaise, followed up by two cups of coffee, a five egg omelet, one bowl of maize porridge, three slices of French toast with powdered sugar, and three chocolate chip pancakes. That’s like 5 meals in one!

Okay, so very likely no one in this room is going to that extreme with our exercise. However, if we want to live the full life of God, if we want to grow in our faith, then we can learn some things from athletes like this. We have to make a really good effort and push ourselves, persevere, to do the things that will cause our faith to grow; things like generosity, personal devotion, collective worship, Bible study, serving, sharing our faith.

The Discipleship Path – you can’t pick and choose what you like and don’t like. These are the things that build our faith, and it takes all of them.

As Oswald Chambers, a Baptist evangelist and teacher who aligned with the Methodist Movement once said, “We can all see God in exceptional things, but it requires the culture of spiritual discipline to see God in every detail.” What Chambers is speaking of is the saturating, the marinating, and the training of the full life of God.

At the end of the passage from Timothy, the author offers the results that come from training in godliness. Let’s look at it again.

1 Timothy 4:8
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

POINT #2 – NOW AND LATER

It’s a now and later kind of thing. First, training for godliness has an immediate effect. It transforms us right now in the present. Have you ever been around someone who you can tell spends a lot of time with God? The way they carry themselves is a reflection of their saturated life. The ways they speak and the ways they act feel like they have been with Jesus.

I have a friend, Mark who spends a lot of time in prayer with God daily, and it shows greatly. Every time I’m around Him, I see God in Him, I feel God in Him. Many times, he has spoken a few words of godly advice to me, before I say a thing, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I truly enjoy being in this man’s presence because of the godliness that results from his relationship with Jesus.

When we spend time with God, it has an immediate effect. And the more we do it, our family notices, our friends notice. It changes us. That’s the now part.

The later part is that godliness also has an eternal effect. Hear me very clearly when I say this, we certainly do NOT saturate ourselves in the things of God so that we will earn salvation. You cannot earn salvation. It is a free gift given to us.

Rather, godliness is a natural outflow of a surrendered life. When we surrender our lives to God and receive the saving work of Jesus on the cross, we are given the gift of eternal life. That’s the later. But it gets even better. When we realize what eternal life really means, what Jesus really did for us, how great our God, our Father, our Savior is, we WANT to spend time saturated in Him. So, godliness, wanting to devote ourselves and wanting to be like Christ, naturally flows from our grateful hearts. Then our relationship with God builds and grows.

And may I just say this….godly does not mean we are better than everyone else. With the way Peter used this word, that cannot possibly be what he was intending to say. In its simplest form, what Peter is referencing is the ability we have been given by the power of God to live like God, to look like Jesus.

Listen to what the book of Titus says. The author reveals where we receive the power to train in godliness.

Titus 2:11-13
11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. (SAVED) 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. (REPENT) We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. (When He’s coming back.)

The grace of God has appeared to us in such a way that it offers us salvation. But Jesus came not only to offer us eternal salvation, but also to show us how to live now. He teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions.

Probably His best example of that was in the wilderness for forty days being temptation directly by Satan, and His responses to Satan. Every time Jesus answered Satan with, “The Scriptures say…” Matthew 4:1-11

We are given very clear instruction in scripture of how to identify which thoughts and actions are counterproductive to the ways of God. Scripture also teaches us how to live godly lives in an age where it is more and more difficult to do so.

Have you ever heard the concept of speaking intentional words over your children? Who do you want your kids to be? Who does God want your kids to be? We must intentionally speak it over them. My grandfather was really good at doing this. He spoke it so much that those words are forever planted in my mind. I believed him. I believe that I’m beautiful, kind, strong, and worth it.

He has inspired me to practice this with my sons. Speak over them on car rides, in their bed or while we are hanging out: You are brave. You are honest. You are loyal. You are loving, and you are a child of God. In a world where we can be so confused about who we are and how we are to live, sometimes we have to be reminded. We have to be taught.

POINT #3 – JESUS TEACHES US HOW TO LIVE

Jesus teaches us how to live, so let’s teach our children. We have been given an example in the person of Christ that we can follow and imitate. When we live like Jesus, then we find ourselves living like God. For much of the 90’s and early 2,000’s, there was a very popular bracelet that people wore daily. The bracelet simply said, “W.W.J.D.”. It stood for what would Jesus do? It was a way to be reminded how to live the godly life, and how to say no to the ungodly one.

We’re given that incredible insight in the book of Luke.

Luke 10:25-28
The Most Important Commandment
25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

Jesus was approached with a question that every Christian wants to know. How do we gain eternal life? How do we get to Heaven? And how do we truly live in the here and now?

Jesus confirms for the man that there are two things that are of utmost importance: loving God with everything you have and loving others as we love ourselves. This is the way to the full life of God according to Jesus. In fact, in the book of Matthew 22:40, Jesus says that entire law and all of the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.

When we get these two areas right in life, we are effectively adding the ingredient of godliness to who we are. So, how do we love God with all that we have? How do we love others like ourselves? Jesus teaches us how through His life, His death, and His resurrection.

There once was a medieval monk who announced he would be preaching next Sunday evening on “The Love of God.” As the shadows fell and the light ceased to come in through the cathedral windows, the congregation gathered. In the darkness of the altar, the monk lit a candle and carried it to the crucifix, an image of Jesus on the cross. First, he illuminated the crown of thorns, next the two wounded hands, then the marks of the spear wound in His side. In the hush that fell, he blew out the candle and left the chancel. There was nothing else to say. Jesus’ life literally said it all.

The recipe for the full life of God is made available by the gracious offer of a sacrificial love from Christ. When we receive this love into our hearts, then, and only then, do we have the capacity to love others well. Then and only then, will we be with Him in eternity. And the longer we let ourselves sit now and soak in the incredible love of God, the more it gets into us and changes us to be more Godly and more like Him, and the stronger our relationship with Him becomes.

You can train yourself to live more in line with Christ. God is giving you the Holy Spirit to be able to do that. Practice spiritual disciplines to train your heart and mind to be like Christ.