“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
Living Godly Lives
by Stan Cox
The apostle Paul wrote to Titus, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). In these words are found the response of every Christian to the gift of grace. We have the hope of salvation because of what God has granted to us. Our response is an ordering of our lives: “we should live soberly, righteously and godly.”
The definition of the word godly is minimally helpful. The term refers to piety, devotion and reverence. More helpful are the verses that describe the kind of life that characterizes the Christian profession. For example, when considering the proper role model for a godly life, we consider Jesus Himself. Peter wrote, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15-16). Jesus was guileless (cf. 1 Peter 2:21-24), and pure (cf. 1 John 3:1-3). In His life, and in His death, He always sought to do the will of His Father in heaven (cf. John 15:10).
A truly godly life is an informed one. Paul wrote about the Jews, who “have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:2-3). In order for us to live a godly life, we have to know what God considers godly. Fortunately, He has revealed these things to us in scripture.
So, simply put, a godly life is a life that is lived in accord with God’s expressed will. The Psalmist wrote, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way” (119:33-37). He contrasts God’s way with “worthless things,” and contrasts God’s testimonies with covetousness. God’s will is the antithesis of evil. His way is the way of godliness. Consider these words: “How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (119:103-105).
So, we seek to emulate our Lord. We seek direction from God to know what is right and wrong. And, as we attain such knowledge, it is important that we dwell upon it. Paul wrote the Philippians, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise- worthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9). Meditation on what is righteous, in contrast with the pablum of popular culture, helps to direct the Christian’s path in the way of godliness. The man whose mind dwells in the muck of worldliness will be corrupted in his walk.
Finally, a godly walk is a motivated walk. It is easy to become distracted by the tedium of this life. We can become “shortsighted, even to blindness” (cf. 2 Peter 1:9). In fact, Peter’s statement is made within the context of adding virtuous characteristics (including godliness, vs. 6), to ensure we don’t suffer from that myopia that would endanger our eternal standing before God. As Paul put it, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). A disciplined Christian, seeking always to do all and only what God allows, will most certainly attain the prize he seeks.
A righteous life is attainable with effort and focus. Such godliness is wonderfully profitable, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Later in the same epistle, Paul wrote, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain” (6:6). If we remember that this life is preparatory to eternity, we will answer the call of grace with a life that is lived in accord with God’s righteousness.
— Via the Monthly Messenger, August 2015
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life — the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (1 John 1:1,2).
Pray for Strength
by Doug Pennock
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:6,7).
What a great comfort this verse is to us as Christians. Knowing that God, the creator and sustainer of all things, cares for us. This is worth more than all the gold or silver or money or anything else that we might possess in this life. When we come upon hard times in life or we lose a loved one or feel compassion for the sick; When we are troubled in mind and in spirit — even to the point of deep despair — we can turn to God, our Father, in prayer and let Him know all about it, knowing that He has compassion on us and will ease our cares and troubles in life, giving us the strength to cope because He cares for us.
Of course God already knows of our troubles before we ask, but, being the benevolent Father that He is, to hear it from us means a great deal to Him, not to mention that just sharing our troubles with Him can mean a great deal to us.
Think how God is involved in our lives. He watches over us in everything we do and think. He knows our hearts and all that we might aspire to. He knows all of our concerns and is concerned with us. With Him looking out for us in all things, how can we ever feel down or despair? We can just look to Him and know that everything will work out in the end.
Speaking of which, if we keep our eyes on that blessed goal of heaven in the after while, it will go a long way toward keeping our spirits up and will keep us on the true path of joy and happiness that we need to sustain us in this life.
God cares for us. Think of it: how can anything be more powerful or moving in our lives? To think of the many blessings we have through Him, because He cares for us, is enough to lift our spirits. So we should count our blessings and cast our cares upon God when we have those moments of feeling sad or despair and are in need of the comfort that God provides.
But what if we are not in that covenant relationship with God at this moment in our lives. What if we do not know the comfort that comes through Him? I cannot imagine how someone outside the Lord is able to cope with the troubles of life. Do not they become cold and callous and give up on caring so that they will not feel the pain of life? God does not want us to be uncaring, but rather to lean on Him to carry the load when we feel pain because we care.
Are you in a covenant relationship with God tonight? Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”
To have this relationship with God, we must be in Christ; and to get into Christ, we must be baptized and wash away our sins, which is preceded by confessing that Jesus is the Christ and repenting of our sins. Then, to stay in that relationship, we must devote our lives to doing all that the New Testament teaches we must do, and repent when we do transgress and sin.
If you have a need tonight you can come forward and renew your relationship with God while we stand and sing.
— This was Doug’s “Invitation Talk” for last Wednesday evening, which we enjoyed and appreciated, following the Bible classes.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)