Intro. The word godliness is a contraction for God likeness. Being like God.
I. "GREAT IS THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS."
A. It is a mystery how that men become like their god.
1. If your god is loving, you become loving.
2. If your god is good, you are becoming good.
3. If your god is holy, you are becoming holy.
4. If your god is hateful, you are becoming hateful.
5. If your god is cruel, you are becoming cruel.
6 If your god is heartless, you are becoming heartless.
B. I guess the real mystery is, are you becoming like your god, or perhaps you have made your god like you.
1. Many men have made their own gods.
a. When a man makes a god, he makes his god like himself.
b. A man's god is the projecting of himself to deity.
c. My longings, my desires, my passions deified become my gods.
2. When a person denies the true and living God, they then create a man-made God.
a. You make a god patterned, after yourself, it is nothing more than a projection of yourself.
b. The opposite of that is the God made man. I would much prefer to be a God made man, than to worship a man-made God.
3. Men worship the things that are most important to them.
4. I have seen men who worshipped sex.
a. They worship the goddess Ashtarte.
b. Their lives are consumed with lust.
5. It is like Hastings mystery of the chicken and the egg, what came first?
a. Because a man worshipped sex, did he become lustful, or because a man was lustful he worshipped Ashtarte.
5. I have seen some men who worshipped power.
a. They devote their lives trying to gain control over others.
b. They are worshipping the god Mammon.
c. Does he worship Mammon because he wanted power? or because he wanted power, he worshipped mammon.
C. The Bible tells us that we are now the sons of God and it doesn't yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. That is if you are worshipping Jesus, you are becoming like Jesus.
1. What a glorious mystery that is.
2. If you have a chance to observe a person for any length of time, they soon reveal who their god is, by what they are and do.
3. The person that worships a false god is becoming false.
4. If you worship the true God, you are becoming true.
D. Another great mystery of godliness is the radical transformation that can take place overnight in a persons life when they accept Jesus Christ.
1. Hard core heroin addicts can be changed in a moments time.
2. Alcoholics can turn away from their drinking and never touch it again.
3. People whose lives have been marked by hatred, and cruelty, suddenly become loving and kind.
4. Men who were philanderers become devoted husbands.
Twas battered and scarred and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while,
To spend much time with the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid'n good folks he cried?
Who'll start the bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar, who'll make it two?
Only two, who'll make it three?
Three dollars once three dollars twice,"
And going for three? But no,
From the room far back, came a grey haired man,
And he picked it up with the bow.
And wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As sweet as the angels sing.
The music ceased and auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, "What am I bid for the old violin?
And he held it up with the bow.
A thousand dollars, who'll make it two?
Two thousand who'll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice
And going and gone said he."
The people cheered but some of them cried,
"We can't understand, what changed the worth,"
Swift came the reply,
The touch of the masters hand.
And many a man, with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred by sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
much like the old violin
A game of chance, a glass of wine,
A party and he travels on,
He's going once, he's going twice,
He's going and almost gone,
But the Master comes, And the foolish crowd,
never can quite understand
The value of the soul and the change that is wrought
By the touch of the Master's hand.
II. GREAT IS THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS, GOD WAS MANIFESTED IN THE FLESH. THE PURPOSE FOR HIS MANIFESTATION IN THE FLESH WAS THAT WE MIGHT KNOW WHAT GOD WAS TRULY LIKE.
A. Even the Jewish nation, the nation to which God had revealed Himself, began to get skewed ideas of God and His laws.
1. Jesus put Himself at odds with the rabbi's interpretation of the scriptures.
2. He was constantly rebuking the religious leaders. He used them for examples of how not to do things.
3. He would say, "You have been taught,---but I say unto you."
B. The book of Hebrews tells us that in various times and in various ways in the past, God spoke to man through the prophets. But in these last days, He has spoken to us by His own dear Son, who He has appointed to be the heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds. We are told that the Son was the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His person.
1. The express image of His person. Jesus said to His disciples, "If you have known Me, you should have known My Father also and you know Him and have seen Him." Philip said to Jesus, "Just show us the Father and we will be satisfied." Jesus answered, "Have I been with you this long, and have you not seen Me? He that has seen Me has seen the Father. How is it that you say, show us the Father. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me or else believe for the work's sake."
2. The repeated testimony of the scriptures is that Jesus Christ is God manifested in the flesh.
3. Paul wrote to the Colossians that Jesus was the express image of God.
C. I have had many people say to me, "I believe in God, but I have a problem believing in Jesus."
1. Jesus said, that the Father had put the judgement into His hands in order that all men would honor the Son as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent Him.
2. John said, "Whoever transgresses and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son."
3. You really cannot separate them, to believe in the Son is to believe in the Father. To honor the Father is to honor the Son.
4. Jesus said, "I and the Father are One."
D. Jesus was not only manifested to show us what the true God is like, but to give us the power to be like Him.
1. If you will study the teaching of Buddha and the teaching of Jesus you will find great similarities, yet subtle differences.
a. Buddha lived some 500 years before Jesus and he said, "Don't do to others, what you don't want done to you."
b. Buddha concluded that all of the problems in life arose from the desire for material things. That to live after the spirit was far superior to living after the flesh.
c. That if you could divorce yourself from all material desires, you would dwell in the state of Nirvana.
d. Many of his teachings were true, but that is where it ended, for he could point to the path, but he could not give you the ability to walk the path.
e. Thus none could attain Nirvana, and to see the path yet not be able to walk on it is frustrating.
2. Jesus said, "Whatever you would like men to do to you, do to them." Similar to Buddha, but Buddha put it in the negative, Jesus put it in the positive.
a. Jesus taught that the life of the Spirit was superior to the life of the flesh.
b. He pointed to the path, and then acknowledged that you were incapable to walk that path without help.
c. So He promised that He would come and indwell you so that through His indwelling power, you could live the life of the Spirit.
3. He was manifested in the flesh in order to give you the power to live after the Spirit. That you might be like God.
a. He said to His disciples, "You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be witnesses of Me."
b. The scripture says of Jesus that He was the true and faithful witness. That means He was a true representation of God. If you want to know what God is like, you can look at Jesus.
c. He wants His disciples to be His witnesses, so that when people see us, they will see Jesus.
d. We used to sing, Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, All His wonderful passion and purity, Oh Thou Spirit divine, All my nature refine, Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
e. The name Christian was a testimony to the success of the early church. It was a name they did not coin for themselves, but was given to them by the skeptical world, because they were like Christ.
4. It is a beautiful mystery, the closer you live to Jesus, the more you become like Him.
a. You take on His nature.
b. You take on His compassion for the lost.
c. You begin to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him.
d. I watch with fascination the mystery of the work of God's Spirit in my life as He conforms me more and more into the image of Christ.
E. Great is the mystery of Godliness. God was manifested in the flesh.