The Mystery of Godliness

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Godliness may be our ability to reflect the character of God, but how we both gain and utilize that ability is a bit of a mystery. While so many of us try to live holy lives by our own efforts, the truth is that godliness is a Christ-driven transformation.



I want to talk to you about Godliness. And I would like to suggest to you that is our assignment. A lot of christians today are working on the wrong assignment. We’re working hard. We’re putting in all the effort we think we can put in. And it’s just not working. Everything is coming up. F We’re failing in our lives. Were failing in. Our priorities were failing in our families. We’re failing in our commitments, were failing while working hard. And I’d like to suggest to you that is because much of what we’re doing is not tied to the assignment we’ve been given. He wants you to see him at a level. You’ve never seen it before. So, the question on the floor is, how bad do you want it? The mystery of Godliness, verses 14 to 16 of first timothy chapter three Yeah. He says, I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long, but in case I am delayed. I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God. The pillar and support of the truth by common confession. Great is the mystery of Godliness. He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the spirit seen by angels proclaimed among the nations believed on in the world taken up to glory, Verse 16 introduces us to the Great Mystery of Godliness. He calls it a common confession that is agreed on by the church. So, what I am getting ready to share with you is to be true of all of us is to be our common confession. It is to be what we all ascribed to. He said in: verse 15. That this agreement that I’m getting ready to discuss that we should all ascribe to affects our conduct, How one ought to conduct himself. It affects our our lifestyle. Because that is at the heart of godliness. Every person here today who is a true christian or to have as their aspiration to become more godly. That ought to be your aspiration. That ought to be your goal. Because that is the purpose of our redemption, not only to give us eternal life, but to grow us in God likeness or Godliness. And this ought to be our common goal and our common confession. What we’re what we’re all saying, speaking desiring and purporting, Let me first of all talk about the word mystery. He calls it a mystery. Not only does he call it a mystery in verse 16, he calls it a great mystery. So whatever this mystery is, it’s a big deal. It’s not a small thing because he calls it great. Yet he calls it a mystery In Verse nine of Chapter three, he says, but holding to the mystery of the faith. So there’s something mysterious going on here. Something that is hidden a mystery in the scripture is something that was concealed in the old testament that is revealed in the new testament. The old testament is the word of God incomplete because the bible was not finished with the writing of the old testament. There would be a whole new testament that would come and would fill in the blanks. That would give us the rest of the story about who God is and how God works. And it is called the Mystery. There are things in the old testament that you and I now know because we have the new testament that was hidden to them in the old testament, they either couldn’t see it at all, or couldn’t see it clearly because of what we call in theology. The progress of revelation, meaning God did not reveal all he wanted man to know. At one sitting. He didn’t tell them all at one time. The Bible was not written as one book by one author at one time. The Bible was written over 1600 years, by 40 different authors over time. Because God revealed things in stages, based on what that group needed to know at that given time for God’s given purpose. The old testament is what God gave to give the introduction to what he fully wanted to reveal that you and I now have access to. That he calls the mystery of Godliness. Let me go a little deeper in this. The old testament testament is a covenant is an agreement is an arrangement that God had with people and then he comes with the new testament. So let’s pause for a moment to go into this a little bit deeper And ask you to hold your finger here. But turn your bible to hebrews. Chapter eight Just flip over a few pages and you’ll run straight into Hebrews Chapter eight. We’re coming right back to Timothy in a moment, But hebrews chapter eight. There’s so much here, Verse six. But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry by as much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant which he has enacted on better promises, verse 10. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days says the Lord, I will put my laws into their minds. I will write them on their hearts, I will be their God, They will be my people and they shall not teach uh and they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizens and everyone, his brother saying, know the Lord for all, will know me from the least to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their iniquities. I will remember their sins no more. And he said a new covenant. That is a new testament. He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. Now follow me. He says, this new testament is better than the old testing. And not only is the new covenant, New testament better than the old testament. The new testament covenant makes the old covenant obsolete. It makes it old. That’s why it’s the old testament. So the only way you can really understand the old testament is by knowing the new testament without the new testament. The old testament will stay cloudy and hidden. Because remember, a mystery is something concealed in the old, revealed in the new. So, if you don’t have the revealed in the new, you’re living with the concealed in the old And so what you wind up with? If all you have is the old testament are nice bible stories without understanding what they mean for you today, Because the mystery is concealed in the old. It’s revealed in the new and the new is better at the heart of this mystery. This hidden thing in the old that’s now been revealed in the new is Godliness. He says, it is the mystery of Godliness. What was concealed in the old That’s now revealed in the new. Is this new way of becoming Godly. When I read you hebrews, you should have noticed two words that I used over and over again that God used them. Chapter eight, verses 10 and following, he says, I will, I will, I will, I will, I will. Okay, in the old testament, it was more like you. Better you. Better you. Better you, better you better I in the old testament. It was Do do do do do do you got to do this. You gotta do that. You better do that. You better do that. And so much of it was driven by the negative. Let’s take the 10 commandments. Okay, thou shalt not. Thou shalt not. Thou shalt not. Thou shalt not. Thou shalt not. It was telling you what you do and it was not only telling you what to do, it was telling it to you negatively. It was not not not not not in the old testament. Doo doo doo doo doo In the new testament. Dun, dun, dun, dun dun. He now introduces the mystery of godliness to be a person. He goes on in verse 16, he leads six things about jesus. First of all, he who was revealed in the flesh. That is the manifestation of God. In human terms, in physical frame, deity poured into humanity. We call it in theology the hyper static union, which means two natures in one person unmixed forever. To nature’s, jesus had a divine nature and he had a human nature. But these two natures are in one person. one minute he could say, I thirst. The next minute he can walk on water, one minute he could die. But then he can rise because you got two natures in one person unmixed forever. That’s why you sometimes called the Son of God, sometimes called the Son of Man because he bears both natures. He was secondly vindicated in the Spirit. He was vindicated in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit said, this is my beloved Son, in whom I’m well pleased. The Holy Spirit was there during his temptation. The Holy Spirit was there with his resurrection. It goes on to say he was seen by angels, seen by angels at his birth, seen by angels at his temptations, seen by angels and the God of Yosemite, angels were there at the death, Angels were there to move the stone when he rose from the dead, and angels were there when Jesus stepped on the cloud and rose up to heaven validation heavens validation of the uniqueness of jesus christ. He goes on, he says, proclaimed among the nations, Jesus has never written a book, but more books have been written about him than any other individual in human history. He never wrote a song. Yet more songs are sung about him than any other person in human history. The whole world has to be confronted with jesus christ. He goes on to say believed on in the world. Of course Christianity has spread worldwide. Take it up to glory. That is the exaltation of jesus christ. He lists these six things to say that the mystery of godliness is centered in the uniqueness of jesus christ. That’s his point. The mystery of Godliness is tied to the uniqueness of jesus christ. And if that uniqueness is missing, the mystery stays hidden because a mystery is something hidden in the old testament that is revealed in the new testament, that is the uniqueness of jesus christ. He is, if you will the master key that unlocks the mystery door of Godliness and that raises the question how turn with me a couple of pages over to titus chapter two, titus chapter two for the verse 11, for the Grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodly nous, here’s our word and worldly desires which is the opposite of Godliness and to live sensibly righteously and Godly forward again in this present age, when he says, the Grace of God has appeared, he is referring to the appearance of jesus christ in history. The Bible says the law came by Moses John Chapter one. But Grace and Truth came by Jesus Christ. He says in 2nd Timothy chapter one verses 9 and 10 that the grace of God came by Jesus Christ. So here it is, stick with me. The mystery of Godliness concealed in the old but revealed in the new is the entrance upon the scene of jesus christ bringing the Grace of God with him for the grace of God has appeared that is has been made manifest. Grace is always without exception free. You can’t buy it. You can’t earn it, you can’t pay for it, you don’t deserve it. It’s what God gives away. Okay, Grace is always given Jesus christ brought grace out of the shadows. Now here is where it gets tricky by the way. Second peter chapter three verse 18 says, grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord, jesus christ that is grow in your understanding of grace. A whole book in the bible was written about this, the book of Galatians because people were struggling with the two covenants, the old and the new and they were going back and forth. Old testament, sometimes new testament, sometimes old testament, sometimes new testament sometimes. And the bible says, If you go back and forth, you nullify the grace of God Galatians. Chapter two verse 21 He tells them stop nullifying, canceling out the Grace of God. Stop keeping the grace from flowing because if the grace is not flowing, Godliness is not occurring because the mystery of Godliness is tied to the flow of grace. So if you don’t understand grace or not accessing grace, you cannot become Godly or you’re trying to become Godly with the washing board and not with the washing machine. Grace is what God is free to do, and here is what grace does, he says, verse 12, it instructs us. So he calls grace a teacher instructing us to deny ungodly nous and to deny worldly desires and positively to live sensibly righteously and Godly in this present age, looking for the blessed hope and appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior. Notice jesus christ is called God and savior. Grace empowers what it demands. As I put it last week, batteries are included. The bible gives you instructions. The bible is a manual that gives you instructions. Let me tell you what the bible doesn’t give you power. It gives you information, but it doesn’t give you the power to pull it off. Which is why you can read the bible, study the bible, go to church and hear the bible preach and not change. That’s why over and over again, the bible says you cannot be transformed to Godliness by the law because all the law will do. All the dues and don’t of the bible will do is frustrate you because it’ll just make you feel guilty all the time. The grace of God. That is his supernatural provision. If that works in the old testament, God was with him. Mhm. In the new testament, when Jesus showed up, God was among them. And now that Jesus has risen, God is in them. Old testament is with the gospels among the church age. You and I now that jesus is no longer physically on earth within. That’s why Jesus sent the Holy spirit. He is your motor. So jesus christ, the grace of God has already situated you for Godliness. Second Corinthians 5 21. He who knew no sin became sin for us. That we might become the righteousness of God in him. He who knew no sin became sin for us. That we might become the righteousness of God. In him, on the cross. God took your sin and my sin. Mhm. And credited it on to jesus christ, jesus died for sin on credit, okay, because he never sinned. He died for our sins. But since he didn’t sin, how could he die for our sins? Credit God credited his sin our sin onto him. When you become a christian, God credits the righteousness of christ to us. And his righteousness is perfect righteousness because he never said so. He got all your sin. And when you accepted christ as savior, you got all his righteousness. Now watch this, jesus christ fulfilled all the demands of God perfectly, he said. I’ve come to fulfill all righteousness, he said, I’ve come to fulfill the law. The reason why you don’t hear anything about Jesus between the time he was born and the time he was 30 years old. We have no information in the scripture about him other than that little incident when he was 12 years old with the with the leaders in the temple. But those are silent years is because it took him 30 years to fulfill all 613 demands of the old testament. It took him 30 years to fulfill all righteousness to meet all the standards and qualifications of God that were in the old testament. He has met them all and he met them all perfectly. Okay, watch this now. Perfect jesus, revealed in the flesh. All those great things said about him. Perfect jesus is now in you. Perfect jesus. If you’ve accepted jesus as your sin, Beira is now in you. The mystery of godliness is a person. The person who is the basis of the mystery of godliness is now. And you okay how Godly is jesus? Perfect. So you have perfect righteousness. Perfect godliness mysteriously in dwelling in you. But you say, wait a minute I got perfection walking around inside of me. Well then why am I so imperfect? Why am I still struggling with this and that? And the other why if I’ve accepted christ and I have christ in me and my perfect. There’s only one reason because christ has not been sufficiently freed up to be himself in You. See when you receive christ, you receive christ in seed form. But you can stifle the expression of grace manifested in the presence of jesus christ. So that we don’t learn to live by grace because we don’t feed the seed. We feed the law. And all the law can do is condemn you. It can never help you. The bible says with the Law comes the knowledge of sin. You can read the 10 commandments and know what’s wrong. But the 10 commandments were never given to help you fix it. It was only given to show it christ being revealed in the flesh. Was given to fix it. So as christ expands within you. Godliness expands within you as christ as is restricted within you. Godliness is restricted within you. So you don’t need more programs. You need more of the expression of christ within you because he is the mystery of godliness. Mm hmm. The mystery of Godliness which is called great in scripture is the person and work of jesus christ. A mystery in the bible is something that was concealed in the old testament that is being revealed in the new testament with the coming of jesus christ. God was made manifest in human form. We call it the incarnation, the in flesh nous of God in the person of christ. Now we can see what Godliness looks like, how it can be modeled, how it functions because we have the perfect example in the person of christ. So if you want to see whether in your humanity you are increasing in your godliness. Look at the portrait of jesus as he lived, functioned, responded to his father in a way that demonstrated he was under the control of God and all that he said and did. And while we’re not jesus, we can increase and increasingly become more like jesus. It’s called christ likeness because the more like christ, you become the more Godly you are. Yeah. Mhm, mm hmm. Mhm. All right. I’m standing here in Alaska, one of the most glorious places in God’s great creation. And I want to invite you to join me in our urban alternative family for the Alaskan Cruise. We’re going to have a magnificent time in God’s word. And in God’s creation. We’re going to enjoy great fellowship, great fun, great food. And I’m looking forward to meeting and greeting you on r t u a Alaskan Cruise Register to be there. Can’t wait to be with you.

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Tony Evans Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and...

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