28 Sept 2014 by Adeline Lum CM-
On 21st of September, Pastor Chin Choon Meow shared about pursuing godliness in Petaling Jaya Evangelical Free Church (PJEFC), based on the bible passage 2 Tim 3:10-17.
To put his sermon in context, he began by sharing briefly from 2 Tim 3:1-9 on the necessity to avoid godlessness. It is important to know the times in our days because immorality, unethical dealings, and hostility toward the Gospel – some expressions of godlessness – will increase. The crux of godlessness is lovers of self, lovers of money, and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. And godless people can be very religious. They exist in the church. And we are to avoid them because their godless character will be destructive not only to themselves but also to others.
Believers in Jesus are not only to avoid godlessness but also to pursue godliness. It is like taking off one’s dirty clothes so that one can put on fresh clothes. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 NIV, “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” As one pursues godliness, one’s life will be the Gospel that tells of God’s grace and truth that point others to Jesus as the Lord and Saviour.
What does it look like to pursue godliness? And what does it look like to encourage godliness in others. Pr Chin shared the need to imitate godly role model (v 10-13), and to obey Scriptures (v 14-17).
Imitate Godly Role Model (vv.10-13)
An effective way of learning something is by observation. For example, by observing a mechanic changing a punctured car tire, one will learn how do it the next time. Likewise, in our Christian life, one very important way to learn godliness is to have a role model to follow. The Apostle Paul held himself out as a godly role model to Timothy. He was in prison and was awaiting execution, and he wanted Timothy to know that God has been faithful to him.
There are three things that one can imitate Paul:
1. Paul’s teaching (v 10: “follow my doctrine …”).
The teaching of God’s Word is very foundational to the life of the church and to the individual Christian. Psalm 19 tells about the perfection and beauty of God’s Words.
7The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
(Psalm 19:7-11 NKJV)
“As Christians, we may seem alive in our faith from getting involved in many church activities. But if we don’t have God’s Words, we will not survive in our Christian faith because there’s no root,” said Pr Chin.
2. Paul’s way of life (v 10).
Paul is no theorist. He is not a NATO – No Action Talk Only. His teaching and beliefs were consistent with his manner of life. And his purpose was to live for Christ (Phil 1:21). His faith was shown by trusting God in all circumstances. He was patient with difficult people. He loved God and his fellow human beings, and was willing to endure trying situations.
“Just as Paul’s lifestyle and conduct are determined by God’s Word, and not by the values of our secular society, similarly, our purpose in life is to do God’s will and to glorify Christ—both in our conduct and our service,” said Pr Chin.
3. Paul’s attitude towards persecution and sufferings.
He reminded Timothy of his times at three Galatian cities, namely, Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, which Timothy knew well. According to the accounts recorded in Acts 13:14-14:23, Paul and his companions were first well-received by the residents but they had to leave when the residents turned hostile toward them because of their Gospel message. And Paul goes on to say in v 12 that persecution will happen to all who truly commit themselves to obey Jesus:
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” The Lord Jesus Himself has made it clear in Matt 5:11-12, “11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Paul’s attitude towards persecution was stated in 2 Tim 1:11-12:
11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
And his godly character stands out in times of suffering as can be seen in 2 Cor 6:
3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. 4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
(2 Cor 6:3-10)
“The best way to know a person’s true character is to subject him to stress. Paul withstands stress in a godly manner. Though God rescued him from all the sufferings, He has not taken away the pain and suffering. Persecution and suffering is the lot of everyone who wants to be godly,” said Pr Chin.
And he carried on with two questions, “Do we have godly role model to imitate? A godly role model may be living or he can be someone who is already dead. The writing of one godly man that have affected my life positively and who has passed away was the late Rev John Stott. We also need to ask ourselves, “Are we godly role model for others to imitate?”
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