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               "GROWING IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST"

                         Seeking To Please God

INTRODUCTION

1. Remember that growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ requires...
   a. The development of eight graces
   b. In conjunction with each other
   c. With all diligence
   -- Where we gradually produce a Christ-like character

2. Reasons to grow in this knowledge include...
   a. Grace and peace are multiplied in this knowledge
   b. All things pertaining to life and godliness are provided through
      this knowledge
   c. Spiritual myopia and amnesia are avoided by this knowledge
   d. We will never stumble if we abound in this knowledge
   e. An abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom will be ours!

3. Thus the development of a Christ-like character...
   a. Begins with the foundation of faith (conviction and trust)
   b. To which we add the quality of virtue (striving for excellence)
   c. Manifested by increasing in knowledge (regarding God's will)
   d. To which we add the grace of self-control (mastering one's desires
      and passions)
   e. Along with the perseverance to bear up trials and temptations

4. As we continue with our text (2Pe 1:5-8), we see that we are to add
   godliness....
   a. Note that it is connected with perseverance
   b. We shall observe that this is a very logical connection

[As we've done previously, let's first seek to discern the meaning of
the word...]

I. THE DEFINITION OF GODLINESS

   A. THE GREEK WORD IS EUSEBIA...
      1. Literally, it means "to worship well", "to be very devout"
      2. Vine describes it as denoting "that piety which, characterized
         by a God-ward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to
         Him"
      3. ISBE describes it as "character and conduct determined by the
         principle of love or fear of God in the heart"
      -- We might summarize it as pious conduct done with a desire to
         please God

   B. CONTRASTED WITH HYPOCRISY...
      1. There is pious conduct or godliness that is hypocritical
         a. Against which Paul warned - 2Ti 3:1-5
         b. Displayed by those who are "lovers of pleasure" rather than
            "lovers of God"
            1) Such piety or godliness is just an outward form
            2) Done only to be seen by others, to impress them, for the
               purpose of self-glorification
         c. Against which Jesus warned - Mt 6:1-18
      2. True godliness is characterized by a "God-ward attitude"
         a. I.e., seeking to be seen and approved by God, not man
         b. Devoted to the will of God, desiring to please Him
      -- Unless we have this "God-ward attitude", any act of piety is
         simply hypocrisy

   C. CONNECTED WITH PERSEVERANCE...
      1. Perseverance (bearing up under trials) is commendable, if done
         for the right reason - cf. 1Pe 2:18-20
      2. The right reason to persevere is godliness!
         a. Persevering out of a desire to please God
         b. Not to please man or ourselves

[Therefore it is essential that we add godliness to perseverance, or we
will be bearing up under trials for all the wrong reasons!  There is
more to be said about...]

II. THE DEMAND FOR GODLINESS

   A. NECESSARY TO BE A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST...
      1. Remember that godliness is pious conduct done with a desire to
         please God
      2. Jesus had this desire to please His heavenly Father - Jn 8:29
      3. If we are to be Jesus' disciples, we must seek to please God,
         not men - Ga 1:10
      4. The apostles' taught the disciples that they might please God 
         - 1Th 4:1-2
      -- Unless it is for the purpose of pleasing God, all our piety is
         in vain!

   B. PROFITABLE FOR ALL THINGS...
      1. Paul wrote how godliness was profitable for all things - 1 Ti
         4:7-8; 6:6
         a. Profitable for the life that now is - cf. Mt 6:33; Mk 10:
            28-30
         b. Profitable for the life to come - cf. Mk 10:30; Ro 6:22
      2. Peter wrote of how it was beneficial in view of the things to
         come - 2Pe 3:10-14
         a. The universe, the earth, and all its works will be destroyed
         b. For this reason we should focus on holy conduct and
            godliness, which gives promise of the life to come (the new
            heavens and new earth)
      -- Godliness is the only true wealth worth striving for!

   C. A SOURCE FOR POWER...
      1. Paul warned about those with a form of godliness, but denying
         its power - 2Ti 3:5
         a. Implied is that there is true godliness
         b. And this true godliness contains "power"
      2. Indeed, if our conduct pleases God, He empowers us!
         a. He works in us as we strive to do His will - Php 2:12-13
         b. He strengthens us by His Spirit in the inner man - cf. Ep
            3:16
         c. With a power beyond comprehension - Ep 3:20
         d. Enabling us to stand strong in the strength of His might 
            - Ep 6:10-13
      -- Do we desire power from God in our daily living?  Then
         godliness is necessary!

[How does one go about the task of "adding" godliness to their life...?]

III. THE DEVELOPMENT OF GODLINESS

   A. REQUIRES EXERCISE...
      1. As Paul counseled Timothy - 1Ti 4:7-8
         a. Just as physical exercise provides benefit for healthy
            living
         b. Even more so, spiritual exercise provides benefit for godly
            living
      2. The type of spiritual exercise needed - cf. 1Ti 4:12-16
         a. Set a good example for others
         b. Give attention to reading (esp. the Word of God),
            exhortation, doctrine
         c. Make good use of your abilities and opportunities
         d. Focus your efforts on such things, and your progress will be
            evident
      -- As Peter would say, it requires "giving all diligence" - cf. 
         2Pe 1:5

   B. REQUIRES ABSTINENCE...
      1. From disputes and arguments over words - 1Ti 6:3-4
      2. From men who wrangle over words - 1Ti 6:5
      3. From materialism and the love of money - 1Ti 6:6-10
      -- Yes, we must flee these things, all the while pursuing
         godliness! - 1Ti 6:11

[Finally, a few thoughts about...]

IV. THE DISPLAY OF GODLINESS

   A. WE MUST GUARD OUR MOTIVES...
      1. Many people are pious, having a form of godliness, but for the
         wrong reason
         a. They view it as a means of gain - cf. 1Ti 6:5
         b. For some, to get wealthy
         c. For others, to get healthy
         d. For others, to get popularity
      2. There is only one proper motive for pious conduct
         a. To please God!
         b. This is the motive that pleases God
      -- The display of true godliness will be for one reason, to
         glorify God!

   B. WE MUST NOT DENY ITS POWER...
      1. Some have a form of godliness, but deny its power - cf. 2 Ti
         3:5
         a. They think that they can do it on their own
         b. They do not acknowledge the need for God's help
      2. As we seek to be godly, we must acknowledge God's help - cf. Ph
         4:13
         a. By His grace we can become what He wants us to be
         b. By His Spirit we can become godly - cf. Ro 8:13-14
      -- What degree of true godliness we may attain, is possible only
         with God's help!

CONCLUSION

1. It is God's desire that we live godly lives, and for this end we are
   told to pray:

   "...that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and
   reverence." - cf. 1Ti 2:1-3

2. It is our desire to please Him that sanctifies our conduct...
   a. Making our efforts holy conduct
   b. Rather than self-righteous acts done to earn salvation, impress
      others, or some other personal gain

3. Can we see why we must add godliness as we seek to grow in the
   knowledge of Christ?
   a. As we strive for excellence (virtue)...
   b. As we increase in knowledge...
   c. As we display self-control...
   d. As we bear up under trials (perseverance)...
   -- It is godliness (pious conduct seeking to please God) that ensures
      that our efforts will not be for the wrong reasons

May we therefore add godliness to perseverance as we seek to grow in
both grace and knowledge while waiting for our Lord's return:

   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,
   looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great
   God and Savior Jesus Christ," - Tit 2:11-13
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