Godliness is the quality of God in the ordinaries of life — you don't have to be pious all of the time.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing all right today? Bless your heart. Oh, I hope so. Yes, it’s your friend, Bob Cook; I’m glad to be back with you. I look forward to these times when we can open up the Word of God, and share from it, and put a handle on it so that you can get hold of it for yourself.
God’s Word is forever true whether or not anyone reads or believes it, but it becomes of value to the individual when you put it to work in your own heart and life, and obey it. “Be doers of the Word,” says James, “And not hearers only deceiving your own selves.” If you read the Bible and don’t obey it, the only one you’re kidding is yourself. Everybody else knows the score about you. It’s one thing about spiritual fakery, it may deceive you, but it doesn’t fool other people. Interesting, isn’t it? [chuckle] Well, don’t be a spiritual fake, be real. Put the Word of God to work in your life.
What we’re doing in these days is to hit the high spots and recapping some of the precious truths that we found in 1 Timothy, before we go on to the study of some other portion of the Word of God. I’m looking now at the second chapter of 1 Timothy. To me, one of the outstanding truths is the emphasis on the prayer life. Paul says, “I exhort therefore, at first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. For kings and for all that are in authority, that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in Godliness and honesty.” This is what God wants, this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior.
God wants you to have a peaceable life in Godliness and honesty, that’s what He’d like to have for you. So you pray in that direction, your praying involves then not yourself, but those who are in authority over you as well. You remember when we were looking at this passage in some detail, we stopped and thought about the different words there, supplications. When you come as a supplicant, you’re asking for something that you may not deserve and most certainly cannot work up for yourself-you don’t have any resources of your own. When you come with a supplication, you’re asking God to do something for you by His grace.
And that, of course, is the only basis on which you get anywhere with God, “By grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Supplications. Prayer has to do… the word prayer has to do with worship. Worshiping God, being quiet before Him. Don’t always have a laundry list and then dash away after you’ve finished listing the things you want God to do for you. And then he uses the word ‘intercession,’ and that means ‘prayer for others.’ Oh, how we need that factor in our praying.
A small thought here: when you pray for other people, be sure you don’t preach to them in your prayers. I’ve had many a private chuckle in church meetings of one sort and another, where somebody would be preaching to another person in his prayer. [chuckle] I remember an occasion, it must have been back in 1948, that’s pretty long ago, isn’t it? Hey, 40 years; ’48, ’88. But they were having a prayer meeting, and there had been some question about what I was supposed to do about a matter, as I recall, I don’t remember the substance of it anymore.
But in the business session, there had been some question about some sort of procedure, and then we went to prayer and I remember and a well-known evangelist got to praying and he said, “Now, Lord, help our brother to understand that this sort of a thing needs this, and this, and this, and this.” And he was preaching to me in his prayers. [chuckle] I was chuckling away. I don’t know if God laughed, but I got a hearty private chuckle out of the fact that this man was giving it to me in his prayers. [chuckle] Don’t do it that way, beloved.
Intercession means you get under the other person’s burden until you can feel it. You become vulnerable to his or her hurts, until they hurt you. You learn to weep when the other person is weeping, and you bring all of that burden, and all of that hurt, and all of those tears, and all of those needs, you bring them to God in prayer as your own, for the sake of the other person; that’s intercession. You don’t really pray for somebody else effectively until you’ve felt the weight of his own burden, and made it your own. Intercession. Then, your prayer life needs also to be marked by thankfulness, giving of thanks.
How long has it been since you thanked God for anything, aside from just routine thanks that’s part of the formula? A friend of mine always starts by saying, “Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art.” I don’t know if that means anything to him, but that’s part of his formula. He never prays anything without starting with that. We have little formulas, don’t we? We interlard our praying with the words ‘Lord,’ and ‘dear Heavenly Father,’ and ‘bless’ and so on. We’ve got little formula words, stereotypes that we use while we’re thinking what to say next. And that isn’t wrong, I guess. There’s nothing wrong about it, except that it doesn’t give you very much mileage, spiritually.
How long has it been since you thanked God specifically for anything? You fellas who’ve being married a while? Get down on your knees and start thanking God for all the nice things about your better half. Do you ever thank God that she’s a good cook? If she is, that is. [chuckle] This man said, “My wife’s a good cook, but we got the noisiest garbage in the block, tin cans.” [chuckle] Thank God for the fact that she keeps a nice home.
Have you ever thanked God that she’s faithful to you and you don’t have to worry about her? Have you ever thanked God for the fact that she’s loved you in spite of the faults that you have? Loved you, as the man says, “warts and all”? Do you ever thank God for that? Well, try it, you know. Try it.
Thankfulness. Thank God for the fact that He’s led you… I’ve got so much to be thankful for. Why, my mother, together with two other ladies, prayed for me at 10:00 every morning during the months she carried me under her heart, before I was born. And she went off to Glory before I could remember her. I was 16 months old, I think, when she died. So, I don’t really remember her. I’ll meet her in the glory when I get there; but she prayed for me.
And my father and my sister, who helped to raise me as a little boy and taught me the Scriptures. I learned to read out of my mother’s old Bible. Picked out the little words, first of all, and then got bigger ones, and finally learned to read, and then memorized Scripture verses; encouraged to do so and helped along the way, thank God for that.
Had a good start in reading, writing and arithmetic. My father was janitor at a commercial school in Cleveland. Some of you old timers may remember the Spencerian Commercial School; gone now I guess. But, in those days, it was at 18th and Euclid. That’s a parking lot now, I was back to look at it, where we used to live. My father made a deal with some of the teachers in the school to tutor me in handwriting and in arithmetic and in reading, and some of the other things, so that I got a running start in academic matters. Started, as a matter of fact, in the third grade; and was there for about three months and then went on to fourth grade, was there six months, skipped the fifth and sixth altogether, and was on into the seventh grade before you know it. [chuckle] Oh, that was something.
Thank God for the things that He’s done for you in your life. Thankfulness. Thank God for wife, and husband, and children, and job. Thank God for the fact that you’re reasonably healthy, if you are; and if you aren’t, if you’re anchored to a wheelchair, thank God that you still can think, and pray, and talk on the telephone, and write a letter. Lots to thank God for, isn’t there?
Yeah, ingratitude is the crowning sin of the heathen. And I’m afraid, beloved, that sometimes it’s the sin of the saints as well. Paul says, “I want you to pray.” Supplication, come with your need; as a bankrupt person that doesn’t have any resources and has to depend on the grace of God. Worship before the God concerning whom the angels say, “Holy, holy, holy.” Get under the burden of other people until you feel the weight of their woe and weep their tears with them; and then be thankful to God. Good idea? Yeah, a real good idea.
Now, he says, “Pray for kings, and for all that are in authority.” How long has it been since you prayed for Gorbachev or Deng Xiaoping? How long has it been since you prayed for the leaders of our own country? Prayed for them, I mean, that is to say, something more than a routine mention that the pastor makes in his Sunday morning prayer, “Lord, bless the President and the Cabinet, and the Houses of Congress.” I mean, really prayed for them.
You live in a town? How long has it been since you prayed for the mayor, the chief of the police, the fire chief? Huh? Oh, you say, “Well… ” Yes, I mean it. He says ‘all that are in authority.’ All, not some. Your prayer life ought to take in praying for people who are running things. Why? Because God knows how to move them so that they obey His Will, whether or not they know Him.
He said to a heathen king one time, “I girded thee though thou hast not known me, Cyrus.” “The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord,” the Psalmist said. Then he said, “Well, the reason is we wanna lead a quiet and peaceable life in Godliness and honesty.” Quiet and peaceable has to do with circumstances. Godliness and honesty has to do with the people in the circumstances, and we need to pray about both of these things. We need to pray that God will make us the right kind of people in the circumstances. Pray that God will make us Godly people. Godliness is the quality of God in the ordinaries of life. People should feel God’s Presence when you walk into a room, beloved. That’s the norm, that’s not the unusual. That’s the normal thing.
Godliness is the quality of God in the ordinaries of life-you don’t have to be pious all the time. I often say, if you see a person who’s always pious you have to watch him because he’s apt to lie about other things too. You don’t have to be pious all the time and look very solemn and gloomy and a little bit ill in the effort to look religious, don’t do it. You can be perfectly natural, and hardy, and wholesome, and thoroughly human, but be full of God. Godliness is the quality of God, the life of God, the personality of God, manifest in your life in the ordinaries of life. Godliness and then honestly, that is people can believe you when you say good morning. You don’t have to finagle your way through life because you’re full of God, serving God, and accountable to God. And then pray about the circumstances and God can change them as well; prayer life. It’s a good thing there, isn’t it? Ah, we’ll go on next time we get together.
Dear Father today, make us praying people who live out our faith day by day, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Til I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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