Profitability Of Righteousness
There will be a reflection in eternity of the kind of life we've lived here on Earth.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? You doing all right today? Oh, I trust so, bless your heart. And my heart goes out to some of you whom I know are going through the wringer right now. You’re having a rough time of it. But, do remember that God has said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” He hasn’t brought you this far to dump you now, beloved. So look up and trust Him and let Him see you through, even this day. He will. I promise, because He promised. Yes, He did.
You and I are looking at the fourth chapter, first Timothy, where Paul has just been saying to Timothy, “Don’t get off on some detour where you spin your wheels uselessly and use up time and effort on things that don’t count.” That’s what he means when he says, “Refuse profane and old wives’ fables.” Then he says, “Exercise thyself rather unto Godliness.”
Someone has pointed out in one of my commentaries, that this matter of exercise applies not only to athletics and to proper disciplining of the body, but also the matter of Godliness. “It grows,” says Dr. Griffith, “by use. Exercise thyself unto Godliness. We grow patient by being patient. We become industrious by refusing to be indolent and by working hard. We learn to love best by loving. We become religious by praying and communion with God.”
So, begin to make God’s law a ruling influence and power in your life. Think out what His will is about. Say, that temptation, which is coming to you tomorrow, then keep to His will and pass the temptation by! This is the discipline of Godliness.
“Godliness is profitable,” he continues, “For the body, disease, weakness and morbidness are far more the devil’s work than God’s. It’s profitable for the mind, He who ordered the planets in their orbits and the seasons in their unvarying round has not left the human mind without its law. Godliness brings man into harmony with the author of His Being. Godliness advances faith and helps the affections.” This is Dr. Griffith’s word on exercising yourself to Godliness. You grow godly by working at it, is his point. And a pretty good point it is, wouldn’t you agree?
I looked to see what Spurgeon might say about this matter. He said, concerning the benefit that Godliness bestows in this life, first he says, “It must always be right with the creature when the creature is at one with its Creator. Godliness puts our will into conformity with the Divine will. I’m not happy necessarily because I’m in health, but I’m happy if I’m content to be out of health, if God wills it.” Spurgeon says, “I’m not happy because I’m wealthy, but I’m happy if it pleases me to be poor, because it pleases God that I should be. One with the Creator. Godliness.”
Second thing he says, “The Christian starting in life is best accoutred for this life by Godliness. It’s like a vessel fittingly stored for all the storms and contrary currents that may await it. A Christian is like a soldier who must go to battle, protected by the best armor that can be procured.”
Third, “For the Christian, all things that happen to him work for good. Is not this a rich part of the promise of the life that now is?” And fourth, “The Christian enjoys his God under all circumstances.” And fifth, “I’m sure you’ll agree with me,” Spurgeon says, “That the genuine possessor of Godliness has the promise of the life that now is, and his freedom from those cares and fears which rob life of its luster. And then, he is thus not only free from care but he is free from the fear of men.” And finally, seven, “Godliness frees him from the fear of death.” That’s Charles Haddon Spurgeon talking about the benefit of Godliness.
Well, that’s all true, and then we’ve only scratched the surface, haven’t we? Only just begun. Godliness is profitable unto all things, not only the life that now is, but also, said he, of that which is to come. Who can tell the benefits of a Godly life when we get over yonder? Certainly our Savior will be able to say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Certainly there will be rewards. “Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be,” the Savior said. Certainly there will be an accounting. “We must all stand before the judgement seat of Christ that every man may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” That’s not for salvation, that’s for reward. You know that. So there will be a reflection, beloved, in eternity, of the kind of life we’ve lived here. This much you can be sure of. There will be a reflection in some way in eternity of the kind of life we’ve lived here.
So Paul says, “Godliness is profitable not only for this life.” Makes you right with your Creator, makes you right with your circumstances, keeps you happy in spite of things, gives you the knowledge that everything is working together for good, frees you from the fear of men and frees you from the fear of death. Oh, that’s good.
But he says, “Not only that, but also of the life which is to come.” There will be a day when God turns on that video recorder of the universe. So you don’t be surprised if God plays your life back to you in 3D color, because the God who made it possible for a man’s mind to conceive of capturing a scene on tape magnetically, all God has to do is to turn on the tape recorder of the universe. No energy is ever lost, we know that. And God will simply bring back those sounds, those voices, those scenes, and play them back to you on Judgement Day. Oh, make sure that you’re under the shelter of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at that point.
If I’m talking to somebody right now who’s been maybe religious but never committed yourself to the Savior, I have to tell you, beloved, you are heading straight for a Judgement Day where there won’t be mercy, there will be justice, because that’s what you’ve asked for. Only those who trust the Lord Jesus Christ are under the mercy of God. And we then can come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. We can be sure that although we’ll stand at the judgement seat of Christ, it won’t be for salvation, it’ll be to evaluate the life we’ve lived by the grace of God.
Oh, my friend, if you don’t know Jesus today, turn to Him even now. Talk to Him. The Bible says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Call on Him, say, “Lord Jesus, save me. Make me a child of God. Forgive my sins. I open my heart and life to thee,” tell Him that. And as you do, the blessed Spirit of God will witness with you that God has indeed forgiven you, and you’ve become a child of God. Oh, this is the message we have for today. Godliness is profitable.
You don’t see people who’ve lived a sinful life who are dying in the AIDS ward, the VD ward, the TB ward, the cirrhosis of the liver alcoholics ward, you don’t see them being thankful for the kind of life they’ve lived. If they think about it at all, it’s with deep regret, you know that. The people who are profitable, the people who are happy, the people who are well-adjusted, the people who are making the most of life right now are those who are in right touch with Jesus Christ. Godliness is the quality of God in the ordinaries of life. Make sure that that’s true of you. Then you’ll know that you’re heading for an eternity where all of the blessings of that wonderful eternal life with your Savior will reflect the life that you lived here on Earth by His grace.
Now he says, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, and therefore we both labor and suffer reproach because we trust in the living God who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe. These things command and teach.” This is a faithful saying, “Godliness is profitable.” That’s what that saying was.
And the second saying is, “The living God is the Savior,” that’s the second saying, of those that believe. He says, “These things command and teach.” Now, what is the result of believing this? He says, “We labor and suffer reproach.”
There are two things that you and I must never forget about the Christian life. Number one, you need to work at it. Labor is a hard work kind of word. We labor and suffer reproach. This word ‘labor’ means to get things done, to do things, get ’em done. Again, I have to ask a question, and I’m including myself in it, beloved. How hard are we working to get things done for God? Now, my life is full of a multitude of duties. I’m busier now than I’ve ever been, it seems. And that’s all right with me. I need challenges and deadlines in order to function best, I think.
But boy, I’m busy with things to do. And yet, just to back off a little and look at Bob Cook’s life, I have to ask the question, how much of this is being done to advance the will of God? How much of it counts for eternity? It’s good to do that every now and again.
I did this once when I was in the pastorate. I found myself unreasonably busy with all sorts of meetings, and banquets, and breakfasts, and lunches, and dinners, and committee meetings, and all sorts of things. The pastorate was in a small town, and small towns can be very, very busy with things which are not always eternal, you may say. Well, I took a whole week to do an inventory of my life, seriously considering everything I did to see whether or not it had any relationship to the eternal will of God.
And I came out with a list of things that could very well be chopped off, some of them involving activities in the church. Now, don’t do what I did. I made a mistake. I announced on a Sunday morning some of the things that I thought could very well be left aside because they didn’t have any eternal value. [laughter] We had a deacons’ meeting in the aisle right after the benediction, I assure you, and they set the young preacher straight. [laughter] Well, don’t do that. That’s a mistake.
But do evaluate your life, beloved, do evaluate your life. And do make a change in your life in the direction of working at serving your blessed Lord in terms of things that count for eternity. Now, the other side of it is suffer reproach, we’ll get at that that the next time we get together, because that’s part also of the price of being a New Testament Christian.
Dear Father today, help us to work at being Godly, and help us to work at doing thy will in Jesus’ name I ask this, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing!
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