Bro. Mike Miller
|Well, well, well, this is going to be
interesting! I don't think I even need to read my verses cause I think Bob has read them
Can I just throw my two cents worth in on that subject, too? Anything that you have to visualize and imagine in your mind and conjure up images, that's not of faith, that's not real. What we have is something real. You don't have to imagine and dream yourself in a position somewhere. I'm glad that I can stand here tonight and say that I never had to do that. You know, I've never had to resort to that to get assurance or help.
You may think it's kind of boring and I know to some of you it is. But you know, it is important. Just a few years are going to roll around here and Preacher isn't going to be here anymore. Some of the rest of them are going to be off the scene. These young people, these children, John's kids, these other kids around here...who's going to preach to them? Do you want them to hear the truth or do you want them to hear all this junk that we're talking against here?
Well, if you don't perk up and listen and get what God's giving you here, you're not going to be able to tell the difference. You'll just be swallowed up with the rest of the world in all this nonsense. I want my kids to get something real. I really do. I hope you feel the same way.
Alright! I'm just going to start. I have a lot of verses to read, but like I said, Brother Bob has already read most of them so.... you'll recognize them!
Really, it's amazing to me what I've got here tonight. I've thought on this and studied and worked on it for weeks and it's amazing to me how this is going to complement what he just said.
Also, I realize from the start of this that I'm going to have to have God's help to get this across to you, because this is just something that is so simple, and you've heard it so much, but yet it's just overlooked. It just misses the mark somehow, and the truth of it doesn't grab you. Well, it grabbed me a few weeks ago and I just haven't gotten over it yet! And I hope that God will help me to get it across to your heart that way tonight.
Let's pray. Father, again Lord, we do thank you. Thank you for the Word of God. Thank you for the truth, and an anchor that we can hold to that's steadfast and sure; that doesn't change and that is our guide. We won't get confused on the way because we have this book to lead us and guide us and we can trust and lean on it with full confidence. And Lord, you know tonight as we stand here, that this message is going to be hard to really get across, and so Lord, I need your help. I pray for help, Lord. I know everybody's tired. I pray you'd energize them right now that they would perk up and listen and drink in the Word of God and understand what you'd have for them here tonight. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Well, I want to preach on "True Godliness". First, I would just like to say that salvation is not about doing good, but it's about being like God. Now, you know that's what godliness is! If you're godly, you're like God! If you're ungodly, that means that you're not like God! It's the restoration of sinful men to the image of God. It really is! It's the restoration of men that are corrupted by sin and broken fellowship. It's a restoration of that fellowship with God. It restores that image of God. That's what godliness is! Then, it restores the fellowship with God.
We, the sons of men, are given the power to become the sons of God. Now that's what it says in John chapter 1:12. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
Now, Jesus did not come to show us how to be a good person! That's what most religions teach. He was the great teacher. He was the leader. He taught us how to live. Well, now He did do that, but that wasn't His purpose in coming to this earth! He came to seek and to save that which was lost! But, in order to do that, he had to show us what God was like.
I've preached on the Atonement here so much, surely you remember. We stressed and stressed that Jesus came to reveal to man what God was really like, because sinful man had a distorted image of what God was like. You know they need to be reconciled. Man needs to be reconciled to God because man has messed up his mind with sin and he has a wrong conception of God! He has to be appeased and He has to be paid, and He has to be bought and all of that.
No! Man is the one who is messed up and man had to have his understanding straightened out and so Jesus Christ was the revelation of God to man. He showed us what God was like!
"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." John 1:18.
John 12:45 "And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me."
I didn't have the verse written down, but you know there, where at the end when Philip said, "Show us the Father." Jesus said, "Oh, Philip, how can you ask me that. You know all this time that I've been with you, if you've seen me, you've seen the Father!"
Hebrews: "Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"
Jesus came to reveal to us what God is like.
2Co 4:4 "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
And then, one more. Col 1:15 "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:"
So, He didn't come just to set a good example for us to live by. He came to show us the Father.
Now, if you're going to be a disciple of Christ, that means a learner and a follower. If you're going to be a disciple of Christ, what's your first job? To do good? To turn over a new leaf? To do the best you can? To get your hair cut? Is that your first order of business? Is that your first duty before God? Now, if you're going to be like Him, your life is going to have to show forth God and His character.People are going to have to see Jesus in you. Isn't that right? You say, "Oh, I've heard that before."
See what I mean? That's what I was talking about. I need God to help me so you'll get this, because it is really real! If we're going to be like Him, our lives must show people the Father. Just like Jesus' life did! That's what they're looking for. Isn't it?
You think, "Oh so-and-so was a godly old woman." What are you thinking about? Was it just the way she wore her hair? Or the way she wore her clothes? Is that what you think about? Well, now that does tell you something! But, godliness is more than that! Godliness is on the inside. A real godly person is one who makes you think of God! One who convinces you that there is a God in Heaven that does dwell in the hearts of His people! They'll say, "God is in him of a truth!" That's a godly person. The true expression of Christianity or Christian character, it's not doing good, but it's God-likeness!
Now, be careful here because the devil said, "I will be like the most high." But, he was talking about something else. You see, he was a Pentecostal. He said, "I want God's authority." He wanted God's authority. He didn't want God's character. He didn't want God's love and God's joy and God's peace and God's kindness and gentleness. No, he wanted God's authority! He wanted God's power! About all the religions of the world teach that. They teach some way to attain god-ship or be a god. You know the Mormons teach that's the end of it - you get to be a god... have your own planet. The eastern religions all teach the same thing; that by doing so many good works and doing all this, tying your legs in a knot and sitting in the mall, that will get you to be a god some day! But they're looking at power. They're looking at power and control - that way of being a god. Really! They're not looking to attain the character of our God. No! But that's what Jesus showed us! And that's what happens when a person really gets saved!
The true expression of Christian character is not doing good, but being like God! Now, if you're like God; you'll do good because He is good and He's kind to the unthankful and the evil.
They tempt men; these other religions do, by leading them to believe they can be like God in power and authority. Isn't that what the devil offered Eve? Isn't that what he said in the garden? "Well, God just knows that the day you eat of that fruit, you'll be like Him! I mean you'll be as gods! Don't you want to be that way? Don't you want to have that power? Don't you want to have that influence and that authority over everything? Wouldn't you just like to be able to make things move by your thought power and all that?"
That's all out there now, isn't it? In the world and in the movies and in the books, that's in the schools. That's what they're teaching isn't it?
Well, that grabs everybody's attention. Same old lie from the devil that's been from the beginning, but the true gospel makes it possible for us to be like God in His character. Are you listening to me?
We're told what true godliness is. Now, listen to this verse. It's in 1 Timothy 3:16. It says, "And without controversy." There is no arguing about this! Who's going to argue with this? "Great is the mystery of godliness:" Here it is, "God was manifest in the flesh," that's the first point of true godliness.
You want to know what godliness is? What the mystery of godliness is?
God was manifest in the flesh!
This whole verse is just like an outline for a real good message! But, I'm not going to preach this whole verse.
"God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."
It's a pattern for the life of a believer. First thing mentioned is that He shows us what God is like. He showed us what God was like while in a body of flesh!
Now, that's the mystery of godliness. Showing and revealing and displaying God to others while in this body of flesh is what true godliness is.
Remember that we talked last night about circumcision and cutting off the flesh and being "dead to sin" and all that. Well, they want to make the flesh the obstacle to our godliness. But, true godliness is glorifying God, revealing God to others, in this flesh! In this body! "Glorify God in your body," is what it says!
We can be godly because of Christ. It is Christ "in us" the hope of glory!
Bob started reading my verses and I thought, "Man what in the world is he doing?"
It is Christ in us the hope of glory. Now, that isn't something that you have to imagine! When He moves in, you will know it! You won't need somebody to say, "Now look at this verse and you have to imagine yourself, now just dream it,... think it,... believe it with all your heart,... believe, believe, believe, believe,... imagine it's true and it'll be true, name it and claim it."
No, it's not like that at all! When the Holy Ghost moves in, you'll know it! You won't have to have any assurance. You'll have the witness in yourself!
"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:"
Now, you may ACT somewhat godly without him. But, you cannot BE godly without Him. If the spirit of God lives within you, you will show divine characteristics... in your life. Not just good human characteristics! Not just good works, not just a good old boy, not just a good old man, or a good old woman. No, they're not going to think that about you. They're going to think - "God."
Can you run through your mind and think of people you've known that you can put in those two categories? "Good old man! He was a good old man. Boy, he'd do anything in the world for you!" But there are others that you just can't really identify them accurately that way. You have to say, "They were godly." Big difference!
God's life in us expresses itself as God's life, not our life, trying to be godly. See, I'm saying a whole lot there and I don't know how many of you are really letting it soak in, but a person who's saved, their body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. God does come and make His dwelling place in here. He is going to be the Lord of this kingdom. "The kingdom of God is within you!" It's not far off somewhere. The secret of a Christian's life is that the supernatural becomes natural in him because of the grace, the influence, of God.
People just say, "I can't live it, that's why I'm not getting saved." Well, you can try all you want to without being saved and without God in there, but when God gets in there, oh, it's a whole different story! It's not my life anymore. It's His life. My life's gone. Dead! Buried! I'm risen anew to walk with Christ.
It will be your nature, not just something brought about by your own efforts, these godly traits in your life. You won't just be mean half the time and kind once in a while! Kindness will be your nature! Love will be your nature. Well, that's making it pretty narrow, isn't it? It's evidenced in practical everyday details of your life. Not in mountaintop experiences and emotional highs. Not just at camp meeting time. Not just revival time. Not just on Sunday morning. When times are rough, when there's nobody to help you, God is still there. He doesn't come and go and come and go. When He comes....He stays!
"But, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith."
Let me just back up and hit one or two of those as we go by there. If God is really in you, there's going to be fruit. Love is number one! You're just going to love people that you didn't used to love. Can you testify to that tonight? I remember when before I got saved there were certain people at church made me sick! They did. They just made me sick. "They think they're somebody. They think they're something. They think they're better than me! And I know what they are."
Boy! After I got saved I found that those people - I cared for them. Some of the same faces that I used to say made me sick, now I hold very dear in my memory. The reason that changed in here was because God moved in! And that's fruit of the spirit of God living in me! Love
Joy, - not depression! If God lives in there, how in the world, how in the world, if God is living in there, how can depression and gloom be our walk? Woe! Woe! No! If He's in there, there's hope! I know the Preacher has gotten criticized a lot about his stand on suicide, but now listen to me. How in the world can you think of it any other way? Huh? I know times can get rough. Things can get mighty, mighty bad, but when you have God IN you, there is help there! And it's ever-present, there!
I told the Preacher today, "You know, I've had a pretty rough year. But, every time I got to feeling sorry for myself, I'd think about Danny and Lisa. And I'd say, 'No, you don't have any reason to be complaining. Just hush.'" Isn't that right?
God is there to help us. And there is fruit there if He is in there. Peace, not turmoil, not trouble. Am I right? Is that right? Am I telling you the truth?
Longsuffering... not that hair trigger! Think about this next time your driving through all this traffic now!
"Gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."
The Bible says so!
Salvation is about God moving in and taking over this body and turning it into a temple. Somebody sang a song one time and said it was a tavern, but now it's a temple. Think about that. God moves in...
"Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands."
No, you know where He's dwelling? Think about that! Have you ever just looked in the mirror and actually sat down and thought about that seriously?
You think of God and He's way off beyond the stars. No, no, He's right here! The reality of it! When you look at your brother in Christ, you're not looking at a body of flesh. You're looking at a temple of God! God's in there!
Boy, it would make a lot of difference how you'd treat Him if you'd realize that and believe that! He's in control and it isn't just us trying to be like Him. It's His life in us that animates us and guides our life.
I know Brother Dennis used to always quote this verse
Acts 17:28: "For in him we live, and move, and have our being;"
Now, that isn't a positional thing, Bob, out there in never-never land. We're in union. We can't move without Him. He's in here. He's our life. Everything we do... it's by His power and His strength and His guidance.
Luke 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
1 Corinthians 15:47 "The first man is of the earth,"...
Now, I know that's the resurrection chapter and all that, but listen. Did you ever catch that what He said? Listen closely.
"The first man is of the earth: the second man is the Lord."
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
So, the life that I'm living is not mine! It's Christ living in me! I'm a vessel for Him to use! I'm a member of His body. He's the head! It's not this brain that's supposed to make the decisions and do all the deciding! It's Him! He decides. I follow!
"Where He leads me I will follow", we sing that song but... most people really don't mean it.
Romans 8:10-14 "And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit..."
In other words, it can't be both ways. Christ can't be in you and the body alive to sin!
Christ in you... your body is dead to sin! Dead because of sin. "But the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
You've heard it said, "I'm in the flesh. This is all I got."
Well, if Christ is in there, that old body is dead. This is a new one... quickened... by the spirit!
"In Him we live and move and have our being." This body is moved and controlled by Him who lives in me if I'm really in Christ!
You know, why should we worry about our position when we ought to worry more about His? Is He in here? That's much more important! We can tell that for sure! Now, what's way beyond the stars and yonder, we can't see. We don't know. We just have to kind of imagine that, but boy, what's in here - we know!
"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
Now, we become a part of Him and our life is hidden. That's what the Bible says in Colossians 3:3-4.
"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
Now, what do you think He means when He says, "Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ, in God? When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."
Our life is gone! Didn't Jesus say that if you would save your life, you are going to lose it? Didn't he say that if you "lose your life for my sake, you'll find it - the same shall find it?"
The Bible is consistent all the way through on this matter. You're dead!
They say, "Well, I'm not dead."
Well, then you have problems! You have bad problems! You don't understand something! Something's not right. If you're not dead to sin, you're in big trouble - spiritually!
They said you're dead in trespasses and sins. Well, you are dead to the things of God. The lost man is fully alive to sin, but he is dead to God. He doesn't care. He doesn't listen. He can go to church and hear a good message... he doesn't hear anything! There are people in here tonight, probably not hearing anything.
Dead to the things of God, but when that man dies and the new man rises, which is Christ in you... he hears the things of God. Now, he's dead to sin. Those things do not have that pull on him anymore. They're not able to yank his chain and make him obey any more. No, not like it was! Now, we are a part of Him and our life is hidden.
Marriage is sort of a picture of the same thing. We know it is. I mean it's not complete but it is a thing to look at. Of course, in our day we have a lot of people who get married without any regard for God, and so this doesn't fit with them, but that's because we're living in a reprobate, Sodom and Gomorrah day when nothing's right and they've distorted God's order through everything. But the way it's supposed to be, when a man and woman get married, that woman gives up her identity and takes the man's name. They become one! "And God called their name, Adam." That's where that came from.
It's the same thing when we are saved and Christ comes in. We lose our identity. I belong to Him. "It's Christ in you the hope of glory." My life is hid in Him! I don't have a life outside of Him.
"Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created."
The two became one. One mind. One will. One purpose. You want a marriage to work; you better do it the right way. It's going to have to be that way. Two become one - it's one mind, one will, one purpose. You have to agree!
Do you think you're going to get saved and walk with God and fight with Him all the time? And always have a different opinion than He does? No way! I don't believe it happens that way! There's a form of godliness, but it's not the real thing and it's as phony as can be.
II Timothy 3:5 says, "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
They deny the power of godliness. Now, they want to say, "I'm a Christian." They want to say, "I belong to Christ and I belong to the church" and all that. But they deny the power thereof! They don't believe that godliness is stronger than the pull of sin and the world. They don't believe that it's enough to pull you out of this cesspool of a world that we're living in. "A Form of godliness, denying the power thereof." They may look like a Christian. They may be able to quote the Bible like a Christian. They may have a degree from a Bible college. They may have their baptism certificate. They may be a member of a church, but they deny the power of godliness!
Do you believe that godliness has power? Boy, I do! You better believe that true godliness - has power! You're not going to run into a godly person, a truly godly person, and be the same! You never forget it! Oh, if we could get a hold of that! I'm telling you tonight if we could just get a hold of that power that is there for us as Christians when God is really dwelling in us!
But they deny the power of true godliness. There are a few people that made a great difference in my life. I'm sure most of you would say the same thing, tonight wouldn't you?
Well, they deny the power of God - of godliness - because they esteem the lust of the flesh more than the power of the indwelling spirit of God. They are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth because they esteem the lust of the flesh and temptation more than the power of God to deliver them. They're never able to come to the knowledge of the truth!
"Oh, you know, this old flesh is so strong. And the pull of the world is so strong and temptation is so strong."
Well greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world! Who's that talking about?
They're never able to come to that knowledge of the truth. Therefore they mislead others and many are deceived and damned because of their distorted and false teachings. And because they don't crucify the old man and put him to death and bury him, there's no resurrected life in them! There's no real life there that they can say, "I know what he's talking about right now" because they have not done the first steps. We must deny ourselves; put that old man to death, bury him, and be resurrected with Christ! They haven't done that.
So, in light of the fact that God now dwells in our body, how can anyone support the idea that men continue in sin? How can you believe that God dwells in us and argue that. I'd like to find the Independent Baptist who would argue with the fact that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer! I'd like to find one that would argue about that! They won't argue about that! They'd be a nut to try to argue about that! He does indwell us!
So, He IS indwelling us. How blasphemous then it is to say anything to defend or excuse sin in the life of a Christian. It's almost like saying, "God himself is doing the sinning." He's our life! They wouldn't disagree with most of what I've said so far. Christ is our life. Most of what I've said... I've quoted verses. He's our life! "In Him we live and move and have our being." And they say, "Well, I can't help sinning. I do it all the time. I can't stop it. I want to do right, but I just can't. I have the desire to do right but I can't stop. I can't stop. I can't stop!"
"But, in Him I live and move and have my being?" It's just like accusing God right to His face, "It's your fault. That's why I'm doing that. Can't help it. You made me this way. And now, you're living in me and I still can't stop it. It must be God leading me to do all this." Or else He is a pitiful God who can't even stop you. A God that has not enough influence to draw you away and turn you away from sin. They're claiming to be a Christian and claiming to be showing the world what God is like, but they're participating in and defending sin in themselves and others.
Some get upset, you know, if you suggest that Jesus had the capacity to sin. You know that is a big controversy... COULD He have sinned? Well, if you even suggest that He COULD have sinned... oh my! You want to get a fight started right away? They'll go to swinging at you!
But, they're saying worse than that when they defend habitual sin in the Christian! I mean, I would like to tell one of them that!
I'd say, "Do you think Christ could have sinned?"
"Do you sin?"
"Well, yea you know I do. Ain't nobody perfect. Everybody sins everyday in thought, word and deed."
And I'd say, "But does He live in you? Does He guide your life? Does the Holy Ghost lead you? In Him, do you live and move and have your being? You're accusing Christ of sin!"
They're saying that the very life of God that guides and animates our life is weaker than the fleshly desires. They're denying a great deal of the New Testament by saying Christ in His Gospel is not sufficient to deliver us from a lifestyle of sin.
They're likening the life of a normal Christian to that of a whorish woman and justifying it and also promoting it as "the norm." The best you can do! The best you can expect! "God doesn't expect any better than that."
Oh, yes He does! I read in my Bible where He's going to have a Bride that is without blemish... spotless and clean!
They're saying Romans 7 is the normal walk of a Christian. "Want to do right and not able - that's the best you're ever going to do. Don't expect any more than that. Just do evil continually and can't stop."
Compare that with this and I'm done.
2 Peter 1:3 says, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
How can you read that and say oh, Romans 7 is the best we can do?
"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,"
You've got everything you need to be godly and to escape the corruption that is in this world because you are made a partaker of the divine nature! He lives in you!
That is nothing to take lightly! That's not just an idea that you imagine. That's not some mystical doctrine that you just imagine, imagine, and hope so and hope so. It's real! Oh, yes! I hope you know it's real tonight! I hope that He dwells in you of a truth and you know it.
Makes a big, big difference. Amen.
Father, thank you for the attention of the people. Thank you for the time. Bless now the rest of the service - the rest of the week. I pray you'd work in hearts and I pray you'd settle this message into the hearts of each one here tonight. Help it Lord, to be a blessing and a help to all of us in Jesus' name. Amen.