Summary: Paul speaks of the pursuit of holiness, the path to holiness, the path we all need to take. 1- Go after holy living 2- Fight the good fight 3- Cling to the good confession 4- Seek to honor the King
INTRO.- 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this. All of what? The lack of godliness, material discontent, and the love of money, etc.
We must flee evil or run from evil. We cannot purse something if we don’t leave something behind. And we cannot pursue godliness if we don’t leave ungodliness behind. We cannot pursue God unless we leave the evil one in the dust.
I Thess. 5:22 “Avoid every kind of evil.”
This is not an easy command to follow, because evil lurks everywhere, behind every corner, at every turn. The temptation to do evil is very strong. It’s like offering fresh, hot bread or donuts to someone who had just fasted 40 days and 40 nights.
The devil is pursuing us, but we should be pursuing God, godliness and holiness.
Romans 7: 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
ISN’T THIS THE TRUTH? Hasn’t this happened to you as well? The evil we don’t wish to remember seems to stick with us more than the good and the godly. Evil hangs on and doesn’t die easily.
ILL.- Someone wrote: Don’t Float; Swim Hard. Recently I read a true story entitled Glenda’s Long Swim in "The Incredible Series." Glenda and Robert Lennon were four miles off the coast of Florida fishing alone from their yacht.
Glenda decided to take a swim and soon found the current had carried her too far out from the boat. Her husband, hearing her cries, without thinking dove in and swam to her, but then realized they were both being carried out. He was a champion swimmer, but she was not.
They planned, He would swim against the tide to keep the boat in view until the tide ceased and he could reach the boat. She should save her strength and just float with the tide and he would come and get her. He fought the tide for six hours and just as the boat was about to disappear on the horizon the tide turned, and his strokes carried him to the boat exhausted. The sun had set. His searching was futile—he could not find his wife. The next day on one last effort of search, the search party found his wife—twenty miles out and still alive. It was an incredible story.
The analogy here, Christians who just float never stay in the same place. They drift away from the boat and that boat for us is Christ. He alone is our salvation. We must never stand still, the tide of temptation is too strong and it will carry us away! .- Paul speaks of the pursuit of holiness, the path to holiness, the path we all need to take.
1- Go after holy living
2- Fight the good fight
3- Cling to the good confession
4- Seek to honor the King
I. GO AFTER HOLY LIVING
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
ILL.- Long-distance runners training for the Olympic games have been known for running with a stopwatch in their hand to check their performance. It’s good to know how you’re doing along the way if you want to win a long-distance race.
How’s your performance, your spiritual performance, that is? And what’s your spiritual stopwatch? It’s your Bible. We must check it often to see how well we are doing. And you won’t perform well if you don’t train well.
What is spiritual training? Bible study, prayer, worship, church, etc. And what are we pursuing in these? Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. The Bible can change you if you’ll let it, because it’s the living, breathing Word of God! You have heard me say it many times. The Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible.
It’s amazing how far we will go to do whatever we want badly in life! Sports, shopping, you name it.
We all have favorite passions, hobbies, things in life that we all gravitate to for relief. Things that are a pleasant distraction from the daily grind. We all have them and they are as different as we are all different in our needs and wants in this life.
ILL.- I like bass fishing, working my Vegetable garden, ongoing land scaping, and tinkling in my barn. Just spending time with Sue. Most if not all of us dream of doing anything but what we are tasked to do. The job the financial obligations, the family commitments and the endless marching of time. How fast our days, months and years come and go. This endless grinding of time and obligations can take its toll on our wellbeing. Why am I here, is this all to my life?
Is there a place and time some thing or some one to turn to? Are we in tune with our creator? Are we going to our Lord for relief? Do we reach for Jesus as we would our earthy distractions? Do we turn to his word? Is it true what they preach on Sundays?
When it comes to the spiritual would we prefer not to do too much! Do we tend to be spiritually lazy? But yet we are told that this world will pass away but the person who does the will of God lives forever!
I Timothy 4:8 “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Luke 5:16 “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
This should tell us something about “going for it” spiritually.
II. FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT
12 Fight the good fight of the faith.
ILL.- Joe Louis became the heavyweight boxing champion of the world in 1934 and successfully defended the title twenty-five times over the following fifteen years. The sports voice of those days, Bill Stern, asked Joe how he had been able to knock out his opponents so quickly in almost every fight.
After a few moments, he answered, “Two things—first, I study my opponent until I know him better than he knows himself, and second, I make a plan of attack.”
What is your plan attack when it comes to fighting for the faith of Christ? Or do you have any “fight” in you at all when it comes to the faith? Do you take a stand for Christ whenever He or the church is degraded or belittled?
We are often quick to defend what we believe in when it comes to material things like cars, ball teams or even politics, but what about the faith? A part of pursuing holiness is promoting the truth of the gospel.
Phil. 1:27-28 “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.”
Jude 3 “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.”
Do you know what a polemicist is? It’s what you and I should be! It’s a defender of the faith. It’s one who takes a stand for the truth of the gospel and God’s Word.
ILL.- Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who was billed as the world’s greatest atheist, spoke at a college in Ohio. In her speech she proceeded to take religion apart. She lambasted the clergy and all church officers. She harassed all believing students and professors, and she harangued the foolish thinkers who believed what they read. She made a laughingstock of those who trusted in prayer and mocked the citizens of America so stupid to believe in anything religious.
As the meeting was about to break up, from the back of the auditorium there came a tiny voice of a little college girl. She spoke quietly, and her voice was filled with compassion.
“Mrs. O’Hair, I am so happy you came to speak to all of us here tonight. We have listened with attention to your tirade on our beliefs. We thank you for showing all of us what an atheist is now in turn we must be ever grateful for your visit, because now and forever we have strengthened in our Christian beliefs by listening to you tonight. We really feel sorry for you. I thank you because I know you have strengthened my faith in our Church, in our religion.”
The speaker of the evening was flabbergasted. It seems it was the first time she couldn’t say anything. The applause for the young girl’s response was deafening.
What an excellent rebuke that was! Don’t you wish we could be that quick and clever to defend the faith? Whether we are or not, we must fight the good fight in order to pursue holiness. It’s a part of the divine record and plan.
You see so often one of the rebukes of this world today is you are so pious, so puffed up with your God! You think you are better than us! So intolerant! That is the sad truth how the world see’s Christians today. This is the devil at work to always turn the tables for the sake division and hatred. Jesus in is love for all, always wins with the word of truth and love just as that one girls response in Love back in face of pure hatred!
III. CLING TO THE GOOD CONFESSION
Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Brothers and sisters, we must never stop confessing our faith in Christ. In fact, we need to confess Him every chance we get. Whenever someone asks me what I believe, I like to say, “I believe that Jesus is the son of God and the savior of the world.” Simply put, strongly said.
Matthew 10:32-33 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”
A part of pursuing holiness is clinging to the holy one of God and confessing Him every chance we get! Have you confessed Him lately? To whom? When and where? Keep it up.
IV. SEEK TO HONOR THE KING
15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
ILL.- Who said these words? “There seems to be some confusion. We’re going to clear this confusion up on March 8. We’re going to decide once and for all who is king! There’s not a man alive who can whip me. I’m too smart. I’m too pretty. I am the greatest. I am the king! I should be a postage stamp, that’s the only way I could get licked!”
We humans and especially, Americans are into this pride business, and self-accolades. And it’ not just boxers and/or athletes. It’s in Hollywood, politics and you name it.
We glory in the greatest, the highest, the richest, the best of the best but we forget who bestows every good and perfect gift and deserves the real credit for good!
Romans 11:35-36 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
I Corinthians 10:31 “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
II Cor. 4:14-15 “We know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”
Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
In the pursuit of holiness, we must persist in praising the King of kings! We can’t say praise Him or say “thank you” enough.
. 1- Go after holy living
Never stop working at improving your own walk with God! Always know we all will fail we all will fall down. It is not how many times we fail but that we get back up and try again. But know our lord is there to pick you up and help you on that narrow path to his kingdom.
2- Fight the good fight
Never stop fighting for what you know in your heart driven by the Holy Spirit to tell the world about Jesus!
3- Cling to the good confession
Never stop confessing to others the love of Christ to others.
4- Seek to honor the King
Never stop thanking him for what he as done for you and your family.