Storeroom Sermons of David Chadwell

Godly Behavior

(Part 2)

A common concept among Christians is this: "It is physically profitable to live a godly life." Thus, if a person wants a guarantee of 'the good life,' he or she needs to be a godly person. If a person wants protection against disease, he or she needs to be a godly person. If a person wishes to be delivered from accidents, he or she needs to be a godly person. If a person wants the guarantee of deliverance from an early death, he or she needs to be a godly person.

Then Christians observe godly people live in poverty, lose fortunes, or struggle in their older years. They witness godly people die of cancer, die in car wrecks caused by someone high on drugs or alcohol, or die when they are young. If they expected some form of physical deliverance from undesirable physical happenings, incidents such as these deeply shake their faith in Jesus Christ. They cry out, "How could God let that happen to him (or her)?" "Why did that happen to him (or her)?"

Two questions. (1) Is it only now that bad physical things happen to godly people? (2) Is our confidence in good things happening to godly people based on an American concept or a promise from God?

It may be effective to tell Americans in a prosperous country physically to expect good things to happen if they are godly. However, never suggest that on mission fields where the country is poor, positive changes come slowly, and physical hardship is the common existence for the majority of people. The core of the gospel when first presented was not, "Belong to God and receive good physical rewards."

This does not suggest that God does not bless us when we seek His ways. His ways lead us to existence with him. It was the apostle Paul who wrote to suffering Christians:

Romans 8:18, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)

Shortly after those words, he wrote: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

The blessings he wrote of were about the certainty of salvation in Jesus Christ. He wrote of the intercession of God's Spirit on our behalf, justification, God's devotion to us, freedom from condemnation, and the fact that nothing can deprive us of God's love--not even suffering or death.

Our confident hope is base on God's gifts after death, not on Satan's harassment in this life.

  1. Christian existence from the first was based on physical privation and suffering caused by belonging to God.

    1. Have you considered these facts?
      1. We exist because we place our confidence in a crucified, resurrected Savior.
      2. Tradition tells us all of the twelve but one (John) were killed for their faith.
      3. The twelve were jailed and beaten by the order of religious leaders because they dared endorse Jesus as the Christ (Acts 5:17, 18, 40-42)
      4. Stephen was killed by religious people who disagreed with him (Acts 7:58-60).
      5. The apostle James was executed by sword (Acts 12:1) and the same ruler intended to kill Peter.
      6. The only reason a mob stopped stoning Paul was due to the fact they thought Paul was dead (Acts 14:19).
      7. Paul and Silas were publicly beaten and jailed for healing a possessed girl (Acts 16:19-23).
    2. Have you recently read these scriptures?
      1. Hebrews 11:32-40, And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

      2. 2 Corinthians 11:22-33, Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands.

  2. I do not think most of us have given serious thought to the enormous difficulties Jesus endured in his ministry.

    1. Consider some things we do not talk about much regarding Jesus' life during his ministry.
      1. Though he was surrounded by people much of the time, he was a very lonely man.
        1. Great loneliness is created when the people closest to you do not understand you.
        2. Not even his twelve understood him!
        3. Consider two occasions of the many:
          Matthew 8:26,27, He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
          1. Of the many things they saw Jesus do, they were astounded that the winds and Sea of Galilee obeyed his commands.
          2. They were so surprised they asked, "What kind of man is this?"
            John 16:29-33, His disciples said, “Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? (Emphasis mine.) Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
          3. This occurred the last night of Jesus' earthly life as he was with his disciples.
          4. Before his words confused them, but now they understood.
          5. Sure, they did!
          6. Jesus knew they just thought they understood.
          7. What a lonely night that was for him!
      2. His own relatives thought he was crazy.
        Mark 3:21, When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.”
        1. That must have been discouraging!
        2. They did not take any sense of pleasure in what he did, but they were ashamed of his actions.
      3. His brothers urged him to dangerously expose himself to a crowd that could have easily become a mob.
        John 7:1-5, After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For not even His brothers were believing in Him.
        1. I submit if Jesus knew his life was in danger in Judea, his brothers knew Jesus would be in danger in Judea.
        2. If that is true, his brothers were encouraging Jesus to do something they knew could get him killed.
        3. To have your own brothers unconcerned about your physical well being had to be powerfully discouraging!
      4. Publicly he was said to have a demon by the religious leaders.
        Matthew 12:22-24, Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Jesus, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw. All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?” But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.”
        1. The people who easily should have known his actions were God's work publicly said his actions were the result of evil forces.
      5. These leaders accused him of being an evil man because he did things on the Sabbath they did not approve of.
        John 9:16, Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” But others were saying, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And there was a division among them.
        1. Again, those who should have confirmed the good he did tried to discredit it.
        2. Because Jesus did not do what they expected in the Messiah, they declared him evil.
      6. People accused him of eating and drinking too much to be God's spokesman.
        Matthew 11:18,19, For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
      7. He was accused publicly of misrepresenting himself.
        John 8:52,53, The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?”
      8. He was accused of associating with the wrong kind of people.
        Matthew 9:10-12, Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick."
      9. People in Mark 5 asked Jesus to leave their country when he restored an uncontrollable man to his right mind at the price of a herd of pigs.
        1. They saw no potential in his deed.
        2. They saw only unacceptable cost.
      10. He found more faith in a non-Israelite than he found in any Jew.
        Matthew 8:10, Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel."
      11. The religious leaders of Israel said the Jewish nation would be better off if Jesus was dead.
        John 11:47-50, Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.”

Jesus endured the opposition of family members, of the Jewish people, and of the religious leaders to be loyal to God. Do not think you do something special when your godly behavior results in opposition from people that you least expected opposition? Jesus already has been there.

Godly behavior can produce opposition and suffering! Christians are not good because they expect only good to happen to them!

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