Summary: An examination of why it is important that we make godly choices, even if no one knows we are doing so.

Title: Being Godly When No One Is Looking

Series: Living Godly Lives (Sermon # 2)

Text: 1 Tim 4:7-8

Date Preached: June 15, 2008

COPYRIGHT © Joe La Rue, 2008


A. Hook: Several years ago I heard what is likely nothing more than an “Urban Legend,” one of those stories that gets passed around as if it had really happened, but something about this one makes me wish it were true. According to the story, a man was driving down the interstate a few years ago and saw a stranded limousine on the side of the road. He’s running late on his way home from work, so he starts to drive on by. But then, he starts thinking about how if he were having car trouble he would hope that somebody would stop to help him, so he pulls to the side of the road and walks up to the driver’s window and offers his cell phone. The driver says that his phone wasn’t working, so he gratefully accepts.

As the driver called for help, the back window of the limo rolled down, and Donald Trump stuck his head out to thank the man for his assistance, and to ask if there is anything that he can do for him. The man tells Trump that the best thing he could do would be to send his wife flowers, because she would never believe that the reason he was late getting home was because he had stopped to help the Don. Well, Mr. Trump said he would do just that and took the man’s wife’s name and address.

The next morning the doorbell rang. The wife answered the door to find a gigantic flower arrangement, with an attached card that read: "Thank you very much for the help. I took the liberty of paying off your mortgage, Donald Trump.”

B. I bet the next time you see a limo on the side of the road, you’ll stop, won’t you? Seriously, the man in the story did not have to stop that night to help the limo. He didn’t know he was going to get a reward. He just knew that the right thing to do was to stop and help, and so that’s what he did.

C. Each of us has to decide on a daily, and sometimes hourly basis – Will I do what I know is right, or not? And the answer to that question is huge, because it clarifies who we are. Someone has said that our character is really defined by who we are when no one is looking. It’s not the same as reputation – what other people think about us. No, character is who we really are. That’s character. Now, the obvious question is, do we want to have godly character or not?

1. Most of us would say, “Of course we do!” The problem is, while it’s fairly easy to have godly character while we’re around others who are godly, it’s not always so easy to be godly when we’re around those who aren’t, or when we’re by ourselves in our private moments.

2. Few of us commit any heinous sins on Sunday morning at church, because we know everybody’s watching. But what about when we’re away from church, when we’re at home, or at work, or alone? Do we go off our “best behavior” and make choices that we know dishonor God, but we make them anyway because they seem like they’d be fun or advantageous to us, and besides, nobody from church will ever know?

a. Maybe it’s how we treat people. Maybe it’s what we say to hurt others, or maybe it’s the type of language we use. Maybe it’s books we read or magazines we look at or movies we watch or what we view on the internet.

b. Whatever it is for each of us, most of us face temptation on a fairly regular basis to compromise our godly character.

D. Maybe that’s why the Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 4:7, “Train yourself to be godly.”

1. Train yourself – the original Greek word is gumnadzo, from which we get our English word gymnasium. The word literally meant, “to exercise naked,” which was the usual way ancient Greek athletes exercised. But here, the word is being used figuratively to indicate that the Christian must train inwardly, where he or she is naked before God. Others may not see, but God does. Even on the inside, we’re naked before Him. So, in our most inward, personal, private lives, we are to exercise ourselves, train ourselves to be godly. And it’s not just that we do it once and then we’re done with it. The form of the verb used here is present imperative, which in the Greek language indicates that you keep on doing it. In other words, we keep on training ourselves to be godly.

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