Summary: “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
Show video “Resolve”
I want to discuss two words with you today. Those two words are “resolve” and “resolution”. Resolve means, “To come to a definite or earnest decision about.” At the first of the year, we resolve to take actions to improve our lives. Some popular ones are to lose weight, to stop smoking, to exercise more, and numerous others. To reinforce our efforts we make resolutions to achieve these goals. The word resolution means “the mental state or quality of being resolved.” In other words, we determine in our minds to make a definite decision to improve our lives. Unfortunately, as we heard in the video, only 20% actually achieve those goals that they set for themselves.
This morning I want to challenge you to resolve to achieve a goal this year that will build you up spiritually. Paul instructed Timothy, his young protégé that “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8)
I want all of us to resolve to begin a spiritual workout that will benefit us as individuals and as a church body. So let me introduce you to the “From Faith to Love Workout Program”. This program is detailed for us in 2 Peter 1:3-11.
As you begin a workout program, you want to look in a mirror and see what you have to work with. This can be painful. However, we make a pleasant discovery as we examine our condition in God’s mirror. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)
According to the Bible God has supplied us with everything we need to be successful at achieving our goal. We have been given the tools in the form of promises to enable us to be godly and to escape temptations. Things look promising in God’s mirror.
Next, we begin laying out the program and how we will achieve eight steps to achieving godliness. The program is found in 2 Peter 1:5-7. “In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone”
If you begin a physical workout, the first item on your agenda will be your muscle mass. We all have this. It just that with some of us our muscle mass has become hidden quite well. In our spiritual workout, the first item on our agenda is “faith”.
1) Faith, we all have it.
We are told in Romans 12:3 that we should measure ourselves “by the faith that God has given us.” We are told that great faith is a gift given by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 12:9) Therefore, some may have a greater measure of faith than others may but we all still have it. Faith is our assurance that things we cannot see will indeed work out to our benefit. (Hebrews 11:1, Romans 8:28) Faith is the action that pleases God the most. (Hebrews 11:6) This is faith; taking God at his word.
2) Take a swig of moral excellence
We are instructed to add a supplement to our faith. The definition of a supplement is “something added to complete a thing, supply a deficiency, or reinforce or extend a whole.” It’s like an energy drink. You need your faith completed; take a swig of moral excellence. Is your faith lacking deficiency; take a swig of moral excellence. Does your faith need to be reinforced; take a swig of moral excellence. So what are the active ingredients in this supplement of moral excellence? There are two; having the courage to exercise your faith and doing right for the sake of doing right.
So now that we have our faith at work being supplemented with moral excellence, how do we go to the next level?
3) To do right, you got to know right.
You have to have knowledge about God’s word. According to Romans 10:17, knowledge of God and the Gospel is the root of faith. But according to a recent Gallup poll only 16% of Christians read God’s Word daily, 37% read it weekly (usually on Sunday morning), and 35% do not read God’s Word at all. Proverbs 19:2 reads “Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good---”. We can be enthusiastic about moral excellence but without knowledge we cannot achieve it. I am giving each of you today a small devotional book. Each page consists of one verse from the Bible. My challenge to you for 2013 is to read this one verse for each day and meditate on what God is saying to you for that day. It will take you less than 10 seconds to read but will begin to sow knowledge into your being and pull some of you from that 37% who never read God’s Word to the 16% who do it daily.