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 previous verses about 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 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.
ILL.- Thomas Fuller (English preacher of 1600’s) wrote: "Almost 20 years ago I heard a profane jest and still I remember it. How many pious passages of a far later date have I utterly forgotten? It seems my soul is like a filthy pond where fish die soon and frogs live long.”
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, like a filthy pond.
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 made a plan. 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.
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!
PROP.- 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 runner Paavo Nurmi of Finland was an Olympic champion, winning twelve medals (nine of them gold) in the 1920, 1924, and 1928 Games. Nurmi was famous not only for his achievements, but also for running with a stopwatch in his hand to check his 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! The Bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible.
ILL.- Some lady said: I was browsing in a souvenir shop when the man next to me struck up a conversation. Just as he was telling me that his wife was getting carried away with her shopping, a brief power shortage caused the lights to flicker overhead. He said, “That must be her checking out now.”
It’s amazing how far we will go to do whatever we want badly in life! Sports, shopping, you name it.
ILL.- I like to fish for bass although I haven’t gone since maybe last February and then only a few times. But I have known fisherman who wouldn’t miss getting up at 4 in the morning to go on a fishing trip but they wouldn’t dream of getting up at 4 in the morning to read their Bible and pray! And I’ve done it too!