BLDGBLKS JCCNTRD - Pacific Church Of God

January 21, 2012
Well, I certainly appreciate the opportunity to come here with my wife and my mother,
the extension of friendship and fellowship. It's always wonderful to be able to get
together with people of like-minds. So, we truly appreciate that.
I bring greetings from the three people we left back home to all of you, both those here in
Worden as well as those who are perhaps listening in up in the northwest, and, of course,
anybody that might listen to this later on. I truly am very thankful that we've been given
this opportunity.
I look around this room and I see all these little young people. I'm a father of two and a
grandfather of four. So, blond haired, little blue eyed girls are right up my alley because
I've got a couple myself. We always think that these are very special and they are. It's a
very special blessing to be able to have children and grandchildren.
Did you know there's one thing they all seem to have in common besides dirtying their
diapers and whatever? They all have to start off the same basic way. There are very few
shortcuts that you can take with a baby. They are pretty helpless. They're pretty much
like to eat, sleep and have their diapers changed at first. So their ability to do anything
but very basic is only the beginning of what we will see as thousands of changes that will
take place in their growth into an individual that's very productive.
Now, most of you have been parents or grandparents. They {children and grandchildren}
are like sponges. They just soak up everything about them, whatever their environment
gives them, perhaps their heredity or their genetics provides. But each step in their
process starts very simply. Learning how to walk—it's not this convoluted way we might
do it, but it's very simple. They go step by step. They have to be very pliable towards
growing up, towards the full maturity that they need to have. Now it may change a little
bit by each child because their circumstances will not always be the same.
Those of us who have been parents or who are grandparents, we know that if we have the
right parental goals and the methods, the children, hopefully, will turn out the way we
want them to, the way God inspires us to. Of course, we've all seen the other side of the
equation where people perhaps have built their child-rearing circumstances on a shaky or
unstable foundation. (Now this is not a child-rearing sermon.)
But did you know the same is very true about us, about us becoming productive Children
of God? Because again, it also depends upon what building blocks we have used—what
we've allowed into our lives—how we will turn out in the long run. God, hopefully,
teaches us as we begin the process of our converting, if you will. He says, "You have to
go by this step and this step." It's not something you just immediately run into, because
we had to learn very quickly that sometimes we can't take it all in, because we just can't
Page 1 of 27
cognitively do so. God leads us that way {step by step}. And, hopefully, He gives us
this approach as we do it with our own children.
Now, why is that? Well, if you think about even how God often does things, God does
things sometimes repetitively. The weekly Sabbath is a repetitive environment and an
opportunity for us to every single week to remember "Why are we in this Church? Why
are we in this way of life?" Every year the Holy Days bring about a whole different
perspective that we rehearse, once again, God's Plan of Salvation. Now you would think,
"Okay, won and done," but that's not how God does things. God looks at things from a
different perspective because he knows we need to get this into our minds constantly.
Mr. Armstrong back, I think, in 1978, wrote the book The Incredible Human Potential.
And he even laid out a few steps that were very important steps that we need for success
in our lives. I think he described it as:
A process of building someone from what we start off as to the potential that
each one of us individually has.
And, Brethren, no matter what your age, your experience, God knows what you have to
offer Him.
But do we all have the same progress? The answer is "No," because as we look at the
condition of the Church today, Satan's attacks are intensifying. Maybe God's people are
taking their eyes off the goal too, because in some ways they are forgetting some of these
building blocks. They are allowing their eyes, their minds to be averted from God's
foundational truths. How many people do you know personally that have been swayed
away from this process, this simplistic step by step process, over to arenas that perhaps
even stop or detour or even hinder the conversion process?
If you will, turn to Titus 2 because we are warned of this in Titus 2 and I'll begin here in
verse 1. Breaking into a thought here, Paul is telling Titus about the qualities of a sound
church. He's talking about the elders that he {Titus} might appoint. He's was also
talking about the old people, people who have some experience. Breaking into the
thought in verse 1, he says:
Titus 2:1. But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:
That sentence alone tells me a great deal about what has sometimes gone by the wayside
in the Church of God today, because sound doctrine is no longer in many people's minds.
They are wandering here and there. Yet, Paul says, "This is important. Foundationally,
this is where you need to stay."
Titus 2:2. that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in
love, in patience;
3) the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not
given to much wine, teachers of good things—
4) that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their
Page 2 of 27
5) to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that
the word of God may not be blasphemed.
6) Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, (NKJ)
So, there is this pattern, if you will, of "Stay the course. Understand why you're being
called and what you have to do."
He says in verse 7:
Titus 2:7. in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in
doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, (NKJ)
This warns us of this very mindset that we can get away from. We sometimes lose our
foundation {by} side-stepping into something else. Often we have to look at Scripture to
sort of re-establish in our minds what it is that God has even done for us.
Many of us in this room have been in this Church for forty and fifty years. And
hopefully some of the things I'm going to say today you might say "Well, that's kind of
old hat." But I think it's something that we can look at maybe from a little different
perspective that gives us an understanding of why we need to do what we need to do.
Isaiah 57:15 reminds us of it in this way. I think it's very insightful what Isaiah said in
chapter 57 verse 15. He says:
Isaiah 57:15. For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose
name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite
and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the
contrite ones. (NKJ)
Let's turn over to Colossians 3, because, again, this gives us perhaps some characteristics
that we need to look at. And we'll get to some other things here in a second, but I'm just
trying to build a little bit of a foundation myself here. Colossians 3 beginning in verse
12, he says:
Colossians 3:12. Therefore, as the elect of God, (NKJ)
That's us!
Colossians 3:12b. [He says,] holy and beloved, (NKJ)
And then he starts giving us a litany of things we need to remember.
Colossians 3:12 continued: … put on… (NKJ)
Add to, if you will.
Colossians 3:12 continued: … tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness,
13) bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a
complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
14) But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (NKJ)
Page 3 of 27
And that's where we're going to end up today in this sermon.
Verse 15 says:
Colossians 3:15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you
were called in one body; and be thankful. (NKJ)
Now, in many ways, we could take those four verses and we could pretty much be in the
Kingdom of God by just exhibiting all that that's there. There is a lot being said right
here that we need to embrace, but there is more to it. Isn't there?
Basically speaking our journey has to have right priorities. And that's what happens
when people get off the track. They slightly get off track and before you know it, they're
way over here. And God says, "No, you have to remember the building blocks. What
got you here? What's foundational? What's important?" We can't do it as the world
Let's turn over to 1 Timothy chapter 6 beginning in verse 3. Again, these are some things
we've seen happen in the Church even.
1 Timothy 6:3. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome
words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which [is
according to] godliness,
4) he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments
over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, (NKJ)
I think we've seen some of that in the last ten or fifteen years. Haven't we? We can't
even sometimes be in the same room with some of the people in these various
He talks about:
1 Timothy 6:5. useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the
truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw
6) Now godliness with contentment is great gain. (NKJ)
In verse 11, he says:
1 Timothy 6:11. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue
righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
12) Fight the good fight of faith, (NKJ)
Now what does that mean to you and me? What I've said so far is pretty overwhelming
when you stop and think about it. How do I go about keeping all this in perspective? As
we try sometimes to succeed in just one area, much less various areas as well. Many
times we have to be like that baby, once again. "Okay, I've got to take this step. Figure
out what I'm doing here to take another step." Even if we get off kilter (And sometimes
Page 4 of 27
we have to do that.), we still have to find a way to prioritize what it is that God wants us
to do. Not in a haphazard way, but perhaps in some untenable way that just frustrates us.
We often call living God's way of life as a way of growing and building character,
building righteous lives on a sound foundation. I think 2 Timothy 2:19 says it this way.
He says:
2 Timothy 2:19. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this
seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," (NKJ)
Now, how does He know that? Well, based on this foundational argument, this
requirement, if you will, is there an equation to success? Actually like building blocks
(like that small child might use in building his little house), that can lead us, help us get
back, if you will, to a more God-centered, Christ-centered life that leads us right into His
If you will, turn back to 2 Peter 1 and beginning in verse 2. He says:
2 Peter 1:2. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and
of Jesus our Lord,
3) as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,
through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
4) by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises,
God is offering us everything! But He says, "There is a price."
2 Peter 1:4b. …that through these [things] you may be partakers of the divine
nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (NKJ)
And then we get to the equation because in the next few verses here, God says, "Here is
what you have to do." Verse 5:
2 Peter 1:5. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, (NKJ)
Bring it up from the gut, right here. "I've got to do this. It's the right thing to do."
He says, "Add." Keep that word in your mind today—adding. Because he says:
2 Peter 1:5b. … add to your faith [which is something, hopefully, it's established]
virtue, to virtue, [he says, add] knowledge,
6) to knowledge [add] self-control, to self-control [add] perseverance, to
perseverance [add] godliness,
7) to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
8) For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor
unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9) For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has
forgotten that he was [purged] from his old sins.
10) Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your [calling] and
election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; (NKJ)
Page 5 of 27
There is a lot said in that one particular area. There are very basic eight blocks here, if
you will, that we can look at today. You might look at them as assignments that we need
to constantly look at, rehearse. We are told to add one to another.
The word add comes from a word I can't pronounce, epichoregeo (ep-ee-khor-ayg-eh'-o),
which basically means to contribute in a very phenomenal way—where it matters!
So, we're going to look at these eight attributes today, these building blocks and see why
and how does God expect us to do these things, because these important tools and
attributes are actually a road to success to becoming a very profitable and a very worthy
Christian. Not what we think we want to be, but who God wants us to be. There is a
big difference there. We might want one thing, but God says, "I want you to be this."
Will we allow Him, then, to work within us to develop our potential?
This world doesn't work that way. They want it all right now. How many of us, even in
the Church sometimes {say,} "I want patience and I want it right now!" Or we want
instant character.
It doesn't work that way because each step we have to take in our conversion process
(Each one of us come from different perspectives.) has to be taken very deliberately,
sometimes very repetitively. Just like that baby has to grow, which then allows for
conclusive growth. Because that's the whole goal right there: Step a little bit; look back
and see what have I done; and then move forward.
Then when we do this, we're not always going to do it perfectly. Sometimes some of us
who have been around for forty or fifty years may even have to start back at square zero
to get our perspective again. That's why it's important to remember these words
sometimes. They can have a very positive impact {by} being a part of your life if we
practice these things.
So, {there are} two question I really pose today.
1. Why is it important to consider and to learn these steps as they are given here?
What is God trying to say to us in those few verses there?
2. And what lessons must we, then, also learn to rehearse along the way by
following these basic building blocks of Christian growth? What is it God wants
us to learn?
The first one was:
Now, in my mind, faith is not really an attribute to be added because to me it's the
foundation by itself. Faith itself has to be a part of anything and everything we do in
relationship to God. Hebrews 11 says this in verse 1, he says:
Hebrews 11:1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen. (NKJ)
Page 6 of 27
I don't know about you, but I've never walked on water. I've never been able to walk side
by side with the Savior of this world. We have to do everything pretty much by what this
book tells us and what God inspires us to understand through His holy spirit. This also
speaks volumes of what is required of us because God says faith has to be a part of what
it is.
Now, why is that? Would you even know about God without faith? Think about that.
Faith is required to simply admit God is even in the equation. We, ourselves, have to
trust to believe what this book says and He says, "That's where it's at." If your faith is
strong, you've got a foundation on which to build everything else.
But, again, it comes back down to "What kind of faith?" Again, as I said earlier, some of
us old timers we think, "Well, wait a minute. I've heard all of this. Is this one of those
'Two Trees' kind of arguments we used to always hear? It could be. But I think there's
more to it than even that. Not only is it a basic requirement to believe in God, we have to
really have (if you stop and think about it), faith in just about everything we do as we
walk in this world.
Do you think you could go to work tomorrow and all of a sudden think "Man, I sure can't
remember what I'm supposed to do here. I hope I do it right."? You have to have some
faith in your capabilities, {some faith} that you're experienced; {that} in everything that's
been given to you prior to that that you will have that capability.
Faith is involved in so many aspects of our endeavors, even our relationships. We had to
have faith when we came over here that you would let us in the front door. In this
environment it could be that way. I'm not saying it would be that way, I'm just saying it
could be.
Obviously, there are different types of faith. Some are much more humanistic, perhaps
even worldlier, while others are centered in a profound belief just like we have to have
about God the Father and Jesus Christ. That they are who they say they are; that this
Book does not lie to us, that they have a plan for each one of us that belies any human
rationalization or proof. Not one of us in this room could go outside this Book and say,
"Here's why I think God exists." We have to have that kind of faith that God has
converted our minds over to a point where we can say, "I begin to understand that."
That's {faith} the foundation for what we have to understand here.
The biggest strongest difference we have to understand is "Which faith are we dealing
with here?" As we start to build on that foundation of faith, is it one on an unseen God
that we have proof of through our prayers and our mediations and our fastings and the
reading of His Word?" Or perhaps is it something we can manufacture with our own
human energy and even our effort?
I think that's one of the reasons why I always held this "Pay and Pray" thing in such
derision. To me it always advocated my responsibility over to someone else. It was not
given to me that I had to have the kind of faith. God had the same faith in me to call me
to do what I had to do besides just paying and praying.
Page 7 of 27
Again, the biggest difference is "Who is your foundational faith in?" You may think
"Okay, I think I understand this," but ask yourself is your faith always in God? Or
sometimes when it should be in God, is it in yourself? Or how about sometimes what has
even happened in the Churches of God where their faith becomes in an organization or
becomes in a leader? And they advocate the responsibility over to someone else as
though, "If that person fails, then I fail." God says, "You have to understand what it is—
this relationship that I have built with you—is all about."
How many of us have allowed, for instance, our faith sometimes to even turn into
something like superstition? How many times have you heard people say, "Well, I have
faith in this," but they do everything in their power to sort of make it happen. And they
start excusing behaviors. They start trying to find rationalizations around things and say,
"Well, I'm sure this is what God intends for me to understand or to believe in."
We might think we're using or even building on the right type of faith, but you know
when you look over in Luke 6… Let's begin to turn over to Luke 6. Which one of these
men best depicts us? Now I think most of us understand it pretty well where we do fit in
with this, but, again, it's the type of faith that God requires of us. Luke 6 and we'll begin
in verse 45. {This is a} very familiar Scripture. He says:
Luke 6:45. "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good;
Did you ever stop to think about what that treasure is? Isn't God's faith part of that
treasure? Aren't all the good gifts that God gives through His holy spirit, isn't that part of
that treasure? We look at tangible things sometimes, things we can sort of grab a hold of
because then we can identify with it. But God says, "Out of the good treasure of your
heart, brings forth good."
But He says on the other side, the converse side:
Luke 6:45b. … an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.
For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (NKJ)
And often his life exhibits. Verse 46, He says:
Luke 6:46. But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I
47) "Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you
whom he is like:
48) "He is like [this] man [who's going to build his] house, [he's going to dig]
deep and [he's going to lay this] foundation on [that very solid] rock. And [even]
when [that] flood [arises], [that] stream [comes out and just beats] that house [to
death], [it's not going to] shake it, [because it's] founded on the [right principles,
on that] rock.
But He says in verse 49:
Luke 6:49. "But he who heard and did nothing… (NKJ)
Page 8 of 27
Or perhaps he had his faith in something he should never have had it in.
Luke 6:49b. … is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation,
against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of
that house was great." (NKJ)
If you correlate that to what happened to the worldwide Church of God, how many
people do we have in number two {the second man}? People lost sight of the relative
importance of those basic things in their lives. They let go of them.
Faith allows us to desire something greater than your current situation. All of us
desperately want to be in God's Kingdom, but how many people still preach "The Place
of Safety is the most important piece of the puzzle."? They don't have everything right in
their minds. Their priorities are not necessarily the way they should be.
It's faith that opens the door to other things that can come in, other traits, other
requirements. Faith in God lays a very strong foundation that must be a key ingredient
in everything we say and do. It has to be there. It has to come from who you are. It
takes a lot of work. And God didn't promise us rose gardens here. At best, it takes the
godly faith that is the key to all of our successes.
If you go back to Hebrews 11, you think about all of those various people who are talked
about in that chapter. I don't know that I'd hold my hand up towards the end of the
chapter and say, "I'd like to be those guys—chopped asunder and all the various things
they had to go through." These people had it. They knew what it was all about. It's not
easy. It requires a lot of sacrifice. There are going to be hurdles after hurdles after
hurdles as part of the process.
Yet, in this one thing he says in verses 39 and 40, he says it this way:
Hebrews 11:39. And all these [people], having obtained a good testimony
through faith, [they still didn't] receive the promise, (NKJ)
But they had something to build on.
Hebrews 11:40. God having provided something better for us, that they should
not be made perfect apart from us. (NKJ)
These people had something that they could go from that point forward. Simply stated,
this type of faith is not egotistical. It's not inward. It's not self-aggrandizing. But it is
maturely built over a lifetime—built on Jesus Christ!
Let's turn back to Ephesians 2 and we'll begin in verse 19. He says:
Ephesians 2:19. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners,
I want to hear those words!
Page 9 of 27
Ephesians 2:19b. … but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the
household of God,
20) having been built… (NKJ)
On the foundation of the Rod Keesee Church of God.
I got four ties and how many convoluted things could we come up with anymore? That's
not what these verses say. It says that it's got to be in God. It's got to be built on what
God laid before us through Jesus Christ the Cornerstone. Through all these men who
made a difference, who perhaps of themselves could exemplify what Hebrews 11 stood
Verse 21:
Ephesians 2:21. in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into
[WHAT?] a holy temple in the Lord,
22) in whom you also are being built together for a [habitation] of God in the
Spirit. (NKJ)
I've spent a lot of time on faith, but that's what you have to do when you build a house.
How many builders do we have in here? You've got to get it down to the bedrock or
you've got to get down to where it matters before you start building something.
The second aspect of this that we add is:
Now what does virtue mean to you? I looked in my little Webster's Dictionary and it
defines virtue as this:
… a general moral excellence;
{It means} someone who really always has right action and thinking in perspective.
They sort of have an indomitable goodness about them or a strong morality.
From a first glance it makes perfect sense that this would be the next step in the building
process to a Christ-centered life versus that of most of this world and its requirements of
virtue. Because what do they look for? "Ah, my batting average is .350 and I can make
$4 million in a day." It's all on the wrong things.
Let's turn over to Philippians 4 and we'll see what God says about some of the things that
He wants us to be like. Philippians 4 and we'll begin in verse 6. He says:
Philippians 4:6. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7) and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your
hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, (NKJ
Page 10 of 27
And then he goes through this whole list of things that are true, just, pure lovely, of good
report. He says:
Philippians 4:8b. … if there is [anything of] virtue and if there is anything
praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (NKJ)
Get your priorities straight! "What should I be looking at?" is what he's trying to say
And the aspect of virtue is very interesting because he puts those words of true and noble
and lovely and good report, but he says, "Be praiseworthy." Now, how do you become
Well, basically something has to be added to us. Doesn't it? I might say "I'm worth
$100.00," but if I've only got $10.00 in my pocket, I'm not really worth $100.00. Am I?
There are certain things that have to be added to us so that we have value added to us in
a worldly sense.
Basically something has to be added that has in intrinsic value, something that is of
excellence that we alone can't muster by ourselves. When you stop and think about it, I
kind of put it down this way:
Right virtues are simply characteristics of who God is.
Right characteristics of who God is are what virtues are all about.
You think back on all the Proverbs 31 woman. Why was she a success? Why was she
called a virtuous woman? Well, her strength of character was not only exhibited in her
life but throughout all those who touched her life, whether her family or those outside the
realm of her family. Her life basically mirrored God's virtues.
It's an awesome step when you stop and think about. But, it's something we have to
foundationally look at to understand "How do I get to this point?" You keep adding
things like this and it seems like these things {come} out of character. We'll see why
God did it here, hopefully, in a minute. It's a proper way of life.
We first have to build something on faith, foundationally strong, in a Being higher than
ourselves, but giving the credit for the success to someone else.
That's what happens with so many people in God's Church today. They're starting to take
too much credit. They forget that God is the One that put us here. It's not the fact that
someone else has come up with a grandiose idea. It's the fact that God says, "I’m the One
that matters. My virtues are the ones that should be proclaimed. Not yours. Not theirs."
In fact, isn't this the type of action we usually see when we're teaching our babies? Aren't
we trying to teach our children our basic potential, what we want them to learn, our basic
value systems so they'll do what they're supposed to do when we're not there? Don't we
use praise? We have to put a lot of effort and energy, a little correction along the way
and a lot of encouragement. But they have to begin to understand that they also have a
Page 11 of 27
role in this, as they get older too, because ultimately we want them to understand God is
also there for them as well.
If you even read the familiar verses over in 1 Peter 2—we'll just look at it very quickly—
1 Peter 2 verse 9, we're all familiar with this. 1 Peter 2 verse 9, he says:
1 Peter 2:9. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
His own special people, that you may [WHAT?] proclaim… (NKJ)
Show the virtues!
1 Peter 2:9b. … the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His
marvelous light;
10) who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not
obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
11) Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts
which war against the soul, (NKJ)
And he goes on to talk about the things that he says, "Stay away from these things. These
are worldly. These are going to get you into trouble."
Then, down in verse 17, he says:
1 Peter 2:17. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
These are facets of our lives that help us begin to have faith first and foremost in
something higher than ourselves. And then we begin to understand and identify what it is
we want to be like. "What is it I understand from God in this Word that says 'I want to be
like God and here's how.'?" Why does God have so many different names in the Bible?
Because each one of them means something and they should mean something to us as
If we're proclaiming the virtues in God through our lives and our examples by who we
are, by the endeavors we go about, it helps, then, to do what? It's like separating the milk
from the cream. It separates us from this world. It's like Mr. Armstrong and ministers
used to say, "You have to be in the world, but not of the world." We have to learn how to
do that, but it's also giving due honor to others even when treated badly or unjustly.
Virtue is a very important building block.
The third one is:
Now, I'm not sure how many here were in the first grade and they had college math given
to them. But I think most of us with common sense would realize that you don't give
something like that to someone who hasn't built the foundation first. I barely made it
through college math and I was pretty good at math. So, it was one of those things. But
you just don't do that. You can't give them knowledge they're not prepared for—I guess
Page 12 of 27
that's the best way to say it—without knowing and understanding the lower types. If you
tried to teach your child that, you would have anger, frustration and they would perhaps
say, "I don't want anything to do with math at this point."
I even saw that sometimes in some of the habits we had in the Church sometimes. We
forced our kids into some things that we perhaps should have led them into. I still will
never forget my dad; the first thing he ever put in my lap. We hadn't been in the Church
a week. He put the Predestination Book in my lap. I had no clue what that word meant!
Much less what the booklet meant. So, I wasn't really prepared for that just yet. So, I
had to really go back a step or two and find out some of the basics before I really jumped
to that step.
As we've seen so far, we have to have that faith in a Higher Power. We have to learn
how to properly give credit and praise to the Power that is higher than us. There are key
We also know in Matthew 22:14 God says, "I'm going to call who I want. I choose who I
want." But there is also a converse side to that because we also have to make the choice.
We're going to see that dual comparison today throughout the rest of this sermon.
Christ decided that He would speak in parables. Why? Because He knew that those
things that would be knowledge to those He would call could understand. But He didn't
want to confuse those people who would not understand and be held accountable for that.
Matthew 13 talks about that.
Knowledge has always been around. God even had a tree named Knowledge. Didn't He?
But the tree had a good side and it had a bad side. Why was that? Genesis 2 talks about
that. Adam and Eve decided to partake of that tree and they began to get some
knowledge in their brain that they didn't need to have there. They cluttered things up.
They began to understand things that maybe God said, "You're not quite prepared for this
just yet." In many ways what He was tying to tell them, I think, just have knowledge—
any kind of knowledge—is not always the most important key. It's {having} the kind of
knowledge that you need. {It's} like that first grader learning the basics of math or a new
convert understanding the basics of what we believe in versus throwing that
Predestination booklet on their lap to begin with.
We had wonderful food today. And many of you ladies took your recipes from your
mind, from perhaps family cookbooks and stuff like that. But would you go to that
cookbook for eternal life? To look for lessons for eternal life? I wouldn't. But some
people almost have a tendency to do that.
We have to understand the proper place, the proper time, the proper instance, the proper
emphasis, if you will, when it's going to really make a difference. If you gave someone
too much building some of these earlier virtues, it's going to overwhelm them. It always
has and it always will.
Think back on how many times God gave people knowledge. Look what He did for
Israel. He told them, "Do this. Do this." He showed them.
Page 13 of 27
To me to this day, I look at things and I think "How could they have seen all those
miracles happen before them; and, in such a short period of time, then revert right back?"
Again, they took in too much of what their previous past {sojourn in Egypt} had done to
them. They hung on to it. They allowed other things to interrupt. When they made that
golden calf, it seems like everything they learned up to that point went right out the
window. Didn't it? And they all of a sudden decided "I'm going to do something
The common thread of the kind of knowledge that must be added and aided has to be in a
faith that is already there in a Higher Power. Let's go up to verse 1 of 1 Peter chapter 2.
He says:
1 Peter 2:1. Therefore, laying aside all malice, all guile, hypocrisy, envy, and all
evil speaking,
2) as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow
thereby, (NKJ)
I think sometimes we in the Church have had a tendency to think, "I'm not a baby
anymore. So, I don't need any of that pabulum kind of stuff." The problem is sometimes
too many of us have reverted back to the crawling stage. Too many of us have gone back
to things that we should have stayed away from. We started embracing things that are
not good for knowledge-wise. We started confusing things.
But in verse 3, he says:
1 Peter 2:3. if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
4) Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God
and precious,
5) you also, as living stones, are being [WHAT?] built up a spiritual house, (NKJ)
Each one of us is a part of that foundation and also that building. God calls us "His
Temple." Each one of us represents something in that Body that we may not have clue
right now what it's going to be. But think about the opportunity you have in front of you
to one of these days know that and just be thrilled to death that the experiences you just
had in your life prepared you exactly for what you needed to do.
He says:
1 Peter 2:5b. … a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to
God through Jesus Christ. (NKJ)
Because he says in verse 6:
1 Peter 2:6b. … "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and
he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame." (NKJ)
They have a good understanding. They understand it well.
Page 14 of 27
Proverbs 4, {this is} a very familiar chapter. We've all read it many times. It comes from
a perspective of a father—you might God—in many ways telling his children, his son,
what they should be doing. Verse 1 of chapter 4 of Proverbs says:
Proverbs 4:1. Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to
[WHAT? to] know understanding; (NKJ)
How many people in God's Church have wanted to jump ahead of that knowledge part
and just go to the understanding part? Or to say, "I want to become wise overnight."? Or
somehow think this character I'm going to build is going to just come by osmosis?
But He says, "You have to know what it is first and, then, you know understanding."
And He says:
Proverbs 4:2. For I give you good doctrine: [but don't] forsake my law. (NKJ)
"Don't go off on your own tangent. Don't do things on your own time and energy." He
Proverbs 4:3. When I was my father's son, tender and the only one in the sight of
my mother,
4) He also taught me, and said to me: "Let your heart retain my words; (NKJ)
Make this something indelibly inscribed in who you are so that you're never going to
walk away from this. This is as important as a father telling his child, that you'd rather
cut your left arm off than to walk away from this. That's how relevant these words really
He goes on to say:
Proverbs 4:4b. … keep my commands, and live. (NKJ)
In verse 5, he really emphasizes this:
Proverbs 4:5. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Don't … turn away from the
words of my mouth. (NKJ)
But it all starts with what we know. All of our understanding had to start somewhere.
Didn't it? God had to give us basic understandings through knowledge that He reveals to
us. Here is His Father. He's laying this foundation of knowledge for us with the
expectation that we hang onto it. There is a clear understanding and there's a growth in
wisdom that one of these days it will be like second-nature with this cohesive part of this
growth process eventually ending in what God wants from all of us—His perfect
character. But again, it must be built on God's definitions. Not our own human
reasonings and ways.
If you look at the world right now, how can you be a person in this world looking at
evolution and deny creation? But they do it very easily. Don't they? Because their
knowledge is built on shaky perspectives of things they can't even begin to understand.
But God says, I'm revealing things to you that you need to understand even better.
Page 15 of 27
Unfortunately this is the place where many, even in God's Church, have simply gone
We were talking about this last night—some of the goofy doctrines we're hearing out
there on some of the things.
What was it? The one you said about now someone thinks they have to be naked all the
time in the Church of God. Everything about your life has to be something about being
nude. That one's a head shaker.
I don't know about you, but where do these people come up with this? It has overridden
people's ability, when they let God out of the picture, so to speak, and they let their own
knowledge become more important. Instead of allowing God to give us HIS knowledge
and HIS understanding and HIS wisdom, many just take that same road that everybody
else has taken. "Well, that kind of appeals to me."
I'm not real big on prophecy and part of the reason I'm not is because we've always been
wrong when we did it. I'm not saying it's not right that some of the prophetic things are
going to happen. But usually when we start setting dates, start doing everything else, we
always end up being wrong. Now, I'm not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I
realize there is some relevance in prophecy. But when people start taking their
understanding, their knowledge of this and begin to overwhelm what God tells us to do,
then stay to the trunk of the tree. Don't get off on those twigs. Unfortunately, we're not
even in the same forest in some cases in the Church of God today. Many times what
happens is we take this detour or the road just becomes blocked.
So we had the first three. Number four:
Self-control also is called temperance. It's the next step that he mentions here in this
process. Now, we also know that it is one of the nine elements of God's holy spirit there
in Galatians 5:22-23. Again, I kind of tried to summarize things the best I can because it
helps me and, hopefully, it will help you. But to me, self-control can kind of be summed
up this way in my mind:
Whose will are we willing to submit to?
Whose will are you willing to submit to? Can we harness our basic human tendencies?
I thought of something this morning. You might ask yourself, "God, is this about me or
is this about Thee?" when we really think about doing something. "Well, God won't have
a problem with this." No, God told us. If you understand about the foundation and
looking like God does and having His knowledge, you wouldn't want to even do that is
what it's trying to say. When we're on our own we often go to our own devices. A child
will do that. If you tell a child to sit down ten times and you don't reinforce it, you're
probably going to do it ten more times.
Page 16 of 27
As we see with these basic characteristics of God, God uses basic tenets to help us to
understand some very complex examples of life. He also gave us His spirit to begin to
understand that, to discern, to dissect, to put into practice, to watch each other.
Why do I like Steve Buchanan so well? Because he does this well; I like what I see in
him. That type of thing.
We don't want to do what that other part of the verses in Galatian 5 are—the works of the
flesh. That's what ends up happening a lot of the time when they have no self-control.
It's all about them.
When we use the right type of faith, when we identify and seek the proper virtues of God
(who God really is) and why we want to be like God (just like a child wants to be like
their mom or dad), then we're going to gain the right kind of knowledge just like we were
in school. We learn in the proper perspective and the timeframe it should be toward a
growth in understanding and wisdom that God Himself gives us.
As we begin to use these very basic foundational tools, one thing starts to happen. We
start letting go. We surrender the self, what we only want over to a Higher Power. Think
about that. When we finally begin to realize "I can't do this of myself; I can't control it
myself; so I have to have God control it." I guess that might be a way of saying it—I
have to have God control it.
Isn't this what we as parents strive to teach our children in their practices in their lives of
self-control? How many times have we said, "I made this mistake; I don't want you to in
follow my steps."? I've said that a few times. I'm sure some of you have too.
We also have to teach them that we're not always going to be around. That's one of the
things I've been telling my son. He's in one of the groups that government, government,
government is still being pounded. And like I tried to tell him one time not too long ago,
I said, "Michael, government is about what you'll do when no one else is around. God
wants us to understand what's self-governing. When you can stop yourself from doing it
when no one is looking, that's the thing that you have to understand." And that's one of
the biggest pieces of the puzzle that God is trying to teach every one of us is how selfgovern, how to say, "No," to ourselves, letting God's control be so strong in our lives and
in our minds that nothing else will take it's place.
Let's turn over to 1 Corinthians 9. Again, this is a very familiar Scripture, the good old
race. We've often talked about this race. A lot of people look at this race and they say, "I
don't think I could do that. 1 Corinthians 9 and beginning in verse 24, he says:
1 Corinthians 9:24. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but
[only] one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.
25) And everyone who competes for the prize is [WHAT?] temperate … (NKJ)
They have self-control. They know what it takes to win that race. How many people do
they say…? It's ninety percent perspiration and ten percent inspiration; or something like
that? Most sprinters realize that for the ten seconds they just ran to win that race it
probably took them ten years to get to that point. That's the thing that God is trying to
tell us even here.
Page 17 of 27
He says:
1 Corinthians 9:25b. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an
imperishable crown.
26) Therefore [He says,] I run thus: (NKJ)
"This is the only way I can do this because if I run any way differently, then I'm flooding
God out of the picture here." He says, "I don't run with uncertainty." He says, "I fight,
not as one who is just beating the air. I have purpose to what I'm doing here." (1
Corinthians 9:26 paraphrased.) But he says in verse 27:
1 Corinthians 9:27. I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, (NKJ)
"I have to control my environment."
1 Corinthians 9:27b. … lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should
become disqualified. (NKJ)
Now, it's not just people who are up here preaching, because your examples preach as
well. When we walk around this room, we're preaching by who we are, what we say we
It tells us that most of us are willing to do, sometimes, what this world is willing to do—
almost anything for a tangible goal. Look how many people almost sell their soul to the
Devil to become a millionaire. And in many ways that requires self-control. Doesn't it?
Did you know there are even two types of self-control? Just like that Tree in Eden had
two types of knowledge. The first one is:
1. What we think is right and what we want.
I'll do anything in my power to get what I want. I'll control my environment for this
tangible thing like this.
Then, there's the one that God says is important.
2. What God desires and knows you need.
Sometimes that's like that little child. You've probably seen the little kid that's sitting on
the couch and he's got his arm folded like this (across his chest). The caption below says,
"I may be sitting on the outside, but I'm standing on the inside."
That's the kind of thing that God says, "Do it for the right reasons. Follow My path." I
think Unger's describes {self-control} this way:
Someone who masters his own natural desires and passions.
Did you notice here that choices are always a part of the equation? Which way are you
going to choose? Which fork in the road are you going to go? So there are basic
Page 18 of 27
building blocks, but sometimes there are pretty hard decisions to make if you don't lay
the pattern.
This is exactly where a Christian's life must be different than this world's. We can't
follow their pattern of self-control, which requires self-control up to a point.
Obviously, you think about an athlete, an elite athlete. Those people have to really put in
some time, energy, effort and everything else, sacrifice to do what they want—striving
for anything that's wrong. How many people have striven over the years for money,
Of course, in the Church it was always titles and preeminence. "I want this. So, I'm
going to portray something to someone else. I'll control my natural hidden who I am just
when this person comes around."
But it has to be done with this newness of life that's aided and added by God and Jesus
Christ living in us. Romans 6:4 says it this way; he says:
Romans 6:4. Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death,
that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we
also should walk in newness of life. (NKJ)
That's why God often told the disciples, "Become like that little child." A child will
remember the basics. Won't they?
One of my favorite writings of all, the one by Fulghum—All I Really Need to Know I
Learned in Kindergarten. Have you ever read that? I wish we could put that in the
Church of God. "Take naps. Get along with each other. Share your cookies." It's that
kind of thing. Control your environment. It's truly been a calamity.
Number Five:
Perseverance can be described like this from the Bible's perspective: It's someone who
has a cheerful or even a hopeful endurance. "I'm here for the long run. And I'm happy
to be here." It's perhaps someone who is very constant. You always know what you're
going to get form that person. Someone who is not trying to do it at any cost, but they're
trying to do the cost that is important to God. They have to have this patience. Patient
waiting on God sometimes, when they want everything on their time, but God says, "No,
you have to wait."
1 Corinthians 16:13 states it this way; {Paul} says:
1 Corinthians 16:13. Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. (NKJ)
Those are pretty powerful words when you think about it.
Watch—not world events, but—who am I? Am I being diligent with what I need to be?
Or am I so worried about what's going to happen over in Timbuktu that my life goes
Page 19 of 27
down the tubes? He says, "Stand fast in the faith." Don't be wavering. Don't be like that
sapling that does this. Hang on to what you have and be brave and be strong.
You might ask, "Well, why is perseverance in this place in the equation?" You would
think that's one of those critical things we need to understand. Again, as I said earlier
about self-control, when you consider worldly perseverance, it's often done at any cost,
but not necessarily at the right cost. How many people gave up the truth in God's Church
because they heard something they liked and so they said, "Well, I don't have to keep
hanging on to that old stuff anymore. I get to go back to what I really like."? They didn't
persevere. They didn't have that foundation built the way they should have. There was
something they needed to understand about themselves.
How often are we simply even existing as Christians? How many times do we sit there
and look at ourselves, especially around the Passover time, and say, "I'm not really
showing that much growth."? But I'll also give you the converse side of that, too. How
often do you go into the Passover Season and also recognize, "What have I done right this
year?" If you don't understand in your own life your own strengths and your own
weaknesses, how can you ever grow? How can you persevere?
It's not necessarily just all about me saying, "Well, I'm a pretty good guy here." But if
I've overcome cussing this year, I probably ought to acknowledge the fact and say, "God,
I really appreciate the fact I don't use those blue words anymore."
How many times are our lives like that struggle? Ephesians 6 verse 10 talks about the
battle instruments we should be using in our arsenal. Let's go over to Ephesians 6 and
we'll look at it very quickly. Ephesians 6 beginning in verse 10, he says:
Ephesians 6:10. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of
His might. (NKJ)
There is always that strength in God. But when you try to go alone, what happens? It's
like my dad used to say, "You fold like a $2.00 suitcase in a hard rain." There's just no
stability there.
But he goes on and talks about:
Ephesians 6:11: the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against
the wiles of the devil. (NKJ)
How do we do that? How do we persevere against that? How many people in this room
here have had tremendous trials in the last year? And yet, you're still here. Is it because
someone else in this room maybe said, "Hey, I'm here for you. I've been there. I know
what it's like."? I hope that's what it's been for all of us.
He says in verse 12:
Ephesians 6:12. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, (NKJ)
Oh, yeah. Sometimes we do! It's ourselves. But he says:
Page 20 of 27
Ephesians 6:12b. … against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of
the darkness… (NKJ)
Satan is alive and kicking and well. That's what he's trying to say here.
But again, he goes back in verse 13 and he says, "Take up that whole armor of God."
And then he breaks it down into increments that we can truly understand. He says, "You
don't have to do it all at one fell swoop.
He says, "Take this helmet," and do it this way. "Take this armor. Take this helmet.
Take this sword and use it the way I'm telling you how to use it. And you will succeed if
you just hang in there." "Stand still" sometimes is what God tells us to do. "Stand still."
It's often at this point when our mettle (who we are), our intestinal fortitude is often tested
the hardest. At this point in our conversion (process where we're building these blocks),
Satan says, "Okay, these guys are on the right track here. Aren't they? Let's throw
something at them that they maybe just can't handle." I'm not saying we go to the
extremes of Job, but perhaps God does put something in front of us. And all of a sudden
we say, "Whoa! I've never had to deal with this before. Have I?"
If we're building the right possible, the best possible things that we could do—exhorting,
understanding, aligning ourselves with God, putting Him in our place as our Partner with
His faith, praising and exhorting His virtues, using the knowledge that He gives to us
expressly and then tempering our methods and our attitudes as God Himself does—
sometimes the bumps in the road kind of level out. Don't they? Especially when we
have each other's back. Especially when we look at the rest of the world and say, "We
don't have it quite as bad. Do we? Because, we have each other here." And I hope that
we do.
How much sometimes do our trials become almost insurmountable? And, frankly,
Brethren, we all know it's going to get worse. Some of us are going through some
horrendous things right now. But sometimes it's also because some of us may have
walked away a little bit from having that perseverance. Over in Romans 5, it says it this
Romans 5:1. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2) through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand,
and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (NKJ)
Most of us would like to stop right there and say, "Let's not read any further," but
unfortunately we've got that next verse. He says:
Romans 5:3. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that
tribulation produces [WHAT?] perseverance; (NKJ)
God wants to test who we are. "Are you going to keep being what I want you to be even
in God's Kingdom?" That's why He does it to us.
Page 21 of 27
And what He's going to test you with is not what He's going to test me with. Sometimes
we think, "This is unfair, God. Why are you letting me go through all these things?"
Well, you don't know what job God has open for you. You may need a Ph.D. in trials
versus me who may barely get to be the doorkeeper. So, we have to keep things in
perspective to understand what we need to be doing here.
Verse 4:
Romans 5:4. and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
5) Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in
our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NKJ)
And, again, we keep creeping towards that love. Don't we? We said in the very
beginning that we're going to get there.
Perseverance says, "I've got to hang in there. I've got to keep going." None of us like
trials or upheaval. I don't. You don't. But it's a marvelous wonder, especially when you
prevail. "I finally overcame that problem." We begin to distinguish an even stronger
ability to have that relationship with God.
Colossians 4:2 tells us to be "earnest in prayer," with vigilance and thanksgiving.
Persevere with God. What did Jacob do? This guy was willing to wrestle all night to get
what he wanted.
Simply, God wants you and I, through thick and thin, to never, never, never give up.
Don't give up. Now, that's easy to say. Sometimes it's harder to do. But God says, "I'm
going to be a partner with you. I'm constant. I'm always there. You don't have to wait
on me." Now, it may not always be in the way we want it, but God says, "I'm going to
give it the way you need it even when it gets a little rough." So, that's the important part
of perseverance.
The next one, number six is:
To me, I personally think that godliness should be the first or the last because that's the
ultimate in what we want to be. It seems to me strange to be that way because actually
when you think about this, isn't this the quintessential goal that we think we want—to be
like God? To ultimately take on the characteristics of God? Yes, it is. And actually the
answer is "Yes," and the answer is "No."
Obviously, we desire to become like God, but as the example with knowledge, the
example of our babies, where do you start? How do you start to become the most
productive God you can become? Is it long lasting? Do you have all the tools, all the
implements in place?
Do any of us have the ability to be a great Creator yet like God is? I don't. So, I can't
have that part of godliness as a part of my character yet. I would love to be like a great
judge that we read about in some of the judges of the Old Testament, but I don't have
quite that experience yet either. Or how about the wisdom that Solomon asked for? I'd
Page 22 of 27
love to have that, but God hasn't granted that to me yet either. Or maybe the ability to be
a tool to be used as someone's healing tool. The list could go on. I'm sure you could add
many other things as well.
The bottom line is we have to learn. We have to flourish as this newborn baby, learning
step by step, the very basics of life. We're in "God-life Learning 101" probably right now
for most of us (even being in the Church as long as we have) because we haven't even
touched the bottom rail yet of what we need to become.
God is letting us learn some very serious lessons right now so that we can begin to
understand, "Okay, this is what you meant. Now, I begin to understand." Because God
says, "I want you to flourish when you finally are given it all. I can't give you too much
too quickly.
Consider those who think or believe they have godly traits, but they never even had them
along the way. Look at 2 Timothy 3 verses 1 through 17. It talks about those who give
themselves over to things they shouldn't be giving themselves over to. 2 Timothy 3, we'll
just read a couple of verses here; verse 1:
2 Timothy 3:1. But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
2) For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, (NKJ)
You just read on and on. These people are just in pretty bad shape. They don't have
anything really going for them because they've pretty much turned into the world.
You keep reading on there and there are even people (verse 7) who are always learning.
They're never able to come to the knowledge of God. You think, "Wow!" And you have
other people who want to be the "Ins" and the "Outs." These Jannes and Jambres, they
resisted Moses. But he goes on in verse 10:
2 Timothy 3:10. But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life,
purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, (NKJ)
And he goes through all these things here that he's told Timothy. It all comes down to the
bottom line, verse 16. He says, 'Everything I've put in front of you in this Bible is given
for inspiration. That you can begin to look under the tent just a little bit and say, 'Oh,
that's what God is like.'"
2 Timothy 3:16b. … for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
2 Timothy 3:17. that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for
every good work. (NKJ)
That's how we find that godliness. It's like saying, "Because I'm old, that means I'm
mature." That's not necessarily a true statement. I know a lot of immature old people. I
also know a lot of pretty mature young people. You have to look at from the perspective
sometimes of the way it is put in place.
Page 23 of 27
Peter knew this. Often we he would heal someone or he would be the tool used to heal.
In Acts 3:12, he said it this way when people were marveling; he said:
Acts 3:12b. … why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, (NKJ)
"It's not my godliness here." He says:
Acts 3:12 continued. … as though by our own power or godliness we had made
this man walk? (NKJ)
"It wasn't us. God just used us as His instrument. That's all we are." Peter was the tool.
God was the source.
That's what God is using for us right now. We have to learn that we are the tools. That's
the thing that the Ten Virgins forgot. They were the tools. When they left the oil back,
they left the most important ingredient of all back at the barn. They didn't keep it the way
they should have.
Even though Peter and John and all the apostles, many had the basic tools and actions
used to heal this man. They knew the right thing to say, things like this. But they knew it
wasn't their power. It was the supreme power of God that made that difference.
You think about John the Baptist. Who would want to come under the guise that John the
Baptist came under? You come. You put on this weird clothing. You eat bugs. And,
then, you get your head cut off. I don't think I'd stand in line for that job. I'm not sure
about you, but that would not be my criteria for a good place to get my name in the Bible.
But, John understood his place. He knew that his place was to come before Jesus Christ
to his part to explain why Christ was coming.
In many ways, Brethren, we are "John the Baptists" for the rest of this world. We may
have to lose our lives for the very sake of other people as well.
Now, we may not have to eat bugs, but we might. I don't know what we're going to have
to do there. John 5 talks about that.
But godliness is not just someone who is pious or someone who acts that way.
Godliness is a way of being. We can look at God and we can say, "It's very evident that
God is pious. He is who He says He is."
We are to follow that lead {example} that John the Baptist lived.
Often I hear people say, "We're the light to the world." No, we're not. You're the lamp,
but you're not the Light. The bottom line of it is that John the Baptist was the lamp. That
tree was the purpose that God used it for. We are the things that God has used us for—
the tools. He's the source of the Light. We're only the vessels that expose it.
That's where we, then, let God's godliness work through us, through our examples which
are lights to each other. We even see this in practice when we deal with our children.
Don't we? We give our children our value systems (which are hopefully good) by what
Page 24 of 27
they see within us. When you think about it, how many years does that small child think
of you as God? More than you think.
The last two, we'll combine these two, number seven and number 8.
Brotherly kindness
We all know the Ten Commandments basically talk about the love and all the various
things like this. Matthew 22 verses 36 through 40, Christ basically said "Let's expand
this a little bit. There are these two Great Commandments. You have to love God and
you've got to love each other."
These Commandments though are personified by what we do, by really using the
attributes prior to this to begin to understand how we really reach this goal, this pinnacle,
if you will, of the very essence of who God is. The bottom line of it is:
It's revealed by how we treat each other.
I can tell you all day long, "Oh, I've got the love of God in me." The agape is really
kicking and screaming in Rod Keesee here. But if I come over and treat you like dirt,
what have I just done?
Well, what did Christ say in Matthew 25 after the Parable of the Ten Virgins? {He talked
about} separating the goats from the sheep. He said, "You made the wrong choice here.
You didn't show the love for that person who didn't look like they deserved it. It was all
about you. You didn't really extend any brotherly love, much less the kind of love that I
would give to you. It was all about you."
Our ultimate priority is to love God with our whole heart. We show that love often by
how we treat and love one another. Do you think that's not one of the biggest calamities
in the Church of God today? How much of that love has really been stripped away? And
people think they've really got the right things and they don't. It's a calamity like you
can't believe.
We have to serve each other just like God would serve us, just like Jesus Christ Himself
died for us. We actually learn the agape love for God by practicing brotherly, individual
godly love on each other. That's how we learn it. Like our baby example, we learn the
basic of human interaction to properly then apply it to God by what we read, by how we
experience through prayer and meditating. You may think, "I know how to love God
because I have the agape type love." But it's only through the relationships that we have,
through the ability to sort of rub shoulders, if you will, that we begin to understand fuller
the aspects of what God's true love is all about.
We have several pilots in here. My dad was a pilot and he had several thousand hours.
Harold, would you ever run a jumbo jet with your experience? Unh unh. My dad had
four thousand hours in a plane, mostly before the time of the four-passenger, single
engine airplane. You have to learn from the basics. You solo. You get behind that little
Page 25 of 27
airplane and you try to do your best not to crash it when you land and wreck it when you
go up. You do the basics basically.
That's how we're doing with our love for each other. We're kind of like Cessna pilots.
But the thing of it is as we grow, as we grow in that capability, if we let these blocks
build within us the capability to one day become that jumbo jet pilot, we then have the
tools, the means, the methodology to be able to be that.
This is what our building blocks have shown us today. A pilot has to have a lot of
training, actual hands on experience. I can't love God the way I want to because I've
never seen Him, but I can sure show Him through you how I love Him.
This is perhaps why Peter placed brotherly kindness ahead of love in the hierarchy of
things. Romans 12 verse 10 says it this way:
Romans 12:10. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in
honor giving preference to one another; (NKJ)
Hebrews 13:1 says
Hebrews 13:1. Let brotherly love continue. (NKJ)
But in 1 Peter 1, he actually combines the two. 1 Peter 1 and verse 22, he says it this
way; Peter does:
1 Peter 1:22. Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the
Spirit in sincere love of the brethren [the phileo love], love [agape] one another
fervently with a pure heart, (NKJ)
He says you have to put them together. That one love has to build upon the other love. It
turns into godly love when you use it the right way. When we actually do what we
should be doing with one another.
Do you know what it all comes back down to? You go right back to the foundation of
faith. It's like we rehearse the Sabbath on a weekly basis and the Holy Days on a yearly
basis and we look at these seven or eight building blocks and we say, "Well, I know all
that." Sometimes you've got to go back and say, "Okay, it's go back to the basics again.
How is my faith? How is my" this? And you begin to understand.
I've taken a lot of information here and packed it into a short period of time. There have
been hundreds of sermons given on each one of these subjects, much less all eight.
We've only looked at a bird's eye view of it. But I hope in some ways what we've done is
begin to look at some of the technicalities of the process, but also look at how we
separate God's ways versus sometimes our own. It's very hard not to do that sometimes.
As often is the case with God, and even as we see with the examples of our human
families, it's a never ending process. God called us. We started the process. Didn't we?
He said, "I'm going to make you into someone like I am." He let us have children. He
says, "Now, I want you to kind of do the same thing I've done with you, but you get to
raise them." And guess who follows behind us? I called us one time "pavement for the
Page 26 of 27
future" because the rest of the world is going to walk on us one of these days too. Aren't
they? They're going to learn through the examples that we set here just like we have
learned. And eventually, all of mankind will start the process of building it as well.
Ultimately though, it all comes down, again, to love. Not a syrupy, wimpy but an action,
a thought, a process, a determination that we need to remember this is what it's all about.
1 Timothy 1 verse 5 says this:
1 Timothy 1:5. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart,
from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, (NKJ)
1 Peter 4:8 says it this way:
1 Peter 4:8. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will
cover a multitude of sins." (NKJ)
The last verse, II John 1 verses 5 through 6 says it this way:
II John 1:5. And now I plead with you, lady, (NKJ)
"Lady" is us—the Church. "I'm pleading with you! Do you understand what I'm trying
to tell you here?"
II John 1:5b. … not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that
which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.
6) This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the
commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
We know it from the beginning of our conversion. It's a matter of whether we still want
to walk. Brethren, let's all take these very valuable building blocks of true Christianity
very seriously. Re-examine them. It's not rocket science, but re-examine them as the
very fruits that we really have to embrace, that we have to grow in, that we have to
exhibit in the ultimate growing Family of God.
Transcribed by kb February 22, 2012
Page 27 of 27