Life’s Simple Seven! What enables growth?
Add Godliness - Reflect God!
5- $20 - Goodness challenge for Saturday Night!
I’m curious. Would you consider your first name to be popular? The Social Security website ssa.gov enables you to research popular names by State. Would you care to take a guess at the three most popular baby boy names and baby girl names in the State of Ohio?[i] They would be: Mason, Jacob, Noah. Girls: Emma, Sophia and Ava. Let’s try another state! New York![ii] Boys: Michael, Jacob and Jayden! Girls: Sophia, Isabella and Olivia! One more: Kentucky! For boys: Bubba, Slim and Joe Bob! JUST KIDDING! Don’t get me started on West Virginia. Actually the most popular Kentucky names for boys are William, Mason & Elijah. For girls its: Emma, Isabella and Sophia![iii] Recently, I asked my Mom. “Why did you name me Greg?” And her answer was – your Dad liked the name Greg! Have you ever asked your parents the “why” behind your given name?
If you didn’t know this already allow me to inform you that this church has adopted a little African village in Zimbabwe. Many from this church have been there. I’ve been able to travel there four times now. Many things about African culture are fascinating to me one being a person’s first name. Dereck Mushayamunda said one time, “Many parents believe their kids will live up to their names” which is why many children are named after biblical virtues. Let me give you a few names of people in the village: Lovemore, Favor, Mercy, Grace, Memory, Blessing, Moreblessings, Kindness, Glory, Jealous, Justice, Innocent, Prosper, Hope, Faith, Gift, and Joy! Remember, the parents want their kids to live up to their name. Be a blessing, give grace, extend favor, demonstrate faith, love more! If you think living up to one of those names or your name is difficult - try this one! Turn in your Bibles to 2 Peter 1:5. Do you need a Bible or MO today? If you do, just raise your hand! May I remind you of our Easter Services – Sat Night @6PM, Sunday AM at 7, 9 & 11! The Apostle Peter makes it clear! If you want to GROW you must add to your faith! Find verse 5! (Read 5-6)
The word “Godliness” is this Greek word – Eusebeia! It is pronounced “yoo·seb·i·ah.” Yoo(seb)iah means reverence, respect, and devotion towards God.[iv] Back in the 4th century there was a man named Eusebius – Eusebius of Caesarea to be exact. Eusebius of Caesarea was the first major historian of the Christian church.[v] What word to you think his parents had in mind when they named him? The word Peter used - Eusebeia! His parents wanted their son to live his life devoted to God![vi] Eusebius – grow up and become a godly man! Let’s spend the rest of our time today determining just what a Godly person looks like!
To do that go back to our list of seven. This list shows us just what the false teachers are not. A godly person teaches Jesus. An ungodly person does not. After faith we are to add these seven virtues. Did you notice that the first five show our love for God. Godliness almost summarizes the first five. A godly person is … Goodness, Knowledge, Self-control, Perseverance & Godliness! Jesus said it this way in Matthew 22:37: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
A Godly person LOVES GOD! A godly person is devoted to God.. A Godly person is so conscious of God’s presence that they live as if God were walking right next to them! But often we make a Godly person larger than life. But it’s not. Take prayer and Bible reading as disciplines of a godly person.
“On February 19, a woman from Seattle was kneeling on her kitchen floor, praying, when she felt a hand on her head. She told police that she thought it was her husband playing a joke on her, so she kept praying. But eventually she turned around and when she did she saw an unknown man standing in her kitchen. That's when she really prayed, crying out "Lord, help me!" The man fell back, hit his head on her refrigerator, stumbled out of the house and drove off. She credited God for saving her”[vii]
I think there are times when kneeling in prayer is just what we should do – it demonstrates devotion. But most times we need to just talk to God like he’s standing right next to us! Almost every morning I start my day by saying, “Good morning God! How are you?” God isn’t into formality as much as we think he is. This past week I started reading the Gospel of Matthew. I asked you to do that this month leading up to Easter. Devotion to God is NOT reading God’s word just to check it off. I’ll read this but not give it a second thought. Godly people ask this question every day! “God, what are you saying to me today?” I read these verses in Matthew 4 on Friday. (Matthew 4: 8-9 on the screen) What do you think God was saying to me? “Greg, you often bow down to other gods.” DO YOU? (WKNR/THE BIBLE) What are we going to do about that? Well, that’s the second question a Godly person asks! “What am I going to do about it?” Jesus gives us the answer in Matthew 4:10! A godly person chooses to put God first!
Let’s go back to Peter’s simple seven! The first five virtues show our love for God. The last two show our love for people! We are to be kind and loving! A Godly person loves people! Jesus said it this way in Matthew 22! 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
That was a complete paradigm shift for me! My whole life I’ve grown up thinking that to be a godly person is to show up for church services. Now don’t miss the importance of Sabbath, of pausing - of honoring God and remembering Jesus’ death on the cross. But often mere attendance becomes the goal instead of a devoted heart!
I have heard this saying for years! Rick Rusaw reminded me of it again last January! Churches have three measurements! Bucks, Butts and Baptisms! We measure how much money is collected, how many people are in attendance and how many conversions there are to Christ! I really have no issue with these measurements! We are to be generous, faith comes by hearing the word of God and people need to come to Christ! However, there need to be a few more! Measurements that focus on kindness and love! Our love for people! What good is a church that doesn’t care about people? Measure the impact of this: In 2012 WCC did this: We engaged in approximately 912 hours of service to our community! We packed and delivered 189 jars of peanut butter to Lifeline Christian Mission. We delivered 2,589 lbs. of food to the Westerville Area Resource Ministry. We provided 10,080 meals to Westerville area families through Friday Fare! We provided Christmas gifts and gift cards to 79 local children and their families. We partnered with the Mushayamunda Christian Development Fund to sponsor the educational costs of some 69 children in Zimbabwe. Godly people care about what God cares about. Children top the list! For every child we support in Africa and Westerville we move them out of poverty and give them hope and a future! That was last year! What about this year?
I have to show you this picture taken in Russia. Apparently this cold water bucket blast helps their bodies ward off sickness. But you have to be willing to do it! Is there a willingness on our part to live a godly life – to be devoted to God? There was (a) willingness for Peter! Find verse 12 in 2 Peter 1! Read 12-14. Look at this chart I received from Dr. Mark Moore. (Read 15-18)
Peter is taking us back maybe 30 years! This is Matthew 17. Jesus transfigured before Peter and the Thunder boys - James and John! Peter says – I remember this like it was yesterday. Jesus’ face looked like the sun! His clothes glowed – I mean white as light! And then, I don’t know how it happened but, Moses and Elijah appear out of thin air and start talking to Jesus! I thought it would be wise to speak, not a good move on my part! God Almighty said to me, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"
Godly people listen to Jesus! You’ve heard Jesus speak to you today. What has God said to you and what are you going to do in response to what you’ve heard? I’m praying it’s an act of kindness or of love! John & Den Dunning live in Granville and they were both saddened to hear about 16 year Janet Gregory who was injured sledding in late January. Deb is trying to find ways to help Janet and her family. Deb took me up on my $20 challenge and with that money she bought 20 wrist bands and I have 15 left. I’m curious? Could I get you to buy a wrist band and I’ll give the money to Deb to give to Janet! I wonder if Eusebius lived up to his name. Peter did! Peter was a rock for God! Will we? Will we live up to our name – Christian? We are Christ followers. People who are devoted to God’s son! People who love God and love people! People who listen to God! What is he saying for you to do right now?
[iv] Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon, Logos Bible Software, 2 Peter 1:6
[vi] Bible Knowledge Commentary, Logos Bible Software