Cultivating Christian Character

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Cultivating ChristianCharacter

ATTRIBUTION/CREDITS “Essential Virtues – Marks of the ChristCentered Life” Written by: Jim Berg Copyright: 2008 by BJU Press

Previously. Groundwork for ChristianCharacter– Cultivating Goodness(Excellence)– Cultivating Knowledge

Previously. Backbone of ChristianCharacter– Cultivating Self-control Deal w/world, our desires,promote order

Last Week. Cultivating Endurance– Keeping on in the face ofintentional opposition, defyingsomething onerous or evil– To remain constant underexternal pressure

It implies ACTIVERESISTANCE against thoseexternal pressures, or ACTIVE DEFENSE of someethical principle being threatenedexternally Why must believers cultivate thisendurance?

In order to ensure any responseto whatever external pressure weface glorifies God Cannot do it in our own strength Must be Holy Spirit-poweredand God-sustained

In the end:Endurance is the ability toremain faithful and glorify Godunder external pressure bylooking to God for strength to doit

VIDEO

Cultivating Godliness 2 Pet 1:6: “Addto endurance godliness.” Take a look at your charts Essential personal virtues

Loving God with my Whole HeartLoving Others as MyselfThe Groundwork for Christlike Character (v. 5) The Backbone of Christlike Character (v. 6) The Trademark of Christlike Character (v. 7)SavingFAITHSELF-CONTROLBROTHERLY KINDNESSBeing a "partaker of the divine nature" through Cultivating a God-empowered mastery of my Cultivating a God-engendered affection forthe righteousness of Jesus Christinternal desiresand service to those in the "household offaith"ESSENTIAL VIRTUESENDURANCEEXCELLENCECultivating a God-mandated purpose todevelop and display the excellencies(character) of Jesus ChristLOVECultivating a God-sustained faithfulness underCultivating a God-imitating mindset thatexternal pressurescripturally and sacrificially meets thespiritual needs of othersORE VALUESKNOWLEDGEGODLINESSCultivating a God-taught understanding of the Cultivating a God-honoring devotion to Jesusperson, the work, and the ways of Jesus Christ Christ that promises righteousness andopposes evilCOMMITMENT to ChristCOURAGE for ChristThese traits produce a whole-hearted disciple These traits produce a brave-hearted disciplewho chooses the appeals and ideals of Christ who advances Christ and His ways andand rejects the appeals and ideals of the world opposes evil in himself and others regardlessof risk to himselfCOMPASSION like ChristThese traits produce a tender-hearteddisciple-maker who seeks the lost and who byhis example and effort disciples others to livea Christ-centered life

Cultivating Godliness Berg calls godliness “thecrown and the summary of thefour “personal virtues”” Calls godliness the “launchingpad into the two “socialvirtues,”” -- brotherly kindnessand love” Label at top of chart

Loving God with my Whole HeartLoving Others as MyselfThe Groundwork for Christlike Character (v. 5) The Backbone of Christlike Character (v. 6) The Trademark of Christlike Character (v. 7)SavingFAITHSELF-CONTROLBROTHERLY KINDNESSBeing a "partaker of the divine nature" through Cultivating a God-empowered mastery of my Cultivating a God-engendered affection forthe righteousness of Jesus Christinternal desiresand service to those in the "household offaith"ESSENTIAL VIRTUESENDURANCEEXCELLENCECultivating a God-mandated purpose todevelop and display the excellencies(character) of Jesus ChristLOVECultivating a God-sustained faithfulness underCultivating a God-imitating mindset thatexternal pressurescripturally and sacrificially meets thespiritual needs of othersORE VALUESKNOWLEDGEGODLINESSCultivating a God-taught understanding of the Cultivating a God-honoring devotion to Jesusperson, the work, and the ways of Jesus Christ Christ that promises righteousness andopposes evilCOMMITMENT to ChristCOURAGE for ChristThese traits produce a whole-hearted disciple These traits produce a brave-hearted disciplewho chooses the appeals and ideals of Christ who advances Christ and His ways andand rejects the appeals and ideals of the world opposes evil in himself and others regardlessof risk to himselfCOMPASSION like ChristThese traits produce a tender-hearteddisciple-maker who seeks the lost and who byhis example and effort disciples others to livea Christ-centered life

Cultivating Godliness Godliness completes the setpersonal virtues Peter sayswe need to love God w/ ourwhole heart Sets the stage, prepares ourheart, for column 3, which isloving others as our selves

Loving God with my Whole HeartLoving Others as MyselfThe Groundwork for Christlike Character (v. 5) The Backbone of Christlike Character (v. 6) The Trademark of Christlike Character (v. 7)SavingFAITHSELF-CONTROLBROTHERLY KINDNESSBeing a "partaker of the divine nature" through Cultivating a God-empowered mastery of my Cultivating a God-engendered affection forthe righteousness of Jesus Christinternal desiresand service to those in the "household offaith"ESSENTIAL VIRTUESENDURANCEEXCELLENCECultivating a God-mandated purpose todevelop and display the excellencies(character) of Jesus ChristLOVECultivating a God-sustained faithfulness underCultivating a God-imitating mindset thatexternal pressurescripturally and sacrificially meets thespiritual needs of othersORE VALUESKNOWLEDGEGODLINESSCultivating a God-taught understanding of the Cultivating a God-honoring devotion to Jesusperson, the work, and the ways of Jesus Christ Christ that promises righteousness andopposes evilCOMMITMENT to ChristCOURAGE for ChristThese traits produce a whole-hearted disciple These traits produce a brave-hearted disciplewho chooses the appeals and ideals of Christ who advances Christ and His ways andand rejects the appeals and ideals of the world opposes evil in himself and others regardlessof risk to himselfCOMPASSION like ChristThese traits produce a tender-hearteddisciple-maker who seeks the lost and who byhis example and effort disciples others to livea Christ-centered life

Cultivating Godliness Achieving godliness (more onthis coming) marks a maturitylevel in a believer thatfacilitates our ability to reachout and love others But remember, simultaneousand sequential (back)

Cultivating Godliness So what is godliness? The original Greek word translatesas “religion” Meant worship that was worthy ofGod Used to mean “authentic piety,”living, breathing, visible every dayway of life whether at home, alone,in the workplace, etc.

Cultivating Godliness Step back, big picture, pull itall together

ROLENDURANCEGOOD WORKSBROTHERLYKINDNESSLOVE

Cultivating Godliness Believers achieve Godlinessby– Cultivating personaldevotional virtues (arête,knowledge), with– Personal discipline virtues(self-control and endurance)

Cultivating Godliness When we cultivate these personalvirtues that allow us to love Godwith all our heart They become the fuel that givesus the spiritual commitment andspiritual strength to cultivate thesocial virtues and love others

Cultivating Godliness Godliness must become a wayof life A godly lifestyle will bedistinctive and different thanthe world It also is useful to the cause ofChrist

Cultivating Godliness St Paul sums it up in Titus 2:11-12“For the grace of God that bringssalvation has appeared to all men. Itteaches us to say “No” to ungodlinessand worldly passions, and to live selfcontrolled, upright and godly lives inthis present age ”

Cultivating Godliness So what are the marks of agodly man (believer)? How do you know if you’recultivating godliness withsome success?

Cultivating Godliness Can probably think ofhundreds Focus on three in this study One today, two in nextweek’s Godliness Part Deux

Cultivating Godliness Devotion to God Know he’s committed to pursingarête and knowledge Increasingly high and frequentthoughts of Jesus As knowledge grows, Jesusbecomes more dear for what Hedid for us on the cross

Cultivating Godliness More aware of and saddenedby sinful thoughts, self-servingactions, indifference to others More buoyed by the peace feltafter confessing a wrong andreceiving God’s promisedforgiveness

Cultivating Godliness Less discouraged by hissin/moral failure because he’sseen Jesus’s forgiveness in thepast Looking to give God the glorymore than looking for selfglory (sorry if it’s to him)

Cultivating Godliness Barriers to cultivating thisdevotion abound Hours and hours of timespent in front of screens,video games, pursuinghobbies, sports, etc.

Cultivating Godliness Berg says “The Christian whowould be Godly cannot fill histime with entertainment andrecreation.” Rather, cultivating godlinessrequires ever increasing timein God’s Word

Cultivating Godliness Believer must personallyand regularly spend timewith Jesus in His Word Meditate on what one reads Respond with confession, acontrite heart and praise

Cultivating Godliness Godly devotion manifests itselfin a distinctive Christ-centeredlife vs a self-centered life Berg:–“Many men (believers) todayare Christian, but alarminglyfew are godly.”

Cultivating Godliness The bar of godliness isincredibly high–But do NOT be discouraged! Godliness takes TIME! Cultivating godliness is aprocess

Cultivating Godliness Make this perfected, high baryour target Godliness grows when abeliever makes cultivating theearlier virtues a lifestyle Start slow – decide to make asmall change and stick with it

Cultivating Godliness Pick one worldly thing youlove/do/spend time on and replaceit with 30 minutes in the Word Be warned – breaking a habit ishard! Make 30 min in the Word yournew habit – habits becomeroutines

Cultivating Godliness Expect opposition – this is spiritualwarfare! Our sinful nature likes the worldlythings we indulge in You may not want to give up that 30minutes of Facebook time You’ll need to lean on yourcultivated self-control and enduranceto overcome the lure of the world

Cultivating Godliness Keep at it and make it aroutine Once it becomes routine,add 30 more minutes! CULTIVATE GODLINESS!

Cultivating Godliness The godly man (believer) isknown by his observabledevotion to God None of us are there yet, but weknow where the bar is set With prayer, intentional, activeeffort and God’s grace we cancultivate godliness and movetoward that high bar day by day

Cultivating Godliness And remember: A godly man (believer) willnot remain on the sidelineswhen evil attacks or good isfacing opposition He cannot and will not be aweakling when defending thecauses of God

Next Week Exploring the Backbone ofChristianCharacter Godliness (Part II)

Loving God with my Whole HeartLoving Others as MyselfThe Groundwork for Christlike Character (v. 5) The Backbone of Christlike Character (v. 6) The Trademark of Christlike Character (v. 7)SavingFAITHSELF-CONTROLBROTHERLY KINDNESSBeing a "partaker of the divine nature" through Cultivating a God-empowered mastery of my Cultivating a God-engendered affection forthe righteousness of Jesus Christinternal desiresand service to those in the "household offaith"ESSENTIAL VIRTUESENDURANCEEXCELLENCECultivating a God-mandated purpose todevelop and display the excellencies(character) of Jesus ChristLOVECultivating a God-sustained faithfulness underCultivating a God-imitating mindset thatexternal pressurescripturally and sacrificially meets thespiritual needs of othersORE VALUESKNOWLEDGEGODLINESSCultivating a God-taught understanding of the Cultivating a God-honoring devotion to Jesusperson, the work, and the ways of Jesus Christ Christ that promises righteousness andopposes evilCOMMITMENT to ChristCOURAGE for ChristThese traits produce a whole-hearted disciple These traits produce a brave-hearted disciplewho chooses the appeals and ideals of Christ who advances Christ and His ways andand rejects the appeals and ideals of the world opposes evil in himself and others regardlessof risk to himselfCOMPASSION like ChristThese traits produce a tender-hearteddisciple-maker who seeks the lost and who byhis example and effort disciples others to livea Christ-centered life

Cultivating a God-empowered mastery of my internal desires Cultivating a God-engendered affection for and service to those in the "household of faith" EXCELLENCE ENDURANCE LOVE S Cultivating a God-mandated purpose to develop and display the excellencies (character) of Jesus Christ sustained faithfulness under

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