Pursuing Righteousness, Godliness, Faith, and Love (1/2) | Bayless Conley


There are many questions you are faced with
every day. We are all searching for answers that will
make a real difference in our lives. It’s hard to imagine that these answers might be right in front
of us. Get ready to discover answers in the Bible
with Bayless Conley. You know there are some things that are absolutely
within the scope of God’s will for our lives. But we will never experience them if we do
not pursue them and go after them. If fact, in the Scripture God specifically
tells us things that we should pursue. And we are going to be looking at some of
those very important things that God wants us to have
but we need to go after them. Look with me, if you would, in First Timothy,
chapter 6. First Timothy, chapter 6, and we want to look
at verse 6. We’re going to read all the way through verse 11. First Timothy 6 and verse 6: Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and
it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we
shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into
temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction
and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds
of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced
themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and
pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Now did you notice before he told Timothy
to pursue, he told him to flee. We can’t pursue the right things until we’re
willing to flee from the wrong things. And here the wrong things, in context, greed:
having money and the achievement of wealth as your all-consuming priority because the
truth is, if we do it, just like it said, if that becomes our all-consuming
priority and sits in the top spot in our life, it will ruin this life, destruction, and it
will ruin the life to come, perdition. It talks about both of those things here in
verse 9. Now if you’re running after gold, you can’t
run after God. If you are pursuing riches, you can’t pursue righteousness. If your heart’s focus is things, it cannot
be focused on the Creator of all things. I’d like you to listen to these verses. I’m going to read it to you. It’s from the Book of Ezekiel, in the 33rd
chapter, but I’m going to read from the Amplified Bible. And God said this very thing that we’re
talking about right now to Ezekiel. Beginning in verse 30, He said, “As for
you, son of man, your people who talk of you by the wells and in
the doors of the houses say to one another, everyone to his brother, ‘Come and hear
what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ And they come to you as people come, and they
sit before you as My people, and they hear the words you say. But they will not do them for with their mouths they show much love, but
their hearts go after and are set on their idolatrous greed for gain. Behold, you are to them as a very lovely love song of one who has a pleasant voice
and can play well on an instrument, for they hear your words but do not do them.” You see, the people of Ezekiel’s day, they
loved his preaching, they enjoyed his preaching, but they never acted upon it. They were going through the motions having a relationship with God, but there
was no substance to it. Why? God said because their hearts were set on
the pursuit of wealth. The Message Bible puts it this way: They flatter you with compliments,
but all they care about is making money and getting ahead. The Living Bible says they talked very sweetly about loving the Lord, but with their
hearts they are loving their money. And, see, it comes down to what are you following
after? What is your heart’s greatest pursuit? And don’t get me wrong. Yes, we need to work. Work is God’s idea. Work is not a curse; work is a blessing. Before Adam fell in the garden, God gave Adam
a job… put him in the garden to tend and to
keep it. In fact, God gave Adam a job before He gave
him a wife. So if you’re thinking about marrying a guy
without a job, you should wait. So we need to work. And the Bible tells us to work hard. And I think we need to be wise and pursue
knowledge and experience in our particular field so we can be the best as
we possibly can at whatever we do and command the highest salary possible, notwithstanding
that should not be the great goal of our life. You even talk to someone with a gift of giving
that’s mentioned in Romans 12:11. They may have a God-given special insight
into financial matters, and it seems whatever they
touch turns to gold. But if you’ll talk to someone with that
gift, they are the first one to tell you it’s not about money. It’s not about making another dollar or
getting a bigger house. To them, it’s about kingdom. It’s about supporting the gospel; it’s
about winning souls. And money and making it is just a tool for
that end. And their goal is to take as many people to
heaven with them as they can. You see, our greatest treasures are to be found in God. And if we seek His kingdom first and His righteousness,
all the things that the world tends to scrounge after and run after Jesus promised they would be added
onto us. So he said to flee those things. And specifically God gives us a list right
here in these verses of things that we are to pursue. Once we’re willing to flee from the wrong things, here he gives us the
list of right things to pursue. And the first one we find in verse 11. He said pursue righteousness. Now, you know, trees have both fruit and root. They bear fruit upward; but, first, they have
roots that go downward. Both of them are part of the same tree, and it’s the same with righteousness. The root of righteousness is what we receive
at salvation as a gift. We are made the righteousness of God in Christ. It’s something you don’t grow in. It’s something that is not achieved. It is not something that you merit. It’s not some high, spiritual lofty state
that you attain to. My friend, when you got saved, you were made
righteous with the righteousness of Christ in your spirit. You became a new creation, and that allows us to come into the presence of a holy God
without a sense of guilt or shame. What an amazing thing it is! That is the root of righteousness. But the Scriptures also speak of the fruit of righteousness,
and that’s where it’s lived out. That’s where it’s translated from what
God put into your spirit into your daily lifestyle in your interaction with
other people. One is the result of the other. And here where he says “pursue righteousness”,
in context he’s talking about the fruit of righteousness. It is character that has a right relationship
with God as its foundation. One translation says, “Pursue uprightness.” Another translation says, “Pursue right
living.” Let me paraphrase it and put it this way:
In all of your dealings with people, pursue uprightness, honesty, and fairness. You see, in context, it’s placed in stark
juxtaposition from those who will bend the rules and violate their conscience as they greedily pursue gain. So he’s actually contrasting the two. He says, “Look, you need to flee from this. Godliness with contentment is great gain. But those that pursue wealth, and that’s a consuming
desire of their life, they pierce themselves through with many sorrows. They end up in destruction in this life and perdition in the life to come. But you, O man of God, flee those things. But you need to pursue uprightness, honesty,
character in your dealings with people. It’s a contrast between the two things. Pursuing uprightness and honesty in business
not only honors God, it’s a way for us to let our light shine. And in addition to that, when people are treated
with integrity and honesty, they usually let others know about it. Whenever I have been involved in any kind of a business deal, whether it’s
working with someone that I’ve hired to wash the windows at the house or work on my
car or whatever it is, if they are honest, I tell everybody about them. It’s one of the best forms of advertisement
there is, is being upright and fair and honest with people because, friend, word does get out. You know, I mentioned if you were here last
week… in one of the illustrations I mentioned that I like to golf. I actually love to golf. And I like getting out with people, like walking on the golf
course; and, you know, I have some friends, acquaintances that will call me sometimes
like, “Bayless, do you want to get out for a game of golf?” And I hate to golf with them. You know why? Because they cheat. It drives me crazy! Hits his ball in the divot, and he moves it and improves his lie; hits it in the rough,
moves it out into the short grass; hits it in the sand trap, has a bad stance, so he
moves his ball so he has a perfect stance. And then we get to the end of the round, and
he goes, “Bayless, I shot a 79! I beat you by four strokes.” And I go, “Awesome;” but, inside, I’m going, “You liar! You dirty liar! If you would have played by the rules, you
could have added seven strokes at least onto your score.” And I hate playing with people like that. And the thing is, sometimes as human beings,
we tend to compartmentalize our lives: “Well, yeah, I cheat on the golf course. I told him that I, you know, had a five; and, really,
I had a seven on that hole. And that’s just one thing. But I’m honest over here.” Friend, it’s just our life. You may compartmentalize things in your mind,
but it’s just your life. And if you’re dishonest in the little thing,
it always bleeds over into the other areas. The little things always affect the big things. So it’s more than just the big things. It’s the little things where nobody else
can even see. So don’t cut corners. Put in an honest day’s work. Give people what they pay for and more. Pursue righteousness. And you know what? If you do, it will rain down on you when you need it. The Bible says whatever a man sows, that shall
he also reap. Listen to these verses:
Proverbs 11:18, “The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sows righteousness will have
a sure reward.” Again, talking about character, honesty, uprightness, integrity. Hosea 10:12, “Sow for yourselves righteousness. Reap in mercy. Break up your fallow ground for it is time
to seek the Lord until He comes and reigns righteousness on you.” It will come back. You know, when we were living in the Inland
Empire, there was a guy that I didn’t know him well, but I got to know him a little bit. And he had an auto body shop. And, you know, his shop just stood out like
a gleaming diamond compared to all the other businesses that were around it. It was neat, it was clean, it was… everything was in good shape. He had state-of-the-art equipment in there. And most of the other businesses were dilapidated
or run-down all around him. And it just stood out. And I found out something that had happened
and actually how he was able to invest so much into his business. There was an old woman that lived in town. She didn’t have any family there. And she went to him, and he did some body
work on her car a number of times. And he always treated her fairly and kindly. She had been gouged by a number of other people
in town. A lot of other businesses, “Aw, she’s
just an old lady. She won’t know the difference.” And people took advantage of her. Nobody knew it, but she actually had a lot
of money. And when she died, he became the sole heir
in her will. The guy from the auto body shop! And she wrote in her will, “You are the
only person in this town that has treated me fairly. I will my entire fortune to you.” And he inherited all of her money. He sowed righteousness, and you know what? God saw that it rained down back on him at
the right time. All right, the next thing he mentions in verse
11: Pursue righteousness, and then he says godliness. Godliness stems from the inward posture of
being devout or reverent toward God. It has to do with having a continual awareness
of God and striving to live a life that is pleasing to Him. And where righteousness in its context here deals more with our direct
interaction with men, godliness leans more to that which we do before God when no one
else will see. Because of that constant awareness of His presence and
a desire to be like Him, we continually pursue attitudes and decisions that will glorify
Him. I’m sure some of you have read the book
by Charles Sheldon, “In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?” One of the most popular books of all time,
sold well over 30 million copies. And in his book it’s the story of a preacher
in a small church. He challenges the congregation for one year
to not do anything, to not make any decisions that affect other people without
first asking themselves the question, “What would Jesus do?” That’s where all the WWJD bracelets came
from. You should read the book. If you wore the bracelet and didn’t read
the book, shame on you. It’s a good book. I read the thing years ago. And it’s challenging. What it does is it causes the reader to reflect
on their own habits, on their own motives, and on their own lifestyle. And I believe the idea put forth in the book really illustrates what
godliness is about. And he said to pursue it, and that’s because
it generally is not found along the path of least resistance. In fact, pursuing a life of godliness guarantees
certain hardships. Look with me at Second Timothy, chapter 3. We’re just about right there. Second Timothy 3 and verse 12, Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ
Jesus will suffer persecution. There’s no getting out of it. Somebody says, “Well, I’ve never suffered
persecution.” Okay, you do that math on this verse then. “All those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” You know, Jeff Perry is one of my dearest
friends. Jeff pastors St. Louis Family Church in Missouri,
right outside of St. Louis. And I’ll speak for Jeff sometimes; he’ll come here and speak. And usually if I’m going there, I’ll try
and schedule an extra day or two because Jeff likes to fish like I like to fish. And so we’ll go out… he takes me… we
have to drive hours to get to this place. It’s remote. And then what he likes to do, and I enjoy
doing it, too, we hike cross country to these little hidden
ponds in the back country. And it’s kind of rough going. By the time you get there, you’re covered
with sweat. If it’s hot and we’re wearing shorts, generally,
your shins are lacerated and bleeding, and you’re generally carrying four or five ticks
on you by the time you get there. But you know what? The destination makes it so worthwhile. These remote little unfished ponds are filled
with hungry large-mouth bass. And it is some of the most spectacular fishing that
I’ve ever experienced. We stand yards apart on the bank and just
pull in fish after fish after fish after fish after fish. It’s amazing! And I will confess… and I hope this never
gets back to him… he did catch more fish than me last time. I’ve been working on forgiveness issues, but… Now, in a way, you know, godliness is the
same. The promised benefits to those who will pursue
godliness far outweigh any difficulties that living a godly lifestyle
brings. You are guaranteed difficulties if you take
the higher road of godliness, but the reward, the pay-out, makes it worthwhile. Here’s just a few things, just a few things
that are promised to those that pursue godliness: First, contentment. First Timothy 6:6, “Now godliness with contentment
is great gain.” Secondly, being set apart by God. Psalm 4:3 says, “The Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly.” Here’s a third one: Deliverance from temptation. Second Peter 2:9, “The Lord knows how to
deliver the godly out of temptations.” Those are good benefits. And then here’s a fourth one: It profits
us both now and in the life to come. In fact, look with me at First Timothy, chapter
4. I want you to read this one. First Timothy, chapter 4, and look at verse
7: But reject profane and old wives’ fables,
and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but
godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that
which is to come. So he said, “Exercise yourself toward godliness.” That means there’s work involved. In fact, the word “exercise”, it’s the
Greek word used to describe the rigorous training that an Olympic athlete
would go through. So this doesn’t come by just idly standing
by. You have to pursue it. You have to go after it. And it says that it has benefit in the life
that now is and in the life which is to come. Now, granted, you know, some of the persecutions
that we go through are very light indeed in comparison to some of the savage persecution
that our brothers and sisters throughout the world experience
for their faith. And you can’t really even compare the two. The one thing I can say is this: Heaven is
the great equalizer. Godliness is profitable, not just for this
life, but for the life that is to come. No one that has decided to live for Christ,
that decided to live godly, is going to stand in heaven and
go, “I got gypped! Man, this wasn’t worth it! Man, I wish I hadn’t lived for God. I wish I hadn’t made those decisions. This is awful!” No one is going to say anything like that. The rewards are going to be so magnificent,
so beyond imagination. Eye hasn’t seen, ear hasn’t heard the things that God has laid
up for those that love Him. Friend, eternity makes the difference. And there are some things in this life you
just have to say, “Man, that is unfair! That’s not an equal balance.” But God doesn’t use our balance, and He
doesn’t measure things by the short span of our earthly life, my friend. God looks at eternity, and God measures things
in the light of eternity. And you will be glad that you made the choice
to live for Christ with all of your heart and soul, even
in the things when no one else could see and God alone. Heaven will make it worthwhile. It is profitable not just for this world but also for the world
to come. All right, back again, First Timothy 6 and
verse 11. The third thing we’re told to pursue is
faith. Now, like love… and we talked about this…
if you are saved, faith has already been deposited within
you. The Bible says in Romans 12:3, speaking of
believers, that God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Notwithstanding that faith must be developed
by hearing and by using it. I know you guys know this verse, Romans 10:17,
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Faith comes… I like to say faith comes alive by hearing,
and hearing by the Word of God. God’s Word is the food that our faith feeds upon. You get a body builder. He or she will eat a protein-rich diet when
which it is digested becomes the raw material that builds muscle mass. Well, friend, when God’s Word is heard and digested
through meditation, it becomes the raw material to build faith. To pursue faith, we must pursue God’s Word. And if you say, “What? I’ve got a faith problem. I find it so hard to just trust God. I’m just always doubting,” I would venture
to say to you it’s probably because of your spiritual diet. Faith comes unconsciously when we feed upon
God’s Word. Just like, you know, the wet comes with water,
faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. It will come unconsciously. And if you’re struggling with your faith,
if you’re struggling with doubts, the cure is to spend time feeding on the Word. And, you know, if you’re going to enjoy
the strength that food provides, you need to eat food regularly. In the same way, we need to feed regularly upon the promises
of God. You are not going to derive physical strength
from a meal that you ate a month ago. I still remember our Thanksgiving dinner. I can describe it to you in detail. I can tell you everything that I made, I can
tell you the part that Janet did, I can tell you the part that our daughter Rebekah did, I can
tell you what my sister brought over, I can describe the aromas, the texture, the color,
everything about it. But you know what? My body is no longer deriving physical strength
from the meal I ate a month ago. And you will not derive strength for your
faith from Scriptures that you have a fleeting memory
of that you have not read or reflected upon at all. Even the Israelites, God told them daily go
out and gather manna every day. If you try and save it for the next day, it
will spoil. And so it did. And we need to feed our faith daily. Go to God’s Word daily. . The Apostle Paul said it’s with our spirit,
with the inward man, that we believe. He said it’s with the heart that man believes. Peter referred to our heart the hidden man of the heart, which is our spirit. You know, the Apostle Paul said the inward
man is renewed day by day. We need to daily feed upon God’s Word. If we are going to have a robust faith, we must
have a robust diet of the Word. Thank you for watching Answers with Bayless
Conley. Bayless will continue with part two of his
message next week. You know, I’m in my sixties now and I find
out that it’s still very important that I exercise. Because if you don’t exercise certain muscles
and use them, they atrophy. Well you know, the muscle of faith must be
exercised. And as we exercise it, it remains strong and
it grows. The ‘Just’, shall live and walk and please God by faith. “Lost and found is now open.” “Have you ever lost something of value in
your life? Maybe a relationship, maybe a physical item
maybe an impetus or a momentum that you had? You know: lost things can be recovered and we´re gonna find
out how.” Lost things can be recovered because God is
a God of recovery! In his heartfelt message, “Recovering Lost
Things,” Bayless Conley reveals a God who recovers lost relationships, lost hopes, lost
possessions, lost health, a lost sense of purpose, innocence, direction,
or ability… and the list goes on. Regardless of what you’ve lost, remember:
We serve a God of recovery. Find hope and restoration in Him today! Just use the information on the screen now
to request your CD or DVD copy of “Recovering Lost Things.” Thank you for watching Answers with Bayless


7 Responses

  1. Gabriela Armijos

    October 11, 2017 3:39 am

    Thank you for the team that work sharing the messages about how God can change us. Praying for your ministry.

  2. Emediong Ekong

    May 20, 2018 9:41 am

    Thank you for the broadcast. God bless you, in Jesus name, amen. I'm blessed by the messages from this channel.

  3. Richard Schorr

    February 6, 2019 2:19 pm

    Thank you so much, Mr. Bayless. This is the first video I've seen of yours, and it was great. I hope that God continues to use you in a great way.


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