John McCracken – Only the Godly

You can learn about people very quickly as you go into their homes,when you hear them talk, when you see who their friends are, by all that is on display, by what they value. Let us speak this afternoon about what God values.


Psalm 4:3, “But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself; the Lord will hear when I call unto Him.” The people that will be found in heaven will be those who are godly while on this earth. In my own mind, I had the thought that godliness was far beyond me. It is as far as the flesh goes, but when we let the Lord come in, He can work in us godliness.


II Timothy 3:1-5, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful,unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God – having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.”


Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.  


What are some of the characters of Godliness? We express our love for God by doing His will, for His will is always best. But self-love and we all have it and if we are not careful, it will just put us into a form of godliness. Oh, we may look like the others, but it is only a form of godliness.


What is it that would rob me from being overcomers? Cheryl told us. She told us of being in a home where several teenagers lived with their parents. She asked them, “What are you going to do today?” One of them had the whole day planned out, she was going to go shopping at the mall, where she would meet her friends, go to the beach to swim and on and on. Then her dad spoke up and all he said was, “ARE YOU?” That young lady then turned to her Dad and said, “Daddy, what am I going to do today?” Such a wonderful response. Godliness is just laying aside our own plans, not my will but Thine be done, lay aside our own will.


There were problems out in one of the outermost parts of our field and we were sent there to see what could be done. The meetings had been stopped for several months because of the problem in the church. If you wanted to go to meeting, it was three hours one way to a meeting, and three hours the other way. When we talked to the man who was causing all the problems he said, “Well, I was born this way.” He had very abrasive ways, always mumbling and complaining and finding fault with others. We told him,”Yes, you were born that way, but you were not born again that way!” I think that was the turning point for that man – he soon began to show that newborn nature. People who find fault and criticize others, that is not of the newborn nature. Godliness gives us a power to change our actions and our reactions.


How do you react when someone steps on your toes? Hit back? II Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” But godly people will have the victory through the help of the spirit within. Persecution – we don’t go around the world with a sign on our back saying, “Kick me,” but persecution will come, it is just a part of the package of serving God.  


We had one of our saint girls come to us in tears, she didn’t want to go back to school because of the peer pressure. Now we all know that schools, young people, can surely be real pressure cookers. We assured her that she would come through fine if she just trusted God and kept that supply line open to God each day.  


There was a young girl who professed in Hanoi all because of two of our friends in that school, they had been friends together and now this young girl saw what they had, such peace in their lives and desired to have that for herself. Now the three are good friends, sharing fellowship together.  


Daniel 3:15-16, “‘Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made well, but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?’ Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.'” We know what happened, don’t we. They were thrown into that heated furnace, only to have their bindings taken away and have Jesus himself walk with them in the experience. They did just what God expected them to do, to face the test, they were true men.  


So often we worry about the earthly results, but every problem that we face is about the soul, because life is all about the soul. Let us just look ahead to the final results. How many times in life have we spent so much time trying to get the results to fit our own thinking? The root of all our problems is really just self-love. Our appetites are often fed by self-love.  


One of our sisters told us, my problem is that I love my temptations, but I hate the after effects. Two years went by and she and her husband found themselves outside the truth, found them divorced. Ten years went by before she found her way back. She told us now that she didn’t love her temptations any more because they cost her too much.  


There can be persecution, both outside the kingdom and inside the kingdom. When it comes from inside, it is much harder to handle. When we make it hard for others to keep true, it is not to our glory. When I was young, I was in Vancouver, British Columbia. There were three groups of young people in that city. One group we called the FW club or future workers club, young men and women who were living godly lives. Then one group we called the UF club or the un-future workers club. This was a group you would never think of being part of the ministry. Then there was the middle group, somewhere between the two extremes. We are so grateful for those of you who keep the standard high and make yourselves available to fit in wherever you are needed. There were those among the lowest class who were found finding fault with the workers, and making fun of our friends.  


Psalms 32:5-6, “I acknowledge my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord, and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found. Surely in the floods of great waters, they shall not come nigh unto Him. Thou art my hiding place, Thou shalt preserve me from trouble, Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” Godly people will have sin, this is the part that surprised me, that the people that God considers godly to have sinned.  


II Corinthians 7:9-11, “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”  


Genesis 4:3-9, “and in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering, but unto Cain and to his offering, He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Where is Abel thy brother?’ And he said, ‘I know not. Am I my brother’s keeper?'” Cain had no sorrow for his brother, he was only feeling sorry for himself, self-pity, and no repentance.  


Seven things that Godly sorrow produces (II Corinthians 7:11):


1 – Carefulness. If we have true repentance, we are going to be very careful about the very next step we take. Godly people walk through this world very carefully. Where your feet take you your heart goes, too. Sometimes our feet come back and our heart stays behind.


2 – What clearing of yourselves. When we have fallen, it will be made public, for all to see. We want to make it clear to God and to our brethren that this was in the past. One thing lacking in this Corinthian church was a clear stand being made. Let us make our testimony sure, yes this was what I was in the past, but now I have left those things behind. When we move, we go to the post office and make an address change, and a forwarding address. But when we leave these things behind, let us not leave a forwarding address so these things don’t follow us. I once was brought up short by a young man, a friend of mine and I knew that I had it coming and needed it but, oh how it hurt. And I’m not very proud of this, he had every right to chastise me. Now this man was known all over the US and Canada by a certain nickname. He had a bad reputation but ended up married to one of my good friends, what a shock. One day, after not seeing him for years, I used his nickname and he said to me, “Don’t ever use that name again, that was my past and I want to forget it.” One of the hardest things for us to do is to let go of the wrongs of the others, to face our brethren when we know that they know our past mistakes. Well, we need a new address and not leave a forwarding address.


There were a couple of problems in the little church at Corinth, sexual problems. If we have been involved in things like this we need to clear ourselves. Then there were problems where friends were taking friends to court. Then of course there were those who felt they could speak better then so and so, or had a better prayer, pride!


3 – Indignation. This is a wonderful quality of Godly sorrow. We would be asking ourselves, “Why on earth did I ever get involved in this?” One of our young ladies feeling that she had had a pretty good year wanted to be baptized. She was going Sunday after Sunday to see her professing brother race his motorcycle, she felt she was standing by her brother. Then she began to realize this was all wrong and was pretty disgusted with herself.


4 – What fear. There are two kinds of fear – the fear of God, the respect and honor for God that moves us to worship him. The fear of losing it all because of my sin.


Hymn 244


Glory to Thee for strength withheld

For want and weakness known,

And the fear that sends me to Thyself

For what is most mine own.

I have a heritage of joy

That yet I must not see,

But the hand that bled to make it mine

Is keeping it for me.


5 – What vehement desire. – This is a great active desire, an active desire and I am going to do different. When Peter failed Jesus told him, “When you get to the place where you care enough, you will be a strength to your brethren.” Beware – for discouragement just drives us away.


6 – What Zeal. – We are saying, “I am going forward from here on. Zeal would lift us to go to a new address, to repentance and godly sorrow.


7 – Revenge is just getting ahead, take revenge on this old human nature, on Satan and getting ahead of this old self. This is a culmination of these first six things. Godly people are not perfect, but know how and where to go for help.