by Pr. Paddick Van Zyl
(Johannesburg, ZA)

Sermon by Pr. Paddick Van Zyl
Oct , 2014

Title: Character

A store owner interviewed a young man for a job. He asked, "If I hire you to work in my store, will you be honest and truthful?" The young man answered, "I will be honest and truthful whether you hire me or not." God still sees us, even when no one is watching. Kent Crockett#

Romans 5:1-5. NKJV
2 Pet. 1:5-7. ESV

2 Pet 1:5-7
'1:5 DILIGENCE: The noun here describe a determined zeal which marks a daily goal.

1:5-7 FAITH, VIRTUE, etc.:

•Faith is the beginning point of this search for excellence. Everywhere in the New Testament it marks the beginning of the Christian life (Acts 3:16, Romans. 3: 28 et al). Genuine faith results in God's impartation of eternal life to a spiritually dead individual (Ephesians. 2:1).

•Having received that life the believer is now to add virtue. This is the same word found in v. 3 as the character of Christ. It is plain that a Christian cannot produce this from himself, but he adds it only in the sense of choosing to act in such a way as to reflect the moral excellence of Jesus who dwells within him. He chooses goodness rather than corruption.

•To this must be added knowledge (gnosis) i.e. practical wisdom, obtained by acting on the understanding which truth imparts.

•Third in the list is self-control (enkrateia). This means mastering one's moods, rather than being controlled by them. The false teachers, whose views Peter is preparing to expose, believed that knowledge freed them from the need to control their passions. But Peter is showing that submission to Christ means evil moods can be rejected and Christian character exhibited instead. •The fourth quality, perseverance (hupomone), naturally follows, for if one exercises self-control he or she will not easily succumb to discouragement or the despair that tempts one to quit. The habit of viewing all circumstances as coming from a loving Father's hand who is in control of all events is the secret of perseverance. •To this (fifth) is to be added godliness (eusebeia).

The pagans used this word to describe a religious individual who kept in close touch with the gods. But there is no sense of religiosity here but of a continual awareness of God's presence affecting and governing every aspect of life. It is never a burden to bear but a delight to enjoy, as it was with Jesus.

•The sixth quality to be added, that of brotherly kindness (philadelphia) is so closely linked with godliness that 1 John 4:20 says, "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar." As Jesus taught in John 15:12-17, love for the brethren involves serving one another (laying down one's life); sharing with one another, practically and intimately; and praying for one another. It would be, He said, the mark of a true disciple. Such an attitude would immediately reject any display of prejudice, class or race distinction, or any form of exclusiveness or elitism in the Christian community.

•Finally, the seventh quality to be manifested is love (agape). This is God's kind of love in which the origin lies not in the one loved but in the one who loves. God loves because He is love; we are to love, because we are of God! It reaches beyond the Christian community to love anyone, anywhere, manifesting itself by seeking that person's highest good, even at cost to ourselves. It is not inconsistent with justice and punishment but tempers these by aiming at redemption and renewed usefulness if the recipient will permit.' ####

2 Kings 20:1-6
God responded to the cry of Hezekiah to be healed because of Hezekiah's character v.3 2Kings 18:3;5-6;14

Prov. 22:1 Read
Rather have a good name (character) than riches...riches do not buy or secure character
Psalm 15:1-5 Read
Who may abide in God's presence?:
They who ~
•live uprightly, speaks the truth
•blesses their neighbour, honors those who fear God
•swear to their hurt and does not change (keeps their promises)

This speaks about integrity & character

Eccl. 7:1a Read
A good and honorable name or character is better than expensive perfume
Job 2:3,9 Read
Job held to his integrity

When we are not sincere in our Christian walk giving people, especially the unsaved, a false impression of who and what we are and who God is, we are actually nullifying our integrity as well as our character. Jesus warned more than once about the leven of hypocrisy...

•The fruit of the Spirit is core to our Christian character

'Character is not just having integrity or honesty or doing the right thing, it is not one aspect or even a few, it is a living, growing relationship in Christ which produces a synergistic combination of the fruits of the Spirit.'^^

We are concerned about comfort, God is concerned about character being formed in us.

Who we are will determine what or how we will handle and carry ourselves in any given situation good or bad. Someone said: integrity is doing the right thing in the dark when no one is looking.

From a foundation of character and integrity we build our life on truth and 'what is right' the same way a building is erected on a sound and proper foundation - builders and engineers refer to this as the integrity of the foundation and building: will the weight of the building be carried on the foundation laid so that if major storms, floods and earthquakes present themselves, the building and its occupants will be safe and protected?

Character is what comes out of you in any given situation or any given day, it is not what you place inside you over time- you are your character and your character is you. Growth in Christ over time is what makes your character better.

If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of me. Dwight L. Moody

Character is what a man is in the dark. Dwight L. Moody

Success is when you're children love you and your critics respect you (SO)

Many believers are in a habit of 'cutting corners' when it comes to developing character and integrity in their Christian and secular daily life. Growing spiritually is also growing in character and this takes time, faith and endurance - no short cuts.

Titus 2:7-8:
Integrity is character, good works, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech

Prov. 20:7
'Proverbs 20:6. Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness; but a faithful man who can find?

'The virtues of truth, honor, integrity, benevolence, friendship, liberality, are claimed by every one as the inherent and characteristic qualities of his heart: and even piety itself is, if men’s opinions of themselves be true, an inmate of every bosom. “Goodness” is not only approved by all, but claimed as the property of all.
No one stands higher in his own conceit, than the person who has learned to talk about the Gospel, but not to practice its precepts.' ^

Psalm 41:12
"Integrity means you have more in the warehouse than is in the showroom." --Clark Whitten##

Your character keeps you afloat. A hole in your character will cause you to the Titanic

Show respect even to people who don't deserve it, not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours -from Lifehacker, quoting Dave Willis ¤

"Actions speak louder than bumper stickers." --unknown ###
The first step and this is not a once off, to have a Godly character and the fruit of the Spirit develop in your life is to surrender (spirit, soul and body) to Jesus Christ and His Lordship of your life. If character is not worked on and cultivated daily, it will deteriorate to its 'default' state - the way we were before Christ came into our lives. Character takes effort, faith, work but it pays high dividends.

Amen....Let's pray

(SO) Late Pr. Shermon Owens
#Kent Crockett, Making Today Count for Eternity, Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2001, p. 155)
Building & Ruining a Reputation
##Kent Crockett's Sermon Illustrations
###Kent Crockett's Sermon Illustrations
####Ray Stedman Expositiry Studies
^Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae Proverbs 20
^^What is Christian Character? Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
¤Dave Willis .org

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