Godliness Prt 4

#21 February 12,2022 

Laboring in Godliness

As we seek to grow in godliness the world will attempt to confuse us. We have grown to accept our place in society, whatever that is. If you are one that labors with your hands the world treats you as such. If you are a homemaker the world reacts to you in just that way. In other words perception for the natural man is reality, but in the hands of God, we have changed. Some will notice it, but most will not. Consider the reaction of the seasoned warrior Goliath armed with sword, shield, and spear as he prepared to do battle with the young shepherd David equipped with no more than a shepherd's staff, a sling, and five smooth stones. 

Samuel 17:43 And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

Consider the fear in the heart of Ananias when the Lord told him to go to Saul of Tarsus and heal him of his blindness. To Ananias, Saul was an agent of the Sanhedrin Council sent to capture and execute the followers of Christ.

Acts 9:11-15
9:11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus; for, behold, he prayeth,
9:12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
9:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem;
9:14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way; for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel;

Understand how hard it is to be the temporal hand of God when no one around you even understands what that is. I haven't figured out whether this is just a natural occurring event or if is a directed attack by the adversary, but I know it to be both true and confusing. It is the godliness we seek that will show all involved that we bring with us the creator of the universe and His message of oneness with Him and His eternal purpose. Godliness will create within us a testimony of a loving Father offering all who will choose Him, a place at His side serving virtue and righteousness forever.  

Psalms 100:3 Know ye that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Our labor for the Lord will have us reach out to all people. Whether they are ruler or servant, bondsman or free; all need to hear and know the Gospel of the Kingdom. The ministry of oneness that is the foundation of Zion seeks to create a casteless society where God and His purpose direct and all others follow. In a world where possessions are the indicator of social status, the true nature of God and his purpose are an exotic ideal that is completely unacceptable. Society has created a system in which some are rulers and the rest are servants based on who or what they own and the power they wield in the hearts of the people around them. In the ancient world even in the eyes of the people spreading the Gospel, the system was intact and just that direct. 

Colossians 4:1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

Ephesians 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

It becomes very complicated in the face of a society today that recognizes a plethora of situations, which observe many different ruler/servant relationships. Consider the confusion created when we recognize kingdoms, nations, states, counties, cities, groups, tribes, churches, and families as viable forms of government within the system. This creates a complicated structure whereby everyone at some point rules and everyone at some level also serves. Eventually mankind loses track of how to reach out to God. Are we masters responsible for all who serve us or are we servants responsible to those we follow. 

Proverbs 29:12-14
29:12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
29:13 The poor and the deceitful man meet together; the Lord lighteneth both their eyes.
29:14 The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established forever.

I am convinced that this passage from Proverbs 29 seeks to open our hearts to how we can minister and how we can be ministered to, in such an over complicated man-made system. Let's examine them verse by verse that we might receive all that God offers. 

29:12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

Firstly, God opens our eyes to the professed nature of the relationship between the servant and the master. It would be easy to assume that the will of the master sets the tenor for all that his servants are, but that is not the fullness of truth. Looking closely at history causes us to question the true affect great leaders of history had on the people they led. Did Genghis Khan of China or Napoleon of France teach their people to be a ruthless conquering empire, or did they just organize and inspire a nation of people who truthfully believed they were a greater society? Let's put that same question in a more recent context. Bill Clinton was impeached for sexual promiscuity. Did his leadership corrupt a society or was he a reflection of a society that already suffered from immorality. This is the problem we face as God's people in the world today. What is the true relationship between those who lead and the people that follow them?

29:13 The poor and the deceitful man meet together; the Lord lighteneth both their eyes.

God in His wisdom is prepared for the mishmash that is society in the world today. In the fullness of the Gospel we minister to the world in the name of one God. We bring to the world one message. In fact, the unity of oneness is our ultimate goal. We offer one covenant, one savior, and one purpose for all people everywhere. We offer truth, for truth is simplicity, and simplicity is truth.

DC 83:7b For the word of the Lord is truth, and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ;

Be aware that this is not the same within the churches of the world. The traditions of man cause them to utilize a clergy separate and above a membership that respects a hierarchy, which begins with one earthly person responsible to God. This not only separates the people from God, it separates Priesthood from the people. It also creates an economic system that reflects mandated taxation more than it does willing righteousness stewardship. All earthly assets are aimed at God but end up being dispersed between all available clergy the greatest portion belonging to that one person at the top. It withholds from the people their ability to recognize acceptable leadership according to the qualities of leadership Christ taught His disciples when they inquired as to their place in the master/servant relationship within the Kingdom.  

Luke 22:24-27
22:24 There was also a strife among them, who of them should be accounted the greatest.
22:25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and they who exercise authority upon them, are called benefactors.
22:26 But it ought not to be so with you; but he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he who is chief, as he who doth serve.
22:27 For whether is he greater, who sitteth at meat, or he who serveth? I am not as he who sitteth at meat, but I am among you as he who serveth.

Christ was telling His disciples that humility to God and God's purpose is paramount in their covenant labor. He taught them to lead by serving and serve by leading. Please do not underestimate the importance of this system. Many times within the history of the Church of the Latter Days this system has been abridged. Our clergy failed to serve God by serving His people. As a result all as one, clergy and membership alike, still wait on Zion. Clergy are called to be one with the people and to serve them in the manner of and by the example of Christ. They do not promote celibacy. Instead they teach the integrity of covenant marriage and practice it within their own lives. They do not take a vow of poverty. Instead they like everyone else of covenant, live by the attitude that all they have is a blessing from God to be used for His purpose. When they posses in surplus they share with those who need; faithful that the surplus of another will fulfill there needs. They depend on righteousness within the justice of God, growth within the mercy He offers, and the unity of oneness as they place their faith in God. 

29:14 The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established forever.

Within this verse is both problem the world faces and a path to the solution. Each of us at one time or another acts as a ruler. From the President of the United States to the parent preparing their children each day to meet the world, all set standards, all create protocols, all rule. We are responsible in the face of God for those we direct as well as being the result of those that lead us. 

As ministers of the word, Priesthood is responsible before God to those they lead and their ability to respond to His leadership. Both Priesthood and Membership are responsible before God for our words and our deeds in this life. The whole system seems like a mess too confusing for us to work out until we allow the Spirit to guide us in understanding the true simplicity of all we face within the Kingdom of God.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

This standard expands our grasp of covenant. We are all servants of the Most High, and He is our Father who promises to see to our needs. This attitude clarifies the oneness that is the Gospel of the Kingdom, and allows the master/servant relationship to become simplicity itself. In our labors with God for His Kingdom we either lead by serving or serve by leading. If we lead, we do so by both word and deed founded on the Gospel of the Kingdom and directed by the Spirit of God. This serves the fullness of the Kingdom and allows God to inspire and direct the labor. If we serve we serve those in need and do so willingly full of both truth and joy. Again the fullness of the Kingdom is served and God through His Spirit inspires and directs the labor. The ability to use our free will to become agents of God is the dream of the Kingdom and that which we labor for. This is life with both purpose and freedom. In this understanding we can go forward and labor with our Father to establish the godliness of Zion.

1 Timothy 6:1-5 
6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
6:2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness; from such withdraw thyself.

As we serve or lead we must do it with a full awareness of the truth of godliness and the security it offers.

1 Timothy 1:6-9
6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
6:8 And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.
6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

Brethren, the godliness we seek opens our eyes and our hearts to the challenges of this life and the promises of the life to come. This life is meant to prepare us for an eternity walking at the side of our Father. Joining Him in a righteousness that guarantees both a freedom to choose and access to all the knowledge we need to choose righteously. It offers us a purpose that can involve our joyful labor today, tomorrow, and forever. As we grow in godliness we become a part of a vision of perfection that can answer all the questions we have and all we will be asked. Godliness can help us understand the very nature of God's work and His labor.  

DC 22:23a-23b
22:23a And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying, The heavens, they are many and they can not be numbered unto man, but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine; and as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come;
22:23b and there is no end to my works, neither to my words; for this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality, and eternal life of man.

And to think, He wants us right there beside Him, laboring with Him.
Let's do it, together.

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