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Character

 

Character

A middle-aged business executive approached the front entrance of the office building in which he worked. A young feminist came up at the same moment, so he stepped back and held the door open for her to pass on through. She looked at him and said with annoyance, “Don’t hold the door for me just because I’m a lady.”

To her surprise, he looked right back and replied, “I’m not. I’m holding it open because I’m a gentleman.”

Likewise, we as Christians must always act toward others on the basis of what we are in Christ Jesus, and not on the basis of what they may or may not be.

 

Exposure of Character

Robert Louis Stevenson told the story of a veiled Muhammadan prophet who was a great teacher and light among the people. He wore the veil, he said, because his countenance was so glorious that none could bear the sight of his face. But eventually the veil decayed and fell away, revealing nothing but an ugly old man. Stevenson stressed that “however high the truths the preacher taught, and however skillfully he might excuse the blemishes of character, the time comes when the veil falls away, and a man is seen by people as he really is. It is seen whether beneath the veil is the ugly fact of unmortified egotism or the transfigured glory of Christlike character.”―― J. Oswald Sanders

  

Value of Character

“Traveling on a train from Perth to Edinburgh, all of a sudden we came to a dead stop because a very small screw in one of the engines had been broken, and when we started again we were obliged to crawl along with one piston rod at work instead of two. Only a small screw was gone. If that had been right the train would have rushed along its iron road, but the absence of that insignificant piece of iron disarranged the whole. The analogy is perfect; a man in all other respects fitted to be useful may by some small defect be exceedingly hindered, or even rendered utterly useless in the ministry.” ―― C.H. Spurgeon

 

CHARACTER

Will Rogers was known for his laughter, but he also knew how to weep. One day he was entertaining at the Milton H. Berry Institute in Los Angeles, a hospital that specialized in rehabilitating polio victims and people with broken backs and other extreme physical handicaps. Of course, Rogers had everybody laughing, even patients in really bad condition; but then he suddenly left the platform and went to the rest room. Milton Berry followed him to give him a towel; and when he opened the door, he saw Will Rogers leaning against the wall, sobbing like a child. He closed the door, and in a few minutes, Rogers appeared back on the platform, as jovial as before.

If you want to learn what a person is really like, ask three questions: What makes him laugh? What makes him angry? What makes him weep? These are fairly good tests of character that are especially appropriate for Christian leaders. I hear people saying, "We need angry leaders today!" or "The time has come to practice militant Christianity!" Perhaps, but "the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20).

What we need today is not anger but anguish, the kind of anguish that Moses displayed when he broke the two tablets of the law and then climbed the mountain to intercede for his people, or that Jesus displayed when He cleansed the temple and then wept over the city. The difference between anger and anguish is a broken heart. It's easy to get angry, especially at somebody else's sins; but it's not easy to look at sin, our own included, and weep over it.── Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, pp. 75-76.

 

CHARACTER

When Oscar Wilde arrived for a visit to the U.S. in 1882, he was asked by customs officials if he had anything to declare. He replied: "Only my genius." Fifteen years later, alone and broken in prison, he reflected on his life of waste and excess. "I have been a spendthrift of my genius...I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character." ── Imprimis, Volume 20, Number 9.

 

CHARACTER

A number of years ago the Douglas Aircraft company was competing with Boeing to sell Eastern Airlines its first big jets. War hero Eddie Rickenbacker, the head of Eastern Airlines, reportedly told Donald Douglas that the specifications and claims made by Douglas's company for the DC-8 were close to Boeing's on everything except noise suppression. Rickenbacker then gave Douglas one last chance to out-promise Boeing on this feature. After consulting with his engineers, Douglas reported that he didn't feel he could make that promise. Rickenbacker replied, "I know you can't, I just wanted to see if you were still honest." ── Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991, p. 22.

 

CHARACTER

Henry Wingblade used to say that Christian personality is hidden deep inside us. It is unseen, like the soup carried in a tureen high over a waiter's head. No one knows what's inside--unless the waiter is bumped and he trips! Just so, people don't know what's inside us until we've been bumped. But if Christ is living inside, what spills out is the fruit of the Spirit.── Carl Lundquist.

 

CHARACTER

W. Michael Blumenthal, chairman of Unisys, talks about the mistakes he made in hiring: In choosing people for top positions, you have to try to make sure they have a clear sense of what is right and wrong, a willingness to be truthful, the courage to say what they think and to do what they think is right, even if the politics militate against that. This is the quality that should really be at the top. I was too often impressed by the intelligence and substantive knowledge of an individual and did not always pay enough attention to the question of how honest, courageous and good a person the individual really was.── Jerry Flint, in Forbes.

 

CHARACTER

The gods had given me almost everything. But I let myself be lured into long spells of senseless and sensual ease...Tired of being on the heights, I deliberately went to the depths in search for new sensation. What the paradox was to me in the sphere of thought, perversity became to me in the sphere of passion. I grew careless of the lives of others. I took pleasure where it pleased me, and passed on. I forgot that every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and that therefore what one has done in the secret chamber, one has some day to cry aloud from the house-top. I ceased to be lord over myself. I was no longer the captain of my soul, and did not know it. I allowed pleasure to dominate me. I ended in horrible disgrace.── Oscar Wilde, quoted by Wm. Barclay, Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians, p. 100.

 

CHARACTER

The Presidency to this day rests more on the character of the person who inhabits the office than on anything else. The Founding Fathers designed it that way. It was their idea to find a man in America with a great character and let him invest a tradition and shape a national character. They found George Washington. He did his job splendidly. When he took the Presidency, he wrote: "I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent." ── Hugh Sidey, political columnist, in Time.

 

CHARACTER

A group of educators and scholars, alarmed at soaring rates of teenage homicides, suicides and out-of-wedlock births, attacked what it called the "timidity" of schools in instilling good character traits in the young. The 27 academics warned that "schools in general are not doing enough to counter the symptoms of serious decline in youth character." The report, "Developing Character: Transmitting Knowledge," cited government statistics showing that out-of-wedlock births to white females ages 15-19 have increased 800 percent since 1940, and the rate of death by homicide for white males, 15-24 climbed 315 percent. ── Spokesman- Review, November 21, 1984.

 

Character

If we sow a thought, we reap an act;

If we sow an act, we reap a habit;

If we sow a habit, we reap character;

If we sow character, we reap a destiny.

 

Character

Your ideal is what you wish you were.

Your reputation is what people say you are.

Your character is what you are.

 

Test of Character

You can judge a man pretty well by whether—if given a choice—he would ask for a light burden or a strong back.

 

Value of Character

“Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident, and money takes wings. The only thing that endures is character.”

 

Value of Character

“Traveling on a train from Perth to Edinburgh, all of a sudden we came to a dead stop because a very small screw in one of the engines had been broken, and when we started again we were obliged to crawl along with one piston rod at work instead of two. Only a small screw was gone. If that had been right the train would have rushed along its iron road, but the absence of that insignificant piece of iron disarranged the whole. The analogy is perfect; a man in all other respects fitted to be useful may by some small defect be exceedingly hindered, or even rendered utterly useless in the ministry.” ―― C.H. Spurgeon

 

Character

Your ideal is what you wish you were.

Your reputation is what people say you are.

Your character is what you are.

 ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Character

If we sow a thought, we reap an act;

If we sow an act, we reap a habit;

If we sow a habit, we reap character;

If we sow character, we reap a destiny.

── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

CHARACTER

Character is much better kept than recovered. ── Thomas Paine.

 

CHARACTER

One can acquire everything in solitude -- except character. -── Stendhal in "Fragments, I", Christianity Today, November 22, 1993, p. 37.

 

Test of Characte

You can judge a man pretty well by whether—if given a choice—he would ask for a light burden or a strong back. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Value of Character

“Fame is a vapor, popularity is an accident, and money takes wings. The only thing that endures is character.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

CHARACTER

In great matters men show themselves as they wish to be seen, in small matter, as they are. ── Gamaliel Bradford, quoted in New Dictionary of Thoughts, edited by Tryon Edwards (Ferguson).

 

CHARACTER

A talent is formed in stillness, a character in the world's torrents. ── Goethe.

 

CHARACTER

Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones. ── Phillips Brooks.

 

CHARACTER

Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.─ Traditional.

 

CHARACTER

Character is not made in crisis--it is only exhibited. ── Freeman.

 

CHARACTER

Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.── John Wooden, former coach of the UCLA Bruins basketball team, quoted in Sanctity of Life, C. Swindoll, Word, 1990, p. 91.

 

CHARACTER

Character is simply long habit continued. ── Plutarch.

 

CHARACTER

Only what we have wrought into our character during life can we take with us. ── Humboldt.

 

CHARACTER

We do not need more knowledge, we need more character!─ Calvin Coolidge.

 

CHARACTER

Character is what you are in the dark. ── D.L. Moody.

 

CHARACTER

Character is a by-product; it is produced in the great manufacture of daily duty.─ Woodrow Wilson.

 

CHARACTER, STATISTICS AND STUFF

Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is. If there are rats in a cellar, you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats; it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way, the suddenness of the provocation does not make me ill-tempered; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am.── C.S. Lewis.

 

CHARACTER

The supreme test of goodness is not in the greater but in the smaller incidents of our character and practice; not what we are when standing in the searchlight of public scrutiny, but when we reach the firelight flicker of our homes; not what we are when some clarion-call rings through the air, summoning us to fight for life and liberty, but our attitude when we are called to sentry-duty in the grey morning, when the watch-fire is burning low. It is impossible to be our best at the supreme moment if character is corroded and eaten into by daily inconsistency, unfaithfulness, and besetting sin.── F.B. Meyer in Our Daily Walk.

 

CHARACTER

Ah! If our likeness to God does not show itself in trifles, what is there left for it to show itself in? For our lives are all made up of trifles. The great things come three or four of them in the seventy years; the little ones every time the clock ticks. ── Alexander Maclaren.

 

CHARACTER

THE WORLD NEEDS MEN...

who cannot be bought;
whose word is their bond;
who put character above wealth;
who possess opinions and a will;
who are larger than their vocations;
who do not hesitate to take chances;
who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;
who will be as honest in small things as in great things;
who will make no compromise with wrong;
whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;
who will not say they do it" because everybody else does it";
who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as in prosperity;
who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success;
who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular;
who can say "no" with emphasis, although all the rest of the
world says "yes."

── Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p.107-8.

 

CHARACTER

"I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversity, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat." ── John Milton, Courage - You Can Stand Strong in the Face of Fear, Jon Johnston, 1990, SP Publications, p. 34.

 

CHARACTER

The best index to a person's character is (a) how he treats people who can't do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can't fight back.─ Abigail Van Buren.

 

CHARACTER

Six ways to learn everything you ever need to know about a man before you decide to marry him: 1) watch him drive in heavy traffic. 2) Play tennis with him. 3) Listen to him talk to his mother when he doesn't know you're listening. 4) See how he treats those who serve him (waiters, maids). 5) Notice what he's willing to spend his money to buy. 6) Look at his friends. And if you still can't make up your mind, then look at his shoes. A man who keeps his shoes in good repair generally tends to the rest of his life too.── Lois Wyse, Good Housekeeping, April 1985.

 

CHARACTER, POEMS

Fame is a vapor,
Popularity an accident.
Riches take wings.
Only one thing endures,
Character.

── Horace Greely.

 

"GROWING IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST"
Developing A Christ-Like Character
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. The second epistle of Peter is certainly a poignant letter...
   a. Written with an awareness that his death was imminent - 2 Pe 1:14
   b. Warning that false teachers would seek to lead them astray - 2 Pe
      2:1-2
   c. With a hope that they would be mindful of the commandments given
      to them by the apostles of Jesus Christ - 2 Pe 3:1-2
 
2. The final command this aged apostle leaves his readers is a charge to
   "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"
   - cf. 2 Pe 3:18
   a. What does it mean to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ?
   b. How can we be sure that we are growing in this "knowledge"?
 
3. With this lesson, we begin a series entitled "Growing In The
   Knowledge Of Jesus Christ"...
   a. To define what Peter had in mind when he gave us his final charge
   b. To encourage growth and development in this "knowledge" of Jesus
 
[We are not left to wonder what Peter had in mind, for in 2 Pe 1:5-8 we
learn...]
 
I. WHAT IT MEANS TO GROW IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS
 
   A. THE DEVELOPMENT OF EIGHT GRACES...
      1. These "graces" are listed in 2 Pe 1:5-7
      2. Briefly defined...
         a. Faith is "conviction, strong assurance"
         b. Virtue is "moral excellence, goodness"
         c. Knowledge is "correct insight"
         d. Self-control is "self-discipline"
         e. Perseverance is "bearing up under trials"
         f. Godliness is "godly character out of devotion to God"
         g. Brotherly kindness is "love toward brethren"
         h. Love is "active goodwill toward others"
      3. Now note carefully 2 Pe 1:8
         a. We must "abound" in these eight graces
         b. Only then can it be said that we are "growing in the
            knowledge of Jesus Christ"
      4. It is more than simply increasing our "intellectual" knowledge
         of Jesus!
         a. Such knowledge has a place, but it is just one of the graces
            necessary
         b. Peter is talking about growing in a fuller and personal
            knowledge of Jesus Christ!
            1) Which comes by developing the "Christ-like" attributes
               listed in this passage
            2) The more we grow in these "graces", the more we really
               "know" Jesus (for He is the perfect personification of 
               these "graces")
      5. That it involves more than intellectual knowledge is also
         evident from the Greek word used for knowledge in 2 Pe 1:2-3,8
         a. The word is epignosis {ep-ig'-no-sis}, meaning "to become
            thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly, to know
            accurately, know well" (Thayer)
         b. Such knowledge comes only as we demonstrate these
            "Christ-like graces" in our lives
 
   B. IN CONJUNCTION WITH EACH OTHER...
      1. Notice the word "add" (or "supply") in 2 Pe 1:5
         a. Before each grace mentioned, the word is implied
         b. The word in Greek is epichoregeo {ep-ee-khor-ayg-eh'-o}
            1) "Originally, to found and support a chorus, to lead a
               choir, to keep in tune"
            2) "Then, to supply or provide"
         c. This word suggests the idea of "each grace working in
            harmony with the others to produce an overall effect"
      2. Notice also the preposition "to" (or "in") in 2 Pe 1:5-7
         a. This implies "each grace is to temper and make perfect the
            grace that goes before it"
         b. To illustrate this point:
            1) "to knowledge (add) self-control" - the grace of
               self-control enables one to apply properly the knowledge
               one has
            2) "to self-control (add) perseverance" - self-control in
               turn needs the quality of perseverance to be consistent 
               day after day
      3. Therefore each grace is necessary!
         a. They must all be developed in conjunction with each other
         b. We cannot be selective and just pick the ones we like and
            leave others behind
 
   C. WITH ALL DILIGENCE...
      1. Notice the repeated use of the word "diligence" - 2 Pe 1:5,10
      2. It means "earnestness, zeal, sometimes with haste"
      3. To grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ requires much effort
      4. We do not "accidentally" or "naturally" develop these graces!
      5. If we are not careful, we may be like the teacher in the
         following illustration:
         In his book Folk Psalms of Faith, Ray Stedman tells a story of
         a woman who had been a school teacher for 25 years.  When she 
         heard about a job that would mean a promotion, she applied for
         the position. However, someone who had been teaching for only
         one year was hired instead.  She went to the principal and
         asked why.  The principal responded, "I'm sorry, but you 
         haven't had 25 years of experience as you claim; you've had 
         only one year's experience 25 times."  During that whole time
         the teacher had not improved.
      6. We may have been Christians for a number of years; but
         unless...
         a. We "add" to our faith these Christ-like qualities with all
            "diligence"
         b. We are simply repeating the first year over and over again!
 
[Is the effort worth it?  In the context of this passage (2 Pe 1:2-11)
Peter provides five reasons why we should "give all diligence" to grow
in this knowledge of Jesus Christ...]
 
II. REASONS TO GROW IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS
 
   A. GRACE AND PEACE ARE MULTIPLIED...
      1. Grace and peace are common forms of greeting in the New
         Testament
         a. Grace - a greeting which requests God's unmerited favor upon
            the person addressed
         b. Peace - a greeting requesting the natural result of God's
            favor
      2. Note that these two blessings are "multiplied" in the knowledge
         of Jesus Christ - 2 Pe 1:2
         a. All men experience God's favor and its result to some degree
            - cf. Mt 5:45
         b. But only in Christ can one enjoy the "fulness" of God's
            favor and peace - Ep 1:3; Ph 4:6-7
      -- If you desire God's grace and peace to be "multiplied" in your
         life, it is through the knowledge (epignosis) of Jesus Christ;
         i.e., as you become more like Him!
 
   B. ALL THINGS PERTAINING TO LIFE AND GODLINESS PROVIDED...
      1. We note that God provides all things pertaining to life and
         godliness through the knowledge (epignosis) of Him who called 
         us to glory and virtue - 2 Pe 1:3
         a. "Life" in this context refers to our spiritual life and
            well-being
         b. "Godliness" refers to the pious conduct which comes out of
            devotion to God
      2. Only as we grow in this knowledge do we enjoy the true, full
         life available by God's divine power!
         a. Which includes "exceedingly great and precious promises" 
            - 2 Pe 1:4a
         b. Which enables us to be "partakers of the divine nature" 
            - 2 Pe 1:4b
         c. Which can free us from the "corruption that is in the world
            through lust" - 2 Pe 1:4c
      -- If we desire to have all that God offers related to life and
         godliness, it comes as we develop the Christ-like character!
 
   C. SPIRITUAL "MYOPIA" AND "AMNESIA" AVOIDED...
      1. Our religion is "shortsighted" if we are not growing in the
         knowledge of Jesus! - 2 Pe 1:9a
         a. For what is the ultimate objective of being a Christian?
         b. Is it not to become like Christ? - cf. also Ro 8:29; Co
            3:9-11
         c. As we have seen, this is what it really means to grow in the
            knowledge of Christ
      2. Failure to so grow indicates we have forgotten why we were
         redeemed by the blood of Christ in the first place! - 2 Pe 
         1:9b
         a. To have our sins forgiven, yes...
         b. But also to become what He wants us to be - like His Son!
      -- Unless we want to be guilty of forgetfulness and
         shortsightedness, we need to grow in the knowledge of Jesus 
         Christ!
 
   D. WE WILL NEVER STUMBLE...
      1. Peter says "if you do these things you will never stumble" 
         - 2 Pe 1:10
         a. If you are diligent to make your calling and election sure
         b. If you add to your faith virtue, etc.
         c. If you abound in these eight graces
      2. This does not mean we will never sin - cf. 1 Jn 1:8,10
         a. The word "stumble" in Greek means "to fall into misery,
            become wretched; cf. the loss of salvation" (Thayer)
         b. We will never stumble so as to fall short of our ultimate
            salvation!
      -- But this assurance is true only if we are "giving all
         diligence" to grow in the knowledge of Christ and thereby
         "making our calling and election sure"
 
   E. AN ABUNDANT ENTRANCE INTO THE EVERLASTING KINGDOM...
      1. This "everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"
         - 2 Pe 1:11
         a. Is the "heavenly kingdom" referred to by Paul in 2 Ti 4:18
         b. In other words, the ultimate destiny of the redeemed!
      2. What is meant by the idea of an "abundant entrance"?
         a. "You may be able to enter, not as having escaped from a
            shipwreck, or from fire, but as it were in triumph."
            (Bengel)
         b. By possessing the eight graces, we will be able to live
            victoriously in this life and to joyously anticipate what
            lies ahead - cf. 2 Ti 4:6-8
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. Are these not sufficient reasons to grow in the knowledge of Jesus
   Christ?
 
2. For through such knowledge...
   a. Grace and peace are multiplied
   b. All things pertaining to life and godliness are provided
   c. Spiritual myopia and amnesia are avoided
   d. We will never stumble
   e. An abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom will be ours!
 
3. Because such knowledge requires...
   a. The development of eight graces
   b. In conjunction with each other
   b. With all diligence
 
...I trust you will agree that a careful study of these eight "graces"
which lead to "Developing A Christ-Like Character" is worth the effort!

 

--《Executable Outlines