The Blessing of Being Benign

TITLE: The Blessing of Being Benign

SUBJECT: Character, Consequences

PROPOSITION: In this lesson, we want to examine the blessing of being benign, and specifically, that being benign brings blessings in relationship to 1) Authority, 2) Authenticity, and 3) Abundance.

OBJECTIVE: To impress upon the hearer the notion that living a life of sin is not “fun,” but harmful, and that it is much more blessed and rewarding to live a benign and harmless life.


1. Read: Phil.2:14-16

2. About the Text:

1) The book of Philippians was written while Paul was in prison.

2) The people to whom he wrote were primarily gentiles.

3) They were living in the midst of ungodly men and women in the heart of the Hellenistic pagan world.

4) Immorality of every kind characterized their situation.

5) Pagan idolatry dominated the religious scene.

6) These vices resulted in great harm to people, families, and societies in the ancient world.

7) The inspired advice of the apostle Paul was contrary to such harm.

8) The life of the Christian, he writes, is to be blameless and harmless.

9) The word harmless is from a Greek word that means “unmixed,” “pure,” or “simple.”

10) In a moral sense, it has the connotation of not mixing one’s thoughts and actions with evil, which would result in harm to others, either physically or spiritually.

11) It is this moral sense that I would like to discuss.

12) This is the idea of being benign to others.

3. What does it mean to be “benign”?

1) Most may hear the word “benign” and think “boring.”

2) But the word may produce the greatest amount of excitement in certain circumstances.

3) We all understand what the word benign means in the medical sense.

4) We are relieved when we hear the words that the tumor was benign.

5) It is harmless, innocent, does not pose a threat to health or wellbeing.

6) Those are very beautiful words for one who is anticipating the prospect of some medical harm.

4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: Being benign brings blessings in relationship to . . .

I.   Authority

1. There is a certain relationship sustained with authority when our life is benign.

2. Consider that this relationship is set forth by Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

3. When one is concerned about being benign, he is going to respect and obey. . .

1) The laws of the land.

2) The guidance and discipline of parents.

3) The authority of the eldership.

4) The instruction of his teachers.

5) The example and wisdom of his elders.

6) Why?

a. Because these resources are designed by heaven for his good and the good of others.

b. When we don’t respect those in these positions we end up doing damage to ourselves, family, friends, and society in general.

c. When we do respect those in authority, as Paul wrote, we have the opportunity for that quiet and peaceable life.

4. He will steadily become respected by those around him.

1) This is exactly what happened to Jesus as a boy (Luke 2:52).

2) He increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

5. He may ultimately become part of that body of people that compose authorities.

1) This was an ideal in the ancient world.

2) Proverbs 31:23 “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.”

3) To have a family and serve the broader community was looked upon as part of the blessing of being benign.

II.  Authenticity

1. Depending on how one views the human condition will affect what one believes about an authentic life.

1) If one believes that man is created in the image of God, then the authentic life will be the one that is spiritual in nature; one that best resembles who God is.

2) If one believes that man is simply a material, physical, fleshly being, then one will think that an authentic life fills up the lusts and desires of the flesh.

2. Comparing and contrasting these two attitudes, it is clear to see which one is TRULY harmless.

1) Consider what happens when one pursues fleshly lusts in an effort to live an “authentic” life.

a. Fornication – venereal disease, psychological/emotional issues, unwed pregnancy, abortion.

b. Drinking/Drunkenness – spousal/family abuse, liver disease, DWIs, the death of innocents.

c. Hatred – jealousies, strife, fighting, murder.

d. Paul set forth such fleshly concerns as the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21.

2) However, when one pursues spiritual affairs, one may live a life that truly brings no harm to others. Why? Because spirituality cultivates . . .

a. Love, Selflessness, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, etc.

b. Such characteristics are listed among the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.

3) This is the apostle Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

3. Living a spiritual life is truly harmless; it is the truly authentic life.

4. Romans 13:10 “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

5. The benign life is truly authentic because we are living nearest to our true selves as God intended them to be, created in His image – the One who is Himself infinitely good.

III. Abundance

1. John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

2. A benign life is a life that is characterized by fullness, wholeness, and satisfaction.

3. In this abundant life, there is the opportunity to develop healthy relationships with others.

1) This includes building a family.

a. Raising children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

b. Husbands loving wives and wives, husbands (Eph.5:25, Titus 2:4).

2) It includes participation in the community of the church.

a. Worship.

b. Other fellowship activities.

c. Helping others.

d. Teaching God’s word to others.

e. Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

3) This kind of life actually contributes positively to society.

a. 1 Thess.5:15 “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”

b. Titus 3:2 “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.”

4) One’s relationship with God is most important. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

4. The abundant life ends in a life full of years and wisdom and that has successfully helped other generations to have similar blessings in the formation and maintenance of their relationships with one another and wit God.

5. Paul said, “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16).

6. It is these relationships that will live on into eternity.


1. Read Philippians 2:14-18 “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.”

2. The blessing of being benign . . .

1) Authority

2) Authenticity

3) Abundance

3. Invitation