2 Timothy 3:5
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
I. EVERY GENUINE EXISTENCE HAS TWO CHARACTERISTICS — ESSENCE AND FORM.
II. THE ESSENCE OF EVERY GENUINE EXISTENCE IS A POWER. This is true in the highest sense of godliness, which is eminently a "power"; and the greatest among men, because it is the channel whereby we communicate with the truth and love of God Almighty.
1. It is a formative power. Originating.
(1) Forms of conception (Romans 2:20).
(2) Forms of words to express the conceptions (2 Timothy 1:13).
(3) Forms of worship, using as handmaids the kindred fine arts.
(4) Forms of society, embodying the grand principles of godliness, and of its cognate humanity.
2. It is a controlling power, especially over itself.
3. It is a benificent power over others for their instruction and quickening.
III. THOUGH THERE CANNOT BE POWER WITHOUT FORM, THERE MAY BE FORM WITHOUT POWER. A man may have the logic and words of godliness, the litany, music, architecture of godliness; but if he have not godliness itself!
IV. THE POSSESSION OF THE FORM WITHOUT THE POWER DISPOSES TO THE DENIAL OF THE POWER. He who has the form alone is apt to be deceived, and satisfied with appearances; he resents, as an impertinence to himself, the claims of anything further: he denies it.
1. He strives to ignore it (John 9:29).
2. When it is forced on his notice he denies its existence (John 9:32).
3. When this is impossible, when the power becomes an evident fact, he clothes it with misrepresentation, obloquy, ridicule (Matthew 12:22).
4. When the power becomes too formidable he persecutes it, and strives to counteract and annihilate it. "Crucify Him!"
(C. Wills, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.