Topic: Sunday Sermons Scripture: Titus 2:11-15
Transcript of our Sermon Audio:
Well, let's take your Bible and let's stand, Titus 2:11-15. We're coming to the end of chapter two. I want to speak this morning on the subject, Highly Motivated. Highly motivated Christians ought to be highly motivated people. Motivated by the grace of God and the glory of God.
Listen, Titus 2:11, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you."
So reads God's word and you may be seated.
It was Sunday morning and the mother went to wake her son up for church. And as he kind of roused himself from sleep, he told his mother that he didn't intend to go. She said, "Oh, you need to go." He said, "I'm not going." She says, "Why not?" He says, "Well, I've got two reasons. One, the people at that church don't like me and I don't like the people at that church." The mother said, "You know what? You still need to be there." And so he said to his mother, "Why?" Well, she says, "I've got two reasons why you should be at church. Number one, you're 40 years old, so get out of bed. And number two, you're the pastor."
We all need a little bit of motivation once in a while, don't we? One worker was talking to another worker and asked him how long he'd been working at the company. To which he replied, "Since the boss threatened to fire me." We all need a little bit of motivation.
We need to be reminded why we do what we do. We need to be reminded why we should continue to do it, even when it's tough and tiring. And we should remember why we should give our best to what we're doing. We all need to be motivated. We all need to be encouraged that having put our hand to the plow, we don't turn back. Whatever our commitments, responsibilities, and duties, we do them.
We need to be motivated. Motivations that push in the back, that allows us to keep going. And so, what's true of life in general is true also of the Christian life. You and I need to be motivated sometimes to serve God's kingdom, to suffer bravely, to give generously, to live distinctly, to share the Gospel, to renounce sin, to persevere in hope. We wish that that was just our first thought in the morning and it just would come naturally and automatically.
But just as we need reasons and we need motives in life, so we also find that in the Christian life. And that's what's going on as we come to Titus 2:11-15. And if you have been with us for the last several weeks, you'll know that for some verses here in chapter two, Paul's been exhorting the Christians on Crete to certain behavior. "But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine," verse one. In fact, when you get to verse 15 of the passage we're looking at this morning, "Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you." So it's called in inclusio, the chapter begins where it started. "Hey, teach this. Encourage them. Stir them up to certain behavior and conduct and action." And that's what kind of brackets Paul's thoughts.
Now, in verses two through ten, we've seen that Paul addresses five groups of people. Older women, older men, younger women, younger men, and slaves or servants in the Roman Empire. And he has outlined for them a certain behavior, a certain lifestyle that accords with sound doctrine. Living that reflects the Gospel. So that's where we're at.
That's why verse 11 begins with "for," which connects us to the preceding verse, or the preceding verses. Why should older men behave that way? Why should older women do that? Why should younger women and younger men follow Paul's instruction? "For," because, "the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, godly."
Why? For we live in the hope of Jesus' glorious appearing. Why? Because Jesus, on the cross, gave himself for us that he might produce a people passionate about sharing the grace of God with others, that they themselves have experienced. You get it? Highly motivated. That's what Paul wants the older men, older women, younger men, younger women to be.
Verses 11 through 15 supply the motivation for the exhortations of verses one through 10. By the way, you'll notice that they are Gospel centered motivations. You see, I want you to think about this, and I think it's true, maybe you haven't thought about it. But when you think about it, you'll understand this, the commands of God are crushing apart from the grace of God.
Paul says to the young men just a couple of verses back, be self-controlled. And the young man says, "Well, I've tried." And someone says, "Try harder." You've been there. It's crushing, it's hard. How can you be self-controlled? How can you love your husband? How can you love your children? How can you be reverent in behavior and all the exhortations? Because the grace of God and the glory of God motivate you and the grace of God supplies the power of God to do it.
I just want you to see that. Nothing moves the Christian to action, or nothing should move the Christian to action better than the thought of God's saving act in Jesus Christ through the Gospel. The Gospel, the cross, the death of Jesus, the promise of the resurrection, the hope of the second coming, that's our example, that's our motive. And in fact, that's our strength and power.
Count Zinzendorf was I believe a Moravian who came to Christ by visiting a gallery in Dusseldorf, Germany. And he set before a painting of Christ called, Behold the Man. And as he sat there, he was struck by the suffering of Christ, the dignity of Christ, the sacrifice of Christ. And then he was struck by the words that were at the bottom of this painting. And these words said, "All this I did for thee, what hast thou done for me?" That's a motivation.
Or C.T. Studd, who started the China Inland Mission, was famous for saying, "If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then there is no sacrifice I can make that's too great for him." That's motivation. And that's what's going on.
So, if you're taking notes, we all need to be motivated, we all need a push. There are three things that motivate the Christian, according to our text: grace, glory, and Golgotha. Grace, glory, and Golgotha.
Let's start with the first one, verses 11 through 12, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age." The first major motivation in our life is the teaching and transforming power of the grace of God.
What is the grace of God? It's God's undeserved favor. Or to quote William Hendrickson, the great Presbyterian commentator, "God's grace is his active favor, bestowing the greatest gift upon those who deserve it the least." That's what the grace of God is. And when you and I trust Jesus Christ, we experience it.
And it not only saves us, it schools us. Did you notice what grace does? It teaches. "The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us." So, grace not only saves, grace schools. Grace not only transforms, grace teaches. It teaches us regarding Christ and the way we ought to behave, which again is the whole theme of chapter two. Especially verse one, "I want you to tell them about what life looks like when it fits with sound doctrine."
If the law is a schoolmaster bringing us to Christ, Galatians 3:24, grace is the parent that brings us up in Christ. In fact, this word teach is the word for a parent instructing their child. Rebuking them, loving them, instructing them. So the law shows us our sin, points us to the grace of God. Once we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and the grace of God saves us and regenerates us and justifies us, it also begins to teach us what it means now to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
I put a call out last night to a man who trusted Christ at the funeral here on Wednesday. And I said, "You know what, Tom? I'm so glad you put your faith in Jesus Christ. Would you give us a call, because now we want to teach you what it means to be a Christian. What it means to take up your cross and follow Christ." See, the grace of God does that. It not only saves, it schools.
And let me just back up a little, what are we talking about when we're talking about the grace of God that has appeared to all men, bringing salvation? Well, most commentators agree, and I do along with them, we're talking about the incarnation. We're talking about the coming of the Son of God to earth to save. We're talking about the fact that God so loved the world that he gave, he sent his Son into the world that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. That's what we're dealing with here. God's unmerited favor.
You see, Christianity is God reaching down to us. Religion is man reaching up to God. We need to remind ourselves of that. We can't know God without God. We'll never find God unless God finds us. That's the emphasis of the Bible, you and I can't save ourselves. Our minds are darkened, we are like sheep that have gone astray. We need to be found by God and God came on a search for you and me when he sent Jesus Christ into the world.
And when Jesus Christ came and appeared and the grace of God that was messaged and presented in the coming of Jesus Christ, salvation was offered to all men. That's what our text says. Jesus, the grace of God, appeared offering salvation to all men. Or as Edmond Hebert puts it, "Jesus appearing and his death on the cross for our sin renders all men savable." Now, all men don't get saved, because you've got to put your trust in Christ. But in terms of Jesus' death, it is sufficient for all. It renders all men savable. The grace of God has appeared, offering salvation to all men.
And there were some on Crete who had closed in with that offer of mercy, who had put their faith in Jesus Christ and now were experiencing the grace of God that had appeared within history in the coming of Jesus.
And what was this grace of God teaching them? Two things, it was teaching them a resolute no, and it was teaching them an absolute yes. Because remember, the grace of God not only saves, it transforms. This isn't cheap grace. There's a theology of grace that kind of gives people the impression since salvation is free and God purchased it and you don't need to do anything to save yourself, then you don't need to live a righteous life and grace excuses your sin. No. Jesus Christ didn't come to save us in our sin, he came to save us from our sin. And when you truly experience the grace of God, it starts to change you. And you say no to certain things, and you say yes to other things. "If there's no change, there's something strange," said an old pastor friend of mine back in Ireland. Grace is power, not just pardon.
And so, that's what we have here, the grace of God that appeared in Jesus Christ, offering men salvation. Once that offer has been accepted and you have put your faith in Jesus Christ and experienced the grace of God, the grace of God starts speaking. The Spirit of God starts schooling. The word of God starts instructing. And your desires begin to change and the direction of your life becomes altered. The grace of God hasn't been given that sin might abound, the grace of God has been given that godliness might increase.
John Calvin said, "Grace does not grant permission to live in the flesh. It supplies power to live in the Spirit." That's exactly what Titus 2:11-15 is teaching.
Let's quickly look at these two things, resolute no, absolute yes. The grace of God is not given, as we have said, that sin might abound. Grace teaches us to deny certain things once we have affirmed our love for Jesus Christ. The grace of God releases in us through the Spirit of God an expulsive power of a new affection. That is, our love for Christ begins to manifest itself in a hatred for sin. Our hatred for sin begins to manifest itself in a love for Christ.
You will be changed, you will be different if you've confessed faith in Jesus Christ. I'm not talking about overnight in all of its fullness, that's progressive. I've found in my Christian walk it's often two steps forward, one step back. But I'm always making progress because the grace of God is saying no and the grace of God is saying yes. And as I cooperate with the grace of God in my life and submit to the work of the Holy Spirit, that begins to take place.
Now here's what the grace of God teaches us to say no to, back to Titus 2:12, "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly." Ungodliness, what does that mean? We're to say not to ungodliness. Now I think the first thing that comes into our mind is, "You know what? We need to say no to lying and stealing and taking the Lord's name, and adultery and murder." Well, yes, it is that. In its most blatant form, ungodliness is that which is done outside the will of God. That which is unlike God, or unlike his righteous commandments.
In fact, that's how they once lived, didn't they? Go to chapter three, verse three, "For we ourselves once were foolish and disobedient and deceived and serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice, even hateful and hating one another." But you see, they don't live like that any more because the grace of God says no. And the grace of God says yes.
So in its blatant form, we're talking about obvious sins. But in another form, we might be speaking about what Jerry Bridges calls respectable sins. Do you know what ungodliness is also? It's anything that has reference to God and reverence for God missing in your life. I'll tell you, prayerlessness is ungodliness because it's you living apart from God, living apart from dependence upon him. Arrogant planning like James 4, that's ungodliness. Where you make your plans as if God doesn't exist and you never say, "But if the Lord will, we'll do that." Missing Sunday worship is ungodliness because you have decided there's something more important in your life than gathering with God's people on a day he has designated for the gathering of the church to worship him. You must be worshiping something else when you're not at church. That's ungodliness.
I'll tell you, politically, it's secularism and socialism. It's a view of a life that has no reference to God. A bit like the 2012 Democratic platform, I don't know if you followed that several years ago, where for the first time in the Democratic party's history, they intended to take any reference to God out of their political platform. And then there was a little bit of a hullabaloo and then there was fighting on the floor. And when they tried to insert the name of God back in, many of the delegates booed. In fact, there was a headline in one of the papers, "Democrats Boo God." That's ungodliness! Trying to construct a society, trying to define life apart from the God who gives life, that's secularism, that's socialism. That's what we're talking about here and we are to say no to all of that.
I'll tell you another thing we're to say no to, worldly lusts. We're to say not to worldly lusts. That is those kind of internal appetites and passions and cravings that lead us to behavior outside the will of God. It's those passions that war against the Spirit, 1 Peter 2:11. It's uncontrolled speech, it's unrighteous anger, it's sexually immoral actions and thoughts, it's selfish ambition, it's any of that.
In fact, it's also behavior that's shaped by the world, not the word. The question to ask yourself, I ask it of myself, on a daily basis, am I being shaped by the world or by the word? By the media platforms, technology platforms, newspapers, sitcoms, whatever we expose ourselves or godless conversation, whatever. Is that affecting the way I think and the way I behave? I've got to say no to that, because we're told here the grace of God teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly lusts.
And we're to do it in the context, listen to this, of the present age. What's this present age? It's an evil age, according to Galatians 1:4. You and I live in an evil age, we live in a Christ-less culture. And so, as Christians, we have got to fight the defilement that comes through our eye gate, our ear gate, that contaminates our mind and corrupts our hearts. We got to say no to all that stuff.
What we're talking about, a preoccupation with material toys, immediate thrills, and present things. We've got to say no to that. I know Spurgeon has said, "Better to learn to say no than to learn Latin." You need to learn to say no. I hope you and I are conscious. It'll be a good sign, by the way, on a given day when we're watching television and all of a sudden something comes up and you know, "No, I shouldn't be watching this, I shouldn't listen." Go, "No," and you turn it off.
Or a thought comes into your mind you know doesn't square with the word of God and the character of his holiness and say, "No." Or you're asked, young person, by a friend, "You know what? We're going here on Friday night, do you want to join us?" And you go, "Ah, that environment's not good." That's contaminating, you say no.
Let's move on, lest all we be known for is what we're against. And there are many Christians that are like that, by the way. But we don't want to be like that. It's yes, it's a resolute no, but you're saying no to something because there's something better. There's an absolute yes. The grace of God not only teaches us to say no or deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, it teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age.
It's that image, isn't it, in Colossians and elsewhere in the New Testament, "Put off the old man and put on the new man." It's like you take off ... you know, when I worked in aerospace for several years, I'd drive home on my little 1000CC Morris Mini, it wasn't a Mini Cooper, I couldn't afford it, although I dreamed about it. I'd drive home on my little Morris Mini 1000CC, in my dirty overalls. And I'd come into the house and the first thing my mum would say is what? "Get out of those overalls." And I'd put the overalls off and then put something more comfortable and certainly cleaner on.
That's the image. When we come to Christ, Christ says, "Okay, get out of those dirty clothes. No more of that kind of behavior." Again, I'm wanting you to understand that it doesn't happen immediately in all of its fullness, but that's the point. Everyday Jesus is saying, "Hey, that used to be part of your old life. Got to get shed that, get rid of that. And over here, put on kindness and love and patience and peace." So we're not only to say no to ungodliness, we're to say yes to godliness. We are to be done with the works of darkness and to walk in the light.
What about the Thessalonians? I love that description of their conversion. It's just an example of what I'm talking about. The Thessalonians come to Christ, put their faith in him, and here's what we read, "For others tell us about you, what manner of entry we had with you and how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come."
Listen, God's grace, we're back to this fallacy of free grace, as in it allows you to sin, or you don't need to submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ. You don't need to live a holy life. We are saved by grace, we can't contribute to grace. But once the grace of God saves, it starts to school. It not only removes the guilt of our sin and the penalty of our sin, it removes the dominion of sin. Where we turn from idols to God.
Or actually, I take that back. There's an old pastor mentioning many, many years ago, he says, "Phillip, you misquoted 1 Thessalonians. If you're going to turn from idols, you'll have first to have turned to God, because only God's power can help you turn from the idols." And you notice the language in 1 Thessalonians? They turned to God from idols. And that ought to go on in your life and my life. Christ not only frees us from sin's penalty, Christ frees us from sin's power.
And you'll notice, we're not only to say no to vice and sin, we're to say yes to virtues. I'm not going to spend a lot of time developing those three, because I think Edmond Hebert's on to something when he says they somewhat spill over into each other. They kind of crisscross each other. Soberly speaks of our personal life on a proper focus on the things of God. Righteously speaks about being rightly related to others. And godly speaks about holiness before God.
So what does the grace of God produce in your life and my life? It produces a proper focus on eternal and spiritual things. It produces not a hatred for others, but a love for others, and we are rightly related to our parents, to our spouses, to our friends, to our siblings. And it always reminds us to live before the face of God, Coram Deo, and live a holy life that pleases God.
So I want you to notice, before we sign off here, the two-sided nature of sanctification. It's negative, and it's positive. I think a generation ago, the emphasis was on the negative. Christians don't smoke, Christians don't dance, Christians don't go to movies. Everybody had their list. But I think today, the emphasis is on the positive. Here's what Christians are and do, and here's what Jesus will do for you.
You want both. You can't live on the negative side completely, and you can't live on the positive side completely. There are some things you can't do. There are some things you've got to stop. There are places you can't go. There are friendships you've got to sever. There is a separation from the world that's biblical. But over here, it's not like we crawl into a cave and we become a stayer. No, we're now beginning to live a whole new life, and buds and leaves of God's grace is at work in our life, and we're beginning to spring.
I think I've told you this story before, right? Of Spurgeon and how he was in the company of a minister who was happy to talk about his virtues. But the thing was, his virtues was the chief topic of the conversation, but they were always kind of focused on the negative and consisted of the things he didn't do. You know, "I'm a good man because I don't do this. And I'm a good man because I don't do that." And Spurgeon had enough. Disgusted with his self-righteousness, Spurgeon said, "Why, man? You are simply a bundle of negatives. You don't drink, you don't gamble, you don't swear. What in the name of goodness do you do?" And in the name of goodness, the grace of God teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly.
Motivated by grace, verses 11 through 12, let's get moving. Motivated by glory. Motivated by glory, verse 13. Having talked about the first appearing of the Lord Jesus, the grace of God that appeared, that's the incarnation, that's the word being made flesh, that's the coming of Christ into the world to offer salvation to all men based on his death and resurrection and trusting in Christ alone.
But Paul moves on, having motivated us with the first coming, Paul now motivates us with the second coming. Did you notice that? "Looking for," see, Jesus died and three days later rose again, and then ascended into heaven. And according to Acts 1, the clouds that received him will someday open and reveal him. As we saw him go, so shall he come again. I hope you're a second coming Christian, who lives in the light of Jesus' return, because it's a great motivation.
Can I say this? A Christian is someone who lives between the two comings of Jesus and has made a decision about the first one and therefore is not frightened about the second one. That's my story. I grew up in a Christian home, I knew the Bible, I knew the Gospel, I won Sunday school prizes for Bible memorization. But if I had died before the 20th of January, 1978, I had gone straight to hell. God had been on my tail. And that night, God in his grace brought me to faith in Jesus Christ.
And the verse he used was Matthew 24:44, "In such an hour as you think not, the Son of man comes. Therefore, be ready." And Phillip De Courcy knew he wasn't ready. His mother had reminded him many, many times in the kitchen, "You're not ready, son!" And dad had shared the Gospel and called me to faith, but I'd never done it. I loved my sin. I was caught in the grip of the world. I didn't want to be at church on a Sunday, I wanted to be at the soccer game. Mucking around on a Saturday. But God in His grace overwhelmed me and I saw the beauty of Christ. The Spirit of God brought me to faith. And that day I trusted Christ because I knew I wasn't ready.
And between the first coming and the second coming, I got ready. Because that's what a Christian is, a Christian is someone who's living between the first and second appearings of Jesus Christ and has understood the first one, trusted in its significance, and now can turn and embrace the thought of the second appearing without fear. If you haven't put your trust in Christ, you need to do that.
And so, Paul takes this idea of Jesus' return and he says, "Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." Let me just break that down quickly. The reappearing of Christ a second time is described as a blessed hope. A blessed hope. In fact, can I put it like this? One commentator said it could be translated, "Looking for, with joyful anticipation, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior."
Look, we don't always live this, and if you're here and you're not a Christian, forgive us for not showing you this. But as Christians, we should always be kind of up on our toes because we have always got something to look forward to, no matter how bad it is around us and about us and even how we feel within us. We've got something to look forward to, Jesus is coming!
In fact, our ancestors did something we don't do, maybe we should get back into it. They'd often say to each other at the beginning of the service or somewhere in the service, at the end of the service, what would they say to each other? "Maranatha! The Lord comes!" Put that in your pipe and smoke it, because that'll help you for Monday. That'll help you in the trenches of life. That'll help you suffer. That'll help you take up your cross and follow Jesus. Maranatha! It's going to be over soon! We're going to win.
That's what's going on here. This is a blessed hope. This isn't a barren hope, this is a blessed hope. This is a hope that brings blessing. This is a reminder that some day we will enjoy God's kindness and love and grace forever and ever and ever. That's a blessed hope.
And yet, for us often, it's a buried hope. When's the last time you thought deeply about the coming of the Lord Jesus? When's the last time you stopped using the controversy about Jesus' return as an excuse not to study it? Start to think about how Jesus is coming and what you're going to look like when he comes. You're going to be resurrected, given a new body. You're not going to sin any more. You're going to be in the company of loved ones who have gone on before and who died in Christ. You're going to spend all of eternity in the presence of God. We're going to come back to earth, a new earth and a new heaven. It's great!
It helps you in the tough times, the sad seasons, the difficult days, the mundane moments. This reappearance is a blessed hope. This reappearance is described as glorious. It's a glorious appearing. In fact, that word appearing is the same word used up in verse 11, it gives us the idea of epiphany. It speaks about brightness, the sun rising or some light that is shining.
So the point is this, when Jesus comes back, he's going to come back in a manner that will dazzle a watching world. Dazzle them. You know, the first time he came, he came in humility and was crucified. The second time he comes, he comes in honor and will be crowned. I've always been intrigued by that verse in 1 Corinthians 2:8 that says of the Jewish leaders, "Had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." Now I'm not making excuses for them because there was miracles, there was signs and wonders, and ultimately, there was the resurrection that they kept trying to deny.
But I'll give them this, when they saw Jesus the carpenter, it was hard for them to get around the thought, this is God in human flesh. Because remember, he had added humanity to his deity. And the book of Hebrews says that he veiled himself in flesh. It would have been easy to just look at him and see ordinary, not extraordinary. But you know what? When he comes the second time, there will be no mistake in who he is. He'll come in power and glory. His ministry won't be hidden. You'll see something of what the disciples saw in the Mount of Transfiguration where his glory shown through. There'll be no mistaking his identity when he returns a second time.
The reappearance of Christ is described as the advent of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. That's the word for Mormons, that's the word for JW's, that's the word for anybody who denies the divinity and deity of Jesus Christ. This is one of those verses in the Bible that ascribes to Jesus Christ the fullness of deity and divinity. He is God. And as God, he was made flesh.
There is an argument, are we talking about two persons here? The great God the Father and the Savior, Jesus Christ. It can be read as one. No, the great God is the Savior Jesus Christ. And when we read verse 14, we know it's about Jesus Christ, because we read here, "Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from every lawless deed."
Okay, quickly and we move on to the last thought. This blessed hope, this joyous anticipation should envelope us. Having talked about the present age with its evilness and the need for us to say no to certain things and say yes to certain things, Paul talks about the future, the coming victory of the believer, their glorification. It's a hope that brings blessing. And that's something that should motivate you. That's something that should excite you. That's something that should incite you to live differently.
You see that if you go back to that verse we read in 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, how they turned to God from idols to serve the true and the living God, and to wait for his Son from heaven. That's a term that means to wait up.
I've told you this before, when I was in the police in Northern Ireland, I might have been 25, but my mother waited up until I came home. Sometimes I'd see, as I walked down the street back into their home maybe at midnight, as she'd hear my car pulling up on the street and parking outside and I'd see a flutter in the bedroom curtains because mum was up checking that her wee boy was home safely.
That's waiting up. That's that anticipation. That's I can't rest until he's home. And this isn't a passive waiting, this isn't like standing at the line in Disneyland for three hours waiting for a three minute ride. It's not that kind of waiting. It's this active waiting, it's the mother waiting up for the child. It's the military family waiting for the return of the soldier, sailor, or airman from their tour of duty. It's that kind of waiting. And we need to pursue it.
You know, back in Ohio, we supported a ministry in Wisconsin called Shepherd's Home. It was a ministry to young people who had Down Syndrome. It's a wonderful Christian ministry. We supported them financially and they not only took care of these kid's needs, but they shared the Gospel. And many of those children would come to faith in Jesus Christ. And if you read his book, Eternity, Joe Stowell will tell you in his book that he visited that home one day. He was given a tour by Bud Wood, who was the founder and developer of the Shepherd's Home.
And as they were going around the facilities, Bud said to Joe Stowell, he said, "You know, we've got a problem around here with dirty windows?" He said, "What do you mean?" He says, "Many of these kids have come to know Jesus Christ and we've taught them that Jesus is coming back. And we've told them when he comes back they're going to get a new body and they're going to be different. And there isn't a day goes by but some of them press their nose and their hands and their face up against the window, looking for Jesus to come back, perhaps today."
When's the last time you dirtied your window? Or me, looking for Christ? When's the last time before you pulled the curtains at night, you said, "I might be gone by the morning." That's the way they lived and it motivated them and spurred them on.
Finally, motivated by Golgotha. It's kind of self-explanatory, right? "Who," speaking of the Savior, Jesus Christ, verse 13, "Who," this is another thought. We've got grace, we've got glory, now we've got Golgotha. "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us," speaking about the cross, "from every lawless deed." Where this is kind of tying in, the grace of God has appeared to help us say no to that life without Christ and say yes now to this new life in Christ. And the things we used to do, we don't do. And the things we used to laugh at Christians for doing, we now do! Because there's this expulsive power of a new affection. That's changing us from the inside out.
And then he's back to that, "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed, purify for himself His own special people, zealous for good works." As we move towards a close, we're picking up the thought of verse 13. Paul reminds the Christians on Crete that Christ died on purpose. That's the point of verse 14. You need to get that. "He gave Himself for us that he might," he died on purpose. When you look at Christ hanging on a cross in some image, or you draw that image in your own mind listening to a worship song or reading your Bible, you need to get past that first impression, he's a victim of Roman crucifixion. He was!
But you need to know that he died by design. It was a design to the atonement. There was a purpose to Jesus' death, and it is this, although salvation will be offered to all men, not all men will be saved, but a certain number of people will be saved. A peculiar people. A purchased people. A people of his own. A holy nation within nations. A people who are not a people, who are now the people of God among all the peoples. That's us this morning. The ecclesia, the church, the called out ones.
And you need to realize he died for the purpose of changing you and me from the inside out. We are a purchased, purified, possessed people. And once we have experienced the grace of God that appeared, once that grace has been shown to us through the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the Gospel, and through the grace of God our eyes are opened and our heart is made willing to put our trust in Jesus Christ and we become a Christian, for me at 16, 20th of January, 1978, once I have experienced that grace, that grace begins to teach me to be a different kind of person. And that grace teaches me that, you know what? You need to extend grace to others. You need to become zealous for good works.
What is the good works? It's the good work of grace. And the grace that I have experienced? I want others to experience. And so, by words and by deeds I show them the difference that Jesus makes. Good works are not an optional activity. Good works are not a virtuous ideal. Good works, rather, are an outcome of God's grace. For by grace are we saved through faith, that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works.
The grace of God makes you gracious to others. As you love them through good works, and no better good work than sharing the Gospel with them and calling them between the two appearings, to make a choice regarding the first appearing, so that they needn't be frightened about the second appearing. Grace trains us to be enthusiasts, is what John Stott said.
As the team comes up, I'll finish with this. If you've not read the book, Shadow of the Almighty, you need to. It's written by Elizabeth Elliot. It's about her husband, Jim Elliot, who was martyred at age 28, along with four others in Ecuador. If you want an insight into what took them there, what allowed them to die for Jesus Christ, what allowed him to fall on his sword, so to speak, for the sake of the Gospel, you'll get those reasons in his diary.
At age 22, he writes in his diary, "I see clearly now that anything, whatever it is, if it is not on the principle of grace it's not of God." He got that, the grace of God has appeared and it does stuff in our lives. He got that.
Regarding living in the light of the second coming, looking for that blessed hope, age 20, he writes to his 15 year old sister and he says this, "Fix your eyes on the rising of the morning star. Live everyday as if the Son of Man were at the door and gear your thinking to the fleeting moment. Walk as if the next step would carry you across the threshold of heaven." Isn't that a beautiful image? Take every step in life as if the next one could just take you into heaven itself when Jesus comes.
He says this at age 22, "How poorly will appear anything but a consuming operative faith in the person of Christ when he comes. How lost alas a life lived in any other light." Then he says this, finally, about zealous for good works displaying the grace of God. His entire life was zealous for God. He says this, age 22 again. He says this and writes this in his diary, "Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."
Father, we thank you for our time in Titus 2:11-15. What a wonderful passage, we've needed it because for weeks and weeks you've exhorted us and called us to action. But those commands can be crushing, overwhelming. We thank you for the motivation and the power made available to us to accomplish that. Thank you for the motivation of grace, and the motivation of glory, and the motivation of Golgotha.
Lord, help us to let the grace of God not only save us, but school us, tutor us, instruct us. If the law is the schoolmaster bringing us to Christ, then grace is the parent that brings us up in Christ. Help us never to abuse grace by using it as an excuse for a lack of commitment to righteousness. Help us to live in the soon return of Jesus Christ. Help us to be zealous. Help the passion of Christ on the cross to give us passion to live for his glory.
Wherever we are, help us to be all there. Whatever we know to be the will of God in life, help us to live it to the hilt for your glory. For we ask and pray these things in Jesus' name, amen.