Introduction to Christian Motivation
Big Idea: Christ followers are motivated by things not of this world.
Turn to Titus 1:1-4
You all look different this morning. Not your appearance but your actions. Not different from the way you acted last Sunday, but different from the people who are not followers of Christ. You look and act different unless you are not a follower of Christ. If your life looks just like the people who are not Christ followers, then you really need to listen to what God is telling us through the apostle Paul, in these four verses.
Read Titus 1:1-4
People who are followers of Christ are not motivated by the things of this world.
It was a hot afternoon in April on the bus ride home. There were only about ten or twelve children left on the bus and one of them was particularly clumsy. This young boy hated riding the bus because the older children always made fun of him and picked on him. This particular day was not different from any other because the children started calling him names and making remarks about his family. There was a young girl on the bus who claims to be a Christ follower. What would motivate her to sit next to the boy as a friend, or what motivates her to join in the insults?
There is another scene. It was one Friday night at a high school basket ball game. A young high school boy who claims to be a Christ follower, goes to the game with his friend, and doesn’t have to check in with anyone during the game. A 16 year old girl asks him if he wants to take a ride in her new car. She says they can go somewhere and just sit and talk. What motivates this boy to say no to the invitation? What motivates him to jump in the car?
There is another scene. A young married couple starts having friends, another married couple, over for dinner. One of the husbands becomes attracted to the other man’s wife. He calls and asks her to meet him at a hotel in another town. She claims to be a Christ follower. What will make her say no? What motivates her to tell him she will meet him?
One final scene. There is a man in his sixties who calls himself a Christ follower. He and his wife get along fine but their relationship is not what it used to be. They get a satellite and he enjoys watching movies late at night long after his wife goes to bed. One night as he is flipping through the channels he notices a pornographic movie is coming on in 5 minutes. What would motivate him to turn the TV off and go to bed? What motivates him to watch it?
People who are followers of Christ are not motivated by the things of this world. Christ followers are new creatures. God changed Paul’s desires, his motivations when he was saved on the road to Damascus and for all those who claim to be followers of Christ, your desires and what motivates you should have changed when you started following Christ.
In these first four verses to Titus, Paul tells us what it means to be a Christ follower. He tells us what motivates Christians in their actions. I see four characteristics of a Christ follower in these four verses, and I think if we will look at these and learn from them then we will bring glory to our creator and joy to our lives.
1. Christ followers are a new creation. Paul calls himself a bond servant of God. This word, ‘bond servant’ literally means to be a slave. But the word doesn’t mean the type of slave you are thinking about. When we hear the word slave we think of the movie ‘Roots’ or the forced slavery in America. But a bond slave is a person who willingly assumes the desires of their master. A bond servant doesn’t sit around and dream of how they can be free. A bond servant wants to be a bond servant to his master. Paul said that he was a bond servant of God. What Paul was now saying was “Whatever God wants I want, whatever God desires I desire, my desires have now been transformed into His.”
I recently heard a preacher say that we must give up doing what we want to do in order to do God’s will. This is not what it means to be a bond servant. If I have to go through life serving a God against my will; against what I really want to be doing, then I am going to be miserable and God is not going to be glorified. When we start following Christ, we become new creatures. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away, behold new things have come”. The foundation for Paul’s and our motivation for following Christ is Christ followers are a new creation.
2. Christ followers are sent by Jesus. Paul says that he is a bond servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament, the word apostle refers to those who saw the risen savior. It means a person who is sent out with a message, and in this case the message of the gospel. The office of apostle doesn’t exist any longer because no one who is alive has seen the physical body of the resurrected Jesus. Some faiths teach that there are apostles today, but they are misreading Scripture.
Although there are no more apostles, I think we can still learn from what Paul is telling us here. He has given his life and will to God completely and he has been sent out by Jesus. We have been sent out by Jesus as well. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Jesus has sent us out to accomplish a task.
When I was a young boy, my mom would send me to the neighbor’s house down the road to get honey. Our neighbors had several bee hives and they would give us a gallon jar of honey with the comb and all in the jar. I couldn’t make it home without stopping to taste that honey. One day she sent me to their house for a bottle of vanilla. If you’ve never tried drinking straight vanilla, I wouldn’t recommend it.
I don’t mean to minimize the task of the apostles, or miss the importance of our tasks in spreading the gospel. You see if I would have dropped the jar of honey, no big deal, life goes on. If we fail to realize that Jesus has sent us out to spread the gospel, now that is a big deal. Jesus didn’t save you just because He couldn’t stand the thoughts of eternity without you being there. He didn’t save you just because you were the coolest guy in your class. He saved you so you can tell others about Him. Jesus says in Acts 1:8 “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Jesus saved you, and sent you out to tell others about Christ. If you claim to be a follower of Christ, and you never tell anyone about Him, I want you to examine your heart closely this morning and see if you truly are a follower of Christ. Paul knew that he was an apostle, or one sent out by Jesus. Christ followers are sent by Jesus.
3. Christ followers teach others about Jesus. This sounds like the previous point, but it takes our sending one step further. When Paul says that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ, he is talking about his missionary mandate. Paul was called and we are called to tell lost people the gospel of Jesus Christ. But he goes on to say that one of the reasons he is a bond servant and an apostle is for the faith of those chosen of God, or some of your translations may say the elect of God. Who are the chosen of God, or who are the elect? Now I’m not going to go into the doctrine of election, because that is not the main point of this text, but let me say that the chosen or elect are those people who are believers in Christ, or followers of Christ.
Paul says that one of the things that motivates him as a follower of Christ is to see the faith of the elect increase which leads to Godliness. Paul was not man centered in his theology or man centered here in Titus 1. He loves God’s people but his desire is to see them more Godly, so they will bring God the glory. Paul wants to teach Christ followers the truth, so that they can bring God more glory.
I believe you are going to bring God more glory if you love Him more. The more you love God, the more you will want to worship Him with all your heart. What can we do to teach others to love God more? Would you tell them to learn some new praise songs and start raising their hands in worship? What if you could play a musical instrument and you came and played it during worship, would that make you love God more? I think the real way we help people to love God more is to teach them about God and about who He is.
You cannot love what you don’t know. When you see the starving children in Africa on TV, you do not love them. Your heart may go out to them, or you may feel sorry for them, but you do not love them. You won’t love them until you go to Africa and adopt one of these little babies and you bring them home and you begin to study their cute little hands and fingers, and their beautiful smile, and their personality. Then you will begin to really love this child. When you start to learn more and more about God you will start to love Him more and more. Where do we learn about this God? Paul tells us in verse 3 that we learn from His word, His word which Paul was and we are entrusted to proclaim. Truth is found in the word of God; truth about Him and who He is. Christ followers teach others about Jesus.
4. Christ followers trust God with their eternal life. If you want a rock under your feet, verse 2 is it. Paul says in verse 2, “In the hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie, promised long ages ago.” Why do I live for Jesus, why do I choose not to watch the late night movie that I know I shouldn’t be watching? Part of the reason is because we have the promise of eternal life which God promised long ages ago. The truth of this verse is rooted in eternity past. When we hear the word eternity we usually are thinking from today and forward, but eternity also includes everything in the history books and even before that; before God made the universe. This verse says from long ages ago or it could be translated from eternity past, God promised eternal life. Paul also adds, “And you know God couldn’t lie if He wanted too.”
Why do you follow Christ? What motivates you to choose good and not evil? I choose good, because God has promised me eternal life, and I want to honor Him with my life. I know I can’t pay God back and it is blasphemous to even try, but I want to live for Him because He has given me the hope of eternal life. I trust Him with my eternal life, why wouldn’t I trust Him with the details of my life? Remember we are talking about what motivates us to live this Christian life. I think Paul is saying that if we can trust God with our eternal life, then surely we can trust Him when He tells us something as simple as when David says, “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes.” Do you trust God to take you to heaven? “Sure I do.” Do you trust Him when He says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” If you trust Him for the big things, you must trust Him for everything. Christ followers trust God with their eternal life.
A week ago today, sitting right back there on the left, Charlie Wright was looking at me as I preached. One of our members has gone on to be with Jesus. No one knew he had less than 24 hours to live. You are sitting here today with no guarantee that you won’t be killed in an accident in less than 24 hours. Are you trusting in the righteousness of Christ, or are you following your own plan? If you are trusting in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, If you are a Christ follower, then your life will show evidence of that. The root that holds you firm is the righteousness of Jesus and all that He accomplished for us on the cross, and the fruit will be seen by the way you live your life. What motivates you to choose good and not evil? What motivates you to choose evil and not good? Lets pray.