Faithlife Sermons

The Immovable Life

Immovable  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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As we look at this passage of scripture we see the great truth that Christ died to purify for himself a people that are his very own. With this in mind, what does it look to live a purified Holy life? Why has the church forgotten about the call to holiness? And how does Jesus make us grow in holiness? Watch here:

Titus 2:11-15 So some of you guy should be aware that I spent some time in Slovenia recently, that’s why I wasn’t on launch. I’ve been back forth between here and Slovenia since I was about ten. Now I’ve always wanted to fit in there, I’ve always want to call myself a Slovene. But yet again on this trip, there are several times when I didn’t quite fit in. For example, who tasted or smelt that white poison out there. That stuff is horseradish. It is literally a requirement to eat that stuff for breakfast on Easter. And in some strange way, they enjoy it. They eat spoonfuls of the stuff and at the end of it say ‘yum, I can’t wait till next easter to eat it again.’ Meanwhile I wrapping up my little grain of horseradish in three layers of ham trying to cover the taste, only to end up crying in the corner begging Jesus to return. I don’t quite fit in with the Easter culinary experience. The horseradish issue is trivial though compared to my sauna experience over there. I love a sauna sesh. The steam clears out the lungs, your muscles relax, you feel awesome afterwards. I also appreciate being clothed, especially in front of people. And so I go into this sauna fully aware that Europe doesn’t always have the same appreciation for clothes that I have. But I thought that I would get away with wearing compression shorts. So I went in and enjoyed 20 minutes in the sauna, got out and spent some time in the spa. But it didn’t feel right, everyone was looking at me funny. They were all also heaps older than me and they were all naked. I see this woman in a rage walk out of the sauna and come back in with the receptionist. And she was like, excuse me sir, you can’t wear those. I thought ok, deep breaths. Lucky I wore my best pair of underwear that day. It’ll be fine. So I did it, I took off my compression shorts. I went back into the spa, just chilling. About 15 minutes later I get out and then another old lady walks over to me and says ‘sir, you can’t wear those in here.’ I wanted to cry. This was not what I wanted. I just wanted an discretely clothed sauna session. But I’m also not one to waste money and I had paid for three hours so I was going to use my 3 hours. So I too became naked like everyone else. But the point is, I really didn’t fit in there. Being clothed made me stand out like a sore thumb. And tonight I want to reflect on this idea. This is how the life of Christians is suppose to be; different. We are meant to stand out as a distinct people. Never quite fitting in with society. Not quite the same as everyone else. One of the things I want to hone in on tonight is a part of this passage that tells us exactly why Jesus came to die. He’s not a get out of hell free card; he didn’t die to be your magic genie, he didn’t die so that you could live in sin without guilt; he died​ to purify for himself a people that are his very own. A people that are his and that are like him. A people that stand out amongst the sin and wickedness of the world; a people that resemble the holiness of God and not the depravity of man. This is where I want to start tonight. This has to be the first point we agree on; Jesus died to make a Holy people for himself. And when we look out across the whole church and I mean the church across the whole world, where is the fire and passion to be Holy? Where is the desire to be Holy? In America I see that Christians have a passion to have political power, in Africa and Asia I see that Christians have a passion to gain wealth, in Europe I see christians with a passion to try and maintain traditions and values, in south America I see Christians with a passion to experience God and in Australia I see Christians with a passion to be culturally relevant and to fit in with society. This is not to say that no one values Holiness anymore but I do not believe that it has been given top priority in the global church. I don’t think that we are passionate enough about holiness. I don’t think we get excited over holiness. Where is it? Where has the holiness of the church gone? Christ died to make a purified people; where are they? Do we desire it? Do you desire it? Are we wasting the blood of Christ? The true mark of a disciple of Jesus, is that they are heaven bent on Holiness. So tonight let’s aim for that. Let’s look at this passage of scripture; it has a wealth of teaching on the Christian life. We’ve called this series immovable and tonight we look at the immovable life of Christians. We take a look at how Christians are to stand out and stand firm in godliness amongst a world that despises the notion it. So our first point tonight, ​to be Christ’s people is to reject wickedness and love godliness. ​Verse 12 says, ​‘it teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.’ T ​ his is a picture of what the Christian life is ought to look like. This is what we are aiming for. When we talk about growing in Christ this is what we are growing towards. A life that rejects evil and loves good. So what is this evil that we are talking about? What is ungodliness and worldly passions? It’s you. It’s the world. It’s satan. All three have positioned themselves against God. Take note, your original state, the state you were born into, the life you lived before encountering Christ; that is ungodliness. It’s a life that rejects or ignores the existence of God; it rejects the sacrifice of Jesus and it mocks the lifestyle that God commands we live. If you look around at the world right now, it isn’t hard to see ungodliness. Look on your netflix and you see how the unsaved world glorifies war and violence. It encourages society to take up drugs and alcohol. It tells us to live for sex and money. It tells us to ignore the lives of unborn children, it tells us to shut up about faith. It tells us that living for Jesus is weak. It tells us that Christians are everything that is wrong with the world and that God is a dead, non-existent story that people made up for their own benefit. That’s ungodliness and that is the position you were born into. You held those views, or at least some of those views. You were any enemy of God before you came to Christ, you lived contrary to his commands. The passage also talks about worldly passions. The word used here is the same word used for an explosive heat; an explosive desire to have something that God tells you not to. In your life before Christ, that passion for evil overcomes you. It defines you and dictates your actions. When you come to Christ, God empowers his followers to say no to such passions. We hear the phrase quite often, we were dead in sin. That means that sin was so deeply rooted into our lives that we might as well have been dead; that we were unable to act against it. Now if you have taken up the call to be followers of Christ, everything is meant to be different. You are meant to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives now. How many of us are actually concerned about our holiness? How often do you focus on this? Is it on your mind? If ungodliness is a hatred of God and what he wants, then godliness is a love of God and what he wants. Suppose I came 20 minutes late today. All of you were sitting here waiting for a sermon to be preached. And I arrive at the back of the hall and I see brandon. And brandon says to me, ‘what are you doing? Don’t you want to preach? Don’t you appreciate this opportunity?’ And I say yes I do, I’m sorry I’m late but you’ll never guess what happened. I was filling up my car on the way to church and I forgot to turn off the car off. And as the petrol entered the tank, it caused an explosion and my car exploded right in front of me. What is brandon going to say to that? He’s going to think that I’m lying. He’s going to say ‘there is not a scratch on you, it is impossible that you were next to an exploding car. Your body parts should be scattered across the service station. You’re either a liar or a lunatic.’ What he says is 100 percent true. If I came into contact with an exploding car there is no way that I could be the same as I were before. There is no way that I would not have been injured in some way. But why then do we claim to have encountered the living God and yet there is not a single change in your life; you are no more Holy than what you were before you knew Jesus. You cannot possibly encounter the glory of Jesus Christ and not be changed. You cannot possibly become a Christian and not want to be like Jesus. Just like you cannot come into contact with an explosion and not be changed. This passage makes it so clear that you should be transforming from your former state of ungodliness to a state of Holiness. You should be becoming more and more like Jesus. I hope that you have an appreciation for holiness now and that you understand that it is what God wants for your life. But I now want to answer the question, how do I get more Holy or more Godly? ​How do I become more like Jesus? Before this passage Paul spends the first 10 verses talking about how the people of the church are to live. How young men and women should behave, how old men and women should behave and how workers and servants are to behave. And after reading that I imagine them saying; how am I suppose to do this? And in verse 11 Paul answers the question. ​For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us… A ​ fter the last few weeks we have seen how we are saved and that is by grace, but how many of you know that grace continues to teach us now; that the work of grace is not over. The passage says the grace of God has appeared. The grace of God is not a single event or action, but it is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the grace that appeared to the whole world and he is not through with his work in you. I think one of the most beautiful things about our God is that he doesn’t just save us and let us go. He doesn’t just forgive us and then kick us out the door; he walks with us. He is continuing to work in us. By his grace we are growing everyday. It is Jesus’ example; his example of grace that teaches us to reject the world and do what is right. Not only has he given us a means to be Holy but he has given us the motivation to be Holy. Verse 13 says, ​while we wait for the blessed hope the appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour, Jesus Christ. That is our motivation. That Christ will return and while we wait in hope we ought to be living Holy lives. In preparation, we are to be growing in Holiness. When the things around us get too much, what are you going to look to? I think we have so many distractions that we have no idea where to look anymore. There’s always something exciting; new movies, new songs, new toys, new games. We’ve always got the next event or the next life stage to be looking forward to that we forget to look to our blessed hope; the return of Jesus. Just take a moment with me, take some time out for a second. Close your eyes if you have to. Forget about everything else. Clear your mind of all the distraction, all your other thoughts and fill it with the image of Christ returning. You can’t picture the full glory of God, but just for a moment imagine the raw power, imagine the light, imagine the safety you’ll feel. Imagine the satisfaction and the joy. The love and the warmth of Jesus. How complete it will all feel. He is arm outstretched to pull you out of this world. Like nothing else matters. All those things you ever worried about will be meaningless. All those distractions pointless. Now come back. Imagine if we looked to Jesus all the time? Do you think that new movie would be the most important thing? Do you think that new game would be the most important thing? Do you think that sporting event, that birthday, that party, that next life stage; do you think any of those things would be the most important thing? None of them would be. If you looked to Jesus everyday; your first priority would be your holiness. That’s your personal holiness; how you are in your private life. It includes your holiness in front of others and it includes your holiness in front of God. Finally, verse 15 says that ‘these, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.’ Paul commands Titus to teach holiness to his church; he calls on him to continue the teaching. I believe mbm has done that. I believe that mbm and youth teaches true holiness and I believe that there are people that are striving to be Holy. But things can go wrong and have gone wrong when Biblical truth isn’t taught. I think that there is so little holiness across the church because we don’t teach on the holiness of God as much. We’ve forgotten that the Christian life is marked by holiness; we forget that in a world full of sin we are meant to stand out as men and women who live purified lives. Over the last 50 years Christians have slowly removed the holiness of God from the Gospel. If you were to compare the preachers of 1600’s, the 1700’s, the 1800’s with some of the messages that are preached around the world today, you would be horrified. The Holiness of God has been taken away and with that, many of us have lost the desire to be Holy. The one thing that Jesus wants of his people and we don’t even want it. We don’t want to be a Holy people because we don’t believe that we have a Holy God. When you take away the holiness of God, you take away the holiness of his people. Things go wrong when we don’t teach them. I think if we don’t teach about sin properly than we aren’t going to appreciate holiness. If you don’t how wretched you were, you aren’t ever going to understand why holiness is so important. But when we do get our teaching right, when we preach the helplessness and broken state of man and the pure, untouchable holiness of God; when we heed Paul’s advice and teach these things, then God moves. God uses the his obedient church, more than He’ll ever use a disobedient one. When the church has been the most obedient and most Holy, it has produced the some of the greatest men and women and some of the greatest revivals. It produces men like Martin Luther. Having gone against the Catholic church in favour of the Bible, he was asked to attend council meeting that we now call the diet of worms. That council meeting was an opportunity for Luther to recant or reaffirm what he said in front of high level catholics and the emperor of Germany. Here is what he said, ​I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. He risked death and placed his holiness in front of God first. I think of John Calvin. Probably written more on the Bible than anyone else and yet still on his deathbed was preaching to his church. When there was no longer an expectation to preach, he continued. Because acts of holiness should never stop, even if no one expects it. I also think about the more average sorts of people, like Eric Liddell. He gave up an Olympic gold medal because he refused to compete on a Sunday. He put his holiness first and lost out on fame and fortune for it. He then went on to die in China as a missionary. Don’t you want to live lives like that? Deny yourself for the sake of holiness; doing crazy things to put your holiness first. Application Actually what about you? I know some of you in the room tonight have seriously thought about your own godliness. You’ve tried to say no to your worldly desires; you’ve tried to give up that past life of yours. You’ve tried to live more like Jesus but in the end you feel like you haven’t gone anywhere. The people around you seem to be progressing; you see how they are changing. For those of you that are in this situation; don’t be upset. The fact that you are thinking about your own godliness means you’re headed in the right direction, be encouraged. The truth is, you probably have changed, you just don’t see it. In fact why don’t you ask someone. Why don’t you find someone that you’ve known for over a year and ask them if they think you’ve changed? I think you’ll find that there has been progress. So continue to be changed by Jesus; continue to look to him and his return. For others, I know that some of you have given up. It’s too hard to fight sin; it’s much easier to manage it. It’s much easier to say; I’ll maintain my public image. I’ll look good in front of the church and I’ll look good in front of my family. You know what you’re able to get away with. I can play this Christian game. Well God has a word for you tonight; you can’t play him. You can’t fool God. The Bible says that there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. God is calling you to repent from this evilness. To repent and take your holiness serious or you will be found lacking when Christ returns. There is also the question of standing out. How are you standing out as person of Christ? How are you making yourself distinct from the world by following Christ? Or are you managing to fit in and go undetected? For you younger guys, I think what is going to make you stand out the most of the next couple of years is how you treat older people and people with authority in your life. I think what will make you distinct is how you are going to respect your teachers. Casual teachers and teachers that don’t speak english well are included. I think you’ll be different by the way you speak to and of your parents. I think the way you treat older people at church, your youth leaders, your pastors; I think respecting them and trusting what they say will make you stand out. You’ll be seen as followers of Christ because the way you respect elders in your life. To the young girls here, I worry for you the most. I think you have the greatest challenge because the world has already put so many expectations that you are suppose to fit into. But Christ is saying don’t follow the status quo. I have two things for; avoid gossip. I think that is the most awkward of all because it is so natural for us to get involved in gossip. It’s stereotypically there. The average person spends 52 minutes a day gossiping. So when your group of friends starts the gossip circle about Monday and they start ruining and trashing the reputation of another person; walk away. Then tell them why you’ve walked away. If you want to take it further; become friends with the person they’re all gossiping about. That is standing out as a child of Christ. My second thing for is to set boundaries in your friendships with the opposite gender. Get into good habits now. I know the pressures already exist; you might only be 13 and your friends are all kissing; but you should remain pure as a child of God. To the senior boys; you’ve got the most issues. I’ve been in the same place as you. You have a societal narrative that tells you to do everything the opposite of what the Bible says. Let me hone in on the two that are going to show the greater degree of holiness. How you approach alcohol and drugs over the next couple of years will define everything. If your friends aren’t drinking yet, they will be soon. While you are underage; avoid it completely, stand firm in that one and don’t give into peer pressure. You win that battle and you will stand out. Then when you become adults; make wise decisions about your drinking habits. Among men in all places of society that will stand out. How you treat women now will also stand out. While your friends have thought of everything dirty, disgusting and reprehensible thing to say about women; you will make yourselves stand out by upholding their preciousness in the sight of God. To the older girls; you have the chance to stand out by making your identity more than how you look. That includes on social media. Do not fall victim to the society’s desires for you. Be above that. Dress with modesty and act like a woman who knows the love of Jesus and knows that she doesn’t need the love of boys to know that she is worth something. I believe this will help you in future relationships too; don’t date men that see as nothing more than an instagram picture. Let’s finish up on this thought. We spend so much time talking about revival. We talk about how we want to see the seats of the church full, we speak about how we want to see people in heaven; we keep talking about seeing people transformed but we never talk about a revival of holiness. We never talk about the church getting Holy again. We never talk about being people of God. I think before we ever see revival on streets we’re going to have to see Holy revival in the church; we’re going to have to see men and women want to be Holy again. We’re going to have to see the supernatural transformation of mere humans. I want to declare Holy war tonight. I want to declare war on the sinful desires that are waging war on our souls, on the sin that is poisoning our church, on the sin that is stopping the spread of the Gospel. I want us to fight with zeal again, I want the church passionate about being different. God wants his church to be passionate about being different. Let us stand tonight and make war with sin. Let us stand for holiness. Let us stand by the grace of God for Holy revival in Jesus’ Holy church.
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