Intro: - Society is lawless, evil abounding, out of control – that is the the way Crete was, that is the way the world is going today. What do you do? ?reform the law, go back to Biblical standards, impose righteous laws. The world is rotten, all man is corrupt – God knew it – what was His solution? Gave the law – did it do any good? No, just revealed how utterly sinful we were. Sent prophets, pronounced judgements, called for people to reform – they were rejected. What was God's solution?: JESUS! He poured out His grace! ( 2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.) - Jesus gave Himself! There we were going our own way, heading at full throttle for destruction, godless, without any thought of God or inclination toward Him – and He came! The grace of God appeared! Hallelujah! "For the grace of God has appeared" The solution is God's grace! – grace is what you don't deserve – the key idea is a gift that is completely free, something you have done nothing for – associated with the word is the idea of thankfulness. The response to grace is thankfulness that motivates and reforms our life. [Read Tit 2:11-14]
Grace appeared – Jesus came! Acts 20:24 talks about "the gospel of the grace of God" what is the "Good News", this "grace of God" that has appeared? Grace defined: given freely what we haven't merited. Jesus gave Himself for us – He was the price of redemption. Jesus gave Himself – God's free grace gift (Tit 2:14 "Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed" 1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Galatians 2:20,21 the Son of God loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”). Jesus is God's grace! (cf. John 1:14-18 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.). When it says the grace of God has appeared it is the coming of Jesus in the flesh - that is God's grace. Jesus actually appeared! God actually living here amongst us as a human being, in a form that we can comprehend! We could never know God, we weren't even interested in doing so – but Jesus made Him known! Hallelujah!
Salvation only by grace This grace has brought salvation – Jesus came as Saviour, that is what His name means (Matthew 1:21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Luke 2:11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Acts 4:12 there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.). Salvation is only by grace, a free gift that God gives, there is nothing you can do to earn it, it doesn't come by our efforts – this is a stumbling block to many because there is no place for human pride. It was to the false teachers in Crete who where teaching legalism – you had to keep a certain standard. (Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Acts 15:11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, Acts 18:27 those who had believed through grace,) It's completely free - Romans 3:24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus). The only thing required to received the gift is faith, humble complete dependance on what Jesus has done, the sufficiency of His sacrifice, on His having pleased God perfectly. Faith opens the door to receive grace. (Romans 4:16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,Rom 5:2,15-21 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; Rom 5:15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.... as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord Romans Rom 6:14 sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Rom 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. Ephesians 1:5-7 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace Titus 3:7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 1 Peter 1:13 fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.) It is all of grace and grace alone. Praise God for His glorious grace. Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
Available to all but not automatic God's grace has appeared: JESUS! - grace has brought salvation to all men – not just Jews but available to us also - ? any not received that grace gift, it is available to you today. It is available to all but that doesn't mean everyone will be saved. Remember, those who have faith receive grace. John the Baptist said (John 1:29 “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"). Does this mean that all will be saved? - no, because not every one believed in Jesus, some reject Him. They could be saved but they reject the means of salvation. The free gift must be received (John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name). Jesus could say (Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!). So salvation has been brought to all men, not all receive it. You can bring all the horses to water but you cannot make them all drink it. God grace has appeared! That is Jesus Christ, the Messiah! Salvation is available to all! We are fools to reject this incredibly gracious, undeserved offer!
Grace teaches – it's not license God's grace is wonderful – it is everything, we have nothing without it. This Good News/Gospel is beauteous and our whole life is to adorn the beauteous Gospel (Tit 2:10). Because God’s grace in salvation has been revealed, we are to adorn it, to show off its beautiful effect in transforming lives. We die, now we live a new way. The legalist says grace is license but it isn't antinomianism – that is to misunderstand grace – motive of gratitude and love, law within. Crete lawless, but Paul didn't meet it with imposing law but with teaching grace. Grace brings lawfulness from the right motive. Legalism actually promotes lawlessness because it does nothing about motives and provides no power or ability to keep the law. Grace teaches us – it teaches us to be what we could never be by trying to keep a set of rules. Some misinterpret grace to mean that you can do what you like – they did in Paul's day (cf. Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? Rom 6:15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!) ["Christian" prostitutes] – those who say such and behave such have not understood grace – what wretched sinner they are and how by their sin they have been responsible for the death of the Lord of glory, how they have been forgiven. If they truly appreciated this truth they would have a horror of sin! We died, we now live a new life, a new way (Romans 6:2-18 How shall we who died to sin still live in it? we have been buried with Christ through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.). Salvation and grace teach us! Instruct us: What it instructs us (or trains us) in is "living in this present age" - all the participle and adverbs relate to this main verb of "living". Salvation and grace affects the way we live - our conduct, our manner of life. If it fails to do this, its reality must be called into question. Our life must be changed - different from the world around us. There is a false concept of grace - that it excuses and overlooks everything (cf. Jude 4 ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.). Here it says that grace instructs, it disciplines and trains us - it isn’t "anything goes - God’s grace covers it all". Rather, God’s grace, true grace, trains us "It is grace that taught my heart to fear". Grace teaches – what does it teach:
Say "No!" to ungodliness God’s grace, true grace, trains us to say "No!" to ungodliness, to the prevalent world-view, Grace does not produce lawlessness and license – actually true grace teaches us say no to ungodliness. Salvation has come to all man with the revelation of God’s grace in the Man , His Son, Jesus Christ. We are to live lives worthy of our calling that adorn this doctrine of salvation. Our salvation has consequences on our conduct. Mercy and grace require a response (Romans 12:1,2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, ) - the consequence is a holy, separate, sensible, upright life - righteous and distinct from the world in which we live. The world is ungodly - we were once like that, without hope and without God in the world. Ungodliness is the mindset of the world – it has no time for God and no thought of Him. Grace teaches us to have nothing to do with that way of thinking and behaving.
Say "No!" to worldly desires - The world is ruled by lusts, by desires. We do what we want – this is the opposite to godliness, doing what God wants. Grace teaches us to say "No!" to worldly lusts - the world is ruled by its desires, lusts and cravings. But the one that is saved is to say "No!" to this influence. We are are no longer to be controlled by our desires what we want, dictated to by our cravings and desire – the flesh. Grace tells us to turn from the world’s way of living (repentance) i.e. turning from ungodliness and satisfying our own desires - but positively, it tells what we are to now live for.
Live sensibly - Instead of living for what we want, controlled by the whims of our desires, we are to live sensibly, righteously, godly, with our eyes fixed on the certain hope of Christ’s return. Instead of being controlled by our urges, we are to live sensibly and righteously - that word σωφρονως again (cf. 1:8; 2:2, 4, 5, 6) - sensible, self-controlled, sober-minded. We are to live disciplined lives – but note it is not saying "you must...", rather this is what grace instructs [my life was shambles, no discipline or self control – when I came back to the Lord and was filled with His Spirit, I suddenly found order had come into my life. I had a dramatic encounter with the grace of God – I knew Jesus loved me, and it transformed my life, what I could not do by trying, the grace of God instructed me to do].
Live righteously Our way is wrong, we are no longer to live that way, doing what seems right in our own eyes, but to live to please our Master, the One who redeemed us. His way is right. He is King and rules in righteousness and justice, if we are submitted to him we will walk in righteousness, not lawlessness. Now our delight is to please God, not ourselves. Grace changes our desires – from indulging our lusts to pleasing our Saviour.
Live godly Instead of ungodliness, we are to be godly. Living for God, in the Spirit and not in the flesh.
Live expectantly - A second appearing – Jesus is returning! Grace teaches us how to live in this present age but it carries on to the age beyond. There is another age coming – we are waiting for a new age. Jesus came, grace appeared but there is second appearing, Jesus is coming in glory, no longer in humble disguise. We are to live expectantly – looking for the blessed hope and the the appearing of Jesus. We are to look to the future hope. "When we've been there 10,00 years bright shining as the sun". The grace of God has appeared – Jesus came in the flesh, but there is a second appearing – Jesus is coming again. This is our hope. Our hope is not fixed in this world but in the coming King. The Saviour is returning, He is Jesus, God is our Saviour – this verse unequivocally states that Jesus is Saviour, and that Jesus is God. Jesus is coming back in glory! No longer in humble disguise but in the full glory that is His as God!
Our hope – The "blessed hope" is the appearing of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus in glory! - this is not a "hope for it" hope, but a certain eager expectation. We are to wait eagerly for it (προσδεχόμενοι) - this word is often used in reference to Jesus’ return. This should be our great longing, not worldly lusts. The great God will be revealed in all His glory and on beholding this glory, we will become like Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4 keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed,). Jesus Christ is clearly stated to be God in this passage. He is our Saviour! Praise and glory be to His Name! We are to eagerly wait for the consummation, the completion, of this great work of Salvation when Jesus returns in glory! Hallelujah! (Luke 12:36 Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Jude 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; Hebrews 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.).
Our motivation - The great motivator to godly , upright, holy, living, separated from the world around us, is: the hope of Jesus return (cf. 1 John 3:1-3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.). Motivates us to purity.
Grace produces – it's effective - Paul is writing of the great salvation which our transformed life is to adorn. The grace that brought salvation has appeared! Jesus Christ! Our response to this grace is separation from the world, its lusts and ungodliness and life dedicated to God - righteous, self-controlled, sober and sensible. What motivates us to this holy, godly, living us our eager expectation of Christ’s return in glory - our Saviour! The very One who redeemed us and gave Himself for us. He did this for a purpose - that we may no longer live the way of the world but in purity and good deeds; to be "His own possession".
Liberation from lawlessness Jesus, the Messiah, God’s own Son, gave Himself for our sake – redeemed us, paid the price to ransom us from slavery to sin and satan (cf. 1 Timothy 2:5,6 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. Galatians 2:20,21 the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”)! Praise His Name! He gave Himself to pay the redemption price. We were slaves to sin and Jesus paid the price to release us from slavery to sin and death. Death was what we owed (Rom 6:23) so that is the price he had to pay. (Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.)
Purification We are redeemed out of the old way of life of lawlessness (cf. Tit 2:12) that is why our life is now different, separate from the world - clean and pure instead of defiled and dirty. His purpose was to make a people for His very own. A holy God cannot have an impure people - they must be holy as He is - to be His special treasured possession we must be purified (cf. 1 Peter 1:13-22 prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.).
God's possession We are His people, His own possession, His treasure, bought at a great cost! We belong to Him! Bless His wonderful Name! Praise the Lord for His wondrous salvation! , we are not our own, we live to glorify Him.
Zeal for good deeds The outcome of this salvation, of receiving this great grace, the gift of Christ Himself, of His separating and purifying work is that we become His people - a people with a common purpose - each living only to please our loving, gracious, merciful, Saviour - consumed with a zeal to please Him by being taken up totally with doing good works to glorify His Name (cf. Tit 2:12; Matt 5:16; Eph 2:10). The good deeds do not come grudgingly, because the law, a set of rules, says so – rather the response to undeserved grace is a life of gratitude that delights to please its Saviour – instead of good deeds done grudgingly there is now a zeal for good deeds because that way of life is now our delight – that is the life that lives within us – the Living Lord Jesus Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us. We are now His people, we are no longer our own – we have been bought with a price, Jesus has redeemed us and we live for Him alone with a zeal for righteous living, not a grudging grudging keeping of requirements – God's Amazing Grace has transformed our lives!