As you open your Bibles to Titus 2 remember that we are in the series about Foundations a Biblical community.
The book of Titus is intimately practical on all aspects of life in the Church, from the hope we have in Christ to biblical leadership to marks of a healthy congregation to now we are going to see what the Apostle Paul says is the heart of a healthy church.
The passage we have before us today contains the heart of everything else Paul writes about in this letter to Titus.
The church has a mission to be a light into a dark world, a community of people who are being made pure by the blood of Christ and who are fed with healthy doctrine which leads to healthy members that reach those around them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul continues his conversation from last week that healthy teaching should produce members of the community who live holy lives, examples of good works.
This week you will see that the why of this holiness is based on three truths.
On the basis of three truths, Our Place, Our Instruction, Our Hope.
Pauls main thrust in this passage is that you will be motivated to be holy on the basis of three truths, Our Place, Our Instruction, Our Hope.
1. -Between two Great lights.
Our place is in between two great lights.
“The mayor of Toronto launched a “Light the Night” campaign.
The idea was for residents to leave their lights burning overnight in order to discourage crime.
A similar campaign was carried out in the Oakland, California, area, and reports show that crime was greatly reduced—in fact, reduced fantastically.”
I would like to draw your attention to vs 11 The Grace of God has appeared, This is describing the coming of Jesus Christ and as we continue on to vs 13 we are waiting on that blessed hope.
Paul has placed his readers in between the two appearing of Jesus.
This indicates that we are not unlike the Ancient Israelites living in a wilderness interval, between freedom from slavery in Egypt and conquest of the promised land.
It is almost as if we are pilgrims, travelers wandering in the wilderness called life.
Or to stretch this analogy even more, we are exiles living in Babylon.
Charles Spurgeon a 19th century preacher puts it this way.
We are divided from the past by a wall of light, upon whose forefront we read the words Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Calvary.
We date from the birth of the Virgin’s Son: we begin with Anno Domini.
All the rest of time is before Christ, and is marked off from the Christian era.
Bethlehem’s manger is our beginning.
C. H. Spurgeon, “The Two Appearings and the Discipline of Grace,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol.
32 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1886), 195.
We are on this side of the Grace of God, we are able to look back and trust in the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Savior.
The time before this was a time of dense darkness and confusion.
The time of Paul’s writing to Titus was a time where gladiators fought to the death for sport, were the solution to almost all political problems was murder.
Look how Nero handled the growing threat of Christians, he would cover Christians with black tar and light them on fire in order to light his vast gardens.
A time of great darkness that was brought to light by the blood of the martyrs bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Our church inherits that legacy the countless deaths of believers across time brought us the faith that we hold today.
But we do not just look behind us at the great hope we have from the bringing of salvation for all people.
What is meant by all people here?
A universalist might take this to mean that every person will be saved.
However closely look at the grammar and you will see that his salvation is brought for all people, not that it will save all people.
The gift of Jesus is sufficient for all people, but it is only efficient for some.
Some people will get wrapped up into confusion in an attempt to determine who it is exactly to be saved, they want some book that has the name of every person that will be saved.
This is a colossal missing of the point here.
All that we need to know is that in order to be saved we must believe in Jesus Christ, we must have faith in the saving power of Jesus Christ.
For those of you who are saved we look forward to the second appearing.
That is our destination, the second appearing of Jesus.
As pilgrims in a strange land we realize that this is not our home, we have a future home, a promised land.
The Church of Jesus Christ, all people who have faith in Jesus throughout time, starting from the great light of His birth to his second coming are looking forward to the day He will return.
VS 13 describes it as our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
This is the heart of the people of God, this is what Paul lived his life for.
Like Paul we believe that our Master who was taken away in the clouds before the eyes of the disciples will return in like matter.
Acts 1:10-11 provides the promise.
And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?
This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
As an end to this current age, we look forward to the Glorification of Jesus.
Behind we see Christ’s humiliation on the cross, before us the great God and Savior in His full glory!
2. At the end of VS 12 The present age.
It does no good for us to only look to the past for our trust and to the future for our hope, we have this present age to contend with.
This is the second aspect of our place.
As we move from one light, one appearing to the other we are taking this journey with all believers past and present.
Paul calls it the present age, what a fleeting way to describe this life.
One hobby I used to enjoy was Duck hunting.
As you know duck hunting requires the ducks to migrate from up north down to the south for warmth.
As ducks would come down I would place decoys in a pond in order to attract them to stay for a little bit.
I used all sorts of decoys, moving decoys and still decoys, I would also use a duck call in an attempt to call them down to my pond.
Then of course when they come close enough I shoot them.
We are like ducks migrating through this world, the only problem Satan has placed decoys in our lives, they are different for everyone but in many ways they are the same.
They are connected to our hearts desires.
When hunting ducks I knew they wanted to eat and to mate, so I provided decoys that looked like they were eating, one of the calls on a duck call is a feeding call that sounds like a duck eating.
The other decoy was that of male and female ducks looking as realistic as possible.
Satan knows the desires of the human heart and he capitalizes on it.
He gives us the distractions that he knows we desire, or lust after.
As we pilgrims pass through this wild country of life we must be aware of decoys counterfeits that seek only to draw us down to immobilize us and make us ineffective for the kingdom of God.
What are the counterfeits in your life?
What is distracting you from being useful to the church and Kingdom of God?
Paul makes the argument that a holy life is one that denies the decoys of this world.
We are to walk as children of the light.
Which brings us to the training, our education.
-Training us; renounce/deny VS 12. training us to renounce or deny ungodliness and worldly passions.
Paul describes the education we get by the Grace of God that has appeared to all people.
The word for training here emphasizes more of a school house education, or a teaching a child to do the right thing, so the grace of God has come as parent to teach us, train us, educate us for a more developed state.
When you think about the Israelites in the wilderness they were not ready to go into battle to conquer a land they had to be trained.
They had to be organized into proper units and tribes.
They had to develop an overwhelming trust in God’s power to save them.
Likewise we are being trained in holiness to fully posses our heavenly heritage.
The first level is that The Grace of God educates us to deny two things
Ungodliness and worldly passions.
God’s Grace is the teacher and we are His students.
While the Law showed us the Do’s and Don’ts, God’s Grace teaches us the Wants and Wonts.
While the Law shows us what ungodliness looks like it binds us to a religious do this don’t do that.
Which our natural selves war against.
We are unable to keep the law perfectly.
It does not lose it’s usefulness as a standard.
I am referring here in particular to the 10 commandments which provide a useful example a testing principle to see what is not straight.
How do you evaluate if a stick is crooked?
You place it next to something straight.
How do we evaluate if a behavior or law is crooked?
You place it next to the standard of God’s Word.
How do we know what is ungodly and worldly?