Summary: A sermon for serious disciples
"Go and sin no more." -- Jesus
I would like to take a look at a very simple passage of scripture found in the second chapter of Titus.
“11For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing what is good deeds. Titus 2:11-14
God’s grace has been revealed. It is the grace of God that brings us salvation. Paul is writing and instructing Titus on the teaching that he needs to share with those he is leading. It is very practical teaching and Paul is very clear in the details. In chapter 2;1-10, Paul gives specific instructions to older men, older women, young men and young women.
Verses 11-15 are wrap-up verses. They represent the bottom line of this teaching. I want to seek to understand these verses with you today.
The fact is that we have all been called to be disciples. Discipleship once had a very clear meaning. It meant to be with Jesus. The first disciples abandoned everything and followed Christ while He was here on this earth. While they did not have instant maturity they were continually growing and becoming more Christ like in their lifestyles, attitudes and relationships. The heart or inner attitude of discipleship is forever the same.
“In the heart of a disciple there is a desire, and there is a decision or settled intent. Having come to some understanding of what it means, and thus having “counted up the costs,” the disciple of Christ desires above all else to be like Him.” Dallas Willard, The Great Omission
Leo Tolstoy wrote that “man’s life whole life is a continual contradiction of what he knows to be his duty. In every department of life he acts in defiant opposition to the dictates of his conscience and his common sense.”
The society we live in and sadly much of the Christian world would have us to understand that we are poor hopeless humans with no hope of every standing strong and true as a Christ follower and unashamed disciple of Jesus Christ. This sense of failure causes us to feel a sense of profound hopelessness and a sense of worthlessness. I am afraid that many of us have subscribed to the theory that there is no way we could ever stand up in our world and be a salty, light giving example, showing people the way of life.
I would remind you that Jesus description of un-salty salt describes how many of us feel about ourselves: “no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and trampled under foot” (Matthew 5:13)
Luke makes the point even more poignantly: “35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Luke 14:35
A. W. Tozer wrote many years ago his: “feeling that notable heresy has come into the being throughout evangelical circles—the widely accepted concept that we humans can choose to accept Christ only because we need him as Savior and that we have the right to postpone our obedience to him as Lord as long as we want to.” Tozer clearly states: “that salvation apart from obedience is unknown in the sacred scripture.”
This “heresy” has created the impression that it is quite reasonable to be a “vampire Christian.” In effect we say to Jesus, “I would like a little of your blood, please. But I don’t care to be your student or have your character. In fact, won’t you please excuse me while I get on with my life, and I’ll see you in heaven.” (Dallas Willard, The Great Omission)
Are you a passionate follower or disciple of Jesus Christ?
Are there desires and intentions in your life that you hold to be more important than being like Jesus?
Are you committed to spiritual formation in your life?
Are you making strides forward in your spiritual formation?
Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8 – 13-14:
7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ”
13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.