Summary: When we talk about good works there are two extremes that must be avoided. Both of them are based on an inaccurate view of who God is.

Purpose: To show how God's grace motivates us to do right.

Aim: I want the listener to treat others selflessly in order to display the gospel.

INTRODUCTION: When we talk about good works there are two extremes that must be avoided. Both of them are based on an inaccurate view of who God is.

On the one hand, we find those who think that God doesn't care very much about the problem of sin. These people think that it doesn't really matter how we live. In other words, accept God's forgiveness and then just do whatever you think is best. God, after all, knows that we aren't perfect so He doesn't expect us to be perfect. In other words, God's loving attitude is an excuse for living carelessly. This last week I talked to a very religious man who went so far as to tell me that God works completely through our free will. He said that God does not require or command anything of us. God leaves everything up to our free will to decide what should or should not be done.

On the opposite side of the coin are people who feel like working hard to be good is the only way to please God. We call them legalists. They believe that there are certain ceremonies or behaviors that we must perform in order to be accepted by God. They envision a God who is expecting us to measure up to a certain standard, and that He decides to only accept those who work hard enough to reach that standard.

Paul is demolishing both of those ideas in these two chapters. In chapter 2:1-10 He is making the argument that Christians should make the Gospel of Christ beautiful ("...showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect" Titus 2:10) just because it is the right thing to do. Notice that Paul uses the word DOCTRINE here. Paul is making it clear that God commands us to be righteous.

In chapter two verse 11 through chapter three verse 11Paul is arguing that we should work hard to do good works just because we want to show our gratefulness to God for Christ's amazing grace that we already possess.

So, in our text today Paul is shifting his attention to the other reason why Christians should do right. Followers of Christ should do right because they have experienced God's saving grace.

What is grace? "The classic definition is the best: God's grace is His unmerited favor. Grace means that God showered favor and blessing on those who did not in any way deserve or earn it. They deserved His judgment and wrath. But He showed them favor." THAYER points out that the Greek word for grace "contains the idea of kindness which bestows upon one what he has not deserved." [1]

Do our good works make God's grace beautiful? The answer to that question depends on WHY we do good works. It is right to do good works, but good works should only come from our response to Christ's good works on our behalf.

In other words, We must learn WHAT is right, but we must also know WHY we should do right.

Let's see how Paul makes this truth clear to us. First of all...

Vs.11 I. Grace is Available to all "bringing salvation to all men"

Paul just finished listing different groups of people: Older men (vs.2) older women (vs.3) younger women (vs.4) younger men (vs. 6) and even slaves (vs.9).

God does not restrict His grace to certain people, or certain groups of people. Anyone who is proud that God has graciously forgiven them does not understand God's grace.

God has never chosen to show grace to someone based on something good He saw in them. Paul makes this very clear in Titus 3:5: "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy..." (NAS). Paul also said, "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" (Ephesians 2:8--9, NAS)

Since grace is available to everyone, how can we know if we actually possess God's grace? Paul is now going to give us four tests so we can see if we really have God's grace.

Vs.12 II. Grace Motivates us to live right

Gratefulness for God's grace makes a person willing to "... deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow [Jesus]" (Luke 9:23, NAS).

Here Paul is saying that God's grace teaches us or disciplines us to live right. There is a negative side and a positive side we should be able to see in our lives.

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