Summary: Second of two series on life change and the value of learning Godly teaching and living as God would have us live.
Sermon 26/09/09 Titus 3:1-8 and 14-15
Last week I read from and talked about Paul’s letter to Titus, the big idea about the whole sermon was that it is “wise for us to learn and grasp onto Godly teaching”.
Carrying on from where we were let’s read Titus 3:1-8 and 14-15.
In his letter Paul asks Titus to remind the people, the Christian people of Crete to be subject to the rulers and authorities, to be obedient, not to slander people, to be peaceable and considerate and to show true humility toward all men.
Why? Well as we have learnt from last week these Cretans were liars, evil beasts and lazy gluttons, they were cruel and savage. They showed a general lack of integrity and really needed constant reminding that their life styles needed to be Godly and to change their approach to life. Paul had previously instructed Titus to rebuke them sharply.
Even though they were saved by God’s Grace they didn’t act that way. What they required was a change of heart so that they would start to live lives that were productive.
Paul understood where they were at, Paul himself he had been a hard nosed, dogmatic, hate filled individual; he goes on to point out to Titus, and I’m paraphrasing, “Think about it, things for us were the same as the Cretans, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
What Paul realised was that he and Titus, these two individuals other wise known as Saint Paul and Saint Titus were no better than those thieving, lying, lazy Cretans. Because Paul was a Jew and Titus’s a gentile Greek; prior to coming to faith in Christ they would have hated one another on sight without even knowing one another. From around three hundred and fifty BC for about one hundred and eighty odd years BC the Greeks had, had some control over Israel, there was no love lost between Jews and Greeks. What Paul was pointing out was that both of them had been rotten to the core. They were like the Cretan’s, like the rest of mankind, and then something happened.
This begins with a ‘but’ at the beginning of verse four; remember this! ‘But’ in scripture comes just before something that is really important.
We were like that, ‘but’ when!
Something happened, what happened?
But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of the good things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and making us new by the Holy Spirit, we were given the Holy Spirit because of the Generosity of Jesus who saved us, so that having been justified by his Grace, and we might become God’s children having a hope of eternal life.”
Mind boggling stuff this, we were, and we were like the Cretans, if you don’t think so, take time to make an honest appraisal, maybe you were not quite that bad? But still once distant from distant from God, we also fell into the, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) category.
What God did for Paul and Titus through his Grace was to make a way clear for them to have a relationship with him.
If we look at verse three we see the actions of man, the lying the cheating the malice and hate etc. If we look at verses four to seven we see the actions of God, we see the work of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit justifying us through his mercy by his Grace.
What does this mean to be justified? (big pause) In scripture, in this part of scripture it means to be made sinless, ‘just as if I’d never sinned!’
That all of that pollution that we carry and that gets in the way of our relationship with God and our fellow men and women is taken away. By God’s grace we are justified.
This morning when you came into the citadel you found the seats up against the wall, confusing, a bit of a nuisance? This was used to illustrate what life without God’s Grace is like, it is confusing, it’s not ordered, each of us as individual’s are lost and in turmoil, we do foolish things we are disobedient, we hate we are envious. It’s really not much of a life in this dog eat dog, self focussed existence.
What God does is this, he takes us, because of his mercy. Not something that we have done and ‘saves us’ from the old life through the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit. We are born again, our life changes, we are made new by the Holy Spirit, because God our Father pours Him out on us because of what Jesus did in sacrificing himself for our sins. The works been done. It’s like coming to a meeting here knowing that there will be a seat waiting, no confusion, no concern about finding a spot to sit, or that you won’t be able to sit where you normally do, the works already been done, someone’s taken the time to set it all out.