Motivation to be good

Text Titus 3:4-8 Time 10/11/10 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church
I was reading an article called Sales lessons from England's Dismal Failure at the World Cup. The writer's first point is that motivation is crucial. He says
"Of course you’ll already know that motivation is crucial to success, whether that’s in sport, in business and particularly in the sales arena. However it’s motivation on a consistent basis that’s vital to producing good results in sales over a period of time.
Consistent motivation is even more important when it comes to ‘new business’ activities. For example if you know you’ve got cold calling (or even follow up calls) to do, and you’re not feeling motivated, how likely is it you’ll do the calls you need? Not very likely!
Alternatively, you may do the ‘task’, but in reality you’re just ‘going through the motions’, and even through you’ve done your ‘activity’ it was never going to produce any kind of results for you.  Some people then even use that ‘result’ to justify saying ‘cold calling just doesn’t work for me’ or ‘I’m no good at that’ for example!
You saw the impact that lack of motivation had on the England team – make sure it’s not happening to you or your team right now!"

We began last week to look at Paul's argument for why the people in the churches in Crete ought to be good, what should motivate them. His chief argument is that these people have been changed – they are not what they were. We spent some time last week looking at verse 3 and considering how it used to be for the Christian.
We spoke of how At one time 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. Having made that negative statement Paul goes on to speak of the great change that comes about in Christians in these terms. He speaks in verses 4-8 of how
when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Before he adds a little more he says that This is a trustworthy saying. This is one of the trustworthy sayings of the pastoral letters then (the two to Timothy and the one to Titus). There are five altogether – three in 1 Timothy, one in 2 Timothy and this one here in Titus. They were probably sayings that went round in the churches in those early days and that Paul takes up as appropriate to what he has to say at certain points.
He wants Titus to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. As he adds These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
Perhaps the best way to get at what is in these verses is by asking a series of questions.
1. When did God save us?
Verse 4 begins But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us. Though by nature we are foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of desires and passions, malicious and envious and hateful - something has happened that has changed all that – as he puts it here, the kindness and love of God our Saviour has appeared. By God our Saviour here is meant particularly God the Father, although we most often use the term Saviour in connection with the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul talks of his kindness – the word only appears here in the New Testament and his love for man. These appeared, having been previously hidden, when we were converted. Of course, we can go back to foreknowledge and predestination and the incarnation, life death, burial, resurrection, ascension and session of Christ and the pouting out of the Spirit for all that lies behind that conversion through the work of the Spirit. They are all part of the appearing of the kindness and love of our Saviour God. In the old westerns there often used to be that moment when it looked as though it were up with the good people and then out of nowhere the cavalry would appear to save the day. It is something like that with the appearance of our Saviour. Or think of the sun rising to herald the dawn. Its appearance means the long night of suffering and misery is over and the day has arrived.
It is the undeserved kindness and love of god that has made the difference then. This is what has transformed the life of every believer. Here is reason for constant thanksgiving and a realisation that nothing can ever be the same again.
When did God save us? When his kindness and love appeared, even while we were lost in foolishness, disobedience, blindness, malice, envy and sin, and we were converted.
2. What caused God to save us?
Paul puts this negatively and positively.
1. Negatively. Not because of righteous things we had done. His burden here is that the people should do what is good. In that situation there is always the danger that we can give the impression that Christianity is all about pulling ourselves up by our own boot straps, that in some sense we save ourselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. No, it is not because of righteous things we do that God saves us. What good can we do anyway? By nature we are foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved, malicious, envy, hateful and hated. No, it is nothing in us that saves as the New Testament stresses time and time again.
2. Positively. Rather it is because of his mercy. He has mentioned God's kindness and love and now he refers to his mercy – his undeserved favour. Without God;s mercy what hope would there be for us? None at all. He has looked on us with pity and seen our misery and failure and he has been merciful in Jesus Christ. Again it is a reason for much thanksgiving and a reason for good deeds. Having known such mercy how grateful should we be. We can bets show that thankfulness by living for God's glory and doing his will, being wise in him and obedient, with our eyes opened through him and refusing to be ruled by our passions and desires.
Why caused God to save us? It was certainly not because of righteous things we had done but entirely because of his mercy.
3. How did God save us?
The NIV endeavours to help us with the next part by reminding us that Paul is talking about how He saved us. Well how did he save us? It was, says Paul through two things. He also mentions a third thing a little later. It was firstly
1. Through the washing of rebirth
This is quite a saying. Paul really combines two thoughts to come up with a new one. On the one hand there is the idea of regeneration – being born again. But there is also the idea of washing being cleansed. The idea of new birth is taken up more in the second phrase so let's stick with the idea of cleansing first. We can think of the way we were in terms of dirt clinging to us, of being unclean. That's how we were. We had no right to come to God because of the sins that so clung to us like filth and dirt. I was listening today to an interview with a very low caste Dalit woman, an untouchable, in India. Because of her caste the only work she can get is taking away the waste from people's toilets. Because of her work people are very wary of touching her or coming into contact with her. If she goes to the market she is not allowed to touch the produce. If she wants something she has to point to it and they put it on the ground so that she can pick it up. What a wicked system the Hindu caste system is. But that is how we once were – unclean, like untouchables, like lepers banished from society. But we have been born again through God's mercy and so all our sins have been washed away. What a glorious thing that is. How thankful we should be.
2. And renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour. With that washing there was renewal as implied in the reference to regeneration. If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come. We have not only been washed clean but we have been renewed too. It is not just that we were dressed in filthy clothes and we were soiled all over. We were clothed in rags and our whole being was worn out and decrepit. However, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on us so generously because of the victory Christ won on the cross then the Holy Spirit renewed us and made us into new persons. We were transformed by his activity within. We were born of water and of the Spirit. Our hearts were not only sprinkled clean but we were given new hearts too. We were set apart to God or sanctified and made new or regenerated.
You notice what a Trinitarian statement this is. He (the Father) poured out on us the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Saviour.
3. It was also through having been justified by his grace.
Almost in passing Paul goes on to remind the believers that they were not only washed and renewed - sanctified and regenerated – but also justified. It wasn't only that God made a change within but also, and this is the thing that Paul more often emphasises, there was legal change. There was a change in our standing before God so that where as by nature we are condemned, we have now been justified or made right with God. And what was the root of this justification – it was the grace of God. So with kindness and love and mercy we now mention grace – God's undeserved love. Without that there would be no salvation – no justification, no regeneration, no sanctification.
God's justifying grace should move us to a life of good deeds in his service.
So, how did God save us? By having mercy on us and washing us clean when we were reborn and renewing us by pouring out the Spirit generously on us through Jesus Christ our Saviour and by declaring us righteous in his sight by his grace.
4. To what end did he save us?
It is so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. We've mentioned regeneration and justification and sanctification. We mustn't forget adoption either. By doing what he did, God made us heirs sons and heirs, those who have the right to inherit good things from God. In particular he mentions here our now having the hope of eternal life. ITV have recently been showing a costume drama that has proved very successful. It is called Downton Abbey. In the final episode of this first series the wife of Lord Grantham becomes pregnant quite late in life. They have three grown up daughters but if this next child proved to be a boy then he would become the heir rather than the present heir, a distant male cousin. Without giving things away if you have not seen it, the drama makes very clear what a difference being an heir can make. A lot hangs on it. Now if you are Christian tonight then you are a son of God and an heir and you have an inheritance that cannot be taken from you. In Peter's words, it cannot spoil or fade. Paul speaks of it here as the hope of eternal life. That is what we hope to inherit because of the great change that God had brought about in our lives. This hope ought to so affect us that we not only look forward to heaven but our behaviour here on earth is also changed so that we live for his glory.
This is indeed a trustworthy saying, and worth remembering - no wonder Paul wanted Titus to stress these things. All good preachers ought to stress them.
Never forget that although you were once foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another in a word lost or totally depraved - all that has now changed. You have known the washing of rebirth, renewal by the Holy Spirit and justification and adoption. Because of God's kindness, love, mercy and grace you now have the hope of heaven. Never forget it.
5. How should we then live?
So there is a mini theology of salvation – a soteriology, if you like. However, it is not here simply to inform our minds. Do not forget what Paul is driving at here. Verse 8 – it is all to the end that those who have trusted in God all these blessings come by faith may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. The very fact of what we were and have now become by the love and mercy and grace of God ought to stir us up to a careful devotion to doing what is good. All these facts should combine to stir us up to holy living – the love and grace of God, the generous way he has poured out his Spirit, the fact we never saved ourselves, regeneration, justification, the whole plan of salvation. May it do so.
You saw the impact that lack of motivation had on the England team – let's make sure it’s not happening to us right now by keeping these things in mind.

The way we were

Text Titus 3:3 Time 03/11/10 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church

We have begun to look at Titus 3 where Paul begins by reminding Titus to Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. On of his arguments for such action is that these people have been converted and so should be willing and able to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
That leads him to reflect firstly on what they all were at one time before they were converted. He uses some six adjectives or adjectival phrases to describe how it used to be and I thought it would be good if this evening we meditated on each one and meditated on how it is with those who are still unconverted and how it once was with us who have had the kindness and love of God our Saviour appear... so that we are saved - not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy having known the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit an having been justified by God's grace, so becoming heirs with the hope of eternal life.
Perhaps we can think of it chiefly as the way we were.
1. Once we were foolish as many still are
Paul begins At one time we too were foolish. The word means something like unintelligent, thoughtless, mindless, unthinking. Paul has already spoken (in 1:15) about how their minds and consciences are corrupted. To be an unbeliever is to be like a silly sheep. The word is similar to the one used in Luke 24:50 when Jesus says to the disciples How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
As you know, when the Bible talks about being foolish it has in mind not just stupidity but more moral corruption. It is one of the themes of the Book of Proverbs. In the first nine chapters we read appeals like these.
1:22 How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?
8:5 You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding.
9:6 Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.
In the Proverbs proper we have a portrait of the fool in his many guises.
In Romans 1 Paul speaks of the foolish hearts if unbelievers being darkened and that is the sort of thing that is in mind here.
There is a famous debate between the late Greg Bahnsen and an atheist Dr Gordon Stein. Dr Bahnsen who was a philosopher as well as a theologian runs rings around Stein who was not really on his specialist subject. At one point they discuss logic and Stein accepts that there are laws of logic that are universal. He also accepts that they are immaterial. They then come to discuss God and Stein asks Bahnsen if he thinks God is immaterial, which he does, of course. He then asks if he has an example of anything else immaterial. Of course, Bahnsen mentions the laws of logic! The basic argument is that the atheist cannot really account for morality while he refuses to believe in God. Not all unbelievers would claim to be atheists but similar logical flaws can be found in their thinking and morality.
There is something unthinking and foolish about the unbeliever. It surfaces at many points. They know they will die but will not prepare for death. They know there is God but make no real effort to seek after him. They live for self and for their own pleasure. What foolishness there is everywhere. And that's how we were and how we still would be if it were not for his kindness in saving us.
2. Once we were disobedient as many still are
The word disobedient has already come up in 1:16 where Paul describes unbelievers as those who claim to know God, but by their actions ... deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. More literally the word is again negative and means that they are not persuadable, not biddable. To be an unbeliever is to be like a stubborn mule that won't do what its master says. It starts when we are young and we refuse to obey our parents, it often betrays itself in a contempt for other authorities and ultimately it is a refusal to obey God. The unbeliever will not do nor can he do what God wants him to do.
Isn't this what the whole debate on homosexuality is all about? God says, no you can't and men want to disobey God – sometimes simply to disobey – and those who don't want to disobey in this way want to disobey in others.
There is something unwilling and disobedient about the unbeliever. It surfaces at many points. They know in general what God wants from them but on some things they refuse to do as he commands. They often know that obedience to God – not murdering, not committing adultery, not lying - is the best way forward and yet they refuse to do it nevertheless. They live regardless of God and his will. What disobedience there is everywhere. And that's how we were and how we still would be if it were not for his kindness in saving us.
3. Once we were deceived as many still are
By nature we are also deceived. The word used here is not a negative one but is the same word from which we get our word “planet”. Planets were thought of in ancient times as wandering stars. So here Paul is saying that unbelievers are wanderers, those who have gone astray, who are out of the right way, in error. Part of being an unbeliever is to be in error about the truth. It is to be like a lost sheep that has gone astray from God.
I had a cup of coffee today and the person serving me was smiling. I've noticed before that she is always smiling. I said why are you always smiling, because you are a Christian? No, she's Hindu. Because she would cry otherwise? No. Very happy and yet not converted. It happens. It is a delusion.
The Devil deceives sinners and sin deceives them. They are deceived by the lies of men and in the end deceive themselves with their lies and errors.
There is something self-deceiving and wayward about the unbeliever. It surfaces at many points. They do not realise that they are in gross error. They wander through life, ambling along all the while, drifting further from the truth like a ship or a wave on the sea. They live a life of error. What error there is everywhere. And that's how we were and how we still would be if it were not for his kindness in saving us.
4. Once we were enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures
Paul goes on and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. To be an unbeliever is to be a slave. It is state of being trapped by all kinds of passions and pleasures or longings and desires. God has given us certain appetites – for food and drink and friendship and sex and excitement and other such things. These appetites were never mean to rule over us but that is what happens to the unbeliever. He lives for his pleasures. He is by nature a hedonist, one who lives for pleasure. Self -indulgence is a key idea with him. Sloths sleep as much as 23 hour sin 24. Unbelievers can be similarly indulgent.
People can be surprisingly open about this – that they live for pleasure. I met someone in the summer who was about to go to work in Ghana in some help project, She was quite clear, however, that although it would hopefully help the Ghanaians, it was chiefly about her. The advertisers have cottoned on and are always saying “Go on, indulge yourself” “Enjoy life's pleasures”, etc. The richest woman in France is Liliane Bettencourt. She is the major shareholder in L'Oréal, the world's biggest cosmetic manufacturer. Some years ago L'Oréal's slogan was "Because I'm worth it". They softened it to "Because you're worth it" after concerns in France that the original appeared too money-oriented. It typifies the general attitude of the believer.
There is something self-seeking and self-indulgent about the unbeliever. It surfaces at many points. They live for pleasure. They often think only of indulging this appetite or that. They live, as far as they can. a life of ease and of luxury. It comes out in different ways but what self-indulgence there is everywhere. And that's how we were and how we still would be if it were not for his kindness in saving us.
5. Once we lived in malice and envy, as many still do
Paul also says We lived in malice and envy. Again it doesn't always come out in the same way but there is an evil and an ill will that is characteristic of every one who is outside of Christ. There is a nastiness about the unbeliever that sometimes surprises us. Sometimes they can harbour evil schemes and strong envy for years and years. Like ferocious wild animals they can be quite unkind and malicious.
It starts off in childhood. Children can be very cruel to one another. In America they have found that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4400 deaths per year. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14% of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 % have attempted it. Victims of bullying between 2 and 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University. A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying. Girls 10-14 are at highest risk, according to studies. As many as 30 % of American students are either bullies or victims and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of bullying.
There is something malicious and ill-willed about the unbeliever. It surfaces at many points. Wives kill husbands and husbands wives. Neighbours fight and refuse to speak. How nasty people can be. What unpleasantness there is everywhere. And that's how we were and how we still would be if it were not for his kindness in saving us.
6. Once we hated and were hated by others, as many still are
The final phrase being hated and hating one another gives perhaps the wrong impression in that two different words are used. However, the first word does mean being hateful and the second to hate. Again it is not difficult to think of examples of this.
They say elephants never forget but no animal would ever bear a grudge like a man.
This is from the Liverpool Echo
A NIGHTMARE neighbour who made life in a Liverpool tower block a misery was finally evicted.
Billy Niven, dubbed "Mr Nasty", is in prison for terrorising others living close to his Old Swan home and breaching an ASBO he was handed last year.
And today, at Liverpool County Court, he was told he will not be allowed to return home on his release in mid-November and is banned from even entering the block for a year.
In August Judge Graham Platts suspended an application for Liverpool Mutual Homes to take possession of the Baden House flat, in Baden Road, giving Niven one last chance after he promised to change his ways.
But the judge conceded his earlier optimism was "misplaced" after the court heard it took just two weeks for the 48-year-old to return to his old ways.
In just one day he abused a housing association employee, threatened fellow residents and intimidated workmen, telling them "I’m the boss of this site".
Niven was jailed for four months in September for two breaches of his ASBO. During that hearing the court heard he had subjected residents to five years of misery, arming himself with weapons, leaving dog dirt and threatening letters in the lifts and issuing violent threats.
Yesterday, his solicitor Michael Krebs told the court prison had had "a profound effect on him" and in a letter said he wanted to apologise, promising to change his ways.
But Judge Platts said: "I don’t think I have heard any genuine signs of apology or remorse from him and I suspect the letter is written in an attempt to retain his home rather than any genuine admission of remorse on his behalf."
LMH chief executive Steve Coffey said today : "We are delighted the court took these steps to evict and exclude him from the area because he has been ruining tenants’ lives for a long time with his anti social behaviour.
"The courage our tenants have shown in taking a stand against him is commendable and we hope others see this case and have the confidence to report anti-social behaviour to us so we can act."
There is something hateful and hating about the unbeliever. It surfaces at many points. They can be so nasty, so vindictive. It comes out in different ways but what hatred there is everywhere in the rat race. And that's how we were and how we still would be if it were not for his kindness in saving us.

Give thanks for deliverance and pray for others to be saved despite themselves.

Have the right attitude to those in authority and all

Text Titus 3:1, 2 Time 13/10/10 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church

At the beginning of Titus 3 Paul tells Titus that there are a number of things that he wants him to teach to everybody. We have had the specialised teaching for older men and young men, older women and younger. Now he is told what to teach more generally.
There are appear to be some six commandments altogether but they can be grouped into two main parts. First Paul is concerned about the attitude of the Christians in Crete towards those in authority and then, more generally, towards all sorts of people. So once again this is very practical. As Matthew Henry says “Forgetfulness of duty is a common frailty; there is need therefore of reminding and quickening them thereto”.
We live in very different times, of course, to the first century Christians on Crete who Paul has in mind here. They were under Roman rule, living when Nero was still in power in Rome. We live in twenty first century London in a democracy. They related to a fairly limited number of others, chiefly by means of face to face contacts and letters. We today have contact with a potentially much larger circle of people and communicate by means of telephones, emails and many other modern devices quite apart from what they knew in the first century. Nevertheless, the principles remain the same. What God wanted for them, he wants for us too and we do well to consider carefully what Paul has to say to Titus here and see how that should affect the way we live today.
1. Remember how to relate to rulers and authorities
Here Paul says one general thing and then two things that appear to grow out of that general statement.
1. In general Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities
Jesus had said Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. That teaching goes back to the Old Testament where the people are told, for example,
Deuteronomy 17:12 The man who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God must be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel.
Jeremiah 27:17 Serve the king of Babylon, and you will live.
Out of such teachings come Paul's teaching here and in Romans and elsewhere.
Romans 13:1-7 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.
1 Timothy 2:2 urges prayer for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
Peter is similar (1 Peter 2:13-15)
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.
An attitude of subjection should mark all our dealings with those in authority at what ever level – from the parking attendant in the street to the Queen herself and all stops between.
Apparently, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd is touring The Wall once again, 20 years on. One American writer (John Ore) writes

I first saw the theatrical release of The Wall in the common room of my freshman dorm, sometime in the fall of 1988. I was passably familiar with the work of Pink Floyd, mostly via the ubiquity of “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II” and its demand that teachers leave those kids alone. As a punk rock kid of the 1980s, I was intimately familiar with its theme of rebellion and anti-authority; as a freshman at Berkeley, I was also incredibly stoned when I saw it.

Obviously, time has moved on but there is still a general feeling that rock music and other art forms should be encouraging some sort of rebellion. Such an attitude is inimical to the Christian approach.
Here is a question regarding our attitude first then. Am I ready and willing to show suibmission to all sorts of authority?
2. Specifically to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good
1 to be obedient
More specifically Paul call for obedience to those in authority. There can be little doubt that Paul feared that with their new found freedom in Christ believers may be tempted to treat the authorities with contempt and fail to obey them. For many reasons that is the last thing that Paul wants. Rather obedience to those in authority is a thing to prize.
More practically then. Am I obedient to the powers that be?
2 to be ready to do whatever is good
Paul does not stop with obedience. Rather he says there should be a readiness to do whatever is good. This may relate directly to our attitude to those in authority or may be more general, probably the former without discounting the latter. It is a common theme with Paul
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Timothy 2:21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Here we go a notch up again. Am I willing not only to obey but also to do whatever is good?
2. Understand how to relate to all sorts of people
With these instructions Paul adds three more that appear to relate more clearly to how we relate to all sorts of people, regardless of whether they are in authority over us or not.
As Christians we are
1. to slander no one
In many places in Scripture we are warned against slandering others. It is one of the sins of the tongue and one that we must take great care to avoid. It is so easy, especially when we are trying to talk up the gospel and cry down what is false to fall into. We must not. Speak only the truth and speak only what commends others.
2. to be peaceable and considerate
Again, you can see how Paul is very much aware of the danger that the newly converted and others may begin to go around causing trouble. How easy it is for young Christians to go around upsetting people and being discourteous towards them. I know that when I was first converted that was one of my dangers. Rather, as Paul puts it elsewhere, we should seek to be at peace with all men, as far as it lies in us. We must be considerate towards all who we meet. Think of them. Surely that is basic to Christianity if we properly understand it. Remember the golden rule – do to others as you would have them do to you.
3. and to show true humility toward all men
Here finally, is a call to meekness before all. Peter says the same thing in 1 Peter 3:15, 16
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Perhaps I can finish with these words about John Wilson a Sheffield businessman (in the Evangelical Magazine of 1849). The writer speaks of his unfeigned humility.

This in him was a beautiful grace; and as the apostle says, he was " clothed with humility." He wore it. It was his attraction. It made him lovely, and he was loved for it. It made him a lovely Christian, and thus he recommended Christianity. In a part of the funeral sermon, preached on occasion of his death in Queen-street Chapel, Sheffield, the following testimony was borne:
"I shall never," said the preacher, "forget my first interview with him, some years ago. Often and long I had heard heard him spoken of; but never till then had I seen, in a person of his station, so interesting a proof of the amiableness of religion. It won me more than ever to the love of the religion of Jesus. I saw its adaptation to the rich, equally with the poor. I saw, and I believed ; and as often as I remember the circumstance, I see and believe it over again."
The notion of his wealth and rank in society never created one vain feeling; while his piety, graced with genuine humility, was his higher and more lasting adornment. His humility was what, in its measure, prepared him for heaven, and what he took with him to heaven. It is what he wears there. No " spirit made perfect," we are ready to think, will ever wear it more thoroughly. The posture of the seraphim will be his. There is a blessedness attendant on such humility on earth, while it is "crowned with glory " in the paradise of God.
His affection towards others entered largely into the elements of his Christian character.
For this affection he was pre-eminent from the first of his Christian career. It was the habitual feeling of his heart. He could not have lived at variance with any one. His mind was formed for peace. Dissension would have troubled him more than most things. He must either have heaven upon earth by being " at peace with all men," or he must be taken to heaven away from earth.
Such was the temperature of his mind, the calmness in which he delighted to repose. Religion to him was everything. It was infinitely above " thousands of gold and silver;" while, next to its principles, he looked at its precepts, which he studied to embody in a life of unvarying peacefulness and Christian love. From his hope in Christ as a Saviour sprung his affection for Christ, and for the poorest member of the church; until every one saw that his religion was a religion of love,—of love to God and to men,—a religion that directed his earlier steps, that soothed him in the decline of life, and yielded him joy when his " heart and his flesh " began to " fail." ....

Gospel Living

Text Titus 2:11-15 Time 06/10/10 Place Childs Hill Baptist Church 

Paul's letters often begin with doctrine and then move on to duty. First he lays down the principles then explains the practice. Here in Titus 2 we have what is pretty much the opposite. In verses 1-10 we have all the practical teaching. Older men are to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Older women are to be reverent ... not ... slanderers or addicted to much wine, but teaching what is good and training the younger women, who are to love their husbands and children, ... be self-controlled and pure ... busy at home ... kind ... subject to their husbands. Young men are to be self-controlled. Titus himself is to set an example in everything ... by doing what is good. Slaves are to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, .... All very practical indeed.
The chapter begins, however, with Paul saying You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine and in verse 11 he goes on to say that the reason all this godly living must occur is because the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men and so a certain way of living is demanded – one that rejects ungodliness and worldly passions and chooses, rather, being self-controlled, upright and godly waiting for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ who died to make us good.
As Matthew Henry says “Here we have the grounds or considerations upon which all the foregoing directions are urged, taken from the nature and design of the gospel, and the end of Christ's death.”
So let's consider verses 11-14 then. There are five things we need to say

1. All our behaviour must be based on the gospel
Verse 11 says For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Why should older men be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, etc? Why should older women be reverent ... not ... slanderers or addicted to much wine, etc? Why should slaves be subject to their masters in everything and try to please them, etc?
In 1837 the Royal Danish Society of Scientific Studies launched an essay competition. The question was, "Are the source and foundation of morals to be looked for in an idea of morality lying immediately in consciousness (or conscience) and in the analysis of other fundamental moral concepts springing from that idea, or are they to be looked for in a different ground of knowledge?". The only entry they had to the contest was from Arthur Schopenhauer in July 1839. He failed to win the competition as on January 17, 1840, the society published a response claiming that he had misunderstood the question. Whether he did or not at some point in the essay he says “to preach Morality is easy, to found it difficult.” This is a problem that many philosophers are conscious of. Too often people who have not thought things through make moral judgements with no basis whatsoever. I was hearing recently of a woman who claimed that there were no absolutes. When she was asked about countries who trample on women's rights she suddenly wanted to argue against it.
For the Christian, however, this should not be too difficult a question. The reason for Christian morality, as outlined here in Titus 2, is that something very special indeed has happened in this world and it has changed everything. It is to do with the grace of God, his undeserved love, which brings salvation from sin and from death and from hell. This grace that brings salvation has now appeared to all men. It has not just been made known to the Jews. It has not been revealed only to certain types of people. No, it has appeared to all sorts of men.
Given that fact, we can no longer go on living in just the way we please. No, the grace of God means the possibility of godly living, the hope of salvation makes all the difference. Here is a gospel that has something to say to men and to women, to young and to old, to free and to slave.
The gospel does not begin with instruction about how to live but it does include it and, as we shall see, the gospel is powerful force to change the behaviour of men and women.
So here is the first point - all our behaviour must be based on the gospel. The way we live must be rooted in the grace of God and the salvation that he alone can give.

2. The gospel is against ungodliness and worldly passions
Now although the gospel is all about grace, it has something to say about behaviour too. In verse 12 Paul puts it this way It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. First, its negative lesson then
It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions
Ungodliness is the very opposite of the godliness that is being advocated in this chapter. Worldly passions are the sort of desires that typify the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does. Such things must be rejected by the Christian. That s what the gospel teaches. It doesn't say, of course, reject these things and you will be saved but it does say that if you have been saved then you must turn from these things. The Christian should reject the way of ungodliness and worldly passion not because he hopes to be saved by that means but because he now has a new life to live and such things are totally inimical to that life.
In America in the 1980s and 1990s there was a successful advertising campaign called “Just Say No”. It was part of the USA's war on drugs and was intended to discourage children from engaging in recreational drug use by offering various ways of saying no. Eventually, the realm of "Just Say No" was expanded to include issues such as violence, premarital sex and other vices that young people may be involved in. The slogan was created and championed by Nancy Reagan during her husband's presidency.
Are you remembering the “No” message implicit in the gospel? We must say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions every day.

3. The gospel promotes self-control, uprightness and godliness
At the same time, positively, we must live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Self-control, righteousness and godliness are the sorts of things that Paul has been emphasising throughout the chapter. Such things mark the true Christian. He sees that these are not just for the age to come but for this present age.
Again, this is not because we hope to become worthy of heaven by means of such good deeds but because, having been saved, we want to be self-controlled, upright and godly in the way that we live for his glory and for our enjoyment.
Again the question comes – are we striving for self-control, upright living and godliness? We know that we cannot earn salvation by such means but we ought to be self-controlled, upright and godly if we have really been converted and really have a desire to please God through Jesus Christ.

4. It also involves patient waiting for the return of Christ
If we are tempted to think that Paul's vision of the Christian life is a very this worldly one at this point then we need to note what he adds in verse 13 ... while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Christian life is not simply about living a life of self-control, righteousness and godliness in this present age it is just as much about waiting for a second appearance, a glorious appearance – that of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is not until then that we will be truly holy but when he comes we will be like him for we shall see him as he is.
The obvious question to us then is whether we are looking forward to the return of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Clearly, if we are those who have known the salvation that is rooted in the grace of God that has now appeared to all then we should be.

5. Christ died to redeem from wickedness and purify for himself a people eager to do good
The final thing to notice is that this Christ who is going to come again is the same one who (14) gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. The whole purpose of Christ giving himself as he did to die on the cross was so that he might (negatively) redeem us from all wickedness and (positively) purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. In the way that we live now we must keep this in mind then. This is one of Paul's great concerns in this letter. See 3:8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
1. A price has been paid – the price of Christ's own blood. That price was paid we are reminded here to deliver us from wickedness. Why would we walk in the paths of sin, therefore?
2. Christ has acted to purify for himself a people, a people who are marked by their eagerness to do good. The fact that we are eager to do good is a suggestion that we really are one of his people. A lack of eagerness suggests that there is something wrong indeed.
$ Literally Paul says that a Christian should be a zealot to do good. You have heard of the zealots. They were a fanatical political faction that existed in Jesus's day. They were fanatically nationalistic and hated the Romans who were ruling over them. At Masada they committed suicide rather than be taken alive. The word zealot can be used for similar forms of fanaticism. Now the believer should be fanatical about good deeds.
In the light of this we can say at least two things
1. With regard to this life, the very fact that we have been redeemed from wickedness and set apart to be one of Christ's own should mean that we say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and ... live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.
2. Further, we await the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ for then we will be completely redeemed from wickedness and purified so that we are more eager than ever to do what is good.
The questions then are obvious
1. A price has been paid – the price of Christ's own blood. Are you turning from wickedness and looking forward to redemption?
2. Christ has acted to purify for himself a people. Do you belong to that people? If so, are you marked by an eagerness to do good and longing for the day when you will be good indeed? That is how it should be.