Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. Christians find their fulfillment in serving God and others in the place that he's placed them. They find their fulfillment in faithfulness, not in accomplishment, not in self-actualization, and that often, if not always, involves sacrifice.
Jesus found fulfillment in washing feet because that was what the Father had told him to do. Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.
As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovich, and we are so glad that you're back with us today. Let me ask you, when I say the word theology, what comes to mind? Maybe you picture a seminary professor in a dusty library lecturing about some obscure term like dispensationalism, hypostaticism, and then you think, well, I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.
I don't know. Theology doesn't seem like the kind of stuff that quote-unquote normal Christians need to know, but today Pastor J.D. explains that good theology is essential for our everyday lives.
It's not about knowing fancy terminology. It's about knowing the gospel, and ultimately, knowing God. Pastor J.D. titled this message, Extrude, knowing God. Pastor J.D. titled this message, Extraordinary Ordinary. You got your Bible, if you would take it out right now and open it to the book of Titus chapter two.
Titus chapter two, we are in the second week of a short series that we're doing through the book of Titus called Everyday Theology. As you're turning there, I will tell you that last season, I had the opportunity to coach a four and five-year-old soccer team. You say, why did you coach a four and five-year-old soccer team? Because God in his sovereignty wanted to teach me more patience, and that is the means he did that. Plus, I wanted to get to know some, I wanted to spend more time with my son, that was the main reason, but I also wanted to be able to interact with people outside of the church.
The Summit church staff is really sick of me sharing the gospel with them, and so they told me to get to know some new people. Anyway, if you have ever been to a three, four, five-year-old soccer game, and I put that in air quotes, it is a mess, I mean, an absolute mess. Essentially, you have got a dozen kids swarming around the ball, all kicking frantically, like a blender made out of legs or something. There's always the odd kid that is standing in the field somewhere, zoning out, counting the clouds or tracking the movements of an ant, that is usually my kid.
But on the whole, there are a bunch of Labrador retrievers happily running around in a pack, all barking and excited about nothing. When you coach four-year-olds, one of the things, if you're gonna do that, you gotta resolve yourself to, is you're not gonna be coming up with plays that they're going to run. You've basically got three things that you're trying to teach them for the whole season, other than don't bite each other.
Why that one is not obvious, I don't know, but somebody has to hear that. But here are the three things you're trying to teach them. Number one, go the right direction. So at the start of each game, and at halftime, I had them point, what goal are we trying to score in?
They all point, and somebody always gets it wrong. And inevitably, this happened three times to us last season, where one of our kids scored in our own goal. And there's this dilemma of what you do in that moment, because they look at you so hopefully, after the ball's gone in the goal, with like, ah, you know, and so you just, we all cheered, it's like, way to go.
You know, but you're just, go the right direction. That's number one. Number two, don't walk off the field while the game's going on. I've seen more than one kid just get to the end of the field, see something interesting, and just keep going, like Forrest Gump. Or there's my kid who thinks that the greatest thing in his life is that, unlike his sisters, he can pee anywhere at any time. And so I'm like, where is Adam on the field?
And I notice over there next to the woods, there's this little bare bottom standing next to the woods, just, you know, relieving himself. Don't walk off the field while the game is going on. Number three, you're trying to teach them that there is such a thing as positions.
They don't get that, they just want to swarm. But you're trying to explain to the little guys and girls that the game is actually more fun if they play their positions. Plus, there's a beauty to the game.
Not that they'll get to that when they're five years old, but there's a beauty to the game when you play your position and you just might actually win. The reason I share that is because that is essentially what Paul is up to here in Titus chapter two. Paul is like the coach, and in Titus two, he gives a list of specialized instructions to various groups in the church, ranging from retired people to young men, from homemakers to business leaders. And basically, he's trying to get them to do those same three things. A, all go the same direction, the direction laid out by the gospel. B, to not leave the field early.
And C, to play their positions and to not bite each other too. You'll see that in there as well. Before we go through these instructions, however, I want you to notice how he frames these instructions. The actual specialized instructions are in verses two through 10. In verses one and 11, he bookends them with something that is really important. In verse one, he says, "'You, Titus, however, must teach what is appropriate.'" Or you could read that a fitting response to sound doctrine.
Now, in this context, when he says sound doctrine, what's he referring to? The gospel, that's what we talked about last week. When he says do these things as an appropriate response to the gospel, we talked last week about how the gospel teaches us to look three directions. We look upward at the glory of the God who saved us. We look backwards at the price that he paid for our sin.
We look forward into where he's taking us and what he is making us. He said, you do these things as a response to those three visions. Then at the end of his list, verse 11, he says, "'For the grace of God has appeared "'that offers salvation to all people.'"
That word for, you could read that because. Do all of these things because the grace of God has appeared. Do these things in response to the grace of God. So on the front end and on the back end, he makes this crystal clear. Everything in our lives is to be reshaped by our experience in the gospel. Y'all, that point cannot be emphasized enough. Christianity is not a to-do list of things that you need to work harder on.
It is not a set of morals that you need to master. It is not a bunch of rituals you need to adopt, a bunch of things you need to put in your calendar. Christianity from start to finish is essentially a response to God's grace fueled by the upward, backward, and forward vision. It's kind of like if you've ever seen those scenes from V-Day, Victory Day, back at the end of World War II. You have total strangers dancing together in the streets, people from different cultures, sometimes different nationalities, hugging and kissing each other because this new victory has given their lives a whole new meaning and reality. They're rejoicing because of a victory won on their behalf. That is the way that Paul says the gospel should function in our lives.
We are united in celebration of a great victory and because of that, all of life is going to look different. So how does that translate into every day living? Well, let's start reading here in verse 10. Teach the older man, Paul says, to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance.
Now, let me give a quick caveat here. Please understand that in giving these specific instructions I'm not trying to stereotype or as if to say, for example, that all older men struggle with the temptations Paul's identifying here. Just that each age group brings particular temptations and that's what Paul's going after. You say, well, who counts as an old man in Paul's book? In the rabbinic literature, young man was classified as anyone between the ages of 18 to 42. And yes, I just made that up, and yes, I am 41 years old.
So you decide what you want to do with that. What does he say exactly to the older men? Well, a lot of what he says to them, he's gonna repeat to the other groups, but there's one instruction that he gives uniquely to the older men, and it's there at the end of verse two, it is to endure.
Or some of your translations say be steadfast, to keep going, to not give up. And he's saying that because a temptation for older men in his day and ours is to get to the last third of their lives and start to coast. Many of them feel like they've done enough, they're tired. Maybe they have made all the money they feel like they need, or maybe they've just given up at this point and think I'm never really gonna make a lot more money anyway. And so they start to think only about themselves, pursuing their hobbies and their interests. They're weary of giving themselves to service because they feel like they've earned it.
And so they start to get grumpy and cynical, which always happens when you focus on yourself. Paul tells this group to endure, to stay in the game. He says be self-controlled. In other words, don't think about your needs, second your desires to the needs of the church and the next generation. Your accomplishment in life should not be a pile of money you leave in a bank account, your accomplishment should be seeing the kingdom of God thrive in the next generation. So don't give the last years of your life to fish or play golf or collect toys, give it to the kingdom of God. Be sound in faith, he said.
In other words, don't get cynical. Oh yeah, I still understand all the young people that are just so messed up and they're giving away our country and the world's all going to hell. Paul said God's promises have not ceased to be true. God resurrected Jesus from the dead.
That means that God has a plan he is pursuing in the world and just as he resurrected Jesus from the dead, he is not going to let his plan falter and it is as alive in this generation and the next generation as it was in the 1950s. Be temperate, he says. Be temperate, don't give yourself excessively to numbing things like alcohol. Abusing alcohol is for people who feel no purpose in life. But you, you've got something to keep living for.
Even if you are lying in a rest home, you are still part of the greatest mission on earth and if nothing else, from your hospital bed, you can be a prayer warrior for that. Don't ever stop, he says. Don't ever let up because the mission goes on, look forward. Great example of this is Caleb. Caleb is an old man in the Bible who was one of the original 12 spies that, during the exodus, they sent out the spy out of the promised land. 10 of the spies come back and say the land's too big, who cares what God says?
The warriors are too mighty, we'll never conquer it. There were two spies, Joshua and Caleb, who said no, I know the giants are big, but God is able, let's go into the land. Unfortunately, the children of Israel listen to the 10 spies, so they wander in the wilderness for 40 years.
During that 40 years, every single person in Israel, including Moses, dies. The only two people out of that generation that make it are Joshua and Caleb. So Joshua and Caleb are the oldest men in Israel. They cross the Jordan River and the first thing they encounter after Jericho is this huge mountain, this huge mountain that has all these mighty warriors living in it and 86-year-old Caleb says, that's my mountain right there.
And he takes his walker and he gets his army and he goes up and he conquers that mountain. What you're seeing is a picture of a guy who understands the promises of God have not expired and they are as real at 86 years old as they were when I was 25. And what God is saying to many of us, many of you, listen, is that we have even more of a reason to understand in the steadfastness of God's promise than Caleb did because the resurrection of Jesus ensures us that nothing we do for his kingdom will ever be wasted. We are building a kingdom that is destined to win and one that will last forever. So Jesus said, every cup of cold water given in my name will have its effect.
We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to tell you about our new featured resource this month meant to help you take this new study even further. I love a fresh new beginning to reset and no matter how well we know God or whether we know him at all, we could all use a fresh start and a solid foundation. And that's why we have to keep putting the word of God into our hearts so that when life cuts us, when we need his wisdom, we bleed the word of God. The Lord calls us to take a step of faith and another and another. And the only way to walk in step with him is to know him. So we've put together a pack of 52 memory verse cards to help you carry God's promises in your heart.
Memorizing scripture can be an important first step in not just knowing stuff about God, but truly embracing him and his promises in our life. This set of cards comes with your generous gift to the ministry right now. So give us a call at 866-335-5220 or check it out at jdgreer.com. I will tell you Summit Church, listen, we need more older men playing that role in this church. Spence Shelton, who is planting out of our church told me about a man who has joined his team who is 83 years old. The man says, I've been a part of three church plants in my life and I think I got time for a couple more.
That is a modern day Caleb. Or I think of Sam James who preached at our church. Sam James is 82 years old. He planted this church in 1962 as the Homestead Heights Baptist Mission, which would later become the Summit Church. Sam James after planting the church went to Vietnam for 40 years where he served as a missionary. The first time that they preached at the church that when I was pastor was last fall. And so we have five services.
It looks different than what he did in 1962. So I called him up and said, hey, I understand, I appreciate you being here. Preaching five services is hard. I'm gonna tell you, by the time I get to that fourth and fifth service, I pretty much hate everybody.
And I'm just trying to get through it. So why don't you preach once on Saturday, once on Sunday, and then we'll just show videos of the rest. He said to me, young man, I will be preaching all five services.
I said, yes, sir, you will. And so that is a modern day Caleb. And God give us more men that are going to endure and not give up. Judges 5 23, let me give a special verse to you older men. This verse is hidden in the book of Judges.
Hardly anybody knows about it, but it is so, so haunting to me. Judges 5 23, cursed be the family of Moroz because they did not come out to help the people of God in battle. There was a family clan that when the battle was going on around them, they said, you know what? It's just, we don't really need to be involved.
Our little estate is fine. And they stayed on the sidelines and God cursed them and their family. Older men do not be in the curse of Moroz because you sit on the sidelines while other people surge forward. You need to lead in serving. You need to mentor younger men. You need to go on mission trips.
It's like Henry Ward Beecher says, it is not the going out of port, it is the coming in that determines the success of a voyage. So finish strong, older man. Verse three, likewise, teach the older women to be reverent, or you could read that word respectful in the way that they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Dr. Keith Idol, who was one of my seminary professors, and he was the interim pastor here before I became the pastor, actually taught through the book of Titus right before I became pastor. My wife and I were in a sermon where he taught this Titus chapter two, and we have never forgotten something that he said about that word reverent or respectful. He said this, and I quote, older women can sometimes quit caring what people think, so they lose their filters about speaking their mind or talking badly about people.
Do you know anybody like this, by the way? He said, you see, when you are young, did I get an amen on that? When you are young, when you are young, he said, you have two things that you lose over age. He said, one, you have a natural physical beauty, a natural charm, and you have filters because you care about what other people think about you. He said, when those things are gone in your older age, if you have an ugly spirit, there's nothing to mask it anymore. He said, in truth, the ugly spirit was always there. It was just covered up by your physical beauty and charm and the filters you had with a sense of propriety. He said, by contrast, there are older women who are so sweet that they seem more beautiful in their older age than they did when they were young because their beautiful character shines through. Character, you see, is always more beautiful than physical charms, and so he asked the question, what would it look like if all we could see was your spirit unmasked by your physical beauty, unmasked by your charm, and unfiltered so we saw the real spirit that is inside of you? My wife and I want to be really sweet, gracious old people. I think Veronica's actually in pretty good shape on this, but I'm in trouble because no one ever describes me as sweet.
But that kind of stuff, it doesn't just happen. It comes by cultivating character in the gospel, and so he tells these older women, keep looking up, keep looking back at the price you paid, keep looking forward, and let those looks create sweetness in you so that you're not slanderers. Verse four, then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands so that no one will malign the word of God. Can anyone pick out any controversial phrases in that verse? Seriously, whenever someone wants to diss the Bible, this is like one of the verses of their go-to. It's like, your Bible actually says, busy at home and subject to your, it's the idea that the Bible teaches male dominance.
But is that what Paul means here? Teach them to be busy at home does not mean that young women are not to work outside the home, because there are multiple places in Scripture where we see examples of women working outside the home, and they are commended. Probably the clearest one is Proverbs 31, where the ideal woman works outside the home, right? So it doesn't mean that they're not supposed to work outside the home ever, it just means that, listen, there is a tendency for young women, like young men, to be lured away from God-given responsibilities by the promise of fulfillment elsewhere. You see, there is no denying that God has given the mother a particular responsibility in the home that only she can play, and this often requires that she sacrifice other things she could do in order to fulfill that.
Often she cannot give as much time to her career, maybe she has to give it up altogether. And whenever you do that, there will be a sense of loss. But God says to these younger women in the gospel, your primary goal should not be to fulfill yourself, your primary goal should be to faithfully serve me. And where that entails sacrifice, embrace it joyfully. Find your fulfillment not in self-actualization, find your fulfillment in serving me.
Look upwards and forwards. You see, this is one of those areas where the values of the world and the values of the kingdom of God stand in absolute and total contrast. Couple of years ago, Linda Hirschman was on Good Morning America where she said that homemakers are quote, living lesser lives. The talk show host responded, well, but many of these homemakers find their work valuable. Hirschman responded, well, I would like to see a description of their daily lives that substantiates that.
It doesn't sound particularly interesting for a complicated, educated person like me. Now, let me get behind that for a minute because she's saying it in a way that she believes leads to empowerment, but let's actually get behind that. In her view, happiness only comes from self-actualization, being all you can be. But just ask yourself this, do you know where that mentality leads? If life and happiness and fulfillment is about self-actualization, then people who stand in the way of you becoming all you think you can be become annoyances that needed to be minimized or managed. You start to, for example, think of kids as accessories to your life rather than people that you lay down your life for. And if you get pregnant and it's not convenient for your career, then you should just abort the baby. And if you have kids and they're messing up your career, then you should shirk your responsibilities as a mother or father and you should just, don't pay attention to them, just kind of manage them.
If your parents in their older age become a hindrance to your career, shove them in a home and forget about them. You never really end up being a very good friend because you are constantly sizing up how much this person or that person helps you towards your goal. And as soon as they quit helping you towards your goal, you drop that friend. Hirschman's mentality does not lead to empowerment, it leads to using people rather than loving them. Christians, however, find their fulfillment in serving God and others in the place that he's placed them. They find their fulfillment in faithfulness, not in accomplishment, not in self-actualization, and that often, if not always, involves sacrifice.
You wanna model in this? Jesus found fulfillment in washing feet because that was what the father had told him to do. Jesus' fulfillment never came from the importance of the task because washing feet is not that important. Jesus found a fulfillment in the approval of the father. So if for a time in your life God has assigned you to care for children and establish a home, find your fulfillment in knowing you have been a faithful servant, not in the praise of the world or how high you climbed some ladder. Or you might say it this way, if Jesus found fulfillment in washing feet, you can find fulfillment in wiping butts for a season two, just to put it down on the bottom shelf.
Because our fulfillment, at whatever stage we are, is only in hearing well done, good and faithful servant. Now, while he says this to the young women, it applies to dads too, there are a lot of things that I can't do because of some roles that God has assigned to me. Peter Crave, one of my favorite authors, was once asked, what's your favorite book that you have ever written? Crave responded, the one I didn't write when my kids were young. Now, I am able to write a good bit, but Veronica and I are very clear that that only gets fitted in at the margins of my calling as father and pastor. And there are a lot of things that would be good for my career that we just don't do right now because of some roles that God has given me to serve.
I don't go on a lot of guys trips. The other day I found myself comparing, in great detail to somebody, the plot qualities between frozen and tangled. Arguing for the superiority of the plot line of tangled over frozen. And I had the realization that my entertainment diet is not what it used to be. But see, that is okay because one day I want to hear by God's grace, well done, good and faithful servant. And so it's okay if for a season I'm not fulfilled by my movie choices because faithfulness is my goal. Our only job is to be found faithful, to reveal the gospel in the way we live and work. Do people see that in you? A fitting challenge for us today on Summit Life with Pastor J.D.
Greer. To catch up on previous messages in our new teaching series, visit us at jdgreer.com. J.D., it seems like sometimes I want to be able to recall scripture easily, but to be honest, I'm a little rusty on some of the memory verses that I learned as a kid. But I do know this, I have the desire to know more scripture by heart.
Yeah, I understand that, especially for me when it feels like it was so long ago that I was a kid. There's a lot of things you've learned and forgotten, and that's why I'm excited to actually provide our listeners with this tool, a pack of 52 scripture memory cards, one for every week of this year, that can be a way of learning new verses, but also reminding yourself and re-familiarizing yourself with some of these beautiful promises of God. Your life will change, and your life will be filled with power to the extent that you know the Word of God. And so what better way to get it into your heart than to memorize it, to have one promise, one beautiful attribute of God a week that you are thinking about and putting deep in your heart so that you are better equipped to face doubt, temptation, trial, the attacks of the enemy, and to be a blessing to others. So you can get a set of these cards specifically designed for our listening audience when you support Summit Life at jdgrier.com. We'd love to send you this exclusive new set of cards today.
What power and assurance we can have and know, and I mean really know God's Word, and can remember it in our time of need. Ask for the scripture memory cards when you give today by calling 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220. Or give online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us Tuesday as we continue our study in Titus. See you then here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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