Today on Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. If you want to know the health of your faith, don't look at what you're doing here. Don't look at what you do on a mission trip. Look at your relationship with your spouse. Look at how you respond to your parents.
Look at how you relate to your dorm mates or your suite mates. That's where the health of your faith is tested. Paul says you want to get an accurate read in your faith. Don't look at how many verses you know or what you act like at church.
You look at how you are in the home. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian J.D. Greer.
I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. So have you ever been the coach of a sports team? Whether it's T-ball or the big leagues, one of the main jobs of the coach is making sure everyone understands how to play their position and ultimately knows their role on the team.
If the players don't know what they're supposed to be doing, then the team won't perform very well. Well, today pastor J.D. digs into the book of Titus in order to help us understand our position as believers on God's team. It's part of our series called Everyday Theology. And if you've missed any of the previous messages, you can find them online at jdgreer.com. Now here's pastor J.D.
with part two of a message he titled Extraordinary Ordinary. 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.
You want to 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 to prove his 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.
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 Krafft, one of my favorite authors, was once asked, what's your favorite book that you have ever written? Krafft 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. I don't go golfing every Saturday.
Why? Because I get one season with my children. You say, well, I'm a dad and I do all these things. You might be a bad dad.
Or at least you should ask your wife that. One day I'm going to get to heaven and everything I feel like I've accomplished, God's just going to turn it off. He's going to be like, oh, how big was your church? Click.
Nobody cares about that anymore. Oh, how many books did you write? Click. How many people knew who you were? Click.
How much money did you make? Click. And the only lever he's going to leave on is faithfulness to him. When you get to heaven, the only accomplishment you take in there has nothing to do with the importance of the task. It has only to do with whether or not you were faithful in that task because moreover, Paul said, what is required of stewards, 1 Corinthians 4, 2, is only that they be found faithful. As if that phrase was not controversial enough, Paul slips in a little nugget, another nugget here for us, urged the younger women to be subject to their husbands.
Now what does that mean? Marriage is a dance in which both partners, listen to this, reenact a part of the gospel. They both look at the gospel upwards, forwards, and backwards, and they reenact a part of it.
Remember my analogy about positions? They reenact part of the positions of the gospel. The husband does it by loving his wife like Christ loves the church, which means putting her wants and her needs ahead of his own to the point that he would lay down his life for her.
And by the way, if he would lay down his life for her, that certainly includes laying down his preferences about where they go to eat, where they go to vacation, and what color the drapes are. She reenacts the gospel by submitting her will to her husbands. It has nothing to do with superiority. It has to do with positions we play that reenact the Trinity and the gospel. And when you do that, it's beautiful.
Why? Because the character of God is beautiful. I love how Matt Chandler says it. He said, a husband sacrificially loving his wife, a wife submitted to her godly husband, creates a relationship that the world would never look at and say how disgusting and archaic. A lot of people who say they are turned off by the Christian teaching on headship within marriage are attracted by the Christian marriage as they see. You see, my spiritual leadership in our home is not about me dominating my wife. In fact, if anything, if I love my wife like Christ loves the church, I will voluntarily lose nine out of 10 arguments about preference. What it means for her in response to the gospel is to yield to me a decision-making responsibility that God has put on me. I love how Kathy Keller, who is the wife of Tim Keller, who I quote here from time to time, from time to time.
Kathy Keller explains it this way. She says, this means in matters of disagreement, I yield to Tim the deciding vote. She says, I get a vote, he gets a vote. I yield to him the deciding vote.
And she uses this example of when he was a pastor in Hopewell, Virginia, and they were entertaining the idea of planting this church in Manhattan, which would become Redeemer Presbyterian Church. She said, Tim felt like we should do it, so we agreed to, I felt like we shouldn't. So we prayed about it for a month. At the end of that month, he felt like we should, I felt like we shouldn't. He says, so finally one night over dinner, Tim just put up his hands and said, fine, if you don't want to do it, we're not going to do it.
And she said, I said back to him, oh no, you don't. You are not putting this one on me. I've cast my vote, you cast your vote, God's given you the deciding vote, and this one sets on your head. And if you make a wrong decision, God's not holding me accountable for it, he's holding you accountable for it. And they went to New York City and they planted the church that became Redeemer. You see, the man laying down his life, the woman submitting her will to her husband's will, these are ways that we put the gospel on display. We demonstrate the gospel and it is beautiful.
It has nothing to do with superiority, it has to do with positions. Verse six, likewise. Likewise means the general spirit of what Paul just said to the young women. He's going to apply to the next group, which are young men. Urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Now, interestingly, this is the only word of exhortation that's given specifically to young men.
Be self-controlled. Ladies, younger women got like seven things. Did you notice that? The guys get one.
Why? Because if you had to boil down the Achilles heel of most young men, it is that they are ruled by their desires. They respond to their desires for pleasure. They are controlled by their desires for recognition. Guys, I'm telling you, if you got this, if you could simply learn to control your passions and desires and lust, you could be somebody that God could transform the world through.
D.L. Moody used to say it like this, the world has yet to see what God could do with one man who was so fully yielded to him that his desires did not control him, only the will of God controlled him. By contrast, the book of Proverbs says, Proverbs 25-28, a man without self-control is like a city whose walls have been broken through.
Think of the imagery there. In the old days, a wall kept out wild animals. It kept out bands of marauding soldiers. It kept out robbers.
And if the walls weren't there, then a robber walks in anytime they want and takes whatever they want. He says, you are like that city that anytime your enemy wants, he just knocks on the door because he knows you have never learned to say no to what your body wants and it becomes a way that your enemy absolutely destroys you. J.C. Ryle says, being ruled by the desires of your body will murder your soul. We even get secular attestation to this principle. I've told you this before, but about 30 years ago, there was something that was called the Stanford Marshmallow Test. You remember this? If you've been around this church longer than two years, you definitely remember it because I say it every two years.
And so this is one for the next two years. About 30 years ago, there was a group of psychologists that got together a group of five year olds and they put them in a room one by one with a psychologist who all he did was handed them a marshmallow. And he told them, you can eat this marshmallow now and you won't be in trouble.
However, if you can wait to eat the marshmallow for an unspecified amount of time, then when I come back, if you haven't eaten the marshmallow, I'll give you two more marshmallows, so instead of having one, you will have three. And so then they left the room and they kept the camera on. So they watched these five year olds and they divided them into two groups. One was they called the marshmallow grabbers because these guys and girls immediately when the psychologist left the room would pick the marshmallow up and just throw it in their mouth and eat it and be done with it because a bird in the hand is worth doing in the bush, right?
Can't trust adults. And so marshmallow grabbers. Then there were what they called the marshmallow waiters, which waited on eating the marshmallow. The psychologist said what was most interesting is watching the kids develop coping mechanisms to deal with the temptation of the marshmallows. It said that some of them would pick up the marshmallow and they would throw it like a ball and bounce it off the wall. Some of them would just walk around the table and stare at the marshmallow. They said one kid actually got down and licked the wood beside the marshmallow as if the flavor had transmogrified into the wood. They said, but the most fascinating thing was we tracked these kids for 20 years after this and we have never seen one characteristic that so dramatically determined the success of somebody in life as this one characteristic of whether or not you could wait. They said the kids that were the marshmallow waiters were not only more self-controlled, they were more emotionally adjusted.
They had better relationships and get this, they scored an average of 210 points higher on the SAT. This one factor they said determines the success of a human being. If it's true in the secular world, you understand that with God, if you learn to say no to your desires, that becomes the secret of your success. And how do you do that, Paul says?
You do that, he said, verse 11, by the grace of God. That's what teaches you to say no to ungodliness and worldly lust. Guys, when you have the impulse, the desire, when you start to fantasize about a girl's body, what Paul says is, why don't you think about Jesus' body that was beaten and sliced open for you? When you think about her naked body, why don't you replace that image with another image, and that is the image of Jesus' naked body hanging on a cross with two inch nails in his head so that he could deliver you from worldly lust. And as you behold the grace of God and as you say yes to the grace of God, you'll learn to say no.
You'll learn to say no to the desires of your body. This is Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer and a message titled Extraordinary Ordinary. For more information about this ministry, visit us online at jdgreer.com. We'll be right back with the rest of today's teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to share a little bit more about our featured resource. One of the foundational things we can do to carry our faith throughout our days is truly knowing and acting on the Word of God. So this month we created a pack of 52 scripture memory cards just for you. These are perfect to aid you in recalling many key passages in God's Word, bringing truth and promises to mind in your time of need. Also, there's nothing more encouraging than God's Word, so why not have it on the tip of your tongue when a friend or family member is in need? We want to make it easier to commit these truths to your heart and mind by sending you this set today, so why not give it a try?
The cards come with your generous gift to the ministry right now, so give us a call at 866-335-5220, or you can always participate at jdgreer.com. Verse 9, bond servants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything. They are to be well pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering. Pilfering means you just take more than you're due, but showing all good faith so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. He's now talking to the working class, you that are in the workforce. He says your work should put your hope in and love for God on display. Now, I've told you before, when it comes to being Christian in work, people have all these crazy ideas. What does it mean to be Christian in work? And people think, oh, you know, I've told you, it means you open up a coffee house called Jehovah Java, or Hebrews, or one of my favorites, St. Arbuck's, like Starbucks. That's what it means to be Christian in business.
If you want to do that, that's fine, but it's probably not fine. The way that you worship God at work has to do with four attitudes that appear in your work. This is what it means to be Christian at work.
I'm going to use different words than he did, but they're the same things. Letter A, integrity. You don't pilfer.
You don't ever cheat even when you can get away with it because God sees even when nobody else does. You work for a different master than everybody else, not your boss, not your customer. You work for God.
Letter B, excellence. You're not just doing the minimum required to get by. You're trying to bless your employer. You're trying to bless the people you work for. You're trying to bless God.
I've told you, C.S. Lewis had that great thing in Mere Christianity where he talked about discoverers, as they discovered new continents would come into a valley that no human eye had ever seen before. He said there in those valleys, they would find the most beautiful flowers never be held by human eyes that had existed for thousands of years and nobody had ever seen it. He said, was all that beauty wasted? No human eye ever saw that beauty. Lewis said, no, of course, it wasn't wasted because God saw it. God creates beauty first and foremost for himself.
Even when nobody else sees it, he sees it. Then Lewis says, you apply that to your work. Your work is first and foremost done as beautiful for God, even when nobody else sees it, even when you can get away with it because it's an offering to God. Here's a question for you that are in the workforce. Are you doing the minimum required to get by or are you trying to bless your employers and those you work for and to glorify God? Letter C, servanthood. Servanthood. People who understand faith in the workplace see their work as an act of service toward other people.
All throughout this letter, Paul is going to talk about good works and working for the common good. Christians understand that when they work, they are performing a God-given function to bless other people. You see, God created the world in a raw material state and he put men and women here as co-creators. We are to take the raw materials of the earth and develop them for the blessing of humans and the glory of God. So when an artist takes raw materials of color and paints, he is taking raw materials and doing things that bless. Same thing for the architect or the teacher or the lawyer. They are taking raw materials and blessing humans. He says you will see your work as an act of service and you will use it to do good.
Letter D, hope. For a believer, their work does not define them, which leads them not to take themselves too seriously or cheat to get ahead, either themselves or their families. Why? Because their work is just not their identity. Now, absent of you of God, it always becomes your identity, doesn't it? I mean, in our society, it's the second question you ask. What's your name?
What do you do? And if you don't do something that important, you figure out a way to phrase it so it sounds important because your personal worth is tied to your job. Paul says that's never going to be true for a Christian.
Their worth is not tied. Their identity is not tied to what they do. It's tied to who they belong to and because they are a servant of God. When you do those four things, you will, verse 10, adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. You want to know how to be a good witness to people in the workplace?
That's it. I saw a list the other day of, quote, ways, 100 ways to share your faith in the workplace. Some of them were okay, but on this list were a lot of things like, number 61, put up a sign that says, ask us about our exchange policy. When customers ask, tell them about your exchange policy, but then ask if they would like to hear about the greatest exchange policy on the planet, Jesus' righteousness for your sin. Number 60, when a customer has paid his bill in full, send an invoice that says, paid in full.
These were the same words the bloody Jesus spoke from the cross about your sin. Number 74, on your business card, after your name, list your credentials as AFC, Ambassador for Christ. Okay, if you want to do that, fine. Okay, do not come up and bring up a business card after your name.
Okay, fine, it really is. But that's not the main way that you adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. The way you adorn it, he says, is by working with integrity, excellence, servanthood, and hope.
If you work that way, you're not going to have any problem having opportunities to tell people about Jesus. It's going to be so unusual to people, they're going to come and ask you, which leads me to three concluding observations about this passage. Number one, these behaviors are our best witness. These behaviors are our best witness.
These values are so completely counter-cultural that people will notice. Tim Chester says, people may not like it when we talk about self-control and submission, but they find it attractive when we live it. Unbelievers who are repelled by the Christian message on headship within marriage are attracted by the Christian marriage as they see. Unbelievers who find Christian morality restrictive are attracted by the good and virtuous lives of the Christians that they know. When's the last time somebody came and asked you, tell me, what is behind?
What is this hope? Why are you so different in your marriage, in your work? Learn to see your marriage and your work as a theater for the gospel.
Learn to see it as the primary place. God wants to bring glory to himself and to demonstrate what the gospel looks like in your marriage and in your work, your other relationships. Number two, the best testimony to the gospel happens in the mundane. The best testimony to the gospel happens in the mundane.
Did you notice how normal all these relationships are? There were no stories in that list of missionaries dying as martyrs in Afghanistan. Those stories are important, but when Paul wants to talk about where Christianity best shows itself, he goes to the home. Your Christianity is best measured by your relationships at home, at work, and in your private life. If you want to know the health of your faith, don't look at what you're doing here.
Don't look at what you do on a mission trip. Look at your relationship with your spouse. Look at how you respond to your parents.
Look at how you relate to your dorm roommates or your suitemates. That's where the health of your faith is tested. It's kind of like when you take a temperature. In somebody's temperature, there's only three or four places in the body where you can get an accurate read.
The mouth, the forehead in some places, the ear, a couple other places I won't mention. These are places you can get an accurate. If you do it somewhere else, you're not going to get an accurate read.
When my mom was trying to figure out if I was sick to go to school, when she'd leave the room, you take it out of your mouth and you put it in your armpit and you rub it back and forth because you are raising the temperature. It's not an accurate read. Paul says you want to get an accurate read in your faith. Don't look at how many verses you know or what you act like at church. You look at how you are in the home. How would we evaluate your faith if we measured its temperature by your relationships at home? It is the mark of a hypocrite to be a Christian everywhere but home.
Don't just hear that, by the way, as a negative rebuke. You see these ordinary things as theaters, as labs for God's extraordinary power. God took David to the pasture to teach him the skills to fight Goliath. What God does is he puts you in a pasture like your home. The home is your pasture. That's where God works miracles in you.
Maybe you write it down this way. For the believer, miraculous power comes through mundane faithfulness. Heroic Christianity is never born in the mission field. Heroic Christianity is born in the home. It's born in the dorm room.
It shows itself on the mission field, but it starts in the lab of normal relationships. Number three, and finally, these behaviors flow directly out of the gospel. These behaviors flow directly out of the gospel. You see, I'll end on this, is that you should not look at these things, please, as another to-do list. Oh, I've got all these verses now. I've got to figure out how to implement in my life.
Paul says, no, these things come from looking upward and forward and backward in the gospel. When you do that, they'll just begin to grow in you. So if you diagnose yourself as having a problem, that's where you look. I've used this illustration with you. I'll use it real quick. I've told you that there are two ways that you can get roses on a bush. If it's not a rose bush or it's a dead bush, or it's a dead bush, then you could go out and you could buy a few dozen roses and clip them and duct tape them to the bush. People driving by your house would think that it's a rose bush, but you'd have to do it every week because those roses would fade and they'd look nasty, and every week you'd have to go buy several dozen flowers and you'd have to do it again. The other way is you just plant a healthy rose bush.
You water it and you make sure it gets sun, and then roses will come up on their own. I've told you that many of you try to change your lives by the first method. That's how you try to fix your marriage. Every week you come in and you get another dozen roses from me, and you go home and try to staple them to your bush of your life. Paul says, yeah, there's a better way.
There's actually a real way because that's artificial. The way that you do it is look upwards and forwards and backwards and soak yourself in the grace of God, for the grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust and live soberly, righteously in godliness for as an age because our lives are so fixed on the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior that we are so grateful for what He gave. We are so excited about what He's making us.
We are so in awe of who He is that these relationships begin to blossom in all these these habits begin to blossom in all of our relationships. Look to Jesus. The gospel is the center of everything in the Christian life. It's not just the diving board into the pool of Christianity.
It's the whole pool itself. That's why the gospel is the centerpiece of every message you hear from Pastor JD Greer here on Summit Life. Pastor JD, one thing we're committed to here is looking for creative ways to help our listeners integrate the truth of the Bible into their everyday lives, and our resource this month is no exception.
Can you tell us a little bit more about it? Yeah, one of our goals is to equip everybody who listens to Summit Life to be a disciple-making disciple, not just a receiver of the word, a hearer of the word, but a doer and a multiplier. God's intention for you is not for you to be simply a receptacle of knowledge where He just fills up your head with Bible facts, but He wants to use you to make a difference in the lives of others to be a source of blessing and power. And so to do that, you've got to go out of the classroom seat, listening here to Summit Life to being someone who can speak the Word of God to others. And one of the ways that you do that is by memorizing Scripture so that it comes to mind when you're praying, it comes to mind when you're speaking with someone. And so we have compiled 52 different Scripture promises that we want you to memorize with us throughout the course of this year. I don't know of anything I could commend to our listeners any more than memorizing Scripture.
Even more important, I think, than hearing the Word of God taught is getting it into your heart so that it saturates your mind and it fills you with faith. I want you to take a look at these. They've been specifically designed for you, our Summit Life listening audience, to go along with a lot of the things that we're teaching. And so go to jdgrier.com where you can reserve your set.
Thank you, JD. We'd love for you to request our newest Summit Life resource when you give today to support this ministry. Ask for your set of the Scripture memory cards by calling 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220. Or request them when you give online or when you make your first gift as a monthly Gospel partner at jdgrier.com.
I'm Molly Vitovich. Thank you for joining us. When we talk about the Gospel, everyone wants to get to the part about God's love and forgiveness. So listen tomorrow when we're talking about amazing grace and amazing graciousness. That's Wednesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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