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Why Should You Pursue Godliness? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
February 27, 2023 7:00 am

Why Should You Pursue Godliness? #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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February 27, 2023 7:00 am

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Welcome to The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, Founding Pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hello, I'm Bill Wright. Today, Don continues teaching God's people God's Word in our current series titled, Living as God's People, with a message titled, Why Should You Pursue Godliness?

Right now, let's join Don. Our text comes from the book of Titus chapter 2. What I want you to see, beloved, is that today's text, verses 11 to 14, are answering that question, why should we live godly lives? And it is not appealing to your self-interest as it does so. It is not promising you wealth and prosperity as it does so. It is not promising you particular contentment, even, in a day-to-day basis. It's not appealing to what it's going to do for you in the call of God for this kind of godliness in your life. Why should you live a godly life? Let's look at our text and notice the opening word of verse 11, where it says, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. That word, for, introduces the reason why you pursue this kind of life.

This is why you do it. It is related to the operation of the grace of God in your life. It has nothing to do with horizontal worldly approval. It is all about the grace of God. The word, for, connects what those prior ten verses with what now follows in the following four verses.

It is the hinge upon which everything else turns. The prior ten verses calling us to this kind of godliness pivot on the grace of God. This is what God desires.

This is what God has been working out for a very long time, even prior to your existence on earth. Now this word grace, this word grace indicates God's free favor to us in Christ. God has shown favor to us. He has shown kindness to us that we did not deserve.

Where you and I deserved judgment, God instead gave us something good instead. He gave us blessing. He gave us mercy.

He gave us patience. He gave us Christ ultimately. Where you and I deserved judgment, God came and brought Christ to us. And because God has been so good to us, so radically changing our future destination, so radically changing our very constitution, so radically giving us the fullness of Christ without cost, as scripture says, come freely to the waters and drink, because God has done that for us. And he has delivered us from sin and judgment and the bondage of Satan, because he's been so good to rescue us of his own initiative, just out of the sheer kindness and goodness of his own heart God saved you. That grace, therefore, becomes the reason upon which you base the rest of your life.

And the reason that you orient your life, no matter what the past has been like, you orient the rest of your life toward pursuing this kind of character. Listen, beloved, we would not have known grace unless God had revealed it to us. This realm of grace is not something that is attainable by the intellectual exploits of the natural man. You and I, we could not have seen grace because we were blind to it. Satan had blinded us, 2 Corinthians 4 says, our own hearts and our own love for sin had blinded us to grace and biased us against the goodness of God, biased us against his great name, biased us against the goodness and the fullness of Christ.

We were biased against everything good in God by the evil that was in our heart and that was operating against us and enslaving us there in the spiritual realm from Satan and all of his demons. We were blind. We couldn't see it. We were deaf.

We had no capacity to hear it on our own. And, beloved, we could not have earned it because we were lost. And a sinful life, a sinful heart cannot produce a single good work to merit God, to merit Christ. You can't do a single good work to earn the forgiveness of a single sin that you've committed and, beloved, we've all committed millions of them. There was such guilt.

There was such bondage. There was such rebellion in our hearts. Read Romans 3 if you have any question about that. We were lost and grace came to us and opened our eyes and enabled our hearts and gave power to our hearts and opened our ears to hear the gospel, turned our disposition against God. God graciously gave you a new heart that was disposed to respond to him and as you cried out to Christ in response to the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart, beloved, God graciously saved you, changed you, and the Spirit came to indwell you, gave you joy and peace and forgiveness of sin and made you an heir of eternal life and an heir and a co-heir with Christ of all of the riches of God. Beloved, that's why we respond to this.

That's why we look at this and say yes. It's because this is what the purpose of grace is to achieve. Now when it says that the grace of God has appeared, look at it there in verse 11, the grace of God has appeared, it creates the picture of the early lights of dawn hitting the dark black sky of night. Grace has appeared. Light has arisen in the coming of Christ and as a result of that, things have changed and this grace has manifested to us in the person of Christ, in the work of Christ, in his life, death, and resurrection.

And so when Paul says in verse 11, the grace of God has appeared, he's taking a summary look, a capsule statement about the entire life as a completed whole. Christ came bringing salvation to all men. God looked at, so to speak, I say so to speak because this was his eternal plan before the foundation of time. God looked into the wicked world as it were and he sent his son. He sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins.

This is incalculable, immeasurable grace, kindness, goodness, favor, mercy, that God would do that for the human race. He could have written us all off. He could have condemned us all and started it all over.

But rather than doing that, he showed favor to mankind instead. And Christ came bringing salvation to all men. What it means by that is that in the Old Testament, the primary focus was on the Jews and on the nation of Israel. When Christ came, there was an opening up of an understanding that the gospel was intended for non-Jews as well. Not just Jews, but now Gentiles, those who had no physical connection to Abraham or to David. Now the gospel was opened up to people like us.

There are probably very few Jews in the audience today. And I just want to give you a perspective of how much the grace of God means to us. Look over at Ephesians chapter 2. Ephesians chapter 2 in verse 11.

And we'll probably also look at chapter 4. Paul says in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 11, therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh. In other words, those of you who had no Jewish heritage whatsoever, you were, he goes on and he says, you're called the uncircumcision by the so-called circumcision, which is performed in the flesh by human hands. He says, remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. He says, you had absolutely no promise upon which you could approach God. You were not party to the covenants that God made with the Jewish people. And therefore you were separate from it.

The promises that God made to them did not apply to you. You were apart from it all. And as a result of that, you had no hope and you were without God in the world. You were doomed. And in your natural state, there was absolutely nothing you could do to help yourself.

You were utterly lost. It is so sad to think about the awfulness of that terrible condition. Look over at chapter four of Ephesians in verse 17. He says, so this I say and affirm together with the Lord that you walk no longer, just as the Gentiles also walk in the futility of their mind being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart.

And they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. This is the state of Gentiles, totally utterly lost. Paul says, but you did not learn Christ in this way. Going back to chapter two, verse 13. But now in Christ Jesus, you who formerly were far off have been brought nearby the blood of Christ. You were in a distant galaxy from the presence of God.

You had no means of approaching him. And God, as it were, reached across all of the galaxies of space, touched you, brought you to himself with grace, and now has changed all of that, so that what was formally true about you, being blind and deaf, being separate from God, having no hope in the world, those things that were formally true about you are no longer true. Now you can see if you are in Christ, if you are a Christian. Now you can hear the word of God. Now you have a heart of flesh that can respond.

Now you have a new nature from him. Now you are in the covenant of redemption. Now God has showered his love and mercy upon you, whereas once you were an enemy, now God has loved you in Christ. That's grace, beloved. That is immeasurable, unconquerable grace. And we, now turning back to Titus 2 to stay up with me in the text here, the grace of God has appeared, verse 11, bringing salvation to all men.

Let me just pause and make one statement about that. Salvation is offered freely to all men. Everyone in this room is offered Jesus Christ as your Savior. God comes through his Word and every one of you are presented with the opportunity and the offer to come to Christ, promise that if you will come to him, your sins will be forgiven and you will receive eternal life, and that you will enter into fellowship with God that can never be broken. And he will break the power of sin in your life, he will rescue you from damnation, and he will freely, gladly, and lovingly receive you to himself at the end of your human life.

That's offered to everyone. Salvation is offered to all men. And so what we do as a church, what we do as individual Christians, is we tell men that freely. We preach the gospel freely to all men without distinction, and we trust that God will use our words to work in their hearts and to save some of them to the uttermost. There is only one way of salvation and that is in Jesus Christ, but that one way is offered to everyone to whom the gospel comes. And so if you are a human being, beloved, God graciously offers the gospel to you. You can believe in Christ and be saved today, right now, permanently knowing an instant justification by which all of your sins are immediately pardoned in Christ. God immediately receives you and accepts you as righteous in his sight. That's the glory of the gospel.

You can be saved today in Christ. And for those of us that are in him then, the purpose of grace is shown in the outworking of it. And what we're going to see, we're going to see three aspects of the purpose of grace. The purpose of God. God had a purpose in all of this.

And this purpose wasn't a sudden thought that he had in his mind. To us, from our human perspective, there came a point where we repented, where we turned to Christ. But God's purpose was at work long before that and working deeply in it. And what Paul shows us is that the grace of God is multifaceted in our lives. And we draw upon that multifaceted grace in order to further the purposes of God in our lives, to have that kind of grace transform our hearts that we would live as he calls us to do. And what we see is we see the present purpose of God in grace. We see the future purpose of God in grace. And we see the past purpose of God in grace.

And we want to look at these one by one. Let's first of all look at the present purpose of God in our salvation. So, as you look at your Christian life, as you contemplate yourself as a man or a woman in Christ now, you should understand that you've been saved by grace. You've been saved by grace through faith and that not of yourselves.

It is a gift of God. Ephesians 2, 8 and 9. Understand that grace goes beyond that. Understand that the grace that came to you in that moment of repentance is now operating to achieve other purposes as well. The grace that saved you from sin, from Satan and from judgment, the grace of God, the purpose of God that saved you at the start is now instructing you how to live, how God intends for you to live now that you are a Christian. Look at verse 12.

It's a very long sentence that we're reading here in these four verses. The grace of God has appeared. And in verse 12, what is that grace doing? That grace is active. That grace is purposeful. That grace is a living force in our lives and it intends to accomplish something that God desires in you.

And what is that? Verse 12. It's instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age. Now, Paul has already called us to manifest godliness in those first ten verses.

What he's doing now is he's repeating that emphasis. Beloved, what you need to understand is that true grace, true salvation never leaves a man unchanged. There is no such thing as a true Christian living an unchanged life after his supposed conversion. The idea of a carnal Christian is where a man just lives in an unbroken pattern of sin but is still a Christian. That is a falsehood.

That is not true. There is no comfort in a one-time profession of faith that did not lead to a change in life. That is not because we must work in order to keep our salvation, beloved, as some people maliciously distort the true teaching of Scripture in order to confuse the issue.

No, it's not because we work to keep our salvation, beloved. It's all related to grace. It's all related to the purposes of God and what God intends to do. When he saves a man, when he saves a woman, he's doing something.

He's doing something beyond a moment in time. He has taken a life and made it his own. And the grace that saved us is now conforming us to what God wants us to be. That's true salvation. That's biblical salvation. The grace that saved us has an instructing influence upon the way that we live now.

And to just state it simply, we're only looking at this passage in very much an overview manner here today. There's a negative and a positive aspect to this grace in the present purposes of God. And to state it simply, look there at verse 12.

We'll just let the text instruct us. It instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires. Grace has come to you and said, Recognize the sinful desires that were at work in your heart before your salvation. Recognize the temptations that are in the world. Recognize the lusts of your flesh, the lusts of your eyes, the boastful pride of life, and deny it all.

Declare yourself dead to it. God saved you that you would die to that sin and that you would no longer pursue it, that you would no longer embrace it. In other words, you would forsake it completely and utterly. As a settled principle and commitment in your heart, you say, I no longer live for the things that I used to live for in my unsaved state. My desire for worldly acclaim, for worldly wealth, my desires for the worldly fulfillment of every sinful desire in my flesh, I'm dead to that.

That old man has died. The grace of God has come to me. I have been made a new creation, and I reckon myself as dead to what I used to be.

And I am now alive to the purposes of God. You deny it in that sense. Paul here is not addressing the fact that we still struggle and fight against the remnants of sin and struggle against temptation. That's not what he's addressing in this passage here. What he's addressing here is a fundamental mindset that says, I'm dead to the world, and I'm dead to my old man, and I'm glad that I am.

It's a mindset. You're being instructed by grace to recognize that the former manner of life that you pursued has been slain in the Lord Jesus Christ. That's a true being slain in the Spirit.

The truth is that the old man is slain, not that someone foolishly falls down under the influence of manipulation on a platform in front of an arena full of people and call that being slain in the Spirit. No, the Spirit slays the old man, slays the old man in your heart and makes you alive to different purposes of God. And so you forsake that.

You forsake the worldly priorities. And then in a positive way, grace points you to this sensible kind of living and godliness that Paul has just been describing in the prior ten verses. So you die to the old man. You're alive to the new man.

And the new man is instructed by God and gladly receives and conforms life to what God wants you to be. That's Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, with part one of a message called Why Should You Pursue Godliness? here on The Truth Pulpit.

Now, just before we go, here again is Don with a closing thought. Well, my Christian brother or Christian sister, let me just encourage you as we close today's broadcast with a glimpse of the glory that is ahead for you and me in the Lord Jesus Christ. It comes from 1 John chapter 3, verse 2, where it says, Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when he appears, we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. Beloved, the difficulties of this life are not all there is to real Christianity. We are pilgrims passing through this barren land to a destination where we see the Lord Jesus Christ in glory. It will be glorious, it will be wonderful, and the mere sight of him will change us into the fullness of his image. And so look forward to that time when you see Christ and let that hope cheer you as you walk through this fallen world. Thanks, Don. And now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time as Don continues to teach God's people God's Word from the truth pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-27 04:28:00 / 2023-02-27 04:36:15 / 8

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