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The Purposes of God in Your Pursuit of Godliness #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
August 24, 2023 12:00 am

The Purposes of God in Your Pursuit of Godliness #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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August 24, 2023 12:00 am

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The life that you now have, you must understand this, the life that you now have in all of its physical dimensions, in all of the trials and the joys and everything that make up the texture of your entire life, that life is the life that God has specifically designed for you to be the means by which you would glorify the Christ of your salvation.

It's a question everybody asks sooner or later. What's my purpose in life? But for the Christian, the answer is made clear in Scripture. And that's where we'll turn to again on this edition of the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and we're continuing our series, Titus, God's Glorious Plan of Grace. Today, Don has part one of a message titled, The Purposes of God in Your Pursuit of Godliness. And Don, God imbues our lives with great purpose. Well, my friend, I'm struck once again by the reality that Scripture makes us think differently and to value different things than what we would otherwise do if we simply lived in the world. Here in today's passage, we're going to see that Christ calls us to a purpose of godliness in our lives, which makes everything else and what we do secondary, and also to look ahead to the future redemption, the final manifestation of our salvation that God has in store.

It's going to be an encouraging time as we study God's Word together today. Have your Bible open to Titus chapter 2 as we join Pastor Don Green now in the Truth Pulpit. I would invite you to turn to Titus chapter 2 as we continue this study of the inspired Word of the living God.

We've finished last month, in the past four weeks or so, looking at the first ten verses of Titus chapter 2. And as we explain God's Word verse by verse, we were struck by the fact that Paul here in this letter to Titus addresses different segments of the church. He talks to older men and calls them to dignity in life and maturity in faith in verse 2. In verse 3, he calls the older women to be reverent in their behavior, to be a godly model to the younger women. He calls the younger women to be workers at home, to model godliness in their private, personal relationships with their husband and with their families. In verse 6, he urges young men to be sensible. In verse 9, he urges bond slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to be well-pleasing and not argumentative. And as you study that, you're mindful of something, if you're thinking at all. You're mindful that this is instruction that cuts against the grain of what culture and society would have us to be.

It would have us to be those who are assertive and demanding our rights and disregarding the Word of God in the supposed name of liberty and liberation. And the Bible cuts against all of that. The question is, why should we do that?

What is the basis of this? Why should we pursue this kind of godliness that is self-denying, self-sacrificial, and is geared toward a realm that is different from the environment in which we live? Why should we pay attention to that? Look at chapter 2, verse 11, as we come to our text for this morning. Why is it that you should live a godly life, as expressed in the teaching that had just gone before in chapter 2? Paul explains it in verse 11. He gives us the internal motivation for all of it when he says in verse 11, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus, who gave himself for us, to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good deeds.

We pursue godliness because God's purposes are at work. That is absolutely essential to understanding and having a proper approach to living the Christian life. If you are a Christian, God has laid his hand on you by name.

He has declared that you will belong to him. Christ made that possible. Christ actually guaranteed the certainty of that result by his atoning work on the cross of Calvary.

He wasn't simply being an example when he bled on the cross. He was actively procuring and purchasing your soul for his possession for all of eternity. And so there are these great transcendent purposes that are at work that were set in motion long before you were ever born, long before five generations of ancestors of yours were ever born.

God had eternal purposes that he set in motion in time, and now as you live life here on earth, you are entering into the stream of an outworking of purposes from eternity to eternity. That's what this passage is telling us. The life that you now have, you must understand this.

You must understand this. The life that you now have in all of its physical dimensions, in all of its financial dimensions, in all of the trials and the joys and everything that make up the texture of your entire life. That life is the life that God has specifically designed for you to be the means by which you would glorify the Christ of your salvation.

It is all designed, it is all purposeful, and he gave you your life, not someone else's. And that is the life that you are to embrace, to take charge of, to glorify him, and the theology that underlies that is what we see in verses 11 to 14. And as we move into this passage, I want you to understand something and embrace it. God intends you to understand his purposes and to have them change your life. We are meant to go and to grow from one level of glory to another. We are to continually be more conformed to the image of Christ, continually more engrossed in the purposes of God than in the things of this world. He did not save us to simply leave us unchanged in this world, and this passage makes it very clear.

This is designed to change your life. And the way that that happens is, is that you place your life, you think about your life in a much greater context than most of us are accustomed to think. We're not used to thinking this way, and it's why we need the Word of God to help us think rightly, so that we could live rightly in the brief window of time that God has given us before he calls us to our eternal reward. And so, Paul, having instructed different segments about the church, grounds that instruction now in good theology. Look at verse 11 with me. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. That word for is really crucial for you to understand. As you've seen the instruction that applies to your life from verses 1 through 10, this word for is the bridge between verses 10 and what follows through verse 14.

It is the bridge that connects them. It's the foundation that underlies the superstructure of your life. Paul is about to state the theological reason for the ethical commands that he just gave. It connects the prior verses with what immediately follows. And so, for example, if you're a younger woman and you see the instruction that says, Young women, love your husbands and love your children.

It doesn't stop there. This passage is telling you, and I'm just using this by way of illustration, this passage is telling you, Young women, love your husbands and love your children, if you have them, for, because, for this reason, understand why I'm telling you. And then that's what follows. When Paul says young men, be sensible, it's not simply a command to be sensible.

It's be sensible because of what I'm about to say. And so you must make the connection between what came before, that we've studied in the past month, with what we're about to look at. This is why we live this way. For the grace of God has appeared, which implies, which is an intrinsic reminder of the fact that you were dead in trespasses and sins. You were lost in darkness. You were enslaved by the devil. You were on a road to eternal destruction. Every one of you and me included, we were all bound to sin.

We were in slavery to sin. We were in darkness. We were lost. We were utterly lost as we pursued our own ways and pursued the things of this world.

It says it appeared. Well look, you and I would not have known grace unless God had shown it to us, unless God revealed it. We could not have seen it, for we were blind. We could not have earned it because we were spiritually bankrupt.

We could not have found it because we were lost. And so the grace of God has appeared. God took the initiative to show favor to you. Look at verse 11 with me. When Paul says that the grace of God has appeared, it has the picture of the first rays of dawn hitting the black sky of night.

It's the appearance of light upon a dark stage. When the grace of God has appeared, it's ultimately referring to the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension and reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the grace of God. God appeared in grace with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And you can see that he's referring to Christ because as he goes on in verse 13, I want you to see this, I just want you to see the big picture.

I want you to see that I'm not making this up. This is all right here in the text. The grace of God has appeared.

What does he start to talk about? In verse 13, he talks about Christ Jesus. In verse 14, he talks about Christ giving himself to redeem us from every lawless deed.

It is the dawning of Christ that was the appearing of the grace of God in a visible way. And so, going back to verse 11, when he says the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men, here's what he means by that. The Jews were accustomed to thinking as though they were the unique chosen people of God, which had Old Testament roots, but when Christ came, he made it plain that he was bringing salvation to all men, not just to Jews. He wasn't a racial savior.

He was a savior of the human race. Christ is offered to every manner of man, Jew and Gentile, slave and free. There is no one that is outside of the call of the gospel in Jesus Christ. If you are a human being here today, man or woman, boy or girl, the gospel is offered to you. Jesus Christ comes to you and calls you and says, you are dead in your sin. I am calling you to come to me for salvation.

He says, I come and I call you to come to me. The gospel is freely presented to every man who will hear. And so we preach the gospel freely to all men.

And we trust as we do that God will save some to the uttermost. But for those of you that are here, you're not a Christian and you know you're not a Christian. Please understand that Christ calls you.

He presents himself to you. He's calling you by name today, calling you, saying, come to me, come to me and trust me for your salvation. Turn from your sin and put your heart in my hands that I might deliver you for all of eternity. Christ is calling you to salvation today.

Believe in Christ and be saved. That's the message of the gospel. That's what Paul is saying when he says the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. The gospel in the Lord Jesus Christ is presented to everyone. Now, let me show you how this connects to the instruction in godliness.

God has always been gracious, but Christ made it visible. He came to deliver us from sin and its enslaving power. Some of you need to know and grasp more deeply that the gospel is not simply about delivering you from the eternal punishment of hell.

It is so much more than that. Christ did more than come to save you from hell. He came to save you from sin. And that means he came to save you from sin now, to deliver you from sin now, to transform your life now so that you would be less marked by sin and more marked by righteousness. That is the purpose of the coming of Christ. And so his grace presents a manifold motivation to godliness. And what we're going to see now in the rest of the passage is that his grace is shown in the present, the future, and the past purposes of God.

There is a chronological dimension to this passage that I want to show to you. And I want you to understand as we get ready to go into this passage that we pursue righteousness not to earn God's favor. We don't pursue righteousness now to keep God's favor. God has already given us his favor if we are Christians.

He has set it upon us in an irrevocable way. Rather, we seek godliness because God has already given us his favor. We are responding to grace. We are responding to the purposes of God in our lives in saving us. We gratefully seek to be godly as we grow in our understanding of his purposes. We're not trying to keep God from getting mad at us because Christ has already turned his wrath away in his work on the cross.

He's our propitiation. He's turned the wrath of God away from us. If we are Christians, we abide under the eternal favor of God.

And so we're not trying to fend off anger anymore. Christ has already done that for us. Now, we pursue godliness for a different reason. We pursue godliness because of the purposes of God. And we're going to see it in three different ways here this morning from this passage. We pursue godliness first of all because of the present purpose of God.

That's point number one if you're taking it. Why do we pursue godliness? First of all, it's the present purpose of God in our lives. As you look at your Christian life, you should understand that the grace that saved you is now instructing you on how to live. You are under grace in the sense that it has delivered you from bondage to sin. It has delivered you from the penalty of sin. You bear no risk of eternal judgment because the grace of God has appeared to you in Christ Jesus.

We're speaking to Christians now. Understand that as you are under grace, and this passage even uses the language of the schoolmaster, as you are under grace, you are also under the instruction of grace. That grace is instructing you, disciplining you, teaching you how to live in this present life. Look at verse 12 with me. Grace is instructing you how to live. Verses 11 to 14 are one long sentence. And so in verse 11 it says, for the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, follow it in verse 12, instructing us.

There it is. Grace is teaching us. It's teaching you.

It's teaching me. What's it teaching us? It's instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly, here it is, in the present age. Here is the present purpose of God. People get so caught up wondering what God's will is for their lives.

And I understand that to some degree. But before you ever start to worry about the details of what the will of God is for your employment or for marriage or for any of those earthbound decisions, understand that there is something more fundamental that grace is instructing you to do. The will of God for your life is secondary. It's secondary to think about it in terms of what you're going to do. The will of God for your life is the person that he calls you to be. It's about your character. That's as plain as it could be on the very surface of the text. Look at verse 12 with me again.

I want you to see this. And this is the present purpose of God in your life. He says in the present age, he's talking about the here and now. What do we do as Christians in the here and now? Grace instructs you, it calls you, it commands you to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age. We've been the victims of a watered-down gospel for many, many decades in America. A gospel that promises salvation to supposedly so-called carnal Christians who made a one-time profession of Christ but never actually saw it changed them. That's not a carnal Christian. That's an unsaved, unregenerate man who has never been changed by the reality of salvation. You see, grace never leaves a man unchanged. The grace of God in salvation changes a man.

It changes him at the most profound level. 2 Corinthians says in 517, says, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away.

Behold, new things have come. Well, listen, if your life is still marked by all of the old things that you've ever done and known and loved, if your life is still marked by everything that preceded your supposed conversion to Christ, nothing has changed. You're not under grace.

You're under judgment. Because it is intrinsically the nature of grace that it changes us and it instructs us to deny that prior ungodliness and to pursue sensible righteousness and godliness in the present age. That is the real grace of God.

Everything else is a cheap counterfeit that doesn't save. And so, what does this grace do? Look at verse 12.

What is the present purpose of God in real salvation? It instructs us to deny ungodliness in worldly desires. There's the negative part of it.

We turn from the ungodliness that we once knew, the remnants of it that still flare up in our flesh. We deny that and say, that's not what I'm living for. That's not what I want. I reject that. I consciously separate myself from it.

You can have a real, genuine, scripture-based assurance of salvation. If you see an abiding desire in your life to turn away from sin, you don't want to be ungodly even though it flares up in your life from time to time. You don't want that.

You're not pursuing it. You would like to be free from it. Well, understand that that is the grace of God operative in your life instructing you to deny ungodliness in worldly desires. You say, ah, you're like Paul. I hate the fact that I'm like this. I don't want that.

I reject it. And alongside that, you find a desire in your heart that says I want to live in godliness. If you can look at your life and say, you know, the deepest desire of my heart would be that I would be godly, that I would live righteously, that I would be like Christ.

Beloved, take heart. That is the mark of a true Christian. We realize scripture teaches us that we have remnants of sin in us that hold us down like gravity, that pull us down, that keep us from fulfilling all of those noble aspirations of our heart. The fact of the struggle is a mark of grace, not the sign of an absence of grace.

It's the reality of a heart that is learning, that has been changed and is continuing to change away from that love of the world, that love of ungodliness and says I want the godliness that is represented in my Lord Jesus Christ. That's the mark of a real Christian. The fact that you struggle against sin and hate it when you fail is not a sign that you're unsaved, beloved. That abiding effort to resist sin and grow in righteousness is a sign that you are saved and that grace is instructing you even in your weakness.

It's not really complicated. Our present purpose is to deny ungodliness and live a sensible righteous life in line with biblical precepts, not to be saved but because we are saved by the precious blood and the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. Well next time, Pastor Don Green will look at the future and past purposes of God. So be here then for more from The Truth Pulpit.

But right now Don's back here in studio with some closing words. Well friend, if you have enjoyed this broadcast today, let me encourage you to do something that would be an encouragement to the partners who help make it happen. Drop a note, if you would, to the radio station that you've heard this broadcast on. They would love to hear that they have ministered to you because they love to share God's word with you. And also it will help them know that they're reaching people with God's word through the ministry of The Truth Pulpit. So drop them a note and give them thanks and be sure to tell them that you heard The Truth Pulpit on this station.

Thanks Don. And friend, if you'd like information on getting free CDs of the messages you hear on our broadcast, just visit us online. Our web address is thetruthpulpit.com. That's thetruthpulpit.com. Thanks for listening. I'm Bill Wright and we'll see you next time for more from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-24 04:49:05 / 2023-08-24 04:57:49 / 9

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