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The Way We Were

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
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March 25, 2022 4:00 am

The Way We Were

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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March 25, 2022 4:00 am

Social and political tensions often bring out the worst in us. Our reaction can either alienate others or build bridges for the Gospel. Learn how to turn potential conflicts into life-changing opportunities, on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The unit is full of reports of social and lyrical tension. So how do we as Christians respond in the midst of strife and division today on Truth for Life.

Alister big explains that our response will either alienate others or will build a bridge for the gospel. We begin today in chapter 3 of the book of Titus Alister's teaching from verses one through three. What should be the hallmark of a Christian citizen and a heart of this chapter and indeed running through all the three chapters that is this emphasis on goodness and good works and good deeds. So for example in verse eight. I want you to stress these things so that those who have believed in God, maybe careful to devote themselves to good works, so if congregation in Crete is to be peculiar to be peculiar on the basis of his distinctiveness in relationship to transform life within marriage within workaday routine within the culture and so on and within the church and this particular chapter leaves no doubt that we are saved not by good works, but we are saved for good works, good works, which Paul says in Ephesians 210.

God has ordained in advance for us to do.

The Christian should live their life in such a way that the very life we live commends the gospel and we noted last time that even the response of employees to their employer may be such that it adorns or makes attractive the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The believers in Crete could so easily find themselves fretting and fuming because they were living under the oppressive rule that came from Rome itself, and Paul as a wise man and Titus as a good pastor recognizes that it would be possible for the people in Crete to adopt one of two polar opposites. One to seek to isolate themselves almost entirely from the matters of community life and to take no part in things close and I are going to get away without all the other extreme, of course, is that it would be possible for them to become so involved in things and allow their frustration to become agitation there agitation to grow into insurrection and for them just to be a complete and total nuisance in the community and as a result of that, either by their noninvolvement or by their overinvolvement.

Feel to do what God intends for them to do, namely to command the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, so that in the realm of public life to live in such a way that it builds. If you like bridge hands for the gospel itself. Now you will notice that Paul begins with the phrase reminding them to be reminding them to be the role of the pastor is essentially the role of reminder is not really the role of innovation. Most of us don't need no peculiar insights into new truth as much as we need to be reminded of the things that have been taught to us for a long time and so here they are to be reminded of what it means for them to live in the environment of rulers and authorities so notice that that is the first point the instruction is in relationship to civil jurisdiction if we might refer to it in that way for rulers and authorities are put in place by God. They are the civil authorities there established by God.

The view of the world that is encapsulated for is in the Bible is a view which then helps us to understand the flow of human history and contemporary history so believers are expected then and Paul says this enforced in the two you can check it but they are expected. We are expected to pray for kings to pray for those who are in high positions because it is pleasing to God. God has established. These authorities and he wants us to pray for them. The byproduct of an says Paul in first Timothy two is that that will enable us to live peaceful quiet and godly and dignified life's. In other words, there is the root good pragmatic reasons for upholding the rule of law you live in anarchy and want to live under oppression. Therefore, he says make sure that your praying for these things and it is in that context that the gospel is and to flow because when you check in your homework and you go to first Timothy two will realize that it is right there and he then says for God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth that many of us will be able to say where Lazarus came and some of it is I was a little surprise. I'd forgotten that it comes right on the heels of the exhortation to pray for kings for authorities to live within the framework of civil society. Then he says for God wants all men to be safe. The implication being that our life lived in that realm must be as it every other around oriented around the gospel itself. Note there is no difficulty in grasping what is being said here, the congregation would understand it we can to remind them to be submissive to be obedience and to be willing servants, submissive, obedient and willing servants is not what it is in verse one, and so we have to ask ourselves how well are we doing in relationship to this.

How well did they do in Crete.

But since so many of you teasing this in a classroom setting. Summary almost immediately puts other hand, is are we supposed to disobey the authorities at certain times. I was on the site wide when you want to raise that question.

First, why do you want to raise the question of the exception, which of course comes very quickly the acts of the apostles and they commanded them no more to preach concerning Jesus and they said you judge for yourselves whether it is right for us to obey God, who told us to preach or to obey you and told her not to preach. There is an exception.

There is another point is making here somehow is like to immediately go to the exception because we don't want to face the rule and the rule is only about exceptions right now. Worry about living an exceptional life because this is exceptional in society and this is the life that is to be the life of the Christian. The demands with which we comply things that are made up for the establishing of society are there undergone in the same way as the nuclear family is there undergone the nuclear family is not a human invention. Therefore, family is as God has established civil jurisdiction is as God is established and therefore the Christian of all people ought to be prepared to deal with this. So the believers in Crete are called to uphold the rule of law and to be willing to render whatever good service they can.

Secondly, in verse two. The instruction is given, not simply in terms of top-down or bottom-up, is aware to the rulers and authorities, but on a more lateral level and notice how comprehensive it is to speak evil of no one to avoid quarreling to be gentle to show perfect courtesy to everyone.

A tall order is and you will notice that this immediately takes us into the realm of the tongue to speak evil of no one the tongue. Remember, Jim said where all we all stumble in many ways. If anyone is in stumble in what he says he's a perfect man, the tongue, he says, is a fire is an uncontrollable fire of unrighteousness is a ruthless, evil is full of deadly poison… Be dead honest about this is not true that within our kind of circles we have decided that there are certain big sins and which were not engaged apparently, about which we can comment using lesser sentence, not least of all the sin of slander so that we somehow or another, have decided that it is legitimate for us to see all kinds of things about all kinds of people under some semblance of righteous indignation when actual fighting.

We may be guilty of slander of using our tongues is such a way that doesn't command the gospel and doesn't make it possible for those who are listening to us to say now is the kind of person I would really like to hear their views on such inside because of the use of our times. Tell the people in Crete to slander no one and make sure that they are courteous to everyone for the really supposed to be like Jesus, because after all, Paul had explained to the church in Rome that the reason that these are believers had been predestined and chosen out by God was in order that they might be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For those who before new.

This is Romans 829 those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son.

So all that Paul is saying here to Titus is if God has redeemed your people there in Crete.

His purpose from all of eternity is to make them like Jesus and if there were to be like Jesus in terms of civil society, then you must remind them to say no to slander, to be courteous not to be argumentative not to be contentious and not to undermine the system and the comprehensive nature of the challenge is quite remarkable is and so is good to pause there before even verse three because use coupons before that I find myself pausing before that is a panel now how my my going to be better than this. Then he says in verse three. For we ourselves where now that is on the list that follows here. These believers in Crete and the temptation is for them to forget what he where before Christ save them and what you have is a diagnosis of the human condition in all of his hostility towards God. You know what society is like in his hostility towards God. This doesn't give you at all with this gives you a large part of foolishness, obedient stray passions pleasures malice and be hatred and so on. Here is society here in society.

Here's first century Crete and here's 21st century. Cleveland right before your eyes. And these are the characteristics of a life that is lived in alienation from God, look at them. This is true of us if if I am not come being brought to faith in Jesus Christ as a boy I would've known. In actuality, every aspect of this and maybe to unbelievable dimensions and some of our backgrounds are such that we can take off this list and just stand up and say what an amazing thing. The grace of God is because not verse three says the person described me to at the one foolish is not an expression of the absence of intellectual capacity is a statement concerning moral perversity is the fullest said in his heart there is no God is Romans one exchanging the truth of God for a lie and worshiping the creatures, rather than the creator foolish.

Secondly, disobedient, disobedient, apart from Christ, you never listen to the voice of your conscience. You never listen to the voice of your mom and dad you never listen to the voice of authority in your life at all and you certainly can listen to the voice of God you knew there were 10 Commandments when you thought if you drive 3/10 in any given week you were doing a good job you were disobedient. Thirdly, you were deceived, led astray choosing not to believe in God will start to believe in all kinds of things started believe that were actually free when an actual fight were enslaved as number four slaves to various passions and pleasures. Succumbing to that mantra for feels good just go ahead and do it physically, living in malice and envy is a surely not is not a bit over-the-top will think about it. What disrupts a whole. What is it takes an office that is been functioning very very well and all of a sudden it begins to creak and groan buckle under the weight of things you find somebody in their says I should have had an office. I should've received that remuneration and I hate you for the fact that you did that to me by nature living in malice and envy heated and heating. It's not a nice list is a Paul's point is showing up in verse four. For we ourselves where verse list three verse four but when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appear is twofold really is one as a preventative measure to stop because from treating the culture around us in such a way as to use it as an opportunity simply to point out everything that is wrong and everybody who was wrong so that from that perspective we end up viewing the culture is simply an arena for us to be engaged in admonition as opposed to seeing the culture in which we live. The society and the environment in which we live as an opportunity for mission so mission versus admonition and the antidote to admonition, says Paul here is in reminding ourselves that were it not for the grace of God we would be in the same place. This is the life. This is a neat and natural life in hostility towards God.

Men and women are opposed to God they're not seeking God they run from God. They don't want is scrutiny. No one's rules, the own one is laugh so legal in search of other things. Try and make sense of the big questions of life and so he says now listen, make sure you remind the people so that they are slandering. No wonder courteous to everyone there not aggravation is the not insurrectionist good souls in society there upholding the civil jurisdiction, and if they attempted to get that wrong reminding them what they once were we to wear foolish, disobedient slaves, I once was a stranger to grace and to God.

That's Murray McShane died in 29 ones I once was a stranger to grace unto God about my McShane M live long enough to be a stranger to grace under God only as I was born as a stranger to grace and to God I was born in iniquity. I was fashioned in that way.

I am large for my mother's womb as a rebel. Here's the plaintiff humanity. This this is that this is the news this is the whole thing. Where is where is our world is marked by falling disobedience, deceit, enslavement to passions and pleasures, malice, envy, hatred in Haiti is a prisoner good in the world. Of course there is. But in the very core of things why things out of kilter, where they wrong, and if not, here's the plaintiff humanity, then it isn't going to be solved by any other means than the means to which Paul is coming here in verse four but when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior.

He seemed as if not by works that we had done in righteousness. In other words, the God who has made us for himself, to whom we have turned our banks is the God who actually pursues us is not actually that we are out in the world looking for God room and run Cleveland ratifying the in the mystery of it is that this God against whom I have offended is God who pursues the garden comes down into tying the God he doesn't ask us to climb up amounted to try and find him. He doesn't ask us to do these things. In fact, he tells us that all the things that we endeavored to do in that way even if we put them all together on our best. It would never amount to much for the uses that when life is that predicament. The solution is provided. If you think about it people recognize things are wrong they recognize they were wrong and create the nor the wrong in Cleveland how we going to fix. These are the answers that are given in our culture today. Not all of them but the main ones number one education number two we can fix this just with good examples or number three will be able to fix this with some kind of experiential encounter.

The latter one being look inside yourself and you'll find the Garduno you don't want to read a little more and look in there because you look in there what you find your foolish, disobedient, you spend your life in malice and envy. Like all Matt, I want to look in here, no looking inside is not going to help the good example scraped of a good example by the fact that your uncle is a good example to you as I fixed it under your grandmother is a great prayer. Are you still envious. Are you still jealous will have an education. That's all we need is education. Just go to the Cleveland clinic and when. And once they did the people standing out there at the circle slowly doctors and nurses and people with wheelchairs insists sure what some of these people then you read a sign saying they see nothing killing ourselves on the sign everywhere. Your comes a sign as you kill yourself. Can you read. Of course I can read I can stop you can education us out of me. Don't give me that horrible story as if I'm a dimwit and I can fix it or is if I can understand the example of somebody and try and do it I can do it. I need somebody else to do it for me. I need somebody to do something for me something that I can do for myself. That's the good news applied when the kindness of God our Savior.

He seemed as not by works done in righteousness, but according to his own mercy and his grace. This is the good news, so I may finish. In this way, here's the deal Christiansen Creek solar government pay attention no monkey business with your friends slandering no one courteous to everyone you tended not to do it. Remember what you where apart from the grace of God. And when you remember life apart from the grace of God, then I will remind you of the predicament that isn't faced in our society and that will then give you the opportunity to go back into the world of Monday and to say there's a reason why my work colleague here says what she says does what she dies. Why is that I must be Titus three. It is Titus three. So women are not supposed us to educator our example or as here's a look inside herself. No not going to tell her the good news.

The good news is that God is done something remember Horus the Latin dramatist a message to some months ago. He instructed his students as playwrights as follows.

God must not be introduced into the action, unless the plot has gone into such a tangle that only a God can unravel the plot of humanity is in such a tangle that only the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ can unravel. Has he unraveled it in your life if you don't have a volume to your still in volume 1, volume 1 has just been described right there in verse three we are either living there or we have been removed from and the removal is as a result of God's grace story or assignment as followers of Jesus is to live the kind of grace filled lives that draw others to the gospel listing to Truth for Life with Alastair beg message called way we often hear Alastair say the main things are the plain things in the plane things are the main things were studying the Bible. So what exactly are the main thing's that's covered in a very comprehensive way. Were talking about this week is titled note the truth.

This is a book that takes you through the central themes of the Bible chapter by chapter book addresses core Christian beliefs. Things like the nature of God and the nature of man. The saving work of Christ can request your copy of this book. When you give a donation to support the teaching you hear truth is Truth for about Lapine. Hope you enjoy your weekend and are able to worship with your local church on Monday will find out why God doesn't give out gold stars for good deeds and why that's more than okay. The Bible teaching of Alastair beg is furnished by Truth for Life with the Learning is for Living

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