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February 25, 2022 12:00 am
Have you ever considered the fact that while goodness is a gift from God, He doesn't merely hand it to us like a check in the mail or a present at Christmas. No! He ambushes us with it! Like a sudden rainstorm in the desert, God lavishes His goodness on us through Christ Jesus in ways we can only begin to fathom.
God is the ultimate best because the ultimate act of full land for a fee is not just giving money away but giving your life away. It's one thing to give somebody something, it's another thing to love somebody, give them your life. His kindness and his love appear. Tiffany is a reference to the incarnation, he loved us and he appeared he came to give his life without generous. He was like a sudden rain storm in the desert, God lavishes his goodness on us through Christ as Steven David continues through his current series entitled remarkable Christianity, we come to a section of Scripture that describes what God does in saving Stevens calling this lesson, ambushed by grace and unforgettable event occurred in the lives of three graduating seniors from Azusa Pacific University, a Christian school college in Southern California, a pastor and his wife had been invited to a special reception.
The pastor would write about a little later on John Wallace, the University president had invited three graduating seniors to attend this reception particular students had signed on to spend the following two years overseas in India serving among the untouchables. Students assume that they had been invited to the reception to be blessed and encouraged and prayed over they would be.
But then something happened that they did not know was coming. Dr. Wallace at some point of this reception turned to them and said I some news for you there's somebody you don't know, but they've appreciated your plan to to go to India for the next two years, and so they have given a gift to the school in your name and your behalf.
Then he turned to the first graduating senior and said on behalf of this donor, you are forgiven your $105,000 debt to this institution that students immediately began to weep. He turned to the second student and said and you are forgiven your debt of $70,000 to this diversity and of the third student he said and you are forgiven your debt of $130,000 to this university pastor writes that everyone in the room but I was weeping, especially the students who had no idea this was coming the other rights they were ambushed by grace blown away that someone they didn't even know would pay off their didn't like the way he wrote that ambushed by grace.
That's the theme of our text today ambushed by the grace. The law of the kindness of God, not by the way, the only difference, of course, would be that we didn't sign up for two years in India become the benefactors of his goodness. Did we. We didn't deserve it in any way shape or form. But the truth remains, the more we learn about our redemption in Christ.
The more we are blown away by his grace the more dumbfounded we become by the goodness of God. Now in our last few sessions we have been expounding on these remarkable Christians living on the island of Crete.
These descendents of pirates in the first century we have also been exploring what it means to be a remarkable Christian in the 21st century zoning and write you again to Titus in chapter 3 where Paul reveals that we pirates and rebels at hearts are we are actually nothing more than the benefactors of a remarkable gift we have been ambushed by goodness and grace is picking up where we left off at verse four but when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to his mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
That's one sentence I'm convinced the apostle Paul was always running out of ink and parchment.
This is one long uninterrupted sentence and I want to deal with the entire sentence in our study today knowingly remind you that it began with that little contrast in conjunction we just briefly looked at it, because we got through all of the that the sewage for depravity and I want us to end with with this thought both go back there this little contrast in conjunction but one of my favorite words in the English Bible because it changes everything that back up to the last part of verse to remember this for we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another, but in other words, in spite of everything that we were and struggle with today something happened that little word parts that that tells us everything is about to change dramatically remarkable fact if you're listening to someone talk, you know that whatever they say after that little word matters quite a bit done and how many applicants to job have heard the company representatives say you know your resume really looks good and I like your experience, but how about a real estate agent who said the buyer really likes your house believes it's worth every penny you're asking, but how many of you guys have heard a girl say I like you and I think you're really nice and all but that of you guys. I'm sure forget what came in front of the conjunction and really pay attention to what comes after Charles Hughes served as Secretary of State in 1921, under Pres. Harding, leaders of justice on the Supreme Court branches as Secretary of State. He wants attended a Pan-American conference where he would have to depend entirely upon the translator because these men will be speaking in Spanish and Portuguese. He told his translator. This quote listen while a running translation is important to me. What I really want is for you to give me every word after the speaker says, but because that will probably change everything at the idea here, we have nothing to offer God. Paul ran us through the list.
Nothing but sin, but there's something that changes everything. In verse four opens with the fact that we happen to have a remarkable Redeemer. Would you notice, but when the kindness of God our Savior and his love appeared. He saved us what Paul does is make special note of several keywords. This word kindness is one of them is the only word or two word only used by the apostle Paul in the New Testament, it refers to the goodness of God, and it has the feeling of generosity. He's kind at any doesn't hold back his kind, and in this kindness. He is, he's generous. Think of it in terms of generosity is not surprising. The very next noun would follow here in the text. Not only is the goodness of God remarkable in generous, but his love is overwhelming to hold back the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind word for love is a compound word combining Philly our love and anthropologists.
We talk about anthropology, the study of man and man, this is the lot for mankind. Philanthropy is the Greek word that gives us our transliterated Word philanthropy. Mankind is always been impressed by philanthropy and we certainly automate. These are acts of of of generosity of kindness toward mankind, I've got something that I could keep but I'm gonna give it away to somebody you might need it more. In fact, this idea of philanthropy was considered by the Greeks. In Paul's day. It was one of those highly valued virtues. In fact, it was considered one of the highest virtues any person could ever demonstrate to anybody I could keep this but I'm to give it to you. They they understood that that emanated from from the character of of a higher being. They called it the highest virtue of their gods, so it is indeed a high virtue. Perhaps you read in the news about the recent impact made by several billionaires to give away half of their fortune with the Bill Gates. A little research into this certainly found it to be true. He's promised to give away half his 40s get giveaway some $30 billion, and with the remaining 30 billion you got existence on this or he'll be able to do that, but I'm sure we will find them.
I'm cynical, but actually admire that I think is wonderful.
He could keep that 30 billion and just give it to a slew of errors whether he knows it or not, is actually reflecting the virtue of God.
God is the ultimate philanthropist factors even deeper because the. The ultimate act of full land for a fee is not just giving money away but giving your life away right.
It's one thing to give somebody something, it's another thing to to love somebody and give them your life. His kindness and his love appeared. The word Epiphany is a reference to the incarnation he he loved us and he appeared, he came to give his life without generous.
He was with his ultimate act of philanthropy. John Phillips writes about an incident in his commentary through Ephesians when he visited a friend of his. This man's daughter was an alcoholic and Phillips writes I was visiting in his home one day when she was delivered to the door she had drunk almost an entire bottle of whiskey. Her temper was flaming and abusive. Her face was flushed or manner. Belligerents are actions while I happen to look up the picture of the young unspoiled girl that still hung in the wall of this man's home and I pitied the poor girl with all my heart for the terrible shipwreck she made of her life and for her slavery to such a cruel and relentless tyrant and I watched as her father took her gently by the arm, ignoring her abusive language.
He steered her understudy footsteps outside to his car. He carefully settled her in his face drawn in his eyes filled with pain. He patiently strapped her into the seatbelt and then drove her home and put her in the bed John Phillips wrote. I pitied her. He loved her. Multiply that young woman's slavery and wretchedness and abusiveness by 10,000 in the love of that father by infinity and you have the generous kindness and love of our Redeemer who did not just pity on us from galaxies away.
He appeared came in. He pitched his tent in the sewer right alongside, so that he could die giving us the ultimate gift of philanthropy to atone for our sins past, present and future.
He ambushed us by his goodness in grace, we happen to have a remarkable Redeemer.
Amen. Secondly, we have been given a remarkable redemption was and how do you ever pay your way out of the sewer.
Hi everyone, with enough to buy yourself out of the slave market of sin and the dominion of darkness. Paul clarifies for us the answer in the next phrase notice verse five the rate he saved is not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to his mercy in the original New Testament language. The words not on the basis of deeds appears first in the sentence to show the emphasis of his statement literally, not from works he saved us, which means genuine, true biblical salvation is not only freely given, but that would lead us to reflect back to him. Gratitude for he alone has given it.
We had nothing to offer, not from our words of righteousness that is not the best thing you've ever done.
No none of that for by grace you have been saved through faith, not of yourselves, it is the what gift of God not as a result of works, last any man should.
What boasts why say that because that's exactly what we would do, lest any of us should boast.
If we can, so one stitch of righteousness into our garments of splendor, which we will one day where we would spend all eternity, admiring that one stitch beautiful robot look at that see this. I I did think about the gospel in its biblical sense and discard the empty religion of fig leaves to try to sew together to make yourself presentable thing about what you do with your young children. Some of you are right in the middle of it. Some of you can just sit there and smoke it surpassed it. But you remember how it was the day comes to an end and you said okay kids, you know it's time to clean up the playroom at all your toys and bring over here and put them in the toy bug. No, don't throw them from that side of the room bring them all the way over here and put them carefully inherent no pick up all the Cheerios you stacked up there in the foyer and in the you get all the Legos off the stairway usually built to know some some monument of ingenuity and take your tricycle off the piano bench and those memories are still there but you know let's go kids you know you know they're not going be able to get it done perfectly what you want them to make the effort and you know full well that when you finally tuck them in the bed you to go back through the house and take care of everything they didn't do a lot of people think that's how salvation works that God says what you do. I want to see you make an effort here you give it your best shot answers I you can do it perfectly.
Whatever you leave on Diane I'll take care of the gospel. Paul writes apart from works he saved us. The reason you put your toys away is that so you'll be sable because you have been and you want to present a kind of testimony of gratitude that would cause others to look at your Lord, take note to remarkable Christianity, which happens to be the genuine item delivers the truth of this remarkable redemption it's paid in full by Jesus Christ himself, with no help from us. No help from us. In fact, Paul adds at the end of this phrase. It's like he wants to make sure we have no loophole room this thing. He adds, according to his mercy he saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we've done in righteousness.
The best things we could do but according to his mercy. Paul writes the same progression to the Ephesian church, he says, among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest, but God, there is again but God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved. That's how he saved us, there is no scale in heaven and the and hopefully a good ole outweigh the bad it got. Also, I just think of the things you couldn't do. I see everything done. I can't begin to tell you how thrilling it is to clarify the gospel.
Certainly, from this pulpit but in individual meetings and just this past week to meet with a couple in their mid to late 60s and attending a greenhouse class of incoming since this past Christmas suite. He said to me as we met in my office is that you know I wasn't raised in a church that talked about the gospel and in certain never use the word saved, he said, but I hear that a lot around here and that he said his peak my interest. He set up and going back to the New Testament, any schism see in that word saved all over the place.
I explained to him what the word Menton gospel of Christ alone would redeem us. We had to be saved from outside ourselves like a man drowning in the ocean. He has to have somebody swim out to him and save him because he can't save himself and he bowed his head and prayed in his own words, Lord Jesus, I am asking you right now to save 68 years old to reflect Christianity does not give any of us room to gloat, but God has given us all eternity to be grateful we have been ambushed by goodness and grace. We have a remarkable Redeemer. Secondly, we have been given a remarkable redemption. Thirdly, we are under a remarkable reconstruction. Notice the middle part of verse five, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. So that being justified by his grace and continues a let's stop here.
Just unpack that particular part of his sentence by the washing of regeneration, there are those who would say that the ordinance of baptism saves or sort like the last thing you not really saved until you do that, they spilled a lot, Inc. over the fact that you can't become a Christian until you been baptized that our sister Erin was not completely saved, it wasn't really fully ratified until she was as my son said don't under the water well all you have to do is read the phrase and noticed the agent doing the baptizing would you notice that, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the college pastor away and say the senior pastor. No, not even close. Who is doing the action who's doing the baptizing. The Holy Spirit is the agent which means this is a reference to an internal spiritual cleansing of the heart, pictured externally after the fact by water baptism that God takes for a moment the argument of those who believe in baptismal regeneration that is yet to be baptized to be saved and I'll take one portion of their argument, which I agree with it in the mind of the apostles and in the early church was no such thing as a non-baptized believer one follow the other mean they couldn't even conceive of such a thing. Why would anybody follow Jesus Christ do not want to identify through the ordinance. He instituted which pictures identification with his death, burial and resurrection. So he says really I get nervous in front of people. I understand that fire like public speaking understand that I want to be seen on my hair all wet and a 5000 people to understand what water gets up by my nose or something, but if they forget to bring me back down this in the physical demonstration of of Washington, which illustrates the internal act of cleansing is wonderful.
Let's not back the physical into the spiritual and redefine regeneration because if we do, we have added something we do for God in order to be saved and we were just told it isn't anything we could do.
Not the best thing we could do saves us effective you have to be baptized in order to be saved, you're actually going to have to depend on somebody to baptize you, which means not your depending on another human being would be then show up.
The word Paul uses here for washing is not bad to so that some which means tumors but blue Tron. It's a reference to a bath that spiritual internal bath and we use it for an external bad, the kind you take on Saturday night.
Whether you needed or not right. That's how file we are. We all need a little washing will need him to take our heart, just maybe, spot clean here and there, waiting the entire thing entirely clan. They tell violence and the Holy Spirit gave us the whole bath you hear the other that the only other time this word washing appears in the New Testament.
The only other is by the apostle Paul when he refers to the bathing of the water of the word in the Bible and just spot clean us we we need a total reconstruction.
This is the spiritual truth of a deep cleansing the Holy Spirit is the agent whose effectively by means of the truth of the word hosing us down the salvation that God offer is us truly workable and salvation is completely transforming. God doesn't just spot clean your life here and there no God completely cleanses you.
There's more for us to learn from this passage, but it's going to have to wait until next time were at the point where we need to stop for today will resume and conclude this lesson on our next broadcast this lesson from our Bible teacher, Stephen Devi is called ambushed by grace.
It comes from Stephen's series entitled remarkable Christianity. If you joined us midway through today's broadcast or if you had to step away during part of the lesson, you can go to our website and listen again. You'll find us email@example.com each day's lesson is posted there for you. In fact, the complete archive of all Stephen's teaching is posted there.
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