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*The Life-Changing Power of the Gospel ~~ Titus 2:11-14*
/Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church on August 17, 2008/
*11 **For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,** **12 **instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,** **13 **looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,** **14 **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.*
* *
These four verses have been called:
“one of the great summaries of Christian truth” (Homer Kent)
“the core of what Titus was to teach … the great message” (Mark Dever)
“one of the richest passages of Holy Writ” (William Hendriksen)
“one of the gems of the New Testament” (Gary Demarest)
“Paul’s masterly epitome of Christian doctrine as the proper foundation for [all Scriptural] demands” (D.
Edmund Hiebert)
Philip Towner writes: ‘This section is a densely packed statement of theology that … marks the rhetorical high point of the letter.
Owing to the shift in grammar and the elevated language, the reader or hearer will know instinctively that this section is crucial to Paul’s discourse for several reasons … the theological passage provides the foundation for the ethical teaching that has just been laid down (2:1-10).
Only now what has been prescribed is to be seen clearly as an outworking of grace, linked intrinsically to the death of Christ and the new way of life associated with that event … Christian theology is [the only way] to explain the power, character, and origin of this way of life.’[1]
The glorious message of the gospel in these four verses can be summarized in four words.
-         Four words that set Christianity apart from all other claims and cults and religions.
-         Four truths we need to remember and seek to make clear when we are explaining the gospel to others
-         Four words that explain how verses 9-10 were possible, how slaves living in horrible conditions in the Roman Empire could glorify God and beautify His Son to others
-         Four words that had transformed the most pagan sinners into saints on the island of Crete, those who were formerly always liars, lazy gluttons, evil beasts (1:12).
-         Four words, each of which could change your life (if they haven’t already) and if they have, they should continue to make an impact in your life even if you’re already familiar with them – I pray they will impact us afresh today.
-         Four words and the truths behind them that should be meditated on by us every day of our life to sustain us for whatever God calls us to today, and in the days to come.
-         Any one of these four words by itself we could spend many weeks studying and would barely scratch the surface, but as we briefly look at them, may God write each of these truths more deeply on our hearts today and cause us to be again reminded by and refreshed by their life-changing power.
The four words will be our outline today: Grace – Repentance – Christ - Cross
Grace (v.
11) – past tense
Repentance (v.
12) – present tense ongoing lifestyle
Christ (v.
13) – future-oriented hope in Him
The Cross (v.
14) – past, present, and future culmination altogether
*11 **For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,*
The “all men” of verse 11 (as I mentioned last time) does not mean all men will be saved.
In context (v.
1-10), God’s grace saves all /types/ of men, all classes of humanity, every race and state of life, even slaves mentioned two verses earlier in verse 9.
And certainly it would include the women of verses 3-5, and young and old, and Jew and Gentile – there is no tribe or tongue or type of person that God’s grace is not for.
There is a /common grace/ Scripture speaks of and a /general call/ to all, and there is also a particular grace or effectual grace and call at the moment of salvation for the redeemed people of God (v.
From the human side, saving grace is reserved for those who respond and repent as v. 12 describes, who are trusting in Christ as God and Savior as v. 13 says, and who are not relying on what they have done but only what Christ has done for them as v. 14 says.
And verse 14 also tells us that salvation is ultimately all of God, by God, for God, through God Himself for Himself – God’s election, God’s redemption, God’s possession.
/What we do/ doesn’t cause our salvation; rather it is God’s salvation that causes good works we do in response to the power of the life-changing gospel.
A prime illustration of Titus 2:11 would be on the day of Pentecost, where in unprecedented ways God’s grace appeared, bringing salvation to all types of men.
Even, as Acts 2 says “both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs … hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God” (v.
Some from Arab territories saw the grace of God bringing salvation to them on that day.
Of the 3000 saved in Acts 2, some Cretans may have traveled all the way back home with the gospel.
When verse 11 says God’s grace appeared, it’s referring to God’s grace in Jesus Christ, beginning with His incarnation and life on earth, later expanding through the book of Acts as Christ is preached to all men, from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.
And this process is still continuing to our day – you don’t hear about it on the news as much, but Jews in greater numbers are turning to Christ and declaring the mighty deeds of God, and Arabs as well.
Just this week I read of a young man who is causing quite a stir.
He may be the most well-known Muslim who has publicly professed his faith in Christ.
He chose to do it through the Israeli media, meeting with a Jewish reporter, as captured in the cover story of their magazine /HA ARETZ /published August 1, 2008 in Israel.
He is the son of one of the founders of Hamas, the terrorist organization.
The Israeli paper cover reads: “Masab Yousef, son of a West Bank Hamas leader, has forsaken his father’s ideology, converted to Christianity and is now seeking political asylum in the U.S.” He now lives in the San Diego area (where it’s understandably safer for him, for his life) and footage of his profession of faith has appeared on FOX News, plus interviews with other reporters.
His father is the well-known Sheik Hassan Yousef, an influential political figure in Palestinian parliament who has been imprisoned by Israel numerous times.
On one of those imprisonments years ago as Masab Yousef, this son, got to know the other top Hamas leaders more closely, he began to see the wicked fruit of their religion in how they lived and the emptiness of Islam.
In contrast, a Christian young man UK invited him to a Bible study in Jerusalem, having no idea who this young Muslim was, and over 4 years time, the grace of God began to appear to Yousef as he curiously studied the scriptures with these who lived differently and studied a Messiah who taught quite differently than the Koran.
According to one reporter, this process where his eyes were opened to the falsehood of Islam was his /epiphany, /interestingly that’s the root Greek word in Titus 2:11 for “appearing” of grace.
As the verse says, God’s grace in Christ to all men appeared, and it began in the 1st century (bringing salvation to Roman soldiers, slaves, a thief on a cross, Gentile women, even formerly self-righteous Jewish priests, and Pharisees, and rabbis like Saul who became the Paul who writes to Titus).
Now in the 21st century all types of men include a son of a group involved in terrorism against Israel (who like Paul has also changed his name; Yousef to Joseph)
That’s a vivid picture of the life-changing power of the gospel of the grace that has appeared in Jesus, bringing salvation to all men.
Pray for Yousef (Joseph), that God’s grace will sustain him in the difficult days ahead and will use him to bring salvation to all types of men, even those who hate and want to annihilate the Jews.
In one of his interviews, Joseph said he was struck by Christ’s command of grace to love your enemies because it was so different than the life he saw in his people.
God’s grace has changed his heart, and he told one interviewer he would like to marry some day, and of course it would have to be a Christian girl, and he said if it was a Jewish convert to Christianity, that would be even better.
God’s grace is the only explanation for such a transformed life, and that is Paul’s point in Titus 2:10, that we should live such lives before a watching world that will adorn or make beautiful God our Savior and will make His glorious gospel believable (v.
How do we do that?
It’s not only based on a one-time work of God’s grace in the past, it also requires our ongoing repentance.
This brings us to the 2nd of these 4 words that sum up the gospel:
* *
*12 **instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,*
* *
We are commanded to continually /deny/ ungodliness and worldly desires, and other translations use the word “reject” (NET) or “renounce” (ESV).
We turn from those ways, and instead we are to live the opposite in the present.
Turning from these ways to the ways God calls us to, is summed up in the biblical word repentance
/Israel Today /is a Jerusalem-based news agency that actually used this word “repent” in its opening sentence on this story where it says Yousef ‘has converted to Christianity and *repented of his sins* for being an active part of a culture of hate and death that targeted’ Israel.
It’s fitting that Yousef has changed his name to Joseph, who is a great OT example of forgiveness and grace.
It might be helpful for a moment to define these terms and the relationship between grace and repentance.
*Grace* is the rich word for God’s unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor or kindness toward sinners who not only did not deserve it, but who deserved the exact opposite.
It’s His greatest mercy for those who deserved His greatest punishment (all of us who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God).
God’s sovereign grace is the only explanation for how Masab Joseph could be saved, and it’s the only explanation for how any of us in this room could be saved.
Any conversion is a miraculous mighty work by God that is all of God and God alone and not based on anything man is or does.
Saving grace takes place at a moment in time and cannot be added to.
*Repentance*, on the other hand, involves man’s response, begins when we follow Christ, and is to continue throughout Christian life.
Repentance is the changing of sinful ways and thoughts, turning from our sins to follow godliness, confessing of sins.
Even our repentance, though, is a gift that God grants, not something we do on our own.
God gets all the glory for it all:
Acts 5:31 (NASB95) 31 “*[Jesus] is the one whom God exalted* to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, *to grant repentance* to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 11:18 ‘When they heard this, they … *glorified God*, saying, “Well then, *God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance /that leads /to life.*”’
2 Timothy 2:25-26 (NASB95) 25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps *God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,* 26 and they may come to their senses /and escape /from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
I think our brother Joseph would agree that is truly the description of those caught up in Islam’s snare of the devil - they are captives needing the enlightening effectual grace of Jesus to come to the knowledge of God and to repent and receive forgiveness.
2 Corinthians 4:4-6 would agree when it says our spiritual enemy “has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God … *God*, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” *is the One who has shone in our hearts* to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
God does it this way so that He gets the glory, not us.
Yousef said to a reporter he hopes to be used by God to "open the eyes" of Muslims and "reveal the truth" to them about Islam and Christianity that God might "take them *out of the darkness and the prison of Islam*."
... Yousef, who has taken the biblical name of Joseph, said he dreams of one day of God using him to become a writer to tell his personal story and testimony.
\\ \\
Joseph also dreams that someday he can see his family again and that they will accept Jesus Christ.
"I know that I'm endangering my life and am even liable to lose my father, but I hope that he'll understand this and that *God will give him and my family patience and willingness to open their eyes to Jesus* and to Christianity."
Verse 12 tells us how grace works, beginning with the word “instructing” – your translation may have /teaching/ or /training/.
It’s the Greek word we get the English word “pedagogue” from – an instructor or teacher or tutor who helps a young child in school.
In the grammar and language, it is God’s grace from verse 11 that has this role of our pedagogue or personal teacher.
The imagery is the classroom - it is the school of grace – like any school there is rules.
The first two rules: No ungodliness or worldly desires.
But our teacher grace not only tells us the rules, it helps us obey them.
It’s been pointed out about this schoolmaster of ours: ‘A pedagogue leads children step by step.
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