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March 16, 2012
By John Barnett
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We have gathered as Christ's church this morning, but the church that met as Christ's church nearly 2,000 years ago in New Testament times was a much simpler, informal gathering.
There were no “church buildings”, so homes or public places were used.
There were no written materials other than God's Word.
No books, no tapes, no videos, no projectors, no parking lots, no auditoriums: just people indwelt by God's Spirit and His Word.
When they met they learned *why* they were there,* what* they were to share, and *how* they were to live.
In other words they were given what we could call a *Mission*, a *Message*, and a *Method.*
Our study of Titus 2 over these past weeks has been examining the method God commanded for them to reach their culture.
But before we return to that method of Christ's church for reaching a godless society, back up and look at the mission and message of the New Testament church, because like them...
*We Have a Mission*
As we open to I Thessalonians 4:1 may I remind you this morning that as Christ's church we have *a mission* that Paul summarized as pleasing God (I Thessalonians 4:1).
1 Thessalonians 4:1/" Finally then, brethren, we *urge* (PAI an continuous present action) and *exhort* (PAI) in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how *you ought to walk and to please God;*"/ NKJV
Paul’s teaching involved a continuous urging and exhorting of the believers in Thessalonica to stay on track with their mission in life of pleasing God at every level of their life.
The word translated* ‘to please’* God is a fascinating word in Greek (*aresko*; 19 times in New Testament) that means: “to please; to strive to please; to accommodate one’s self to the desires and interests of another”
Paul continuously reminded them they had a mission every day of life and that was to please God.
Think about life today and each new day you start, as launching out on a mission to please God all through the day and night, everywhere you are, and in everything you do.
That was the mission that marked the New Testament saints.
Secondly we find that Paul also taught them that their message was simply the gospel of the grace of God.
The message was simple and easy to remember and repeat.
In a confusing world with many false messages they declared God’s message.
So like them…
*We Have a Message*
As we turn to Acts, this mission is accomplished by the proclamation of a *message* Paul summarized as the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24).
Acts 20:24/ “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to *the gospel of the grace of God*."/
*gospel of the grace of God*.
An apt description, since salvation is solely by God’s grace (Eph.
2:8, 9; Titus 2:11).
Acts 20:32 /“So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to* the word of His grace,* which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified."/
*word of His grace.
*The Scriptures, the record of God’s gracious dealings with mankind.
*build you up*.
The Bible is the source of spiritual growth (1 Thess.
2:13; 2 Tim.
3:16, 17; 1 Pet.
2:2) for all Christians.
And since the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim.
3:15), its leaders must be familiar with that truth.
The message of grace—that God did everything possible to be done for salvation and anyone can come to Him merely by faith seems impossible.
And as Paul says, it sounds foolish (1st Corinthians 1:18).
But the message of the gospel of grace, summarized by the cross of Christ is what we are to share.
God assures us that His grace gives us the strength, or ‘energizes’ us, to do all that pleases Him, making this gospel the greatest message of all.
But how exactly were the men and women saved out of the world to reach the world?
How were they to live on a daily basis that would make their lives redemptive?
But the most amazing part of all that the Lord is doing is His plan to do all this by a *method* is spelled out in Titus 2:1-14—Paul summarized as energized by God’s grace to live in a way that is otherwise impossible.
The grace-energized life of Titus 2 is a roadmap for all who want their life to count.
It is God’s pathway of disciplines to choose each day in the power of the Spirit of grace, armed with the message of grace.
God says…
*We Have a Method*
God’s plan to work in the world is His church.
Christ's church may be described as a group of people, energized by grace, doing the impossible for the glory of God.
A key insight into God’s plan to reach the world through Christ's church is in Titus chapter 2.
The verses of this chapter contain a call to First Century men and women energized by grace to live an extraordinary spiritual life in a very unspiritual culture.
When grace energizes us we want to deny ungodliness in any form we find it cropping up in our lives.
When God’s grace energizes us we want to mortify lust in any form in our lives.
We want to live life day-by-day and step-by-step in way that pleases God.
When energized by grace, we are useful to God.
When the Gospel of Jesus Christ entered the Roman world of the New Testament the landscape was very bleak.
Christ's church was born into a sin-warped, sin-darkened world of mixed-up marriages, sin-scarred lives, and confused families.
*Sin-warped Lives*
But men and women who were gloriously saved did not automatically become great wives and mothers, or husbands and fathers.
When they came to Christ and were forgiven, God graciously gave them everything they needed to become godly wives, mothers, husbands, and fathers.
But, they needed something else.
They need worship services that taught them to believe correctly, and then they needed small group discipleship times to learn how to behave correctly.
Correct behavior is behavior energized by grace.
Titus 2 describes how God works in the life of a believer.
When we were saved and the gospel of grace began in our lives, the evidence is seen in the sanctification process.
Grace always teaches genuine believers how to say no to sin in any form.
When God gets to pick the curriculum for His Church, what does He choose to be taught?
He lays down godly character qualities for men and women.
And that is the vital ministry which we find captured for us in Titus 2. What were these older women in the faith supposed to do?
*Coaches in Godly Living*
Just as important as the preaching and teaching of the doctrines of God's Word was the modeling and nurturing of individual saints through practical hands-on lessons in godly living.
We have already learned that the Titus Two woman is an imperfect person, saved by God, and energized by His grace to live an exemplary life as described in Titus 2:3-4.
So we could easily say that:
• Women energized by grace—are reverent in their behavior,
• Women energized by grace—are not slanderers,
• Women energized by grace—are not given to much wine,
• Women energized by grace—are teachers of good things, and
• Women energized by grace—are discipling younger women.
Those new believers, fresh out of paganism needed coaching, training, modeling, and encouraging in a one-on-one relationship.
Godly behavior is a series of choices; and those men and women had to be nurtured in daily skills that would lead to loving marriages and families.
God’s plan has not changed.
Two thousand years ago the Lord told men and women just what He wanted to see in their lives, and that is what He still is looking for today!
We are in the midst of looking at the way God designed for women to most magnify and glorify Him by their everyday lives.
*Twelve Characteristics of Grace-energized Women *
This morning we are studying the seventh characteristic.
Paul told Titus to raise up grace-energized mothers.
This element of the New Testament church is found at the end of verse 4.
Follow along with me as we look at the entire scope of God’s entire curriculum for women, and then we’ll examine this seventh characteristic.
Please stand with me as we read Titus 2:3-5.
v. 3 the [grace energized] *older women* likewise, that they be
reverent in behavior,
2. not slanderers,
3. not given to much wine,
4. teachers of good things— v. 4
5. that they admonish
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