Our passage for today is Titus 2:11-15.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
It’s a letter written by Paul to Titus and other leaders in the church of Crete, encouraging him in his ministry work and asking him to establish proper leadership, proper handling of error, proper Christian living and in this particular passage he is pointing their hearts to the Gospel.
I believe today’s passage will help us answer some important questions.
The questions are
Q. How to live life as a people of God?
Q. How can we grow in Holiness and Godliness by fixing our eyes on the Gospel?
But before we answer these questions I’m sure everyone here will agree with the fact that we live in a world that is so contaminated with sin, corruption, and evil. There are temptations everywhere.
- Temptation to give in to our sexual passions by engaging in pornography or having physical relationships outside the boundaries of marriage
- Temptation to cheat and fraud people so we can accumulate wealth for ourselves
- Temptation to lie and live a hypocritical life so we can gain the respect of others
- Temptation to give in to our laziness and live foolishly
- Temptation to eat beyond our capacity and become a glutton.
And especially when these habits are considered normal in our culture and society, when we see our closest friend or colleague enjoying these pleasures, making good money, seems to be living life to the fullest.
I’m sure we all go through times of doubts, despair and sadly some of us have even fallen into these sins. We know it because we can feel the guilt and the condemnation. It’s not a good feeling and not a good place to be in.
After falling into such sins, some of you may have even asked yourself whether you are a true Christian, whether you have truly been saved.
Before I say anything let me confess that I myself have been in that place and I know how it feels to be in that place, it’s a dark place.
When we are a Christian, who knows Jesus, who knows His saving grace that frees us from sin and its condemnation, and yet again and again and again we fall back into the same pit that Christ picked you up from. Or worst to be like that dog who returns his vomit.
We end up beating ourselves; we stop fellow-shipping with our brothers and sister by isolating ourselves, we stop serving Christ and his Church, we stop reading our bible, we quit our prayer and devotion.
When we are with others, we pretend that everything is normal but behind the doors, we are crying and wailing, we are frustrated, we are disappointed with our actions and words and thoughts.
The worst is when we get so used to it that we’ve learned to ignore these feelings and live just like a worldly person and yet profess to be a Christian in the house. We are pointing fingers at others and try to fix the world with our smartness, when our own conscience is dead, when our own feelings are dead, when our own hearts are hardened.
Well, when you see this passage we can see what has gone wrong with us.
Number one reason is that we have failed to show gratitude (प्रति आभार) (कृतज्ञता दिखाने में विफल ) for what Christ has accomplished for us on the cross.
We’ve failed to see the GRACE of God that has appeared to us through his son Jesus Christ and therefore failed to express our heart of gratitude in our thoughts, actions and our behavior.
How many times during the DAY do we meditate on God’s love and relish his grace upon your life?
How many times during a WEEK do we meditate on God’s love and relish his grace upon your life?
How many times during a MONTH do we meditate on God’s love and relish his grace upon your life?
Tell me if I am wrong. The reason for us falling in sin started when we stopped been grateful for what Christ accomplished for us on the cross.
Because the passage here says “For grace has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”
What it says here is that the grace of God enables us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.
Our failure to show gratitude to what Christ accomplished for us on the cross has put us in place far from experiencing his saving grace over our lives on a daily basis.
Brothers & sisters, It is not enough for us to respond to the gospel once in a lifetime so we can be tagged as a follower of Jesus and then to forget that experience and go back into the world again.
To become a Christian means to make a turn-around from our worldly ways and grow deeper into a relationship with Jesus by daily appreciating and embracing his Love, Grace, and mercy over our lives.
The moment we fail to do that and allow our flesh to take over, we push ourselves away from his grace and therefore fall back into sin again.
It’s like a family who adopts a child into their home from an orphanage, giving the child a new life and a future. The more that child learns to appreciate the love of his new family, the deeper he grows in relationship with them, and the more he feels protected, loved and covered.
But the day this child stops appreciating the love of his new family and think about his old orphanage life with his rugged friends, the more further away he goes from the family, he comes out of the covering and protection of his family and finds himself been vulnerable and helpless.
Now, let me ask you a question?
Do you think the family stopped loving him? No
Do you think that the family will be open to receive him back into the family?
Do you think the family will take the child back into their covering and protection?
Of course yes.
It’s the same with our heavenly father. Remember the story of the prodigal son who after spoiling all his father’s wealth when he decides to come back home. The Father welcomes him with joy. And I’m sure after the boy returned home his appreciation for his father’s love grew even more.
The second reason why we find ourselves in sin and guilt and shame is when we lose HOPE.
Verse 13 – When we lose our blessed hope that one day our Lord and Saviour Jesus will come back to take us to a place where there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, no more suffering, no more sickness, no more poverty, no more shame, no more temptations.
Let’s dig deep down our hearts and search what are we hoping for in life. Are we hoping that one day we will become a top businessman, earn lots of money someday, own a house or own a land, go to Hawaii and lie down on the beach, buy the best car in the world, become an Indian idol, champion of the world etc etc.
Because if that’s what you are hoping for in life, then, you will spend all your money, all your time, all your energy and resources in achieving that. And by the way, there is no guarantee that you will get what you want in life.
But if your hope is in the coming of the Lord and Saviour who will save us from this wretched world then we will spend all our money, time, energy and resources preparing our hearts for that glorious day. And by the way – its guaranteed.
When all your money, time, energy and resources are invested towards preparing ourselves for the coming of the Lord, then there is no chance that we can get distracted from the pleasures of this world.
It is like a sportsman whose aim to is to win the Olympics. He knows he needs to be fit by exercising daily, stay healthy by eating nutritious food, keep his mind alert from keeping himself away from any kind of distraction.
You see, no matter what happens, he will never give in to the feelings that take away his focus from his goal.
In 2 Timothy 2:4-7 Paul gives an example of a Soldier, Athlete and a Farmer and says
No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
Brothers & sisters, we are not civilians; the bible says we are a good soldier of Christ Jesus. We are not hopeless; we are not orphans, we are not failures, we not a mistake.
Instead, we are loved, our heavenly Father cherishes us, we didn’t choose him but he choose us, we are blessed, and most importantly we have hope that one day we will go to a better place where life will be even more beautiful and fun.
Let’s ask a question to ourselves this morning.
After listening to this sermon and what the Lord has spoken to us, do we still like to stay in our miserable situation, a life pattern that is filled with sin and despair.
Or are you willing to humble yourself like the prodigal son and return back to our heavenly father whose loving arms are eager and open to hug you, kiss you, celebrate and welcome you back into his family.
All you have to do this morning is to simply go back to him with a humble heart, repent of your sins, thank him for the cross and surrender your lives once again to him.
And after you’ve done that today, you need to go back home and daily continue to remind yourself of what Christ has done for you and daily express your heart of gratitude to him without fail.
And when things get tougher at home, or at work, or in your personal lives, remind yourself of the blessed hope that this world is just a temporary home and the one who loves us is coming to take us with him far from all the pain and misery.
Put all your focus, all your time, money, energy and resources preparing for that glorious day in heaven.
I’m sure life will look different if we make this a pattern of our lives.