Thursday, October 6, 2011

This World Is Not My Home, So What Am I Supposed To Do? (Part 2)



Last week, we discussed how we are to be different from the world, aliens if you will. (Click here if you want to read part one first.) Today we are going to talk about our purpose in life.

But first, a review of our text:

Titus 2:11-15: For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

And Titus 3:1-8, This section is entitled "Saved in Order to Do Good"
 1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

As Martin Luther said, we Christians live in two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. But our primary citizenship is in the kingdom of God. We are resident aliens here, strangers and pilgrims.

Paul addressed the subject of how we should live as strangers in this world in his letter to Titus, chapter 3 verses 1-8.

First, he recaps how we should behave:

We should submit to and obey secular rulers.  Titus 3:1-2 tells us we are to be good citizens - scratch that, we should be the BEST citizens.  We obey the law and honor those in authority over us.  We don't slander others - Obama bashing is wrong!


Also, we are to be kind, peaceful, humble and courteous.  Rudeness is a no-no!

"Being strangers and pilgrims means that we are to try and imitate our Lord, [think WWJD] who when reviled, reviled not again; who suffered punishment patiently, though He was innocent. It means living deliberately, conscious that others are watching us and listening to us. We are to be kind, patient, peaceful, humble and courteous to everyone God brings in our path."  [Quinton Morrow “Strangers and Pilgrims"]

Recall our life before Christ: [read Titus 3:3] "Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other."


This is not the only place that Paul reminds us of our former lives and conduct:


1 Cor. 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.


David Guzik said, "Remembering where we once were shows us that the fallen nature is not so far from us, and we need constant reminding to stay where we should be in the Lord."


It’s so very easy to become self-righteous! We should remember that but for the grace of God, we would be in the same condition.


Praise God, He rescued us: It wasn’t anything we did that redeemed us – good works DO NOT save us. It’s only through the sacrifice that Christ in His mercy made:


Titus 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.


So what do I do while I’m waiting to go to heaven?


I like this quote:  “The theology of Christianity is based on grace; the ethics of Christianity are based on gratitude.” (Briscoe)


We show gratitude. We do good works!


Yes that’s right – we are to be do-gooders.  I’m actually supposed to be what my cousins used to torment me by calling me a “goody goody two-shoes!”  (Anyone know where that weird phrase comes from?)


Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do


Not only that but Titus 2:14 tells us to be “…eager to do what is good.”  Actively seek out something to do that is good!


The NLT for this verse says:  totally committed to doing good deeds.” [reminds me of the story about the hen and the pig being committed to give their owner a good breakfast.  For the hen, it was all in a day’s work, but for the pig, it was total commitment.  Are we totally committed to giving our all? Christ gave His all!]


[MSG Titus 2:14] He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.
I like this – energetic.  Don’t do good deeds for the Lord half-heartedly.  Put your all into it!


The Amplified puts it like this:  “eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds.”


Don’t you just love eager and enthusiastic people?  Their enthusiasm makes them attractive, gives them an inner glow.  People just naturally want to be around an enthusiastic person!


Titus 3:1 says “to be ready to do whatever is good.”  Be ready – be prepared.  Maybe you are not in the season of actually doing a certain good work, but you can be preparing for it.


And Titus 3:8 also says “those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.”  We are to devote ourselves to good works! Devote can mean dedicate.  This speaks to me of being focused, of single-minded dedication.


Three times this passage tells us to do good.  Not to earn salvation but because that is what redeemed people do – they do good to show their love for the Lord, to show gratitude.


The difference is, don’t do good in our own strength but let Him empower us to do good works.


Titus 3:8 These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.  This is the reward.  When Christians do good – everyone profits.  Think of the hospitals, orphanages and universities that Christians founded and supported.  Millions of lives are made better because someone was zealous to do good works.


And, many are drawn to Christ:
“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Phil. 2:14-15


We come full circle.  Your good works will make you stand out – you will shine like a light in a dark place, directing those who are seeking to Him. What possible purpose for your life could be higher than that?


You might say, "this is all well and good but I don’t know of a good deed that I can do."  That is the beauty part – seek Him and He will tell you what to do.  I know a lot of us have a love for the Lord and want to do something but just don’t know what.  I truly believe that if we dedicate ourselves to prayer – He will show us.  I’m not talking about a table-grace prayer or a now-I-lay-me-down-to sleep prayer but a concentrated effort to do battle in prayer until you know beyond a shadow of a doubt what He has for you.


Once you know, just do it!  Don't let anything stop you.

1 comment:

Irritable Mother said...

Yes. To make the most of my time here. To be HIS hands and feet in this world. To do good - for His glory.
Sounds like a wonderful plan! *grin*