November 15, 2014

Today you should read: Titus 3

Titus 3 reveals one of the clearest pictures of what God does in the doctrine of salvation.

First, we see our desperate need for salvation in the first place. Titus 3:4-5a says

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness,

A lot of people don’t believe that they need to be saved from their sins or try to get saved by the wrong things. Those who don’t believe that they need salvation usually don’t believe in sin or that their sin is bad enough for God to punish. As long as we’re not committing mass genocide, we should be good. Others who recognized that they need to be saved from their sins usually try to obtain it in the wrong ways. Some try through religion, through good works and others believe everyone is going to get saved and it’s just one big religion and god anyways. However, just like this verse says, we can’t be saved by our own righteousness but only through His righteousness and that’s when His grace, goodness and loving kindness appears to us through the proclamation of the Gospel. He saves us. We can’t save ourselves.

So what happens when God does save us through the believing power of Jesus? Titus 5b-7 explains.

but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

First God regenerates us, (v. 5b) which is when God gives us a new heart and new life in Jesus. Your old sinful self becomes a new creation in Christ. As C.S. Lewis once said “Christians are not just nice people, they are: or are supposed to be new people.”

Second, God justifies us (v. 7) which is when Jesus took our place in the wrath and punishment of God. Where at one time we were guilty of sinning before a Holy God, He now sees Jesus’ righteousness instead of our unrighteousness.

Third, He sanctifies us (v.5b renewal of the Holy Spirit) which is the continual process of us being set apart from the world for God’s purpose and will through the Holy Spirit He has given us when first accepting Christ. This is also how we will persevere as Christians and shows us that God is not done with us when first just saving us but is continuing to make us more like Him.

Lastly, we are glorified (v. 7b become heirs) which is the promise that we will be everything God intended us to be before sin came into the world and into our lives. We will have a glorified body like Jesus’ resurrected body that will be immune to sin, disease, and decay. It will be glorious, powerful and spiritual.

Now all of these big words and this theology doesn’t really matter unless you live it out like v. 8 says.

The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people

Regeneration doesn’t matter unless you’re living out your new life in Christ in front of others. Justification doesn’t matter unless you continue to trust in how God looks at you and forgives you unlike the world. Sanctification doesn’t matter unless you are making every effort along with God’s grace, to grow to be more like Him and glorification doesn’t matter unless you’re living a life that’s looking forward to a time and place with no sin or suffering. Devote your self to the good works that God has give you in salvation instead of just reading about it in theology books.

Posted by: Erik Koliser

November 14, 2014

Today you should read: Titus 2:9-15

“Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way.” Titus 2:10

This is the starting point for the rest of today’s passage. Verses 11-15 tell us of God’s grace revealed to us in salvation through Jesus. It tells us of how we are cleansed from sin, freed from its power and made to be a people for God. This passage is chalk full of some great truths that I encourage you to meditate on and pray through. What I want to hit on are verses 10 and 15. In verse 10 Paul talks about making the teaching of God attractive and in verse 15 he tells us to teach these things (all these truths we just read). So here is what I think we need to walk away with today:

Does my life make Jesus look good?

We don’t need to market or package Jesus any differently than He is to make Him more palatable for those around us. Sadly many churches are doing just that and it is distorting the gospel and making Jesus into someone He is not. We do, however, need to live a life that makes our Savior look good. We need to live in such a way that people notice a difference and want what we have. If we live a life that looks the same as everyone else then people will see no need to “add Jesus” to their lives. And the opposite is true as well. If we go out on the corner with a megaphone telling everyone to “turn or burn” we will turn people off to Jesus. But if we live our life believing the truths from today’s passage and then lovingly share them with others then we “make teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way”.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

November 13, 2014

Today you should read: Titus 2:1-8

Equal Standing, But Different Roles …

Coming out of chapter 1, Paul is now contrasting people who “profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works.”  We know this because Paul begins in chapter 2 with infamous words, “but as for you.”  Paul has used this phrase at other times in the book of 2 Timothy.  And here, Paul has just finished, in chapter 1, describing these false teachers whose lives don’t match their words.  Then he turns to Titus and tells him to be different.  He says, “But as for you…” live differently and lead differently.  Paul is painting the picture of how the church should look, and Titus will be following his instructions.

In our verses today, Paul is describing, “sound doctrine” in regards to gender roles and responsibilities within the church and home.  This is very important for a major reason.  He says in verse 6 that these roles and responsibilities should be followed, that the gospel may not be reviled.

Regardless of age or gender, we all have equal standing before God.  No one is greater and no one is lesser.  But just as within trinity, although there is equality, there is a difference in roles and responsibility.  Gender roles combine to accomplish great things for the kingdom of God.  And fulfilling these roles will represent the gospel to the world around us.  We can show the beauty of the Gospel (and not revile it) by fulfilling the responsibilities God has given us.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

Here are the focuses for each gender that Paul gives to Titus.  This is not an exhaustive list, and many of these roles should be the same for both genders, but it’s a great list to look at for gender roles and responsibilities:

Older men (and younger) are to:

  1. Exercise self-control
  2. Be worthy of respect
  3. Live wisely
  4. Have sound faith
  5. Be filled with love and patience

 

Older women (and younger) should:

  1. Live in a way that honors God
  2. Not slander others or be heavy drinkers
  3. Teach others what is good
  4. Train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands.

Paul lays this list out for us in a simple way.  Ask yourself today, how are you doing in your “assigned” roles and responsibilities?  This could be good to take with you as specific areas to work on in your daily life.  Will you give these areas effort?  Remember, when we live like this, the lost world around us will see the gospel in all of its beauty.  By fulfilling our roles, our families and churches can be walking billboards for what Jesus has done for us on the cross.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

November 12, 2014

Today you should read: Titus 1:10-16

I’m so excited about our brief journey in the book of Titus – This letter, of course, was written to Titus by Paul and deals with order in the church among other critical themes.  It’s what we call a Pastoral Epistle.  Titus is the pastor on the island of Crete.

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Paul begins this letter get right into the thick of it – The danger of misusing our words in God’s church.  This was a problem in the early church and is still a problem today.

Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” – was crazy!  Words are our primary weapon of choice to inflict pain on others.  As we so often say at Center Point – before you speak you should ask three questions and then speak accordingly:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it kind?
  • Is it necessary?

Let’s do a short Bible study today on these few verses and see what God teaches us.

  1. We are RESPONSIBLE for our words. (v.10)

Paul tells Titus to deal with the following issues in the church:

  • Rebellious people
  • Engaging in useless talk
  • Deceiving others

We must be cautious of all of these – not having a rebellious heart – not practicing useless talk (and we do), and not deceiving others.

Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes–these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.  Ephesians 5:4

It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.  Luke 17:2

NOTE:  This is especially true regarding salvation (v.10b).  The critical danger in adding anything (like works or baptism) to salvation or taking anything away is overwhelming.

  1. The DANGER: Turning from truth to false teaching.  (v.11)

People follow false teaching because they haven’t been taught truth.  Truth is the solution to false doctrine.  When you know truth – you won’t accept error.  We must be extremely careful about this today.  There are many top selling authors and “preachers” who are marketing false doctrine and Christians are buying it by the millions.  And I DO MEAN millions – remember what verse 11b says – they do it only for money. BE CAREFUL!

  1. We must not hold on to myths – but TRUTH with a pure heart. (v.14)

We worship myths and traditions often more than the truth of God’s Word.  Stop listening to myths and check everything out with Scripture.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.  Acts 17:11

  1. What we say and do REFLECTS our relationship with God. (v.16)

Remember it’s easy to proclaim our faith – but our faith isn’t confirmed by what we say – it’s by what we do.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’  Matthew 7:21-23

You can claim to know God with your lips but deny Him with you life.

What’s God speaking to you about today?  What do you need to tweak in your walk with Him?

Posted by: Tim Parsons