Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 years ago

How a Person Can Change

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

These remain standing, and let's hear God's Word From Titus chapter three, tightus three, but this is tightus three. I'm going to read versus three through eight and then twelve through fifteen at the end, and then next week we'll look at those verses in between those two sections. So Titus three one through eight remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle and to show perfect courtesy toward all people, for we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient. Let us stray slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God, our Savior, appeared, he saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on US richly through Jesus Christ, to our Savior, so that, being justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 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. And now, verse twelve, when I send Artemis or Tichicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nico Paulus, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Do your best to speed Zenus, the lawyer and to Paulus on their way. See that they lack nothing, and let our people learn to devote themselves to good works so as to help cases of virgent need and not be unfruitful. All who are with me, send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen, please be seated well. These final verses in Titus remind us of the context of this letter. It's a letter, a written by a Paul, amongst a number of people are co workers. He describes them a fellow soldiers, workers for this common cause of spreading the Gospel. He's writing to titus, another one of these a CO workers. He calls him at the beginning of the book in Titus one for a true child in a common faith. On this to he has written to titus this. A true child in the common faith is coworker in Christ for the purpose of establishing a church or many churches there. In Crete, we read this in verse five of Chapter One. This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order and a point elders in every town, as I directed you, Paul has a desire to see that the Gospel that he has a begun, that has been preached here, and the spirit that has brought...

...forth, the fruit of faith and faith itself, that it be further established, that, as he says later on, that what remains be established. Paul has talking to tide us as a pastor and wants him to do the work as a pastor, and he's been instructing him in that. And one of the prominent themes that has come out a particularly in the last half of the book is this theme of good works. You read it in verse fourteen. And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works. This is something Paul Wants for the Churches of Christ and, as it comes to us from the very spirit of God. We can say that this is what God wants for his churches, this is what God wants for us, he wants his people, he wants us to learn to devote ourselves to good works. Here, at the end of the book, He gives two particular reasons, so as to help in cases of urgent need and not be unfruitful. You Remember, back in chapter two there are a number of other reasons he gave on why we are to devote ourselves to good works and live out our callings in the various stations of life God has given us. He's called us to live in a way that honors his name, in ways that won't revile cause the word of God to be reviled, ways that will be a pleasing to God. We see it, we saw this theme also in Verse Fourteen of Chapter Two, were we read that God did this saving work so that him who gave himself for us to redeem us, that he redeemed us from all lawlessness, to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. So we are to be devoted to good works, we read at the end of chapter three. Yet the end of Chapter Two we wead that God im did his work that we might be zealous for good works. And then in verse eight of Chapter Three, we read that 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. So if there's any question at all ever in your minds as to whether or not we should be devoted to good works, let that never be asked again. It's perfectly clear, crystal clear. A God wants us to care, to be in love with, to be devoted to good works. What does that look like? Well, you might compare to other things that you are devoted to or people are devoted to. Consider a man, for example, who is said to be devoted to his wife. What does he do for her? Well, he pays attention to her, he knows her, he gets he does everything he can to understand her, her and serve her. He is by her side, he is careful to be with her, to love her, and in every way he gives himself up for her. A man that is not devoted to his wife is one who goes after other women, one who doesn't care about her. Doesn't spend time with her, I'm doesn't pay attention to to her. You can say similar things about good works. To be devoted good works means to care about them, to think of them as an important thing, the the it is the proverbs often describe the fool as the one who simply doesn't care, one who is ignorant of them. It's the wise person who goes after understanding the moral order that God has set in place and really seeks to know it. Is devoted to wisdom, not just in knowledge but the application of it. When we're devoted something,...

...it means caring about it, learning about it, it means trying and trying again even when we fail, because it's what we love. We're devoted to it. Well, in addition to saying that we here to be devoted to good works, zealous for good works in our lives, Paul at the beginning of chapter three, gives some particulars of that in versus one through one and two. He gives very specific commands. So if we were to ask, okay, Lord, how are we supposed to live, then I'm what are the ways in which we are supposed to be devoted to good works? We have several listed right here. There of course others, but let's pay to the attention to the ones appall mentions. He says remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. If you look at this checklist and consider the last few hours, the last week, the last year, your life as a whole, how do you evaluate yourself? God has put rulers and authorities over all of us. Every one of us have people that are in charge and are to be submitted to. Have you done that? Are we obedient? Are we not just doing good works, but are we ready for good works? And what of our tongues? Do we speak in evil ways of other people? Do we not only not quarrel but avoid quarreling? Do we seek to be gentle and show perfect court to see toward all people? These are the kinds of works that God says we, as Christians, are to be devoted to, and you can see them in stark contrast with verses three and four, for we ourselves were once foolish disobedient, let us stray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. If you take these two characterizations and you imagine two people, one that is submissive, obedient, ready for good, every good work, speaking evil of no one, pursuing gentleness, avoiding quarreling and showing perfect courtesy toward all people, and you have another one who is foolish, disobedient and slave to their passions and pleasures, hating people, being hated and passing his days in malice and envy. Which one do you want to be like? which person do you want to live with? What kind of society would you want to have? When we imagine this first person, this one that is submissive and obedient and gentle and ready for every good work, imagine for a moment what our communities, our campuses, are churches, would be like if we were this kind of people. What if only the Christians in the world did this kind of thing? How awesome would that be? How wonderful and pleasurable it would be to live a life like that, to be a person like that, to be known and be loved by people like that. When we consider the attractiveness of that kind of life, when we consider the God who commands us to it, when we consider the grace we have been given and being delivered from a different kind of life into that, we find ourselves hopefully wanting to do these kinds...

...of things. How how do we do these kinds of things? How do we become this kind of person, this kind of pleasurable, enjoyable, wise good person? Well, there's all kinds of practical things we could consider, all kinds of really great tips and suggestions which should be learned and employed. But let's focus on the thing that God gives us to focus on. What is Paul's answer to this question? What does Paul say to Titus? He says in verse a, 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, Paul says to Titus. All right, pastor, I want you to insist on these things, saw that the people will be devoted to good works, those people that have believed in God, Christians. Well, what are the these things? What are the things that Paul that God himself wants this pastor and all ministers to not just mention, but insist on, focus on, spend their time on. Well, it's what we have in versus three through eight. First we've already read versus verse three. This describes our sinful state. Ministers of God are supposed to describe our sinful state, to point out what we once were, what we have been rescued from, what the flesh and side is like because of original sin, and that's bad. Versus three says we were once foolish, disobedient, led astray and so on, slaves to various passions and pleasures. But the minister is not only to describe and remind people of their sinful states, but to remind them as Christians. That's that's that. That is something that they have come out of. Verse Four. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God, our Savior, appeared, he saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy. This is what we call the good news. This is what we call the Gospel, which means good news. God has gone to people that are enslaved to sin, hating people spending their days not just in laziness, but spending their days, passing their time in malice and envy, and he saved them. God has come into the world, his God, our Savior, has appeared. Mention here of Jesus Christ being manifested, made flesh, and he saved us. Not because we rescued ourselves out of this sinful states, no, but because of God, according to his own mercy. We read, then, not only of our sinful states and not only the appearing of God our Savior, but of this great work that he has done, and Paul describes this in such beautiful terms. He saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration...

...and the 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 wife. I want you to insist on these things. It's trustworthy, and when you insist on these things, tight us that people of God will devote themselves to good works. Isn't that amazing? Paul, of course, wants him pete but wants tied us to remind people of their duties to God, he says, remind them to be submissive to rulers, authorities, and so on and so forth. He wants tied us to tell them the law, but he tells him specifically that these things won't happen unless he insists on the Gospel. That is how we are changed, that's how churches are grown, that's how we are established in the faith and begin to produce the things that we want to produce. That's the answer to the question. How can we be these, this kind of people? And the answer is by the grace of God. He justifies us in Jesus Christ, not according to our righteousness, but according to his. He confirms our hope in him by giving us an inheritance of eternal life. He says that we in Jesus become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. He says, in these few verses packed so tightly with so many Gospel truths, that he gave us the spirit who cleanses us, washes US and renews us. These are promises that were promised back in the Old Testament. Ezekiel, thirty six, twenty five I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean from all your uncleanliness and from all your idols. I will cleanse you. Hebrews ten, twenty two. Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water, the Holy Spirit. Not only does God desire to save us and sends a savior, but then he sends us a spirit to sprinkle as clean, to wash US and renew us. We even read in these verses here on that this washing, of regeneration and then renewal of the Holy Spirit comes when he is poured out richly on us through Jesus Christ, our Savior. He didn't just give us the Holy Spirit, he poured out the Holy Spirit richly on you, on you, who is sinful, hating, full of malice and envy. God has poured himself out on you, called you a son, made you an air, rescued you from sin and death, all because of his grace. So we are right to ask how are we changed? And the answer is by the grace of God. How does that happen? How is it the pastor might ask himself. By insisting on the truths of the Gospel, the people of God will be careful to devote themselves to the works of the law, zealous even. How is it that the preaching of the Gospel can turn people, can page people and even bring about excellent and profitable lives?...

Well, it's my hope that you already have the beginning of this answer, if not more, in your heart. In hearing the goodness of your heart, if in hearing the goodness of the grace of God that was given to you, who didn't deserve it, this wonderful gift of God himself giving himself to you, if that doesn't make you want to serve God, then there's a problem inside. If the Gospel hasn't touched you in a way that has changed you, if when you when you receive and hear of the good gifts of God being granted to you, and you kind of shrug your shoulders and say there's a problem and we should talk the Gospel, the the good news of the grace of God works in us in a way that we almost can't help but respond with obedience and love and worship. Now, it's true, we don't always do this, and it's why tied us is called to remind them of these things. Even though this fruit is produced in us by the spirit, we are called to work in it. But when we hear the Gospel, we become like children thinking about their birthdays. When we hear the Gospel, the good news about how we have been reborn and be nude by the grace of God and the Holy Spirit, we smile. We think, isn't this amazing? Look at what God has has done for me, and this begins to answer the question. When we hear and, more importantly, when we believe, these things, we find that we're careful to devote ourselves to good work out of the necessity of the spirit of God working in our hearts. The sorrow that you feel for sin, the hatred that you feel of the of the sin in your life, that comes from the spirit of God working in you bringing about repentance in your life, the gratitude that you feel, the thankfulness that you have inside, the assurance that is there of what God has done for you, that he has indeed adopted you as his child. This comes because of him working in you. When we know the works that God has done for us, we begin to respond by nature, by spiritual nature, in praise and obedience. When we don't hear the Gospel, when we don't believe the Gospel, the opposite happens. We hear of the duties God has commanded and we despair. We think of our sin and we think, well, that's it. We think of the obstacles in the world, the inevitability of death, the Vanity of life, just spinning on and on and on, without really anything happening except more evil and more sin. Without the Gospel, we're left with nothing but death and depression despair. But with the Gospel we have the promise, the hope, the assurance of something new, something real, something confirmed, and we can have confidence in it, beloved, because it is not a work done by us in righteousness. We didn't drill deeper down into the Aquifer of our evil and fine goodness all of a sudden. No, we are given the grace of God, the spirit poured out richly on us. That is how the change happens and that is how the change continues to happen. God Not only justifies us by the righteousness of Christ, but he continues to work in us to conform us to his image. The reason you desire these things and the reason you will...

...pursue, in zeal and, devotion, Godliness and service and worship is because God is working in you and he will continue to work in you. So when you despair of your sin and when you feel the weight of it and the oppression of it, and and and and in then the recognition of it yet once again, in one more week, one more failure, do not despair but hear of the greater works of Jesus Christ, of God the Father and God the spirit, who has been at work in the world and is also at work in you. And so, as Christians, we are called to think deeply about the law of God, to pursue it in hardy hearts and full devotion, full steam ahead. But we do it as people who have been changed by grace and who know that when we fail in this, we can go back to God again for forgiveness and for grace, knowing that he will continue us and persevere us to the very end because, as the Bible says, Jesus Christ is both the author and perfector of our faiths. May God grant us this kind of faith. Let us pray our father in heaven we thank you for setting your loving eye is on us. We did not deserve this. We fully admit to you our sinfulness are in both our particular acts and in the nature of our flesh, and we ask, Oh God, that you would humble us as we see these things, that you would help us to hate the flesh that is in us, that the evil that remains, to turn away from our wickedness and our evil. We asked, Lord, that you would help us to turn not merely away from from these things, but unto Jesus, who promises to change US and renew us and to wash US clean. Lord, without him, the darkness around us and in our hearts overwhelms us, it enslaves us. We asked, Lord, that you would break these chains, that you would set us free all will because of the powerful grace that comes to us in Jesus, poured out to us by the spirit. We ask, Lord, that you would put our confidence in him and that you would help us, I'm to believe, this message of Chrace, so that we may no longer live in our sin but might live according to the spirit, slaves and righteousness and of good works. We asked, Lord, we pray for this particular congregation of your people, for this particular or expression of your church. We ask, Lord, that we would not be lazy or foolish about the law, but would be devoted to it, zealous for it, striving after every good work that we might please you. But, Lord, keep us from sinful pride and keep us from failure. Keep us, Lord, in your grace and help us to work not according to our strength, but according to the strength of the spirit of working in us. We ask, Lord, that you would do this, as we think about the particular needs of your people that have been mentioned this evening. In all of these particular circumstances, we asked that you would help your people to acquit themselves well and that you might be glorified by your work in us. Pray for Leeds to and and her husband Bill.

We asked that you would be with him in these surgeries and that you would help him to recover. We also pray for this blood clot that he has and asked that you would bring him healing and, as you do that, Lord, we asked that he would become very aware of your mercy and would turn to you for his salvation. We also pray for Steve and Sarah Wilson. We asked that you would be with them as they.

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