on the next installment of our legalism series

We took one week off for a week of evangelistic meetings. The meetings went reasonably well, we had a number of visitors and there seemed to be a positive reaction to the proceedings. Time will tell if the week will make an impact in lives or not.

Yesterday I returned to our summer series, ‘Law, Legalism, and Life’. The message this week was entitled “The Saved are Being Saved”. Our topic was the ongoing work of grace in our lives after salvation. Our text was Titus 2.11-12:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,

The first part of the message explained the nature of ongoing grace. There is such a thing as saving grace, the grace that saves men the moment they put their trust in Christ, repenting of their sins. If one were to die immediately after being born again, the grace of God in salvation would usher the soul into heaven.

Very few people enter heaven this way! Most believers are left on earth to experience the ongoing grace of ‘being saved’, the process of ongoing sanctification. Our passage says first that saving grace has appeared (most translations I consulted insert the word ‘bringing’ into v. 11, but the Gk suggests that ‘salvation for all men’ is in apposition to ‘the grace of God’. The main point of the verse is that saving grace has appeared.

The next verse begins with a word that shows us the process of ongoing sanctification: saving grace is ‘instructing’ us – in other words, a process of instruction is going on, all brought about by the saving grace of God working its way in our lives.

The content of the instruction is first seen in the negative, then the postive aspects. Saving grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Ungodliness is that which has contempt for God and spiritual things. Worldly lusts are those desires characterised by a ‘world-like-ness’, they are like the corrupt world around us. For example, some of our world exalts violence and rage – do you think grace has something to say to us about violent video games or movies or the like? We could multiply examples of things of this world in various categories, but grace teaches us to deny these things, to renounce them.

Saving grace also teaches us to live soberly (sensibly), i.e., with a disciplined mind under control. It teaches us to live righteously, i.e., according to a rule and standard. Yes! Standards are biblical! What is the ultimate standard? Jesus Christ. And saving grace teaches us to live godly, i.e., with our whole pattern of life, every moment of every day lived according to a rule of reverence for God and the things of God. It is the notion of 24/7 religion, not just Sunday AM religion.

May God help us to learn the lessons of grace, eschew the world, and live for Christ!

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Rory gave us another excellent message on identifying ourselves with Christ, not considering the risks to a Christian testimony, but trusting God for the power and love and sound mind to identify one’s self with the Lord. His text was 2 Tim 1.1-7, his title: “Take Your Stand for Jesus Christ.” His message was an excellent complement to the one I preached, but he arrived at his text and message with independent study and no hint from me what I was preaching about. Who do you suppose arranged that?

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We had fifty folks in church this week, mostly regulars with only a few visitors. We seem to be making some progress and have a solid group gathering together each week.

Regards,
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

UPDATE: Oops, forgot to post the notes for this message. Thanks to Jerry Bouey for pointing it out.

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