OUR TEACHER – “GRACE”
ILLUST: Reading the stories of missionary outreach through the centuries It becomes evident that when a tribe or group of people accept the gospel of Christ it affect the quality of life in the whole community. Tribes that were adversely affect by immorality and abuses of various kinds begin to change. Family life stablizes and even the economy of the community improves because people work hard and act more honestly and so on.
In missiological jargon we speak about the “uplfting effects of the gospel”. This phenomenon should not surprise us in the least. God’s salvation doesn’t only touch our spiritual life but it touches evert aspect of our lives.
The dichotomy between the spiritual world and the physical world is not a biblical one.Its a hangover from Greek thinking that has permeated our Western culture.
All the instructions that we looked at last week – the instructions to older women and older men, to younger women and younger men and to slaves – these directives are not detached from doctrine, in fact, it is exactly the opposite:
[v.10b KJV] “… That you may adorn the doctrine of God
our Saviour in all things.”
Doctrine is not something you find in dusty books in a Theological Library. Doctrine is to be practised. Abstract doctrine is useless – doctrine, teaching, must affect our behaviour.
That is what vv.1-10 are addressing. Now Paul moves on to give the motivation for this Christian living. The doctrinal basis.
Paul has just mentioned God our Saviour in v.10 and immediately GRACE is linked to it. So often in Paul’s writings this is the case. He can’t think of salvation without thinking of grace – rightly so! – the two are inseparable.
2. THE GRACE OF GOD HAS APPEARED …. [v.11]
…to bring into being A SAVED PEOPLE.
A HOLY PEOPLE
A SPECIAL PEOPLE
A HOPEFUL PEOPLE
Grace, the undeserved, unearned, favour of God. Grace is God’s spontaneous goodness that intevenes to deliver and help people. Grace here is almost personified – it is personified in the person of Christ. The picture of grace appearing is the vision of light suddenly breaking out.
ILLUST: Sunrise services on Easter Day in RSA on the Beach. The ky would glow and suddenly the sun was on the horizon of the Indian Ocean.
The Appearing of the grace of God does not only referto Jesus’s birth but also to his life, death, resurrection and ascencion.
For the God who said,”Let light shine out of darkness”
made his light shine in our hearts to give us the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
[2 Corinthians 4v6]
3. A SAVED PEOPLE [v.11; 14a].
Because of God’s grace we are A SAVED PEOPLE. Salvation is only possible because of God’s gracious favour.
Salvation and redemption go together.
He gave himself to redeem us from all wickedness [v.14a]
To redeem or to ransom is to pay a price in order to release from slavery. It was the language of the slave market. Kidnapper seek a ransom – a release price. And that is what Jesus did, not with silver and gold but by his blood. He, himself, said he would! That is why he came.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many [Mark 10v45]
There could be no redemption without blood
…the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me [Gal.2v20]
The emphasis is on the sacrificial act:
…the blood of Jesus God’s Son purifies us from all sin [1 John 1v7]
ALL MEN. What does Paul mean by this?
(1) Those who would like us to believe that this proves universalism – that everyone will ultimately be saved. If that is so the every references in Scripture to Judgement, hell and separation from God must be erased. If all will be saved what’s the point of preaching the gospel – so all those parts of scrpiture must be removed.
(2) Does it mean that all have opportunity to be saved. Well it is God’s desire that all men will come to know him.
… God our Saviour who wants all men to be saved and
to come to a knowledge of the truth [ 1 Tim. 2v4]
(3) The principle of interepting the Bible is that you must take every passage in its context. Paul has just been speaking about young and old, men and women, slaves and masters. It makes most sense therefore to take the all to mean that God’s grace makes no distinction between age , sex or social standing. All means all kinds of people in this verse.
4. A HOLY PEOPLE [v.12]
Because of God’s grace we are to be A HOLY PEOPLE.
It teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and
worldly passions, and to live self-controlled,
upright and godly lives in this present age.[v12]
Grace not only brings salvation it is also our teacher, trainer. It trains us to change our actions, our attitudes and our ambitions.
Negatively. It teaches us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldy passions.
Saved we are cleansed and made pure in our standing before God. But we are not yet perfect and the old nature within us rises up and wants to control us.
The opportunities for sin are endless.
The temptation to say those hurtful words.
The temptation to quarrel, to be self assertive, to be materialistic [to want more and better possessions]
The temptation to flirt with the opposite sex and to entertain immoral thoughts.
Paul says we have to learn to turn away from those things. It is not easy. And we are going to fall because we are not perfect but the grace of God helps us say NO to these things so that we are not dominated by the longing for pleasure, power and possessions.
Positively. BUT living a godliy life is not just saying NO! NO! NO!
It is also saying YES!
(1) TO ONE’S SELF. Self-control – selfmastery. Not all our desires and drives are sinful. By God’s grace they have to be trained in the right direction so that rather than controlling us we, by the Spirit’s power, control them.
(2) TO OUR NEIGHBOUR. “upright” Our faith in not just a private matter. It must be lived out in the community of the saints and in the community as a whole. Our lives must be open and honest.
Let your light so shine before men that they
may SEE your good works and glorify your
Father in heaven [Matt ]
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me
All his wondrous compassion and purity
Oh, Thou Spirit Divine
All my nature refine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
It is not easy – when we open our lives to people we are vulnerable – we can get hurt. And we probably will. Jesus said “I am sending out as sheep amongst wovles” Well that can be pretty dangerous. BUT we have the grace of God. It doesn’t take away the danger or the pain when we get hurt but it does help us cope.
(3) TO OUR GOD. godliness – devotion to our God. It means being self controlled an upright but also living in close communion with our Lord. In worship and prayer and study of His word and fellowship with his people.
IN THIS PRESENT AGE. Holiness and godliness is not only for the future it is also for the here and now. YES the world is a rotten place full of sin and corruption and immorality and selfishness. And it is here that God wants us to live godly lives.
The church is to have a preserving effect like SALT – how much worse would the world be if God was not present in his people. The world would self-destruct.
We can and we must influence the PRESENT AGE inwhich we live.
5. A SPECIAL PEOPLE. [v14b].
Because of God’s grace we are A SPECIAL PEOPLE.
…to purify for himself a people that are his very own…
In the OT God chose tha nation of Israel to be his special people.
Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth
the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession [Dt.14v2]
In the NT the church are the people of God His treasured possession
But you are a chosen people,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people belonging to God, .. [1 Peter 2v9]
God has chosen us and is now in the process of purifying us to make us more and more like Christ.
Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her
to make her holy, cleasning her through the
washing with water through the word. [Eph.5v26]
The word of God and the Spirit of God alway work together. As we heard and study the word of God His Spirit uses that word to clean us and change us, so that we become mature people.
6. A HOPEFUL PEOPLE. [V.13].
Because of God’s grace we are A HOPEFUL PEOPLE.
While we live in this present age this is not our home, the is not our goal, this is not our HOPE. Our hope is a BLESSED HOPE – The glorious appearing of Christ. Our hope is not in the Hope but in the OBJECT/PERSON hoped for.
The grace of God has already appeared [v11] when Jesus came the first time – we are waiting for the second appearing. Why is it a blessed hope? Because when it comes it will bring bliss, happiness, delight and glory.
When that hope is realised we will see Christ face to face and will be like him for we shall see him as he is [1 Jn.3v2]
We get excited when we are waiting at the airport for a loved one whom we haven’t seen for a long time. How much more for our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Debate as to whether this phrase is Our great God and our Saviour or our great God and Saviour.
I prefer the second – (1) the grammatical structure – one article not two “our”
– (2) theological – Jesus is the one who will return – it is his appearing that we await. SO I think it refers to One person not two. BUT ultimately God is one always!!
Because by his grace we are His SAVED, HOLY, SPECIAL, HOPEFUL PEOPLE we should be eager to do what is good.
We have a great salvation, let us, therefore, live lives that are worthy of our calling.