Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sermons Podcast

Hey, I've uploaded three of my sermons that I could find in audio format.

or direct links

Christian Godliness in the World - Titus 3

A God you can depend on - Joel 2:18-27

True Life - John 11

you can also go here to view the main page.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Christian Godliness in the World

Hi, My latest sermon to give you food for thought!

Titus 3 – Christian Godliness in the World
(Second reading 1 Timothy 4)

How would you feel,
if your regular doctor,
who was cardiac sergeant,
was living a lifestyle which would lead you to question if he was really a doctor.

Every time you go to see him,
he assures you that you are in good health,
yet you notice that he is always coughing,
his always smoking, and is always eating mac'as.
Every time you ring up for advice, he is always at the local bar drinking.

Now, I don’t about you, but that would make me question,
it would make me question his claims about me being in good health and even his claim about being a doctor.

Christian sometimes fall into this problem as well, they claim to have the knowledge of truth,
yet their speech and their lives do not show it.

Point 1 - Truth leads to Godliness (v3-8)

Now, the knowledge of the truth has been a common theme throughout the book of Titus
and we have seen that knowledge of truth and Godliness cannot be separated,
they go together.

So when the truth is taught faithfully,
ungodliness is renounced
but when the truth is not taught,
for those who deny God like the Cretans,
they actually turn to myths and they are liars and are detestable and disobedient.

So what is this knowledge of truth?
Well Paul helps us out in verse 8,
he says this is a trustworthy saying, this is the truth.

What is this trustworthy saying that he is talking about,
well we need to go back to verse 4 where he gives us an explanation of what God has done for us.

But before we start looking at verse 4 together, let’s turn our attention to God in prayer.
Heavenly father, we give you great thanks that you have revealed yourself through your word and we ask you now to help us, to help us understand your word and to grow in Christ-likeness, We ask this through Jesus’ name, Amen.

So, let’s pick it up from verse 4,
“When the kindness and love of God our saviour appeared, he saved us”.

What did God saved us from?

Well verse 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”.

This image of human life that we see in verse 3 is an unpleasant image
and it’s an image of human life without the grace of God.

It’s a life where we were foolish and disobedient,
were we lacked any sense or knowledge of what is right,
where we were both mentally and morally deprived.

We were deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.

Most Australian’, while they might muck from time to time, would say that they are generally a good person,
however this verse tells us that we weren’t good people
because we were deceived and enslaved to evil desire,
we were enslaved to sin and there was nothing we could do,
to not live this way.

And as a result we lived in malice and envy,
being hated and hating one another.
We resented each other and we were hostile towards one another.

It is because of this reason that we could not know God
and that we need someone to save us,
someone to rescue us from our bondage to sin
and to change us into new people who know and live for God.

So when the kindness and love of God our saviour appeared,
he saved us,
and he saved us not because of any righteous things we had done,
but because of his mercy.

Now if we are truly deprived and enslaved to sin,
then really,
there is nothing we can do to save ourselves.

Yet, our world seems to think this is not the case,
our world tells us that true happiness,
salvation is found from within.

Even those who claim to be religious,
they think that they can earn God’s favour,
God’s salvation from within by good works.

However this isn’t the salvation Paul is talking about,
notice in verse 4 that we have been saved from depravity by the appearing of God our saviour.

The Lord Jesus our saviour is our source of salvation,
he is the one who has rescued us,
he is the one who has revealed God to us
and this salvation is entirely from God’s own heart,
from his kindness, from his love, his grace and his mercy in sending Jesus.

How does God’s mercy in sending Jesus save us?

Well Verse 5, “God saves us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour” And who verse 7, has justified by his grace.

God in his mercy has justified us
which means that he has declared right,
he has declared us forgiven,
by the death of Jesus on the cross
and by his grace.

And at the same time God has also changed our hearts,
he has made us into a new creation,
giving us new birth
which basically means that he has changed us to know and follow him,
to be like Christ,
and his done this through the Holy Spirit.

Now I wonder if you have noticed that the only reason you are saved,
that you know God,
is because God has saved you himself.

He has done this through Jesus,
by the justification that came by his blood,
he has done it through the Holy Spirit,
by whom he gave you new birth and a renewed heart
and it is motivated by his kindness and he love.

God the father, the son and the Holy Spirit work together in an amazing way to bring salvation to you.

So, why have you been saved,
what is you purpose?

Verse 7, you have been saved, “so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

Did you know that your purpose for your Christian life is to become an heir,
an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ?

God has saved us for this purpose,
he saved us to become an heir of God,
and because we are heirs,
we now have a great hope and great assurance of fullness of life with God forever,
the hope of eternal life.

Now, this salvation that we have just heard,
Paul is telling us in verse 8,
that it is trustworthy,
that it is the truth and that it must be trusted.

And Paul wants timothy to stress these things, to insist these things,
“so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good” or literally, devoted to do good works.

If you have trust in God,
then you know this truth of salvation,
you have the knowledge of truth,
however this trust in God,
isn’t just head knowledge,
but it’s a trust which leads to good works,
which leads to Godliness.

Paul isn’t saying that we are saved by good work,
he already established that we are saved by grace,
but he is actually saying that good works is the necessary fruit and evidence that we have been saved.

Now, if we are saved people,
if we are renewed people,
then a true knowledge of the truth will actually shape the way you think and the way you act,
to do God’s will,
to be like Christ,
to be devoted to good works.

It like we heard last week,
where you can’t have knowledge of truth without Godliness, without a response which expresses our relationship with God.

Let me encourage you
and urge to grow in knowledge of the truth,
to be reminded of the salvation God has given you,
to know God,
to listen to his voice,
to read your bibles and study his word
so that you may know how to be devoted to doing good works because good works is excellent and it’s profitable for everyone.

Point 2 – Duty for life in the world (v1-2, 9-11)

Now in Titus so far,
we have seen what it looks like to be an heir of God,
we have seen what it looks like to be Christian who is devoted to good works in different roles and situations.

In chapter 1,
we saw Christian duty in the church,
how elders and leaders of the church are meant to live and what they are to teach.

In chapter 2 we saw Christian duty in the home,
how men, women and slaves are to live
and what they are to teach.

Now in chapter 3 Paul goes on to talk about Christian duty in the world,
how Christians who are devoted to good works are meant to respond to the world,
to the community around us.

So firstly, how are Christian meant to respond to rulers and authorities?

Well verse 1, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good”.

We are commanded to be obedient,
to be obedient to those in the world who have rulership and authority over us.

Does this mean that we obey and do everything they tell us?

Well no,
because that would be idolatry,
it would be worshiping them rather then worshiping God.

Peter in Acts 5 tells us that we must obey God rather then men.
So our first allegiance is to God,
however if a ruler or those in authority
command us to do something which is not in collision with God’s commands,
then our duty is to obey them.

We are called to obey them because as Paul tells us in Romans 13, those in authority have actually been delegated to it by God for the duties of punishing evil and promoting good.

Notice that this verse also tells us to be ready to do whatever is good
because it’s not enough just to be obedient to rulers and authority
but we actually need to be ready to cooperate with them
and help them to complete their duties.

Now what about everyone else in the world,
what about non-Christians,
how are we to relate to them?

Verse 2, we are to “slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.”

Friends, we are being watched,
make sure that your speech and your behaviour reflects your devotion to doing good works,
make sure you are pointing people to Jesus by your Christ-likeness of character.
Don’t slander anyone,
don’t be argumentative but be considerate,
show gentleness and graciousness,
show humility,
and meekness towards all men just as Jesus did.

Are you considered,
and gracious towards all people?

What about the people who get on your nerves and really annoy you?
Do you show humility and courtesy to them?
Or do you get angry and prideful?

Remember that you too, verse 3,
where once foolish,
disobedient and deceived,
you too once where once anti-social.

But God has changed you,
he has saved you and has renewed you heart,
with the knowledge of the truth,
with the news about salvation.

It is not enough to just affirm that the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
We must be able to say that he saves us,
he saved me
and he can save you.

And you see by being obedient to the authorities,
by being humble,
and showing courtesy towards all men,
in doing this,
we have the opportunity to point people to the knowledge of truth,
to point people to Jesus.
People will ask why, why are we different.

Now if good works is excellent and profitable for everyone as we have just seen,
then what isn’t profitable?
What is it that we are meant to avoid?

Well verse 9, “but avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless”.

Is this verse saying that we should not debate and disagree with people?
No, because Jesus himself was a controversialist,
he was always in constant debate with the religious leader of his day.
We heard last week that God expects us to be intolerant,
to have discernment when it comes to knowing the truth.
And we saw in chapter 1 that false teachers need to be silenced and rebuked.

No, Paul isn’t saying that we shouldn’t debate with people
but he is saying that we need to avoid speech which is foolish.

One thing I’ve noticed talking to non-Christian over the years on university campus
is that people love talking about evolution,
about the big bang,
about church corruption,
even Christian’s love talking about them.

Now there is nothing wrong about debating over these issues,
but the thing I noticed was that,
just talking about these issues without actually getting to the truth,
getting to the gospel was,
like this verse says,
unprofitable and useless.

Having clever arguments isn’t going to bring people into a relationship with God,
it’s the knowledge of the truth,
it’s the Gospel,
it’s Jesus that bring people into relationship with God.

What about if someone amongst us is divisive and not teaching the truth?

Well verse 10, “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self condemned.”

Paul commands Titus to discipline them,
to warn them once,
and if they continue,
warn them again,
and if they refuse to repent after the second warning,
have nothing to do with them because they are warped and are sinful.

In the 1 timothy passage that we read earlier this evening,
like Titus chapter 3,
we are told to remember the truth,
to grow in Godliness,

to command and teach the truth,
to watch your life and doctrine closely,
and if you do this,
you will save both yourself and your hearers.

This implies that the danger with a person who is divisive
and who doesn’t repent is that they will condemn not only themselves but their hearers’ as well. They need to be disciplined.

Do you watch your life and doctrine closely?
Are you devoted to doing good works?

And if you are,
are you making the most of the opportunity which come before you, whatever the place is,
if it’s at work,
or at home,
or with friends,
do you point others to the truth,
do you point others to Jesus?

Well let me encourage you to start talking to people about Jesus.

As you might of heard,
this year we have the connect 09 campaign,
a Sydney wide mission to reach the lost in our community.

Make sure that you are gracious,
showing humility,
courtesy to all men,
and do start praying for opportunities and you know God will give those opportunities to you. So start praying now!

Point 3 – Final Personal Messages (v12-15)

Finally in verses 12-15,
Paul makes some final remarks to Titus.

Titus was originally left in Crete to set things right
and soon he is going to be replaced by either Artemas or Tychicus.
In the mean time he is to do his best to meet Paul in Nicopolis
and when Zenas and Apollos arrive in crete,
he is to make sure their needs are met.

Paul reminds us again in verse 13,
that all Christians “must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives”.

Again we see Paul emphasising the need for Christians to do good works and especially to provide for people with pressing needs.
Good works must be the logical and the natural expression of our trust in God, and if this is the case, we won't be fruitless.

finally, in verse 15,
we see that faith is the thing that unites all Paul’s companions together
and all Christians together in love,
faith in the grace of God,
faith that God has justified us,
faith that he has renewed us,

for the purposes of being an heir of God and the having the hope of eternal life.

Friends, let me remind you again that this salvation that God offers,
which is totally at God own expense,
is trustworthy,
it is the truth.

Therefore make every effort to know the truth,
to keep reading your bibles
and be reminded of the salvation that God offers,
so that you may know how to be devoted to doing what is good
because it is excellent and profitable for all people.

Grace be with you all, Amen.