Who’s in Control?

Titus 2:1 ESV

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

All of us, who are in Christ Jesus, by faith in him, are teachers of the Word in one way or another. We may not all have the gift of teaching, but we teach others every day by our own lifestyles, by our speech, and by our attitudes.

As well, we, as Christ’s followers, are his holy people, set apart from the world, and set apart to God and to his service. Thus, we are to be proclaiming the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Pet. 2:9).

We, too, are the light of the world, which is a light that cannot be hidden, so we are to shine the light of the gospel wherever we go. And, we are to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth in showing others the way to salvation. And, we are to be speaking the truth in love to one another, and speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for the building up of the body of Christ in faith, and for the glory of God.

But, what we share of the Word of God with others needs to be sound in doctrine. So, how do we do that? For one, we don’t, not in our own strength, anyway. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth and then to give us the wisdom and guidance in what to share and how to say it. Yet, we are still flesh, so our understanding is somewhat limited (1 Co. 13:9, 12), but that is to keep us humble and always looking to God.

Then, we need to make certain of the context of whatever scriptures we share with people, for many false teachings come from taking scriptures out of their context or out of the context of scripture as a whole. So, make certain of the context first. And, then share as the Holy Spirit leads.

Titus 2:2-6 ESV

Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.

Although these instructions are given to various groups of people, there is not much here that does not apply to all of us, as well. All of us who are followers of Jesus should be serious-minded people, not taking life lightly.

But, in America, in particular, in our culture, and even within the church, it seems everything is a joke these days. Even many pastors have turned into comedians to entertain the masses.

But, it isn’t that we can’t enjoy life, but that we need to be serious about why we are here and about what God has called us to do, and we should all be doing the Lord’s work and not be focused on entertaining ourselves.

Titus 2:7-10 ESV

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

This should be true of all of us, as well. All of us should be models of good works, which are the works of God he has called us all to do. We should all be living examples of the life of Christ and of his gospel truths, and of his love and compassion.

Each one of us should be a person of integrity who makes it his or her practice to tell the truth, to live uprightly, and to be faithful in all that we do, and for us not to speak one thing, but then do another.

We should all be slaves of God and of Christ’s righteousness, too (Rom. 6:20-23). And, Jesus should be our Lord (owner-master), and thus we should live our lives in submission to him in everything. And, we are to live lives which are well-pleasing to Him, too.

Titus 2:11-14 ESV

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Many people these days get the idea of God’s grace that it is merely that he forgives us our sins so that we escape hell, and so we have the hope of heaven when we leave this earth. And, from the way many people teach his grace, it sounds like it is free license to continue in sin without guilt.

But, God’s grace to us is not merely forgiveness of sins. It is the eradication of sin out of our lives. It is not that we will never sin again, but that we are empowered from on high to not sin. For, Jesus set us free from the control of sin and Satan over our lives via his death on that cross, with the goal in mind that we would not sin, and that sin would no longer be our practice.

So, the grace of God which brings salvation to people is not just to forgive us our sins and promise us heaven when we die. His grace, which delivers us from our slavery (bondage) to sin, instead, instructs us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions. So, we are to resist Satan and flee from temptation and draw near to God. And, we are to throw off every sin which entangles us and every weight (hindrance) to our walks of faith so that we can run with perseverance the race God has marked out for us to run.

And, his grace instructs us that we are to live self-controlled lives, which are really Spirit-controlled lives, which means we no longer live lives under the control of Satan and sin and the flesh. The flesh no longer is in charge, but God is. The flesh no longer rules, but Jesus Christ is our Lord and master. So, we can say “No” to sin and to the devil, and we can put on our armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us.

And, instead of yielding to the flesh, and feeding it, we can now live godly and holy lives in the power and working of God’s Holy Spirit now living within us. For, this is what God’s grace is all about. Jesus died, not merely to forgive us our sins, but that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. He died, too, that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).

Thus, God’s grace to us is that he frees us from our slavery to sin so that we can now become bond-servants of God and of his righteousness. Now our lives should be given over to the Lord to do his will and to serve him in the ways he has for us. We should be yielded to him, willing to do whatever he asks us, and no longer should we be controlled by the passions of our flesh.

Thus, our lives should now be focused on serving our Lord, on doing what he has called us to do, and on living lives which are pleasing to him. Our eyes should be fixed on him and not on the pleasures this world has to offer us.

I Will Lift My Eyes

An Original Work / December 12, 2012
Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

8 thoughts on “Who’s in Control?

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