April 23, 2017 10:30 AM at FBC
Pastor Jerry Ingalls
“What do the following three have in common? A drowning swimmer. A man with prostate cancer. Someone trapped beneath an overturned car. Answer? They all need someone to save them. Second question: What will keep that someone from saving them? Answer? If the person in need will not accept the savior” (Moyer, 191).
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about the Savior who has come to those in need. The Gospel of Jesus Christ demands a decision to be made by those very people the Savior has come to save.
Today is the promised follow up on last week’s Easter proclamation. We will launch from the same passage (Titus 3:3-7) and unlike last week (where we focused on the sin issue found in verse 3, today we’ll review and then cover verses 4-7). Let’s now turn to our passage.
God’s Word from Titus 3:3-7: “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, 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 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 life.”
Let’s start with a quick review of last week’s teaching: The Bible teaches that we are all of humanity has a condition that separates us from God: Titus 3:3 states, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”
The Bible says that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In other words, we don’t meet the requirements to go to heaven to be with God. What we deserve for who we are apart from Christ is death—Hell is the wages of sin (Romans 6:23).
Many of us have been to funerals where people talk about someone being “in a better place” without reference to their relationship with Jesus. I’m not here to judge because God knows who are His, but there is a serious issue called sin that prevents any of us from going to Heaven apart from Jesus Christ. The gospel addresses this issue!
Jesus Christ came to break the grip of sin on your life and set you free to live a completely different life. We are not a little sick in need of medicine; we are totally dead in need of a Savior!
Ephesians 2:1, 4-5 proclaims the gospel so clearly and boldly, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins . . . BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”
Jesus Christ died on the Cross to take the condemnation we each deserve for our individual and collective sin! Jesus took what we deserve (death and Hell) so that we have access to what only He rightfully deserves (life and Heaven)!
Last week we learned that the Easter miracle is that Jesus Christ defeated death, rose from the grave, as a guarantee of eternal life in Heaven for all put their trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins!
The Gospel message is best captured in 2 famous passages (both of which should be memorized):
- Jesus’ statement in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
- Paul’s statement in First Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
THE GOSPEL TEACHES US THAT THERE IS MORE TO THE STORY THAN WHAT WE HAVE BEEN TOLD…we do not need to remain in our sin! In Jesus Christ, God intervenes in our story by inviting us to a better promise, a new purpose, and an eternal hope!
Illustration from my train trip into Hungary.
Let us now examine these three things in our Scripture lesson from Titus 3:4-7:
- IN JESUS CHRIST, GOD OFFERS YOU A BETTER PROMISE! Titus 3:4 says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared.” I now have a better promise that is greater than my ambitions and appetites; a promise that is based on the goodness and loving kindness of a Savior. It is the promise of Immanuel: God’s unchanging promise is that He is with us and will never leave us nor forsake us!
The Great Commission, before it is our directive, contains the sacred promise of the God who saves: “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
- IN JESUS CHRIST, GOD OFFERS YOU A NEW PURPOSE! Titus 3:5 continues, “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” I now have a new purpose to live because of God’s mercy that is new every day. A daily refreshing mercy that directs my life as assuredly as the morning sunrise draws me to the east! God’s unchanging purpose is to seek after people who are still in their sins and to save them! God uses the people He has already saved to be a part of this rescue operation.
Now, knowing God’s promise in the Great Commission, hear God’s authorization of your new purpose, “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).
And Titus emphasizes the Holy Spirit (“by the washing and regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit”). God, through His Spirit, is the One who transforms us from life to death, into the purposes of God for our life. Without the Holy Spirit in both our personal lives and our corporate lives as the Church, we cannot live out our new purpose. Listen to Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Do you see how the promise and purpose are intertwined? The third element is like a cord of three strands that holds them together:
- IN JESUS CHRIST, GOD OFFERS YOU AN ETERNAL HOPE! Titus 3:6-7 finishes, “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 life.” I now have a new and greater hope than my own success and labels; a hope that will not disappoint. It is a hope unparalleled by anything the world can offer; a wholeness amidst the shattering of life’s illusions; and a guarantee sealed by a love that knows no bounds. God’s eternal hope is that my identity is secure and unchanging in Jesus Christ!
Listen to the Bible proclaim of this great hope from First Peter 1:3-9, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,  obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
The Bible teaches us what the currency of Heaven is: faith, hope, and love. Listen to First Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
God, in His great love, called us to invest our lives in these three things.
- The promise of God is ours through faith. You must come in agreement with God that you are a sinner, unable to save yourself and in need of a Savior.
- The purpose of God is His everlasting love that is unchanging and lived out in love for God and our neighbor. You must come in agreement with God that Jesus Chris is who He said He is, the perfect Son of God who took your place on the Cross (He died as a substitute for your sin!).
- The hope of God is our eternal life in Heaven. You must come in agreement with God that in Jesus Christ alone there is salvation; without Him, the judgment that awaits Satan awaits you.
Friends, you are called to do more than understand this, you must agree with it and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. Today, you have an opportunity…
Here is your opportunity: Right now, today, put your full trust in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Way, Truth, and Life that will truly set you free: free from sin and free to live with a better promise, a new purpose, and an eternal hope. Jesus is inviting you today…
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.