Toward a Gospel Culture, Titus 2:1-6

Main Point: Healthy doctrine produces godly people.

We live in a day when gospel-fueled men, women, and families shine brightly and are attacked ferociously. The apostle Paul wrote in a day when gospel-fueled men, women, and families shone brightly and were attacked ferociously. Christians have always stood out for blessing or for persecution because of the healthy doctrine that men should look and act like men and women should look and act like women.

In this day, our call as a church is to be counter-cultural. But we are not to stand on the outside of our culture blowing the whistle and throwing the penalty flag. Instead, we are called to live out the implications of sound doctrine in the culture. We need sound doctrine and faithful teaching in order to shine like lights in this crooked generation. We are here because healthy doctrine produces godly people. The deeper we go into the reality of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the more winsome we should become. Sound doctrine produces sound men. Healthy doctrine produces healthy women. A robust church family produces robust biological families.

I want to take the opportunity provided by Mother’s Day to teach what accords with sound doctrine. I want us to consider the implications of the gospel for the family. We’ll take up Titus 2:1-6 as our text today. Working through the passage, we will give some attention to older men, older women, and younger men. The majority of the text is devoted to younger women, mothers in particular, and so we will give the majority of our attention in this sermon to mothers.

Together, let’s take another step in our growth as a gospel-fueled church filled with godly men and women. Let’s read Titus 2:1-6. This is what Christ has purchased and grace produces.

In verse 1, Titus is commanded to teach what accords with sound doctrine. Pastors are called to help the church work out the implications of good healthy doctrine. It is not enough to teach the truth; pastors must help the members live in step with the truth.

Let’s look at how older men, older women, young women, and young men are called to live. First, lets define those categories. We can’t be dogmatic, but it is safe to say the young would start with the teenage years and the old would start with the 40’s. Let’s start with

I. A vision for older men

Verse 2 addresses older men, “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.”

  • Older men should be godly pillars

I chose the word pillar because when I think of a pillar, I think of that strong support that holds everything up. The presence of older men should produce a sense of safety and strength in the members. He is godly, honorable, selfless, and dependable. In an ever changing world, we should look at the older men and say, “Thank God he is here.”

Women, what type of man are you looking for? Men, what type of man should we strive to be? Verse 2, older men should be sober-minded. The simplest meaning here is don’t be a drunk. A drunk old man is a great shame. But this word means more than never drunk. It is right to expand the requirement to sober-minded. Godly older men are called to be thoughtful, clear, and discerning. Add the next word, “dignified.” We are beginning to see the picture of a man who thinks clearly about what needs to happen and he carries himself in a way that is worthy of respect. He’s not a fool or a goober. He has wisdom and is worthy of honor because he is living obviously for the glory of God and the good of others.

Older men should be sober-minded, dignified, and self-controlled. Self-control is an important word in this letter to Titus. According to Titus 1:8, elders must have self-control. Older men, young women, and young men must be self-controlled. In Titus 2:12 it is God’s grace that trains all of us to live self-controlled lives. Grace trains us to turn away from selfishness for the good of others. In Titus, the emphasis on self-control is matched by the call to be devoted to good works. Doing good works is mentioned seven times in this short book (1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 5, 8, 14).

Older men should be marked by good sense. Knowing the good, and possessing control of themselves, they should pursue the good in an honorable way. So, the wisdom of the aged is displayed in men who know what is good and pay the price to attain the good.

Verse 2 goes on to call men to the standard of sound in faith, love, and steadfastness. To be sound is to be correct and accurate. Older men, we need you to master the faith. Let the world figure out how to make more money. You figure out how to follow Jesus. And instead of pulling away from relationships the older you get; we need you older men to keep loving. Keep giving, keep serving, keep sacrificing. Old men should be models of biblical conviction, sacrificial love, and enduring strength. Sure, you can’t dig postholes like a 20 year old, but you know how to endure the ups and downs of culture and suffering and loss. Older men, man up! We need you. We need godly pillars. Now,

II. A vision for older women

Verses 3-5 develop a picture of godly womanhood. Women receive more instruction here, not because more is required of them than men, but because so much of Scripture is already addressed to men. Right now, let’s honor women.

Read verse 3 with me, “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.” The expectations for older men are matched by the expectations for older women.

  • Older women should be godly priestesses

We need godly pillars and godly priestesses. I get priestesses from the word behind our English “reverent in behavior”. Her actions should be the obvious product of her religious beliefs. She should live out the pursuit of holiness. Sound doctrine must be the reason for her good works. This means a godly older woman enters every situation like a priestess entering the temple. She serves her family and her church with the understanding that she is serving her God.

It is unthinkable that there would be gossip or slander on her lips. Dirty old men are a shame and gossiping old women are a disgrace. The warning concerning alcohol is also here. Older men must be sober and older women must not be slaves to much wine. Ladies, you know your life is a waste if you are sitting around drinking wine and talking about other women. God doesn’t want you to gossip about other women, God wants you to teach younger women.

Verse 3 commands older women to teach young women what is good. Now, there are more women on this earth than ever before and there seems to be more confusion about being a woman than ever before. Why is that? Older women are not rising up to their calling. Older women, we need you to teach young women what is good. Older women, God expects you to be actively teaching young women what is good. Show them and lead them to live out the glories of womanhood. In a culture pressing men to act like women and women to act like men, we need you to shine brightly. The vision for young women creates the lessons plans for older woman.

III. A vision for young women

Older women we need you to pursue this vision, verse 4, “so train the young women to love their husbands and children.”

  • Young women should be taught

The big and broad great commission, “go and make disciples,” finds its feminine expression here. God does not want young women to figure life out on their own. We need godly older women to teach. Many young women are frustrated in life needing a godly priestess. So what verse 4 does is give young women the freedom and encouragement to ask older women for help. Verse 4 gives older women the freedom and encouragement to ask young women if they can help. God expects older women to teach young women. Now back to those lesson plans

  • Young women should be loving wives and mothers

The world has puppy love and maternal instincts. We must go beyond infatuation and nesting. The older women of the church should be actively raising up the joyful, intentional, and sacrificial love of Christ in the church. In Crete, where Titus was serving the churches, the world was telling women to love themselves and look after themselves. Abandon husband and child for self! Against this cultural pressure Titus was called to teach sound doctrine in such a way that older women took up the responsibility for teaching young women how to love. We need a solid definition of love. Here it is: love is the giving of self for the good of others. Love is the sacrifice of self for the good of others.

Warm mushy feelings come easily early on but unfortunately, they will soon fade. The requirements of marriage and parenting will soon tempt each young woman to resent husband and children. A mother of small children is exhausted by sleepless nights. A mother of grade school children is exhausted by the never-ending pile of laundry, dishes, schoolwork, and events. Constantly teaching, correcting, comforting, and refereeing can be grueling. Without the careful craft of older women, young women will become bitter taxi-drivers fantasizing about a better life with someone else or a more glorious life by herself.

So many Christian young women are suffering silently with this thought in their minds, “I don’t know how to love these people.” Older women, we need you. We need you to teach young women how to love and how to be godly.

  • Young women should be godly

Verse 5 repeats that word, “self-controlled.” Remember, it means sensible. There is a progression here in discipleship. An older woman brings a young woman to her senses, she’s being trained. She’s growing in the ability to pick the good and pursue the good. She’s learning to be pure. At a basic level this is sexual purity; it means she is chaste. The push for sexual freedom was as alive and well in Crete as it is today in our culture. The world is training our daughters, the world is awaking our daughters’ senses, are we answering with a better more joyful way?

Notice the pairs in verses 4 and 5. Love husband is paired with love children. Self-controlled is paired with pure. Working at home is paired with kind. Add verse 11 to this, “grace is training her to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live a self-controlled, upright, and godly life in the present age.” Older women, your discipleship of young women doesn’t depend on you. Older women, of course you don’t have what it takes to disciple young women. God will give you the grace you need. Training young women depends on God’s grace. The God who saved her is the God who is strengthening her to devote herself to her husband and children. God will provide what we need. We all need God’s great grace as we seek to follow Jesus.

Think about the cross. The cruciform life is a life shaped by the cross. In Ephesians 5 husbands are called to live cruciform lives, lives of loving self-sacrifice for the good of their wives. The paradigm of Christ is now laid upon young ladies. Deny yourself for the good of others. Tell yourself no so that you can say yes to others. Loving those people will require you to pay a cost that a solitary existence would never require. Love calls for the greatest of sacrifices and grace empowers joyful living.

To the world, working hard at home is anything but glamorous. Cooking meals, doing laundry, caring for sick children, and teaching children is hard work. Motherhood is a 365 day a week 24 hour a day job. Motherhood is a God-glorifying sacrifice of self for the good of others. Yes, being a mother and a wife looks like a waste. You have so much to offer in the work force out there while the kids and husband don’t seem to care. It’s just like the sacrifice of Christ for sinners like you and me. The humiliation and sacrifice of the glorious Son of God looks like waste. Jesus is so smart and resourceful. He’s such a powerful thinker and leader. Yet there he is doing nothing for 30 years and then spending himself with those 12 misfits. Then he dies! What a waste and what a love. Young mothers, work hard at home, your work is glorious. Work hard and be kind.

Kind appears so strange at first, its strange to everyone except the sacrificial and submissive young woman. That young husband is often foolish and fearful; he lacks self-control. Submitting to him is hard. Submitting to him with kindness is even harder. Those children are so demanding. The moment the laundry is folded, or the meal cleaned up, or the home tidied, it all needs to be done again. The most natural thing for a young wife and mother to become is harsh. Older women and grace are given to train her to be kind and submissive.

Look at the middle of verse 5. Train them to be “submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Her looking after their good is submission. Her following his leadership is submission. As the husband gives himself for his wife, the wife gives herself for her husband. I really don’t think our problem is with sacrifice- people sacrifice all the time for their careers, health, and hobbies. The problem is sacrificing for the good of someone who doesn’t deserve it. The problem is sacrificing career, health, and hobbies for the good of someone who doesn’t deserve it; someone like your husband and your children.

Here is teaching that accords with sound doctrine. The gospel of Jesus’ self-sacrifice must work into husbands who lay their lives down for their wives and wives who submit themselves to their husbands. Mean, selfish, resentful, bitter women cause the gospel to be mocked as a fairy tale. Foolish, selfish, weak, faithless men cause the gospel to dragged through the mud. The gospel calls us to a better way. The gospel calls young men to a better way.

IV. A vision for young men

Look at Titus 2:6, “Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.”

  • Young men should bring all of life into submission to the gospel

At first glance verse 6 sounds like a copout compared to the laundry list given to young women. But consider two points, first, we see that the vision for young men is that they will learn to master themselves for the good of others. Look at a 13 year old male and consider what it will mean for him in every area of life to sensible. In his work, in his education, in his relationships, in his soul, in his humor, in his love, in his care for others he must be sensible. Young man, master every desire and bring every thought captive to Christ. Young man grow up. Church, boys will stay boys if we don’t urge them to grow up. Titus 2:6 is an all-encompassing command.

The second reason this is not a copout is because Titus is a young man. Every command given to Titus needs to be translated and applied to his fellow young men. Young men must renounce ungodliness and worldly passions to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. Their hope must be the appearing of their great God and savior Jesus Christ. Young men must be zealous for good works.

Titus must set the example for young men and call them to a better way. Titus must preach the gospel and apply the truth in such a way that moves every age group toward a gospel culture. We must move

V. Toward a gospel culture

This passage points us in a thousand directions as we consider older men, older women, younger women, and younger men. There is so much for me to work on. For simplicity, I want to give us two broad categories that I hope can help each of us.

  • First, consider your own situation

How does this passage encourage you in your particular situation? Where do you need to make progress? Where is the disconnect in your life between sound doctrine and godly living? Get precise. In what particular area of life is the Spirit calling you to make progress? Fill in that blank

Sound doctrine is calling me to grow in _________________

What is your next step toward greater health? Is it repentance? Is it faith? Is it the pursuit of accountability or discipleship? Take that step today.

  • Finally, consider your fellow church members.

We provide a church member or family for prayer each week in the bulletin. Use the paradigms of Titus 2:1-6 to pray for those members. Is it an older man? Pray for him to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Is it an older woman? Pray for her to be reverent in behavior, not a slanderer, not a slave to much wine, and pray she makes disciples among the women of the church. Is she a young woman? Pray for her to love her husband, love her children, to be self-controlled, pure, diligent at home, kind, and submissive as a display of the glorious gospel. Is he a young man? Pray for self-control in every area of his life.

Where do you need to grow? How can you build us up? Identifying these areas will cause you to become a person who stirs us up to love and good works. As each of us grows in godliness we will shine brightly in a confused culture. May God display his glory through godly men, godly women, and godly families.

Discuss Titus 2:1-6

  1. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  2. How do you define a godly man?
  3. How do you define a godly woman?
  4. What are pastors called to do in Titus 2:1?
  5. Consider the marks of an older man in Titus 2:2. Who do you know that lives out these characteristics? Pray and thank God for him.
  6. Older women should enter every situation like a priestess entering the temple. Discuss how this should workout in everyday life.
  7. Who are older women called to teach and what are they called to teach?
  8. Thank God for the faithful women in your life. Pray for God to raise up faithful women who will disciple women in the church.
  9. If you are a young woman, what characteristic do you find easier to live out? Which do you find more difficult?
  10. Pray for the young mothers in the church. Pray that God will give them great grace as they love their husbands and children.
  11. Young men, in what areas of life are you lacking self-control? Are you enslaved to some appetite or attitude? How does Titus 2:11-14 help you?
  12. Pray for the young men in the church. Pray for them to offer themselves to Christ as slaves of righteousness.

Listen, Repent, & Believe; Jonah 3:1-9

Main Point: God’s people continue in repentance and faith

Aren’t you thankful God is a merciful God who gives second chances? We’re back in the book of Jonah today, Jonah 3:1-9. Remember what we have seen. God commanded Jonah, Jonah ran from God, God pursued him with a storm, Jonah was hurled into the sea, he cried out to be saved, the great fish swallowed him, Jonah gave thanks to God, and at the Lord’s command the fish puked him out onto the beach.

We pick up there, Jonah is on dry land. We don’t know how much time passed between Jonah 2:10 and Jonah 3:1. Maybe Jonah had time for a bath. Maybe he had time to go to the temple, make a sacrifice, and pay his vow (Jonah 2:9). We don’t know, but I picture him looking like Will Smith from the first Men in Black movie after being swallowed by the alien. I see Jonah laying face down in the sand, covered in fish vomit, and the word of the Lord comes to him a second time. Go to Nineveh and preach my word.

Jonah gets a fresh start. Jonah gets a second chance. Because God is merciful, we are a people who get fresh starts. If you feel the weight of your sins and your failures and your mistakes, you have joined in with the right group of people. We are a people of second chances.

There on the beach, Jonah realized the futility of further disobedience (Kennedy, 50). He rose, went to Nineveh, and preached God’s Word. With a fresh start, Jonah did what God told him to do. Let’s read it: Jonah 3:1-9.

We are going to tackle these verses by looking at the central themes of listening, believing, and repenting. We’ll start with Nineveh then move to the Israelites who first received the book of Jonah, and then we’ll seek to apply what we learn to our lives today.

I. The Ninevites listened, believed, and repented

Write “Jeremiah 18:7-11” in the margin of Jonah 3. The true God wants all nations to know he is God. God will not clear the guilty, but he will show mercy to those who repent. In Jeremiah 18:7-11, God says, “If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I have intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, Behold I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, everyone from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’”

God wants us to repent, so he warns us about coming judgment. God warned his people and he warned Nineveh in order to turn them from their sin. This is how it went, Jonah 3:2, God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and call out against it the message God will give. Verse 3, finally willing, Jonah went and proclaimed God’s Word to the people. Verse 4, Jonah called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” Look what happened, verse 5, “And the people of Nineveh believed God.” Let’s dig into that

  • The Ninevites paid attention to God’s word

The Ninevites listened to God’s word and it was a word of judgment for sin. This is obvious so we won’t spend a lot of time here, but it’s so obvious it can be missed. Why did the people of Nineveh repent? They repented because God sent his word and the people listened to God’s word (see Matthew 10:14-15; 11:20-24). This doesn’t discount the necessary teaching work of the Holy Spirit in repentance. It is God who grants repentance (2 Tim 2:25; Acts 5:31), it is the Holy Spirit that enables repentance (1 Cor 2:12), and repentance always happens in connection with the faithful telling of God’s word.

We can’t control God, we can’t force repentance, but we can put ourselves in the place where God works. God works through the right preaching and correct understanding of his word. Like Jonah, we need to stick to the Word. Like the Ninevites, we need to pay attention to God’s word. Here’s the product of understanding God’s word

  • The Ninevites believed in God

Look with me at verse 5, “And the people of Nineveh believed God.” The NASB translates it literally, “And the people of Nineveh believed in God.” What happened? The Ninevites believed God and acted upon the truth of the true God (Kennedy, 50). The Ninevites heard and believed God’s word. They believed God’s word is true; it’s going to happen.

The message proclaimed to the Ninevites was simply this, “You’re going to die.” Look back at verse 4, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Jonah warns that what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah is about to happen to Nineveh. Genesis 19:14, “Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, ‘Up! Get out of this place, for the Lord is about to destroy the city.’” Genesis 19:24, “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah Sulphur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities.” This is the Lord’s fierce anger toward sin.

The king of Nineveh understood. In verse 9, he called the people to repentance saying, “Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” The people were locked into living an evil way. The people were given to violence. Their hands were stained with evil. They understood that their evil was about to be punished by God’s fierce anger.

This generation in Nineveh understood their sin and God’s just wrath. Fast forward a century and the Ninevites have forgotten. Look at Nahum 1:2-6 with me and see the fierce anger of God. (Read Nahum 1:2-6).

Repentance starts with turning to God’s word in order to understand his ways. Seeing God’s truth exposes our sin, our failure. Seeing God’s truth warns us about the coming wrath of God. The Ninevites believed God had the right to punish them severely for their evil ways and violent hands. Did they shrug that off? No, look what they did. Read Jonah 3:5-8

  • The Ninevites repented

As the word of God spread through the city, repentance followed quickly after. It started with the people, with the every-day-Joe. The people believed in God and called for a fast and put on sackcloth. Everybody joined in from the greatest to the least. Repentance went city wide- nobles and common folks. Verse 6, the word reached the king of Nineveh and he followed suit proclaiming a fast, putting on sackcloth, urging mighty prayer, and calling on the people to stop doing evil. What would it take for this to happen in Granbury, Glen Rose, Bluff Dale, and Tolar?

Let’s work through these marks of repentance here in Jonah 3. One, they took God’s word seriously. They listened, understood, and believed God. They trusted God would do what he said he would do. God is going to destroy us. And they rightly hoped that the 40 day warning was a sign that God might relent if they turned from their evil. They took God’s word seriously and they hoped God would forgive.

Two, they called out mightily to God. The people devoted themselves to prayer. They cried out with force to God. No lame confession here. No one was saying, “Dear God, I’m sorry you got angry.” Or, “Dear God, I’m sorry you got your feelings hurt.” Their prayers were an expression of their hatred of their evil. The violence of their hands was out-matched by the violence of their prayers. “God, we have done evil. God, our hands are given to violence. You are rightly coming in judgment, but please forgive us.” Like a prisoner headed to the executioner’s block, the Ninevites were begging for forgiveness.

But these were no empty words. Along with mighty prayer there is the third mark of repentance: the commitment to turn from your evil way. It is pure hypocrisy to ask for forgiveness for something you plan to continue to do. True repentance turns from evil. Additionally, the Ninevites committed to turn from the violence in their hands. They were awful people who committed sinister and intimidating evil in order to force their enemies into submission. Worse than murder is torture. Worse than torture is the celebration of torture. The Ninevites were guilty of all this violence and more. Then they repented. Repentance is the commitment to turn away from the evil being committed.

To be clear, repentance is an inward change of heart that shows up in your actions. Another common mark of repentance is fasting. What do the people call for in verse 5? They call for a fast. What do the nobles call for in verse 7? They call for a fast from food and water for man and beast. In the context of sin and judgment, fasting is an outward way of expressing one’s faith. Namely, I believe I have sin and I believe God is right in punishing that sin, yet my hope is that God will relent. So, I will fast and devote myself to pleading for mercy. Fasting can reflect the serious nature of our sin.

The Ninevites’ fast was like Moses’ fast. Listen to what Moses did when he learned about the people’s sin and God’s coming judgment. Deuteronomy 9:18-19, “Then I lay prostrate before the Lord as before, for forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin that you had committed, in doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure that the Lord bore against you, so that he was ready to destroy you.”

Fasting is an outward expression of the inward desire for forgiveness. Fasting provides time away from regular responsibilities in order to pray. In this situation, the sinner devotes himself to praying for God’s mercy. Repentance is demonstrated in devotion to prayer, often accompanied by fasting.

Here’s our final mark of repentance in Jonah 3, repentance demonstrates itself in humility. The repentant are humble. In verse 5, the people put on sackcloth. In verse 6, the king gets down off his throne, takes off his royal robes, covers himself with sackcloth, and sits in ashes. The repentant go low. The repentant do not make excuses. The repentant do not blame others. The repentant do not bristle at their punishment. The repentant go down low. Again, the inward attitude of humility expresses itself in outward deeds. No one claims power. No one claims an exemption. Their outward show of poverty, which was sackcloth, and their outward sign of mourning, which was sitting in ashes, demonstrated their inward regret over their sin.

Ok, grab onto this concerning repentance, in order to repent a person must identify and turn from her evil ways. Repentance is an inward attitude toward God and sin that shows up in outward actions. The Ninevites repented.

Now remember, who was the book of Jonah written to? Jonah was not written to the Ninevites. The book of Jonah was written for the Israelites.

II. Jonah called the Israelites to listen, believe, and repent

  • The book of Jonah was written first to the Israelites

In the days of Jonah, Israel was just as godless and evil as the Ninevites. The question is, will they repent like the Ninevites? Will God’s people turn from their evil ways? Will God’s people turn from the violence in their hands? This is the point of Jonah 3. The nations are repenting and turning to God. Will Israel turn? Will you?

Earlier I read from Jeremiah 18, how God warns the nations and will relent from punishment if they will turn from their evil. Through Jonah and Jeremiah, God is calling his people to repent because God is merciful. What will the people do? Jeremiah 18:12, “But they say, ‘That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.”

The Ninevites repented but the Jews refused! The Ninevites listened to Jonah but the Jews refused! One of the most stunning refusals comes in Jeremiah 36:23. Here Jeremiah’s words of warnings and promises of mercy are read to the king of Judah and as they are read, the king cuts the verses off and throws them into the fire! The king rejected God’s word and went his own way.

Jonah’s message of repentance fell on deaf ears. The people didn’t care. It is sobering to realize Jonah’s words are going out again to the people of God. This time it is for us to decide. What will we do with the prophet’s words? Jonah is calling out against us.

III. God’s Word is calling us to listen, repent, and believe

J. D. Greear is spot on when he says, “Christians are known by a posture of repentance and faith” (Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart). The evidence of salvation is continuing in repentance and faith. Now it’s time to apply the message of Jonah to ourselves.

  • Do you have ears to hear?

Are you paying attention to God’s word? Do you see your evil ways? Do you see the violence in your hands? Maybe your evil and violence is clear because of the angry defiling words that you speak. Maybe your violence is hidden because you keep your resentment or lust looping quietly in your own mind. Either way, are you aware of your sin? Do you have ears to hear God’s word that points to your evil and do you have ears to hear the gospel that points to God’s Son? This is evil. Jesus is the way out.

The stone that builders rejected has become the cornerstone. God’s people are brought near, cleansed, and built up by faith in Jesus Christ. Seeing your sin, where are you drawn? Are you drawn to keeping the law? Are you drawn to doing good deeds? Are you drawn to making excuses? Or, is the Father drawing you to trust in Christ’s perfect payment on the cross for your sins? When you think of your sin do you try to cover it with your good deeds, or do you trust Christ to cover it by his death and resurrection?

You are headed toward judgment and destruction. On your own you will perish, but God sent his Son to obey in your place, die in your place, and live in your place. Do you have ears to hear? Next

  • Do you want to change?

Do you see the way of God as better than your way? Do you desire to be with God? Have you seen the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ so that you want to know him and become like him? Repentance is turning away from sin in order to turn to Christ.

Psalm 34:18 gives us strange encouragement to repent, “The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” The Lord is near the repentant. The Lord opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).

We are in a season when we can imitate the pattern of Moses fasting for 40 days. I will say, there is a danger to Lent. The danger is that you consider your fasting a work by which you earn favor with God. This is a denial of grace. But Lent can also be to our benefit when we consider what it looks like to change. What distracts you? What pulls you away from a sincere devotion to the Lord? Do you know where you are tempted? Do you know what slows you down in your obedience? Fasting does not earn you anything. Fasting can provide time to think about where you need to change.

In light of the grace given by Christ to forgive you and empower you for righteousness, fasting can be beneficial for focusing on your growth in godliness. Listen to God’s word, repent, and believe. Here’s our next question

  • Do you believe in Jesus?

Our disobedience, our evil ways, and our violence are storing up wrath on the day of judgment (Romans 2:3-5). A tidal wave of judgment is headed toward you. Like Sodom and Gomorrah you will be overthrown. Or, you can believe in Jesus. You can believe he drank the cup of God’s wrath. You can believe the Father laid on him the iniquity of us all. Something greater than Jonah is here. Jesus did not come simply to tell you God is merciful. Jesus came, died, and rose again to take God’s wrath for your sins upon himself. Jonah couldn’t do that for Nineveh. Jesus did that for you. This is our message, repentance to God and faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). You can be forgiven. You can be restored. There are fresh starts for you because of Christ’s payment for your sin. Believe Jesus took your sin. Believe Jesus rose again. Believe Jesus gives you his righteousness. Restored to God, we answer his call to rise and preach.

  • Go to your Nineveh and make disciples

Throughout church history Jonah has been painted in art and portrayed in stained glass. An interesting feature of this artwork is the cities in the background are generally not Nineveh. The church has understood their own cities to be the places where they are to preach repentance and faith. We are a people who preach the truth of the true God (Kennedy, 50). God saves those who believe in Jesus! There is forgiveness and fresh starts with Christ. Go and tell the good news. As you are going…make disciples.

What is your Nineveh? Where do you see people walking in evil ways with violence in their hands? Like God, do you care about your city? Like Jesus do you long for the forgiveness and restoration of the people? The task before us is monumental and the numbers are overwhelming but let’s start with the simple. Let’s start with our own repentance and let’s start with intentionally praying for the salvation of one person. I want you to consider this question today: What will it look like for you to repent to God and put your faith in Jesus Christ? Forgiven in Christ, go and win your one to Christ.

Fighter Verses Philippians 4:10–11

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

  1. How do you rejoice and show your gratitude when others express concern for you or give you help?
  2. Under what circumstances do you find it difficult to receive help from others?  Why?
  3. There may be instances when you need help, but nobody is available.  Is it right to assume nobody cares when your need is not met?  Why or why not?
  4. Discuss what would keep you from being able to meet somebody’s needs.
  5. How can you express your care for someone and your desire to help them, even if you are unable to provide them what they need?
  6. What could make Paul content (that is, believe that what he had was enough), even when he was not receiving the help he needed?
  7. Is it easy to be content when things don’t go your way?  How do you strive for contentment in all things?

Care Group / Midweek Bible Study

Care-Groups

Care Group is our Wednesday Bible study that meets from 6:45-7:45 pm at a members’ house. Care Group meets every other week (9/18, 10/3, 10/17, 10/31, etc.). The time together is spent on a simple meal, praying for one another, reviewing the sermon text from the previous Sunday, then seeking to help one another apply that text to life. It is helpful to look or listen to the sermon and discussion question posted on this blog before attending Care Group.

Comment below if you need more information.

Revelation 4:11 Worship

Main Point: The Creator God is worthy of all worship.

We have a great calling. God has called us to think about, celebrate, and talk about Him. So, it is strange that the Church, which has more training and resources available to her than ever before is so often silent. It is shameful that I am often silent when I should speak. Why is that? Why are we silent in worship and evangelism? Why are we not joyfully and consistently talking to people about Jesus?

In his book, Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, Alvin Reid claims that one big reason we don’t talk to our neighbors and coworkers about the gospel is we don’t talk to ourselves about the gospel. Better still, Jesus says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil (Mt 12:34). Whatever you treasure, whatever you think about, is going to come out of you. We have a treasure problem.

At one point, after teaching, Jesus stops and asks, “‘Have you understood these things?’ They said to him, ‘Yes.’ And he said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old’” (Mt 13:51-52).

Jesus wants us to be gospel-masters. I wanted to say, “Jesus wants us to be treasure-masters” but we are already treasure-masters. We know how to treasure worldly things in our minds and talk about those things. We know how to store up idols like money, family, work, cars, and houses. We easily and joyfully talk about those things. This is a call to stop stock piling worldly things in our minds and hearts. We are called today to store up the things of Christ.

When we talk to ourselves about God, when we store up God in our hearts and minds, then out of that overflow the mouth will speak. When the church talks to one another about God, when we treasure God in our songs, prayers, and conversations, then out of that overflow the mouth will speak. In our time today, I want to give you treasure that is worth talking about at Walmart or around your dinner table and for all of eternity. We will become master scribes and master stewards who taste and tell that the Lord is good.

Read Psalm 95

Here is our plan, Lord willing, for today and the next five weeks. We will focus on six passages that together form a simple outline for you to use when explaining who Jesus is and what he has done. We are pausing our memory work in Philippians 3 and are committing ourselves to memorizing Revelation 4:11 this week, then Romans 3:10-11, Hebrews 9:27, 1 Peter 3:18, 1 Peter 1:3, and finally John 3:36. If you haven’t found a Sunday school class, I want to invite you to join the group Matt Mills, Clint Spruill, and I are teaching at 9:45 am in the fellowship hall. Come and join us as we encourage one another to store up the gospel in our hearts. We will become master scribes and master stewards who taste and tell that the Lord is good.

Right now, let’s dig into creation and evangelism. Revelation 4:11 says, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

When telling the gospel story, to yourself or to others, start with creation.

I. The Triune God created all things (Gen 1:1-2)

Genesis 1:1-2 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Here’s the truth:

  • God created everything

Now we need to clarify that God did not form everything from cosmic playdough that was already on hand. Scripture teaches that God created then formed everything that exists. The Trinity (Father, Son, and Spirit) were engaged in creation. In Genesis 1:2, we see the Spirit of God present and working in creation. Colossians 1:15 says, “Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rules or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”

Everything physical and spiritual was created by the Triune God. All the rocks and trees, all the birds and bees, all the yous and mees were created by the Father, Son, and Spirit. Every spiritual being was created by the Triune God. You will never find anything anywhere that does not owe its origin to God. You will never find anything anywhere that wasn’t created for Jesus.

Now, creation is not a minor issue. Instead, we should constantly worship God because of creation.

II. The Triune God is worthy of worship because of creation (Rev 4:11)

Here is our memory verse for the week, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they were created and have their being.”

  • The wonders of creation call us to worship God

Revelation 4 is a picture of worship in heaven. There are four magnificent creatures and twenty-four elders around the throne of God. Everything in these creatures and elders longs to worship and celebrate and enjoy the power and presence of God. Worship is not only a matter of praising God for his saving grace. We also worship God for who he is and how he works. Look at Revelation 4:11. Why do the twenty-four elders fall down and worship God? They worship God because he created all things and by his will they were created and have their being.

These angels look out over creation and their right and joyful response is to praise God. They look at the intricacies of the human body and they praise God. God you did that! The look at the intricacies of the universe and they praise God. God you did that! They look at a rose, a blade of grass, colors, textures, and sounds and they praise God. God you did that!

And God was not forced to create all things. Revelation 4:11 tells us God created all things according to his will. It was his plan and his desire to bring all of this into being. No deficiency or need made God create all of us and all of this. God created to display his glory. The glory, honor, and power of God are meant to be enjoyed by all of creation. So, where do you see and enjoy the glory of God? Paul Tripp says he goes to Starbucks to worship. He doesn’t worship the coffee or the cups. The glory and beauty of food and drink point to God and cause him to respond with thanks and praise to God.

Wednesday night I walked through an indoor garden filled with 6000 tropical plants; over 200 difference species. It was the most beautiful and intricate and exciting thing I have seen in some time. I worshipped as I went through that garden. But I didn’t worship the plants or the soil or the gardener. I worshiped and thanked and celebrated God who made those plants and gifted the gardener. The wonders of creation call us to worship and

  • Worship involves giving God glory, honor, and power

Earlier in Revelation 4, in verse 9, the four living creatures give God glory, and honor, and thanks. Here, in verse 11, the twenty-four elders give God glory, honor, and power. The four living creatures give God glory when they praise him for his work of creation. They don’t give God’s glory to another. They praise HIM for creation. And they honor God when they serve his will in creation going here and there and seeing all. They glorify God when they give him thanks. Thank you, God, for creating us and this magnificent universe! That’s the four living creatures. They glorify God by worshipping him. They honor God by doing his well. They look at God’s work and they thank him. We should do the same. What about the elders?

The elders give God glory, honor, and power. Now, they don’t give God glory, honor, and power because God lacks glory, honor, and power. They give God glory, honor, and power because he is worth it. The elders, most likely a class of angels, glorify and honor God by trusting God and seeking to accomplish his will. The power God gave them is used to accomplish God’s purposes. They love God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

You see, creation is full of God’s glory. Creation is full of opportunities to honor God by accomplishing his will. Creation is filled with good works for you and I to accomplish by God’s power. Accomplishing your work, loving others, confronting evil, forgiving sin, and asking for forgiveness are all opportunities to glorify God, honor him, and show his power.

Like the angels, we are meant to worship God by doing his will. We are meant to look around at God’s creation and give him thanks. Creation fuels worship and creation plays a major role in evangelism.

III. We must talk to ourselves and others about God

You must

  1. Store up treasure in your head and heart

We must read and think about how God created. We need to read and think about why God created. Like the elders and living creatures, thinking rightly about creation will cause us to worship. Here’s an example of storing up treasure. Memorizing Philippians 3 has caused me to repeatedly think about my resurrection from the dead. I’m straining forward to the resurrection. My goal, by any means possible, is to attain the resurrection from the dead. We’ve been storing up this resurrection treasure in our heads and hearts.

Now, I was at a worship conference this passed week. We sang a lot and we sang about a lot of things. Guess which theme really got me excited? I loved singing about the resurrection because I have been treasuring the resurrection in my head and heart. Out of the overflow of the heart my mouth rejoiced in God’s promise to raise me from the grave. Thinking and worship are tied together. Worship and evangelism are tied to treasure. Let’s focus on creation. We need to

  1. Talk about God’s purposes for his creation

God is not a cosmic scientist who discovered creation and is now studying all the parts. God is not trying to figure out what plants, angels, and humans can do or why they exist. God intentionally created everything for a purpose. God created marriage, family, work, and government for a purpose. We’ve already read from Colossians 1:15 which tells us that all things were created through Jesus and for Jesus.

Are you thinking about the significance of the fact that all things were created for Jesus? Are you talking about how everything exists for Jesus? The path that we walk as Christians is a path of restoration. On Jesus’ path, we constantly seek to restore people and things to God and his purposes through Christ. What is broken around you? Maybe it’s a broken pipe, or a broken bone, or a broken spirit, or a broken promise, or a broken relationship, or a broken law. Glorify God and honor him by using the power God has given you to restore what is broken. Work for good and explain the good. The resurrected Christ has strength and wisdom for you to be an ambassador through which broken things are restored to God’s creation purposes.

So, how does your singleness advance God’s creation purposes? How does your family serve God’s creation purposes? We live in a day and in a culture where people want to know their lives and work have significance. This desire is a product of creation. Connect people to God’s creation purposes. Talk about the gift and goodness of work. Every time something works like God created it to work, that becomes an opportunity to point toward the wisdom and goodness of God.

We also need to talk about the effects of sin. Every example of brokenness is an opportunity to point to God’s purposes and, by the resurrection power of Christ, work toward restoration. Find ways to connect pain to restoration in Christ. Every case of sickness or death or frustration is an opportunity to talk about the yearning we all have for the perfection of life with God. We long for and are heading for a new creation. Every case of success or fruitfulness or joyful work is an opportunity to talk about the goodness of God in creation. God has not abandoned us. God’s work of creation includes purpose; talk about it. Then

  • Look for and celebrate God’s glory in creation

What brings you joy? Maybe it’s a savory dish or the skill of an athlete or painter or inventor. I would love to talk to you about all the shades of green I saw in that garden of 6000 plants. What about your neighbors and coworkers? What brings them joy? Here’s an interesting conversation starter, “What are you enjoying these days?” Ask the question and show your neighbor or coworker love by listening. See if you can ground their joy to God. I mean give them a simple statement without being condescending. Say something like, “Isn’t God good? He made language so we can tell and enjoy a good story. God created us with skill and strength, so we can play sports and paint pictures and play music.” Connect that joy to God who created.

But what if you ask and they don’t have any joy? What if you ask, “What are you enjoying these days?” and your neighbor Eeyore says, “Nothing, everything in my life is terrible.” What will you say? Should you sneak away and go quietly enjoy your own pleasures? No, love that neighbor by grieving with him. Your next question is powerful. Ask this, “I’m sorry, will you tell me your story?” Ask the question and genuinely listen. Don’t look at your phone. Don’t tell your story of when something like that happened to you. Listen and grieve. After you have grieved with your neighbor say something profound like this, “I grieve like you over the broken things in my life. Can we get together and talk about how God helps us in our sorrows?”

When your neighbor says yes, where do you go? You can go to Isaiah 53 and the suffering servant who bears our sorrows and carries our griefs. Start in the suffering of Isaiah 53 and make a bee-line for the cross, resurrection, and indwelling Spirit. If you aren’t ready to have that conversation, then find someone who can help get you there. Come and let me know and I’ll connect you with someone who can disciple you so that you can go and make disciples. The beauty and brokenness of creation provide everyday opportunities for us to help one another worship God.

Are you familiar with “God-sightings”? God-sightings are celebrations of God’s simple things. Start when your children are young and most things are amazing. When your little one is excited about a bug, clouds, or a puppy, simply say, “Aren’t you glad God made bugs or clouds or puppies?” Look for and celebrate God’s glory in creation. Keep looking and celebrating. Cultivate joy and gratitude. People will likely start to wonder why you have hope. When they ask you for a reason for the hope that is within you, bring out the treasures of creation and salvation.

Here is our last and profound way to honor and glorify God.

  • Gather with the church

As elders, our calling is to proclaim the greatness of God in Christ so that you can see him and love him and honor him and glorify him. In 1 Timothy 4:12 the Apostle Paul told Pastor Timothy to devote himself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching. God has revealed himself and salvation through the Word. Therefore, we read Scripture, we read a lot of Scripture, because we need to hear from God and we need to hear about God. Through our prayers we seek to stir you up to join in the worship of God.  Through the sermons we seek to teach you about God and life. I give you notes and questions on the blog each week so that you can do the work of storing up treasure in your heart that will eventually flow out of your mouth. You need to feast, so we as elders need to work hard to teach you. We want to give you treasure that you store away and bring out to your family, coworkers, and neighbors.

But we do more than read, pray, and preach. We sing. Our singing is a powerful way to glorify and honor God. Our singing is a powerful way to teach one another and store up treasure in our hearts. Every Sunday we glorify God and help one another store up treasure. Like a chef gathering the best ingredients, we work to gather the best songs. Like a marksman meticulously weighing grains of gun powder, we meticulously weigh songs. In response to what Dale is doing with the songs, we need two things from you. We need you to think and we need you to sing.

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Let me break that down with teaching and a word of exhortation, “think.” You need to think about the truths we are singing. You need to store up treasure in your heart. You must help your children think and store up treasure. You need to read the words of the songs and ask, “What glorifies God in this song?” You need to read the words of the songs and ask, “How can I use all the power God has given me to honor him with this song?” We want you to work biblical truth deep into your heart and mind. Therefore, we want to give you meaty songs. Last week John Piper said, “the heights of your exaltation cannot go further than the depths of your theology.” Your joy and gladness in worship are not dependent on your preferences. Your joy and gladness in worship are dependent on your beliefs.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. We gather together each week to worship God and teach one another. God has set things up so that our singing is an act of worship and teaching. Our singing to God and about God is an act of discipleship.

So, show up each week having stored up treasure in your heart through Bible reading and Scripture memory. Gather with the body of Christ each week so that you can be taught and so that you can teach. Show up, think, and sing. We need you. We need you to teach us and you need to give God glory, honor, and power. He is worthy because he created all things. He is worthy because he has redeemed us through his Son. Let’s sing his praises and then go out and tell others.

Let’s pray- God, make us master scribes and master stewards who taste and tell that you are good.

Revelation 4:11 Discussion Questions

Check out the Two Ways to Live gospel outline.

  1. Review these passages: Revelation 4:11; Colossians 1:15; 3:16; Matthew 12:34-35; 13:51-52; and 1 Timothy 4:12.
  2. In what way did God comfort, challenge, or correct you today?
  3. Why do you think many Christians are not joyfully and consistently talking to others about Jesus?
  4. Describe the last time you talked with a neighbor, classmate, or coworker about Jesus.
  5. Make a list of those people you are trying to win to Christ. Pray for opportunities to talk with them about Jesus and pray for boldness to take those opportunities.
  6. What part of creation often calls you to worship and thank God?
  7. Explain what it looks like to give glory, honor, and power to God.
  8. In what ways are you seeking to glorify God? In what ways are you seeking to honor God? In what ways are you using your God-given power to glorify God and do good to others?
  9. Explain how worship is the product of storing up treasure in your head and heart (Matthew 12:34; 13:51-52).
  10. Explain how evangelism is the produce of storing up treasure in your head and heart. Use the doctrine of creation to explain this treasure principle.
  11. Why is it important to understand that all things were created for Jesus?
  12. Explain how 1 Timothy 4:12 works through Mambrino Baptist Church.
  13. Explain how Colossians 3:16 works through Mambrino Baptist Church.
  14. Pray for God to give you opportunities to talk to others about Jesus.