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Back to Basics (A Study of Titus 2): Part 4

We’ve been studying the Apostle Paul’s Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 8.15.29 AMparagraph on the Christian life found in Titus 2.  There we read:

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

God’s grace is not only a SALVATION-OFFERING grace, but also a TEACHING grace.  It is a grace that FORMS OUR TASTES for the things of God.  God’s grace teaches us from two perspectives how to live the Christian life.  First, we see that His grace teaches us to DENY.  We are to deny UNGODLINESS.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.44.18 AMSecond, we are to deny WORLDLY PASSIONS!  The word κοσμικός has the meaning “of or belonging to the world.”  It can be used to mean “relating to the universe” or “earthly” or “worldly” (having the character of this present corrupt age).  The Latin Vulgate translates the world as saecularis (= secular).  The word ἐπιθυμία is used frequently in the New Testament and is variously translated “desires,” “lusts,” “impulses,” or even “concupiscence” in Colossians 3:5 (KJV) (I’m sure you use the word “concupiscence” often in your daily conversation!).

God does not want us to be passionless people!  But the same word for “desires” can be translated “lusts” (depending on the context).  Paul is admonishing Christians to deny “the worldly lusts.”  What are “the worldly lusts” in our culture which secularize the believer in Jesus?

What can  you put your finger on?

What can you put your finger on?

We are to deny, to turn away from, ungodliness and the worldly passions.  Some “worldly passions” that occur to me are:

(1) a sense of entitlement:  The world owes me a living, good fortune, relaxation, comfort.

(2) an attitude of ownership:  My life is my own; I can choose to do what I wish with my time, my money, my desires.

(3) a spirit of minimalism:  I will do only what is expected or required of me, especially in spiritual matters (church involvement, witnessing, social concern).

What worldly passions occur to you?  Can you put your finger on a specific one from which you need to turn away? (to be continued)

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Titus 2

 

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Back to Basics (A Study of Titus 2): Part 3

We’re examining the Apostle Paul’s Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 8.15.29 AMparagraph on the Christian life found in Titus 2.  There we read:

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

We have seen that God’s grace is not only a SALVATION-OFFERING grace, but also a TEACHING grace.  It is a grace that FORMS OUR TASTES for the things of God.  God’s grace teaches us from two perspectives how to live the Christian life.  First, we see that His grace teaches us to DENY.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 7.44.18 AMDid you ever stop to think that what you deny as a believer is almost as important as what you affirm?  For example, we deny that Jesus is God’s highest creation (as our Jehovah’s Witnesses friends say).  We deny that all people will be saved whether they want to be or not (as our universalistic friends say).  We deny that homosexual behavior (as well as heterosexual promiscuity) is an acceptable lifestyle.  There are many ideas and beliefs that we Christians deny.  In this text, God’s grace teaches us to deny two categories which lead the believer away from the life God intends: (1) ungodliness and (2) worldly lusts.

This word ἀσέβειαν can be translated as “impiety,” “irreverence,” “wickedness” or “ungodliness” and is used six times in the New Testament.  In Romans 1:18 we read that “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness . . .”  In Romans 11:26 we read: “and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 8.08.42 AMhe will turn godlessness away from Jacob.”  The same term is used in 2 Timothy 2:16 where the believer is told: “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.”  This same term is used two times in the little epistle of Jude.  In verses 14-15 we read, 14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”  The word is used three times in verse 15!  In verse 18 of Jude 1 we read, “They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”  Jude is referring to the predictions of the apostles about false teachers who would come, scoffers who will follow their own ungodly Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 8.24.55 AMdesires.  We also have the word used in our text, Titus 2: “It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age . . .”

Do we recognize ungodliness when we see it?  There was an ad for a cleaning lady in a newspaper that read: “Wanted. One person to clean my house.  Must be able to recognize dirt.”  Are we able to recognize dirt? (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2015 in Titus 2

 

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What on Earth Are We to Do about Unbelief? (Part 8 of 10)

FirefoxScreenSnapz689Unbelief is rampant in our world.  Specifically, unbelief in the gospel.  What’s a Christian to do?  We have seen from the little epistle of Jude that first, we are to keep ourselves strong in the faith (vv. 1-4).  Second, we must be aware of attacks on the Christian faith (vv. 3-4).  Third, we must be prepared to do battle for Christianity’s truths (vv. 3-4).  Fourth, we must acknowledge the fact that the God who delivers is also a God who destroys (vv. 5-7).  We must, fifth, realize the dangers of false teaching (vv. 8-10).  Sixth, we must see that false teachers are simply repeating the errors of history (v. 11).  Seventh, we should realize that false teachers have nothing to offer (vv. 12-13).

Let’s look at an eighth part of our response to unbelief in our world and it is this —

Step #8-  We must recognize that false teachers inevitably lead to ungodly living! (vv. 14-16).

14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”  16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

These false teachers may have taken the believers to whom Jude is writing by surprise, but they did not surprise God.  We saw at the beginning of the epistle that these teachers are “certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago.”  We see in verse 14 that they were prophesied about by Enoch.  Who is this Enoch?  He is described as “the seventh from Adam,” so he can’t be Enoch, the son of Cain (Gen. 4:17) who was the third from Adam.

The saying of Enoch here quoted is found at the beginning of the Book of Enoch (Jude 1:9): “And behold He comes with myriads of saints to execute judgment on them, and He will destroy the ungodly and judge all flesh concerning all things which the sinners and ungodly have committed and done against Him.” These words are taken from a speech in which an angel interprets a vision which Enoch has seen, and in which he announces to him the future judgment of God.

FirefoxScreenSnapz712Enoch was a important person mentioned in Genesis 5:24, the 7th from Adam, the son of Jared (Gen. 5:18) and the father of Methuselah (5:21; Luke 3:37). After the birth of Methuselah at 65, Enoch lived 300 more years (Gen 5:23-24). “So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”  Hebrews 11:5 says, “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”  Enoch was transported into heaven without dying. With Enoch was conveyed the teaching of both heaven and immortality.

The concept of ten thousand saints is not unique. In Deut. 33:2 And he said: “The LORD came from Sinai, and dawned on them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints; from His right hand came a fiery law for them.”  Revelation 5:11 says, “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. ” The Bible teaches that heaven has a vast population of both angels and people — saints. These are those (either one or both groups) who will come with him when he comes to earth to judge and set up his kingdom.

Jude was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), so we know KeynoteScreenSnapz152that what he quoted from Enoch was true. This is confirmed by the fact that the same idea about the Lord returning with His holy ones to render judgment is found elsewhere in the Bible (Zechariah 14:5, Isaiah 66:15, and Psalm 96:13, Deut. 33:2).

The true prophecy of Enoch, though unrecorded, could have been handed down by tradition, as the Jews had a meticulous way of keeping both written and oral tradition. Paul mentions Jannes and Jambres the Egyptian magicians, names known in Jewish tradition, but not from Scripture (2 Tim. 3:8). For him to do this and be accurate God would have had to confirm the tradition.

“Even if Jude cites a passage from this non-canonical book, it does not mean he accepted the whole book as true, only this particular statement. I think it is more likely Jude did not lift this statement from the non-Biblical book of Enoch,. It was either something passed on orally or he received it as a direct revelation from God.” (http://www.letusreason.org/Biblexp118.htm)

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At any rate, we have Jude predicting (from this non-biblical source) God’s judgment KeynoteScreenSnapz151upon ungodly, false teachers.  His emphasis in on their ungodliness!  “. . . to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (v. 15).

He then describes the present teachers as “grumblers and faultfinders.”  They follow their own desires, boast about themselves, and flatter others for their own advantage. (v. 16).  We must recognize and point out ungodliness, especially if we wish to guard God’s people!

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“Sin is not judged by what we think about it — but by what GOD thinks about it!”

Questions:

1.  Would you say from the quote above that Rob Bell is advocating ungodliness?

2.  How difficult it is to stay biblically true, regardless of the blowing winds of culture.  What are other examples of ungodliness that you see today?

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Posted by on July 11, 2014 in unbelief

 

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