The Growth Factor: The Power of Grace

The Power of Grace Sermon Notes

The Power of Grace

Titus 2:1-15

Calvary Baptist Church of Holland

Key Goals: (Know) To understand the power of God’s grace. (Feel) To deeply love the transformation that grace produces. (Do) To transform the story of our life through grace.

 

Good morning Calvary and good morning Church at Hamilton. This morning is a huge answer to prayer and the result of a unique work of God in our church’s life. God opened the doors to this opportunity, he provided financially in almost miraculous ways, and he has stirred the hearts of dozens of people to lead and serve and give in incredible ways. God is doing a new thing and we rejoice that we get to be a part of it. Just think, you were here the very first day that the Church at Hamilton began.

Almost 150 years ago, pastor and preacher Dwight L. Moody said this, “Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety-nine will read the Christian.” The Bible is the book on God’s grace—how God made us and loved us and sent his son to redeem us and make us his very dearest treasure. But to Moody’s point, few people actually read it. What many people do read is the life of a believer. This morning in the book of Titus we are going to explore the power of God’s grace and yes, we will be some of the few who actually read the Bible. But my prayer is that we will leave this morning with God’s grace written all over our lives. We are in a series called “The Growth Factor,” exploring the book of Titus and looking for the key elements essential to spiritual growth both as a church and as individuals. Open your Bibles to Titus 2. Three parts of our passage this morning are about grace. We are going to explore the power of grace in salvation, which forms the transformational power of grace, which in turn leads us to the hope of grace. Let’s read Titus 2:1–14[1] together.

1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,

13 waiting for our 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 lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

It is easy to read this and quickly get lost in the “older men, older women, younger men” part of the passage and miss the core message which is grace, and specifically the threefold power of grace.

 

1)       Grace is the power of salvation (vs. 11)

Sometimes when I use Bible words like “grace,” I see a lot of furrowed brows out there. It’s like, “I know I should know what grace is…but if I had to define it, I’m not sure I could.” What is grace? At its core, the idea of grace is “delight.” In ancient times it was used to describe a ruler’s favor; the word carries the idea of a ruler who stoops down to be kind to a subject. A gracious king was a king who had an inner kindness that led to thoughtful compassionate action. So when we think of the “grace of God” (vs.11), what we are speaking of is the inner kindness of the Father that led him to the thoughtful compassionate action of sending his son Jesus Christ to humble himself, become man, walk among us and then die on the cross. God the Father’s compassion overflowed through the cross, sending his own son—beaten, nailed, mocked, crucified and killed—to pay for our sins and to break down the barrier between his sovereign holiness and our mortal sinfulness. I John 2:2 says, He himself (Jesus Christ) is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

It is Christ’s work on the cross which makes us say that salvation is “by grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8). God’s grace makes a way for us to God through faith, so that when we finally make the determination in our minds that our sins horribly offend God and need to be paid for, we know who to turn to. We turn to Jesus and then again by faith we settle in our hearts once and for all that it is impossible to be right with God without the price Jesus paid on the cross. We trust that, we receive that, we believe it, and it brings salvation. Look at the end of verse 11: for all people.

 

2)       Grace is the power of transformation (vs. 12; 1-10)

12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age… The amazing thing about God’s grace is that his compassionate action extends far beyond salvation, because it is also God’s grace that transforms us. In fact, in verse 12 we see that God’s grace is (present tense, so this is always happening) training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions. This is so important. God’s inner kindness that leads to thoughtful compassionate action is daily, all the time training us—literally providing instruction—with the intent of forming proper habits of behavior.[2] How does God’s grace train us? I want to know. I’m not sure about you, but I would like to renounce some ungodliness, and there are some worldly passions that I could also use help with. God’s grace to train and transform is accomplished through the church. Growth Factor #5: growing churches and individuals understand that the church is an extension of God’s grace to transform their lives. Paul spells it out specifically in Titus 2:2-10. Every person in the church is mentioned. Let’s walk through the passage.

2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older men, you are God’s grace to our church. You train us to be like Christ when you are sober-minded (clear, wise thinking). Your self-control will give hope to younger people struggling to master their impulses. Your love (idea is ‘acts of love’) will create a culture of love and compassion within the church. In a culture where people change churches more often than I change my oil, steadfastness is so needed.

 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. The power of grace is so evident in how God uses women within the church. Please, ladies, never underestimate the power of God’s grace flowing through you to help individuals and the entire church to grow. Paul lists several ways older women in the church function as God’s grace gift. Reverent behavior describes how to worship, specifically in a priestly way. She is careful with her tongue; the word slanderous is “diabolos” from which we get our word “diabolical”—the idea is broken relationship because of a complaint. Her tongue brings people together; it does not cause conflict. She is not addicted to wine, and here is a tremendous grace, she is to teach what is good, thereby training young women.

The word translated “young women” here is “neas,” literally the feminine form of the word “new one.” So this could be a very young woman (girl), a new believing woman, a woman who is a new mother, or newly married. Because of the ministries listed here, I think she is one who is “newly married.” Why? Because she is to be God’s grace to us through (verse 4) loving her husband and children. Verse 5 highlights the importance of her purity and self-control. This is a specific reference to sexual purity. Young women, do not let our culture deceive you into flaunting your sensuality. Purity is a blessing of God’s grace to you, your husband, your future children, and to the entire church. This verse goes on to list a “homeworker or homemaker.” Again, if she is a newly married woman, building a grace-filled home is a grace to her family and to the church. Her kindness and submission to her husband are also listed.

We could devote a sermon to each of these ideas, but let us not forget what Paul is trying to teach Titus: every single person in the church is an extension of God’s grace to transform others’ lives. There is a saying that is very helpful when counseling people struggling with addiction. It goes like this: “We sin in isolation, we heal in community.” The enemy’s game plan has always been the same: isolate us so we have to fight temptation on our own; keep us apart; keep us separated, because the enemy knows by God’s grace we are much stronger together. You and I were never meant to fight our battles alone. God’s game plan is simple: Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

The next people group mentioned are “neos,” the “new men.” 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. This is the fourth time this one word has shown up in this passage (1:8; 2:2,5,6). I have emphasized the sexuality aspect of the self-controlled life. It is literally a “moral life that makes sense.” If you have ever seen someone do something and thought, “Why would they do that?” This is the opposite. Young men, as you make wise moral choices that make sense, you are acting as God’s kindness to us.  7Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching… Notice that Paul assumes something here. He assumes young men will want to teach and disciple others …and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. If you and I are going to grow spiritually, if our church is going to grow, it will happen as every one of us realizes that we are not just church members or attenders—we are God’s act of compassion flowing from his inner kindness. God’s grace is why we grow, give, serve, love, and plant new campuses.

 

3)       Grace is the power of hope (vs. 13-14)

Verse 11 began this way: For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation…training us to renounce ungodliness… and now verse 13 …waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…“Waiting” is not the word I would have used when translating this verse because I hate to wait. Waiting has a negative connotation in my mind. The word is more like “confident and eager expectation.”[3] It is how you felt as a child on Christmas Eve, dreaming of what would happen the next morning. The grace of God gives us that eager expectation that we will one day see Jesus. This hope is God’s grace for us to endure suffering. It is God’s grace to help us stand when the world mocks us, persecutes us, or rejects us. This hope allows us to hold our possessions loosely and give generously. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom… Sell your possessions. (Lk 12:32, 33a) Hope in Christ’s coming is God’s grace that stimulates us to purify our lives. 1 John 3:3 (NCV) Christ is pure, and all who have this hope in Christ keep themselves pure like Christ. The glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ will soon be revealed, and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

 

God’s inner kindness has caused him to act compassionately.

He has graciously given you his son—trust him

He has graciously given you his church—grow with them.

He has gracious revealed his return—have hope!

 

© Calvary Baptist Church of Holland

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to use and reproduce this material in any format for spiritual, non-commercial purposes. We only ask that you do not alter the content in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. Please include the following statement on any distributed material: by Paul L. Davis. © Calvary Baptist Church of Holland

[1] All Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

[2] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 413.

[3] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996).