Vol. 34, No. 8 August, 2010
OH TO GRACE HOW GREAT A DEBTOR. (Titus 3:3-7)
By Dr. George Mills
“That being Justified by His GRACE we should be made heirs according to the hope of Eternal Life.” (Titus 3:7).
As always, I enjoy the study of the Word of God. It is work however, but it is always rewarding. I would like to share with you some precious truths from the Book of Titus. This Book contains only three chapters, but it offers much to the believer in Christ. Titus was Paul’s helper. Paul called him “my partner and fellowhelper.” (2Cor. 8:23). Paul left Titus on the Island of Crete to..
(a) Set things in order, (1:5) and to
(b) Ordain elders.
It is evident that there were saved people on Crete, but they were not organized. It is not clear as to how the Gospel got to these on Crete. This must not have been a very pleasant assignment, for it is evident that Titus wanted to leave Crete. Two major problems faced the believers there…
1. The Judaizers. “They of the circumcision,” v10-11). They taught that believers in Christ must be circumcised.
2. Those that used Grace as a license to Sin. (2:12). Paul knew that the churches must be organized and that sound doctrine must be taught, (2:1). In these last days sound doctrine is a thing of the past. Notice the motivations that Paul used to encourage the young man to stay on the job at Crete. He reminds Titus of some things..
1. WHAT WE WERE. (v3) He reminds Titus, and us, of what we were before we were saved. “Ye were sometimes.” In the past, before you were saved.
(A) FOOLISH. This does not necessarily denote one as an idiot, or one who is devoid of reason, but one who reasons wrongly, (Mt. 7:24-27). He states HOW we were foolish..
(a) WE WERE DISOBEDIENT. We disobeyed the Law of God. He can write with full meaning, “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. (Ro. 6:23).
(b) WE WERE DECEIVED.
We were deceived about GOD. We had our own idea about God and Who He is and what He demands of us.
We were deceived about SIN. If you asked the Cretians about sin and their definition of sin, you would get different
answers. “Sin is whatever you think it
might be,” “If you think it’s wrong and do it anyway, then that’s sin.” or “sin is anything not done in moderation,”
We were deceived about SALVATION. They had their own ideas just as man has his own ideas today. “Salvation is by works, by baptisms, by church membership, by hope, or think, or maybe.” I most certainly had my own idea before I was saved. I pictured myself as holding out faithfully until the very end. My dear reader, if you are not saved, I am sure that you have your own idea about what Salvation is all about. Salvation is all about a Person; Jesus Christ. We must receive Him alone as God’s only way of Salvation. If we try some other way, that makes us a thief, or a robber.
More ways we were foolish…
(c) WE WERE SERVING DIVERSE LUSTS AND PLEASURE. Whatever the flesh lusted for was the thing we went after. The “flesh” meaning the old Adamic nature we were born with.
(d) WE WERE LIVING IN MALICE AND ENVY. “Having a desire to cause pain or injury to others. To harbor grudges.”
(e) WE WERE HATEFUL AND HATING ONE ANOTHER. Hate is rooted in envy.
This world is a hateful world. We were part of that before we were saved.
There is Political hatred.
There is Religious hatred
There is Racial hatred.
Before we were saved we were identified with some or all of these. Perhaps religious hatred is at the worst of these.
All of these describe, in various degrees, what we were before we were saved.
2. WHAT GOD DID. “He saved us”(v5).
That’s right, “He saved us.”
(A) He saved us from the PENALTY of sin. “For the wages of sin is death. Death came into the world by way of sin. “Wherefore as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world and death by sin..” (Ro. 5:12). Christ bore the full PENALTY of sin for us by His sacrificial death on the Cross and His bodily resurrection from the dead. This is so wonderful. My heart is full and warm as I think of His Sacrifice for my sin on His Cross. He did that for you too!
(B) He saved us from the POWER of sin. Today. Sin has the world entangled. All seems so hopeless for so many. I believe that there is still Power enough in the Gospel of Jesus Christ to “Set at liberty them that are bound.” May I say to you that whatever may have you bound; Faith in Christ has the power to set you free. Millions have been set free. This is meant for everyone. Sin reaches everyone, Salvation sets everyone who trusts Christ free!
3. HOW GOD DID IT.
(A) First, on the negative side. “NOT by works of righteousness which we have done.” (v5). There is nothing within man, or about man that has the means, or power, or the ability to save himself. No man can ever boast before God that he, or that he AND God worked it out. Salvation is of the Lord! If you are depending upon your good works, your good life, your baptism, your church membership, your giving, your going, your teaching, all will not do. Christ came and did for us that which we could never do. HE PURCHASED OUR SALVATION FOR US! It’s FREE! It’s the Gift of God! We must receive it as a free Gift, or reject it. There is no other way.
(B) On the POSITIVE SIDE. How God did it.
(a) IT IS BY GRACE. “That being justified by His GRACE,” (v7) “For the GRACE of God that bringeth Salvation hath appeared to ALL men.” (2:11). Our Salvation is totally by His GRACE.
GRACE is the wonderful attribute of God that gives the repentant sinner that which we do not deserve.
Verse 5 says, “But according to his MERCY He saved us.” His MERCY is the wonderful attribute of God that keeps us from getting what we rightly deserve. We deserve nothing. What WE WERE, as stated in this message is proof enough that we deserve nothing. Oh, Praise Him for His GRACE! Let’s note the two agents God used to bring about His Salvation in our lives.
(1) The Washing of Regeneration. (v5). This washing is NOT water baptism. Water baptism is a work that man does. The physical cannot produce the Spiritual. (John 3:1-7). The WATER is symbolic and pictures the Word of God.
“That He might sanctify and cleanse it (the Church) with the washing of water by the Word.” (Eph 5:26).
“Being Born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1Pet. 1:23).
“Of His own will He begat us with the Word of Truth.” (Ja. 1:18)
The washing and cleansing is the WORD of God. We are born of His Word. As a lost sinner, we must first hear the Word, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Ro10:17). The Word opens the Way.
(2) “The renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (v5). The Word of God, and The Spirit of God. These are the two (only two) agents God uses to bring about in our lives the GIFT of His GRACE. When we hear about our Lord Jesus and His wonderful Sacrifice of Himself for full payment for our sin, the Spirit of God takes that Word of God and the Word convicts us of sin and convinces us of Christ. Don’t add, or take away anything from that. Just believe it, receive it, and enjoy your trip to eternity.
4. WHAT WE ARE NOW.
(A) As already stated, we are NOW saved! Saved from the PENALTY and POWER of sin. It’s a done deal!
(B) We are NOW Justified. (v7). “That being Justified by His Grace…” “Justified” is a legal term meaning, “to be declared Righteous.” To be made as though you had never sinned.
(C) We are NOW Heirs. (v7). “And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” (Ro. 8:17). THINK ABOUT IT…Everything that Christ has is ours. A Free Gift! When we received Christ we received all that He is and all that He has. I was born into a poor family. There are no wealthy merchants or lawyers in my family lineage. But the moment I got saved, I became rich. I do not mean that Salvation brings a check to the mail box every day. I have enjoyed 50 years of His Grace. My need has been supplied. When He comes to receive the Church and we are called to our eternal home, then we will come into our inheritance in it’s fullness.
Now, how about you, my dear friend? Have you by Faith alone, received the Lord Jesus as your Saviour? There is none other; there is no other way to God. If you have never received Him, He is there, where you are, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He will never come into your life unbidden. You must ask Him to save you. He has been there all of your life. I trust that you will receive Him today. “How do I receive Him?” The Bible says, “Ask and ye shall receive.” Just tell Him now in your own words that you believe and that you receive Him. Begin TODAY to live FOREVER!
Now, for just a few more thoughts about GRACE from the Book of Titus, Ch 2..
1. GRACE IN THE PAST.
“For the GRACE of God that bringeth Salvation HATH appeared to ALL men.”
(2:11) His Grace appeared in the Person of Jesus Christ, for ALL men to receive.
2. GRACE IN THE PRESENT. Grace teaches us, (v12) that we should “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” Grace does not give a license to live in sin as some at Crete were saying, and as some have said through the ages. Grace changes a man from the inside out. Grace places within the Christian a desire to please Christ, and not to be conformed to this world. If that desire to please Christ is not present in your life, something is wrong. Make sure that you are saved. Read this message carefully.
3. GRACE IN THE FUTURE.
Grace has appeared in the Past in the Person of Christ.
Grace appears now in the hearts and lives of His own.
And Grace will appear in the future.
“Looking for that Blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (v12).
Grace teaches us not to be conformed to this world.
Grace teaches us to look for our Dear Saviour. He is coming for His own in His time. Until He comes, enjoy each day as partakers of His GRACE!
THINK ABOUT IT…Where else could such a plan of Salvation come from except from the heart of The Holy God. Could man come up with a plan to include everyone? I think not. The rich man would have left out the poor man. And the poor man would have left out the rich man. Somebody would have been left out if man had anything to do with it. But God’s plan is “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life FREELY.” Now, that’s Grace.
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS…It is no friend to the Christian. What the world offers is PASSING, what Calvary offers is PERMANENT.
“Forever O Lord Thy Word is settled in Heaven.”
By Pastor George Mills
“For by GRACE are ye saved
through FAITH ..” (Eph. 2:8)
Grace reached far deeper,
Than my deepest sin.
Grace is my keeper,
Making me pure within.
Grace reached far higher,
Than my highest plan,
Grace to inspire,
To lift fallen man.
Grace reached far wider,
Than man can e’re tell,
Grace is my hider,
From the onslaughts of hell.
Grace reaches longer,
Than man can conceive,
Grace is far stronger,
To all who believe.
Grace was my refuge,
Grace was my all,
Grace was my rescue,
When on Christ I did call.
Sufficient Grace for every day,
And Grace for every need,
Grace for every step of the way,
Grace, my refuge, indeed.
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS..
It is no friend to the Christian.
For a short time GRACE Tabernacled here. The world is no friend of Grace. So the world rejected Grace. But God is able to make all Grace abound. While the world is no friend of Grace, Grace is available for the world. But the same world that rejects Grace will find too late that Grace was their friend. Sound complicated? Just trust His Grace.
AN ODE TO THE SHOPPING CART
Pastor George Mills
While driving over a bridge on my side of town, I glanced over my right side and saw a Shopping Cart at the very top of the bridge. The cart was in the emergency lane. I said to myself that this Shopping Cart is in a very dangerous position. Just a little nudge or puff of wind from a passing vehicle and that cart could roll down the bridge, possibly causing much damage or injury. Right after that I started taking notice and I saw abandoned Shopping Carts everywhere. I saw some kids playing with Shopping Carts in a parking lot. I saw another cart abandoned on the side of the road, and another one abandoned and turned over in a ditch. I saw some more carts behind a store near a dumpster. I saw who I believed to be a homeless person pushing a Shopping Cart laden with just junk. I saw three or four turned over in a ditch behind the Post Office. If you take notice I believe that you will see abandoned Shopping Carts everywhere. Some turned over, some damaged, and some just abandoned not serving any purpose. But a Shopping Cart is one of the most useful things we have today. Recently I went into a store just for an item or two, and before I realized it, I had to go for a Shopping Cart. They are very useful and helpful items. I hate to get a cart that has a flat spot on one wheel, or squeaks, or hard to turn, or one of the guiding casters is stuck. Yes, Shopping Carts are very useful. But abandoned, ditched, filled with junk, idle by the road, all serve no purpose. Shopping Carts are vessels designed to carry good things like Milk, Meat, Bread, potatoes, fruit, cookies, and all the good things we use every day. But can we see a greater picture here? A picture of countless lives that were intended to be vessels of use, now discarded. Does this picture your life? Perhaps you feel like that. Your life once filled with so much useful potential. But now you feel, well, sorta like one of these abandoned shopping carts with a broken wheel. God is able to make all things new. I am afraid that this pictures the lives of so many Christians. We are saved to serve, to be useful vessels, but too many are just idle, some are just carrying around so much “stuff” Some used to be active, happy serving Christ, but now, are just like a discarded Grocery Cart. Some of these Carts are in good condition; they only need to get back in line for the next customer. Others need a little help. A little oil on the wheels, perhaps a new bearing, maybe just a new caster, or just a real cleaning, and back in service. Let us just discard some of our junk today and let us be a vessel with good purpose all for the Master’s use. Let’s be filled with,
Is your life today like an abandoned Shopping Cart? Really no use to anyone? God has been in the “junk business” for a long time. He does wonders in making things over. Talk to Him about it. Who knows, a few squirts of oil, and some cleaning the string from the wheels, and you’re back in service.
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FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
You can be sure of two things when the hot summers arrive in Florida! Bugs and thunderstorms! The wasps begin to build their nests and the ants begin to build their abodes for the summer. We also have an abundance of grasshoppers that stay busy eating the leaves off my flower bushes. I have watched the wasps and ants as they worked tirelessly building and nothing seems to slow them down. They are busy building! The grasshoppers don’t give up either! A lot of hard work going on but one day we get out the wasp spray and with one squirt; their nests are gone, destroyed. They worked day and night building and now it’s all gone. The ant poison is next, and their summer home is gone. Now the grasshoppers don’t stand a chance when the Grand Kids get here with their bug catchers, but they were busy for awhile.
Then we expect the thunder clouds to begin to build, and build they do! In the afternoon hours, the rains begin to fall and the lightning and thunder comes with it. Sometimes severe! In our city we have had three homes struck by lightning and burned to the ground in the past month. Needless to say, we certainly acknowledge God during a thunderstorm! We are no different when it comes to building. Moms and Dads are busy day and night working to build that beautiful home they have always dreamed of having and we work for years to build a retirement fund for our “Golden Years!” (that means old age). Always busy working and building. Then the rains come, the lightning strikes and the beautiful dream home burns to the ground! Then the stock market takes a dive and goodbye retirement, it’s all gone! Everything we have worked for, gone! What about our health? We seem so healthy today but what about tomorrow? We exercise and take vitamins and try to eat healthy as we should, but young, seemingly healthy athletes get sick. The rains will come. The truth is, we should be busy building, but make sure you are building on the right foundation, and that is the Lord Jesus! There is victory in knowing Jesus! The rains will still come and we may lose everything we worked for on this earth. Sickness may come but we are still on the winning side! No losers in God’s family! Be wise and build your house upon the Rock. This Rock is Jesus, and when the rains come down, and they will, we will be standing firm. “The Foundation of the Lord standeth sure.”(2Tim. 2:19). Ask Him to come into your heart and include Him in every phase of your life. Live for Him! He died for you. My husband and I celebrated our 56th wedding anniversary on July 31 and we have been asked how we made our marriage last for so many years. My answer is short and simple, “Only God!” Seriously we have tried to honor our Lord down through the years and we have seen an abundance of sunshine with many blessings and many happy times, but we have had some “rains.” Actually I would call them “down pours” and we have had a few lightning strikes and the thunder has roared many times in the past 56 years but God is the answer on “how did we make it work?”
When the rains came we stood firm because our house was built upon the Rock! “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1Cor. 3:11).
Happy Anniversary Hon!
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS..
It is no friend to the Christian, and it is no friend to your Bible, (KJB).
Today, the battle still rages. There has been no change. In the very beginning Satan told Eve about an “up-dated version.” “Ye shall NOT surely die.” He just added a little here, and took out a little there. (Gen 3:1-24).
Every ‘bible’ that attacks the PERSON and WORK of Jesus Christ is NOT “BIBLE.”
KJB.. “God was manifest in the flesh.”
NIV.. “He was manifest.” Same verse.
Just Change “GOD” to “HE”
And destroy His Deity.
KJB… “Dost thou believe on the Son of
God?” (Jn 9:35).
NIV… “Do you believe in the son of
MAN?” Same verse.
KJB.. “In whom we have redemption
Through His Blood.” (Col. 1:14)
NIV.. “In whom we have redemption.”
Through His blood, LEFT OUT,
Hundreds of attacks against the Person and Work of Jesus Christ in these new ‘versions.’ The battle lines are clearly drawn. “Is the Bible the Word of God? If so, which bible? I will stay with the Book that brought us this far. I am sure it will take us the rest of the way.