THE REAL REASON WE’RE HERE

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Christine Coltman, contributor for today’s blog post

I’ve always been one of those odd people that would turn more naturally to the Old Testament than to the new. I don’t know whether it was my upbringing in the Church of Scotland, or just an inbuilt inclination. Although I have always been a Christian, I was very much a rules-based Christian in my younger years. I knew Jesus, and I knew he had died for me, but I definitely wanted to tick all the boxes, and probably not always for the right reasons. I was much more comfortable talking about God the Father than Christ the Saviour.
This has changed since I came to Corsham Baptist almost ten years ago, and I am so glad for it. The focus has always been on Jesus in the teaching, and in the friendships God has blessed me with. The songs that I love most are about Jesus, and I have learned so much from studying Titus in the women’s bible study evenings.
But God always wants to take us a step further and I was challenged last week by a sermon which reminded me that the whole of the Bible is about Jesus. Every book, whether Old or New Testament, points to him. It was something that I had not fully thought through before. I had been speaking with a friend about the book of Job the night before, trying to help her understand it, and I realised that not once had I mentioned Jesus. It prompted me to apologise to her, and to share the sermon. Job was of course the first signpost of Scripture to the cross.
I’m so grateful for the way that God walks with us on our journey of faith. I’ve often found it hard that there was no ‘blinding light’ moment of conversion in my life. I was brought up in a good church, I remember asking Jesus into my heart as a small child, and the journey has gone on from there. I have so much to be grateful for yet sometimes I find it hard to distinguish between my ‘old’ life and the ‘new’. Yet there have definitely been so many seasons for me, and I’m excited that this one is leading in the right direction – straight to Jesus.
So, if you’re talking about the Bible with me and I don’t mention Jesus, please prompt me! I don’t want to know all the facts and yet forget the real reason we’re here – to be in, and grow in relationship with him.
‘I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth… How my heart yearns within me.’ Job 19:25-27

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OUR BELIEF LEADS TO OUR BEHAVIOUR

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Sharon Durant, contributor for today’s blog

Excerpt from notes on study: Titus 2:15-3:2 by Sharon Durant

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If we believe that Jesus has lived the Good Life, the BEST life in fact, and then sacrificed himself for us and poured out grace upon us… if we believe that grace is training us and making us more holy like Jesus… if we believe that this life is not all there is, that heaven is where we’re going and that holy character lasts for eternity…

We will be willing to listen to the Holy Spirit. To throw off the things that distract us. To bite back a cutting remark that is just slanderous. Because my life is not lived for my glory, it’s lived for God’s, and to tell people about his grace through the way I live my life.

Don’t make light of sin. The only thing that separates us from those outside the Church is God’s grace. And God’s grace came to us not because we were nice, or we graduated top of the class, or earned a particularly large bonus, No God’s grace came to us by God’s gift. Through the humility of Jesus Christ. So we show humility not just to our friends, or people in the church, but to all.

How can we live Christ-life without Christ’s life inside of us? How can we live a life of grace without God’s grace in us?

So we don’t make light of sin. These 6 commands(Titus 3:1-2) we’ve looked at tonight set the standard of holiness high. But remember we come to the Cross, where Jesus poured out grace upon us, and we receive grace upon grace (James 4:6). We come to Christ who gladly pours out his spirit in our hearts (Luke 11:13, Rom 5:5). Grace trains us every day.

(For entirety of notes, click on 2018-2019 Bible Study-Titus: The Good Life, 5 Notes by Sharon Durant)

HOW CAN OUR BEHAVIOR GLORIFY GOD?

 

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Sharon Durant, contributor for today’s blog

Excerpts from Sharon Durant Titus 3 Notes

…The world is watching us Christians. And we are presenting the Gospel to them. Christian behaviour is important for sharing the Good News about Jesus. The way Christians behave is linked to the impact the Gospel makes in the world around.

If I am claiming to be a Christian, but my life is exactly the same as people who do not, then the watching world says, “There’s nothing to this Christianity lark! There’s no power in the Gospel! What’s the difference? Why follow Christ?”
And yes, since I am a sinner, I am the same as my friends who are not Christians.
BUT I believe that God’s grace has saved me. And that God’s grace is training me to be like Jesus, not like my human great-great-great-great-grandfather Adam.
And my behaviour is therefore different. I’m in a different family now.

That was true in Crete, for people living in a hostile Roman, pagan world, and it’s true now for us living in a hostile, British, secular world. Those who have trusted in God devote themselves to doing good, just as we have been taught.
It’s all over the letter in Titus (2:5, 2:8, 2:10, 2:14…)
and it should be all over our lives, too…

…Because of the grace given to us, we can pour it out onto others. We can be trained by the Holy Spirit to become more like Jesus. Everyday we can read the Bible find out more about the Lord Jesus and how he has called us to die to ourselves, but to find our new life in Him.

titus 3These 6 things from Titus 3:1-2, glorify God because they show God’s character to the world. They are counter-cultural, unexpected ways to live — which are the ways that Jesus lived.

How can my good life make the Gospel attractive and glorify God?

– when it reflects God’s character to the watching world
– when it points to how great God is, not how great I am…

(To read the entirety of these notes, click under the heading of 2018-2019 Bible Study-Titus: The Good Life, 5)