Every week, on Monday, we will have a blog for you with resources for diving deeper into the sermon.
We were in the second week of our Not a Religion sermon series this past weekend, continuing our look at Titus 2:11-12. The main idea of the sermon series is that the way we, as a culture, often define religion is the same way the Bible defines false religion. Trying to earn our salvation through things like being good, giving to charity, supporting a cause, and chasing morality, runs counter to the Bible. As we focused specifically on verse 12 this week, we saw the main idea that saving grace is training grace. While we can’t achieve salvation through our works, focusing on the grace of God that has come to us and saved us and thinking about what it has saved us from, it changes us into the people that God designed us to be.
We must first remember that grace is when something is given to you that you did not earn. The very foundation of our relationship and reconciliation with God is grace; it’s a gift. We deserved condemnation and hell because of our sin; we failed in the purpose for which God designed us. But Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, took the punishment for our sin in our place and raised him from the dead three days later. If we have faith in Christ’s work for us, we are saved. While this is something we celebrate, we are very slow to realize that it was our rebellion that led to the death of an innocent man. But when we realize the heinousness of our sin, the story of the gospel will change us. Grace isn’t a big deal until sin is.
One way we get religion wrong is by saying that good works get us in with God. But a second way we get it wrong, especially in the South, is that we think grace gets us in and good works keep us in, but Titus 2:12 shows us differently. It shows us that the grace that saved you grows you. If you are in the family of God, God will grow you into the type of child that he wants you to become through growing a love for himself in you. When we get this, we will no longer have to live a life of fear from God but will be motivated by love of God to pursue obedience to God. We look at the gospel and great gratitude is built in us—that is grace training us, teaching us, guiding us. We come to realize that if God loved us enough to send his Son, then everything he asks of us must be good. Because we love God, we start to hate the sin in our lives. Indeed, there are things we begin saying “no” to like ungodliness and worldly passions, but we begin to say “yes” to self-control, uprightness, and godly living. Gospel change is about who we are becoming, not what we are saying no to.
The application for this week is the second step in the gospel journey (we saw the first step last week): trust the grace of God to grow you into Christian maturity. When we see the grace of God and we desire to start serving God out of love, we usually want to know what we can start doing. Pastor Andrew gave us three steps: study, surround, and start. Study: read the Bible with a lens of seeking not what to do to not to make God mad, but to see and understand what God has done for you. Surround: surround yourself with a Christian community, that’s where discipleship happens. Start: start living it. Begin to live out what the grace of God is training you to do.
Featured Sermon Series Resource
Not a Religion reading guide: We have selected three separate passages to go with the themes of the Not a Religion series. This companion reading guide will last through the whole series and can be downloaded in full at the link provided. Or, you can have the verses and commentary sent to your email every day by texting MHPLAN to 41411.
-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups)