Optimistic Christians: part four

8 May

Helping people change can be difficult.

Working on changing yourself can feel impossible.

We can get so focused on the difficulties of changing that’s all we can see or feel. In Titus 2:11-14, we see that it is at this moment that we must remember other important realities.

Like, for example, the fact that Jesus is coming back.

I mean, can you imagine it?

The way Paul describes it, you see here, he talks about glory.

Paul describes us as “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” which is a really beautiful statement isn’t it?

I want you to think about this, because this is a rock solid reason to hope for change.

You have to catch what Paul’s doing.

It’s like Paul’s been looking back at what happened, the grace of God appeared, and then he calls on us to look around at what is happening, the grace of God is training us, and now he shifts our attention to what is going to happen, our God and Savior Jesus Christ is going to return.

He moves from grace to glory.

And think about His glory. Just think about that day when it is revealed.

I know, we might have lots of questions about what Jesus can do right now, but do you think there will be any question about what Jesus can and cannot do in that day?

No, we will be in awe of His power.

And as you think about His power and glory, the way it is going to be revealed, then, now, look at the people around you, that you wonder about, who you question whether or not they can really change, because, Paul tells us in verse 14, this is in fact, is why Jesus came in the first place.

This Jesus who is going to appear in the future in glory, appeared in the past, for the purpose of changing us as believers.

And this is so important, because when you wonder whether or not believers can change, you are not really, wondering whether or not people can change, you are really wondering whether or not, Jesus can change people.

You see, when we think of the grace of God, we usually think of it in vague terms, like a substance or something, but as Paul talks about the grace of God in this passage, he’s speaking of the grace of God as a person, a glorious person, Jesus, and that’s why we have such confidence as believers that people can truly and fundamentally change, it’s because we have in in confidence in Jesus, and we know that this Jesus, who we are waiting for, who will appear in glory, this Jesus, “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.”

  1. God intended His grace for all kinds of people.

When you are wondering whether people can change, look back on the grace of God, why did Jesus come? That was first.

  1. God demonstrates His grace by actively training people.

Think about the commitments God’s made to people’s spiritual growth, that’s second.

And 3. God shows His grace through radically transforming people.

Jesus gave Himself for us to accomplish something.

Obviously.

There’s a day coming when His victory will be made clear to the whole world. He didn’t just die in defeat. No, He’s won. He’s victorious and that’s going to be revealed.

And because we look forward to that, we know that His death was meaningful, it’s part of a certain plan that has already been written by God, it can and it will accomplish exactly what He wanted it to accomplish and what did He want it to accomplish, Paul tells us, verse 14, He gave Himself to redeem us from all lawlessness.

In other words to set us free from living rebellious lies, but He didn’t stop there, He gave Himself to purify us, to cleanse us, to set us apart.

Why do we work so hard on teaching Christians to live set apart lives, because we are set apart.

And we are not just set apart for no purpose, we are set apart and cleansed like this for the purpose of belonging to Jesus Himself, which of course gives us hope as we look at the church, because these people don’t belong to us, they belong to Jesus and of course Jesus is going to accomplish the work He wants to in them.

And the work He wants to accomplish in them, is that they would be a people who are zealous, and that means energetic for doing good, in other words, Jesus came and died, that his people might be truly and thoroughly changed.

Set free.

Purified.

Zealous for good works.

Do you believe it?

The truth is, it’s not always easy, to believe it, when you are just looking at people and their problems. In fact, sometimes as you go out there to help people, you can become so discouraged, that you wonder, man, can people like this ever change?

Apart from Christ, no.

That’s why we take them the gospel! Because we look back and see the grace of God appeared for all kinds of people.

And if in Christ?

Can they change, if they are a Christian?

Sometimes even then, it’s hard to believe.

And really, what I am saying, as you are looking at people, maybe even yourself, and wondering, can this kind of person change, that’s a serious moment for you, for us as a church, because look if we don’t believe that, if we don’t believe that God can change people, we don’t believe the gospel, and really we have no reason to exist as a church.

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