PAUL’S EPISTLE TO TITUS
THE GRACE OF GOD
TEXT: TITUS 2:11-15
1. I would like to preach tonight on the subject of the grace of God. Grace can be simply defined as God’s unmerited favor.
2. This important doctrine, the doctrine of God’s grace, is the watershed that divides fundamental Christianity from false religion, from Romanism and liberal Protestantism, and all of the cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons.
3. For example, Rome teaches that the grace of God is mediated through her priests and sacraments; but certainly this teaching is not taught in the Bible.
4. One of my favorite words in the Spanish language is gracias, from the Latin gratia. This is where we get our English word grace.
5. Someone has said that an easy way to remember the doctrine of grace is by the acronym:
God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
6. In Titus 3:4, Paul expresses a parallel thought. There he says, “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared.”
7. Therefore, grace is “the kindness and love of God.”
8. We often refer to the church age as “the dispensation of grace.” This is not to suggest that God’s grace was not available before Calvary. Rather it means that the grace of God was poured out in an abundant way when Christ died for our sins.
9. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
10. Sinners have always been saved by grace. Genesis 6:8 says, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (cf. Rom. 4:1-8; Eph. 2:8, 9).
11. God graciously delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage. Israel is a chosen nation by the grace of God.
12. Before moving ahead into our text this evening, let me give four basic principles of God’s grace:
(1) Christianity is unique in that it alone is a message of grace – all of the other world religions teach salvation by works.
(2) Jesus Christ is the supreme revelation of God’s grace. He is the grace of God personified.
(3) Salvation is by grace through faith alone.
(4) Grace governs and empowers Christian living. We are not only saved by grace – we are kept by grace and we live by grace.
I. THE SALVATION GRACE BRINGS (TITUS 2:11)
1. Notice that “the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (2:11) – not just to the Jews, but to the Gentiles too – to “all men” – not just to America but to “all men.”
2. How can this be?
A. Jesus Christ is the grace of God personified.
B. Jesus Christ is the supreme revelation of God’s grace.
C. God’s grace appeared when the Lord Jesus Christ came down from heaven to die on the cross for our sins.
D. Jesus is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
3. Salvation has absolutely nothing to do with human merit, man’s feeble efforts to please God, maintaining good works, keeping the ten commandments (no one can keep the ten commandments), obeying the “Golden Rule,” church ordinances or “sacraments,” etc.
4. It was the grace of God that sent Jesus to die for our sins on the cross and God’s grace flows from the cross.
II. THE LESSONS GRACE TEACHES US (TIT. 2:12)
1. The same grace that saves also teaches us. God’s grace trains us in the school of holiness.
2. When a student enrolls in a good school he learns there are certain things that are not tolerated in school, e.g., talking out of turn, being disrespectful, being late, being rude, and so forth. Likewise, God’s school of grace also has certain rules concerning what God considers acceptable behaviour:
A. “Denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.” “Ungodliness” includes anything that is contrary to God, anything that displeases God – lying, cheating, stealing, bad language, bad attitude, pre-marital or extra-marital sex, anything that goes against the Word of God.
B. “Worldly lusts” refers to worldly desires, not just sexual sins but also lust for money, lust for power, lust for pleasure, lust for fame and fortune, and so on.
C. One of the biggest challenges today is trying to keep worldliness out of our lives, out of our church, out of our homes, and out of our thinking.
D. The apostle Peter says: “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (I Peter 2:11).
E. Worldliness hinders us from serving the Lord effectively (cf. I John 2:15-17; James 4:4). We do not hear much preaching against worldliness these days – that’s because many preachers are worldly themselves!
F. Another important lesson from God’s school of grace is that “we should live soberly” (Titus 2:12; cf. 2:2). This means self-controlled.
3. We should live “righteously” (2:12), i.e., honestly. We need to be truthful.
4. We should live “godly in this present world” (2:12), this means completely devoted to God. Are you a godly person? Are you completely devoted to God?
5. George Whitefield often declared that he would rather have a church with ten men in it right with God than one with 500 whom the world laughs at behind their backs.
6. There was a young lawyer down in Georgia who was invited to deliver an address of welcome to the Governor on a Monday evening. He took great pains to prepare his speech, realizing that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
7. Then he received a telegram on Monday, saying that the Governor’s visit would be delayed until Wednesday evening. Immediately he wrote a letter back to the committee that a previous engagement would prevent his being present on Wednesday evening. Even though he spent a lot of time working on this speech, and even though giving this speech would certainly mean a big promotion for him, and even though he was looking forward to meeting the Governor, nothing could cause him to miss this “previous engagement.”
8. Do you know what this engagement was? Regular Wednesday night prayer meeting at his church – he never missed prayer meeting. Do you have this kind of devotion to God? Are you “godly”? (2:12)
9. Soberly – this speaks of our duty to ourselves.
10. Righteously -- this speaks of our duty to our neighbors.
11. Godly – this speaks of our duty to God.
12. The grace of God teaches us valuable lessons on how to live the Christian life. First, the grace of God saves us (2:11); then the grace of God instructs us on how to live, and thirdly, the grace of God motivates us.
III. THE HOPE GRACE SETS BEFORE US (TIT. 2:13-15)
1. This blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord is the most powerful motive for godly living (cf. I John 3:2, 3).
2. Notice Jesus Christ is called “the great God and our Saviour” (2:13). The New King James Version is quite accurate on this verse – they render it, “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
3. The apostle Paul is speaking of the rapture – it is imminent. Jesus could come today – are you ready?
4. The Holiday Inn had planned to build a hotel on the Mount of Olives. They sent a group of engineers to prepare for the construction project. After some investigation they said it could not be done – there is a geological fault under the Mount of Olives which is causing it to split. They could have saved themselves a lot of time and money if they would have read the Bible (cf. Zech. 14:1-4).
5. This blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our Lord, has had a profound affect on Christians throughout the centuries. Churches that emphasize the second coming of Christ are not going to dry up, they are not going to go liberal, they will keep up a missionary and soul-winning emphasis.
6. Our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us” (2:14). What does that mean to you?
7. A British pastor told the story of two RAF crewmen who died in 1987 when their F111 (a two seat fighter bomber) crashed in Australia. Apparently the plane was going to crash in a town called Tenterfield. The two pilots could have easily ejected but if they did their plane would have landed in an area with many people. The two pilots would have survived but many people would have been killed.
8. Instead the pilots stayed in the plane and managed to crash it out in the desert. The two pilots died but no one else was killed or injured.
9. The local Australian newspaper editor said, “There’s a feeling in our town that we owe our lives the those two. It would have been no trouble for them to eject.”
10. After relating this story, the British pastor then wrote, “Wickedness had taken hold of us and God’s wrath was heading for us and would have crashed down on us because of our sin. But Christ took the controls and steered the war-plane of God’s judgment away from us, giving us life, and suffered the consequences Himself instead. He did it to rescue us from wickedness and to make us His own. We are to let that sink in. He died for us” (John Benton, Straightening Out the Self-Centered Church).
11. Our Lord died on the cross in order to “redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people” (2:14). “Peculiar” doesn’t mean strange or odd (unfortunately some Christians are strange and odd). When the KJV was translated, “peculiar” meant “God’s private possession” – in other words, we are “special” to Him.
12. The grace of God teaches us that we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. We were slaves to sin but Jesus paid for our redemption with His own precious blood.
13. The Bible teaches that we are to be “zealous of good works” (2:14). Are you zealous of good works the same way worldly people are zealous of parties, and sports, and money?
14. We have been looking at THE SALVATION GRACE BRINGS, THE LESSONS GRACE TEACHES US, and THE HOPE GRACE SETS BEFORE US. The grace of God teaches us to live godly lives (2:11-14) – this is something the law cannot do. Grace is a higher standard than the law.
15. Some people are fooled into thinking that some of the cults are living on a higher plain because of their emphasis on keeping the law, keeping certain rules, externals, and so forth. But this is a smokescreen! Talk to any one who was saved out of a cult and he will tell you it was all an outward show. They never even learned the basic principles that grace teaches.
16. Is your faith in Christ just an outward show? Is it nothing but a sham? If that is the case, you need to get things right with God today.
1. An old Indian, after living in sin for many years, was gloriously saved through the work of a missionary.
2. Friends asked him to explain how his life had changed so much. He grabbed some leaves and formed a circle, and then set it on fire. Next, he picked up a little worm and dropped him in the middle of the ring of fire.
3. The worm crawled around, frantically trying to escape the fire, but could not.
4. Then the old Indian reached down his hand and rescued the little worm. He turned to his friends and said, “I was that worm and God reached down and saved me!”
5. That is the grace of God.