Proof: Week 2 – Titus 2:11-14

In Week 1, we talked about John 1:14, 16 with emphasis on the following

  1. Grace came in the person of Jesus Christ
  2. He came full of grace and truth, not a balance between
  3. In His fullness, we have received the saving grace in place of grace already given

This week in the Victory Group resource, we are going to study verses from Titus 2

Titus 2:11-14

New International Version (NIV)

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Lord thank you for your word. Thank you for bestowing us an instruction manual we can live by. I pray for guidance in understanding and that only your intention will be heard. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

To continue where we have left off from last week, Jesus, (the fulfillment of the
promise – Gen 3:15) “came”, Titus 2:11 put it as “appeared”.
It’s says here, “For the grace of God has appeared“. Also, because this verse starts with “For“, it also means that this verse is meant as a concluding statement of its preceding verses. (You can read that in your own time).

We had a lot of emphasis on the coming of grace already from last week, so we continue to the later parts of verse 12, “that offers salvation to all people“. Now, think about this – “For the grace of God” (Jesus, the embodiment of grace), “that offers“, examine the word that was used is “offers”; when you experience that word today, to some people, when you offer something, the common mindset is that “you offer because you probably expect something in return” doesn’t it. It seems sad but it’s a reality we live today.

The world made in itself a way to make the “performance driven” culture more evident than “love driven”. I’m not saying that performing is bad, in fact, that is good in a sense. But what is not good is people are more concerned what the world will see in us than what God is supposed to see in us.

Know this, the Bible talks about “salvation” (going back to the word), that is offered free. But listen – because it is offered, it is not automatically yours until you respond. Who should respond? Is says here “to all people”. There was no exception there. Not to a chosen few. Not to a specific denomination. Not to people who outperforms the other. Not just the rich. Not just the good. It will be to anyone who “responded”, to the one who “acted”, to the one who “received” it. Again, salvation is offered to all people, and those who responded, acted on receiving it, get it. Otherwise, to those who do not, it remains to be just an offer doesn’t it?

Unlike any other stuff offered though, like food, or drinks, or anything you can touch, these offer is one that is not something felt, or smelled, or ingest, this is something beyond. Receiving it is not the same as receiving all the other stuff, but this offer; you receive “by faith“. Galatians 3:14 …through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

What is more interesting is that, even though it was not something you get physically when you receive it, it manifests itself in the inside, which comes as a proof that you have it. Titus continued, 1st part of verse 12 “It teaches us“, who is being taught? Those who acted, received, and responded through faith. Believers are influenced by that of which they received… grace; it says here, it teaches – “to say ‘No’ to ungodliness“. What are these? Just taking a cue from the law handed down to Moses, those that although it says “thou shalt not” and we still do 🙂 .

Unloving (or hate), idolatry, dishonor, murder, adultery, robbing, lies, coveting – you name it, but my point is… “Rather than being a person who knows the law and trying to abide by it to stay out of trouble“… by being in the saving knowledge of grace, you are taught to say ‘No’… “‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions”. You are induced to the concept of eternal rather than temporal. It teaches you to be immune to worldly desires. It teaches you “to live self-controlled, upright and godly“. Our country is in crisis today because some officials are allegedly involved in corruption; it is demoralizing from a sense where the government is failing from watching over itself… what more to other people who it is supposed to be watching. The difference with grace is that it teaches self governance, to be under the authority of the Lord, and its fruit is righteous men and women.

Last part of verse 12, “in this present age,” well, if the Bible says present age, does it then described before? Is it in the timeline where the book of Titus was written? Let me ask you, in the world we live today, does hate exists? Does idolatry exists? In the world today, do we see dishonor, murder, adultery? Is there no more theft and is the world free of lies? In fact, come to think of it “in this present age,” is truer now than it’s ever been doesn’t it…

Verse 13 “while we wait for the blessed hope“. Let me circle back to the idea on verse 12 and back to verse 13 again to build on the point…

Grace teaches us self governance, influences us to live righteously, in this present age, WHILE we wait for the blessed hope.

Blessed hope by which John described in John 14:1-3 referring to Jesus promise:

John 14:1-3

New International Version (NIV)

1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Blessed hope, which is the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

To close, verse 14 “Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

As we have concluded from the previous meeting, His presence from the beginning (John 1:1-3; Genesis 1:1,26), will give “14 who gave himself for us” a twofold story – (1) give up heaven for a time ‘and make his dwelling among us’ (John 1:14). Jesus, who is blameless, to live among us – Isaiah 64:6 put it this way “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;” Can you just imagine if I ask you to go and live with beggars who are unable to change their clothes for a long time because of poverty? That doesn’t sound very appealing but that’s the picture here. And that is not all – (2) he came to us, live with us, so that he can die for us. How many times does he need to ‘give himself for us’? He gave himself, so that he can give himself for us, redundant enough? Here is more 🙂 : He gave himself to us, so that he can give himself for us, because he has not given up on us. Going back to the word, it says here “to redeem us”. Redeem us “from all wickedness”, you see, when Jesus gave himself for us, it was to redeem us from ALL wickedness. So if you are FREE from wickedness, you who are sinful; was made sinless before God; spotless; blameless. It adds here “and to purify“. It was a necessary sacrifice because he was establishing the church; the body of Christ – “to purify for himself a people that are his very own”.

Lastly, it concluded “eager to do what is good.” and I especially like this part. This last part here is also what made me say:

“What is more interesting is that, even though it was not something you get physically when you receive it, it manifests itself in the inside, which comes as a proof that you have it.”

back from the top.

This is a result of grace. Grace gives us, strengthens us, sustains us, transforms us, and makes us “eager to do what is good.” This is a proof of grace. “Eager (or wanting, longing, yearning) to do what is good.”

And I end with this verse:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

New International Version (NIV)

Praise be to God!

Bible Rewind: A New Perspective in My Reading of the Scripture

A couple months back, our Bible study group went through a series of 2-hour monthly lectures in hermeneutics. Thank God for using Pastor Vic to mentor us in this journey. Our group truly appreciates his guidance and up to now that he continued teaching us to improve on our Bible reading comprehension.

I do not intend to cover what all I learned from that series, the more so I cannot cover them in one article, but what I intend to do in this post is to give readers a quick look at how this foundational principles are guiding me in my Bible reading today.

One important ingredient is to understand the necessity of Biblical interpretation. As you would with other forms of communication, a gap between the sender and receiver can occur; and that is no different in reading the Bible. A gap occurs in one or combination of History, Culture, Language and World View.

During the course of the lesson, we were eventually made to memorize GHIPA as a guide that expands to the following:

  1. G = Genre: the men who wrote the text as inspired by God used forms of literature that people of those time understood, which is why genre is important in our interpretation. Simply put, interpretation would require more than just words and grammar.

    For instance, one sentence from a literature says this way “Crocodile got away”:

    While you can understand its grammar with subject and verb agreements, if you are not going to consider its literary genre, you could be at lost in trying to determine its real meaning.

    If the sentence is found in children’s story book, it could literally mean the actual animal got away from its holding cell or from being captive. But if this sentence is found in the news paper with highlights on current political issues (you might not relate if you are not a Filipino), it is most likely that this is not pertaining to the actual crocodile.

    If this example doesn’t suit you, let’s take one from the Bible:

    Song of Songs 4
    New International Version (NIV)

    13 Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
    with choice fruits,
    with henna and nard,
    14     nard and saffron,
    calamus and cinnamon,
    with every kind of incense tree,
    with myrrh and aloes
    and all the finest spices.
    15 You are a garden fountain,
    a well of flowing water
    streaming down from Lebanon.

    Surely you wouldn’t think of the wife to be a literal garden that produces plants.

  2. H = Historical Background: in the 1st example above, History can play a crucial role that eventually how the word “crocodile” can-or-have depicted into a different meaning from either just a wild animal to be a “corrupt individual”.
  3. I = Intention (or Authors Intention): going back to a verse in Songs of Songs 4, if the woman was not aware what the guys intention was in saying the following:

    Your neck is like the tower of David,
    built with courses of stone;

    The statement can possibly be taken as insult more than a praise which is the original intention.

  4. P = Principle (Timeless Principle): more than the unfolding story of our redemption, what would make a great Bible reading is extracting the timeless principle conveyed in one or combination of verses, chapters or a book.

    One topic we discussed in our OT Survey lecture was “The Fall” and it was a great discussion learning that it was not so much about the blame game between Adam, Eve and the serpent but a lesson on responsibility, accountability, obedience and much more.

  5. A = Application (Practical Application): lastly, it makes more sense to capture the message, the timeless principle, and bring it to use in our daily lives. Let’s just say, what would have happened if Adam have been a responsible husband and watch over his wife like God had commanded him to. Or Eve would have been more resistant to temptation and have been obedient to her husband and God.

To close, while above does not give an all descriptive and more detailed discussion for each of the points, I hope it would help you discern better on your next encounter of God’s Word. Of course, top it up with a word of prayer to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

Here is a post that may interest you. Have a great day and God bless!

NIV & Other Versions NOW available Offline in YouVersion

I received this exciting news in my inbox today. I was trying to see if there is an article or blog I can refer you to so I could paste a link here BUT I can’t find it.

But I found another interesting link which might inspire you: http://now.youversion.com/

 

Today in the Jesus Community

Today in the Jesus Community

I just love the animations that shows how busy God works J

Hotspot 4: Unlimited

Before I proceed further, just to give readers a background, the Church I go to (Victory) do topical services and in the previous series, it was coined Hotspot – 3 topics were discussed: Source, Sync, and Share and this series was aimed to cover principles about discipleship.

Which I also plan to cover here with a version I worked on for our Small Group (some refer to it as Bible Study Group).

Coming out of that series, it was inspiring to follow on reading from the Book of John (where most part of the scriptures I quoted sharing in our previous study) with the following verses:

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

 

John 14:12-14

AND I call it discipleship Unlimited. We’ll see that in a moment 🙂 Now, let’s put the magnifying glass first in the phrases use in verse 12 of the passage:

“I tell you” – if you believe that Jesus himself is God, and, possesses all the qualities of the Father, therefore, He cannot lie. And by these, what He said in the next set of verses mention here must be true.

“Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing” – there is the use of “will do”: Another quality of God is that He is all knowing, Jesus is Alpha and Omega (the beginning and the end), and in this set of verses, He was predicting the future. Think about that.

To whom is this promise directed to? “Whoever believes in me” He says… to those who has been reconciled by the blood of Christ. You cannot say that you are a believer if you haven’t been reconciled (and I shared about that when we did the “Sync” part of the series, more on this as I blog about that). But to my point, this promise is addressed to every believer of Christ and it will be activated to you if you believe truly.

What promise? “the works I have been doing”. Now, think about this for a second – what kind of work? The saving part? The healing of the sick? Feeding the 5000 with a few loaves of bread and fish? Making the blind see again? Or making the cripple walk? or what about raising people from the dead (Lazarus and a girl who was terribly sick and died). What?

Well, He says “works”? Didn’t that mean all of it? Or just because it didn’t say “all works”, sure, how about some of that then for starters? Do you believe you can do that?

Let us move further in this verse for a moment and circle back – not only we’re promise to do His works, He continued “and they will do even greater things than these” 🙂 what now? first we enumerated His works, and then Jesus said greater than those, (someone would ask, can anyone exceed the work of Christ?) and He closes with, “because I go to the father”. If we have heard the story of Jesus one too many times, we know that later in this gospel He gave His life, take that for a fortune teller, He knew what was going to happen, and certainly, He knows, what is to happen even after His death and resurrection. He said “because I go” not “if I go”, and so, He knew.

Now, let’s take a look at Acts for a moment, at the time of the Pentecost:

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

(Acts 2:38-41)

Wow! 3000 on that Day was saved through the preaching of Peter, that many number was added to the Church in a period of time. When Jesus talked about suffering, death and resurrection, some people who were following them (because of the miracles He was performing) leaves, they couldn’t take it… at one point, Jesus even told the disciples “are you all leaving too?”

greater things than this” He said, couldn’t be more clear… take this, Paul, afterwards built churches, after churches, after churches including Asia. Think about Jesus’ time where the focus was with the Jews, but here, the promise has been fulfilled through Paul — “making disciple of ALL nations”.

Well, what about the miracles? Let me ask you, what is better than ‘healing a sick person’? isn’t getting right with Christ the best kind of healing a person could have? it heals your soul…

What is better than feeding the 5000? Isn’t giving them the knowledge of Christ, which He said one time when He spoke to the Samaritan Woman in the well, “I give water that will not make you thirsty again” a better gift than a meal?

What is better than making the blind see? Isn’t showing them the truth about the Gospel more eye opening?

What is better than making the cripple walk? Isn’t guiding them to walk with God in the faith of being save the best experience a man can have?

What about raising people from the dead? What is better than making known to them the gift of eternal life through Christ, our Lord.

Now let us circle back to the last part of that verse before moving to the next… He said “because I am going to the Father”, and He certainly meant that all these greater things you are able to do, because – “I am going to die for you”, “and I will have paid the debt in full”, “that you, my disciples will become witnesses of my fate” – remember, these was happening during the time that Jesus has already announce that He knew the time is coming.

And then He concluded in verses 13 and 14:

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Friends, the power of His promises are only activated through prayer, and these prayers needed to be through Jesus.

“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

“Nothing comes through the Father except through the Son”, which is Jesus.

This is why we say “In Jesus name I (or we) pray. Amen”.

Remember, it doesn’t come if you don’t believe, and by believe, I mean, your life wrapped in the person of Jesus Christ. That you believe in His Lordship and have repented of your sins. You can’t come to God through Jesus and expect a promise to be answered when you’re in Sin… it doesn’t operate that way. The more so ask of anyone to pray for you or pray for anyone, you are wasting your time. “Whoever believes in me” He said “and I will do”. But this can be a separate discussion on itself, so, this is it for now… and I pray, that this make sense to you and may God bless you!