Who Are You Working For?

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Do you have a job? Ever work for someone else? If so, the next section of "sound doctrine" from Titus 2 applies to you. As he moves through demographic after demographic teaching what their God-given responsibilities are concerning their walk with the Lord, he hits on one that encapsulates many of the previously listed. Though writing specifically about those who were "slaves," the application of the work ethic and morality fits all who work. So in Titus 2:9-10, he makes 5 points concerning working for someone else...

First, they must be SUBJECT IN EVERYTHING. They must strive to fulfill the wishes of their masters. They could not disobey just because they were now Christians (I Tim. 6:1-4). "In everything" leaves no wiggle room. They must obey all they are told.

Second, they must be WELL-PLEASING. Not only must they complete their tasks and assignments, they must go "above and beyond the call of duty" to do so. They must make sure that their work is in such a way that the master will be happy with their work.

Third, they must be NOT ARGUMENTATIVE. He or she is not to talk back, argue with, nor be contrary to the wants, wishes and demands of the employer. The picture painted is one of a worker who is willing to submit, and is not trying to undermine the boss.

Fourth, they must be NOT PILFERING. "Pilfering" is skimming the profits or the produce of the work. In other words, they were not to be taking a little off the top for themselves. They were not to try to justify stealing from the one who is employing them.

Fifth, they must be SHOWING ALL GOOD FAITH. The opposite of one who pilfers would be one who is trustworthy in every aspect. This Christian servant is one whose master has no worries about his honesty in all his work. 

Paul concludes by saying that the servant is to be "Adorning the doctrine of God." What a beautiful phrase! Does the doctrine of God look good on you? Or, by your actions in front of others, do you make it look bad? The slave/servant/employee can make that adorning of the doctrine look good when we remember that we are not working just for our boss, but we are working for the Lord!

Future Preacher's Training Camp: The Gospel

By Garrett Sawyers - Age 11

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Imagine having a glass of clean, pure water. Would you want to drink it? Probably. What if I put a little bit of sand in it? Maybe, but maybe not. What if I was to put a drop of poison in it or a drop of battery acid in it? Then no one would want to drink it.

That is the same way it is with the Gospel. It is pure and clean, but some people like to put a little bit of this or that in it. But we need to realize there is only one Gospel, and we need that Gospel, the whole Gospel and nothing but the Gospel. So, let's look at three facts that can make the Gospel not what it was intended to be, from Galatians 1:6-9.

I. A Different Gospel is not the Gospel (v.6)

     A. Different means not the same

          1. Yet there is only one Gospel (I Cor. 15)

          2. And there is only one way to obey that Gospel (Romans 6:1-6).

     B. People make it a different Gospel by saying we can be saved by saying a prayer.

          1. Yet that prayer is not in the New Testament!

          2. So what happens when we have something different from God's word?

               a. Remember Aaron's sons in Lev. 10:1-2?

               b. They had "strange fire" or different fire. It was something different.

               c. What happened to them? Different will not work!

II. A Distorted Gospel is not the Gospel (v.7)

     A. Distort means to change

          1. Yet there is only one Gospel (I Cor. 15)

          2. And there is only one way to obey that Gospel (Romans 6:1-6).

     B. People make it a different Gospel by changing what a word means.

          1. Immerse means immerse - Not pour or sprinkle!

          2. So what happens when we have something distorted from God's word?

               a. Remember Noah and the ark? What would have happened if he has used maple?

               b. Remember Naaman? What would have happened if he had dipped only 6 times?

               c. See, distorted will not work!

III. A Contrary Gospel is not the Gospel (v.8-9).

      A. Contrary means opposing or opposite.

          1. Yet there is only one Gospel (I Cor. 15)

          2. And there is only one way to obey that Gospel (Romans 6:1-6).

     B. People make it a contrary Gospel by claiming God is not real.

          1. Or they will claim that Jesus is not deity.

          2. So what happens when we have something contrary to God's word?

               a. The prophets of Baal in I Kings 18 who claimed Baal was the only real god?

               b. Elijah proved Jehovah was the real God, and then killed them. 

               c. What happened to them? Contrary will not work!

Go back to the first of verse 6. He says he was amazed that they had left the gospel. Why was he amazed? A different gospel will not save you. A distorted gospel will not save you. A contrary gospel will not save you. The only thing that will save you is the one Gospel. That is why we need the Gospel, the whole Gospel, and nothing but the Gospel!   

Christian Workers

Paul moves on in his direction of the Sound Doctrine Titus should be preaching in verses 9-10 of chapter 2. There he addresses servants (Bondslaves). As a servant, slave, employee or worker, what should a Christian be like? Sound doctrine teaches there are necessary responsibilities ... 

First, understand that the direction he gives regarding working for another is applicable IN EVERYTHING! That does not leave any wiggle room. So, in your diligence, your trustworthiness, your respectfulness, your attention to detail, your effort, your responsibilities - in every thing - a Christian must be the kind of worker, the kind of servant, and the kind of employee that he or she ought to be.

Second NO STEALING! Perhaps this is the biggest temptation for a slave or an employee. Pilfering - skimming - taking a little off the top for themselves - whatever you might like to call it, is still stealing! The attempt to justify oneself by thinking of how much the boss has, how much the company has, or how much you may "need" something does not work. Stealing is stealing, and stealing is always sin! 

Third remember what you represent. "Adorning the doctrine of God" - What a beautiful phrase! Why should one be careful to work hard be honest, and strive to be the best employee or servant one can be? You have put on Christ! In so doing, you put on His teaching. Some of the loudest sermons we will ever preach are the ones that people see in the way we live our lives! So, does the doctrine of God look good on you? Or do you make it look bad?

It is imperative that Christians conduct themselves as such in the workplace. That is one of the places where we will probably spend the most time in our lives, usually second only to the home. What message are we sending our bosses, our fellow workers, and/or our customers? Are we bringing praise, honor, and glory to God, or shame and reproach?

Titus: An Example For All

                                                      Photo courtesy of Michael Hite

                                                      Photo courtesy of Michael Hite

Having instructed Titus on God's expectations for the lives of older men in 2:2, the older women in 2:3-4a, the younger women in 2:4b-5, and the younger men in 2:6, Paul now shifts his focus. He now tells Titus what God expects of the young missionary. Not only is he to teach the proper things, he is to be an example to all around him.

First, Titus is to be an example in GOOD DEEDS. The preacher of Crete should model a beneficent spirit. This was especially needed on the island. Cretans were not kind people. They would just as soon run over you than help you. He should be an example of the opposite. God’s word has defined all the kinds of activities he wants his people to be involved in: things that are good - morally, or otherwise.

Second, Titus is to be an example with PURITY IN DOCTRINE. Satan likes nothing more than teachings that are mixed with the teachings of men. (See Matthew 15:8-9).

Third, Titus is to be an example in DIGNITY. The Cretans knew what honorable conduct was, even if they did not practice it often. Titus was to show it to them. The word used conveys seriousness and holiness.

Fourth, Titus is to be an example in SPEECH. He should use "sound speech which is beyond reproach." This doesn’t mean that Titus could somehow preach the Gospel in a way that will be free from criticism. It just means in normal conversation he is to be sound in all he says, and not be speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

What is the reason for all of this? He says, "That the opponent will be disarmed." In other words, the enemy may be put to shame. We should not give enemies of the gospel bad to say about us. They may try to tear us down, but we should not give them reason and opportunity to do so! It is so important to not only teach sound doctrine, but also to live it! Otherwise we cut the legs right out from underneath our teaching of God's word! Are you teaching sound doctrine? Are you living sound doctrine?

Younger Men

                               Photo courtesy of Michael Hite Photography

                               Photo courtesy of Michael Hite Photography

In Titus 2 and 3 Paul is addressing the second of the two directives for the missionary Titus. What were the things lacking in the church's lifestyle in Crete? Godliness and Morality is the answer. Paul instructs what sound doctrine Titus should be teaching, one demographic at a time; what it means to be a Godly person. He needed to instruct them that God has expectations for their lives that only they, individually, could fill. He began with the older men in 2:2, the older women in 2:3-4a, and the younger women in 2:4b-5. He then gets down to the younger men.  ........

Titus 2:6 says, "Likewise urge the young men to be sensible." That is right. Only one solitary thing is said to the young men! Apparently, things are so deplorable with the young men that is all he can say. The young men and the lifestyle they lead are so bad, Paul is saying let's just focus on one thing at a time. So he tells Titus to just instruct them to think. This is a key word in Titus that is translated here "sensible," which we have discussed in previous groups. the idea is to just think before you act. Paul is saying, "Let’s just start there, and work our way up." 

In Proverbs 23:7, the wise man says, "For as he thinks within himself, so he is." That is why thinking before we act or speak is so important. As a man, I can attest that this is not a strong point in most young men. Most young men are very impetuous. How many times have we said or done something only to regret it later?

That is why Philippians 4:8 says to think on that list of noble things. Romans 12:2 says we must renew our minds. Colossians 3:2 says we are to set our minds on things that are above. The way we do that is shown in Psalm 119:15. "I will meditate on Your precepts
And regard Your ways." We have to be in God's word to change our way of thinking!

Youth is no excuse for improper behavior (I Tim. 4:12). Though it may be tough, even as young men we must train ourselves to think before we act. Study God's word. Think on God's word. Live out God's word. And in so doing, be an example of what a believer should be!

Younger Women

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In Titus 2 and 3 Paul is addressing the second of the two directives for the missionary Titus. What were the things lacking in the church's lifestyle in Crete? Godliness and Morality is the answer, and Paul instructs what sound doctrine Titus should be teaching, one demographic at a time, what it means to be a Godly person. He needed to instruct them that God has expectations for their lives that only they, individually, could fill. He began with the older men in 2:2, and the older women in 2:3-4a. He then moves on to the younger women in 2:4b-5. Younger women are to ........

  1. Love their husbands.
    1. The word for love here is the phileo love, the brotherly love / friendship type of love.
      1. It means means they are to “like” their husbands
      2. Wives are commanded to love their husbands in other passages, but they must also learn to like him.
        1. This is for a reason:
        2. The stability of the home begins with the relationship of the husband and wife
  2. Love their children
    1. This is second for a reason
    2. Wives that put their children before their husband are spelling disaster for the home
      1. The husband will come to resent it.
      2. The children will fail to learn their proper place in the “pecking order.”
  3. Be sensible
    1. In other words, apply “Horse Sense” to the issues of life
    2. The word means “to think, to contemplate.”
  4. Be pure
    1. Her relationships always need to be holy and right
    2. The immorality found on Crete must not find a place in the heart of a young wife.
  5. Worker at home
    1. The majority of her energy is expended on the home, not some pursuit outside of the home.
    2. He has already told him that the false teachers are attacking the home, in 1:11.
      1. It will be much easier when no one is guarding the home
        1. #1 times teens get pregnant? 4:00 to 6:00 in the afternoon
        2. #1 place teens get pregnant? In their own home
      2. She must be the house ruler - I Tim 5
  6. Be kind
    1. She is to be morally good and upright
    2. That is what the word means which is used here - “Kind” is not a great translation 
  7. Subject to their own husbands
    1. This is a voluntary yielding
    2. Submitting to his authority as the head of the family and home 
      1. That is counter to life on the island
      2. It is counter to our culture today as well!
      3. But that is no excuse to not do what God says!!!
  8. The Reason: That the word of God may not be dishonored
    1. The women are “walking Bibles”
    2. What people know about Christianity will be what they see in Christians’ lives
    3. If it is bad, God’s word will be rejected
  9. ONE VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:
    1. Notice that Paul does not tell Titus to say one word to the young women!
      1. Tells the older women to do so. 
      2. Who is more credible than the older women?
    2. This also, removes some moral temptations that would exist if Titus was spending time with young women teaching them
    3. There are at least 2 potential problems with older women teaching younger women:
      1. We have too many older women unwilling to teach
      2. We have too many younger women unwilling to listen to the older women who will teach

Contrary to the opinion of many, the Bible does not negate women - It gives them very important roles, jobs, and ministries that only they can fill! It is of vital importance that the younger women also follow this "sound doctrine" so they can be spiritually healthy! Younger women, are you humble enough to listen to the older women teach you how to influence your family and the church towards Godliness?

Older Women

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In Titus 2 and 3 Paul addresses the second of the two directives for the missionary Titus. What were the things lacking in the church's lifestyle in Crete? Godliness and Morality is the answer, and Paul instructs what sound doctrine Titus should be teaching, one demographic at a time, what it means to be a Godly person. He needed to instruct them that God has expectations for their lives that only they, individually, could fill. He began with the older men in 2:2, and moves on to the older women in 2:3-4a. Notice he does not say "old" but "older" These are women who have lived long enough to raise their children. She has been a wife and Christian woman for long enough that she can used her experience to help the women who are younger than she is. Older women are to be ........

  1. Reverent in their Behavior 
    1. Word means to “live a life that befits a holy person”
    2. The root of the word means “temple”
    3. They are to live like priestess in the house of God
  2. Not Malicious Gossips
    1. They are to eliminate talk that is harmful and destructive
    2. Whether true or not - do not tear someone down by bearing tales!
  3. Nor enslaved to much wine 
    1. Alcoholism was a problem on the island
    2. Also dealt with it at Ephesus in I Tim. 3 
  4. Teaching what is good 
    1. What the older women were to teach that was “good” is found in vv. 4-5
    2. Women need to understand they have a ministry - an educational ministry
    3. Especially towards young women - v. 4
  5. Encouraging the younger women
    1. Not only teach them the kind of women to be but encourage them
    2. Let them know they live the life of a Godly woman, wife and mother
    3. Let them know it is the most rewarding life they can live!

Contrary to the opinion of many, the Bible does not negate women - It gives them very important roles, jobs, and ministries that only they can fill! It is of vital importance that older women follow this "sound doctrine" so they can be spiritually healthy! Older women, are you influencing your family and the church towards Godliness, or away from the Lord?

Older Men

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In Titus 2 and 3 Paul addresses the second of the two directives for the missionary Titus. The inspired apostle had already instructed him on appointing elders by writing of their necessity, their qualifications, and their work. Now, just exactly like he did with Timothy, Paul tells Titus, “I do not care what those guys are doing, you do right!” He expects Titus to speak sound doctrine! Titus needed to spend his time giving people that good information. So what is fitting? What were the things lacking in the church's lifestyle in Crete? Godliness and Morality is the answer, and Paul instructs what sound doctrine Titus should be teaching, one demographic at a time, beginning with the older men in 2:2. Older men should ........

  1. BE RATIONAL!
    1. They are to be Temperate. 
    2. Word means “clear minded” (BDAG).
  2. BE RESPECTABLE!
    1. Are to be Dignified.
    2. Word means “worthy or respect/honor, noble, dignified, serious” (BDAG).
  3. BE RESTRAINED!
    1. Are to be Sensible.
    2. Word means “being in control of oneself, prudent, thoughtful, self-controlled” (BDAG).
  4. BE ROBUST!
    1. Are to be sound. 
    2. Word means “Healthy, free from error.”
    3. Specifically mentions 3 areas older men need to be spiritually healthy in:
      1. In the Faith.
        1. Healthy or solid in The Doctrine.
        2. They know and follow the book.
      2. In Love.
        1. There is no excuse for being cranky old men!
        2. They must show love and kindness.
      3. In perseverance.
        1. Prove to others that the Christian life can be successfully lived and maintained.
        2. Show that one can weather the storms of life and endure!

It is over vital importance that older men be spiritually healthy! They are the ones who lead families and the church. Older men, are you leading your family and the church towards Godliness, or away from the Lord?

Know Your Enemies!

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In Chapter 1 of Titus, Paul gives the young missionary the command to appoint elders. He gives Titus the qualifications of elders, the last of which being that he hold fast the faithful word. The inspired apostle then gives some explanation of what these men are doing. Among other things they are shepherds defending the flock against attacking wolves! So, who are elders defending us from?

  1. GENERAL DESCRIPTION:
    1. There are many
    2. There are (or were) Christians (probably Jewish Christians)
  2. THEIR MODE OF OPERATION:
    1. Rebellious
    2. Empty Talkers
    3. Deceivers
    4. Attack families
    5. Work for money
    6. Teach error
      1. MUST BE stopped
      2. This is not an option
  3. THEIR MORAL CHARACTER:
    1. Are Defiled
      1. Always liars (“Cretanize” became a verb that meant to lie and cheat)
      2. Evil beasts - reckless, vicious, no conscious, wants to tear you apart
      3. Lazy Gluttons
        1. How do you satisfy your gluttony if you are lazy?
        2. Robbery, cheating, etc
        3. And this is the truth! - v.13
    2. Are unbelieving
      1. The time of patience for these guys is OVER!
      2. Paying attention to all these things that are pulling away from the truth is the one thing that would help them!
    3. To them, nothing is pure - Ever heard the phrase - “Mind in gutter”
    4. Detestable
    5. Disobedient
    6. Worthless for any good deed
  4. BOTTOM LINE:
    1. They profess to know God
      1. That is interesting
      2. They claim to know the facts about God, bit they are missing out on a few things!
    2. So, they are worthless! II Thes. 1:7-9
  5. THE RESPONSE:
    1. They must be silenced - v.11
    2. They must be understood - v. 12-13a
    3. They must be rebuked - 13b
  6. THE GOAL - That they may be sound in the faith - 13b

While not the only duty of elders, certainly one of the biggest is their spiritual leadership with so many wolves around. They must be able to defend the truth and they must be on guard against those who would lead the flock away. In order to do this, they must be men of the word!

The Importance of Elders

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Why is it so important to have elders? Inspired by God, Paul has instructed Titus to appoint elders in every city of the mission field island of Crete. Paul has instructed Titus on the qualities and characteristics that the men must possess that he would appoint. He then moves on to show the two major reasons why it is so important that congregations have elderships (Titus 1:9).

First, it is important for congregations to have elderships because of the need for exhortation. While there are many ways, areas, and people involved in all types of encouraging, this is special. The church needs genuine spiritual leaders to exhort the brethren to do those things that are right in the sight of God. He is holding fast the word of God to do so. He puts it in his own life, and in his teaching. Both through his example and his instruction, he is encouraging the brethren to live lives in accordance to God's word. Just as a shepherd must feed his flock, an eldership must make sure the Lord's church is fed a steady diet of God's word.

Second, it is important for congregations to have elderships because of the need for refutation. He is about to describe those men who are contradicting Truth in the next few verses. However, their existence is a reality. The church needs genuine spiritual leaders to protect the congregation from those who would attack the faith of the membership through false teachings and false practices. He is holding fast the word of God because he must know The Book in order to shut down false teachers. Just as a shepherd must defend his flock from dangers, an eldership must protect the Lord's church from those who would tear it apart.

In a small missionary church, it takes time for the congregation, and individual men, to grow to a point where there are a plurality of men qualified to serve as elders. However, it must be an area that a church is growing and working towards. Undoubtedly, there comes a point when a church needs to appoint elders. That is evidenced by the fact that Paul is instructing Titus to appoint them. But remember, this is not just a title: it is a needed work. The church needs shepherds exhorting good and refuting error if she is to grow. The church needs genuine spiritual leaders who will hold fast the faithful word!

God's Overseers Part 2

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aul continues his inspired instruction to Titus regarding appointing elders by giving the qualifications of those men who would lead. 

  1. PERSONAL EXPECTATIONS
    1. Above reproach
      • Does not mean perfect
      • Does mean he deals with his sins properly
      • Will use it again, and adds "as God's steward" (Literally "house law")
      • He is responsible for making sure God's rules are followed in God's house
    2. Not self-willed - Not Stubborn - II Pet. 2:10
    3. Not quick tempered - Not hot-headed
    4. Not addicted to wine
      • Literally says "Not around wine"
      • Social drinking is not acceptable
    5. Not fond of sordid gain - Not willing to make a buck by hook or crook
    6. Loves what is good (morally)
      • The people of Crete loved worldly things
      • Elders should love things that are really good
    7. Sensible - In control of oneself, self-controlled
    8. Just - One who gives every man what is due
    9. Devout - One who is sincerely religious and devoted to God
    10. Self-controlled - Has himself mastered in all aspects
  2. DOMESTIC EXPECTATIONS
    1. Husband of one wife
      • Does not just mean he is married - there is another word for that which Paul did not use.
      • Literally a "one woman man"
      • Must be totally dedicated and committed to his wife
    2. Children who believe
      • Not accused of dissipation
      • Not accused of rebellion
      • See I Tim. 3:4
  3. RELATIONAL EXPECTATIONS
    1. Not pugnacious - In other words, not a bully
    2. Hospitable - Literally, "Loves Strangers"
  4. INTELLECTUAL EXPECTATIONS 
    1. Holds fast the faithful word - Knows it and lives by - Able to use it properly
    2. Able to exhort in sound doctrine - On the positive side
    3. Refute those who contradict - On the negative side

Far too often we make this just a checklist. While one must have all of these qualities, they are not just a checklist we can run down. Is this man a guy that is defined by these things? If so, he is a man that is fit to lead God's people as part of an eldership!

God's Overseers Part 1

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As Paul begins to instruct Titus on the qualifications for those who would be appointed to the office and work of the elders in the church, two important phrases must be noted.

I. NO OBSTRUCTION

     A. "Any man"

          1. Any man can seek the office

          2. It is God’s will that leadership      be open to qualified individuals

     B. One must not be limited nor hindered.

          1. Not by race, social or economic level, etc.

          2. Not by human qualifications or requirments

II. NO OMISSION  

     A. “Must Be”

     B. These are necessities

          1. The are qualifications in that he must have the training and experience.

          2. They are characteristics in that these traits define who the man is

     C. These are non-negotiable

          1. Must be done God’s way!

          2. It is God’s House!

How To Grow

In Titus 1:5, inspired Paul gives the young missionary 2 directives on what he should do to help the struggling church in Crete. Today, it is the recipe for growing a congregation...

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I. LEADERSHIP (v.5)
     A. Establish Elderships!
          1. Good solid leadership is an absolute need!
          2. Follow the pattern given by Paul
               a. Learn the Qualifications
               b. Teach them to others
               c. Recognize the importance
     B. This is what chapter 1 is about.
II. LIVING (v.5)
     A. Set in order what God wants!
     B. God has divine expectations
          1. Sometimes priorities and focus are lacking
     C. No demographic is neglected.
          1. All in His family are important!

If a congregation is to grow as it can and should,she must be set up in the way God says, and she must have a membership dedicated to truly living their faith. Are you involved in growing the church?

Dealing With Anger

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“Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.” (Eph. 4:26-27).

Among the list of imperatives that show how one is to no longer walk as the rest of the world does, there are four in the above two verses. One of them, “Be angry,” seems to contract one that says to “put away” among other things “anger” (v.31). However, a little examination clears up the supposed contradiction, and gives a great lesson on how to deal with anger.

First, The Command: “Be Angry.” Is the way Christians are to be different from the world is by being angry people? Paul is quoting Psalm 4:4. There David is asking God how so many could see what He has done and still reject Him through sin. David is angry (tremble, NASB) at their sin! Sin was what caused Jesus to be angry (Jn. 2:13-22; Mk. 3:5). Repeatedly, sin is what makes God angry in scripture. Anger at sin is the only anger that is spoken of in a positive light in the Bible. Rather than laugh at sin, or dismiss sin around us, we should be angry about sin!

Second, The Warning: “Do Not Sin.” How could anger at sin cause us to sin? We can become puffed up because, “At least I am not as bad as ______ is.” We can deal harshly with one who is in sin and drive them away from the truth. We are never justified in displaying a sinful attitude even when combatting sin!

Third, The Solution: “Be Quick.” When we allow anger to fester and boil, it only makes things worse. Deal with it before the sun goes down! When you see someone in sin, or there is a problem, go to them (Mt. 5:23-24; James 5:19-20). Don’t put it off! Why? He tells us with the next point:

Fourth, The Importance: “Do Not Give The Devil An Opportunity.” An opportunity to do what? Peter tells us Satan is a roaring lion seeking those he can devour (I Pet. 5:8). When we do not handle these situations properly, we give him the opportunity he wants. Ill feelings, grudges, revenge, strife and division can soon happen. Ultimately, Satan wins souls.

It is said that Julius Caesar would recite the alphabet when he became angry. Whatever it takes, we need to make sure we control out anger. Be angry at sin, but do not allow it to control you to the point that you sin. Make sure you deal with it promptly. And always remember souls are on the line. If we do not control our anger, it will control us!

Blood Moons...

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In 2008, Mark Blitz, the preacher of a church in Tacoma, Washington, started teaching that the Messiah would return in the Fall of 2015. His theory was based on a rare moon pattern, and it immediately became a viral internet sensation. Soon after, John Hagee, a Texas minister, picked up Blitz’s teachings and published a book, Four Blood Moons. Basing their theology on a pattern of lunar eclipses and a few Bible verses, they have become very famous for their teachings. However, there are several problems with their stance. 

First, one must consider the source of the teaching. Blitz is heavily tied to the Hebrew Roots Movement. This group considers Christians to be second class members of the Lord’s kingdom. Their beliefs are very similar to the Judaizing teachers that Paul dealt with often in his writings. Perhaps that is why the group tries to delegitimize Paul’s writings. They claim that the Old Testament is the law we should follow, and that we should study Jesus’s teachings in the New Testament. Blitz claims that Christians should be following the law of Moses, and that all Christians worshipping on Sunday are the foolish virgins of Jesus’s parable. Hagee goes so far as to say that Christians should not be trying to convert Jews. The Jerusalem conference concluded that New Testament believers are not obligated to keep the law of Moses. James called it “a yoke ... which neither our fathers or we were able to bear” (Acts 15:10). James summed up the apostles’ position in Acts 15:19-20, a passage that does not reflect the same ideas as Blitz does. Paul expanded this position in his epistles in words that cannot be misunderstood unless one is committed to heresy: (Gal. 3:24-25). Even if Hagee sees no purpose to Jews being “in Christ,” the inspired apostle Paul did! (See Also: Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Jam. 1:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6-18; Romans 7:1-4). 

Second, one must understand the “signs” that the two men are pointing to. A “blood moon” is simply a lunar eclipse in which the light of the sun refracts around the atmosphere of the earth, causing a reddish tint to the moon. Total lunar eclipses are somewhat rare. There were only 81 during the 20th Century. In this century, scientists say we will have 85. Even rarer are the tetrads. A tetrad is when there is a series of four complete lunar eclipses in a row over a a two year period. There have been only 87 tetrads since the time of Christ. 

Blitz points out that of those 87 tetrads, only 8 have had their four eclipses coincide with Jewish feast days (162-163, 795-796, 842-843, 860-861, 1428-1429, 1493-1494, 1949-1950 and 1967-1968). He and Hagee claim that when this happens, it is always an omen of a significant event happening with the Jewish people. There are several problems to this theory. First, the men will point to only 3 of the tetrads of the past. 1493-4 followed the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. 1949-50 followed the reestablishment of the state of Israel in 1948. 1967-8’s beginning of the tetrad occurred right before the beginning of the Six Day war in 1967. What significant event happened with the Jews the other 5 tetrads? Really, nothing. Also, notice that 2 of the 3 events they point out happened before the tetrad, and the other one happened at the beginning of the tetrad. If the tetrad is truly an omen, a warning from God, why would He warn us about something that had already happened?

Third, there is a misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches. Examine the texts, in context. Some of the texts they point to simply mentions the moon being “darkened” (Isa. 13:10; Joel 2:10, 3:15; Mt. 24:29). Only 2 mention it being “turned to blood” (Joel 2:31 and Rev. 6:12). Joel 2:31’s prophecy is not referring to anything we are seeing now. How do we know? Because Peter quotes the verse in Acts 2 and tells them that the things they were seeing was a fulfillment of that prophecy of Joel! In Revelation 6, using apocalyptic language, John uses the idea in symbolic language as he discusses the coming doom and destruction that would come upon the Roman Empire for persecuting the early church. 

Furthermore, the signs that all of these passages mention (moon darkened and moon turning to blood) are not referring to a normal occurrence in the sky that could be mistaken. They are describing breathtaking sign in the heavens that could not be missed, and could not be attributed to a natural event in space. That is the way God works. Hagee and Blitz are left with nothing but speculation. And speculation has no authority. 

Interestingly, even with the supposed omen, John Hagee does not set a date for the Lord's return in his book. That is probably because he has previously predicted the Lord would return in the late 1990s (which he obviously did not). Instead, he simply takes Blitz's discovery and argues that it is an omen of a major development that will take place — a development that will most likely have a significant impact on the Jewish people. However, the only significant impact made so far has been confusion based upon the misuse of scriptures and the sales of lots of merchandise. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33).

We do not know when the Lord will return. We just know He will. II Peter 3 says it will be as a thief in the night. Just as no one knows when a thief will break in, neither does anyone know when the Lord will return. Peter says the main thing is that we be prepared when He does return. Whatever is going to happen at the end of time is going to happen. What we need to concentrate on is preparing ourselves to be ready when He returns by believing in Jesus and submitting our lives to His will!

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

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As Paul tells of the Gospel, he talks about things being revealed. He talks about the good in the righteousness of God being revealed in 1:17. Then he talks about the bad in the wrath of God being revealed in 1:18. But what would make a good and loving God reveal wrath? The answer is the ugly. That is, it is the ugly side of man ... the side that rejects God, His righteousness, and His Gospel. In fact, Paul makes mention of 3 different groups that brings the wrath of God:

Those who are UNGODLY. These are those who consciously determine to ignore the divine pattern. You often will hear individuals or congregations say, "We have restudied that.." That is a conscious effort to ignore God's pattern. Or, "I don't care what the Bible says, I think..."That is a conscious effort to ignore the divine pattern. Also, they practice what is foreign to the holy nature of God. For example, since God is loving, just, and compassionate, we are ungodly when we are unloving, unrighteous, not just and not compassionate. 

Those who are UNRIGHTEOUS. These are those who determine to practice evil instead of good. God has put in place a moral law that allows mankind to like with mankind and still get along. Yet there are those who will go in the opposite direction of that. Isaiah warned of those who would call evil "good" and good "evil." In a day when killing is called choice, immorality is called lifestyle, use of narcotics is called recreation, and not honoring vows is called seeking happiness, Isaiah's warning is coming home to roost.

Those who are TRUTH SUPPRESSING. These are those making determined effort to bury the truth. Those who are hindering or holding back the spreading of truth. This is a very powerful image. They know it is truth and sot and cover it up so there will not see it. Verse 19 says God is making it evident (He does so because He wants all to be saved). These guys, however, are covering it up. Think of the guys still publishing debunked "proofs" of evolution. Think of the guys writing tracts who are purposefully leaving out the context of a verse.

What do all of these have in common? They are bringing God's wrath upon themselves. When we ignore God's word and live ungodly, when we practice evil instead of good, or when we intentionally try to suppress the truth from others, we are doing the same. It does not have to be that way. What do you want God to reveal to you?

Too Ashamed To Share?

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We log on to Facebook, and we share a picture about hunting. We share a funny cartoon about there being no cashiers working at Wal-Mart. We share a status about our favorite sports team. We share tons of posts and pictures regarding politics. Then, we see that blog post, or sermon link, or Bible verse post. We look at it. We read it. We scroll on down. Why will we tell the world about ducks, shopping, the Broncos, and Obama, and yet are so unwilling to share anything about the God of Heaven, His Son, or His Holy Spirit? It is that we, to some degree, are ashamed?

In the key verse of Romans (1:16), Paul said he was not ashamed. Though there may be a lot of reasons that could be mentioned of why we do not share the Gospel, this may be the number one reason. The one who does nothing, even though they believe strongly, is ashamed. Why was Paul not ashamed?

1. The Rundown of the Gospel. There were three components of the Gospel that made Paul not ashamed of it. First, the Person of the Gospel - Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died for me. Second, the Power of the Gospel - Salvation for me, though undeserved. And interesting to note it is THE power of God. It is not A power of God. There are not other forces at work that can bring about the salvation of men’s souls. Third the Purpose of the Gospel - The opportunity to being all men into a relationship with God. He wants all to be saved (I Tim. 2:4). Thus, the Gospel is to be preached to all (Mk. 16:15-16). Calvinism is wrong!

2. The Readiness for the Gospel. These three reasons are why Paul was "the ready man." Paul says he was ready to preach the Gospel. He says he was ready to suffer for the sake of the Gospel. He says he was ready to spend and be spent for the sake of the Gospel. He even says he was ready to die for the Gospel.

3. The Revelation of the Gospel. How did God reveal how someone can be righteous? By the Gospel. He is really talking about justification. The justification of God is revealed so we would know it is the idea of what he is talking about. It is not talking about God, but what He is doing for is in the Gospel. This is something that comes from God - Only He can do this.

Whether it is through email, Facebook, one-on-one, or in the pulpit, are we ashamed of the Gospel? Are we able to talk about the weather, sports, and our work, but not the Good News about God's saving grace shown through Christ? May it never be so. May we, like Paul, not be ashamed, but alway be ready to preach the Gospel!

What Must I Do?

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Sometimes we get a "bare necessities" way of thinking. I want to know the least I must do to get a paycheck or some other type of reward. Sadly, that way of thinking creeps into the minds of God's children on occasion. This "bare necessities" way of thinking will not allow us to grow as we should, and will not keep us working as we should. As the inspired apostle Paul writes in Romans 1, he emphasizes the proper attitude all followers of Christ must have. He makes three "I am" statements that shows his understanding of what God expected of Him.

I Am Under Obligation (1:14). He was so because of all God had done for him. God has done the same of us, so this is an obligation we all should feel (8:12). In response to God's saving him, Paul felt obligated to both the Greeks and the non-Greek speaking Gentiles; to those wise and foolish. Just like Paul, we are under obligation to all men because of God's salvation.

I Am Eager To Preach (1:15). He was obligated, but he was eager to meet that obligation! He was obligated to teach them what he learned to be saved, and because it was good news, he was eager to do so. This is not just a verse for preachers. All Christians should feel obligated to be evangelistic. All should be eager to teach and preach (1:8; I Pet. 3:15).

I Am Not Ashamed (1:16). The word here means a feeling of embarrassment that keeps one from doing right. One may feel obligated and eager, but still not share the Gospel if he or she feels embarrassed or ashamed. This may be the number one reason we do not spread the Gospel. Paul said nothing could keep him from telling it. The same must be true of us.

When we can begin to grasp the awesomeness that the Creator of all saved me, I will feel the obligation to tell others the Good News that was told to me. I will be eager to tell of the saving love and grace of God. I will not only feel strongly about it, but will also not be ashamed to do something about it. Then and only then will "bare necessities" thinking be expelled from the mind of all God's children. We will know what we must do when we understand what "I am."

What Can I Do?

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Far too often, we are guilty of comparing ourselves with ourselves. We look at other members of the church and say, "I cannot do what ________ does. I do not have the talent he/she does. What can I possibly do to help the church grow?" As we look at Paul's opening remarks in Romans, we can see some tips. Inspired by God, Paul shares with us some ways we all can help the church to grow:

I Can PRAY For The Church (1:8-9). Paul gave thanks for their commitment and example. Paul wanted people to live the message of God. The Romans were and he was thankful. Instead of gossiping and running down others, we can pray for the church and offer thanks for faithfully obedient congregations.

I Can DESIRE TO BE With The Church (1:10). Paul wanted to be with the church in Rome so badly that he prayed to God very often that God would allow it. When we have that same strong desire, instead of looking for excuses and making other plans, we can make our presence at the assemblies a priority.

I Can GIVE WHAT WE HAVE To The Church (1:11). Paul wanted to impart to them spiritual gifts to help establish them. While the days of such have passed, we still have gifts and talents. Whatever they are, we can be willing to use them for the growth of the congregation and for the glory of God.

I Can ENCOURAGE The Church (1:12). Paul wanted to be with them also so that he could be encouraged and he could encourage them. Instead of nitpicking and tearing down, we can look for opportunities to encourage our church family, through what we say, cards, calls and actions.

I Can BEAR FRUIT In The Church (1:13). We often think of bearing fruit as converting others. Paul recognized there is also fruit we bear among Christians. Instead of thinking there is only one fruit we can produce, we can shower the brethren with the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, kindness, etc.

Instead of focusing on what we cannot do, let's look for things we CAN do, and there are things we can all do! Paul gives us only a few examples of things that not only you CAN do for the church to help her grow, but also these are things the church NEEDS you to be doing!

The Gospel Of God

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Many would say it is Paul's greatest letter that has been preserved for us. As Paul begins that letter to the Romans, he begins with the greatest of all messages: The Gospel of God! A careful study of the opening passage in that masterpiece epistle shows some important facts about the Gospel of God. An easy way to follow Paul's teaching on these facts is to notice his use of prepositions in the passage. 

Paul was set apart FOR the Gospel of God (1:1). The word "saint" means "set apart." In verse 7 he says Christians are saints. We are set apart from the world by the gospel to share the gospel.

God promised it through the prophets (1:2). He had done so through their teaching and writing, as mentioned in 3:21 and 16:26. God has always had a plan for man, though man has often rejected it (11:3).

The Gospel is concerning His Son (1:3). The Good News concerning His Son Jesus is that He defeated death (1:4). As such, He gave His Son (8:32) and provides reconciliation (5:10) from the separation our sins caused (8:3). 

Jesus is 100% man, of a descendent of Davidaccording to the flesh (1:3). Part of the Good News from God is that His Son became a man for us! In so doing, He fulfilled the prophecies that God had promised!

Jesus is 100% God, with powery the resurrectionaccording to the Spirit (1:4). He proved Himself to be through the resurrection. The Spirit declared Him to be so also, as seen in John 1:29-34. Paul taught this duality of roles and the Good News it brought in Philippians 2.

The Gospel of God is that through Jesus we have received grace and apostleship (1:5). That is, we have received the unmerited favor of God's gift in Jesus. Because of this, we are sent to share this Good News to bring about obedience, by making it known among all the Gentiles. Our preaching and teaching this Good news is all for His name's sake.

We were called by this this Gospel of God to Jesus Christ among all the nations (1:6). The Gospel is for all, including you and me!

The Gospel of God is Good News! It means we can have salvation! That means it is not only Good News, it is the Greatest News of all! For that reason, we should be sharing it with all!