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Sermon outlines
by Edward Thomason
The Challenge of Christianity
text: Titus 2:11-14

Source: written by Edward E.Thomason Ė Preach today.com
Date _______  place: Church of Christ
Objective: Consecrative
Sermon Plan Theme: Our responsibilities

The invigorating challenge of Christianity
text: Titus 2:11-14

11: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12: Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;13: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;14: Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.15: These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

1. There Is excitement and invigorating challenges involved in living the Christian life.
2. Each stop creates a sense of excitement all its own.
3. Much like a child learning to walk and discover the world.
Each step/ each day is a new adventure and challenge.

The first challenge of our text:
I. STEP BENEATH...
the grace of God and the shadow of the cross. (v-11,14)

A. "Grace" defined:

1. God's favor, redemptive mercy, kindness and goodwill
2. It is "universal." ("appeared unto all men")
3. All men can step beneath this umbrella of love/ mercy and redemption.
4. But each must step in humble faith and obedience.
(God does not bestow His grace upon the proud, upon the unbelieving nor the disobedient and rebellious.)

B. Titus 2:12 Grace teaches. How? (Acts 14:3 gives us the answer when it speaks of "the word of his grace" that the apostles boldly spake.)

1. If we would step beneath the grace of God we must listen (hear) the word of his grace (the gospel) and respond with a believing and obedient heart.
2. There are two sides of salvation:

a. First there is the "Divine" side which includes:
-- God's grace, Christ's blood, Spirit's inspired Scriptures.
b. But there is also "Man's" side which includes:
-- Hearing the gospel (Rom 10:14), believing the gospel (Mark 16:15-16), being obedient to the gospel  (Rom 10:16).

C. The Old Testament prophet JONAH found shade under a gourd tree ... loved and appreciated the small favor or blessing.
--Jonah 4:6 "And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up I
over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceedingly glad of the gourd.

1. Grace is like the umbrella of that gourd tree under which Jonah sat.
2. Happiness can be found is small blessings like a little shade on a hot day.
3. But the grace of God which brings salvation, under which we can step and find reason to be exceedingly glad, is no small blessing.
4. To the lost, discovering God's grace is good news and brings excitement and the greatest of all joys.

D. What about you? Have you stepped beneath the grace of God ... are you standing in the shadow of the cross in faith and obedience?

Look with me now at the second challenge of our text:
II. STEP AWAY
... from ungodliness and worldly lusts (v-12a)
A. The hardest challenge for many in living a Christian life is stepping away from sinful practices and habits.

1. While repentance is one of the initial steps of salvation that puts us under God's saving grace ... it is not by any means a one time activity (anymore than believing is a one time activity.)
2. As we grow in Christ and learn to distinguish truth from error, distinguish righteousness from sinfulness, we often discover attitudes, and activities that we yet need to just "step away from."
3. The fruit of repentance is seen in our willingness to step apart from the world and its lusts.
4. As we resist sin/ temptation and put away sinful habits, there is a thrilling sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
5. Excitement grows as we refuse to line up with sin and remain shackled in bondage to the world.

B. Can't please God and not step away from sin.

1. Romans 6:1 "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?"
v-2, "God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?"
2. Matt 6:24 teaches us that we can't really get away with trying to serve two masters. Jesus said we would love one and hate the other.

C. Illus: Imagine yourself standing on edge of a cliff. Itís dangerous! You feet are slipping. Your own good sense tells you to move away from the edge.Sense and reason says, "Step away - to safer / solid ground."

D. Are there sinful activities, attitudes that you have not yet as a Christian stepped away from? Don't deceive yourself into thinking you can keep one foot in sin and the other foot in righteousness.

The third challenge of our text is to:
III. STEP UP...
to a higher plane of living (v-12b)

A. Letís take a moment to define what we are talking about here:

1. To "live soberly" is to exercise the self-restraint that governs all our passions and desires.
2. To "live righteously" is to live right or in harmony with God's will.
(Whatever has been appointed by God to be acknowledged and obeyed by man.)
3. To live "godly" is to live in a manner of life that should be characterized by a Godward attitude or "reverence!" (To fear God and keep his commands.)

B. Many scriptures support this idea of living by a higher standard according to a higher calling.

1. I Peter 5:8, "Be sober ... because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
2. I John 3:10 11, "...whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God."
3. I Tim 4:8, "...bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."

C. The prospects of what we can be or become with God's help as we walk a higher plane creates a special kind of excitement and adventure.

1. In financial world when one moves from a state of poverty to a state of wealth such a change is referred to as "stepping up in the world."
2. There are examples of people who were born in lowly circumstances and yet were able to better themselves, who did not conform to their environment and humble surroundings, who improved their education, social habits, and standing in life.
3. Spiritually and morally, we are able to improve. (I Cor 6:9-11 speaks of those who once were morally wicked in many aspects but they had changed. )

a. We have been called by the gospel to a higher standard of life!
b. We donít have to be like those who chose to live according to fleshly passions and lusts of this world.
c. We donít have to be like those whose standard of right and wrong depends on the winds of change and selfishness.
d. We donít have to be like those who have no respect for God or godly things.

4. There is always room for growth and improvement even among the best of us when it comes to upholding values and morals.

D. Are you stepping up? or still walking in low places? Do you know better but have refused to change?

The fourth challenge of our text is to:
IV. STEP FORWARD...
and look for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Vs. 13.)

A. Christian living is progressive. We are to move ahead and grow with a goal in mind.

1. We must always have a hope that is beyond this world and its difficulties..
2. Rather than looking back we press on toward the prize of the high calling of God.

B. Christ is coming again. We donít know when but he has promised to return and we choose to believe in his promises. (John 14:1 ff.)

1. We look forward to the "reward of heaven"

-- Luke 6:23, indicates that those who are reproached for being a Christians should "leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven."
(Cf., Luke 6:35, 2 John 8, Rev 2:10.)
-- God has something special in store for those who are faithful.

2. When we stop and realize what God has in store for those who love him and live faithfully in obedience to him our hearts pulsate with anticipation! (The gift of eternal life with God and Christ is more valuable than life itself even life with every physical benefit possible. What does it profit to gain world ... Matt 16:26.)

C. Maybe you remember your first job. Were you anxious to step forward and get that first paycheck?

1. I know that you understand that our reward of eternal life ... is not something we earned or deserve like a paycheck on Friday. (If we got what we really deserved we would be hesitant to step forward wouldnít we?)
2. But my point is that we should be eager for the coming of Christ and the blessings and promises that will be ours at his coming.
3. That spirit of anticipation is often reflected in our songs, prayers and worship.
4. It is reported that brother Marshall Keeble (a black evangelist) who was responsible for teaching and baptizing thousands across the Southern States in his old age was sitting in a back room just laughing when his wife heard him and asked what was so amusing? He said, Oh Iím just sitting here thinking of all the wonderful things that God has in store waiting for me.
5. Read 2 Tim 4:6-8

The last challenge in our text is to:
V. STEP LIVELY...
zealous of good works (v-14)

A. Several kinds of works are listed in the New Testament.

1. One kind is what the scripture calls "good works."
2. These "good works" follow one's baptism into Christ.

--Eph 2:10 "For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

3. God ordains that all Christians perform good works.

B. As we begin to work for Christ, using our talents/ opportunities to the best of our abilities, our hearts stir with zeal, excitement, and a sense of satisfaction.

C. We work not to earn or merit God's favor but we work out of gratitude.

1. Like a mother who works to care for her children. (She does it out of love, not duty.)
2. I remember my first construction job. I was grateful that I was hired. I gladly came to work early and stayed late. I did what ever I was asked or told to do by my employer and I tried to do it - "stepping lively!"

D. The same is true of us as Christians. Because God has been so good we gladly serve Him and do good things in His name.

1. The challenge is not just to do good works (many in the world do good works grudgingly or by accident or with some sinister motive) but to do so with zeal and interest and enthusiasm is the great challenge before us.
2. Gal 6:9-10, Don't grow weary in well doing. As you have opportunity - do good.

E. Again, what about you? Are you steeping lively when it comes to good works? Are you using your abilities and opportunities to do good for Christ?

Conclusions:

1. Which challenging step do you need to take in your walk toward eternity?
2. What an invigorating challenge the scriptures present to us.
3. Will choose today to:

a. Step beneath the grace of God and stand in the shadow of the cross?
b. Step away from ungodliness and worldly lust in your life?
c. Step up to a noble life of sobriety, righteousness, godliness?
d. Step forward in hope and anticipation of Christ's coming?
e. Step lively - being zealous of good works?

4. Which of these steps do you need to take that would improve your walk with God?

INVITATION

 

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