Friday, June 3, 2016

Titus 1:1-3 - Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior...
Paul was addressing Titus, a fellow believer and follower of Christ. These letters Paul wrote to various people were to encourage, admonish or strengthen the addressee. In this case it was to build up believers' faith and their knowledge of the what Paul preached...simply, Jesus Christ. 

Paul started off with a bit of an introduction, as he usually did. He called himself a bondservant of Christ. If we are followers we are all called bondservants. If we are in Christ we take on the attitude of one willing to allow our God to direct our lives. This is not in the sense that we are puppets but we allow His Spirit to guide us to do the right thing, the best thing. Another way to put it is He must increase, but I must decrease. (John‬ ‭3:30)‬ ‭ Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke‬ ‭9:23)  It's safe to say this is where God loses people. 

Faith in God and having truth of His Word are part of a godly nature. As is explained next, with these we can have the hope of eternal life, which God promised us right from the start. If we believe all He says is true we do well. There's no picking and choosing scripture. It comes as an entire truth. The Word was written to teach, rebuke, correct and train in righteousness. (2Timothy 3:16)

The last part of this scripture shows that Paul preached these words, as did Jesus and any other follower of the Lord. Sometimes Jesus' words can be hard to swallow. Might I say this may be conviction. A person might not be adhering to these words. Are we ever perfect? I know we are not. But if we disregard something the Bible teaches as true, we are sinning. But God can use these words to change our thoughts, reveal truth.

We are called to trust and believe that God's words and His Word (and Jesus the Word) are all meant for our good. I listened to a sermon the other day about a specific sin. The pastor illustrated a box. Within that box were God's specific standards regarding the subject. It clearly defined what the Word says. Anything outside that box was sin. That's why there is a Bible. That is our "box," our boundaries.

Still, none of us is ever perfect but we should be striving to adhere to God's commandments and all other proverbs or parables He has chosen to help us. A parent scolds and sets boundaries for a child as protection. Think of God, our Father doing the same through His Word. If we are not following them we are as disobedient as any strong-willed child. 

If we follow Christ, we have become His children. What a privilege that is. If we are proud of our Father, in awe of Him, we want to talk...or write...about Him. We want to share who He is and what He has done for us and what He can do. We want to edify and bring hope to others. We want to glorify Him in our lives. When we are obedient to Him, He truly does lavish us with good.

Being a bondservant is not a bad thing. If you ever worked for someone who was great to work for, had integrity and honesty, didn't you want to do the best you could? Haven't you spoken of this employer? Haven't you even been amazed at how great it was to be part of his team? That's how I feel about God. I'm so thrilled that He cared enough to tap at my spirit that I would recognize Him and receive Him. But this is better than any job...this is as permanent as I am willing to allow it to be. As long as I remain grounded in His Word and strive to learn and change, I have that hope for my future. 

Titus‬ ‭2:11-14‬ ‭- For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

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