The Family Memo: December 15, 2017

Info: upcoming events

Ecuador Family Mission:
Application Form, and $250 per person/$500 per family deposit due December 17th.

King Hill Community Outreach Interest Meeting
Sunday, December 17, at 6pm in the Chapel

Holiday Schedule:
Chili Cook-Off and Caroling on December 20 (No Awana or Fuel)
No Sunday School or Prayer Meeting December 24
– Morning worship and Christmas Eve service only.

No Wednesday night activity December 27 or January 3.
No Evening Service December 31.

Upcoming Calendar:

Fuel: Notes

Five Faithful Sayings IV
Titus 3:1-8      12-13-17     

What does it mean to do good?
Why, how, and to what end are we do devote ourselves to good works?

I. The Call to Good Works: 1-2
Paul had directed Titus in reference to the particular and special duties of several sorts of persons; older men, older women, younger men, younger women, servants – concluding in 2:11-12. He charged him to declare these things; exhort and rebuke, and now to remind (the present tense: “Go on reminding”) the people to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, and to equitable, gentle, and courteous behavior toward all people.
Among the others, we focus on good works, because it is the core of the faithful statement in verse 8. Titus should remind them, most generally, to be ready for every good work. (Philippians 4:8-9) Yet, good words and good meanings only, are not enough without good works. This is to not only take, but seek occasion for doing good; to be prepared to take positive action, and to delight in the joy of that action. To this call to action, Paul adds motive, or reasons for such good works.

II. The Motive for Good Works: 3-7
The motive for this call to good works is derived from a remembrance in two specific categories:
A. Motive from our past condition; (3) People are often greatly motivated by their histories.
Consideration of our natural condition is a great means and ground of equity and gentleness towards those who are yet in such a condition. This has a tendency to abate pride and work pity and hope in reference to those who are yet unconverted. Remembering where we once were shows us that the fallen nature is not so far from us, and we need constant reminding to stay where we should be in the Lord. Though it is true, who we were ought o motivate who we are, still, we want to walk in accordance with who we are becoming in Christ, rather than who we are in the flesh.
B. Motive from our present state; (4-7) We are delivered out of our miserable condition by no merit nor strength of our own, but only by the mercy and free grace of God, and merit of Christ, and operation of his Spirit. Therefore we have no ground, in respect of ourselves, to condemn those who are yet unconverted, but rather to pity them, and cherish hope concerning them, that they, though in themselves as unworthy as we were, yet may obtain mercy, as we have.
Our salvation isn’t based on any works of righteousness which we have done; not a response to an altar call, nor saying the sinner’s prayer, not baptism or church attendance; not giving or disciplines. Though all of these may be blessing and means, it is the mercy and grace of God that saves us. This is the essence and distinctive of the gospel.
This reminds us what we are saved for – faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone. We must never put the cart of works before the horse of grace! The theology of Christianity is based on grace; the ethics of Christianity are based on gratitude; not that we aim to pay back what has been given, but that our lives are motivated by what has been done for us, our mercy, grace, and love flowing from the mercy, grace, and love first shown to us. This way of life produces a particular fruit of rewards in itself.

The Reward of Good Works; 8
This faithful saying is given as both a fundamental statement of faith, and an outline the Christian life.
These things–these results of doctrine, i.e. good works, are good and profitable for people. These doctrines which he had stated were not mere matters of speculation, but they were fitted to promote human happiness, and they should be constantly taught. These are the things that are really good and profitable unto men, not foolish questions.
On the other hand, foolish speculations and controversies about the law are profitless and unpractical. Belief in God is not a matter of theory or of speculation, but of practice; it must be accompanied by good works. Likewise, it is sin to not devote oneself to good works. We ought not fool ourselves that omission is any less rebellion that commission.
Surviving in the Christian life is much about not doing what is prohibited, or restricted. However, thriving in the Christian life is much more about doing the positive that ought to be done. You are not a good Christian, walking by faith in Christ, because you do not sin, but because you have trusted Christ. This is why Jesus sums up the commands of God, not by thou shalt not, but by You shall love. (Matthew 22:37-40)
When the grace of God towards mankind has been declared, the necessity of good works is pressed. Those who believe in God, must make it their care to maintain good works, to seek opportunities for doing them, being influenced by love and gratitude. This true religion unites the beautiful and the profitable.
Good works, as the fruit of right doctrine, do bear the fruit of reward and blessing in our lives:
First, our conscience is helped by our good works.
We do indeed feel better, and better about ourselves, when we do good. Our walk with God is strengthened as a result, when we are obedient and see His power manifest and the fruit of His faithfulness produced in us. So much of our fear and anxiety, our unbelief in the midst of our faith, is the result of the absence of good works.
What assurance do we have that we are in Christ, but that Christ, by His Spirit is at work in us to will and to do His good pleasure?
Second, others are helped by our good works.
They are helped temporally in that our good works typically bear the fruit of goodness in their lives individually, or serve to good of human flourishing in general. Our loving obedience might feed the hungry, or care for the orphan and widow. Our good works might stamp our racism or oppression one person at a time, or may dig away the foundations of abortion in our country. Our devotion to good works may simply stand as an example of godliness to our peers, and slowly put to death the busyness and apathy that chokes our spiritual lives.
How are others helped by the fruit of good works in your life?
Finally, the glory of God is reflected by our good works.
Good works are good mostly in that they represent good to God, and the goodness of God. They are obedience to His commands, and goodness is at the core of the nature and character of God. His glory is shown by our reflection of that goodness in our good works.
That is what Christmas is; The truth of who God is motivated His affection for His creation, that affection motivated an action in response, so that that response action was good, and excellent, and is profitable to people; for their good and His glory!

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