I’m wrapping up my first full-time month with you. From my perspective it has been a good one. I’ve been able to visit with a number of you in your homes or over a meal or on the phone. It has been an encouragement to me to hear of God’s grace in your lives – through many dangers, toils and snares many of you have already come, or are coming!
Years ago, I remember hearing the story of a pastor who was visiting members of his congregation and at one stop, the mother – trying to make a good impression on the reverend, told her daughter, “Honey, please go get the ‘good book’” A few minutes later her child came back with the Penney’s catalog! Know it is a huge encouragement for this shepherd when he sees members of his flock feeding on the Good Book – to be in your homes and observe your Bibles open and study helps on your tables, to hear your recounting what our Lord has taught you, and your observations as to what He is currently bringing you through. To also hear or observe how you are trying to encourage one another as we see the ‘day drawing nearer’ (Heb. 10:23-25) stirs me on!
Below is an observation from my study in Titus. I pray it will be encouraging as we, together, grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18):
There are no ‘good old days’ to which we need to return so as to live in grace. Rather, right now grace is instructing each believer to live “sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:11-14). When we find ourselves frustrated with the ‘present age’ because it’s not helping us be more like Jesus, we’re looking in the wrong direction.
When Paul wrote to Titus on the island of Crete, the people of that island had a long reputation for being liars, evil beasts (violent) and lazy gluttons (Titus 1:12). That’s the culture into which the Gospel came and the culture in which the Gospel would save and keep saved the chosen of God (Titus 1:1; 3:5-8). It’s no different today. No matter what latitude and longitude we live at or day it is on the calendar, it is a crooked and perverse generation (Acts 2:40; Rom. 1,2; Phil. 2:12-16; I John 5:19). Saving grace instructs all of us to look forward – to the blessed hope and the appearing of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus! The evidence of being forward thinkers is seen in our preparation for the future – we’re denying our bent toward ungodliness and worldly desires and taking advantage of what our Lord provides to prepare us to be with Him.
The ever-sufficient means we are to be availing ourselves of include: The proclamation of the Word (I Tim. 4:13-16); Participating in the Lord’s Supper (I Cor. 11:26); Not forsaking our assembling together so as to stir one another on to love and good deeds as we see the day drawing nearer (Heb. 10:23-25).
Looking forward with you,