It is my joy this morning to have the great privilege of endeavoring to expound upon the Word of God. I remember a number of years ago when I was having lunch with Otis Chandler, who owns the Los Angeles Times and a number of other television affiliates and major city newspapers around America. And he said to me, "You know, you have a large audience, and you're on the radio, and you have a large congregation, and I just wonder why you don't give your opinion on the issues of our day."
And I smiled and said to him, "Now, Otis, do you really need another opinion?" And he kind of laughed a little bit. I said, "That's not my calling. My calling is not to give my opinion. My calling is to give God's opinion, to let God speak."
And he said, "Well, I never thought of it like that."
And we're going to let God speak, and He's going to speak to us this morning through Titus chapter 2. Take your Bible, if you will, and open it to Titus 2. We are in an ongoing study of this wonderful letter of Paul to Titus, his young protégé in the faith. And we're looking at chapter 2, which deals with the character of a healthy church. This is our sixth message in this series.
I'm in the midst of writing a book. In fact, during the two weeks that I've been gone I have spent hours upon hours working on it. It is now in its nearly final form, and it is a book that addresses the issue of how the church does effective evangelism. And in the process of thinking that through and experiencing as many things as I've experienced in terms of evangelistic strategy, methodology and technique, I have discovered that the, the options are almost endless. There is almost an infinite number of strategies, methodologies, techniques - of varying kinds of sorts that have been developed to try to win people to Jesus Christ. The goal is noble. The desire is right. The task is in fact the primary task of the church. But I am frankly constantly amazed at how much time, how much money, how much effort – manpower - is spent on these evangelistic strategies on the programs, events, crusades, media campaigns, millions and millions of dollars, and literally whole lifetimes of people.
But as I searched the pages of the New Testament, I cannot find a strategy for mass evangelism. I cannot find a strategy for literature distribution. I certainly can't find a strategy for media campaigns. I can't find a strategy for anything really other than a very simple New Testament plan for evangelism. There is no scheme given here for how to capture the attention of the masses. There is only a plan given for how to capture the attention of individuals.
You see, the New Testament plan, while it certainly involves the preaching of the gospel on the part of those who are gifted, is primarily a plan for personal witness, personal evangelism. Now we could get into a large fund-raising campaign, and we could endeavor to purchase ads in the local newspapers. We could buy spots on television and radio. Maybe I could even get on the radio and talk, or we could put on some dramatic presentation that attracts people's attention and then hit them with the gospel at the end. We might even purchase billboards up and down the freeways of our area. And we could spend a veritable fortune and put ourselves on the brink of bankruptcy just to spread the Word on a mass level. And then we could put at the bottom of every ad this church's name, Grace Community Church. And I'll tell you something. If all of the people – you - who are associated with Grace Community Church, all over the community, don't live godly and transformed lives, all the money would be absolutely wasted.
On the other hand, if you do, we can save the bucks. That, I believe, is what the apostle Paul is conveying to Titus to be disseminated to the churches in Crete. The only scheme the New Testament knows for evangelization is personal, apart from the proclamation of God-called and anointed and gifted preachers. And, by the way, statistics bear out the importance of personal witness. Approximately ninety percent of all people surveyed as to how it was that they came to know Jesus Christ pointed to a personal witness, a friend, a relative - somebody whose life impacted their life. Less than ten percent of the people who come to Christ come because of something other than a personal witness. All the mass media, television, radio; all the mass evangelistic methods; all the crusades; all the musical concerts intended with evangelistic emphasis that move across this country; all of the meetings in civic centers and city auditoriums and convention centers - all of that kind of thing that's going on across America that tends to just spread the gospel widely across masses of people - cannot overcome the equally massive display of ineffective, negative testimony demonstrated by people who name the name of Christ and sin publicly and scandalously.
I mean, you would have to believe that the average unbeliever sitting across this country and taking note as an observer of Christianity is going to conclude that “it sounds good, but I'm not sure it's real.” Because there's no way that the blitz of information can overpower the scandal of people who say they're Christians and live as if they were not, of people who proclaim a saving God and demonstrate a life that hasn't been delivered from sin. If we say God is a Savior then we better demonstrate a saved life. As the German philosopher Heinz said, "You show me your redeemed life; I may be inclined to believe in your Redeemer." Paul and Titus were facing something of the same. Look at chapter 1, verse 16. There were some people circulating throughout Crete, and verse 16 says, "They professed to know God." That's their claim. "But by their deeds they deny Him." And he says they are “detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”
I want you to know that unbelievers have been exposed to the hypocrisy of Christianity for a long, long time. Not just today - way back in Paul's day there were people going around saying they knew God and denying Him by their lives. No matter how widely you say it, no matter how widely you distribute the saying of it, no matter how you promote it, no matter how many dollars you spend to make sure that the message is heard by everyone or seen by everyone, if there is no credibility in the lives of those who name the name of Christ the effort is short-circuited. In fact, it's a blatant hypocrisy. What a blight on the name of holiness and the saving power of God in Jesus Christ was going on in Crete by these people who were claiming to know God but denying Him by their lives.
You cannot preach God is a saving God - Jesus has come to save His people from their sins - if your life is filled with sin. It does not compute. From the sad situation indicated in verse 16, Paul moves into chapter 2. And he begins chapter 2 by saying, "But as for you"; that's an adversative. “On the other hand,” he says, "I'm very concerned that you not be like those people. So, Titus, you must ‘speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.’ You must teach the older men ‘to be temperate, dignified. sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.’ You must teach the older women likewise, ‘to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, not enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, in order that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, love their children, be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored. Likewise, urge the young men to be sensible, and you as the example of the young men in all things show yourself an example of good deeds, with purity and doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. Then you urge the bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.’”
You see, the issue here is evangelistic. The whole point here is summed up in three statements, one at the end of verse 5, "That the word of God may not be dishonored." The second at the end of verse 8, "That the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us." And the last at the end of verse 10, "That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect." All three of them are using the Greek particle hina, which indicates a purpose clause. The purpose of your living this way is that the Word of God may not be dishonored, that the opponents may be shamed and silenced, and that those who are watching us may indeed see that we have a saving God, a God who delivers people from sin.
In fact, Paul climaxes this tremendous instruction in verses 11 to 14 by saying, "The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, and that salvation instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires, to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age." Why? For evangelistic purposes. God, verse 14 says, has “redeemed us from every lawless deed and purified for Himself a people of His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
God wants a holy people. That is the primary New Testament evangelistic strategy. God is a saving God. And He saved us from sin unto holiness, and the way you proclaim that is by living that. Jesus Himself said it in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Peter echoed the same thought when he said in 1 Peter 2:12, "Keep your behavior excellent among the pagans, so that in the thing in which they slander you...they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation." That's the time of Christ's return.
Now listen. Godly character in the world is the greatest evangelistic strategy. We are, Paul says in Philippians 2:14 and 15, to shine as lights in the world “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” And frankly, unless there is that kind of credibility and integrity in the life of believers, the world is not going to buy our mass-marketed message.
Now in the strategy, as it develops in chapter 2, Paul works his way through the family, doesn't he? The older members of the family and the younger members of the family have responsibility to live in ways that are going to have evangelistic impact. One group remains - we've already talked about older men and older women and younger women and younger men, and now we come to the last category in the households of ancient times - slaves, verses 9 and 10. And he says regarding them, "Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith” - and here's the reason – “in order that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect."
Families in ancient times were usually comprised of the older and the younger, and that would include very frequently grandparents and sometimes even aunts and uncles. And the younger would be parents, children, cousins - whoever else might have been in a very large and extended household. But also, as a part of the ancient household, were the slaves, or the servants. The word is douloi; literally refers to “one who is under submission, under bondage.” We're all very aware of the fact that the Roman Empire basically depended upon slaves for all of its labor. They were a very essential part of life in ancient times. They made up the labor force of the Roman world. It is true that many slaves were mistreated, many of them were cheated out of what was rightfully theirs. They were abused; they were beaten; some of them were killed; they were brutalized. But on the other hand, others were loved, others were cared for, others served even after they were given the opportunity for freedom, voluntarily because they so loved their families that they had come to be a part of. A slave was allowed, of course, to marry and have his own family, and very often a landowner would give him his own little house and his own piece of land. And that way those who had much could take care of those who had less.
Now the issue in this passage is not addressing the condition of slavery. It is not discussing what kind of situation the slaves might have been in. It simply says that if you are one you have an obligation to so live your life as to draw attention to the saving power of God demonstrated through you. Slavery was a part of life in the Old Testament. It's a part of life in the New Testament. Scripture regulates it very carefully, and if you remember the commentary I wrote on Ephesians, you can go back and read the section on Ephesians 6; and there I have done a rather full treatment of slavery as it's outlined in the Scripture as to how it is to function. It is really nothing more when properly designed than an employer/employee relationship, which is part of the whole structure of society. Serving someone could be very beneficial - if you served well and your master treated you well, just as being employed by certain companies can be a tremendous benefit because of how they care for those who work for them. Slavery in the ancient times could be a very beneficial element of society because it allowed for folks who had resources to give those resources to those who worked for them and thus allowed them to have the dignity of work, to make a living - prosper.
In fact, some Old Testament slaves loved their masters so much that at the Jubilee Year, the fiftieth year, every fifty years they could all be free and go back to their original families; they wouldn't do that. They refused to go back because they loved the families of which they were a part. They had a custom. The slave would get up against a door or a post, and his ear would be held against the post, and his master would drive an awl through his ear and pierce his ear, and that was the way a slave said, "I serve freely and willingly." There's nothing wrong with that kind of willingness. There's nothing wrong with service. In fact, Jesus Himself said, "I came not to be served but to” - What? – “to serve and to give My life a ransom for many." And Jesus said, "It's not the one who lords it over you who is the greatest, it's the one who serves." There's a marvelous dignity before God in work and service.
And then the Lord and the apostles used slavery as a motif for spiritual instruction by likening the Christian who belongs to Christ and serves Him as “a slave,” and therefore dignified and elevated and exalted one who serves.
And so, there's no concern here in this text about revolution or rebellion or equal rights or equal freedoms. But rather the responsibility that if you are an employee and you have someone over you, you are to conduct yourself in such a way that makes very evident that your life has seen the transforming power of God. There's much instruction in the New Testament about how employers, masters, bosses and leaders are to act. But the instruction before us has to do with the servants because in general, you remember now, when the church came together, Paul said to the Corinthians, "There are not many noble and there are not many mighty." And it seems to me that the greatest influx of Christians came from the lower echelons of society. And it was very important for them to conduct themselves in an appropriate way.
There are three other marvelous texts that must be considered very briefly, and I want to read and comment on them ever so briefly. Go back to Colossians chapter 3, for a moment. This is simply setting the scene for what we will say in Titus. In Colossians chapter 3 I want to fix these things in your mind because they will come back again as we go through the text before us. The apostle Paul is instructing the Christians at Colossae with regard to spiritual conduct. If the Word of Christ dwells in them richly, if they are really controlled by Scripture then, verse 22 says, slaves will act like this: Spirit-controlled, biblically controlled, mature, godly slaves, “in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service.” That is just doing something on the outside when they're watching, “as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without impartiality."
Now there is a very important text. If you're an employee today that becomes the most important evangelistic field you will be on. That is your place of evangelism. That's your ground. That's your mission field. And “in all things you are to obey,” Paul says, “those who are your masters.” And you're not to do it with some kind of “external service.” That is, doing duty with a reluctant attitude, and keeping an eye on the boss so you can work when he's watching. And you don't do it just to “please men, but with a sincere heart you fear the Lord.” What does that mean? You have a healthy fear that God may bring chastening if you don't render the service that He's asked you to render.
You say, "Why in the world is God so concerned about what I do on my job?" And the answer is because it has evangelistic implications. Because if you are a Christian then you are demonstrating Him. And some kind of ineptitude in that demonstration will depreciate someone's perception of what He is like. So you do what you do, verse 23 says, “heartily with all your might, as for the Lord rather than for men.” You work for the Lord.
You say, "But I'm on that job; that man is my boss." But that job is nothing more than a means by which you can live out the power of God in front of unbelievers, who in seeing your life can be drawn to conclude that God is a saving God and therefore attractive to them. That's why you're there. And it is, verse 24, “from the Lord you'll receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” And you will receive a reward for your service from Him. Your concern shouldn't be whether you get promoted or a pay raise. Your concern should be, What is the Lord going to say in regard to evaluating my service, and what will be its reward? On the other hand, verse 25 says, if you do wrong you're going to “receive the consequences of the wrong” which you've done from the Lord. And the Lord is not a respecter of persons, and no matter what level of job you may be at in your company, with God if you don't do what He wants He will “without partiality” deliver some consequences.
Look at Ephesians now, chapter 6; another parallel and equally provocative text. In Ephesians 6, and verse 5, we find similar words: "Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh.” That is your human bosses according to the flesh. And your obedience should be rendered “with fear and trembling.” Why? Because you're doing it out of the sincerity of your heart as to Christ.
Now most people will go to work - I would say the great mass of people - will go to work and do what they have to do if the boss is watching. Do what they have to do if they know somebody’s checking. A few people can get above that, and they will work hard, going beyond the call of duty whether the boss is looking or not looking because they want to achieve more money - or more prestige. All of those, of course, fall short of the standard for the Christian. We work with fear and trembling, looking right through our employer into the face of Christ who is evaluating our effort. He says in verse 6, "You're not to work by way of eye service - that is, just doing things when people watch – “as men pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." Christ is your employer; Christ is your boss; Christ is your master. So, verse 7, “with good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.” God will reward you. Boy, what tremendous truth in that.
Look at 1 Timothy 6. First Timothy 6, and here again we only note for you briefly that there were so many slaves in the ancient world that this kind of instruction was oft repeated. But in 1 Timothy 6 we read this, verse 1 and 2, "Let all who are under the yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor." Now we're going beyond the duty to the respect. And you do this “so that the name of God and our teaching may not be spoken against."
If you go to work, my friend, you can pass out tracts until you're blue in the face. You can talk about the Lord until somebody has to tell you not to do it on company time, and feel like a martyr. But if you aren't working the way God wants you to work in the job you're doing, you're giving those around you reason to speak against Christianity and God. Verse 2 says, "Let those who have believers as their masters not be disrespectful to them." There were some Christians, no doubt, who would think that because in Christ, Galatians 3:28 says, “there's neither bond nor free” - since we're both Christians, we're equal in Christ, and push that equality into the job place. He says not so. Those who have believers as their masters, you're not to be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but let them serve them all the more because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. And then he says to Timothy, "Teach and preach these principles." You've got to repeat this and repeat this because it's so important. So when we're talking about evangelistic strategy, beloved, we're talking about how you live your life in the workplace.
Now, let's go back to Titus. In this text there are five character qualities given - five character qualities given that should mark every Christian employee. And they are directly related to your evangelistic impact. Quality number one, submission, submission; verse 9, "Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything." Now remember Ephesians 6, which I just read to you, said “be obedient with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, not with eye service, as men pleasers, but as slaves...doing the will of God.” Colossians 3:22 said the same thing. And here it's summed up - be submissive. The Greek word is hupotass. It is often used as a military term; it means “to get into rank, to fall in, to get in line, to line up under.” It's a reflexive here – “line yourselves up under the authority who’s over you; get in line; don't be out of line.”
Submission like this, of course, is the key to the order in all of social structure. Certainly in the matter of marriage you have it where the wife is to submit herself to her husband as to the Lord. Certainly in the family you have it where the children are submitting to the authority of their parents. Certainly in the government you have it where we as people, citizens, are to honor the king and all those who are in authority over us and to realize the powers that be are ordained of God. And so it is as well in the economic environment that wherever there is work going on those who are the employees are to be submissive to those who are over them.
The term "masters" here is despots from which we get despot, usually associated with somebody who has absolute authority, and that is its Greek intention. It means “a lord, one who has absolute authority.” The current trend toward strikes and emphasizing rights - employee rights, non-submission, noncompliance - paralyzes society, paralyzes the economy, and dishonors God. He says in all things, “in everything,” be subject to your own master, even if he happens to be a very difficult person, even if he is a perverse person. First Peter 2:18 says, "Even if he is unreasonable, we are to be in submission."
That submission we learned from Colossians 3:22 and from Ephesians 6 is to be with the right attitude – “fear and trembling” - with the right devotion – “sincerity of heart” - with the right diligence – “as pleasing God, and not men.” And so it begins with submission. You want to have an evangelistic impact. You may be saying, "Well I'm not a very good communicator. I'm not very good at witnessing. I'm not very bold. I don't know how to get my testimony out on my job. They won't let me say much. They won't let me pass out anything." The point is, if you just live the way God asks you to live in your job environment, you will manifest a transformed life which points back to the transformer, who is God.
Secondly, the second character quality of an employee is excellence, excellence. In verse 9 he says you are “to be subject to your own masters in everything,” and then he adds, "to be well-pleasing,” “to be well pleasing." In other words, you are seeking to please the one in authority over you. The word for “well-pleasing” is an interesting word. It is used only by Paul in the New Testament, with one exception - Hebrews 13:21. And every single time Paul uses it - listen to this - it always means “to be well-pleasing to God.” It always means “to be well-pleasing to God.” So let's assume that that's what it means here. And it's echoing Ephesians 6:5, “You do your work as to Christ, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does he'll receive back from the Lord.” The same thing was in Colossians 3:23. So you do it excellently. You might go to work and attain a certain level of excellence for the sake of your promotion, your income, the security of your job, to please your boss. But what kind of work would you do if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself were your employer? Well He is. That's the point. Give Him complete satisfaction.
I remember a reporter many years ago saying to me, "For whom do you prepare your sermons?" Newspapers are written basically for the eighth-grade level, and he was saying, "For whom do you prepare your sermons?" And I said very honestly, "For God." Whatever service I render, whatever duty I have to a board of elders, whatever obligation in my work I have to a church, whatever responsibility I have to the larger body of Christ is very minimal in terms of measuring it against the responsibility I have to God. Paul said in Acts 20, "Serving the Lord,” “serving the Lord” – “with all humility." And you're the same. Your task is no different in the sense that it has as its ultimate goal to be excellent before God. Now your boss may have a - and certainly does - have a lot lower standard than God does. And if you begin to operate on a divine standard, you'll overwhelm the guy - or lady - whoever it might be. Do you understand what I'm saying in the context of the big picture? What I'm saying to you is that the very purpose of the church in evangelization of the lost is all bound up in this.
There's a third character quality that he notes here that needs only a brief comment as do the others. At the end of verse 9 he says, "You're not to be argumentative." Antilegontos; leg means “to speak”; anti is “against,” as it is in the English, often used as a prefix. “Speak against” - the point being that you are not to speak against; you are not to, to put it in the vernacular, “mouth off, talk back, argue, rebel, oppose any requirement.” You are to be compliant. The word is translated a number of times in its uses in the New Testament "opposed." It is sometimes translated “obstinate.” That's what it means. It has the idea of “speaking back, resisting, thwarting, rejecting, disobeying.” Frankly, a very common fault among employees. You don't like what they told you to do, so you don't do it. You don't like what they told you to do, so you do it half-heartedly so that it will fail, and then they'll agree with you that you shouldn't have done it in the first place. You resist; you talk back.
Now if there's a proper forum for discussion, use it. If there's a proper dialogue structure in which you can share your ideas and insights and your wisdom, do it. But once the decision is made and the command is given, you are to comply with that with absolute and complete commitment. Jude translates a cognate of this word by the word “rebellion.” There is no place for rebelling against authority. There is no place for questioning it. There's no place for undermining it. The Christian in the workplace is to be known for respect for authority. And when the authority speaks, you do it. Now obviously if they ask you to do something that goes against the Scriptures and against the Word of God, you cannot do it. But apart from that, you must comply, no matter whether you believe it to be wise or foolish, or whether it is to be more than you should be responsible to do - more than you can do - make your best effort nonetheless.
There's a fourth character quality: honest, honesty. Verse 10; this is very interesting, "Not pilfering." Or as the Old English word says it, “peculating.” You never hear that word anymore. Try that on your friends; it will amaze them. It basically means “to separate.” It means “to take something from here and lay it over here.” It came to mean “embezzlement, taking out of the till” - the petty cash – “something for you, taking out of supplies more than you're supposed to use” and taking it home. It means “to separate something out and lay it aside.” It was a euphemism for quiet, stealthy thievery.
Now remember, all the trades and all the arts and all the professions in ancient times were in the hands of slaves, just like businesses are today. I mean, there are bosses, but the bosses are not handling usually the stuff that makes the operation work. And as in ancient times, every conceivable mode of trickery was used. That's where that old expression "he knew the tricks of the trade" came from. Those ancient trades developed skilled thieves who knew every angle to steal, to embezzle. We have it today - the misappropriation of money, petty theft, falsifying expense reports, stealing goods, juggling records. The same word, by the way, is translated in Acts 5:2 and 3 in regard to Ananias and Sapphira that “they held back.” You remember they sold a piece of ground and said, “We're going to give it all to the Lord,” but they embezzled a little. They held it back. You're not to do that.
You can, you can be in there talking about Jesus all the time and humming hymns during your break, looking spiritual and reading Christian books. And if somebody finds out you've been taking money out of the till, or you've been doing your private correspondence at the expense of the company, or you've been raising their phone bill for your own private use, or you've been fooling with the books and stealing money, it won't matter what you said. They will conclude that your God is not a God who transforms sinners into saints, and thus God is dishonored. You see, everywhere we are as Christians, beloved, everywhere we are, we are for the purpose of evangelism. That's why we're there. "Thou shalt not steal," is basic as a moral code, but how much more essential is it in the life of one who is there for the very purpose of evangelization?
A Christian worker will be useful in making sure the Word of God is not dishonored and that the opponents are put to shame having nothing bad to say about Christians and that the doctrine of God is ordained in every respect when they are submissive, excellent, respectful, honest, and one last one - loyalty. The fifth character quality is loyalty, and he says that in verse 10 in these simple words, "But showing all good faith." The word “faith,” pistin, is better translated here “faithful-ness.” That means “trustworthiness, reliability, and loyalty.” I love the word loyalty, and very rarely do I ever hear anybody use it. You know, we used to talk about that when we were athletes. I participated in athletics in a time when loyalty was everything, in a time when the team was the issue and not the individual. And there was a time when there was loyalty - loyalty to even a company, loyalty to somebody that you worked for or alongside, loyalty to a marriage partner, loyalty to a friend. I don't think anybody talks about loyalty. I don't think they know what it means anymore, with everybody out for himself.
That little phrase in verse 10, "Showing all good faithfulness," needs to be understood. The word "showing," the Greek verb endeiknumi, means “to give ample evidence,” “to give ample evidence.” Paul uses this word always in the sense of “providing evidence.” Give evidence that you can be trusted, that you are loyal, that you are faithful. What a marvelous virtue that is. How are we going to reach our society? And our society is in deep trouble, isn't it? We need salvation. We need a God-given, powerful sweeping of the salvation message across this country, but my fear is even if it’s swept across this country, people wouldn't believe it because of what they see in Christians. Isn't it sad? Why can't David Koresh be a Buddhist? Or why can't he say he's Joseph Smith? Or Mary Baker Eddy? Or Mohammed? Why are they always Jesus Christ? Because Satan knows how to devastate the integrity of God and Christ by associating fanatics, murderers, perverts, adulterers, fornicators, thieves, liars, with Jesus Christ. And then what's going to make anybody believe that ours is a saving God who turns sinners into saints?
Now all of these virtues have a noble purpose. As you are submissive, excellent, respectful, honest, and loyal here's what's going to happen. The end of verse 10, "You will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect." You're going to, you're going to make our God who is the saving God attractive. “Adorn” is the word kosme. We get cosmetics out of it. It's a word basically that means “order.” It's used of “arranging something, putting something in proper order” – “symmetry, beauty.” Cosmetics are designed to make one beautiful. Here it also could be used in the sense that it was often used in ancient times in the arranging of jewels in a setting - a large broach or necklace or ring or a bejeweled crown with beautiful, magnificent jewelry arranged in wonderful symmetry and order so that it became wonderfully attractive. A Christian at work, a Christian in the job, a Christian just being a Christian - submissive, excellent, respectful, honest, loyal - makes God look good, makes Him attractive. It's going to confront sinners with the ugliness of who they are, isn't it? By contrast.
And when you say, “Our God is a saving God,” they're going to say, "Well, you are different. You, you're sure different." That's how we have to live if we're going to be effective, because people are watching us and they're concluding that there's something wonderfully attractive about us, or that we say we know God but we deny it. And that allows them to dishonor the Bible by discrediting it - to speak against us and be justified in doing it, and to look at God and say, "I don't see anything particularly attractive about Him." God is so continually dishonored, is He not?
People have asked me all over this country, "What's my reaction to the David Koresh thing?" My reaction to that is I grieve. I don't grieve over what happened to him or those children primarily, although that in itself is a tragedy. I grieve over another blasphemy of the name of Jesus Christ. Believe me, as hard as Christians try to blitz the whole wide world with our message and can't do it, Satan is eminently successful at it. And one bizarre David Koresh preached the anti-gospel to the four corners of the world.
How can we counter it? Not by what we say but by what we are.
Our Father, as we bring the service to its conclusion, our prayer is that we might adorn the teaching about You in every respect, with the lowliest of our duties and the loftiest that sinners might know that You're a saving God who saves people from sin and makes them into saints. We're so grieved that Your name has recently been so dishonored. There's no way that we can capture the media somehow and reverse the impact; it's too widespread. It wouldn't do any good to buy billboards. We have to live the life and to demonstrate what true Christianity is. We have to show everyone around us at work that You're a saving, transforming God. We have to let our light shine so that men in seeing our good works will glorify You. We have to be lights holding forth the Word of life in a crooked and perverse and dark generation. We have to so live in the front of the pagans that when they see our good works they're going to glorify You in the day when Your Son comes.
Help us, Lord, tomorrow when we go to work to live this way. We know that if the older men and the older women and the younger women and the younger men and all the employees are what they ought to be in this world, the power of the gospel will be undeniable. May we never, ever be described as those who say they know God but deny Him by their deeds and are detestable and worthless. Lord God, help us be what You want us to be that we might reach many who will see how beautiful, how magnificent You are and be drawn to you because they see You in us. We ask this for every life, in Christ's name. Amen.
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