Living As Positive People in a Negative World 1 Grace
Text: Titus 2:11
Introduction: I’m afraid I’ve grown more cynical in my later years. In my case it’s due to my discriminating and critically thinking mind in other people it’s because they are whiners and cry babies. But you know what I don’t want to be a cynic or even a critic. I want to show the reality of my life, which is not negative but positive because of who I am a Christian, a child of the King and the wonderful blessing God has placed in my life now and the eternal life that awaits me.
It’s a negative world out there and what is needed is some Christians who can shine as a city set on a hill on a dark night. The darker this world gets the brighter our light will be shine. Let’s be positive, sensational people for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Joke:There was a pastor who had a reputation of always looking on the bright side of things. No matter how bad things would be he consider for a moment and then say, “Well I’m glad it wasn’t worse.”
Once when a terrible snowstorm hit and the church members had to drive through a raging blizzard to get to church. The pastor beamed and said, “Well I’m glad it wasn’t worse at least we have the furnace running and we are nice and warm in the the Lord’s house.”
Once when a flu epidemic hit the whole town and everyone was sick, he stood in the pulpit and said, “Well I’m glad it wasn’t worse. We have good hospitals and medicine to help us all get well.”
One man that knew the pastor couldn’t stand this positive outlook and he determined that he was going to come up with a story that the pastor couldn’t say, “I could have been worse.” So one Sunday after church was out the man shook the pastor’s hand and said, “I need to tell you about a dream I had last night. I dreamed I came home from work and found my house on fire. The fire was so intense it destroyed everything I owned, killed my family, killed my pets, spread to my car and when I tried to help save my family it set me on fire and put me in the hospital and I had no insurance and I lay there maimed and disfurgered with no family, no home and no hope. Tell me pastor, what do you say about that?”
The pastor thought for just a moment and then said, “Well I’m glad it wasn’t worse.”
The man said, How could it be worse, I dreamed I lost everything?”
The pastor smiled and said, “Well it was good it was only a dream, brother.”
The Grace of God
Definition of Grace
From the Greek word charis khar’-ece;
It means God’s undeserved, unearned gift of love and favor.
ISBE: "Grace" in this sense is an attitude on God’s part that proceeds entirely from within Himself, and that is conditioned in no way by anything in the objects of His favor.
Paul’s definition in Romans 11:5-6 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
Nor could we do anything to earn it because according to Ephesians we were dead. Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Someone has offered this comparison of the difference between revenge, justice, and grace. If someone brutally murders your son and you take things into your own hands, that's revenge. If you're content to allow the law and the courts to arrest and punish the offender, that's justice. But if you pardon the murderer, adopt him, and take him home to live with you as your son, that's grace! That is what God did for us. That is amazing and that should make us positive people no matter how negative the world around us.
Are you living in the positive power God’s grace?
God has extended his hand in love toward us not because we deserve it but because of grace.
Have you accepted this wonderful gift of God grace?
And if you have experienced grace then what has it done in and for you. How does it show in you? Does it make you shine as a light in a dark world? Does it make men see your works and glorify you father in heaven? Does it make you salt in a sinful world? Does it make our church shine like a city set on a hill?
Matthew 5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
As Copernicus, the great astronomer, was dying, a copy of his great book, The Revolution of the Heavenly Bodies, was placed in his hands. But it was not his brilliant work that was on his mind. Instead he directed that the following epitaph be placed on his grave at Frauenburg: "O Lord, the faith thou didst give to St. Paul, I cannot ask; the mercy thou didst show to St. Peter, I dare not ask; but, Lord, the grace thou didst show unto the dying robber, that, Lord, show to me." -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 346.
We could stop right here at the Grace of God and say that is pretty positive but it is not enough to know about the grace of God, we must follow continue in to that Wonderful Salvation that is joined with that grace.
We can be, we should be, we must be positive people in a negative world, first because of God’s grace and if that is not enough also because of the salvation that grace brings.
Salvation: The Greek word is soterion so-tay’-ree-on (want me to spell that?)
The definition simply means deliverance, brought to safety.
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Jesus was the gift of God’s grace given upon the cruel cross of Calvary. His suffering and agony were exchanged for our forgiveness and salvation, His death for our eternal life, His sorrow for our joy.
Isaiah 53: 4-6 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Positive in Salvation
Do you need a reason to be positive in this dark world, then all you have to do is look where you would have been it not for God’s salvation? All you have to do is look where you were going if not for God’s salvation. All you have to do is imagine your life with the changes that salvation has made.
On seeing a condemned man, There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford. - John Bradford (C. 1510-1555)
Look at the blessing in your life because of God’s salvation. Look at the promise of the eternity because of God’s salvation. How can we not be positive, people? We are people who live in the power of the positive promises of God and the wonders of His salvation.
Illustration: Difference between Saving Private Ryan and saving my soul.
Steven Spielberg's movie, Saving Private Ryan, tells the story of an Army captain named John Miller (played by Tom Hanks) who in the aftermath of the World War II D-day invasion at Normandy Beach is ordered to find a solitary private among thousands of displaced soldiers. He must return Private James F. Ryan home to his mother, whose other three sons have just been killed in action.
Captain Miller and the small group of men assigned to him successfully locate Ryan, but then are forced to defend a strategic bridge against enemy tanks and troops. Captain Miller is fatally wounded. In his dying moments, he reaches out to Private Ryan, and with great emotion says, "Earn this! Earn this!"
Many years later as an old man, James Ryan stands in a veteran's cemetery tearfully looking at the tombstone of the man who saved his life and he wonders if he has indeed earned the great gift he received. With tears in his eyes he asks his family am I a good man?
But that is not the same as our salvation. Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ died on the Cross that we might live forever. In his final words he did not suggest that we could ever earn such a gift. Instead he cried triumphantly, "It is finished!" and today he calls out to us “Live this!” - Michael Lester. Leadership, Vol. 20, no. 1.
Show in all that you do and all that you live the wonderful salvation that grace of God has brought.
One thing still remains in Titus 2:11. We have considered grace, we have rejoiced in salvation but Paul has one more thing to say about salvation, He says, “It has appeared to all.” What do you think he means by that and what can it mean for us as Positive People.
Appeared to All
Appeared is the word epiphany in Greek. ἐπιφαίνω (epiphaino). It is one of those Greek word which was not translated into a different language but transliterated. The ending was Anglicized but the word stayed pretty much intact, like the baptism.
An epiphany is an appearance, especially of Jesus Christ. Here in this verse it refers to the first coming of Jesus into this world, to His birth, life, death and resurrection.
Now in verse 13 the same word talks about the second epiphany of Christ, His second coming, which Paul calls that Blessed Hope and glorious appearing.
JFB-The grace of God hath now been embodied in Jesus, the brightness of the Father’s glory, " manifested as the "Sun of righteousness, " " the Word made flesh."
Do you remember the story of Simeon, one of the first people to identify Jesus, when he was brought by his parents to be dedicated at the Temple. He said this in Luke 2:30, For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
He was not talking about a plan, a passage in the Bible, or a story, or some great theological truth. He was talking about Jesus. He saw Jesus with his parents and when he looked into that boy’s eyes the Holy Spirit told him, He is the salvation of the world.
The Most Positive Way to Live Is To Show Christ
You want to be positive in your life. You want to be light in the dark? Then show people Jesus Christ because he is the salvation that has appeared to all men. Show the world, Here is Christ in my life. Here is Christ in my work. Here is Christ in my home, my family, my church, my children. Show the world the positive power of Jesus shining through you and all you do.
Scripture: Acts 1: 8 ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me… .
This is not just a command to witness but a statement of who we are. Jesus categorically sates ath we are witnesses of Him, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the World, The Lord of Life. We are to show others Him, in our lives.
Illustration: The Christ You Show
His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college. Across the street from the campus is a well dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go about it.
One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and, when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this church before!)
By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do.
How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy.
The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone.
Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read."
It’s time to be what we should be, positive people of God.
Time to show a community, our family and our friends what a difference grace has made and salvation has brought. Time to show them Jesus in our church through each one of us.
I want to commit to that, I want others to see that. I’m tired of seeing the bad and reacting to it with cynicism and coldness. I want to make a difference through the positive power of the Gospel of Christ and the Grace of God that has brought salvation in the person of Jesus Christ. Oh, Lord help me to show You to a dark and dying world.
Song: Marvelous Grace
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can we do to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?