LIFTING THE BANNER OF THE LORD – SAY ”NO” (PART 3)
Text: Titus 2:1-15 “But as for you, speak up for the right living that goes along with true Christianity. Teach older men to be serious and unruffled; they must be sensible, knowing and believing the truth and doing everything with love and patience. Teach the older women to be quiet and respectful in everything they do … you must teach all these things and encourage your people to do them, correcting them when necessary as one who has every right to do so. Don’t let anyone think that what you say is not important”. (TLB).
The whole of this scripture is a comprehensive message full of admonition from Apostle Paul, the apostle of grace. This is a scripture of grace. Today, there is a lot of misconception with regards to grace. Many have bastardized the concept of grace and reduced it to what it is not. Don’t be a yes person, don’t double speak and don’t be a dancer. Notice what verse 1 says from the Living Bible “But as for you, speak up for the right living that goes along with true Christianity”. Don’t be deceived, there is a right living and there is a wrong living, there is a right living that goes along with true Christianity. True Christianity produces right living.
You must realize that there is absolutely nothing new under the sun. One of the problems of raising youths today is that they believe that their parents are old school, while they believe that the teachings of motivational teachers are new. The Bible makes it clear that there is nothing new under the sun. Do you know that the concept of grace can be traced from the first pronouncement in the Bible in Gen. 1:1-3? If you remember that the meaning of grace is unmerited favour, why did God create? For whom did he create? He created a perfect environment, he took the initiative, man did not merit it, man was not even there. God made up his mind to create a perfect man and placed him in a perfect environment and made man the Landlord. Many people think that grace is a new concept and have taken it out of context completely. I was shocked when I tuned to a television channel sometime ago and heard a very charismatic well-known televangelist saying that Christianity is right believing, it is not right living. This is erroneous. Are the two mutually exclusive? Does your right believing preclude you from right living? The Bible says even demons believe and tremble. The proof of right belief is in right living. We need to speak up about the right living that goes with Christianity. The Church is so weak today because the Church is producing people who are not living right. It is because of dangerous teachings like this that makes you believe that once you confess Jesus Christ, you are already in heaven, it doesn’t matter how you live thereafter. This is the reason why you find Christians who are confused everywhere. Meanwhile, those who try to straighten this kind of theology are labelled as ‘too judgmental’. You must speak up. The sin you fail to judge will eventually contaminate and consume. There is a right living that goes with true Christianity; you must allow the Holy Spirit to work it out through you and in you. You can see all the things Apostle Paul enumerated one by one for every group of people – for the youths, the adults, men and women. If you read this scripture from the King James Version, it brings out the concept of sound doctrine. “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine …”. The concept of sound doctrine presupposes that there is also a wrong doctrine. There are several wrong doctrines that are positioning people to live anyhow to the extent that there is no difference between the world and the Church anymore; there is no difference between believers and unbelievers. Something is terribly wrong with that. If people cannot beat their chest in your place of work to say this is a child of God without your putting on any Church emblem, but based on watching and relating with you, then something is wrong with you. The greatest gospel you preach is your lifestyle. What is your testimony? I am not referring to people’s judgement based on their distorted perspectives because in the final analysis, people don’t judge you for who you are, they judge you based on the iniquity in their heart.
Verse 2 – “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience”. Everything Apostle Paul enumerated here are fruits of the spirit. If you claim that you are connected to the Holy Spirit, the only way that people will know that you are truly connected is through the fruits. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. 7:20). What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit? Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Gal. 5:22-23). You don’t need to carry a sign post or a physical banner, No, the fruit of the Holy Spirit is the banner you need. I can tell you authoritatively that there is no better life than the life we have in Christ. It is when Christians don’t understand this that they think that there is something out there. Think about it, the wisest and richest man that ever lived, King Solomon’s departing word is vanity upon vanity, and that everything that man is chasing is a struggle after the wind. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man for God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” Eccl. 12:13-14.
TO BE CONTINUED.