Discouragement and Motivation

Genuine Christians are often tempted with discouragement and despair.  We find this to be true of numerous people in Scripture (King David – Pss. 142, 143; Paul – 2 Cor. 1:8-9), and also of many throughout church history (William Cowper; Charles Spurgeon).  Certainly many different factors, both internal and external, can tempt us to dark and troubling difficulties in our minds.

 

One of the things that can easily discourage us is our awareness of how far short we fall of obeying God’s will…how easily we can sin in our affections, attitudes, words, and actions.  Perhaps you’ve experienced this as we’ve been looking at practical matters of godliness from the book of Titus.  If you haven’t yet, you probably will!  The demands and responsibilities of godliness for all believers are very clear in what Paul declares to Titus, and very specific.  And Paul is emphatic:  Titus is to declare these things, exhorting and rebuking with all authority (Titus 2:15).

 

But Paul is equally clear that the foundation, motivation, and power from which we’re to pursue godliness is found in the mercy and grace of God in Christ.  As we seek to grow in practical godliness, it is vitally important that we do so in the sure and certain hope of all God has given us in Christ.  So I encourage you to spend much time meditating on the key passages in Titus where Paul highlights God’s work in Christ – 1:1-3; 2:11-14; and 3:4-7.  Ask the Lord to help you grasp the wonder of these glorious truths, and respond with thanksgiving and praise to our God.

 

And keep pursuing practical godliness, beloved, in the blessed, eternal hope God has called us to in Christ!

 

Grace upon grace,

Greg

Titus and John 17

God’s eternal purpose – His mission – is to bring glory to Himself in His Son Jesus, in His people, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  As we are seeing in the book of Titus, God’s purpose informs every aspect of the life of the local church.  Likewise, His purpose and will impacts the daily lives of every Christian, in very specific and practical ways.

 

Along with encouraging you to read the book of Titus at least once a week over the next two months (in addition to other Bible reading you’re doing), let me also encourage you to weekly read John 17.  This majestic prayer of Jesus reveals the heart of God’s mission, and His purposes for us as His people.  Profoundly breathtaking, and profoundly relevant.

 

What a joy to share in these realities with you, growing as God’s people at RCG.  You are on my heart and in my prayers!

 

Because He lives, and is returning,

Greg

On Mission for Worship

“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church.   Worship is.  Missions exists because worship doesn’t.  Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.  When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.  It is a temporary necessity.  But worship abides forever.”

 

These words from John Piper, in his book Let the Nations Be Glad, rightly express a Biblical understanding of worship and missions.  All of God’s mighty, sovereign works – through creation, providence, and redemption – are accomplished by Him “…to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:6,12,14).  Likewise, “…from him and through him and to him are all things.  To Him be glory forever.  Amen.”  (Rom. 11:36)

 

These truths certainly undergird all that Paul has to say in his letter to Titus, which we began studying this past Lord’s Day.  We see this as the letter opens in Titus 1:1-5, with Paul declaring that God, through Jesus Christ, is the One who sends, saves, speaks, and sets in order.  The clear implication is that God alone is worthy of all trust, submission, and adoration; He is worthy of all worship.  All of this has great implications for the church.

 

Within the body of his letter, Paul works out in specific and practical ways what the worship of God is to look like in the godly leadership of the church (chapter 1), and the godly lifestyles of the saints (chapters 2-3).  I’m excited to be considering these truths afresh, and walking with you in God’s will for us at RCG.  As we do so, let me encourage you to read the short letter of Titus weekly.  And be praying for the Lord to inflame all of us with zeal for His worship, and concurrent zeal for His purposes in missions and the church.

 

Because He lives, and is returning,

Greg