A Clear Look At Mother’s Day. 2020

Titus 2:3-5

I know those of you who keep notes must notice that I have used this scripture for Mother’s Day many times. I have. Because I simply believe in the message. It is so relevant for today’s mom.

I am so proud of our young mothers. The world has led many women away from investing the necessary time into their children, of course the modern man hasn’t helped much in raising the bar for Mothers, but Covid19 did!

It is not that they were not capable or ready for the task, it just wasn’t required. So many rose to the challenge and revealed what they made for. Greatness.

I am proud, to say the least, at watching many of our young mothers. I was amazed as I followed them on FB, and saw the kool innovative ways they were teaching, training, leading their children. We have had those who have taken a major part in what God is doing here in this minute part of His glorious body of believers. They have insured their children were a part of this strange but exciting time. They endured practice after practice, helped in cleaning up and setting up and taking down, while not neglecting their part at home.

Mothers of generations past understand the ginormous task of being involved with things outside the home while raising children, but it is something that has been lost in these modern days. 

For many, NOT ALL, but for many their career, their lifestyle, their self-indulgences, have taken precedence over real child raising.  So this morning I would like to try to restart that women’s movement of years gone by, before the feminist faction robbed women of their integrity and changed the character from holy to haughty.

Under the appearance of helping women achieve equal status in the workplace, which is a worthy endeavor, Women’s rights groups have continually tried to undermine the authority of the word of God by stating it as sexist, chauvinistic, and degrading to women  

I praise God for those who have not fallen prey to this scheme but see God’s word for what it truly is. 

Like the devil before them, the world cannot produce what it says it can. But a life sold out to God through His Son Jesus of Nazareth brings fulfillment and purpose and contrary to what many think, has nothing to do with being barefoot and pregnant, weak-minded, or inferior.

We quickly forget, it was Jesus Christ who gave women freedom, who raised their status up from common property to the very image of God.

I would like to rekindle the fire of those who chose God’s way. Also to challenge those who have been duped into believing the devil’s lie that the worldly way is more exhilarating and fulfilling to dive into the high road; a life fulfilling, exciting, rewarding and no regrets, one that is pleasing to God.

When the word of God is used in the Spirit of God by the people of God for the glory of God to do the will of God, you’re able to live life the way God intended and enjoy the freedom of God.

The bible is God’s standard and when applied it lifts us up to a higher plane of living.

This is what Paul is giving to Titus, instructions for lovely women coming out of the pit of paganism. 

Let’s look at what Paul is instructing Titus to share with those God placed in his life.

  • The Standard. (V3)  Before duty is given the standard is set.
    • Paul is weeding out the silly in order to have room for the serious.
      • In every station of life you have those wannabes.
      • These are folks who don’t want to pay the price, don’t want the 0discipline, but want to be known as such.
    • Paul is laying out the standard for women of integrity
      • God set the standard high for mothers
      • Just because a woman has children makes her no more a mother than having eggs in your fridge makes you a chicken.   
    • Notice what the list starts with. Holiness.
      • What is God interested in?
        • Not that you keep your hourglass or grandfather clock shape
        • Not that you know all the answers to Jeopardy
        • But that you develop a Holy character.
      • What is this holiness?
        • Simple way of putting it, you say you believe God’s word is without mistake and powerful, let it rule your actions.
      • Because this is what is going to serve you and those you love best
    • He mentions false accusers. In the Greek it is “diabolos” where we get the word devil from.
      • It is speaking of gossip. This is not a female characteristic. I know men who can put the most wagging tongue to shame.
    • Not given to much wine, teetotalers. 
    • Teachers of good things

The standard is set, now the duty is given.

  • The Duty.(V4)
    • Teach the younger women
      • Must be willing to teach and be teachable.
      • This is the hardest principle to instill in many believers.
      • They either want to let someone do it all or they want to do it themselves.
    • One of the lost arts that have fallen by the way side is mothers taking quality time and instilling within their children, grandchildren, things that are special to them.
      • Mainly because it’s hard and time consuming. 
      • What is of value to you?
    • What to teach?
      • Not just preferences, traditions. Please understand there is nothing wrong with passing down precious memories or recipes or simple times. It is the priority placed on them.
      • I have a friend, who for years used the reason for not coming and being a part of a local congregation “we eat at grannies every Sunday and you’re not to be late.”
      • How many have passed down to the demise of their own loved ones the priority of traditions over the things of God.
    • Give them something of substance that will help them be holy
      • To be sober: have a sound mind
      • To be discreet: have self-control
      • Chaste: pure 
      • Keepers at home: good house keepers.(another lost art) for the wellbeing of you and your family.
      • Not teaching them to be grumpy hard and cold, but teaching them to be founded so they won’t get carried away with the latest craze.
  • This seems strange to me.
    • It speaks of teaching them to love their husbands and their children
      • Why would they marry if they didn’t love their husbands?
        • Mmmm!
    • One of the things this new age feminist group that has invaded the church says “it is not commanded that the woman loves the husband.” Wrong!
      • It is not that loving your husband is a virtue but not loving him is a sin!!!
    • What about children, don’t women automatically love their offspring?
      • Being of the female gender doesn’t make you motherly no more than living in a tree makes you a pine cone.
    • Genuine love for a child is hard. It is easier to just give in or give up.
      • It is something that needs to be passed down, shown, and demonstrated.
      • Many of these girls were coming out of pagan religions that had terrible practices involving children.
    • You might say ok I give you that but why here in God blessed America would a woman have to be taught to love their children?
      • No matter if you’re here, or India, France, you always find the same thing.
  • Our natural tendency is to serve self.
  • Our needs, wants, ambitions. Our desires compete with loving anything else. ANYTHING ELSE!

Sunday School 4/5/2020

April 5, 2020

As we are still “social distancing”….Good Morning (or whenever you are reading this).  Sure hope this stuff ends soon.  I would much rather be in our classroom with all of you. I feel we are doing the right thing by not meeting, but I do miss the interaction, discussion, and laughter with you.  I really appreciate your input so much more now!  As I was telling Bro. Charlie, I have a NEW appreciation for him putting his notes on line for us each week!  Thank you Bro. Charlie and those who help him with this! 

On with the lesson…

So, Jesus leaves the Pharisee’s house and continues on his way to Jerusalem.  Scripture says great multitudes were with him. 

Luke 14: 25-35

  • And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
  • If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
  • And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
  • For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
  • Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it all that behold it begin to mock him,
  • Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
  • Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
  • Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
  • So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
  • Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
  • It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

There is more to following Jesus than just accepting an invitation.  Discipleship costs.  It is not for “sissies” as we have heard many times.

Verse 25-26 says as he was walking along with the multitudes following him, all of a sudden he stops, and turns to them and says:  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Wow, that would be enough right there to make you say, no thanks Jesus, I love you but…..

If you have been involved with the “Not A Fan” lifegroup that Robert has been teaching on Sunday nights, you already know quite a bit about what it takes to truly be a follower and not a fan.  Really enjoying this class, hope we can get back to it soon even though it has been an “ouch” book. 

Hate is a pretty strong word.  Dictionary says:  feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone).  Hard to imagine that Jesus wants us to dislike our family.  Scripture says we are to honor our parents (Exodus 20:12), husbands are to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25), wives are to love their husbands (Titus 2:4) and parents love their children (Titus 2:4). John 13:34-35 says:  A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  (vs 35 is one of Mrs. Judy Ann’s favorite verses). 

So, how do you hate your family and love them at the same time? 

John MacArthur’s commentary gives this explanation…Anyone who comes to Jesus for salvation must prefer God over his family…To hate one’s family is to prefer God over them by disregarding what they desire if that conflicts with what God requires; it is to love God more and them less. 

David Guzik says:  Jesus used the word hate to show how great the difference must be between our allegiance to Jesus and our allegiance to everyone and everything else. 

The greatest danger of idolatry comes not from what is bad, but from what is good – such as love in family relationships. The greatest threat to the best often comes from second best.

Wow, did you read that last line from David Guzik…The greatest threat to the best often comes from the second best. 

We have to also take into consideration what it meant to the crowds that Jesus was literally talking to.  Following Jesus (being his disciple) would more than likely mean that their family would disown them!  So, Jesus was trying to tell them, hey, this is not an easy road that you will be taking.  Consider the cost.  (more on this later).

And then, Jesus says…and his own life also.   What does he mean, hate your own life also?   Die, flesh, Die (to quote Lynette).  We have to daily die to our flesh and allow Jesus to have full control.  I don’t think we do a very good job of this (or is it just me?)  We must allow Christ to be first in our life, not the top priority on our list of top 10 priorities, He should be the only priority.  Once again, Jesus is making sure that the people know that this is not going to be a bed of roses, no peaches and cream, no cherry on top, no cream in their twinkie (Bro. Charlie), not an easy road.  Remember a few weeks ago we talked about the narrow road.  Unfortunately, at this point, a lot of the multitude probably said, hey, this is not what we signed up for, see ya.

MacArthur says…The call to salvation is a call to self-denial; it marks the end of sinners being the reigning authorities in their lives and calls for them instead to submit as slaves to Jesus’ authority as Lord, King, and Master.  That selflessness extends to the point of death, as Jesus’ next statement, Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple, makes clear.  The heavenly treasure is so valuable (Matt 13:44) the pearl of salvation so precious (vs 46), that true disciples are willing to give up their lives, if God so wills, to gain eternal life.  Jesus calls for complete self-abandonment.

David Guzik says…. Bear his cross and come after Me: Here Jesus said to the great multitudes something very similar to what He said privately to all His disciples in Luke 9:23 – that being a follower of Jesus is something like bearing a cross.

This probably horrified His listeners.  As Jesus spoke these words, everybody knew what He meant. In the Roman world, before a man died on a cross, he had to carry his cross (or at least the horizontal beam of the cross) to the place of execution. When the Romans crucified a criminal, they didn’t just hang them on a cross. They first hung a cross on him.  Carrying a cross always led to death on a cross. No one carried a cross for fun. The first hearers of Jesus didn’t need an explanation of the cross; they knew it was an unrelenting instrument of torture, death, and humiliation. If someone took up his cross, he never came back. It was a one-way journey.

Sure hope you were able to watch/listen to Bro. Charlie’s message this past Sunday morning.  His visual of carrying a cross (during the invitation) really brought it home.  I would encourage you to go back and watch (or rewatch) at least that portion of the sermon.  “In order to live, we must die” – daily.

Jesus goes on to give a couple of examples of counting the cost – Building and Battles. They both cost more than you ever imagined.   Ever start a building project and your cost exceeds much more than you had originally planned (usually the case!!).  Battles always costs more than planned (lives included).

Jesus was making sure the disciples and multitude of people with him, knew what they were getting into and were prepared to go all the way.  No going half-way and then quitting.  No saying….I didn’t know it involved this!  I’ll have to rethink this.   We must carefully consider the commitment level that it takes to follow Jesus.  Too many people don’t mind signing their name to a commitment card as long as they don’t really have to be committed!  We are so good at starting something and not finishing it… we are like those represented by the rocky and thorny soils in the parable of the sower (Matt 13:20-22). 

Chuck Smith says…Now, you count the cost. Unless you are willing to forsake everything you can’t be My disciple. Unless you are willing to take up your cross, you can’t be My disciple. Unless you love Me supremely, you cannot be My disciple. The terms of discipleship are harsh. They are severe. And it is wrong when people tell you just accept Jesus and you are not going to have any more problems. Listen, many times when you accept Jesus your problems are just beginning. It is not easy. It is not going to be easy. The Lord doesn’t say it is going to be easy. He said it is going to be tough and you better sit down first and count the cost. You better not get started in it if you can’t finish it, or are not willing to finish it. You need to make an accounting here and determine whether or not you are really willing to pay the price to go all the way through, because unless you are willing to forsake everything, really, you can’t be My disciple. These are heavy, hard words.

John Stott writes……The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers – the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish.  For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so.  The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called ‘nominal Christianity’.  In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity.  They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable.  Their religion is a great, soft cushion.  It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience.  No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.

Verse 33 says, Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 

Forsake all that he has – Greek phrase had the idea “to say goodbye to”.

So, does this mean I have to sell everything I have and live in poverty if I am to be a disciple of Jesus.  Probably not, but who knows.  Your willingness to do so says it all.  It says who your priority is.  As Bro. Charlie has said many times, your checking account says a lot about you.  Now, don’t go saying that I said you have to sell everything in order to be a disciple.  That is certainly not the case, but you better be willing to if Jesus were to ask you to.  You can’t take it with you.  All that we have is His anyway. We are stewards of everything and owners of nothing (MacArthur).  If your money, or “things” are more important to you than being a follower of Jesus, then, Houston, we have a problem.  You may be a fan instead of a follower.

The lesson is plain.  Jesus does not want followers who rush into discipleship without thinking of what is involved.  And He is clear about the price.  The man who comes to Him must renounce all that he has…These words condemn all half-heartedness.  Jesus is not of course, discouraging discipleship.  He is warning against an ill-considered, faint-hearted attachment in order that men may know the real thing.  He wants men to count the cost and reckon all lost for His sake so that they can enter the exhilaration of full-blooded discipleship. (The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries).

I think that when we are witnessing to people, so many times we make the mistake of not warning them of the costs of discipleship. Salvation is free. But it costs to be a follower.  We are so anxious to get them to commit that we mistakenly mislead them into thinking that their life would be so much easier with Jesus in it. (it actually is easier with Jesus, just not the way they thought it would be).  And then when they do accept Him, immediately they begin to be tested and so many times, they say, no one told me this would happen.  And off they go – off into the wild blue yonder or wherever it is that people disappear to when things get a little rough.   Commitment, it hurts to see such a lack of this vital component of Discipleship.  I can’t imagine how it feels to the LORD.

Verse 34-35

Salt is only useful when it has the nature of salt.  A Christian is only useful when he or she has the nature of Christ. (David Guzik). 

He who has ears to hear, let him hear…

  • Listen up
  • Pay attention
  • Embrace the message
  • Listen to me
  • This is important