Titus 3:4-7 #8, Metamorphosis 12/13/2015

 

#1. The Wisdom of God (Eph 1:10, Isa 46:10, Psalm 104:24, 19:1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2. Not By Works Which We Have Done (Isa 64:6, Tit 3:5, Matt 7:22-23, Eph 2:9, Rev 22:19)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3. The Washing of Regeneration (Tit 3:5, John 3:3, Gal 3:11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4. Heirs According to the Hope of Eternal Life (Tit 3:7, Rom 8:17-18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to Psalm 104:24 (2X). We are continuing the series that is called:

#1. The Wisdom of God (Eph 1:10, Isa 46:10, Psalm 104:24, 19:1)

As you know, we started this series on August 10, 2003, with the sermon titled, "God's Eternal Purpose for This Creation", wherein we saw that from before the foundation of the world it was God's purpose "to gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth" (Eph 1:10). This is the process that is going on, and this will be finalized on the Last Day. God does all these things for His own pleasure and for His own glory. In His wisdom God decided on the course of events that we are in today, including the events of September 11, 2001, and God decided this already before the foundation of the world. That is why God can say, "He knows the end from the beginning" (Isa 46:10), because God's providence causes history to unfold as He determined it from the beginning. Here in Psalm 104 we read about all the wonderful things God has created, and how He continues to rule this creation. We read in Psalm 104:24,

Ps 104:24, O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

Do we really agree with this statement of the glory of God and the providence of God? Do we really believe it? Do we really believe that God created all things and God holds all things in His hand? O yes, we believe that God has made the heavens and the earth. We can see it every day and every night. "Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge" (Psalm 19:1). We can see the stars twinkling in the sky, if the smog here in California is not too dense. We can see that God is at work in our families. We can see that God is in our individual lives, providing for us, both physically and spiritually. God is blessing us with more insight in the Bible, and God is blessing us with material goods. But do we also believe that we are in God's hands when our spouse gets ill, or when our spouse goes on the operating table? Can we have a good night's rest or do we nervously pace the floor in the hospital when our spouse is on the operating table? Can we leave things in God's hands, or are we wringing our hands? Take this advice from an authority in operating rooms: "No one these days dies on the operating table". They may die of complications later, but not on the operating table. It seems to be an American tradition, but I call it an American "obligation", to pace the floor at the hospital when one of our family members is being operated on, even if this operation is scheduled in the middle of the night. But this is the time to sleep and to put your trust in the hands of God. Can we really do that? Can we believe that God, in His wisdom, will do the right thing even when we are sleeping? Is this not the real test whether we trust God? Remember, we are all getting a year older, and this is an experience we all will have to go through. And when that moment comes, remember that you are a child of the King of Kings. You are one for whom the Lord Jesus Christ has suffered and died. What does that mean? We talked about this last week. If the Lord Jesus Christ has suffered for you, and died and rose again the 3rd day for you, what does that mean? It means that on Friday, April 3, in the year AD 33, God promised to send the Holy Spirit at some point in your life, in the 20th or in the 21st century, to make you "Born Again", and to give you FAITH. And when you have faith, you will trust that God does the right thing, even when you are sleeping. The last three sermons were titled, "#5 Sin", "#6 The Penalty For Sin", and "#7 It Is Finished", which also means "The Escape From the Penalty For Sin". Therefore today's sermon is titled, "Metamorphosis" (2X). It is the evidence of the sufferings of Christ on the cross. This is the evidence in our life of Christ having shouted out loud: "It Is Finished". This is the first evidence of God doing a marvelous work in our souls, and the second evidence is FAITH. What is the meaning of "Metamorphosis"? Metamorphosis means a transformation from one shape to another. Our first metamorphosis, our first transformation, is when we receive a New Seed in our soul from God the Holy Spirit. This implanting in our soul of new life in Christ is also called "Regeneration". Our soul that was dead from sin is resurrected like a brand new soul, on which no sin shall ever remain. This regeneration is mediated through the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. It means we have become "Born Again", or literally we have become "Born from Above". Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to Titus 3:4 (2X). On what basis does God make one person "Born Again", whereas another person He passes by? The basis is that Christ has suffered and died for the one person, whereas He did not suffer and die for the other person. Christ did not suffer and die for every human being in the world. The Lord Jesus Christ, who is God Himself, cannot do a work that is unsuccessful. In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ cannot suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for a person who himself goes to Hell. Since Christ is God, Christ has the wisdom to know who are going to Hell, and therefore Christ paid only for the sins of those who are the Elect of God, who do not go to Hell because God intended to save them. How did God prepare the stage for our first metamorphosis, our first transformation? We read in Tit 3:4 about:

Is God speaking about Christ's incarnation, or is He speaking about the cross & the resurrection?

Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

When in history did the kindness and love of God our Savior appear? What does God in the Bible say? Please put a sticker here in Titus 3:4. Please turn in your Bibles 6 pages to your left () to 2Tim 1:9 (2X). No, it was not at the birth of Christ. It was at the cross and it was at the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ that the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared. We read in 2Tim 1:9-10,

2Ti 1:9-10, Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Clearly, this passage speaks about the appearing of our Savior at the time after He had paid the full price at the cross and has risen from the dead. This was the time when He "hath abolished death,

and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel", which is the Good News that Christ died for us, the ungodly. Please turn forward () 6 pages to Titus 3:4 (2X), and let us apply this.

Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

What is, or was, "the kindness and love of God our Savior"? It was the kindness and love of God at the cross for those who were His enemies. We were God's enemies. That is how we were born into this world, as enemies of God. Please turn about 40 pages to your left () to the Epistle to the Ephesians 2:4 (2X). God says in Eph 2:1-3 that we all were dead in trespasses and sins; we all walked in time past according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, Satan; we all had our conduct in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; we all were by nature the children of the wrath of God, even as others who never become saved; we all deserved to go to Hell for our sins against God, and for being enemies of God. And then we read in Eph 2:4-10 about "the kindness and love of God" for us, rotten sinners.

Eph 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Remember, we are talking about "Metamorphosis". This is the transformation that is taking place in our lifetime. God, who is rich in mercy, had mercy on us even when we were dead in sins, and He has made us alive together with Christ; meaning when Christ rose from the grave, He represented us, by proxy, so that we can be saved in our lifetime. We were shown that we are His workmanship. Formerly we were from Adam's race. We were citizens of this earth, here below. But now that we have become Born Again, we are from above, and we have become aliens in this world here below. Now, this truly is a great Metamorphosis, and it is the result of "the kindness and love of God our Savior" shown to us when Christ suffered and died for us on the cross. What a beautiful Savior. Please turn again 40 pages to your right () to the Epistle to Titus 3:5 (2X). There we read:

#2. Not By Works Which We Have Done (Isa 64:6, Tit 3:5, Matt 7:22-23, Eph 2:9, Rev 22:19)

"The kindness and love of God our Savior" is not given to us based on works, which we have done. It could not be, because even the best of our works, according to Isa 64:6, are like filthy rags. Let us read the entire passage of Titus 3:4-7, so that we will have an overview of where we are going.

Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Tit 3:6-7 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Now we understand why this sermon is titled "Metamorphosis", because when we see in verse 5 the "renewing of the Holy Ghost" we understand that this refers to being "Born Again " in our souls. But verse 5 begins with the words: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done". God does not save us based on works of righteousness which we have done. If we trust in those of our works, we are on the way to Hell. God does not save us because we made a decision to follow Jesus, because that would be a work of righteousness. No, that is not good enough. There must be another reason. If we trust in those of our works, we are on the way to Hell. God does not save us based on our initiative to come forward during a Billy Graham crusade, or during an altar call in church, or during a prayer meeting. Though all of these could be commendable actions, none of these would be good enough. No, there must be another reason. If we trust in those of our works, we are on the way to Hell. God does not save us based on the fact that we had ourselves baptized in a tub of water, or in a river, or in a lake, not even when the right formula has been pronounced over us, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. No, water baptism is an action that we take and that is not good enough. If we trust in those of our works, we are on the way to Hell. God does not save us because we now speak in tongues, or we have just exorcised a demon out of a person, or we have just performed a healing miracle or two. No, all these are actions that we take, and thus they are not good enough to qualify us for being awarded the mercy and grace of God onto salvation. If we trust in those of our works, we are on the way to Hell. The Lord Jesus said in Matt 7:22-23,

Mt 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Mt 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

These are terrifying words to people who believe they have been worshipping Christ, when in fact they have been worshipping Satan. If we are not worshipping Christ, then we are worshipping Satan. That is why God stated in Eph 2:9, "Not of works, lest any man should boast". Anyone who takes the glory of God away by substituting his own works for the works of God is actually worshipping another god, because he has "taken away from the words of the Book of this Prophecy" (Rev 22:19).

Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us,

When we hear about the mercy of God, we must remember the difference between mercy and grace. The mercy of God means that God is withholding from us what we do deserve. We deserve to go to Hell for our sins. When God has mercy on us, God is withholding the penalty of Hell from us. Therefore, the mercy of God always reminds us of the cross, because it was at the cross that the Lord Jesus Christ stood in our place, enduring what we would have to endure for our sins. On the other hand the grace of God is a gift that we do not deserve. The grace of God is the gift of eternal life in the presence of God. Thus the grace of God is that irresistible grace from God that drives us to the point in our life where God will revive our dead soul and gives us faith and the hearing of faith as evidence that God has done a wonderful work in our soul. Thus the irresistible grace from God drives us to the point of salvation, when God performs His great work of Metamorphosis in our heart. Please turn about 100 pages to your left () to the Epistle to the Romans 11:5 (2X). The grace of God operates only on those whom God has chosen to become saved, which are God's Elect. Who are God's Elect? God's Elect are not the Jews, because after the cross all nations stand on the same level before God. "There is neither Jew nor Greek" (Gal 3:28) in the eyes of God. God's Elect are all those whom the Lord Jesus came to save, as we read in Matt 1:21, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins". We are His people; we are the Elect of God; we are the remnant chosen by grace, as we read in Rom 11:5-6,

Ro 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Ro 11:6 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.

It is only a remnant of mankind that has been chosen by grace to become saved. The rest of mankind remains hardened in their unbelief. This gift of salvation is entirely a gift of God's grace, and it does not depend on anything we have done or anything we would do in the future. This gift of salvation is not the result of man's works, "otherwise grace is no more grace". The remnant is the group of people on whom God will bestow His grace, and God will not bestow His grace on anyone else. But before God can bestow His grace upon this remnant, before God can give the gift of eternal life to the remnant, Christ must first wipe the guilt of sins from their souls. This is where God's mercy comes in. This is where withholding of the penalty for sin comes in. This is where Christ's Atonement for our sins comes in. God's mercy is given only to those who are the remnant chosen by grace, and God will not bestow His mercy on anyone else. Suppose that God would have made Christ to suffer and die for all human beings on this earth, then God would have left the back door open for anyone outside the remnant to repent and come to Christ by his own volition. It would have meant that God would have left the back door open for anyone to become saved by works, which is an impossibility. Please turn again to the epistle to Titus 3:5 (2X). Therefore, it is "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us". Continuing in Titus 3:5 we read about:

#3. The Washing of Regeneration (Tit 3:5, John 3:3, Gal 3:11)

What kind of washing is that? Has this anything to do with water baptism?

Tit 3:5, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

It is the washing of the guilt of our sins at the time of the regeneration of our souls. Remember, we are talking about "Metamorphosis". Our souls, which were dead through trespasses and sins, are made alive first of all by applying the payment that Christ made for our sins, so that the guilt of our sins is washed from our souls. This is the washing of regeneration. And secondly by implanting the seed of life in Christ in our souls, so that we are translated into the family of Christ. This is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. First the washing, which wipes our souls clean so that we are no longer condemned, and secondly the rebirth of new life in our souls, which lifts us up into the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. A soul that was dead is made alive. This is the Metamorphosis. It is represented by the body of the Lord Jesus, which was made alive at the time of His resurrection. Could this "washing of regeneration" have anything to do with water baptism? Absolutely Not! Water baptism is something that WE DO, and therefore it can never have any effect on washing of sins. There is only one way sins can be washed away, and that is through the atoning death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. "The washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" can only refer to the irresistible grace of God in making us "Born Again". This is one thing they never told me during my upbringing in the Roman Catholic schools. They always avoided talking about this very essential ingredient of salvation that "You must be Born Again", or "You most be born from above". The Lord Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God". This is very plain language. Therefore, no one can come into heaven without having received a born again soul. But how can anyone make himself be born again? How can anyone make himself be born from above? No one can do that for himself. Now, that is why they avoided talking about this essential ingredient in Roman Catholic education, because the Roman Catholic gospel is essentially a works gospel. It is a "do it yourself salvation". They say: "Get yourself baptized with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and that will guarantee your salvation". Well, this is how you are guaranteed to go to Hell, because this is not the Gospel of the Bible. You are trying to get yourself saved by obeying the Law. But "no man is justified by the Law in the sight of God" (Gal 3:11). When you adhere to another gospel than the Gospel of the Bible, you are essentially worshipping another god, but he is not the God of the Bible, and therefore you are still unsaved and on the way to Hell.

What Titus 3:5 is saying is this: "The Lord Jesus Christ must wash you from your sins, and your soul must be regenerated". Your soul, which is dead through trespasses and sins, must be made alive by a twofold process: #1, The Lord Jesus Christ must have paid on the cross for the guilt of all your sins so that all your sins can be forgiven and be done away. And #2, The Spirit of Christ must have planted a godly Seed in your soul so that your dead soul is transformed into a soul that is living for Christ, and Christ Himself is reigning as King in your soul. This second point, this transformation, or this Metamorphosis, is the result of Christ having paid for the guilt of all of your sins at the cross.

Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

What was shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior? This refers to "the kindness and love of God our Savior". It cannot refer to the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, because either you are "Born Again", or you are not "Born Again", but you cannot be more abundantly "Born Again". The adverb "abundantly" simply does not apply in such cases. But the question is: What was shed on us abundantly? Please turn about 110 pages to your left () to the Epistle to the Romans 5:1 (2X) How is the kindness and love of God shed on us abundantly? The best way to see that is through an example from the Bible. That is why I had you turn to Romans 5, where we should read the first 5 verses:

Ro 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Ro 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Ro 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

Ro 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Ro 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Here you have it. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us". And what is the result of that love of God, which was shed abroad in our hearts? The result is that we trust God in what He is doing with us, because we trust that God in His wisdom will do what is best for us. This is FAITH. There are four points I want to bring out of this passage in Rom 5:1-5. First of all, we have peace with God through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ for us on the cross. Christ purchased that peace for us, and it was given to us at the time of our spiritual rebirth. Prior to our rebirth we were at war with God; we were enemies of God and we were under the wrath of God, even as others. But then came the day that God changed our soul, and we became good listeners to the Word of God, and God gave us faith. Secondly, through Christ's atoning work we have received the faith to believe that all our sins have been paid in full, and now we are one family in Christ with all the saints who ever lived. We experience the peace with God we have in Christ, and we have peace with the brethren. This is the grace wherein we stand, and we rejoice in it, and we look forward to the hope of spending an eternity in the presence of the glory of God. Thirdly, we believe that tribulations enter into our life as a necessary part of growing in grace, and the tribulations really cannot hurt us, because we are continually in God's hands. So how can we have a distrust of His actions in our life? God says it, and thus we believe that the tribulations God brings in our life are working in us to give us more patience, and more experience, and more hope for the future. This is why we are not cast down when one of our family members is hospitalized, or is on the operating table, or is ill in some other way. Fourthly, God does not put us to shame for having this hope and having this trust in God's wisdom. We know that through these tribulations the kindness and the love of God our Savior is shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. We know that, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts and gave us this FAITH and TRUST in His providence. The longer we go through this life, the more we experience that we can trust God in all He is doing. As time goes on we realize more and more how faithful God is in taking care of all our needs. This is the meaning of the statement in Titus 3:6, that "the kindness and love of God our Savior is shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior". All this was included in the purchase price that Christ paid for us on the cross. Praise the Lord for such a Savior.

We have come to that point in the sermon where it would be good to summarize what we have covered so far. #1. We have seen that the wisdom of God is on display in this world. God not only showed His wisdom in creation, but God also showed His wisdom in the affairs of mankind. Which means that God does not only create, but God also directs this universe on a course that He has carved out from all eternity. #2. We have seen that we must be "Born Again", or we must be "Born from Above", or else we cannot see the Kingdom of God on this earth, and we must go to Hell because we cannot enter the Kingdom of God in the life hereafter. But how can we make ourselves be "Born from Above"? We cannot do that, and yet it is a requirement. #3. We have seen that the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared after Christ's resurrection. He took our place on the cross, to pay for the guilt that was going to be charged to our souls. Our Metamorphosis is based on Christ's resurrection. His resurrection guaranteed that all His Elect would receive a resurrection in their soul in their lifetime. #4. We are His workmanship. Christ paid for all the rights to raise up our soul when and where and how at a certain point in our life. This is the kindness and love of God which He poured upon us in His providence. #5. Not by works of righteousness which we have done can we be saved. Only by His work of mercy on the cross can anyone be saved from going to Hell. All those for whom Christ did not pay for their sins do not want this salvation, and only those for whom Christ made atonement are the ones whom the Father will be drawing to the Lord Jesus. #6. Only according to His mercy He saved us. It means that His grace unto salvation is irresistable. #7. Only a remnant of mankind will be saved. Why? We do not know. We must leave that in the hands of an all wise and righteous God, believing that He shall do what is right. #8. The washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost refers to the Metamorphosis in our soul, the resurrection of our soul, the transformation in our soul, which is entirely a work of God. #9. The kindness and love of God is shed on us abundantly, as evidenced by the faith and trust that we have in what God is doing in our life. The result is that we have become:

#4. Heirs According to the Hope of Eternal Life (Tit 3:7, Rom 8:17-18)

Perhaps you remember that God said in Titus 3:7,

Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

What does it mean that we have been made heirs? It means that we have inherited something. It means that we are the beneficiaries of an inheritance because someone died. Who died? The Lord Jesus Christ died, and He left us a great inheritance, which is called "Eternal Life". All the heirs whose names have been written in the Lamb's Book of Life will receive this great inheritance. Since the Lord Jesus Christ did not only die, but He rose again from the grave, He too received a great inheritance. We are His inheritance, and we receive Him as our inheritance. Eternal Life is really life forever in Christ and with Christ as His Bride. Please turn to the Epistle to the Romans again, chapter 8:17 (2X). Our Eternal Life does not start in the life hereafter, but it starts already now on this earth. Here in Rom 8:17 God speaks about us being joint heirs with Christ, beginning here on earth,

Ro 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Ro 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Did you notice in verse 17, that God says: "if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together". In other words, one of the characteristics of being a follower of the Lord Jesus is that we shall also suffer together. We do not suffer with Christ, because Christ suffered once, and we cannot enter into His suffering. But as a group of believers, we shall suffer together. Suffering is part and parcel of our life as a Christian. Our suffering in this life helps us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Pet 3:18). But the sufferings in this life are not worthy to be compared with the glory in the life hereafter. That is why we read in John's Gospel:

Please turn to the Gospel according to John 1:16 (2X). In the first 18 verses we find a summary of the Gospel according to John. We read in verse 16,

Joh 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

Literally it says, "grace upon grace". It means gift upon gift! What gifts is God speaking about? Well, first it is the gift of eternal life here on earth, which is the blessing of knowing that we are headed for the second gift, which is eternal life with God in the NH&NE. And God does that with the poor and with the beggars and with the dummies of this earth. God says it so pointedly in 1Sam 2:8,

1Sa 2:8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them.

Yes, He made us "sons of God". And right now God gives us all the protection belonging to sons of God. We can trust that God in His wisdom shall do what is right.

AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.