This is my contribution to the ChristianWriters.com blog chain for September. Our theme for the month is “change”. Check out others on the respective days shown in the right hand column.
Several years ago when our Church was without a Pastor, I had the opportunity (by necessity) to do some lay-speaking. I entitled one message “The Bible as a Change Agent”. When thinking about this month’s theme, it came to mind, so here’s the blog-length gist of that message.
11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14 NKJV
The grace of God that brings salvation is alive in Jesus Christ, our Lord. That salvation is the first and most important change in a believer’s life. It occurs when a non-believer is born again by receiving the Holy Spirit and a saving faith in Jesus Christ, and is converted.
However, salvation isn’t the final change that should happen in us. In verse 12, we move into everyday life in “the present age”. First, it says we are taught. How are we taught? God has chosen the working of the Holy Spirit through His Word as the principle means we learn by.
What are we taught? The remainder of verse 12 describes the continual change that should be happening within us and in the way we live. It’s talking about the progressive changes that should be happening as we become more obedient to God’s Word, and, as we better understand what is required of us through God’s Word.
Verse 13 speaks of some of our motivation to want to change. We are to look to the return of our Lord and rejoice in the fact that we will be with Him in Heaven.
Verse 14 then speaks of Christ’s motivation and purpose for changing us. He is purifying us into His own special people (the KJV says “peculiar people”, which means different from the world around us). And, He desires that so much that He gave Himself for us.
As God’s children, we have been changed when we were reborn with the Holy Spirit. We were made new creations. And, as we move forward in our Christian walk, we are called to continue to change – as the verse in Titus says – to be purified and be a special/peculiar people. And, the Word of God, thru the working of the Holy Spirit, is the primary instrument that God uses in bringing about that change.
I’d like to challenge us that each time we come into the sanctuary our prayer would be like Paul’s on the road to Damascus – “Lord what would you have me to do?” and also “Lord what would you have me to learn?” – and pray that when we go back out the doors, we would walk out a changed person.
A challenge that every time we go into a Bible Study class that we would ask the same thing of God and desire to walk out of that class a changed person. A challenge that every time we open our Bible – we would ask the same thing of God and desire that when we close it, we would be a changed person.
But, let’s always focus on our reason for that – it’s not to be a “better” person, although that will result from this. Our motivation is that Jesus has given Himself for us – so that we are changed and can stand before God without condemnation, and with the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance, and God’s Holy Word we can continue to change in this present age, to become more like our Lord Jesus every day.
26 thoughts on “The Bible as a Change Agent”
An excellent post! This is exactly what the gospel does in us – changes us – and is exactly what we should b e doing every day – asking God to continue to mold us into His likeness (thereby continuing that change). I’m sure the sermon in its entirety was just as good.
Thanks Tracy – and I hope it was all good
Very nicely done. I love the challenge part. When I open my Bible in the morning, I simply say, “Speak, Lord! For your servant is listening.” Of course, some days I listen better than other days…
Thanks Carol – great way to start your study.
I loved the challenge you issued, too, about walking into the Sanctuary and asking God what He wants us to do and learn. I try to pray that every day. Sometimes He surprises me by turning my day upside-down, but I have to remember that I asked Him to be in control and guide my steps. Surely I can trust Him in that!
Glad you enjoyed it, Heather. And that is what we should be praying everyday, as you do.
Thank you for this encouraging post. I do want to “become more like our Lord Jesus every day.”
You’re welcome Stephanie – thank you for taking time to read my post.
Good word Bill
God’s Word transforms
Thanks Jack, and amen.
Very good message, Bill. One of my most constant and recurring prayers is that God will turn me into the woman He would have me be. Usually, I pray that when I’ve done or am feeling something (anger, impatience, frustration, etc.) that I know is short of His glory. Such incidents remind me that apart from Christ I can do nothing (John 15:5b) and I need the Holy Spirit working in and through me to renew my mind and transform me (Romans 12:2).
Thanks Traci – I’ve proven many times that I “can do nothing” without Christ.
Very good post, Bill. And something we should all continually strive for.
Thanks Deborah – I appreciate the comment and encouragement.
A great reminder that a changed life is not a static life – it should be moving forward.
Thanks Chris – I heard a Minister make a point once that you don’t stand still. You either move forward or move backward.
Great post Bill, sorry for my late reply:) This part spoke loud “12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” That is the challenge for the child of God. It is not easy to go against the world system, but I shout praises that we have everything in Christ to change the world! It’s not our strength – it’s Christ in us that prevails as we cling to the truth and focus on His love. Peace and Blessings
Thanks Terrie – It does always come back to Christ and His Power and Love!
I’m late with this comment, but I think, too, we should always seek change and growth. When you say we should aim to walk out of Sunday School or Bible Study a changed person, the thought comes to me that there’s another side to this: we need to be willing to share our “light” so the Spirit can help others to grow.
I find there’s a tendency to want to hear & learn from others’ experiences without being willing to offer our own to the discussion lest we come out looking like a failure in Christian life. Then if we’re all minded that way, we have a lot of takers and no givers.
Those who would more willingly share are soon holding back because they get the impression it’s NOT the thing to do. So we slide into talking about generalities. “A person should”…or “A Christian shouldn’t…” Maybe you folks don’t have that problem?
Thanks Christine – I agree that tendency can be present – I’m thankful our Bible Study class is blessed with a high percentage of folks who do speak up with specifics and examples in their lives. I think one reason is we’ve all been in the same class together for several years.
Wow, that’s so far my favorite message this month, very poignant and a beautiful verse Bill, thanks for sharing this!!
Thanks very much Chris – glad you enjoyed it
Oh, yes, to be changed by the Word! I’m sorry I’m so late. Trying to catch up. A great post, Bill. Thank you!
Thanks Lynn – glad you enjoyed it. No apology necessary, glad you were able to make it.