EVERY DISCIPLE NEEDS!"
preached by David P. Nolte
TITUS 2:11-15 (NLT)
In his letter to Titus, Paul has given a pretty clear picture of what
it takes to be a disciple of Jesus
Christ. He mentions the need "to turn from godless living and sinful
pleasures." He says "We should
live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion
to God," and that we must be
"totally committed to doing what is right." God is looking for men and
women who are willing to
allow Him to build them into that kind of people. Jesus is looking for
the kind of men and women
who fit the model of real discipleship. To do that we need several
- EVERY DISCIPLE
NEEDS A HEART THAT IS PLIABLE:
- "The grace of God instructs us" Paul said. The RSV says it
"trains us" and the NIV
says it "teaches us." For anyone to be instructed, taught or trained, a
pliable heart is
mandatory. Otherwise we will be hard hearted, intractable, unteachable
- How important is the heart of man? And why do we need a pliable
our hearts are pliable, we won't learn, in short.
- Our heart is the center of our affection for God: "And you
must love the
LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your
- Our heart determines our conduct. Solomon said, "Above all
else, guard your
heart, for it affects everything you do." Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
- Our heart determines our speech. Jesus said, "For whatever is
in your heart
determines what you say. A good person produces good words from a good
heart, and an evil person produces evil words from an evil heart." Matthew
- Our heart can be hardened against God and His Word. "Don't
hearts against Him as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested
patience in the wilderness." Hebrews 3:8 (NLT).
- How do we keep our hearts soft, malleable and moldable in His
hands? How do we
get a pliable heart?
- Refuse to rebel against God. God said, "Put all your
rebellion behind you,
and get for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit." Ezekiel 18:31 (NLT).
- Ask God for a new heart. David prayed, "Create in me a clean
heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me." Psalms 51:10 (NLT).
- Shun any form of idolatry, "Now therefore, put away the
foreign gods which
are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of
Israel." Josh 24:23
- Keep aloof from the temporal traps of the world. Jesus said,
"Be careful, or
your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the
anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a
trap." Luke 21:34
- Be sure your honor of God is not just lip service. God said
of ancient Israel,
"This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away
from Me." Matthew
- Let me illustrate. Think about a horse pulling a heavy load of
logs. The owner gives
verbal commands and pulls on the reins to give directions. The horse
backs up, turns
left, turns right, stops or walks, at the owner's command. That horse
strength to that of his owner. The horse is pliable, teachable,
manageable. That's the
kind of heart every disciple needs: one that is pliable, teachable,
- EVERY DISCIPLE
COMMITMENT THAT IS RELIABLE:
- "Totally committed to doing what is right." Not half committed.
Not just a little
committed. Not committed when it is convenient. But a commitment that
is reliable. A commitment upon which God and His church can rely.
- Think about it:
- What if you needed a fireman and when you called, you were
told he couldn't
come right then because he was in the middle of a poker game? That's
- What if you needed a policeman and he didn't come because he
eating doughnuts? That's unreliable.
- What if you needed a surgeon and had to wait because he
decided not to keep
to the schedule? That's unreliable.
- What if you had an employee who decided not to show up for
it is such a pretty day? That's unreliable.
- God desires disciples upon whom He can count. Upon whom can He
whom can He count?
- Those who prove to be trustworthy stewards who take their
seriously. Paul wrote, "it is required of stewards that one be found
Corinthians 4:2b (NASB). Can God trust you to wisely
manage what He has entrusted to you?
- Those who have been faithful in their duties. Jesus said,
"Well done, good
and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will
in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" Matthew 25:23 (NIV).
Does God find you faithful in discharging your
- Those who make a commitment to Him and keep it. "So when you
promise to God, don't delay in following through, for God takes no
in fools. Keep all the promises you make to Him. It is better to say
than to promise something that you don't follow through on." Ecclesiastes
Have you done your utmost to do what you told God you'd
- The Great Wall of China is an incredible structure that cost an
immense amount of
money and labor. When it was finished, it appeared impregnable. But
three times the
enemy breached it - not by breaking it down or going around it. Not by
or under it. They did it by bribing the gatekeepers. The human factor
weakness. What collapsed was character which could be bought and
faithfulness set aside for profit. What was lacking was commitment to
be reliable in
doing one's duty.
- EVERY DISCIPLE
NEEDS A GODLINESS THAT IS UNDENIABLE:
- "Turn from godless living and sinful pleasure. Live in this
evil world with self-control
right conduct and a devotion to God." And that needs to be evident to
all who see
- Peter wrote, "Be careful how you live among your unbelieving
neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your
behavior, and they will believe and give honor to God when He comes to
judge the world." 1 Peter
- Paul wrote, "throw off your old evil nature and your former
way of life, which
is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead,
be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display
nature because you are a new person, created in God's
likeness -- righteous,
holy, and true. Ephesians
- And, "In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely
in all they do. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing
good deeds of every
kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of
teaching. Let your teaching be so correct that it can't be criticized.
who want to argue will be ashamed because they won't have anything bad
say about us." Titus
- There are many things that are obvious and undeniable:
- Garlic on your breath, for one thing.
- A severe, glowing, bright red sunburn for another thing.
- And a huge gob of spinach between your front teeth.
- Would that our Godliness be that apparent.
- Many times you can tell something about a person by what you
- If they jump up and down, shouting "Yes!" when their team
scores, you can
tell they are an avid fan.
- If they always cry at sad movies you can tell they are
emotional and sort of
- If they blow their top over the least provocation, you can
tell they are short
- Our actions, speech and attitudes ought to let people know we
- The story is told about 3 prospectors who found a rich vein of
gold in California
during the gold rush days. They realized what a great discovery they
had. One of the
men said, "We've a really good thing going here as long as no one else
finds out about
it." So they each took a vow to keep it secret. Then they headed for
town to file
their claims and get the equipment necessary to mine the gold. True to
they didn't say a word to anybody. They filed their claim, bought the
headed back to their mine. But when they did, a crowd of people
followed them. And the reason was that the expression on their faces
had given them away. Their
faces glowed in anticipation of the wealth that soon would be theirs.
People knew that
they must have found something very special. So a crowd followed them
out of town.
If our discipleship is real, our Godliness will be that obvious and
undeniable. It will cause others to
want to follow, to find the same thing we have found. May our Godliness
be attractive and winsome. May we reflect a pliable heart, a reliable
commitment and an undeniable Godliness. Then and only
then are we the kind of disciples who do the Lord's work to His
pleasure. This is a moment of
decision and dedication. This is a moment when you can get real with
Jesus and get serious about
serving Him. This is a moment when you can be fully and totally
committed to be His disciple. Make
that commitment as we sing our song: "Cry of my heart," / "All For
Wall of China / Miners from
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