GOS-17: The Miracle of Salvation - From Unhinabitable to Inhabited by God

Titus 3 this morning is God wonderful good news to all of us. God wants to abundantly pour out His mercy and saving grace upon anyone who will come to Christ. Please open there with me.

As a new pastor fresh out of seminary and starting into my very first pastorate, life sure was full of surprises 20 years ago. I was sitting behind the desk of a historic congregation, as the 25th man to lead that 175-year-old church. As I sat, studied and prayed for God to show me how to reach New England with the Gospel, I never knew how powerfully and directly He would answer my prayer.

All around that church was a huge and needy mission field. Within a 100 mile radius of the church, was one of the largest occultic/witchcraft/Wiccan/Satanist concentrations of the US; and the second largest and fastest growing homosexual community; and the most permissive state morally where girls were allowed to go into prostitution at age 16 (and still are); and the most un-churched yet religious state, with the highest per capita Roman Catholic population in all of America.

So with that huge mission field all around me, I would daily cry out "Lord, help me know how to reach this area with Christ's Gospel. Show me your way Oh Lord."

God Loves The World

In the same week that I began to intercede for New England's lost masses, I was sitting in my study when the door burst open, and in crashed the answer to my prayer. Douglas was his name, and God had sent him to show me Titus 3, and the power of the Gospel.

Hardened by years lived in the darkness, he was guilty, searching, and haunted by countless sins.

The sight of this man, followed after by my 75 year old secretary will always be etched in my mind. A 90 pound senior citizen trying to stop a 240 pound, ex-military, Black Belt from "interrupting" the pastor-while the Holy Spirit was driving him into my study, so he could hear the Gospel of Christ's redeeming and regenerating grace.

The short story is that this man who mastered the martial arts and used his skill to get rid of all competition for the women in the bars and clubs, was now deeply longing to surrender to the Lord.

He had walked for months around town and had crossed the church parking lot in his unusual outfit, week after week on Sunday mornings. He had seen the smiling saints, heard the cheerful and friendly hellos, and most of all, felt the love of God through the lives of those believers.

Douglas came to ask me, the "Father" as he called me (thinking we were some unusual form of a Catholic Church), how he could "have" what all those saints he saw on Sunday's "had". In other words, he had fallen under deep conviction by the Holy Spirit of his sin, and wanted to know how to repent and believe the Gospel.

With wonder at the Lord's amazing provision, I opened God's Word and for over a half an hour, read him verses to answer his torrent of questions. It wasn't long after his last question that he knelt on the floor by my desk and said, "This is what I want, this is what I have searched for, please pray for me."

God saved Douglas that morning, and not too many weeks later I stood at his side as he shared his salvation testimony through the waters of baptism. Our text this morning is what he read. Titus 3:1-7:

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Pray

God has made provision for us to be born again, and regenerated through the new birth-in order to give us His life living within.

But why would we, the greatest and highest and most wonderful of all earth's creatures-why would we need regeneration? Because a disaster that has stricken each of us, has rendered us uninhabitable by God.

WE ARE UNINHABITABLE

At 10:13 AM on April 26, 1986 in a Russian city called Chernobyl, the world witnessed the greatest known industrial accident.

The V.I. Lenin Memorial Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station Reactor 4 exploded and released over the next 9 days of intense fires-as much as 100 times more total radiation than was produced in both atomic bombs dropped on Japan in World War II.

Hundreds of thousands of Russians were evacuated; and an area of 500 square miles was rendered completely uninhabitable. Even to this day humans cannot live in close proximity to the encased reactor because of the radiation levels. Let me repeat that phrase ‘rendered completely uninhabitable' ...

The key element of that disaster was the rendering of an area completely uninhabitable; no humans could live anywhere around that open source of deadly radiation. The solution was the immediate and prolonged massive airlift of materials to try to confine the deadly radiation.

A mountain of material was dropped by helicopter, which totaled almost 10,000 tons of clay, lead, and dolomite onto the reactor; and later the building of a concrete tomb over the site. But all that did was to try to keep the deadly radiation inside an area that would be forever closed to human life.

You and I are by nature from birth uninhabitable to God.

We were born with a heart that was emitting a deadly radiant far worse than the gamma rays of that exploded reactor 4; we were producers of the element most hated by God in the Universe, which is called sin.

The presence of sin within each of us made us completely uninhabitable to God.

He could never live within us because He is holy and we are sinful.

Regeneration is when God comes down to the site of the worst disaster in the Universe-us sinners, and completely removes the deadly, toxic elements at the core of our being.

OUR REGENERATION IS MIRACULOUS

Regeneration is a: "supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-8Titus 3:5). Regeneration occurs when God sovereignly acknowledges a person's belief of the gospel.

Regeneration is the most dramatic change in a new believer; when we are "born again" we enter the family of God. (Re- means "again," and generation means "birth.")" [1]

Some argue that since a man dead in trespasses and sins cannot believe, God must first regenerate him in order that he may then believe.

But, if that were true, that is, if he already had been regenerated and thus been given the gift of eternal life, then why would he need to believe?

The two must be simultaneous[2].

The Gift of Salvation is about Jesus who died to take us who are dead in our sins, bring us to life; and welcome us as family members, full of endless life and brand new-that's regeneration!

Have you experienced the power of an endless life, do you every day partake of the powerful presence of the very Lord God Almighty within you?

What God Has Done in Us

The truth of what God has done when He saved us is the cause for our celebration of communion this morning:

  • John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. NKJV

Because Jesus regenerated me-I have abundant life.  Say that aloud with me

  • 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"

Because Jesus regenerated me-I am a Temple of God. Say that aloud with me

Because Jesus regenerated me-I am a member of Christ's Body. Say that aloud with me

  • 2 Corinthians 1:21 "Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God".

Because Jesus regenerated me-I am anointed and sealed by God. Say that aloud with me

  • Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, NKJV

Because Jesus regenerated me-I am truly alive.  Say that aloud with me

  • Ephesians 2:10 "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them".

You have heard of a piece of art being an original "masterpiece" or actually painted or made by a master like Michelangelo or Da Vinci. Well-we who believe are God's Word masterpieces; we are even signed by the Author Himself, through His Spirit within!

Because Jesus regenerated me-I am a Masterpiece. Say that aloud with me

  • Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love".

Because Jesus regenerated me-I am a Citizens of Heaven. Say that aloud with me

  • Colossians 2:10 "...and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power".

Because Jesus regenerated me-I am complete in Christ. Say that aloud with me

  • Titus 3:5 "...not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit."

Because Jesus regenerated me-I am washed, and given a new beginning. Say that aloud with me

  • Hebrews 7:16b ...but according to the power of an endless life. NKJV;

Because Jesus regenerated me-I can live an endless life. Say that aloud with me

  • 1 John 5:18 "We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him".

Because Jesus regenerated me-I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me. Say that aloud with me

START A NEW SPIRITUAL EXERCISE

If you have never tried this I'd encourage you to start a new dimension of your spiritual life by starting one of the more wonderful spiritual exercises you can ever do.

As you begin each day, one of our greatest privileges is to open and enjoy the gift of salvation God has given to us. By faith we please God when we believe what He's said about us.  

Satan is the Accuser and wants us to only remember all the many times we have fallen; Satan delights in the days, weeks, or months he can keep us condemning ourselves for what we've done.

That is his plan, so don't fall for it. Resist Satan as you believe the truth; speak the truth; and preach the Gospel to yourself.

And whenever we fall down, God says to just turn back to Him and repent, confessing our sin immediately-and believe that what God has promised in His salvation.

We are forgiven, justified, regenerated, reconciled, adopted, redeemed, and sanctified. That makes us precious in His sight, special in His plan.

One of the most powerful habits you could grow, is to personally study this list of the ramifications of having received salvation-the only gift everyone really needs; and rejoice by faith in your great salvation!

Keep this list in your Bible, at home, on your computer, put one on your mirror where you start your day, and in your car. Where ever you need to keep reminding yourself of what great things God has promised and done through Christ's death for us!

Slowly as you understand and lay hold on these truths a life-changing transformation take place in our minds, and then in our emotions, and finally throughout our entire life as we live each day based on God's eternal truth.

So today, when we hold the pictures of Christ's Body and Blood, we are affirming, and testifying that because Jesus regenerated me:

  • I have abundant life.
  • I am a Temple of God.
  • I am a member of Christ's Body
  • I am anointed and sealed by God.
  • I am truly alive
  • I am a Masterpiece.
  • I am a Citizens of Heaven.
  • I am complete in Christ
  • I am washed, and given a new beginning.
  • I can live an endless life
  • I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

[1]  John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.

[2]  Ryrie, Charles C., A Survey of Bible Doctrine, (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press) 1972.