When we gather as we do today, and open God’s Word, we are asking Him to speak to us. Sometimes what we hear touches on a small part of our lives, other times what He says is huge. This morning, the topic we have arrived at to study is HUGE.
The only way to understand the gravity of what we are hearing from God's Word today is to go to where it will matter. Open with me to the end of the Bible, Revelation 4.
Through all the centuries the single greatest deterrent to sin and motivator to holiness has always been the thought of standing at last in Heaven. Revelation 4:6, 9-11 (NKJV):
6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
Point number one for your notes:
Crowns: What We Earn
From our Earthly Choices
Better write that down in your mind. Choices matter, God is going to test every moment we lived with fire. The crowns that are cast at Christ's feet come from a previous event, the assessment of our lives. With the scene of Heaven, God’s Throne, and the awesome opportunity to give back an offering of gratitude, look at the actual method God uses to sort out our lives captured in I Corinthians 3:10-15 (NKJV) as we stand to read God's Word :
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Every day we each choose what will someday go through that very fire we just read about. God says here to us this morning: Be careful what you do with your life lest all or most of it ends up being just worthless black soot and ashes. That what must have been on the mind of Paul as God moved him to write to a group of new believers in Crete.
The world of the New Testament was dominated by the Roman Empire. That era of history was a time when most people often lived short, and usually hard lives of physical labor, emotional stress, and poor health.
As we open to Titus 2:3, look at the third element of our study. Women of grace were already called by God to be:
• Reverent in their behavior by living as representatives of God; and
• Not slanderers by never surrendering their words to the Devil’s use by speaking gracefully in a graceless world.
Then comes the third of five, which is the middle of the list, where Paul relays God’s strong desire that each woman of grace be not given to much wine. This quality of the woman of grace’s life means she begins and maintains a life-long goal of disciplining here appetites. That is one of the crowns that God offers to us in Heaven.
As you read those words, remember that every believer who read, heard, and was taught these truths, lived in that difficult Roman world. In that period, as in all ages of mankind, people were deceived into believing the:
Myth of Drinking Your
Way to Happiness
In all that dark struggle of First Century life, the one bright spot for most was the warming glow that drinking wine would bring. After a few swallows, troubles seemed to drift away, cares began to evaporate, and all those aches and pains lessened until they too, almost vanished.
But as all the struggles of life were drifting away, minds got clouded, discipline was abandoned, and behavior became unrestrained. The downside of alcohol is the deadly effect of loosened inhibitions, abandoned discipline, lurking powers of addiction, and the inevitable surrender to the desires of the flesh.
God never desires for any person to drown their troubles in alcohol. God has always affirmed that wine is a mocker. The pleasures of sin are short, and sins committed always come back to bite and infect our lives with an even deeper woe.