Be A Christian in a Non-Christian World Part 01
Being a Christian is a full-time job. All of us here who believe in Christ are constantly employed in this full-time job of living as Christians in a non-Christian World. Being a Christian affects us constantly in the way we live, from day to day, at home, or at work, or even at play. It demands constant attention, diligent effort and mental and spiritual energy. It is something we have to keep working on (Philippians 2:12, 13). It will not come about by itself. But it is gainful work, because it yields important results. It is this kind of consistent, daily Christian living that exerts a great influence on those around us: our family, our friends and colleagues. The influence that we have on others, can make a really important permanent impact on them. Being Christians means living lives that will consistently display God’s work and power in our lives. It means consciously making a good impression on those around us, by our godly influence, so that they, too, will want to know and follow Christ.
Now, if we say that we are Christians, and yet live our lives in an ungodly way, influencing those around us to think negatively about our Saviour then there might be something terribly wrong about our claim to be Christ’s followers. There are many people today who claim to be Christians, but their lives obviously contradict this claim. This is a real problem — a problem that is growing in many churches today.
But it was also a problem in the time of the Apostle Paul. He had to deal with it when he wrote the letter to Titus, his close friend and disciple, whom he had put in charge of a new, growing church on the Island of Crete, which is off the southern tip of Greece. In Paul’s epistle to Titus, the apostle refers to a group of people who were part of the church. He says,
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” (Titus 1:16).
This verse states the main reason for all that Paul is going to talk about in the next chapter. There were people in the church at Crete who were professing to know the Lord and to be loyal to Him, but they were living lives that were not a godly influence on others at all. In fact they were influencing others to ungodliness! In chapter two, therefore, Paul in answer to this, describes the kind of qualities that will be found in a person who truly knows God. These are qualities that will be found in all, regardless of how old a person is, whether man or woman, no matter what sort of personality he or she has, and no matter what rank in life, as long as they truly belong to Christ. You will notice in this chapter that Paul mentions each category of persons: aged men (v.2), aged women (v.3), young women (v.4), young men (v.6), and servants (v.9). And if you will look carefully, you will observe that the qualities described for each of them are not entirely different.
For instance, Paul mentions the quality of sober-mindedness. This means thinking sensibly and seriously, and not wildly and irrationally. This quality is mentioned with regard to aged men (v.2), young women (v.4), young men (v.6). The quality of love is described with reference to young women (v.4), and it is called charity with regard to aged men (v.2). The quality of obedience is also to be found in young women (v.5) and in servants (v.9). Besides these, Paul mentions other specific related qualities for the various age groups, like self-control, patience, holiness, gravity, sincerity, wholesome conversation, fidelity and honesty.
Finally he summarizes all these things in verses 11 and 12. The subject of these two verses is now “all men” — and in this context it does not mean the whole populated world (and therefore it is not teaching a universal salvation) but it means all the different kinds of people that can be found in a church, men and women, old and young, servants and masters. And this would include every one of us who is saved in Christ. No matter who or what we are, these things mentioned here must be found in our lives. No one is exempted from exhibiting these Christian qualities.
They are for every Christian. Our lives should always deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (v.12). Our lives should also be lived soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. The qualities mentioned in this verse summarise all the rest of the qualities that were mentioned from verses 1 to 11. The next six messages will give us more details on how we may deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world. What we will do first is to establish some good reasons that are strong enough to compel us to live out in our lives daily all that we have learnt from God’s Word. If we can only grasp fully in our hearts why we should be making every effort to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live righteously, soberly and godly in this world, I believe every one of us will take these words of instruction seriously and then commit ourselves to change accordingly.
So to begin, I would like to focus the attention only on the reasons we should all strive to be effective as Christians in a non- Christian world. There are two compelling reasons given by the apostle Paul in this passage of Scripture: (1) Because this is the least that we can do for the Lord after all that He has done for us, and (2) Because this is the means by which we become identified as God’s people.