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"What Marks You?" 4/18/23

Dear Church, Are we known as people changed by the grace of God? Do your neighbors notice any difference in your lives? When Paul wrote to Titus about the grace of God, he explained that the grace of God appeared "bringing salvation for all people and training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. " (Titus 2:11-14). The message that the apostle Paul gave to Titus to proclaim to the churches in Crete was that God's Grace has come. His grace has come in the person of Jesus Christ, whose glory is 'glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth' (John 1:14) and His grace is accomplishing two purposes. The grace of God is ... 1. Bringing salvation for all peoples, people "of every nation, and tribe and people and tongue" (Revelation 7:9). 2. Training God's people to turn from ungodliness and to live a godly life while we wait for our great God and Savior Jesus Christ to return. This is what grace is all about, God taking the ungodly and making them holy. Jesus gave himself "to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." (Titus 2:14) He came to deliver us from all our rebellious ways and make us holy, a people who belong to him, a people who love to do what GOD calls good. God's people love what is righteous and hate what is evil. They are marked by purity. They don't ignore injustice. They don't cover up or continue in sin. A good recent example of growing in holiness is the following from a recent article by Rosaria Butterfield. She writes "I have publicly sinned on the issue of transgender pronouns, which I have carelessly used in books and articles. I have publicly sinned by advocating for the use of transgender pronouns in interviews and public Q & A's." You can read the article here: https://www.reformation21.org/blog/why-i-no-longer-use-transgender-pronouns-and-why-you-shouldnt-either Rosaria is acknowledging here that by using and promoting people's preferred pronouns, she has publicly sinned. She goes on to explain why this is such a big deal, when so many 'Christians' are saying that it isn't. That takes guts. That is the grace of God in her life. What about you? How does your life reflect a love for what is righteous and a renouncing of sin? When have you stood for what is right and stood against what is evil? There is another mark of God's purifying grace. Listen to these words, "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:14-18 ESV The love of God, the grace that saves, is evident in this that we love one another in visible tangible ways. The marks of God's grace at work in a person's life are purity and love. Is this what marks you? May God's grace be with you and purify you more and more. In Christ's Service, Matt P.S. I am not aware of any announcements for this week.

Matthew Deneault Pastor at Christ Community Fellowship "Making Christ known in our Community"

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