Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Weight of Your Words in Worried Times

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth asks, “Do your friends on social media see you glorifying God through what you post online?”

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: They see us on the blogosphere posting the same kinds of comments as those who are living for this present age! Ranting, blaring, being uncivil. They see Christians, so-called, acting just like the rest of the world.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Holiness, for August 3, 2018. Nancy is continuing in a series called "Living for the Age to Come."

Nancy: If you’re where you can open your Bible, let me encourage you to do that, or scroll to it on your phone. (If you’re driving, you may not want to be scrolling on your phone while you’re doing that), but if you can I want to encourage you today to follow along. We’re going to be opening to the book of Titus—a little book toward the end of the New Testament.

Over the last couple of days, we’ve been talking about three time stamps that we find in the book of Titus. We’ve seen that it talks about that season in eternity past before the ages began; and then it talks about this present age, the age in which we’re living; and then it talks about the age to come—the time before the ages began, this present age, and then the age to come.

Yesterday I read a quote from Randy Alcorn, who’s a friend and an author. He talks about the line that connects eternity past and eternity future, and then the dot that is this present moment. He says our present life, this dot on the line, begins and it ends. It’s brief.

But then, he said, from the dot there’s a line that extends on forever. That line is eternity, which Christians will spend in Heaven. He said right now we’re living in the dot, but what are we living for? The short-sighted person lives for the dot—this present age—but the person with perspective lives for the line—the age to come.

So before the ages began, God set in motion a plan, a redemptive plan to send His grace and His salvation into this fallen world. And think about the fact that He designed that plan even before the Fall. Before there was a need for it, God made provision for sinful man to be redeemed.

So we’re living now in this present age, on the dot. The question we are asking ourselves in this short series is: “Are we living for this present age, or are we living for the age to come?” Are we living for the “dot,” or are we living for the “line”?

To help us flesh out what that looks like, I want to read the first ten verses of Titus chapter 2. Paul says to Pastor Titus, who’s shepherding this church in an environment (as we talked about yesterday) that is trivial, it’s evil, and it’s hostile. That’s this current age!

So he’s saying to Pastor Titus here, “What are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to live in this trivial, evil, hostile world in which we find ourselves? What are we to do as we live in this dot, in this present age, but we want to live for the age to come?”

Now, the part I’m not reading is in chapter 1 where Paul talks about the need for qualified spiritual leaders for the churches—and that chapter is very important! But I’m going to skip over it, not because it doesn’t matter but because of our limited time here. I want to focus for a few moments on this passage in chapter 2 of Titus, beginning in verse 1.

Paul says, “But as for you . . ." Who is “you”? “You” is Titus.  As for you Titus. You’re living as a pastor, as a Christian in this out-of-control, imploding world. "As for you [what are you supposed to do?], teach what accords with sound doctrine.” 

Wow! Just, wow! Who would have thought of this strategy? When you’re living in a crazy world, out-of-control, who would come up with a plan like this? “Teach what accords with sound doctrine.” I’ve just got to say, I think to modern ears that doesn’t sound very inspiring, it doesn’t sound very impacting.

“That’s your solution, Paul? ‘Teach what accords with sound doctrine’?”

And Paul goes, “Yes! Teach what accords with sound doctrine.”

You know, sometimes when I look around (and I’m sure you have the same experience) and I see what’s going on in this present age, when I look at women’s issues, gender-fluidity issues, blatant disregard of biblical moral standards, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to feel like we are dinosaurs—that our message is irrelevant.

I have to counsel my heart repeatedly and remind myself that God’s solution for times such as these is that His people stay the course and teach what accords with sound doctrine. That’s what we’re trying to do, day after day, in the ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

Now, you might be thinking, What difference can that possibly make? Well, Paul says the implications of sound doctrine are monumental because people act out of what they believe. The reason people act the way they do in our world is because they believe things that are contrary to sound doctrine.

So if we want to see this world redeemed by the grace of God, we need to learn to teach and live out, model, sound doctrine. The Greek word that’s translated “sound doctrine” is a word from which we get our word “hygiene.” This is doctrine that is clean, it’s healthy, it’s sound. It’s good for you. It’s sound doctrine.

Then Paul talks about how this sound doctrine, this teaching of sound doctrine, fleshes out in every demographic of the local church. What does it look like to live in this present age while living for the age to come? This application he makes over these next verses is recalibrating; it’s bracing; it’s powerful!

At first glance, it may not seem all that exciting, but when you see this lived out and working, it is amazing! So Paul says in verse 2, the first demographic,

Older men [they’re] to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

What we’re going to see in this passage is the polar opposite of all those phrases we looked at yesterday describing the people who live for this present age: trivial, evil, hostile. What Paul is describing here is a whole different kind of people—people who are living not for this present age but for the age to come. Paul says, “This is what they look like.”

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers [not] slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind . . . submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled (v. 3).

Those three verses I just read, some of you are aware that I walked through those three verses in much greater detail than we will today in a book I’ve written called Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.

If you’re not familiar with that, I hope you’ll get a copy, find an older or younger woman to work through it with you, and soak in that passage. It’s really, really worth doing! But let me move on here, in verse 6 of Titus chapter 2. 

Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us (vv. 6–8).

In verse 9 he talks to bondservants. The bondservants were the lowest rung on the socio-economic ladder of that day. There were millions and millions of them throughout the Roman Empire. And Paul says they are to be ones who also live out the beauty of the gospel, they are to be ones that live according to sound doctrine. What does that look like?

“[They] are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith . . .” Now let me just pause, parenthesis here, Paul is not endorsing slavery, but he’s talking about believers of every socio-economic strata, every gender, every age group living in this present age for an age to come in a way that will ultimately undo the evil, the wrongs, the triviality, the hostility of life in this present age. This is powerful! It can upset and recalibrate entire socio-economic systems. Injustices, wrongs, and evils can be addressed as God’s people live like God’s people, living for the age to come in this present age.

And why are we to live this way? Verse 10: “. . . so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” So those living for the age to come—he’s just described this—they’re not trivial. They have eternal values. They live for things that matter. They don’t seek to accumulate treasure here, but to lay up treasure in Heaven.

They don’t live evil lives, but they live holy, upright, good, self-controlled lives. They’re not hostile. In fact, just the opposite: they love their mate, they love their children, they love God’s people. Paul is saying that there ought to be a huge visible noticeable difference between those who are children of this present age and those who live in this present age but are living for the age to come.

The nineteenth-century German philosopher Heinrich Heine said: “Show me your redeemed life, and I might be inclined to believe in your Redeemer.” Show me . . . don’t just tell me about it. Show me!

What does it mean to show our redeemed life? It means to demonstrate that we are no longer living for this present age. We are living for the age to come. I’ve got to ask this: Why aren’t people lining up at the doors of our churches and our homes, which should be embassies for the Kingdom of Heaven in this “foreign turf”?

Why aren’t they lining up saying, “Show me! Tell me! How can I know your Redeemer?” Of course, there’s spiritual warfare here. The god of this age has blinded the eyes of those who refuse to believe, but I think it’s also because too often they don’t see evidence in us of a redeemed life.

They look at us, and it looks like we’re living like everybody else who’s living for this present age. We’re trivial, evil, hostile! They don’t see in us an eternal perspective that changes the way we live. They don’t see righteousness, holiness, upright godly lives—uncompromisingly holy.

They don’t see genuine love. They see us on the blogosphere posting the same kinds of comments as those who are living for this present age—acting like politics is our god, acting like we are our own god. They see us ranting, blaring, being uncivil. They see Christians, so-called, acting just like the rest of the world. But what if they were to see us living in the way Paul describes in Titus chapter 2? What he goes on to describe in chapter 3?

If you’re in Titus, turn to chapter 3, verse 1, where Paul continues in this theme of what it looks like to live for the age to come. He says,

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one [This verse would be a great guideline for anything we post on social media!], to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people (vv. 1–2).

Even people whose worldview is the polar opposite of yours! Even people who act in hateful ways, for us to be gentle, not quarrelsome, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people!

You think that wouldn’t make an impact? For us to live this way in everyday life, face to face, in our social media lives, in our workplaces? He goes on to say in verse 3 that “we ourselves” used to live in that trivial, evil, hostile way that characterizes people who are living for this present age. But in verses 4–5 he says all that changed . . . when?

When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy . . . so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life [the age to come]. . . . I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works (vv. 4–8).

This is how we live in this present age. We're not just hanging on and huddling up in our little Christian fortresses, clinging to each other until the Rapture, but getting out there and doing good works because of the good work of God’s grace in us.

“These things are excellent and profitable for people” (v. 8). Show me your redeemed life—excellent, profitable—and I might be inclined to believe in your Redeemer. So, once again, what difference does it make to live for the age to come, rather than this present age, to live, as Randy Alcorn says, not for the “dot,” but for the “line”?

Well, lots we could say here, but let me just make a few observations about what that means for us. I think, number one, it gives us freedom from fear. We don’t have to live in dread of who does what—who gets elected President, who is in the White House, who’s in Congress, who’s in Hollywood, who’s in the news, what this celebrity is doing, religious liberties eroding. These are things of concern and matters for prayer, but they are not matters for fear. Living for the line rather than the dot gives us freedom from fear.

It gives us courage to live as God’s people, swimming upstream, in this present age. It gives us courage to take stands that may be unpopular or difficult, because whatever happens to us in this present age really doesn’t matter. Because we’re not living for this present age, we are living for the age to come.

Living for the line rather than the dot affects how we spend our money. We ask ourselves, What will this be worth? Will it be worth anything a hundred years from now? Or ten years from now? Or ten weeks from now, for that matter? We look ahead; we don’t live for the moment.

We don’t just gratify our fleshly impulses and spend what we want and get what we want. We think, What will this be worth a hundred years from now? A lot of us get emails . . . My husband and I were talking about this the other day. We get letters and emails from people raising money for mission trips.

I’m not saying that every one of those is something that each one of us should support, but shouldn’t we be glad when people are giving weeks or months or years of their lives to go and serve the Lord in various parts of the world?

Isn’t it a privilege to give to the Lord’s work? Not, “I have to give” but, “I get to give!” That thing I think I need, that new kitchen gadget, or fifty bucks to help this kid go and serve the Lord in an inner city or in another country? It affects the way we spend our money.

It affects the way we spend our time. We ask ourselves, Will this matter a thousand years from now? You say, “Now, when you think that way, you would never do anything fun. You’d never relax, you’d never have recreation, you’d never go to the gym, because, certainly, that’s not going to matter a thousand years from now.”

You know what? If you are walking with Christ, following His Spirit, serving Him, worshiping Him, anything you do will matter a thousand years from now because you’re honoring Christ, you’re exalting Him, you’re lifting Him up—whether you’re at the gym or at the workplace or sitting in a church service.

But ask yourself, “Is this something that matters? Does it have eternal value?” If you’re saying “yes” to the Lord, then yes, it matters!

Living for the line rather than the dot, for the age to come rather than this present age, protects us from sin. We stop and think, Okay, I can gratify my fleshly impulses right now, in this moment, but when I see Jesus, is this something I will have been glad to have done? Is this something that’s going to help me be more like Jesus? Is this something that’s going to increase my appetite for Him? Is this something that’s going to enhance my witness and my testimony for Christ? It will protect us from sinning even when the temptation is really strong!

When we live for the line rather than the dot, for the age to come rather than this present age, it will give us compassion for the souls of people who are not yet ready to face Christ. They’re not prepared for the age to come. 

It will help us to care about our neighbors and the people in our workplaces and our family members and friends who don’t know Jesus. They’re living for this present age—it’s all they have—and in a moment it’s going to all be gone! And what will they have?

Did we ever tell them, did we ever love them, did we befriend them, did we greet them, did we welcome them into our home? Did we take time to listen to their story, to hear their heartbeat, to feel their pain? Did we care with the love of Christ? Did we share the gospel? It motivates us to devote ourselves to good works, as we read in Titus chapter 3.

And when we live for the line rather than the dot, it gives us freedom from despair, because we are people of hope. We realize that every disappointment in this present age is temporary. It will be done away with in the age to come.

Now, I’ll be the first to say that sometimes it can get really weary swimming upstream, living for the age to come in this present age. And sometimes, truth be told, I wonder, Is it worth it? I mean, I know it is, but . . . Don’t you just sometimes, at an emotional level wonder, Is it really worth pressing against the temptation, against your flesh, against the mold that this culture would press us into?

I received a late-night text a week or so ago from a really sweet friend who’s involved in a really hard kind of ministry. She’s been a sweet encourager and prayer warrior in my life. She said (I didn’t see it until the next morning),

Don’t know if you’re burning the midnight oil or counting sheep, but I just wanted to tell you "thank you."

I know God would have used anybody to engage Himself into my life, but He chose you. Your love and passion for truth and for Jesus have spilled over into my life—and so many others—because you have said "yes" and sought to honor and glorify Him.

I’ve watched as you’ve walked with Him in different seasons of your life. Your life creates a thirst in me to know Him more. I know you get weary, depleted at times, but don’t lose heart! And take comfort in His ability to always complete the work.

Love you friend . . . am praying for you tonight!

She didn’t know how much I needed those sweet words! And maybe you need those words today. It’s hard sometimes, but it will be worth it all when we see Jesus. So if you’re tired, you’re weary, discouraged maybe, remember we live not for the dot but for the line, not for this present age but for the age to come! 

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminding you of the value of doing everything in light of eternity. When we hear a message like this, suddenly everything changes! The mundane tasks we face take on new meaning. Each interaction is an opportunity to invest in eternity; each moment is a chance to glorify God. Hearing God’s Word will have a huge effect on the way you walk through your day and engage in everything you do. 

We’re so grateful that we can present God’s Word on Revive Our Hearts. It’s possible because listeners like you support the program financially.

Today when you make a donation of every amount, we’d like to show our appreciation by sending you the Bible study workbook True Woman 201. In this ten-week study you’ll explore themes from Titus 2 and discover the beauty of God’s plan for manhood and womanhood.

Nancy and her friend, Mary Kassian, wrote this book with women like you in mind. They want to help you find fulfillment and joy in being exactly who God designed you to be. Ask for True Woman 201 when you call with your gift of any amount. The number to call is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com to make your donation and request a copy.

Are you ever tempted to fear when you open the Old Testament and hear about God’s wrath? Nancy says you don’t have to fear, and she’ll show you why. That’s coming next week. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you live for eternity. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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