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Godly Zeal And Ungodly Extremism

Titus 2:11-15, 3:8-11
(RA-2227, Programs: 1618 & 1718, Air dates: 04.22.18 & 04.29.18)

  1. INTRODUCTION
    1. The Apostle Paul told Titus to be zealous of good works.
      1. This word “zealous” has the idea of being on fire.
      2. Titus 2:11-15
      3. Godly zeal displays the grace of God.
    2. Almighty God wants us to be on fire for Him.
      1. Revelation 3:15-16
    3. But there is a misguided zeal, known as fanaticism or ungodly extremism, that is ugly.
      1. Extremism distorts the grace of God.
  2. GODLY ZEAL THAT DISPLAYS THE GRACE OF GOD  (Titus 2:14)
    1. What should we be zealous about?
      1. Worship
        1. John 2:17
          1. Jesus was moved to anger when the house of God was taken over by carnality.
        2. Revelation 2:4
          1. The Lord did not rebuke the church at Ephesus because they didn’t love Him; He rebuked them for not loving Him with that first love.
          2. This is that honeymoon love.
        3. Half-hearted worship is an insult to Almighty God.
          1. If He is worth anything, He is worth everything.
      2. Truth
        1. Titus 2:11, 15
        2. We are to be zealous about the Word of God.
          1. Titus 2:11 talks about the grace of God.
            1. Without grace, we have no Christianity.
          2. Titus 2:13 talks about the deity of Christ.
            1. Jesus is God.
          3. Titus 2:13 also talks about the second coming of Jesus Christ.
            1. The only hope for the world is the second coming of Jesus.
          4. Titus 2:14 talks about redemption.
          5. We should never let go of these truths.
        3. It is better to be divided by truth than be united in error.
        4. Matthew 10:34
          1. The most divisive force on Earth is Jesus Christ.
      3. Holiness
        1. Titus 2:12, 14
          1. This passage does not say that we are an “odd” people, but a “peculiar” people.
          2. When we walk in holiness, we will be different from the world.
      4. Service
        1. Titus 2:14
        2. We should be zealous about serving the Lord.
        3. When we have zeal, when we love Jesus as we ought, many problems around us will be solved.
          1. The attendance problem
            1. We will desire to attend church.
            2. When we love God, we love what God loves.
            3. Matthew 18:20
          2. The giving problem
            1. When we love, we want to give.
            2. We can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.
          3. The service problem
            1. When we are zealous for God, we want to serve Him.
            2. We may serve Him by working in the nursery at church, by singing in the choir, etc.
          4. The evangelism problem
            1. John 21:16-17
          5. The disagreement problem
            1. If we love God, we will love one another.
    2. Godly zeal takes us beyond lukewarm moderation.
      1. Revelation 3:16
      2. Revelation 3:19
  3. UNGODLY EXTREMISM THAT DISTORTS THE GRACE OF GOD  (Titus 3:8-11)
    1. If the enemy cannot keep us from being zealous, he will want to make us extremists.
    2. This is a misguided zeal, a fanaticism that is divisive.
    3. We are to live by principles, but we can take a principle and move it to an extreme and distort it.
    4. Philippians 4:5
      1. There is a perfect balance in the Word of God between being zealous and being moderate.
    5. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2
      1. Those who are unreasonable have no flexibility nor balance, and they do incalculable harm to the cause of Christ.
    6. Ungodly extremism is foolish.
      1. Titus 3:9
      2. There are those who pride themselves as being theologians, but they have no relationship to that which really matters in a church.
    7. Ungodly extremism is fractious.
      1. Titus 3:9
        1. The words “contentions and strivings” have the idea of bickering, judging and criticizing.
      2. Oftentimes, fanatics are self-centered and self-willed.
      3. Jude 19
      4. People can divide in churches over incidentals.
        1. Churches can divide over music.
          1. Proverbs 25:20
            1. There is music that is more fitting at certain times, but we should not become extreme.
        2. Some can become extremists over the way we worship.
          1. 1 Timothy 2:8
          2. 1 Corinthians 14:40
          3. If we draw attention to ourselves rather than point attention to Jesus, then we are not worshipping.
    8. Ungodly extremism is fruitless.
      1. Titus 3:9
      2. We can take good and right things and turn them into an unprofitable exercise through fanaticism.
        1. Quiet time
          1. We can become legalistic with our quiet time with the Lord.
        2. Bible study
          1. We should study the Bible, but we shouldn’t become legalistic with it.
            1. For instance, it’s a sin to be reading the Bible when we should be praying or playing with the grandchildren.
            2. There is enough time in every day to do everything gracefully that God wants us to do.
          2. Bible study can become a burden rather than a blessing by extremism.
        3. The matter of separation
          1. Matthew 9:9-13
          2. We are to be separate from sinners but not isolated from them.
        4. Service
          1. We can be extreme in our service to the Lord.
          2. We can become so extreme that we run ourselves into the ground and cause harm to our health or to our family.
          3. A fanatic is someone who loses direction and doubles his speed.
        5. Self-denial
          1. We sometimes take the Biblical principle of self-denial to an extreme to mean that Christians cannot experience fun or joy.
          2. Ecclesiastes 5:18
          3. 1 Timothy 6:17
          4. We do experience sacrifice, but there is joy in the Lord Jesus.
    9. Ungodly extremism is fatal.
      1. Titus 3:10-11
      2. We miss the grace of God through extremism.
      3. Many people are not Christians due to the fanaticism they see in others.
        1. Misguided zeal does not help the cause of Christ but sets it back.
      4. Luke 9:54-56
        1. God’s plan was to bring a revival to Samaria, not destruction.
      5. Luke 22:47-51
        1. Peter was subject to misguided zeal.
    10. What is wrong with extremism?
      1. We fight the wrong enemy.
        1. Ephesians 6:12
        2. Malchus was not Peter’s enemy in Luke 22.
        3. The people we often attack are slaves to Satan.
      2. We fight with the wrong weapon.
        1. 2 Corinthians 10:4
        2. In Acts 2, Peter used a different sword, the Sword of the Spirit, and many trusted in Jesus Christ.
      3. We fight with the wrong energy: the energy of the flesh.
        1. Mark 14:38
        2. Every extremist or fanatic obeys the energy of the flesh rather than walk in the Spirit.
      4. We fight with the wrong attitude.
        1. James 1:20
        2. In Peter’s case in Luke 22, he was arguing when he should have been listening to what Jesus had been and was saying.
        3. Peter was also sleeping when he should have been praying.
  4. CONCLUSION
    1. Titus 3:1-3
      1. We should let the beauty of the love of Jesus shine in and through us.
    2. We are to be zealous of good works for the Lord.
      1. Never lose your passion.
      2. Never lose your fire.
      3. Never lose your joy.
    3. We also should not let the enemy turn us into an extremist.
    4. There is a sweet reasonableness in serving the Lord.
    5. Do you know Jesus personally? If not, you can pray to Him today by asking Him to come into your life.
    6. Call upon Jesus today. Repent (turn) from your sins, and turn to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and acknowledge Him as Lord of your life.
    7. Romans 3:23
    8. Romans 10:9-10
    9. Romans 10:13