Week 28 July 8 - 14, 2018

Back in 2002, the American grill company Charbroil launched a memorable television campaign that offers us a unique portrait of the church’s calling to spread the gospel.

The campaign was called “Keepers of the Flame,” and each commercial was designed to promote their new line of outdoor grills. The commercials each began with a primitive scene of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals huddled together as they successfully created their first fire and then celebrated together. These scenes then transitioned into a modern day American family gathered around a Charbroil grill as the father cooked steaks and his family rejoiced in unity.

 This idea of “fire” presented in the Charbroil campaign is significant because fire has always been central to the preservation of human civilization. For each culture to survive, the flame must continue burning to provide warmth, food and light; and for the flame to stay lit it has to be protected and eventually passed down to the next generation.

 Charbroil’s “Keepers of the Flame” mentality has a unique correlation for Christians that relates directly to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When our Lord established His church, the gospel spread at Pentecost like a fire. As these new local churches were established, the Scriptures soon gave divine guidance and instruction on how to keep the gospel flame burning until the return of Christ.

In Titus 2:1-15, we get a detailed look at this divine instruction as the Lord reveals three important ways we can actively participate in preserving the gospel flame in our churches and families until Christ comes back.

First, in verses 1-8, we see that the gospel flame is kept burning when we teach and model our faith to the next generation. In this passage, older men and women are called to live in referent fear of God and to train younger men and women how to pursue purity in their homes and marriages. Paul exhorts these older Christians in verses 7-8 to “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.”

This exhortation means that mature believers must be intentionally teaching sound Christian doctrine to their children and grandchildren, as well as living out the truth of that doctrine in front of them daily.

Secondly, in verses 9-10, we learn that the gospel flame is kept burning when we serve our authority figures as we would serve Christ. Paul urges bondservants to be submissive to their masters, so they can be “well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”

Finally, in verses 11-15, we discover that the gospel flame is kept burning, when we remember that the same grace that saved us will be the grace that continues to change us.

Paul concludes this passage by reiterating the importance of grace for every stage of Christian growth, as well as the continued expansion of God’s kingdom through the local church. He states in verses 11-13, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 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.”

Overall, Titus 2 provides a powerful reminder that the gospel is a flame that God has entrusted to the local church to keep burning until our Lord returns. However, these 15 verses also teach us that since it was God’s grace that first lit the flame, it will be only through His grace that we will keep it burning as we pass it down to the next generation. Our calling is simply to be faithful to live a godly lifestyle and be diligent to teach sound doctrine, and by doing so, the gospel flame will continue to shine brightly throughout the church until Christ comes back to make all things new.

Keepers of the Gospel Flame

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A Word for Every Waking Hour

Psalm 119 is a precious reminder that God has a word that can stir our hearts during any hour of the day. In the early morning the psalmist declares, “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words” (verse 147). In the daytime he writes, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (verse 97), and “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules” (verse 164). In the evening he states, “My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise” (verse 148). And finally, in the late hours he confesses, “At midnight I rise to praise you, because of your righteous rules” (verse 62).

Character that Catches God’s Eye

Although Christians are declared righteous exclusively through faith in the atoning work of Christ, when we respond to God’s grace by pursuing a life of purity, the eyes of God stop to take notice. In 2 Chronicles 16:9 it states, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” Let this truth be a daily motivation for us as believers to live pure and blameless lives for God’s glory in such a way that His eyes notice us and His grace strengthens us to remain faithful to Him.

Contending for Our Christian Faith

Jude was the half-brother of Jesus and James, and in the mid-60s A.D. he wrote the book of Jude to warn the church about false teachers. These teachers were corrupting the family of God by perverting the gospel of Christ and promoting false truths about eternal salvation. Jude responded in verse 3 by stating, “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude’s words are a reminder that there will always be false teachers but only one true gospel. Therefore, we must passionately defend our faith and declare that our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.

Week 29 Readings:  July 15 – 21

-Day One:  1 Kings 19-21; 2 Chronicles 17; Psalm 129; Matthew 1

-Day Two:  1 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 18; Matthew 2

-Day Three:  2 Chronicles 19-20; 2 Kings 1; Psalm 20; Matthew 3

-Day Four:  2 Kings 2-3; Psalm 48; Matthew 4

-Day Five:  2 Kings 4-6; Matthew 5   


Tips to Keep You on Track

          We will turn our attention this week to the gospel of Matthew as we focus on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. While our Christian faith is more about who Jesus is and what Jesus accomplished more than just what Jesus taught, there are still passages in the Scriptures where the teachings of Christ can transform our souls. Possibly the most prominent section of Christ’s teaching in the Bible is what is known as “The Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5-7. As you begin reading this section in Matthew 5 with “The Beatitudes,” take time to meditate on Christ’s unique description of who is truly blessed in the Kingdom of God. Consider the stark contrast of how God views blessings versus how the world views blessings and ask the Lord to open your eyes to see how His blessings always produce humility and prepare us best for eternal life.