080. Pray for Zeal in the Church from Titus 2:14
in the series BuildingUp
080. Pray for Zeal in the Church from Titus 2:14
One of this year’s 7 prayers for Agape is asking the LORD for Zeal in the Church. How does the Bible define zealousness? What will zeal in the church look like? What kind of good works should we be zealous for?
Hi, everyone, Welcome into Episode Number 80 of the BuildingUp podcast. I’m David McConnell. As always, thank you guys for taking the time to be with us. If you’ve been following along the last couple of episodes, we are underway in our 2021 fall prayer initiative called seven prayers for Agape.
Now if you have stumbled across this podcast, you’re not familiar with what we’re talking about. You can go back and listen to the last two episodes to get a better idea. But essentially, we have a time as a church every year that we set aside, we’ve been doing this now for three or four or five years, we set aside a time where we take a month and we tried to get everyone in the church praying daily for the same things. We have seven different prayers that we pray repeatedly over a four-week period. In those prayers, those prayer topics, for each day, are derived from Scripture, and really based on what we feel like the Lord is saying for us in this particular season, and that we should be praying for our church and our community and our families.
And so we find this time to be very helpful. I love just getting the church focused and praying on the same things. I love sitting down with my family and praying those and just in my own prayer time, knowing that other people in the church are also praying the scripture passages for these things. And then we get to just be excited knowing God is listening to us. And we believe that God is going to answer, he’s going to answer his word. He’s going to answer us as we pray his word to him. And so we just love this time every year. And these podcasts we’re doing right now during this fall prayer initiative are really meant to just be a deeper dive into some of these prayer focuses.
So we’re, in each one of these podcasts, we’re just picking out one of the daily prayer topics and we’re just looking at it a little bit closer looking at one of the Scripture passages so we can get a better idea of what that topic means and why we think it’s important for the church.
Now, if you stumbled across this podcast, either you don’t go to Agape, or perhaps you’re listening to this at a different time, I still would encourage you that not only could this episode be very helpful to you because we are going to be looking at God’s word. But also, I think, perhaps the prayer guide that we have for the 2021 seven prayers would also be helpful for you. You can go to our website, ApgapePinson.com, go to ministries, go to prayer, and you will find the 2021 prayer guide there that you can download. And you know what, use it, use it for your family, pray it for your family, use it as a guide to pray for your own church or your own community, maybe share it with your church leaders see if it’s something that maybe they would find helpful, they can mold it themselves and maybe something in your own churches, however you would like to use that resource. It is there for you. We would love to know that these prayers are being prayed in other places as well. So please consider checking that out. We’d love to provide that resource to you.
So on today’s episode of the podcast, we are going to look at one of these prayer topics specifically the Wednesday prayer focus for 2021 which is called zeal for the church. We are praying that there would be zealousness in our church. Now, what does that mean? What does it mean? That we want zealousness in the church and specifically, what do we want to be zealous for?
And so let’s look together at Titus chapter two, verse 14, that is the first of many passages that we have for this particular prayer focus. But we’re gonna look at Titus chapter two, verse 14 for this podcast. Now, we’re going to start in verse 11. And so if you’re reading along, I hope you are in your Bible. We’re just going to kind of walk through the passage and try to pull all this together. All right, in verse 11, Paul tells Titus, for the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.
Let’s just pause there, good news. Paul says, the grace of God, the kindness of God, the unmerited favor of God has appeared to us. It’s made an appearance and this grace brings salvation. We are saved by grace through faith, and it is for all people, which doesn’t mean that every person on earth will be saved, but it means all kinds of people will be saved from every tribe and every time, every race. Every people group, there will be those who are being saved. It is For all people, all kinds of people, verse 12, goes on to talk a little bit more about this grace in this salvation, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.
So there is this incredible description of the salvation experience that grace brings when you come to know Christ. When God calls out to you, and you respond in Jesus is the Savior of your life. And he, you follow Him, you repent of your sins, and you believe upon him for the forgiveness of everything that you have done wrong, and you trust in Him to save your soul, and forgive you for all of eternity. When you are saved, grace in your life, that salvation begins to train you specifically, it’s the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God that enters into your life through salvation, the promised gift to the Holy Spirit, where God Himself in God’s presence would live in you. And he trains you. He trains Christians, and what’s he training them to do?
Well, one to renounce that which is ungodly, turn away from it and repent of it, and to embrace that which is godly to begin to live self-controlled, upright or righteous lives, and godliness in this present age, which means it starts right now, not just when you get to heaven, but it starts now. So this is a very good verse that reminds us that when you are saved, when you have experienced salvation, there is evidence of that salvation through practical transformation, you will see the change in your heart. You are not saved because you change your behavior. But when you are saved, your behavior, your desires, your actions, it will change, they will all change. Because Grace is training you will keep on going verse 13. All of this is happening while we’re waiting for our blessed, hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. And then that brings us to verse 14, talking about Jesus, 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.
Now, if you look closely, verse 14 is kind of a — it’s directly related to verse 12, basically a restatement of what has already been said in verse 12. We learned that it is Jesus who is the one who is redeeming us, Jesus, and because of Jesus, it That is why we can be trained that training that’s happening in verse 12. Jesus redeems us. And that’s where the Holy Spirit comes into our life and we’re being trained. We’re being trained to renounce ungodliness because verse 14, Jesus has redeemed us from lawlessness that which is ungodly. And in verse 12, were being trained to live upright and godly lives. And what does that look like in verse 14? It looks like this that Jesus is working to purify for himself of people, zealous for good works, which means part of living a godly life is that you have a zeal for good works.
Now, zeal or zealousness, it really means an energetic desire or a devotion. If you have a hobby that you love, or maybe you have a sports team that you love, something like that you have something in your life, maybe it’s books you love to read, or it’s a particular movie series, something in your life. You know what it means to be zealous for it. You have an energetic desire, like no one has to tell you to, to want to participate in that thing you’re zealous for you just do and you don’t do it half-heartedly. You do it wholeheartedly. You’re devoted to it. You’re energetic about it, and you’re devoted to it because you have a zealousness for it.
Well, Christians will have a zealousness for good works. What are good works? Well, they are works ultimately that mirror the works that God does. In his book Bible doctrine. Wayne Grudem talks about one of the attributes of God is His goodness that God does good As a matter of fact, the definition of good is anything God is or anything God does. Because God is good. That means anything that comes from God is good. Alright, so when we, for us when we do good, that means we are doing things that imitate God, that we do works that are like God’s works. Now, obviously, there are certain things that God does that we can’t do. But any time we do a work, similar to what God does, and we’re imitating God in that work, this is called goodness, that we are doing something that is good, we’re doing something that God would approve of, that we are doing something that points people to God, and we are imitating and mirroring His goodness, that is a good work. And the Bible says that Christians will be zealous for these kinds of works, the kinds, the kind of works that imitate God in his own goodness.
When we pray for his zeal in the church, there are several things that we have in mind. First of all, we want to be zealous for God Himself. And that’s where our zeal ultimately should be pointed, that we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We don’t want to be half-hearted in our devotion to God, we want to be fully devoted to God, we want to love him with everything, we want to love him supremely. And when we love God, then we love other people. The Bible teaches us this, when we’re zealous for God, we will be zealous to do good works toward God, and also toward others. Those made in His image, especially those who are in the church, in the church communities.
Matter of fact, and Titus, if you keep reading in chapter three, immediately after, Paul talks about people being purified by Christ to be zealous for good works, he starts talking about some of these good works we do. We are obedient. We should be ready to do good, we should speak evil of no one we should avoid quarreling we should be gentle, we should show perfect courtesy to all people. So we know that being zealous for God means we’re going to be zealous to do good for God and do good toward other people. And we want our church to be filled with this kind of zeal, a wholehearted devotion, and an eager desire to love one another well.
I think part of the zealousness that we need in the church is a desire to be with each other. You know, we have busy lives, there’s a lot of things that are happening. We’re living through a pandemic right now where we’ve been trained and told a lot that it can be dangerous to be with other people. And certainly, that is that that is factual at times yet, the Bible calls us to be in community and to love one another. And so even before the pandemic, sometimes, as a Christian, we struggled to want to be with other Christians, to train ourselves to be a part of worship and to go to small groups, and to do mission projects. And whatever the case may be, especially during the pandemic, that has become even more difficult because we’re beginning to live more and more lives, we’re doing things virtually. And it’s really hard to get stirred up to go and be with other believers yet we need the zeal that is required for that we want to be zealous to be together, but not just to be together, but to go on mission with one another, to fellowship with one another in a way that we are encouraging each other, that we’re helping exhort one another and even at times, gently rebuke one another, and the good works of serving one another with our gifts, and serving the community that we are a part of, with the gospel and with maybe helping to meet practical needs that point them to the gospel.
There’s all types of good works to be done praying for each other, singing together, teaching one another, studying the Bible together. Taking meals to one another when we have a family that just is is in a time of crisis and they need help using the resources that we have to lift other people up. These are all examples of good works.
But what we’re praying for during seven prayers is a zealousness for this and it makes sense. We need to pray for this zealousness because it’s not natural. That is why we need the grace of God, to train us to repent of that which is ungodly, and to do that which is godly. And part of what is godly is to mirror or imitate the good works that God does. And we need a heart for that. We need God to give us a zealousness, an eager desire, and a devotion to do good, just like he does good. And that’s what we’re praying for on Wednesdays during seven prayers, that God would give us that type of zeal in the church. So join with us in praying that I hope this has been helpful today. And even if you’re listening to this at another time, pray it, pray it, pray it, because we need that kind of heart.
Until next time church thank you for joining with us grace and peace to your family.