Pray Psalm 4.1-3.
Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood?
But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The LORD will hear when I call to Him.
Review Titus 2.
1. Is discipleship something only for a few believers? Based on this chapter, what would Paul say?
2. What should we expect when God’s grace is flowing freely and abundantly to and through His churches?
Paul began this brief epistle insisting that churches need to be put in proper order. They need elders who will shepherd each member of the flock, teaching, leading, discipling, and guarding against false teaching. Only churches that are in proper order can serve as channels of grace to the grace-starved world.
Every member of the church – young, old, men, women, simple, sophisticated, lowly, or lofty – needs to be taught and discipled. This is what elders are supposed to do, bringing the proper teaching and nurture to every believer, so that every believer can be fitted by the Word of God for good works (2 Tim. 3.15-17).
Churches are to be epicenters of grace to their communities. They are signs to the community that a new era and a new realm have arrived, where righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit are the order of the day. And churches are the outposts from which that Kingdom advances into the souls, culture, and social life of the surrounding community.
This occurs when God’s people, equipped and zealous because of God’s grace, make good works their daily calling and agenda. God has redeemed us and set us in His household so that we might show His goodness to the world. Thus many will come to know that God is good and loving and generous, and that life in His Son can make all things new in those who believe.
1. What does it mean to say that local churches are signs and outposts of the Kingdom of God? Is this true of your church? Explain.
2. How should the shepherds of a local church equip church members to be zealous for good works?
3. How can believers help one another to look forward to the coming of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ? Why is this so important?
The faithful who are holy and good may be few in comparison with the larger number of the wicked, but … “many shall come from the east and the west and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” God shows to himself “a numerous people, zealous for good works.” … Even when sometimes darkened and, as it were, clouded over by a great number of scandals … still this people shines forth in her strongest members. Augustine (354-430), Letters 93.9.30
Shine forth in me today, O Lord, as I go out into my Personal Mission Field to…
Pray Psalm 4.1-8.
Life in the world is not always easy. Believers can expect opposition, mocking, and indifference. That might make us angry, but we must not sin by failing to love our neighbors. We are called to show them the goodness of God. Seek the Lord’s gladness, and pray that His Spirit will bring forth God’s grace through you today.
Sing Psalm 4.1-8.
Psalm 4.1-8 (Picardy: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent)
Answer when I call, Lord Jesus, God of all my righteousness!
Bend Your holy ear, relieve us from all terror, all distress!
Lord, receive our prayer, release us; send Your grace to save and bless!
Wicked men reproach and scorn us, loving what is vile and vain.
God with grace will shield and adorn us through the Savior’s blood and pain.
Jesus, You have bought and borne us; hear our cries for help again.
Let your anger flare, yet sin not; meditate, be still, and rest.
Turn your heart to God, begin not trusting in your righteousness.
Praise the Savior, all from sin bought; trust in Him to save and bless.
Wicked men may scorn and try us, casting doubt upon Your grace;
Send Your Spirit, Lord, don’t deny us till we see Your glorious face.
You Who sent Your Son to buy us, fill our hearts with joy and grace.
Safely in Your peace, let us lie, Lord; keep us in Your love and care.
Rooted in Your strong and wise Word, may we know Your comfort there.
Guard and keep us till we die, Lord; go before us everywhere.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).