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Several of the Bethany Baptist Church family made trips for Thanksgiving visits away from here. Pastor Bob, Darlene, and Sally Sorensen had Thanksgiving with her parents, Don and Doris Taschner, in St. Louis. They arrived back home Saturday. Jim and Ruby Corder made a weekend visit with their son, Rod Corder, and his family. They arrived home Sunday afternoon and were back in church Sunday evening.
The Bethany Baptist Church folks were happy to have Luke Sorensen home for the winter season. He and his friends, Jacob Adkins and Annette Horton, were at church Sunday morning. Luke has been working with the Ozark Medieval Fortress project that is underway at Lead Hill Arkansas.
A special Thanksgiving medley was presented by some of the Youth Choir. Pastor Sorensen brought a message from Titus 2:11-15 that he called, “The four works of grace.”
Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” The first work of grace is justification. Justification means we are rescued from the penalty of sin. The Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. An individual might train for the broad jump event hoping to enter the Olympics. He could eat right, exercise right, do everything he knows, and still come short of the goal. People may try to justify themselves by doing great charitable acts, but some sort of sin always hinders. Pride, lust, discontent, ingratitude, something always keeps them from the goal.
All mankind is guilty of sin and the penalty for sin is death. Justice demands that the penalty be paid, but Jesus has paid that penalty for us by his death upon the cross. Even as a death sentence has come upon all men, the grace of God has made salvation available to all men. Salvation can not come by our works, but only by grace.
The next step of grace is separation. Verse 12 says that this grace teaches us to deny ungodliness (anything that goes against the nature of God) and worldly lusts (the desire for fame, money, power, etc). When we are saved, the Holy Spirit of God goes to work on us with the goal being holiness. We are to give a verbal testimony but it must be supported by a godly lifestyle.
This grace produces sanctification. Before you can be sanctified, you must be separated from the ungodly things so that you can live soberly, righteously, and godly. It is not said to be easy, but we can learn to do the right things by being careful what we think, what we say, and what we do. We have this ability through grace.
Continuing in grace produces glorification. When Jesus appears, we who believe will be changed. If we try to bypass sanctification we will find ourselves embarrassed at the judgment seat of Christ. We may be there justified by our faith, but lacking in rewards to offer at the feet of Jesus.
Are you looking for the coming of Jesus that we call the blessed hope? If so, it should inspire you to want to live holy so that when he comes you will not be ashamed. Let the Lord work his grace in you to build on your justification and take you through to glorification.