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Sermon Overview & Prayer: "The Fierce Fruit of Self Control"

Titus 2:1-6; 11-14 | The Fierce Fruit of Self Control | PRAYER POINTS

These written prayers, are intended to fuel your meditation on this passage and your enjoyment of God in prayer.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 

To neglect this fruit of the Spirit’s work [self control] would only be to our detriment; In fact, self-control is likely the difference maker in the very area of your life that you most want to grow this morning.

PRAYER: Father, as you are leading me to make progress and bear fruit in the area of___________, show me where I can exercise specific self control, and say,”no” in order to avoid temptations and hindrances to that fruit.

Proverbs 25:28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

Charles Bridges – He that hath no rule over his own spirit is an easy prey to the invader. He yields himself to the first assault of his ungoverned passions, offering no resistance; ‘like a city broken down and without walls.’ Having no discipline over himself, temptation becomes the occasion of sin, and hurries him on to fearful lengths that he had not contemplated.

PRAYER: Lord, knowing there is no condemnation in Christ, neverhtheless remind me of where I have allowed the walls of self control to crumble that eventually led to sin. Where was I negligent, indifferent, or simply selfish? Show me what the wall should and can look like in that part of my life, so that I, by your grace, stay fortified against sin.

Jerry Bridges – [Self Control] It is a governance or prudent control of one’s desires, cravings, impulses, emotions, and passions. It is saying no when we should say no. It is moderation in legitimate desires and activities, and absolute restraint in areas that are clearly sinful…Biblical self-control covers every area of life and requires an unceasing conflict with the passions of the flesh that wage war against our souls (1 Peter 2:11).

PRAYER: Great Shepherd walk with me through my day, helping me to see where your grace has protected me (viewing avoided, habits broken, appetites and indulgences restrained, speech more gracious). Thank you! And please point out where I minimize some desire that I think I can control, but that could eventually control me.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, a fruit of the sanctifying, empowering work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the Christian who has experienced the miracle of regeneration through the proclamation of the gospel.

Our effort is required but our effort is dependent upon the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for the indwelling, sanctifying presence and power of the Holy Spirit! Thank you for the many promisises and evidences of his perfecting, purifying, and transforming work. May the anticipation and experience of increased conformity to Christ, strengthen my resolve to obey, and my faith to trust that you who promised is faithful!

Holy Spirit, through the Word, prayer, and the observations of friends to whom I will open my life, show me... where I need to build walls of defense or fortify walls of defense against temptation and sin so that I don’t resemble the individual Charles Bridges described as “yielding himself to the first assault of his ungoverned passions being hurried on to fearful lengths that he had not contemplated?”

Ed Welch – [Self-control] is tested when we are alone or we feel unsatisfied. What do we do when no one is looking, and what do we do when cravings feel so strong that they hurt? Who or what will rule us then? Our desires or our God? Self-control is the skill of saying ‘no’ to sinful desires, even when it hurts.

PRAYER: Lord, please shine the light of your Word on any area of my life that I am tempted to hide, minimize, or justify, that in reality grieves you, weakens me, and harms others.

Ed Welch – This passage changes everything. It takes the simple command-saying ‘No’-and surrounds it with Jesus Christ. Scripture never expects us to hear God’s commands to us in isolation from the serious contemplation of God’s work for us in Christ…Self-control is possible because of the grace of God given us in Christ Jesus. It is this ever-present grace that teaches us to say ‘No.’


OVERVIEW OF THE SERMON:

In this passage, Paul highlights a character trait all the Cretan Christians, young and old, male and female, need to focus on: self-control. The Cretans were surrounded by a culture that embraced indulgence and worldly passions and did not consider saying no to ungodliness, much like today’s postmodern culture. Without self-control the Christian is defenseless against temptation to sin. Although significant effort is required, Christian self-control is ultimately a fruit of the Spirit’s work in us and the glory for victory goes to God. Paul says that the grace of God that has appeared in Christ and him crucified first saves us from wrath and then also trains us and gives us the power to live self-controlled lives. We look forward with hope to the day Christ returns in final victory; we live today, cultivating self-control, in light of that final glorious day!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  1. How did these verses from Titus supplement the verses from the letter to the Thessalonians preached last week (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)?
  2. “[Self control] is saying no when we should say no. It is moderation in legitimate desires and activities, and absolute restraint in areas that are clearly sinful”. – Jerry Bridges
    What is the danger of excess in legitimate desires and how do you strengthen those around you against it?
  3. John Piper asks and answers, “How does the Spirit produce this fruit of self-control in us? By instructing us in the superior preciousness of grace, and enabling us to see and savor all that God is for us in Jesus”. How does this affect your practical plans to cultivate self-control?
  4. Consider God’s help described in verses 11 through 14. Where has God given you victory in the fight for self-control?
  5. What area(s) do you need to build or fortify walls of defense against temptation in your thinking, affections, and actions for a Spirit-empowered resistance to the deceptive enticement of sin, so that you don’t resemble the individual Charles Bridges described as “yielding himself to the first assault of his ungoverned passions being hurried on to fearful lengths that he had not contemplated”.