Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 years ago

The Minister's Job

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

If you are able, please remain standing, and let's give our attention to titus, chapter two. Titus too. But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober minded, dignified, self controlled, sound in faith, in love and insteadfastness. Older women, Likewise, are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves too much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self controlled, 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. Bond servants are to be submissive to their own masters and, ever everything there to 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, for the grace of God, has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce on goodliness 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, 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. Declare these things, exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Hey, God bless his word to us, he may be seated. We have been going through titus chapter two, a little bit by little bit, connecting each of these commands with this Gospel passage in verses eleven through fourteen. We finish this chapter to this evening. By looking at the whole chapter, I'm particularly from Titus's perspective. As you probably noticed, particularly in the beginning and in the end of this chapter, there are is a particular direction to titus, this fellow servant with the Apostle Paul, who has been set on the island of Crete to establish these churches, the appolic God's Apostle commands tied us and ministers after him to teach in verse one what accords with sound doctrine, to declare these things at the very end, in Verse Fifteen, Exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. We have other commands or titus. In the sections between the young men and the bond servants. We're titus is called 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. So the sort of simple point here is what is true and titus true...

...is, of course true of the whole letter. It's a book written to Titus. It's a book written to this minister and how to do his work, how to do his job, but of course it's also to the people as well, and that means this evening that God requires us to get a little personal, and I don't just mean about the ways in which we think about our personal lives, and we've been doing that as we've been going through this chapter, as we think about the particulars of how we lives our lives. A live our lives before God. But Titus too, and honestly the book as a whole, also asks us to think about the particulars of our lives as we relate to one another. And when I say we I mean you and me, sheep and shepherd, preacher and parishioners. We have to consider our lives as they are lived out together, because this is what God is talking about. In Titus too, on the one hand, he speaks God's apostle rights to titus and writes this pastoral letter to a pastor. We see these commands teach, exhort, rebuke, do so with authority. He's given particular doctrines that he is to teach, duties that he is to command his people. He is called to be bold in all of this, to let no one disregard him. These are the in explicit instructions that are given to this minister. And yet in all this there are, of course, implicit instructions to those whom he is called to preach. Command, the Claire, exhort, rebuke. These instructions that are given to all of us as a whole, as Christians in a general sense, are not there by accident. They're given directly to us by the spirit of God. In other words, we didn't happen to find this letter to tide us sort of slipped in this pastor's desk drawer and then sort of looked at it and thought, well, what might we learn about our own lives from this? No, the spirit of God gives us to tide us, but also to his people, and it's similarly. He gives it to me and he gives it to you, and so in this we are called to think about these things together. And here we find. We find that in addition, that, in addition to the law, in addition to these requirements that we are to live by, we are also given the Gospel, tied us to centers our lives and pulls our lives around these two great truths, the Law and the Gospel. God calls us to live a certain way, but to do so by faith that God is living in us in a certain way. And in all of this, the one thing becomes really clear that we are all under one authority, both pastor and congregants, shepherd and sheep. We all answer to the same chief, the same shepherd, just as we all have our saving grace in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is, in Colossians, one called the head of the church. So though God is called some to be overseers, like titus, and some to be overseen, some to preach and some to receive preaching, no one is said above God. It is God who governs, it is God who graces, and it's together that we are called to submit to him in faith. So, in fulfilling my own calling this evening, the command of God in my life, to preach these things to you, I want to bring your attention to God's word, to these particularly these two things which are really at the center of the whole of Christian life, the Law of the Gospel, and how they relate to each other in Jesus. This is what comes out to us in the in this chapter and really in many ways summarizes the whole of Christian life and t and and Christian doctrine...

...in general, the law and the Gospel as we find them related to one another in Jesus. So let's consider both of these. First, the law. God commands us to live as a certain way. This is his law. He is the king, he has a right to make these commands, and he does, and we've been considering these in depth. I won't go through them all in the way that we have, or we would be here for a long, long time, but we will go over them briefly and I want, as we do, I want you to call to your mind the things that we've been considering and discussing as we've gone through these requirements one by one over the last several weeks. If you were to summarize all of it together, how might you do it? What is the Christian life to look like? What are we to do? How are we to live? Here's one way to put it. No matter what your place or station is in life, God has called each of us to live before him with the honor, wisdom and obedience that is right for those who represent the king in this world. It's a little bit long, I know. I'll read it one more time. No matter what your place or station in life, God has called each of us to live before him with the honor, wisdom and obedience that is right for those who represent the king in this world. Older men and older women are called to be examples of people who are mature in their faith. They are to be leaders of the young, guiding them in Godliness. They're thinking is to be clear. They are dignity as to be true. They are to control themselves, not living according to the lusts of the flesh, but according to the life of the spirit. Younger men and younger women are called to follow suit, learning to respect those whom God has put in their lives to teach them and help them grow. And as they do that, they are to learn to work with diligence, love and service and the callings which God has called them to. Slaves and others under authority, like children, are called to obedience, even when it's difficult. Their service should be rich, not poor, in love. It should be found in the heart and not only in the hands. Because we think about these things, as you think about your particular calling, your station in life, the things which God has asked you to do, the wisdom and dignity and honor and obedience he has called you to live with, you'll realize very quickly that you've been called to a very high and dignified and noble calling. It is a calling that is a pleasure to fulfill. It brings joy to our hearts, it benefits our communities, it honors our kings, our king, and this is what makes it so bad when we don't live this way, when we live in a ignoble way, when we live in a dishonorable way, when we live in unrighteousness instead of godliness. Simply consider the headlines this week, as millions of people, some of them prominent, professing believers, have been exposed to have committed, or at least pursued the sin of adultery. When we fail to live according to Grace, the grace we've been given, when we don't mortify the flesh but feed it instead, we do harm to our souls, to our neighbors, and we bring dishonor to the name of our king. We even cause people to doubt about the power of the word of God. We're told that the Gospel is the power of God, Unto Salvation, and yet if we don't live as saved people, it brings doubt, unnecessary doubt, unfair doubt, on the word of God. But...

...you almost soul. Might consider another headline from this week, that of the brave off duty American soldiers risking their lives to stop mass murder on a train. As Americans and a foreign country, their actions represented all of us in a way, and for that reason many people find themselves quite proud of these men and what they did. A similar thing is true for us as Christians, no matter where we live, no matter what country we belong to. One of the earliest ridings we have, after the New Testament, one of the earliest Christian writings, has this line in it, if I can remember it somewhat exactly, says that to every country, to the Christian, every country is a fatherland and every fatherland is foreign. Is this me has this sense in which we can live anywhere and have our place in that society, and yet it a sense no matter where we call home, it's never quite home, because we are, after all, citizens of a heavenly country, and God calls us to a loyalty and a pay treatism to this kingdom that exceeds any other love. When we live this, when we live in light of that and live in light of that citizenship, seeking God himself to sustain us and work in us the kind of life he wants us to live, then we are called to represent him in these foreign countries in which we live. As pilgrims in this world. We are called to live in a way in which people recognize us as Christians, as one who, as people who belong to the Kingdom of God. And Paul says that when we show the truth and power of God's word in this way, we take away any valid reason for accusation and we even adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior. Well, this, beloved, is the law. It is beautiful, it's a wonderful, high, noble calling. It is a thing which we ought to think of often and dwell on deeply. We ought to think about in ways and in ways that apply to our hearts, in our lives, and this is why Paul Calls tied us to command these things, to teach them these things that accord with sound doctrine. People, a people of God, are not left to live their lives of wandering about in this world without direction. We're given specific, clear commands that we are to apply and live as citizens of Heaven in this world. This is the obedience that we are called to. Let it be clear in your mind. Don't be confused about the points, be single minded in your dedication and in your devotion to them. This is the law of God. Now let us consider the Gospel in verses eleven through fourteen. In verses eleven through fourteen, we have a connection between that First Section, in the next these commands, and then in verse eleven, for the grace of God has appeared, and he goes on from there to describe what has appeared and what has what is God is doing in His grace. Let me read this passage. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce on godliness and worldly passions and to live self controlled, up light, upright and Godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 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. I want to point out a...

...simple thing, but which all admit, is very easy to miss, and that it's this and these verses a liven through fourteen. We are not told in the first place what we are to do, but what God is doing. We're not told in eleven through fourteen in the first place what we are to do. But what God is doing not us. What he says, he says, for the grace of God has appeared. God's grace has appeared. Verse Fourteen explains what that is, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness. Well, who appeared? Well, God did, Jesus Christ. What did he do? He gave himself for us to do what? To redeem us from all lawlessness and what else? To purify us for himself, a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. You see this as God's work. It's God's appearing, it's God's doing. He comes to redeem us, he comes to save us, to purify us and to make us a particular kind of people, a people for his own possession, a treasure to himself, a people who are zealous for good works. Here we read what God is doing. Of course, implicit in this is what we are to do. But that's not the apostles first focus. God is doing these things and we are to receive them and rest in them. A consider them a little more in depth. What is God doing? At first we read that he's made his grace to appear. Jesus Christ has come into the world to save people for them, sent from their sins, to redeem us from all lawlessness. This means that when Jesus comes into the world, he comes into the world with a particular mission in mind. He comes into the world for the very purpose of doing God's will, to save people, and not just a general salvation or to save them from general evil or wickedness, but from their wickedness, from their lawlessness. He wants to purify for himself a people that are impure, to make a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. That's Jesus Christ's mission. This is God's mission, the Triune God, Father, son and Holy Spirit, that he desires to accomplish in us. And as you consider things like the sovereign power of God, let me ask you, is this something that God is going to Failin? Did Jesus Christ go to the Cross and sort of miss the boat, not quite do what he was hoping to do? No, of course not. Jesus's blood was not shed in vain. He purified for himself a people, he redeemed a people from for himself. He created a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. This is the grace of God that has appeared. He explains this and explains that grace does two things, saving and training. First, he says that it he brings salvation for all people, all of these different people that we've been considering, older men, younger man, older women, younger men and women, slaves, free, all classes of people, it doesn't matter. God comes to redeem them all. This is so contrary to the world's wisdom, which sees the treasures being most often given to those who are rich and wealthy and powerful and have status. But Jesus comes to save all from their sins.

He brings this salvation, a salvation which, as we've talked about, redeems and purifies possesses. This is the saving that he does. He saves us from our sins, he purifies us from our impurity. But the work goes on. God's work goes on. Not only does he save us, but we are told here that he trains us to do three things renounce the bad, live for the good and hope for and wait for the hope. He calls us to renounce the bad. He trains us, God trains us to renounce on godliness and worldly passions. He also trains us to live for the good, that is, self controlled, upright and Godly lives, and he calls us to wait for our hope. We wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. These are, of course, things that we do right. We renounce the bad, we live for the good, we wait for our hope. But that's not exactly how it's put here, is it? Where is the emphasis? The emphasis is on God and his work, the things that he is doing. In other words, we do these things, but we are told that we do them because God is doing them in us, beloved of the Lord, people of God, who are his possession. Let that sink in. Would you understand? Would you believe what God says here, that the work he calls you to do is the work he's already doing? This means that, if you're a Christian, no matter how bleak your spiritual life may seem, God is making progress in your soul. This is a promise, this is God's work that he will not fail to do. It means that if you are a Christian, you are a tree that does produce fruit, perhaps slowly, perhaps less than you ought or less than you like, but nevertheless one that produces one that is glorifying God, one that is, in some degree or another, zealous for good works, that wants to be his child, that wants to be his possession, that desire in the bottom of your heart, that that that thought in your mind that won't go away, of wanting to live for him. It won't go away because it is from him. It is him in you, working in you, living in you, doing his own good pleasure. It means that God is being glorified in you, because God is working in you and his work does not fail. The Gospel, therefore, in these verses eleven through fourteen, isn't just a motivation to good, to do good, though of course it is that, but it's also a promise that God is doing good in you. It's a work that is begun in Christ and it's a work that will be finished in Christ. So where does this leave us? Well, leaves us is people who live the way we live, who obey God and the way that we do, because we are a people who stand on in and by the promises of God, nowhere else. We stand by his strength. We work because he works in us. We live. We live because he lives in...

...us. We stand on, in and by the promises of God, because these promises are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who has come the grace of God, has appeared in this world. He has accomplished these things and now all we're doing is waiting for the consummation of them. These promises have been fulfilled in Jesus through the grace of his first coming, in the coming grace of his second coming and in all the grace in between. And in between. He gives us this sustaining grace, which includes the sending of men to preach the word, Law and Gospel as they are found in Jesus Christ. But not only does he send these men to preach the word, he also opens the heart of those who hear the word, who receive the word. This is what God is doing in this world, and this, miraculously through US sinful people, God is doing among us here. This is His grace. This is what the Apostle Paul means when he says that we carry this great glory, this great treasure in Jars of clay. On the one hand, it's almost unbelievable that sinners like us would be capable of doing these things. But of course we're not capable in and of ourselves, but we're made capable because of the spirit working in us, the spirit working against our flesh, the spirit bringing us to life, a life that is begun in Christ and will be completed in him. Let us therefore pray for one another. Pray for me that I might preach the word as it is found only in and through Jesus Christ, and I will pray for you that you will hear it and will receive it and that together, we will all find our salvation in him. May God grant this in this church, so that we might live in him and for him, all to the praise of his glory. Amen. Let us pray.

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