Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 643 · 2 weeks ago

Titus #2

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Titus 1:1-4

Word to us, the word of your son, who was from before the beginning, who promised to us a salvation, and himself that is ever secure, strong, is anything, and even beyond what we can imagine. Safe and secure in You we have our life. Help us to live in you, and even now to hear your word anew, a fresh and a right. Please be with the preaching and hearing of your word. Now we pray this in Jesus name. Amen, please remain standing if you're able, and let's turn to God's word and taught God's word. In Titus Titus, chapter one, verses one through four. There's three letters in the New Testament that we call the pastoral epistles, or sometimes they're called that Um. That's first Timothy, second Timothy, and Titus Um. They're called this because they are written to Um. These these two co workers of Paul to Titus and Timothy, who are called to serve as as ministers, as pastors, and they give instructions to them and their work, and they give instructions to all of us. Each one of us is a part of the body of Christ. For how we are to live in Him and how we are to serve Him as well. This morning, we come to Versus one through four, and we're going to look at this passage next week as well. Here we get a sense of Paul's understanding of himself. How does Paul understand himself and his work and his life, and how does he share that to tied Us and what difference does that for us. That's what we'll be thinking about this morning, particularly this morning, about the source of Christian ministry, the source of Paul and tit Us and our our life and work. Let's hear God's word tied Us one one through four. Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth which accords with Godliness in hope of eternal life, which God who never lies, promised before the ages began, and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior, to tit Us, my true child, in a common faith, grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior, you may be seated h M. One of the questions...

I thought a lot about when I was on my study leave, Um, coming from this, coming from questions good friends asked me, Um, just the work of God in my life is? Was this is Jesus at the center of my ministry? Or am I trying to fit him around the edges? Right? It's easy even for ministers, maybe even especially for ministers. I think, UM, and those that are engaged in full time Christian ministry very sadly and ironically and um despicably, we could add um to move Jesus or allow him to become sort of what I have time for. If I happen to have time. It's easy to just get busy, and not just get busy and lose sight of the one who is the most important of all things, the one who is our God and our Savior, the one who is the source of all life, of all righteousness, of all godliness. But it's easy to begin even not just losing sight of him, but to replace him, right, because he doesn't just go somewhere and there's a void, right, he gets replaced. He gets replaced by idols of all kinds. When he's there at the center of my life, when I am focused number one on him, my relationship with him in my life, with him try as all of a sudden our gifts. Suffering is a joy to rejoice in. And success, Yeah, it feels wonderful, and it's all to his praise. I see him and and feel him working and moving. It's not about me, It's about him. And that just feels really wonderful. And both the joys and the sorrows and ups and downs, contentment doesn't isn't based on those things anymore. Contentments and satisfaction and belonging and meaning and all of those really good things that we want. They're all just fruit of knowing him, of being in him. But when he is no longer the center of my life, then those other things become the God, the gods, they become my idols. Success, getting rid of suffering, um, having...

...people think well of you. I'm doing good works, all kinds of things that maybe some people would outwardly see and go like that's great, and other people would have that's not so great. But whatever they replace that center wells Paul speaks to Titus. He wants him and me and all of us to think about what is the source of our work, the life of the church, the service that goes on in the church as Titus is to go out and do these things. Remember last week we talked about this to do list, these five things Paul is calling him to do. He has to remember that that all flows from one place where it must flow, or it all falls apart, it doesn't work. It's a question that it's important not just for me to ask, but for all of us to ask as a church. Is Jesus the center of ministry? At Isn't It is Jesus who it's all about. Is Jesus and his word of life, his salvation, his hope. Is that what's at the center of everything is that which is that which? Uh? Is he the center and everything flowing from there? Or do we try to fit him around the edges in our business and in our activity. These are things that we want to think about. And I'd encourage you to think about him, not just today, but even as we approach the end of the year and we think about next year and what we might do or do differently. Start here is my encouragement to you start with him. That's because that's how Paul starts, That's how the Holy Spirit starts. Here is he speaks to Titus as he speaks to this pastor and says, here's how to here's what I want you to do. Here's the work I want you to be doing. Listen to how Paul understands himself and the work that he's doing. He sees God as his source. Listen how he begins. He says, Paul a servant of God. That's how the whole letter starts. Paul a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. We see that self understanding his and God as the beginning and the source. Um in his expression about how things happen, about his work and the aims of his work. In verse two, he says that he does this work in the hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began. He's a servant of God. He's a slave of God. He's an apostle of Jesus Christ, which means that he's somebody who has been sent who has been commissioned and sent out. And he does that speaking things on behalf of God. That's the message he brings. He doesn't bring...

Paul's message or tied us his message or the message of the people that cret want to hear. He brings God's message, who never lies. At the end, they are of verse three noticed how he puts his preaching. He says, I have been entrusted by the command of God, our Savior. And that last part is important. Paul's understanding of the one who has sent him, Paul's understanding of the source is very particular. It's very particular. When Paul says he is a servant of God, he has something very specific in mind, some one very specific in mind. Who is the God that Paul serves? Well? He tells us he is not a servant of a internal sense of call, though that might be part of it. He is a servant of a sense of love all the part of it. He's not a servant of of other people, although that's part of it. He's he's not a servant of of of of distraction. He's not a servant of purpose or meaning. He's not a servant of of just trying to do good things. He's a servant of God, Jesus Christ, our Savior. When he talks about God, he reveals the God who is a trinity. The Holy Spirit is not mentioned here explicitly, but he is the author of these words. We have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not just a power, not just a strength, not a duty, but a triune God, the one and only true God, eternal, inscrutable, everlasting, This God, this Father of all, this one who uh gave birth to the one who has eternally begotten these great mysteries that we can't get our minds around. This one who is not really understandable. He serves that God, a God who has made himself known, not by revealing him himself and in all of his ways to us. For what creature could understand God? But God reveals himself to us. And what in the proclamation, in the preaching of the Word that was manifested at the proper time. We're coming close to Christmas time? Right, What are we talking about here? What's Paul talking about here? He's talking about that, as the scriptures say, at this perfect moment in history, not perfect because of fate or at some sort of accident, but perfect because God designed it for exactly this way. He enters into time...

...and space, takes on human flesh, and reveals himself to us in that way. He reveals himself in the way of the Cross. When God comes to us when the Son of God comes into this world and becomes man and then dies for us, suffers for us, endures the wrath of God on the cross for your sins. That's how God reveals himself to us. That's how we know him through Jesus Christ, our Savior. You see what I mean. It's when Paul says, Jesus Christ, our Savior, entrusted by him, a coming at the proper speaking a word that was entrusted to him, that came at the proper time. He is a very very specific God in mind, a God who has aid him, a God who has entered into this world, a God who has endured in human flesh, suffering and terror and all kinds of horrible things so that we might be saved for from our sins. It's that God that he is the servant of. It's that God in which Paul goes out into life and travels around and endures all kinds of hard stuff for the sake of that God. And he does it freely, and he does it with joy, And that's not an accident because of who God is, because of what he has done. Paul then works in this way because Paul's faith is not in himself anymore because Faul. Paul's faith is not in a sort of general God, because Paul's faith is not in his works, but it is in this God and our say Year, and the one who came into this world and gives us eternal life. That's why Titus flows out the way that it does. Paul's ministry to tied us into us, tied us as ministry or the crete, to the island of crete, and our ministry to one another and to our community. It all flows out of this one place, this source. If it doesn't flow out of that source, where's it flowing out of? Nowhere? Good? Because at that point even our best works condemn us. Even our best works, the best things that we can do, are coming out of a sense of pride and self sufficiency. And we can do it on our own because we are our own we are own gods. At that point, even our best works become acts of rebellion essentially, which is to say sin. But Paul is...

...not in rebellion here is he listen to his voice. Paul a servant of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth which accords with Godliness in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began, before there was a Paul, before there was a heavens of an earth. There was God, and he was making promises in love about you. Those promises manifested at the proper time in his word. Now through the preaching which which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior, to Titus, my child, in a common faith, grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. You hear his love. You here his confidence. You hear his sense of duty, and his passion and his joy. Where does that come from? He's telling us where it comes from. It comes from God, from Christ, Jesus our Savior. Later in Titus, in chapter three fifteen he'll tell Titus, um, that's not right. To fifteen he tell us a good thing, that's a short pook. He tells Titus, declare these things, exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Where in the world, if I could put it that way, is Titus supposed to get that kind of confidence from to go to these people who Paul in a very bold way calls in verse twelve liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons. Paul is going to go into the culture of create, this culture of create, and he or Titus is going to go into this culture, and he is going to exhort and he is going to rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. That's gonna take some resilience. He's gonna get knocked down. It's gonna be hard. There's gonna be people who do not like it when he the when he tries to silence them, as Paul tells him to do, and yet he's supposed to do it with authority. It's guaranteed to be difficult work. One. The world is under a curse. Two. Titus still has the old man in him, the fallen of flesh, putting up a stink, and God himself, of course, will bring suffering to put to death old man,...

...to try him and push him and strengthen him and purify him and make him his own. Where is he going to get his confidence from? Where is he going to get his resilience from? How is he going to wake up in the morning and let no one disregard him. Is it going to be because he's really awesome. That might work for a little bit, but eventually tied us, like all of you and like me, come to a point where we go, I'm not that awesome. We all get to a point, if God is gracious in our lives, where we realize we don't meet all the qualifications as well as we think we ought to meet them, that we come short in so many ways that like Paul, he says in the Letter and one of the letters of the Corinthians, I came to you and my knees were knocking. I was trembling and afraid. I wasn't anything impressive. If Paul went to corinth You might remember this from our time and the Corinthians. If Paul went to corinthe trusting in his ability to knock all the sophists and the great speakers out of their seats, and everyone goes, oh, Paul, such a great speaker. You know, we'll listen to you. Now. He didn't have it. He was a smart guy. He was an educated guy, but he was not super polished, super refined. You couldn't count his syllables and his speeches and see how they all paralleled each other perfectly, and there's perfect semmetry and balance and all this his game. His aim wasn't to be an artist, and he struggled with various things. Where would Paul get that confidence from? How could he keep moving? How when, especially when you realize that there's things in you that are problematic, difficult, Sometimes people have a hard time getting along with you. Sometimes you miss things up, sometimes you sin. And in that state, he's somehow supposed to get up in front of people and let no one disregard him. He's supposed to have confidence in his rebuking, He's supposed to have confidence in his exhorting. Yes, But the only way he will have that, and the only way Paul has that is by stop looking at himself. If I stop trying to pretend that he and all his good works and all these sorts of things will somehow give him the authority that he needs. Titus does good works, Titis meets the qualifications for an elder. So does Paul. But how does Paul think about himself? How does he want Titus to think about himself? How does he want us, as a church, in our collective ministry to think about ourselves? And all works in our in our work.

Yeah. He doesn't want us to look at ourselves and say, okay, well we finally got it together and now we can go do these good things, or now people will listen to us, or whatever. He says. Paul a servant of God, an apostle of Christ, Jesus who serves God, who has been entrusted by the command of God, are what our savior? God doesn't entrust Paul because Paul was such a good pharisee, right, he his level of education was so high. He finally was such a great teacher. He had gone to all the right teachers, he had followed the law. And then God comes to Paul. You remember this, now you don't, It's not in the Bible. Paul. God comes to God comes to Paul and then gives him his trophy and his metal and a fancy call heard robe or something that says, here, you have earned my commission as an apostle. Now, how does Paul become an apostle? Jesus points his finger at him and says, why are you persecuting me? And then he blinds him. That's how Paul becomes an apostle. He has not rewarded for his good works. He has not rewarded for his education. He has not rewarded for his his class, or his his his work on behalf of whatever he's put to death. Yes, he suffers in these external ways, right, he loses his sight for a time, he's shamed in a way, accused there publicly and on the road, and then now for the rest of the history of the world. But in his own heart, and that's good. Paul puts the Lord Jesus put Saul to death so that he could bring Paul to life. That's wonderful. That's the that's the God who Paul serves. That's the confidence and authority in which he goes for. He's not He's not Paul. He's a servant of God. That's who he is. That's how he thinks about himself. That's how he moves forward. And that's how Titus will have confidence authority, because he's not there representing Titus, He's representing God, God who is entrusted in him a jar of clay, a man who's still with sin and being still perfected, still growing, still struggling. God has entrusted him with this message of grace. So this I think brings us all to a point where we have to ask ourselves, do we know...

...this God? Do we know this God? Many people think they do, but they don't. Like Saul, Paul. Saul was not an eer irreligious man. Right. If he was at the you know, doctor's office, taking his religious preference, he would not have said none or spiritual but not religious. Right, Paul would have known what to mark. He was for God. He was for Yahweh. He was for the one who created the world, who had given the law, who had revealed himself to Moses. He was for that God. He believed. And he was working, and he was striving, and he was moving mountains as best he could, even to the point of persecuting these this church, the people that were claiming that Jesus Christ was their savior. Paul was very busy. Paul was working hard. Paul was trying to do a lot of good things. Or we got another example Nicodemus. Nicodemus, remember when he comes to Jesus and John chapter three, he was a man who thought he knew God. Jesus says to him, you're a teacher, and yet you don't understand these things Nicodemus couldn't figure out how is it I'm supposed to be born again? Because Nicodemus was still thinking that it didn't require something so dramatic as to die and to be reborn. Nicodemus and and Saul and many of us think it's not as dramatic as that. It's not as dramatic as dying and being born again. We think God is simply achieving a good reputation. We think God is doing good works. God is success, God is importance. God is duty or high class or calling, or wealth or beauty. And then God shows himself as in Jesus on the cross, who is low, not high, suffering, not living, dying, enduring wrath. And this is how he reveals himself as our savior. That's the God that we must know, God that we must die in in order to live in. And that's his promise to us, brothers and sisters, when we put our faith in Christ, when we...

...give up on our works, when we give up trying to be busy and doing lots of good things, and we say, Okay, I can't do it. I'm not able to work this program where I keep doing good things. And then Eventually, the good result happens when we see in ourselves are how deep our problems go, how infected with sin we are, when we finally give up all on that and say, I guess my only hope left is God, our savior. I guess my only hope left is Jesus Christ, and the promise that he makes before the world begins, that he can save me and do something good with me. When God humbles us in that way, he then exalts us, as he did with Paul before his name changed. Hasn't been confusing. Saul was once called Saul. Paul was once called Saul, and then he was renamed or became Paul. In this former time, he had gotten to the top, so to speak. He talks about this a pharisee of pharisees, of the of great lineage, of great education, all these sorts of things. He had gotten to the top. He worked that program, and eventually it resulted in being accused by the God of all the world of persecuting him. But when Paul, when God did this to him, humbled him, then what happened to Paul? He was exalted, He was freed from the chains of the old man. He gave up on that old project and that old way of life, to simply live in Christ and see Christ work through him. M He says, I am not my own it's Christ who lives in me. It's Christ who works in me. That's who I am now. And what was the result, Well, the world was changed not by Paul, but by God working in this man, and in Titus, and in Timothy, and in Lowest and in Unue and in many many others, in the Cretans here and in us. And when God begins to do this work in us, it's exciting and it feels so good, even when it's hurting, even when we're suffering, even when things aren't going our way, because we know, you know, God's at work, God's doing his work. I'm gonna be okay. The gay...

...of Hell will not prevail against the Lord who is attacking Hell. The Lord wins. And so this leaves us all with a couple options. One we can continue on a path apart from God, our savior, a path in which we are isolated from Him, separated from him doing good or evil, it doesn't really matter in an outward way. In an an ultimate sense, we can keep on that path and doing these things, and you may achieve some measure of success in the church and life and business and whatever, but eventually it's all for nothing and it will crash around you. This is how pastors burn out and get cotton sin and everything falls apart. That's that's one way to go. The other way to go is to give up on yourself, to give up on your good works, to give up on your pro projects, to give up on trying to achieve. Achieve, achieve, to do, do do, to gain the love of the one of these false idel's reputation, pride, uh success, beauty, whatever it is, to give up on that and simply give yourself to the Lord Jesus, and to know him and not yourself, as the source of all life, as the source of all Godliness, as the source of all truly good works. And when we do that, when we give up and just give ourselves over to God and trust in Him to do his work in us, things often begin to change in our lives. Sometimes a lot of things all happen at once. Usually there's some stopping involved. We just stop doing certain things that we used to do. Sometimes there's some shuffling involved. We we be we were doing this, and we kind of move over here and we start doing this instead. We do it in a different way because we're not doing it for ourselves anymore. We're looking for the Lord and his work in us. Sometimes it means stopping, Sometimes it means shuffling. Sometimes it means shifting up and do a higher gear, and we go faster, and we do more, and we all and and and there's there's uh. We find ourselves to be more capable than we ever were. Usually it's some combination of all of those things. But the differences is that now, no matter what's happening, no matter how our lives are changing, they're changing because of God as he gives us rest in him, and we no longer are seeking to serve ourselves, but serve Him and allow him to simple work through us. That is Paul's...

...desire for Titus. That's why he describes himself in this way and more. Maybe a better way to put it is, that's why he describes God in this way. And that's the word for us to hear as well, to hear who God is, to hear what he has done, and to put our faith in him and then let him do his work in us. Let's pray our father in heaven, thank you for coming into our lives and working in our lives in such a way that we would stop doing isolation, stop doing rebellion, stop doing things that are apart from you, and serving the gods of our own making our own imaginations, the gods of this world. What a joy it is to serve you, to be known by you, to love you, to be wrapped up in you and all of the things that you're doing. To know that even though we are foolish and weak, struggling in all kinds of ways, that we sometimes don't even know our right hand from our left hand. It's hard to know which way to go, what to do, how to help, when to stop, window shuffle, shuffle, window shift. Despite our confusion, despite our weaknesses, despite all of these things, you are at work. That you promised before the ages began that you would save us, and that you would work in us to save others. Oh Lord, this is so marvelous. What a joy it is to be known by you. We give you thanks and pray is for this, and we confess our sins, we confess our idolatry, we confess our good works, done apart from faith, we confess our sinful deeds and desires that are meant to simply soothe ourselves and and get the things that we want. Apart from waiting from you, Lord, we confess that life apart from You is simply hell and leads to it. And so we ask that you would bring life into us, that you would open our eyes, that you would help us to see the Lord, our Savior, on the cross, suffering and dying for our sins, and now risen from the dead, seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, who is working and interceding, and and building and strength, inning and lifting us up,...

...and pressing us on and keeping us all the way to heaven. Lord, this is grace, and this is peace. Settle our hearts. And as we find ourselves more and more settled and rested in You, we asked that you would pour your love and your ministry out through us unto others, our family, our friends, our neighbors, and all who still need to know you. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

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