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  "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
 . . .  Colossians 1:10  . . .
 
Five Core Principles That Should Guide A Believerís Life & Service Today: Be Committed To Godís Authority And Godís Mission

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 11/13/05

Paulís Formal Greeting To Titus (1:1-4)

The first four verses of Titus 1 are one L-O-N-G sentence. They form the most formal greeting in all of Paulís three pastoral epistles. Yet the purpose is the same as it is in Paulís letters to Timothy, that being to encourage and strengthen a young pastor who had followed Paul in a difficult ministry. It is clear from what Paul says in verse 12-13 of chapter 1 that the people on the island of Crete were not the easiest to work with, and very likely Titus became discouraged. Titus 1:12-13 "One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretans are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;" Further, one of the key problems with these Cretans was their misunderstanding and outright abuse of the grace of God. Their idea of grace was this -- "God has saved us by grace, so we are free to sin." Paul addresses this in his opening greeting by stating that "the truthÖis after godliness." And, as we will see later in our study, Godís grace does not give us a license to sin but rather as Titus 2:11-12 says, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world."

Without a doubt, Paul left Titus with a BIG job to do there in Crete, however he does give Titus an outline of what needs to be done and how to do it.

In these first four verses of Titus, Paul shares Five Core Principles That Guided His Life and Service to the Lord. These five principles should guide every pastor and every believer for that matter. Letís examine the first two of these five principles.

Be Committed To Godís Authority

Be Committed To Godís Mission

Be Committed To Godís Message

Be Committed To Godís Means

Be Committed To Godís People

Letís consider the first principleÖ

  • Be Committed To Godís Authority Ė 1a

Titus 1:1 "Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus ChristÖ"

Paul begins his letter by identifying himself in this way - paulov doulov yeou (Paulos doulos Theou) Ė "Paul, a servant of God." Why is that important? Because, before his conversion, he was a servant of sin, of divers lusts and pleasures, and he owns up to it in this epistle in Titus 3:3 Ė "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." But, after his encounter with Jesus Christ, he was freed from his sin and, willingly became the bond-servant of God. The Greek word translated servant is the word doulov Ė doulos, which refers to a person (slave) who, by their own choice has devoted himself/herself wholly to the will of another, without regard to his/her own interests. To put is simply, Paul put himself at Godís disposal to be used as God willed. He had no life that he called his own, not will of his own, no purpose of his own, and no plans of his own. He was wholly devoted to do Godís will. He was committed to Godís authority.

Now, to the application. Just as Paul was committed to being the bond-servant of God, so he expected Titus to follow that same path as well. In fact, the truth be known, ALL believers are the bond-servants of God. Paul put it this way to the Romans Ė "I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." Romans 6:19-22

To be a Christian is to be a bond-servant of God. Paul said, "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:20. And what is the price? 1 Peter 1:18-19 tells us Ė "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:"

We need to wake up Christian friends. Todayís popular "seeker friendly" churches proclaim the same message the worldly Cretans believed, (you were saved by grace you are free to sin). The truth is that "they (believers) which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." 2 Corinthians 5:15

Believers, all believers, are to be committed to Godís Authority in their lives. Paul said he was a doulov yeou (doulos Theou), a servant of God. We should be able to put our name where Paulís name is. For me it would read Dabid doulov yeou (Dabid doulos Theou), David a servant of God.

Now, letís move on to the next phrase in verse 1 Ė "an apostle of Jesus ChristÖ" Paulís specific service, which God called him to, was to be an apostle. The Greek word apostolov apostolos (ap-osí-tol-os) means a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders. Paul was sent by the Lord Jesus Christ to be His delegate and to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 26:1-20, key vs. 17, Romans 11:13, 2 Timothy 1:11).

Letís move on to the next principleÖ

  • Be Committed To Godís Mission Ė 1b-2a

"1b according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 2 In hope of eternal life,"

Because of Paulís total commitment to the Authority of God, he was totally committed to the Mission that the Lord had entrusted to him. We see in this section that Paul had three main concerns.

1. Evangelism 2) Edification 3) Encouragement

Letís begin with 1) Evangelism. We see this in the phrase Ė "according to the faith of God's elect." There is absolutely no doubt that God "elects" or chooses people to be saved. We read in 1 Peter 1:2 "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied." Paulís mission was to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles so those whom God had chosen might come to saving faith in Christ! Listen friends, no one can be saved without hearing the Word of God Ė "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17. We know thatís exactly how Paul viewed his mission because of what he wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:10 "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."

Paulís second concern was Edification. We see this in the phrase "and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness." The Greek word translated "acknowledging" is epignwsin - epignosin (ep-igí-no-sin) and means a precise and correct knowledge of the truth. Paulís job was not only to evangelize them but also to teach them the truth of the Word of God so that they could obey that truth and grow in godliness. Thatís edification. Peter put is this way Ė "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" 1 Peter 2:2. To be sure, preachers are charged with the responsibility to teach the Word that believers might be edified. However, believers also have that responsibility as we see in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one anotherÖ."

Paul was committed to the mission of evangelization, and edification. Yet, there was a final aspect of his mission mentioned in verse 2b Ė "In hope of eternal life" Ė Encouragement. For us to understand how the "hope of eternal life" can be encouraging we must understand the difference between how we use our English word hope and Greek word translated hope. When we use the word hope today we mean something that we wish for or desire. It is something that we want to come to pass, but really are not sure that it will. However the Greek word translated hope elpidi Ė elpidi (el-pe-de), is a much stronger word, which means a joyful and confident expectation. There is NO doubt in the Greek hope; it WILL come to pass.

I can tell you that if you are saved, you will spend eternity with the risen Lord Jesus Christ. You will have a resurrection body like His resurrection body. There will be no more death, no more sickness, no more pain, and no more sorrow. What a day that will be! (see Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 John 3:2-3).

In conclusion, as believers we need to be committed to Godís Authority because we are not our own, we have been bought with a price. We need to be committed to Godís Mission Ė evangelize the lost, edify and encourage fellow believers.
 

 

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First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

10550 S. Howell Ave. - Oak Creek, WI 53154

Phone: 414-762-7575

Pastor: David L. Brown, Ph.D.

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