Regeneration (Rebirth) radically changes us, inside and out, so that now we reflect that gospel-change to one another and the watching world! N.T. Wright says, “the creator of the World is a lavish host who has sent out a worldwide invitation to His party. We, as His messengers, must live in such a way that people will want to turn up.” What makes us a people like this? Christ does – He changes us and He is our only hope! Christ is the only one who can deliver any of us from verse 3 slavery!
Godliness is not just about saying “No” to sin. You must say “yes” to God. You are not in neutral. You are going in one direction. You will not overcome sin or addiction by simply saying “no.” You must say “Yes.”So, grace teaches us about holiness and also enables us to do it, unlike the law that gives demands but no power to keep it. Listen to Bunyan: Run, John, run. The law commands But gives neither feet nor hands Better news the gospel brings It bids me fly and gives me wings.-John Bunyan
Today we are going to talk about two essentials of a healthy church: Sound Doctrine, and Qualified Elders. Titus is about renovating the church in Crete. He has the hard task of trying to put what remained in order, and to do that he is to teach sound doctrine, and appoint qualified elders. Apart from these two, the church will collapse. Virtually, every church in the NT needed reformation in these areas. So let’s look at these two essentials of a healthy church, and they are related: (1) Sound Doctrine (1-4), (2) Qualified Elders (5-16). Left to ourselves, we can’t live out this list of qualifications put forth in Titus! But there is one ultimate Overseer who did them perfectly.We must look to Christ to be transformed.
Paul uses an athletic analogy in this section, mentioning the “crown.” These Garlands or “Crowns” won by the Greeks were greatly prized, like these plaques in the Hall of Fame. But Paul speaks of a crown of infinitely greater worth, of something of far greater importance. He speaks of a crown that he will receive—the same crown we also will one day receive! This should propel us to faithfulness. Every little reward in this life pales in comparison to the crown of life. No trophy compares with seeing the Savior, and hearing “Well done.”
“Keep your finger on the text when you teach and preach.” That’s exactly what we’re talking about today. Keeping our heart and mind in the word, and our finger on the text. We must do this – as readers, as teachers/preachers, and as listeners. In every case, keep your finger on the text.Nothing is more important than us hearing from the Word of God. For indeed, the Bible testifies to the glorious truths about our Savior. It makes us wise for salvation. It shows us that: He lived the life we couldn’t live; died the death we should have died, rose on our behalf, and now calls all of us to come to him in repentance and faith and receive this great salvation. Come to this divine Christ.
We all are following someone and at some point or another we will all lead. So the question is, does our following and our leading consistent with the Gospel? Or is it more consentient with the list in this passage? We are told to avoid those who have an only appearance of godliness and follow gospel-changed examples through the power of the Gospel! Ultimately only Christ can say follow my way of life and actually give you the power and changed heart to do it even if that leads us to persecution and crucifixion!
Today we’re talking about the importance of healthy teaching, and the characteristics of a faithful teacher. People desperately need healthy teaching. Teaching is really the foundation of all that we do as a church. We worship, but our worship is built on sound doctrine; we serve, but Scripture teaches us about serving; we get married,but it is the teaching of Scripture that teaches us about marriage, and so on. Jesus Christ, the Lord’s servant is not only the model for all teachers, but he is also the person who gives us power to accomplish our mission of teaching the Word.
Paul models endurance for us in 2 Timothy. He writes this letter from a prison. He’s an aged, war-torn apostle, but he’s enduring until the end. He is calling Timothy to endure to the end. Remember Jesus Christ! Remember the one who conquered our enemies, is seated at the Father’s right hand, and gives sufficient grace that we may endure hardship. If we endure through him, we will reign with him. And when your faith ends in sight and you hear the Savior say, “Well done,” I promise you that you will not regret passing on the gospel and suffering for the gospel as a good soldier, a disciplined athlete, and a hard-working farmer.
Honor Jesus with Gospel Centered Courage. Don’t be ashamed of the gospel, be willing to suffer for the gospel, and guard the gospel. That is gospel centered courage. As we examine these command and examples, we get a glimpse of the heart of the Apostle Paul. We are also reminded that those who are courageous for the gospel will likely suffer for it. Many around the world endure great suffering and even death for the gospel. Are we willing to do likewise? Do we have that kind of gospel centered courage.
In our pluralistic, relativistic culture, we need churches to declare God’s truth. More people today our concerned with a church’s children’s activities than a church’s doctrine. That’s upside down. Your first concern should be doctrine. Further, I continue to hear about churches who say “we like our pastor but he’s not much of a theologian.” While sound doctrine isn’t the only thing that matters, it’s one thing that a church must have. A pastor must “be able to teach” (1Tim 3) sound doctrine (Titus 1:9). It’s one of the qualifications! Sadly, many have traded the faithful shepherd who can feed the flock for a CEO who can build an institution. Titus and Timothy both call us back to this fundamental need: Healthy Doctrine.