Titus 1 vv 1 -4

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Complete sermon on Titus 1:1 from ‪#‎sundayatgrace‬ this week
The identity, role and purpose of the Apostle ... or any apostle ... or any believer?
http://youtu.be/91Sz6lBXfQY
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  • Paul is setting out to write some pretty tough stuff to a hardened, seasoned church planting veteran in the person of Titus … we saw last time that this man had been around a bit.He’s a tough, wise, solid and reliable servant of God.Paul could rely on him.This is pretty much ‘man on man’, ‘full contact’ theology.It’s a ‘don’t pussy foot about’, ‘get the job done’, (or as my old school rugby used to shout at us) ‘get in there- low and hard, low and hard’ sort of letter designed to stiffen Titus’ resolve to do the tough stuff he had to do to sort out a very unruly situation amongst the unruly people of Crete!But Paul was writing to Titus with every intention … as you can tell by the way plurals keep cropping up in the Greek text … fully conscious of the people of Crete, new Christians, who will be ‘shoulder surfing’ Titus as this letter gets read.Paul is therefore throwing his own apostolic authority behind all that Titus is there to do (for the sake of that church) and at the same time stiffening the resolve of Titus to do the tough stuff he needs to do in order to sort out the churches on Crete … because we all (however seasoned and experienced in the Christian life) rock like a stone gate post in our sockets from time to time under the impact of the storms that blow against our gate, and need a rock wedged into the widening hole in the ground to stiffen us back up again.There’s the back story to what’s going on in Titus.Where does Paul place the ball at the kick off?
  • Well, he’s certainly not kicking for touch … he’s looking to engage the opposition in the middle of the field in some hard tackling open play … look at this.First there’s Paul and just exactly who he is, then there’s Titus (and exactly who Titus is).If we get beyond that today I’ll be surprised.So … and given how self effacing we know Paul is from the Corinthian correspondence, from Romans 7, from Colossians 1 and so on this is really very surprising … Paul goes on for ages about himself, who he is and (most significantly) why HE, Paul, has the right to speak.Titus is also then accredited by Paul when Paul has finished showing that Paul is accredited to speak for God.Paul is not one who is known for messing about, but here he is at his most forthright and direct and in a most unaccustomed direction … asserting his own credentials, and not in the way he does in 2 Corinthians 11:21 “Whatever anyone else dares to boast about – I am speaking as a fool – I also dare to boast about”, or in 2 Corinthians 12:5-7 “I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”None of that reticence with THESE boastful, untruthful, rebellious people on Crete …It is REMARKABLE how forthright Paul is with them … far more fulsome, going on at greater length here than he does in any other of his introductions to other letters …You want to know who I am to be telling you?You want to know MY right to speak?Shut up and listen, and get the very clear idea who you are dealing with …I am Paul … almost the theological equivalent to ‘I am Spartacus’‘You want to take ME on? Then know who and what you are dealing with!’
  • Paul, outside the Acts accounts of his conversion on the Damascus Road, ALWAYS uses the name Paul.It seems likely that, whilst his conversion experience was in Aramaic … the language of the heavenly vision of the Son of Man in Daniel which led him to see Jesus as God the Son … and used the name ‘Saul’, Paul was this man’s Roman ‘cognomen’ and was therefore the name he used throughout the Graeco-Roman world to which he was called to be their apostle … the apostle to the Gentiles.But Paul – OK – you are a Hebrew but a Roman citizen from birth and so you are born into a Roman family name, we’d say ‘surname’ – Paul is likely his Roman cognomen.And yes, you are well enough known to be able to be known simply by that one name.But who ARE you, in terms of the authority you claim to speak for God to this rebellious, immoral, integrity-lacking Cretan church?
  • Paul kicks off talking about his role with a slightly unusual term … God’s slave.So here’s how he sees himself … here’s the first plank in his explanation of his self-image.How do you think of yourself Paul … Pharisee, pupil of Gamaliel the Great, leading academic scholar as a younger man, Roman citizen too, massive following (no doubt) on Facebook?‘Slave’.It is the ordinary word for the menial household servant, the slave.Nothing glamorous or authoritative about that!Ah, but ‘slave of God’.There’s the difference.It is more common for Paul to refer to himself as the slave of Christ (Romans 1:1, Gal. 1:10; Phil. 1:1), but here he picks up the sort of way that Moses and David and other godly men are described in the pages of the OT (LXX Ps. 104:26, 2 Samuel 7:4 & 8, Jer. 7:25; Amos 3:7, Haggai 2:23).Paul steps up and takes his place in THAT list of God’s servants …NOW we’re talking!Who has Paul come here for?Who is HE writing to us on behalf of?Sure, as so many of the commentaries point out, the slave (or servant) was the property of his master and had only qualified rights.A slave’s existence was – yes - determined by servitude and by submission to his master.But in submitting himself to such disciplined service of God, Paul has stood in a very noble line and entitled himself to be heard on these subjects.If we start seeing ourselves as anything more grand than servants – slaves and menials of God – we start disqualifying ourselves as servants speaking for Him.And if we start seeing ourselves as more than slaves who’ve been bought by His blood, then we stop being willing to put our (earthly) bodies on the line in His service, and a VERY unfaithful church we will make of ourselves … unwilling to stand up and be counted.Paul is definitely, utterly God’s minion …BUT – here’s the big difference – Paul is the minion of no less a person than the King of Kings … and with Him His servants face lions and walk through fire, finding that they don’t walk alone through the furnace.Minions of the King … ‘Paul a servant of God …’
  • Wikipedia: “A minion is a follower devoted to serve his/her master/mistress relentlessly.”There is no let up implied in this term.There is no hesitation in intention, no breakdown in intensity, no flagging in assurance that we are servants of the King.What sort of God do we serve?A God on a mission.Which takes us to the next thing that Paul has to say, because our God is a missional God …
  • Yes, as Wikipedia has it: “A minion is a follower devoted to serve his/her master/mistress relentlessly.”But this one is to go where his Master sends him.ἀπόστελλω is the verb which means ‘I send’ἀπόστολος is the noun that means: ‘sent one’.Now that’s a really interesting thing in the NT.The God of the NT is a God Who reaches out graciously, constantly and insistently to people.He is an OUTGOING sort of God!Still.Here’s an important point, you see …If you search for ‘apostle’ in your Bible you don’t just find members of ‘the 12’.(Here’s another important point at which Apostolic Succession’s followers have got it wrong – there were other apostles than Peter!)The church has this office of ‘missionary’ … but you will not find that in the Bible.I’ve heard it said that we shouldn’t send missionaries, just Pastors … but those folks are getting it wrong too.The Bible has ‘missionaries’ called something else!There is … Barnabas – Acts 14:4 … ‘apostle’, then there’s Silas – 1 Thess 1:1 & 2:6Timothy – 1 Thess 1:1 & 2:6 along with SilasEpaphroditus – Phil. 2:25 where (Gk.) ἀπόστολοςis translated ‘your messenger’ (why?!!)Apollos – 1 Cor 4:9 along with Peter and PaulAnd Junia (female name) – Romans 16:7 along with Andronicusall have this term applied to them …Now, of course, there are places in Scripture where there are characteristics of an Apostle mentioned (doing the signs of an Apostle and having seen and been commissioned by the Risen Lord, for example) that these others don’t seem to display.Paul and Peter and the 12 minus Judas seem to be apostles functioning at a different level but there is no doubt that when (Eph. 4:11) God gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some shepherds and teachers … He meant the first three categories of gift to His church to persist as much as He meant the last (Pastor/ teachers).You wouldn’t necessarily think so by looking at (say) the NIV translation of all these verses, or by putting the word ‘apostle’ into a Biblegatewaywordsearch … excellent though these resources really are … but the NT church certainly went on to behave as if they thought this was the case!καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους τοὺς δὲ προφήτας τοὺς δὲεὐαγγελιστάς τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλουςThere they are … the ongoing offices God gives to His church!Incidentally, please note this too, while we’re getting our terms right …Paul … is an apostle … one sent with the Lord’s great commission … NOT actually ‘to plant churches’, but to do pioneer evangelism and plant the message of the evangel, out of which sprang new life from which churches then formed (which the apostles needed to organise at the end of the day for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and the ongoing mission to the lost … which need then gave rise to the pastoral epistles including this letter to Titus that we’re studying).So … Paul speaks as one commissioned by King Jesus to go as His slave in His service and fulfil the Great Commission of the sent ones, to make disciples of Christ from all nations.Paul carries the commission of God for this.Amongst those who profess faith in Jesus, who would want to oppose him or stand in his way?!
  • I incidentally referred to this already … faith is the goal of Paul’s apostolate.Faith is the goal we call people to.Believe and then everything else follows that!Not just believe, though, exercise faith like you trust Him.Why are we out there day by day listening to people’s problems … unconverted people … hearing their difficulties and being involved in the challenges of their lives?Because we are trying to bring men and women to take their troubles to the foot of the Cross and learn to lean their full weight on the Saviour.You’ve got bundles on your back and burdens on your soul?I’m happy to say ‘Yes, me too!’ … but look at the love of my Saviour!I lean on Him.He bears me up.He pays the price of my sin, re-unites me with Christ, sends His Spirit into my heart and as I lean on Him I find Him to be my all-sufficient Saviour.My Saviour from sin, my Saviour from guilt, my Saviour from shame … my Saviour from the effects of sin in this fallen world which is all that gives faithless life it’s unbear-ability.I am here, says Paul, serving God, being sent out by Christ, fishing for the elect by sharing Christ with them, doing everything to further the faiith of God’s elect.This is what we (in the shorthand of the ghetto) refer to as Christian ‘evangelism’.
  • What’s this about the ‘elect’, then?Alistair Roberts response to a book review on Andrew Wilson’s blog:“While the elect are an entire humanity—the new humanity—not every human being is elect. Only those who are in Christ are elect. While most Reformed doctrines of election leave us uncertain about who exactly is elect, my argument is that the identity of the elect is clear in Paul’s theology (see Philippians 4:3, for instance). If you are a member of the body of Christ, the family chosen before the foundation of the world in its head, Jesus, you are elect. Until you are united to Christ, however, you are not elect.In Ephesians 1, as elsewhere, election is not the timeless teaching that God has selected a number of individuals out of the mass of humanity for salvation, but that from the very outset God determined to form a glorious humanity and family in his Son and that now, in the fullness of time, he has done so and that *we* are that humanity and family.”It’s what I’m HERE FOR says Paul … it’s my purpose … to further the faith of God’s elect and that means …
  • Elect is a common description of Israel in the OT … 1 Chron 16:13, Psalm 105:6, Isaiah 43:20; 45:4; 65:9, 15, 23.It is a description of the people of God that is transferred across to the community of God’s people in the NT, and given that Paul seems (as we’ll see another time) to be dealing with a Jewish heresy threatening the Cretan church, probably one that said that ‘Jewish was better’, then it’s not unusual that he picks this term up here and insists that it applies to God’s new covenant people, is it?So you find it used of Christians in Matthew 22:14; 24:22, 24, 31; Mark 3:20, 22, 27; Luke 18:7; Romans 8:33; Col. 3:12; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:9;2 John 1, 13 & Rev. 17:14This term continues (according to Mounce) the Pauline theme that the righteous remnant, the true people of God, comprises those who have faith (Romans 2:25-9) … a theme that is significant in view of the Jewish nature of the problem on Crete.
  • Paul NEVER pits unearthed or unrooted faith against the knowledge of the truth.Christianity is not some wafty set of ideas, inclinations or feelings … it is knowledge or (here, actually) UNDERSTANDING of God’s truth.Now, neither is it intellectual knowledge, it is ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας … practical, working, personally apprehended knowledge, functional and at work in my life knowledge and understanding of the truth … an analogy might be found in the difference between intellect and wisdom, a degree and an apprenticeship … nothing wrong with either, but Paul is talking very determinedly here of the latter.And he goes on to explicate …
  • This knowledge of the truth is truth apprehended in life, because he exercises his role as the servant of God and apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles to further the faith of God’s elect so that this faith will lead them to GODLINESS (another thing lacking in the culture and the churches of Crete).Now, I know it is common to think that the authentic Christian message is that you don’t need to behave, just believe.But the Bible says believe and you’ll behave.Gospel truth is (once embraced) ‘the truth that leads to godliness’.This is not just a matter of saying that intellectually it is consistent to believe that sin put Jesus on the Cross, is therefore ridiculous and to be avoided … although that also is true!The point is that trusting Christ leads to a lot of other stuff – not least including the arrival of the indwelling HOLY Spirit Who gets to work on giving you a new heart and putting a new spirit within you – Ezekiel 11:19: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.”So Paul writes what is considered to be his great treatise on justification by faith alone and begins like this: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life[a] was a descendant of David,4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power[b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from[c] faith for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”So Paul speaks of the truth embraced as being the brillo of the soul … it is ‘the truth that leads to godliness’.
  • Next week we’ll look at the scintillating attractive force of the future in the life of such believers …
  • Titus 1 vv 1 -4

    1. 1. Welcome to Grace! “No temptation (Gk. πειραςμόσ) has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
    2. 2. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction
    3. 3. Paul, Titus 1:1-4 a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light to me through the entrusted by the command of God our Saviour, 4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.
    4. 4. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul, vv. 1-3
    5. 5. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role • Servant of God - δοῦλοσ θεοῦ, v. 1
    6. 6. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role • Servant of God
    7. 7. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role • Servant of God • Apostle of Jesus Christ ἀπόςτολοσ δὲ Ἰηςοῦ Χριςτοῦ, v. 1
    8. 8. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role – Purpose • “to further the faith of God’s elect”, v. 1 – Faith
    9. 9. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role – Purpose • “to further the faith of God’s elect”, v. 1 – Faith – Elect
    10. 10. ‘the … elect’
    11. 11. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role – Purpose • “to further the faith of God’s elect”, v. 1 • “and their knowledge of the truth”, v. 1
    12. 12. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role – Purpose • “to further the faith of God’s elect”, v. 1 • “and their knowledge of the truth”, v. 1 • “… the truth that leads to godliness”, v. 1
    13. 13. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role – Purpose • • • • “to further the faith of God’s elect”, v. 1 “and their knowledge of the truth”, v. 1 “… the truth that leads to godliness”, v. 1 In the scintillating light of the future, v. 2
    14. 14. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role – Purpose • • • • “to further the faith of God’s elect”, v. 1 “and their knowledge of the truth”, v. 1 “… the truth that leads to godliness”, v. 1 In the scintillating light of the future, v. 2 – Which God PROMISED in time immemorial, v. 2
    15. 15. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role – Purpose • • • • “to further the faith of God’s elect”, v. 1 “and their knowledge of the truth”, v. 1 “… the truth that leads to godliness”, v. 1 In the scintillating light of the future, v. 2 – Which God PROMISED in time immemorial, v. 2 – And which He has now brought to light, v. 2
    16. 16. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role – Purpose • • • • “to further the faith of God’s elect”, v. 1 “and their knowledge of the truth”, v. 1 “… the truth that leads to godliness”, v. 1 In the scintillating light of the future, v. 2 – Which God PROMISED in time immemorial, v. 2 – And which He has now brought to light, v. 2 • Realised right in yer face! V. 3
    17. 17. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role – Purpose • • • • “to further the faith of God’s elect”, v. 1 “and their knowledge of the truth”, v. 1 “… the truth that leads to godliness”, v. 1 In the scintillating light of the future, v. 2 – Which God PROMISED in time immemorial, v. 2 – And which He has now brought to light, v. 2 • Realised right in yer face! V. 3 – Preaching
    18. 18. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul – Role – Purpose • • • • “to further the faith of God’s elect”, v. 1 “and their knowledge of the truth”, v. 1 “… the truth that leads to godliness”, v. 1 In the scintillating light of the future, v. 2 – Which God PROMISED in time immemorial, v. 2 – And which He has now brought to light, v. 2 • Realised right in yer face! V. 3 – Preaching – MY preaching
    19. 19. Titus 1:1-4 • Introduction • Paul • Titus
    20. 20. Titus 1:1-4 • • • • Introduction Paul Titus Greeting
    21. 21. Titus 1:1-4 • • • • • Introduction Paul Titus Greeting Conclusion

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