Ambition for God's People and God's Mission
February 12, 2012 Series: Titus: God's People, God's Mission
Scripture: Titus 1:1–1:4
Grab your Bible and let’s got to Titus. Towards the back, before Hebrews, 1 Peter, After 2 Timothy.
The Pastoral Epistles, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, instruct the church to have Elders, Pastors - which are the same men, talk about more in a few weeks. And They also teach to have deacons.
Deacons, are recognized, official servants in the life of the church. They are those who have been charged by the elders to help the work of the gospel ministry. They help the church function, from finances, to buildings, to benevolence, budgeting, set-up, communion, mercy, all to help the ministry of the church. To help make sure the Elders/Pastors are focused on the ministry of the word to you.
Deacons do not run the church, they help the church run. They will be calling on the body to help get things done as well. They are not errand boys. They are mobilizers for the work of the gospel.
I'm excited to announce our first batch of deacon candidates that we hope to install.
- Brandon Eads
- Matt Odom
- JonL Steele
- Ed White (been waiting in the wings, for a team)
These men have been through a theological training, examination, and assessment time. To make sure that they meet the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3.
We are putting their names before you today, to say, we have examined them, and now we are asking for your input. If there is something that we don't know about these men, that you do -- and we should know it, email me. We are giving 30 days to open assessment, and then at the end we will officially install them as Deacons of Redeemer Church. And we will preach a sermon on Deacons in more detail then.
Part of being a healthy, God-honoring church, is that we have the right offices of the local church, functioning in the right way, and I'm excited that we are on this path. It's all about God's glory.
We are going to read all of Titus and then settle in on the introduction.
I love the book of Titus. What we have in Titus is a young man, doing ministry in a fairly new area, with a bunch of young churches. He is trying to figure ministry out, what he should be doing, what should the churches be doing. And Paul writes him a letter, to help him. God helps Titus and God helps us.
I love this book because, we can personally relate to this. We are like this book. New church. Young pastor. Tons to do. I have run to Titus many times, "God, what do you want for us?" The Pastoral Epistles, should be well read, by every pastor, and responsible church member.
It is my long-range prayer that this book will give us lots of vision and direction for years to come, and my immediate, here and now prayer, that Titus would reorient our lives around God's people and God's mission.
God is giving instruction on the CHURCH, His church, from the leadership, and all the people in the church. He is giving orders.
God is so clear in Titus, did you catch the themes? Paul's occasion for writing --- VERSE 5 of chapter 1. "Get the churches off on the right foot. Get them on track, align them..1) Appoint elders.
- God wants the right leadership, godly men, to shepherd His church.
- He wants a church of godly men and women, who are night and day from the surrounding culture. He wants a people who are hungry for sound doctrine and passionate for the truth -- Look at 2:1
- And He also wants a church that is zealous for good works, ready for mission. LOOK AT 3:1 "be ready for every good work." God wants a church that isn't motivated by moralism and okayness, but the gospel of Jesus.
From the introduction, we meet Paul, a man who once hated Jesus with all of his might, to become the loudest megaphone for the glory of God. Paul unpacks these truths in the intro to the book. He sets the stage.
Every Christian, every church, needs godly ambition. Too many people are half-hearted, lazy, mozying along through life. We need passion and fire -- for God's glory. Holy Ambition.
Paul calls for a godly ambition from the men at Crete. He starts in Ch.1 with the men, because as the men go, so the church goes. Every man in this church has a calling on their life, to help the local church thrive for the glory of God.
A man with no ambition, is in sin. Ambition not for our glory, but for God's. ANYTHING GREATER TO LIVE FOR?
When we don't have it, we pray for it, and we should look to those who do have it.
Do you have those kinds of friends that excite you for the things of God? Stir you? Fire you up? Raise the bar? Or down? Are you that kind of friend? We need to be that kind of person.
I know where we can find that caliber of friend --- right here in the Bible. Paul stands for us as that iron that sharpens are dull blades. Paul was this for Titus and he can be that for us. Titus was discipled, trained by Paul.
We need Paul's ambitions for life, ministry, the church, to rub off on us. I want the flavor of his life, to be my life. The Bible even tells us to, 6 times, God says "Imitate Paul." It's Paul writing and God writing.
Paul writes, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." - 1 Cor. 11:1.
No other Christian was more dedicated to God's People and God's mission, then Paul.
This letter, which was a personal correspondence to Titus, would also have been read aloud to all of the churches throughout Crete.
Even though, this is the introduction, Paul is being strategic, he is going to, just from the overflow of his heart, begin to show Titus what is needed in the church. The kind of leader Titus needs to be, and the Christians in Crete would be hearing, the kind of lives they should be living.
3 Ambitions from Paul...and let's make them our own.
1) A SURRENDERED LIFE FROM OUR GOSPEL IDENTITY
Paul's life is not his. His life's purpose and mission, is from who he is in God.
He calls himself a "Servant of God." In greek, this literally means SLAVE. He knows, "I belong to God." The Bible says, "We have all been bought with a price." Jesus purchased us with his own blood, and the Bible uses the picture of we are now His slaves.
God doesn't have volunteers. Christian, you are not a volunteer -- you belong to God. No one is a volunteer. The question is not whether you will serve Christ, will you joyfully obey.
"I'm too busy, I've got this and that...not convenient." All symptoms, we don't understand our identity -- who we really are.
We don't add Jesus on to our lives, He takes over ours.
Paul had a God-centered, Gospel-driven, Cross-affected life. Shaped everything.
ILL: Ivy had to have a princess dress from DisneyWorld. She loves Rapunzel, and she looks adorable. She didn't want to take it off, and I think she's wore it almost every day this week. As we were walking I said, "Hey Ivy..." And she starts laughing and says, "I'm Princess Ivy."
She was certain her identity had changed. She's different.
Sometimes, we just don't get who we are now in Christ. We are freed, loved, forgiven, justified, new, heirs...and his slaves.
Is your life defined as a slave for the glory of God? Or...
John, convient consumer.
Sally, a patron for God.
We have to get this piece right first -- because this sets the trajectory for our lives. This sets the course we take.
You think of Jesus as an add on, God's people, God's mission, as negotiable -- a life with no power of the Spirit, no excitement, a life of selfishness and silliness.
I belong to Jesus. He is my whole life.
THE GOSPEL is not inviting Jesus into your life, it's being invited into His.
Are you there?
Are you still trying to live as though God doesn't own you?
What is God calling you to?
2) A PURPOSED LIFE FOR THE GOSPEL MISSION
Paul had focus. Paul knew what His life was really all about.
v. 1 - "For the sake of the faith of God's elect."
I'm here, to Help God's people. I'm here to bring the gospel, to sow the seed, and watch God draw all those who are his. God has chosen who will be saved before the foundation of the world, but we don't know who they are! So we share the gospel, we evangelize, we go on mission trips, we love our neighbors, in hope that God will bring them!
Paul says, "MY WHOLE LIFE IS FOR THIS ONE TASK."
His life, was for others.
Paul's existence was to make disciples and make much of Jesus. If you are new, that's why this church exist, to make disciples and to make much of Jesus.
VERSE 4: "To Titus, my true child in a common faith." Paul was a humble disciple maker. "Common" - He looks at Titus as his child, and as his equal. Paul is an apostle, much authority, but knows, his age, his experience, his title, his knowledge -- doesn't make Titus lesser than him. Equals.
Pray we would have a culture of this. A DNA of discipleship. Older men & women need to rise up. Your time is running out. Help the next generation. How will you finish?
Paul sought to win souls to Jesus, and them disciple them. To Teach and Model for them, how to make much of Jesus. THIS IS THE GOOD WORK. All called to this work.
The book of Titus, is bringing focus and clarity to our lives. Satan wants to add distractions. Good things, he wants to distract us.
ILL: We were at DisneyWorld last week. Had a great time. Incredible. But even while I'm there, I'm still a missionary. Even evangelized a Thai employee at DisneyWorld. I prayed for her.
MY WHOLE LIFE IS FOR THIS ONE TASK.
What's yours? Does your life have a mission statement? It should. If you aim at nothing, you get it 100% of the time.
3) A HUNGER FOR DOCTRINE AND DOXOLOGY
What do you think of doctrine?
Blah blah. Borning.
"Let's get on to practical stuff."
"Let's focus on love."
"Forget doctrine and focus on Jesus."
That's not what the Bible says. Paul doesn't speak that way.
2:1 "Teach what accords with sound doctrine..." and he goes on to practical living.
3:8 "These things are excellent and profitable!" v. 9 "Avoid foolish controversies"
So Amen to not handling doctrine with foolishness, but doctrine itself is not foolish. "A fool says in his heart, I don't need doctrine."
Doctrine = truth, teaching, Biblical teaching, Doctrine is for devotion. It's for worship. It's for holiness unto God.
v. 1 "Their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness." READ THE BIBLE WITH OUR EYES OPEN. Look for connections.
Only misunderstood doctrine is impractical. It all is for godliness.
I pray we are people that love the Bible, because we love Jesus. And that's who the Bible is all about. Titus is about how to live for JESUS. Personal.
It's all for our growth in Christ. To know Jesus more. To follow God more. To worship God. To live for God. To articulate God, in the ways He has shown us.
We must be WORD-SATURATED People. People who don't think with our feelings but with the Bible. That's living by the Spirit. Living by the Bible. Not in the moment.
Paul tells Titus, 6 TIMES in this letter -- Teach. Preach. Teach doctrine. Foundation for what we do and why we do it. A chorus in our life should be, "The Bible says..." "For it is written...."
It's immensely encouraging!!!
Example in verse 2 -- Theology of God --- "He never lies." Well that truth seem it will come in handy!! I don't need to question God, I don't need to wonder, worry, fret, GOD NEVER LIES.
He has made us His children in the Gospel, and eternal life is ours -- that's our anchor and hope.
See how God makes his truth known?
"Manifested in His word THROUGH PREACHING." God's message Goes out through preaching.
THIS IS A SACRED AND HOLY MOMENT.
I love preaching. Not just the act of preaching, but I love being under the preaching of the Word. Because God has chosen to make his truth known through PREACHING.
My life changed forever when I finally started paying attention to sermons.
You should love preaching. It is one of God's ordained means to feed you.
We should love preaching, not to be admirers, but to apply. In preaching, we get truth from the Word, to apply to our lives. Doctrine is abused when not applied.
ILL: Imagine you've been in the dessert, near death, and you stumble upon your favorite buffet. And all you did was study, analyze and take notes in your journal. Noted the flow, the lay out. Left starved.
Don't do this on Sundays! The word is opened, feast upon the glory of God. Look at the riches of his word and delight in God. "Taste and see that the Lord is good."
God has a message for you, if you are in Christ. If Jesus is your savior, He died for your sins on the cross, rose again, has forgiven you. GRACE
"Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior."
Lot's of "stuff to do" in Titus, but we must start here. WE LIVE by GRACE.
We live on mission, on purpose, not to seal our spot in the kingdom, but because we already are.
We don't do the Christian life to earn God's love, but through JESUS we already have it.
We don't obey to be accepted. But we obey because we are accepted.
We need a orientation around God's grace. GOD'S RICHES AT CHRIST EXPENSE
We can agree that God's grace is greater than our sin, but what about our good deeds? We must be reminded that we bring nothing to the table.
We offered no compelling reason for God to save us, except that in love He predestined us, in love while were still sinning, Jesus died for the ungodly.
We offer no compelling reason for God to keep us, except that in grace he has promised to bring us home. And he never lies.
We need lives of GRACE-DRIVEN effort. NOT EARNING, BUT EFFORT.
But maybe you aren't a Christian? Has God forgiven you? You can believe today. He can become your savior too.
Christian, are you living by grace or by grit?
Dine at the table of God's grace today. Our savior, redeemer, sacrificial friend, invites us into the throne room. May he, by his grace, for His glory, grant us these holy ambitions.