Pure Devotion Unto Jesus
Scripture: Titus 1:10–1:16
What are we giving ourselves to? There is no more important question about your life than this one. It bears repeating: What are you giving yourself to?
I want my whole life to be for Jesus. Just give me Jesus. He is all I want. I want Jesus. I need Jesus. Heaven is great, because Jesus is there. I just want to talk about Jesus.
Who is more awesome? Is there anyone more powerful? Is anyone else in the cosmos more jaw-dropping than Jesus. Has anyone loved me more than Jesus. Is there anyone in the universe that is more "for me" than Jesus?
I want my life to sound like Asaph in Psalm 73: "Whom have I in heaven but you? There is nothing on earth I desire but you!!"
I pray our lives pour fourth a hunger for Jesus like Fanny Crosby's hymn, "Take the World but Give me Jesus."
Take the world, but give me Jesus,All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
Through eternal years the same
Take the world, but give me Jesus,
Sweetest comfort of my soul;
With my Savior watching over me,
I can sing though billows roll
Take the world, but give me Jesus,
Let me view His constant smile;
Then throughout this life's long journey
He will lead me all the while
Take the world, but give me Jesus.
In His cross my trust shall be,
Till, with clearer, brighter vision,
Face to face my Lord I see!
It's all about Jesus, it's all to Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus. It's all about Him!
Are you amazed by how much He loves you? We will barely share a soda with someone we love, and Jesus...he gave it all! He laid down his life for us. He came to make us His.
Titus 2:14 --- "to purify for himself a people for his own possession" --We are his! And He is ours. Insecurity issues are annihilated by Jesus desire for us. The Cosmic King loves you.
This was promised back in Ezekiel 37:23
They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
We are ripped out of our sin, saved from our backsliding, and He has cleansed us. We are room full of backsliders. No pretenders and fakers here, we are all backsliders. Jesus has a heart for all us backsliders. And by the cross of Jesus, his death, his crucifixion, he took our sins, died, rose again, paid our penalty, and we've been pardoned! We've been freed, we've been forgiven, We are loved!
Every sinner in this room has hope in Jesus. He is the hope of every created thing. Mountains need Jesus. Penguins, puppies, lakes, mosquitos, porn addicts, drunkards, gluttons, workaholics, worry-warts, self-preserving, legalists, moralists, goody two-shoes, hypocrites, and Christians -- Jesus is our hope.
SATAN'S GAME PLAN
Nothing excites me more than Jesus. But Church, Satan wants nothing more for us, than to be distracted from Jesus. He knows he cannot take us form Jesus, but he knows He can distract us from Jesus.
Satan wants to distract, discourage, defeat, and deflate your affections for Jesus. That's his entire battle plan for you. And that's exactly what is happening in Titus 1. False teaching is seeping it's way through the church and it is "upsetting" whole families, word is "homes" -- could also mean, "house churches."
Notice, Satan is attacking with "worldly or fleshy" things, he is using bad teaching. Bad doctrine.Teaching that is a millimeter off from the gospel, will hurt us. Teaching that is a hair off from who the true and living God is, will mess us up. You ever heard anything funky about God and it mess you up? That's what's happening here in on the Island of Crete.
Paul gives this section to Titus, to instruct the Pastors on Crete, "You have to guard the Gospel truth." Paul desires that the Christians on crete of a pure devotion to Jesus. That's exactly what I want for all of us. A pure, undistracted, no add-ons to Jesus --- a pure devotion to Jesus and what HE wants for us.
Satan doesn't want that, and He will send corrupted teaching mess you up. Listen to what Paul told the Corinthians.
2 Cor 11: But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
There is only one Jesus and only one Gospel. Anything else -- we will not put up with. Legalism, we must despise it. Man-made rules -- trash.
There's two things this text tells us, how to guard our pure devotion unto Jesus.
1) Guard the Gospel Truth
V. 10 "For" -- this connects to verse 9, Pastors need to know the word, to give instruction and to rebuke defective doctrine why... "FOR" it's out there.
"Many" -- They are all over Crete. Today, every isle in the Christian bookstore has something that is harmful to your walk with Jesus.
We all need discernment. We don't have to be heresy hunters, but we can't receiving anything and everything we hear. We must check it with the word of God. Eat the meat and spit out the bones.
My charge to you --- be careful what you eat.
Gluten-free. This is how we are supposed to be, heresy-free of course, but also kind-of-true free, sounds-right, == we need whole gospel truth -- anything less will put out spiritual digestive track through torture. Gluten free people, a little bite and they turn into a zombie. It messes up their entire system. G-free people are careful, selective, examine what they eat.
We must guard what we eat. We need the pure word. With all the technology and gifts from God we have to do -- you really have no excuse for not knowing God's truth. We have it on our phones, we have websites, podcasts, thousands of books, free bible study tools, every size and style of bible we can imagine -- they only person to blame is ourself.
Never underestimate the power of teaching. How is Satan advancing his cause in Crete?
Verse 11 "by teaching." Teaching! Deceptive (v.10). It's tricky. It's almost right. Just like Satan in the garden, "half-truths." He is an insubordinate, deceiver, and empty talker. Says a lot, but says nothing of value.
Do you value sound biblical teaching? You should. It should be one of the most prized items of your life. If not, you're open to attack. "The belt of truth" -- it holds everything together. If you don't value teaching -- you are rolling out the red carpet for deception. We all need to be like the Psalmist, "Oh how I love your law! I meditate on it day and night."
Love the truth, love your Bible, because you love your Jesus.
Along with all of the great resources of our idea, comes the danger of all the bad teaching. The Christians on crete were only in danger of the false teachers on crete. But we can get false teaching from all across the globe. Internet, emails, blogs, podcasts, radio, TV, bookstores.
Legalism is Illegal
Understand, the most dangerous teaching for Christians isn't found in the world, but it's cloaked in the church.
v. 10 "The Circumcision Party"
This group taught, "Yes, you need Jesus...but you also need to be circumcised to be saved." WAY WRONG.
This all over the place today. There is never a "You need Jesus...AND." Anti-gospel. "Jesus + something = nothing" "Jesus + nothing = everything."
They were teaching works righteousness. You can become right with God by a certain work. This was the legalism of their day. You need to do this to be saved AND you need to do this to stay saved.
I do believe we are saved by works -- just not ours. We are saved by the work of Jesus on the cross. We have to so clear on the gospel. It's only by Jesus. Some of you need to come to Jesus. You cannot save yourself. You'll never be good enough. No one is. Jesus paid in our place.
The second we take anything away from the Gospel -- we lose it.
The second we add anything to the Gospel -- we lose it.
I hate legalism with every ounce of my being. So does God. Jesus took a homemade whip and drove it out of the temple. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for putting a yoke on the people they couldn't bear.
If grace freaks you out -- repent of your legalism. If grace makes you think people are gonna run headlong into sin, so we better put up a fence -- repent of your legalism. God knows what He's doing.
v. 11 - Paul says, all this legalism must be "silenced" or muzzled. Put a muzzle on it. Shut it down.
If we are teaching anything other than gospel-centered, grace-empowering truth -- it must be killed.
v. 14 "myths and the commands of men." - Not for us. We don't need man made rules, we need the Rule of the universe.
Myths, they are teachings that sound true in way, and they become well known -- but have no ground in the gospel.
Paul tells Titus, have the pastors on Crete smash those myths. Protect them from myths. He tells Timothy the same thing, 3 times "Protect them from myths."
Here are some myths.
• Attendance and commit to a local church isn't a big deal, me and Jesus. Baloney! We need Jesus and everything we wants for us -- life in a church.
• Too much grace is dangerous, people will sin it up. Straight from Satan.
• Clean yourself up and them come to Jesus. Jesus wants sinners. He came for sinners.
• Make Sure You Put Up a Good Front in the Church, People Judge. No hypocrisy! No pretending. No hiding! Sinners are safe here.
• God's love and approval of us, rises and falls with our behavior! Worried God is upset with you. Christian, God's anger towards you, was real, and it was all poured onto Jesus!! Even in the midst of our sin right now, God is love! Puritan John Owen asks, "Does God loves his people in the middle of their sinning?" He answer, "Yes! The people, not their sinning."
• God is irritated with our present self, really loves our future self. God loves the jacked up you. He is for you! He is wild about you. Zeph. 3:17 He is singing over you.
• We earn or lose God's blessings because of what we do or don't do. "Didn't have my quiet time, gonna have a bad day now. I've been really good lately, God's going to bless me." The rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous. Blessings are not based on us, but on Him. We don't earn them. That kind of thinking will drive us deep into despair -- because we are never good enough to earn anything fro God. It's all grace.
• God saved me, not it's all up to me. No way. Jesus saves us, and Jesus sanctifies us. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing (John 15:5). We need Jesus every second!
• "Let go and Let God." Sounds good, but wrong. "Workout our salvation, because God works in us."
• God helps those who help themselves. Inverse of the previous verse! Not "God works, because we work."
• Obey to stay on God's good side. Crazy talk. We obey to glorify God. Not to earn anything from God, or to keep God off our back, but to glorify Him!
• Be careful who you hangout with / don't drink alcohol in public / people will talk, they'll assume, hurt your witness -- I say...let them! Grace is not bound by the thoughts of men, but of God. Especially, if you are hanging out with sinners, let the legalists ramble on, Jesus had no problem with it. They called Jesus a drunkard. He didn't try and guard his reputation or his name. Myth in the suburbs -- your only as good as your name. One name matters about you -- Jesus.
No myths! Christ alone and none of my works do we stand before God. The only thing we bring to the table is our sin. "Simply to the cross we cling." The cross. Not our works.
We must guard the gospel truth. It's our prized possession, and it's what Satan wants to corrupt. He wants to derail you. Guar the gospel of grace. The free love of God displayed by God the son on the cross.
Last thing from today's text to guard our pure devotion to Jesus...
Believe in Gospel Transformation
Here's what I mean: we all must see the power of the Gospel as the hope for all. Christian and unbeliever. We all ned Jesus. He is the answer to all the problems in our life.
There is not a single issue in your life that the gospel cannot fix. Isn't that Titus 2:14 and Ezek. claimed? He bought us and his purifying us?
We can get hung up on our sins and our baggage. We all have baggage. Carry-on and checked. We are loaded. But Jesus has incredibly broad shoulders. "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He takes ALL of our baggage.
Look at v. 12
Cretans are historically, evil, wicked people. Famous liars. Bad liars. They said that Zeus was buried on their island. In greek mythology, Zeus is immortal, he doesn't die. They aren't even good liars.
Look at what kind of people they are: "Always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."
This was said in 600 BC by Epimenides. So when this letter was written, Paul says, what was 600 years ago is still true today! They haven't changed in 600 hundred years!
So what does Paul conclude? That's just how it's gonna be, so don't bother. They are stuck. NO! He says, "Rebuke them. Correct the, so they can be sound in the faith -- so they'll change and have a pure faith." The Gospel can change them.
Paul doesn't write them off! We shouldn't write anyone off! And...bring the hope of the gospel to your own world."My dad was this way, so I am too. My mom etc..It's a family thing. I've always been like this. I'm never going to change. I can't get out of this legalism." Whatever your excuse is....blaspheme it and cling to the gospel.
Jesus changed Paul from a murderer to a church planter. Rebuke yourself, that you may be sound in the faith. Maybe you need to come to the faith!
We must cling to a gospel hope. We are not chained to our past, but chained wholly to Jesus.
We need a Culture of Righetous Rebuke
These Christians on Crete, they needed to be rebuked. These false teachers, needed to be rebuked. If we are going to walk in Gospel transformation and freedom....we need to be rebuked.
Prov. 12:1 "He who hates reproof is stupid."
God is calling us out. Don't be dumb. We need to be rebuked.Pride says, "I shouldn't need that." OR "You can't tell me what to do" Gospel says, "You need it." Pride says it's shameful, Gospel says, it's soooo good.
The gospel says we are sinners saved by grace, but we are still sinners. We are saved sinners. Sinners in process. So, we still have sin in our lives that need to be rebuked. Laziness needs to be called out. Gluttony -- needs to be rebuked. Gluttony has to be the most accepted sin in the US. Its the elephant in the room. We are eating ourselves to death. Obesity is the #1 killer in our country. It's sinful, worshiping a created thing, rather than the Creator.
- Cretans are liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.
- Americans are materialistic, individualistic, self-absorbed, aggressive gluttons.
We need to be rebuked. Who has full reign over your life, to call you out, rebuke you, in love, in a moments notice. You need it. Hebrews 3 says, we need it everyday. All it takes is one day to stumble.
I pray at redeemer, we have a culture of loving rebuke. That's the kind of atmosphere that kills pride, cultivates humility, kills sin, and clings to Jesus.
"Rebuke to be sound in faith." For purity. Not to rub our noises in it and shame us. But to help us walk with Jesus.
A life without people to rebuke us is like a car without brakes, you will wreck soon enough. You can't manage your sin, you can't do life alone. We weren't designed to.
We need people to say like Paul, "That's not in step with the Gospel." "That's hypocrisy." That's legalism, that's sinful, that doesn't honor Jesus."
If you don't want that you might be v. 16. Profess to know God, but deny him by their works. Christians are eventually convicted that they are not honoring God. It may take time, that's why we are to be incredibly patient.
A heart that leaps in response to the Gospel, will leave sin in the dust.
Take the world, but give me Jesus. Take my pride, take my shame, take my defensiveness, take my hiding, take my reluctance, take my fear, take my hypocrisy, take my legalism -- GIVE ME JESUS!
Take the world --- but give me Jesus. May he be our vision from now until eternity.