The Introduction

We are coming to the third volume of Paul’s Pastoral Letters. Initially, one set of letters were written to Timothy, a pastor in in the ancient city of Ephesus, which is located in on the coast of present day Turkey. The other was written to another pastor, Titus, who lived in the Greek island of Crete.

These were little letters of instruction, encouragement, and exhortation. Little in size but in ultimately shaping the way, standing up the building studs upon the solid rock foundation of Jesus Christ for the next 2000 years and beyond.

Everything we could add on top of this are mere walls, paint, electric outlets and furniture to what Christians were to refer to as “church”. In other words, nothing in these letters and nowhere in the Bible does God tell us we are to run the church as a business and therefore put in business men as the leaders. No. The Bible and more specifically and precisely, the letters to Timothy and Titus, detail and examine and criticize and qualify and disqualify who can take care and under-shepherd his people.

I say too many times that the book of Romans is a near systematic explanation of the ministry of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. It is as almost Paul was saying, “This is what Jesus has done. This is what that means for you and me.” In that same vein, I would say that the Pastoral Letters are the doctrinal and theological explanation of John 21.

John 21:17 (CSB) He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me? ”

Peter was grieved that he asked him the third time, “Do you love me? ” He said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

“Feed my sheep,” Jesus said.

And some of you here–God will press on you to serve him in this way, “Feed my sheep.” And you and I will natually asked, “Well, how do I do that?” I am glad you asked.

The first letter to Timothy telling the church on the character of the people who should be leading God’s church. Should every Christian aspire to this? The Triune God is in every Christian and that alone will bear fruit so yes. But does every Christian have the character–maturity, wisdom, wherewithal, fruit-bearing qualifications–to serve in an office of pastor or deacon for a local church? Less often than so.

But let’s get to the core examination of the Christian and the Christian minister: the second letter to Timothy. There are explicit charges and commands given to us and why we should do it. Do you minister to please others and gain their approval? The Bible, Christ, and Paul will tell you that will end poorly. 2nd Timothy examines the heart and soul of the minister and because it is the Bible that is breathed out by God, it examines each one of us.

How do we combine the character and the core examination? That, I believe, is the letter to Pastor Titus.

The Text

Titus 1:1–4 (CSB)
1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness,

2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.

3 In his own time he has revealed his word in the preaching with which I was entrusted by the command of God our Savior:

4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith. Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

The Meditation

1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness

Minister Like This: Know God

Because we can utter the word God does not mean we know God. Just because we can profess “Christ” with our lips does not mean we know God. Just because we feel like we are slain in the Spirit does not mean we know God. Right here in verse 1, “faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.”

Election, faith, knowledge of truth equals godliness. It is an absolute mathematical formula. 2+2=4. No exceptions.

Nerd talk: About 20 years ago, the chip company Intel, released a faulty computer processor. If you tried to calculate 2+2, you would end up getting the answer 5. That is not new math. That is millions of chips and research that are not worth the cardboard box they came in. You put those processors straight in the trash.

Too many people claim to know God because they were brought up in church as a kid or they heard some guy yelling about God on the street corner or they are on their favorite website to make up their own conclusions about who God is. Knowing God is to believe God. When you believe God, you live according to that faith in God.

Where have you heard that before? In the New Testament, you have heard it quoted twice by Paul and once by the author to the Hebrews–and the footnote would point you to Habakkuk 2:4.

Romans 1:17 (CSB) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.

It is in the gospel of God that the righteousness of God is revealed from faith given to us by God. We are the righteousness of God. Only in that precise fraction of a second do we live to God and for God and obey God and not a moment before.

It is only receiving the faith of God, righteousness of God that we get to be like Paul–be a servant of God and in a sense, an apostle, one who is sent by God.

2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.

Minister Like This: Know God For Who He Is Exactly

Calvin said it best, “the finite mind cannot comprehend the Infinite God.” Our born minds, no matter how much IQ and EQ God has granted us, still could not wrap around the concept of a Being that is infinite in every way, shape, and form.

We cannot fully know God. Without Him, we do not know him. Only by God’s grace sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to live, die, resurrected in the power of the Holy Spirit, alone, we get to truly know God.

We are finite creatures. By God’s grace, we get to truly know and love the Infinite Triune God. But you must be born again–you must be a new creature in Christ–you must have the dwelling of the Triune God in you and be brought into His kingdom in order for you to know and love God.

What? Do you want to try to do enough good things to attract His attention so that he would love and approve you? Yet, Christ told us, “I have not come for the righteous but the sinners.” (Matthew 9:13) And God proved his own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Wanna be born again? You want to get into the kingdom of God? You want to love and know God and have God love and know you? You must start off as a sinner.

Let me give you some great news: you were born that way. Congratulations, when it comes to getting into the kingdom of God, you and I are off to a great start. Yet, if you response to me, “But I am not that bad…”, “I have already been baptized…”, “I grew up in church…”, “My parents were Christians…”, “I went to a Christian…” then it is your own self-righteousness that keeps you far far far away from God and his kingdom and his family.

If you have a bunch of excuses to being called a sinner, then you are trying to be righteous. What does that really mean? Christ has not come for you, He has not lived for you, He has not died for you, He has not saved you.

How are you saved? You have to hear God. I am not talking about audible voice of God. Many people heard Christ in his ministry and did not believe. But God, supernaturally, graciously, omnipotently, speaks right into your heart, soul, will, and mind and calls you to himself.

And that comes from the preaching and proclaiming of His gospel

3 In his own time he has revealed his word in the preaching with which I was entrusted by the command of God our Savior:

Minister Like This: Know God Is Calling You

Romans 10:9-17 (CSB) If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on him will not be put to shame, since there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord of all richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

How, then, can they call on him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news. But not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.

The Gospel

You are sitting right now listening to me butcher and awkwardly try to feebly and weakly and quite ordinarily preach you to this good news: that Christ has come to save His people from their sins.

Some of you know this good news and you believe God and you rejoice because he is good and his steadfast love lives forever.

Some of you hear this and respond like so many people who care more for the things on this earth rather than the absolute, just like the people who heard Paul preach at Areopagus:

Acts 17:32 (CSB) When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some began to ridicule him…

Or going on the off-chance you think I am of some entertainment to you like other people at Areopagus:

but others said, “We’d like to hear from you again about this.”

I will preach again. I guess you can come listen.

But then the rest of you, you know you don’t trust and love God at all. You have been going through the motions of church and mission trips and youth groups and all the things. Or what about the obviously wicked and depraved people like myself who raised his 7 year old hand in a little Baptist Church in Oklahoma City so I would not go to hell only to find himself 20 years later peddling pornography to the four corners of the Internet.

What made my case so tragically sad is that I hid my porn addiction from everybody–making sure no one knew the real me. But with my mouth, tried to convinced everybody that I was saved. I wasn’t saved. If God took my life before 2007, I would under the eternal wrath of Christ for fully disobeying Him with every single moment of my existence. Hell would have been my forever home.

Where are you in this moment? Where are you with God with Christ with the Spirit? Where are you? What sins are you not giving up because you think it will get you something? What good things that are not God that you are clinching on for dear life because you think they bring you life but only death–things like wealth, health, safety, control?

4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith. Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Minister Like This: Know God Is The Only God Who Can Save You

Some of us have not been brought to the end of ourselves. We have not been given the vision of our own hearts and seen void and emptiness look right back at us. We keep fighting to hold on to everything not God in thinking if I can just have my way I can be happy.

But you will get your way, and you will still not be happy, and the path behind you lies in destruction and ruin.

Don’t wait for the end. Trust in God right now. Trust in Him. Look to His Son, Jesus Christ. All of us who are holding on to sin and things not God, Christ command us to do:

Matthew 11:28-30 (CSB) “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Christ says, “Come, give me your soul crushing sin, your back-breaking self-righteousness, your demonic idols–and I will give you rest. I will give you peace. I will give you the faith you need to be saved.I will give you grace. I will give you peace.”

The Discussion

1. If you don't believe, why are you working so hard?
2. Have you been brought to your end yet?
3. If God has saved you, tell me when you were radically changed from your old self to your new self?

The Prayer

Salvation By No Other Name
Save us today. Save us in this moment. Right now.

Amen.

The Media

Today’s episode at The Study

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