Possessed with God’s Purpose – Titus 1:1-4

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Possessed with God’s Purpose
(The Context for Zealous for Good Deeds)
Titus 1:1-4
Hope In Christ Bible Church 6/16/19
This morning we take a break from our study in Genesis for an excursion in the wonderful N.T. book of Titus.
It’s a series I have been planning and praying about for many months. Because it has so much to say to us about purposeful and productive living before God.
You see, lots of us get into a cruise mode in life. We get stuck in our weekly routines, jumping from one thing to the next.
And sometimes God’s purpose for our lives gets left in the shadows.
Every Sunday morning you are given a reminder of the mission statement we have as a church: it’s glorifying God by loving, learning, and living His Word.” In other words, if you are going to glorify God, it has to be by living out, by doing His Word.
That’s an active not passive commitment!
And that goes hand-in-hand with the big picture of this book of Titus.
It’s that God’s people are to be zealous for good deeds!
Look at how Paul emphasizes this earnestness for good deeds in Titus 2:14.
He says that Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
“Zealous for good deeds”- that’s to be shown to other believers in the church and the believers outside the church.
In other words, the life God has designed for each of us Christians is a life not lived for self but to impact those around us.
It’s a life of Spirit-given productivity and purpose!
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Brief background to this letter will serve us
well for our new series.
It’s the apostle Paul who addresses his
beloved co-worker, Titus.
He wrote this near the end of his ministry.
That would have been around 62-64 A.D.
between his 1st and 2nd Roman imprisonment.
Here’s a big picture view of this book of
Titus:
Following the opening greeting of verses 1-4,
chapter 1 gives qualifications for church
elders and confrontation of false teachers.
It’s a call to sound doctrine.
Then chapter 2 lays out godly living in the
church. That includes specific duties as
well as sound doctrine in the church.
And chapter 3 defines what godly living
must look like in the world.
So, God through this letter shows Titus, his
fellow believers who would hear it, and He
shows us how to be zealous for good
deeds toward the saved and unsaved.
The theme of Titus goes like this: sound
doctrine produces sound living shown in
good works in and outside the church.
And all that starts by understanding God’s
purpose.
That’s where Paul begins, so follow as we
take in the opening 4 verses of this
inspired letter:
Titus 1:1–4 Paul, a bond-servant of God
and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the
faith of those chosen of God and the
knowledge of the truth which is
according to godliness, 2 in the hope of
eternal life, which God, who cannot lie,
promised long ages ago, 3 but at the
proper time manifested, even His word,
in the proclamation with which I was
entrusted according to the
commandment of God our Savior, 4 to
Titus, my true child in a common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father
and Christ Jesus our Savior.
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Both in the original epistle Paul penned to
Titus as well as in our English translations,
verses 1-4 form one beautiful sentence
that gushes in devotion to God.
It gives us 4 areas of devotion in Paul’s life
and ministry that compel us as believers to
purposeful living for God’s sake.
There’s commitment to God’s rule, God’s
plan, God’s Word, and God’s church.
Now be warned. The opener in this letter is
not some lightweight superficial greeting.
It’s the vital theological groundwork for all
that follows.
Every see what builders do before they
begin to put up a skyscraper?
They dig way down, a huge hole,
sometimes as deep as 10 stories into the
ground. Why? So there’s a rock solid
foundation to build on.
In like manner, Paul lays a solid doctrinal
foundation for what will follow. It sets the
stage for the entire letter.
First off, from verse 1, we see how Paul is
fully 1. Devoted to God’s rule 1a
Look at how he designates himself in his
opening words. He doesn’t say, “Paul, a
great teacher, a wise leader, or a prolific
author of nearly half of the N.T.!”
He says of himself, “Paul, a bond-servant
of God.”
If you guess that the word “bond-servant”
or “slave” as some translations have is
from the term doulos, you’re right.
To be a doulos in Paul’s day, that was the
lowest terms Greeks used for a slave.
It meant you were owned by someone else.
You were a living tool that existed for the
will of your master.
Now that’s how Paul loves to identify
himself before God. As a slave, he fully
submits to God’s rule in his life.
He knows his life is not his own, he cannot
live for himself, since he belongs to God.
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Friends, do you realize that everyone in
this world is a slave? A slave either to sin
or a slave to God.
If you are a slave to sin, that’s a life of
disaster. Yet if you are a slave to God,
that’s great delight.
Romans 6:17–18 But thanks be to God
that though you were slaves of sin, you
became obedient from the heart to that
form of teaching to which you were
committed, 18 and having been freed
from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
22 But now (he says we have
been) freed from sin and enslaved to God.”
So Paul views himself as we ought to- a
slave of the greatest Master, God Himself!
That’s our identity as Christians. And
that’s how we should live!
Our thoughts, our words, our plans, our
pursuits therefore aren’t all about me but
about my Master.
Christian, it’s living each day preoccupied
with the fact that God gave you new life
and is Your new Master.
And therefore, your response is, “God, I
just want to please You, today and every
day!” For you have set me free from sin
and I belong to You!
During the Civil War, a Northerner came to
the South. He wanted to free a slave.
So he goes and buys himself a slave.
He has compassion on a 13-year old girl.
He pays the purchase price and takes her
to a safe place.
Then he tells her, “You’re free. I bought
you.”
-And she asks, “What do you mean I’m
free? Free to go anywhere I want?”
“Yes, free to go anywhere you want.”
-“You mean free to do whatever I want?”
“Yes, free to do whatever you want.”
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-“Free to be with whom I want?”
“Yes, free to be with whom you want.”
Then she looks that man in the eyes, now
understanding his kindness and says,
“I want to go with you.”
Christian, God set you free when He paid
for your sin through Christ. And the only
right response is: “God, I want to go with
you and live for You!”
That’s the daily commitment God to which
God calls you- to make every decision
based on His will not your own.
The apostle Paul sees his identity not only
as a slave of God but also as “an apostle
of Jesus Christ.”
Apostle means “sent one.” That term was
used in 1st century Greek life to describe
an ambassador.
The ambassador was dispatched with a
message that carried the authority of a
king or great leader.
So when you see yourself as a slave of God
and His ambassador the longing of your
heart must increasingly be- “God, I want to
do Your will and make you known.”
That’s the essence of being devoted to
God’s rule.
From being devoted to God’s rule flows the
second principle for pleasing Him:
2. Devoted to God’s plan 1b-2
Watch what Paul links to his being a slave
of God and sent one of Christ.
Further in verse 1 the says it’s “for the
faith of those chosen of God.”
Now if you are going to have a right view of
God, you must be clear on the fact that
God sovereignly chose those whom He
would save.
That’s the biblical doctrine of election. God
predetermined before every making one
man or woman those He would bring to
salvation.
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Ephesians 1:4 affirms that “He chose us in
Him before the foundation of the world.”
As Paul shared the good news of salvation
on his first missionary journey, Luke
recounts the response and the reason:
Acts 13:48 “When the Gentiles heard
this, they began rejoicing and glorifying
the word of the Lord; and as many as had
been appointed to eternal life believed.”
Now, knowing that God had sovereignly
designated those who would be saved gave
Paul perseverance in proclaiming Christ.
Shortly after his letter to Titus, Paul wrote
in 2 Timothy 2:10 “For this reason I
endure all things for the sake of those
who are chosen, so that they also may
obtain the salvation which is in Christ
Jesus and with it eternal glory.”
Amazing. Paul’s spiritual stamina to press
on in ministry was bolstered by his
confidence in God’s sovereign choosing
certain ones for salvation.
And the doctrine of divine election filled the
apostle’s heart with thanks.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we should
always give thanks to God for you,
brethren beloved by the Lord, because
God has chosen you from the
beginning for salvation through
sanctification by the Spirit and faith in
the truth.”
Some insist, “But when I repented of my
sin, I chose to be saved.”
Well, the doctrinal truth is this- you chose
God because He first chose you!
Beloved of God, if God didn’t choose you,
you never would have turned to Him. And if
He did choose you, than in His time you
couldn’t help but run to Him in faith.
Just like those first disciple of our Lord.
While they left their nets and old way of life
to follow Christ, it was because Christ had
first chosen them.
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In fact, He told those disciples, “You did
not choose Me, but I chose you.”
John 15:16
You see, the sovereign God of Scriptures
is a God who always initiates and acts to
carry out His perfect will.
What deep assurance this gives us.
Sinners whom God has chosen are those
whom we can be certain will respond to the
good news of the gospel.
And if God chose us, you can be sure He
will keep us. That means we are safe and
secure, we can never do anything to lose
our salvation.
You see, Christian, when God in eternity
past wrote your name in the Book of Life, it
was permanent. Praise God, He doesn’t rip
out pages in that Book of life. He does not
change His mind!
Watch what always happens to those
whom God chooses.
Paul says they come “to the knowledge of
the truth” (that’s the gospel)- the blinding
veil over their heart is removed and they see
their sin and desperate need for Christ.
At the moment of salvation, there’s
transformation. That’s the “according to
godliness” of which Paul speaks. It’s
becoming more and more like Jesus
Christ.
Friends, whenever you read your Bible or
hear it taught, remember the goal. It’s not
to get a fat head over how much you know.
It’s so your heart will humbly respond to
that truth in greater godliness.
Would you look at the certainty of our
salvation in God’s plan that follows?
It’s a guarantee we see in verse 2, “In the
hope of eternal life, which God, who
cannot lie, promised long ages ago.”
Lots of people we talk to hope they will end
up in heaven not hell.
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Yet the hope God gives us in Christ is
certain. It’s a living hope. It’s a present
hope. It’s an eternal hope. It’s a hope that
doesn’t disappoint!
And here’s the reason why we will never
be let down in our biblical hope. Our hope
is anchored in the character of God.
“He who,” Paul writes, “cannot lie….”
Samuel reminded sinful King Saul that God
who is the “Glory of Israel will not lie.”
I Sam. 15:29
And the writer of Hebrews 6:18 declares,
“it is impossible for God to lie.”
So, in our text, what promise does Paul
have in mind that God cannot lie about?
We are told (end of v.2), it’s what “God…
promised long ages ago.”
When was that? Not way back in history.
It’s literally means “before times eternal.”
Long before there was anything or anyone
in the universe, there was God. And the
promise that was made was this:
God promised the Son He would give Him
a gift. The gift was all those whom He
would save and would become the bride of
Christ.
Hebrews 13:20 calls this an “eternal
covenant” that was made between God
and Christ.
So, if you have come to Christ through
repentant faith, it’s because God chose
you to be part of His love gift to Christ!
And Christ received you as a gift from His
Father.
He described that to His disciples in
John 6:37,39: “All that the Father gives
Me will come to Me, and the one who
comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me,
that of all that He has given Me I lose
nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”
What a humbling thought. We as God’s
people are the promised love gift, the bride
He chose for His Son.
That promise He made is the promise He kept.
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And you can be sure both God and Christ
will never let you go!
So you ask, “How can I show greater
devotion to God’s plan?”
By thanking God for His mercy in choosing
you! Remember, it had nothing to do with
your goodness but everything to do with
God’s gracious choice.
You also live devoted to God’s plan for
your salvation by living a life of godliness
before Him.
Be done with compromises big and small,
in thought or deed that dishonor God who
called you to share in His holiness. Live in
purity.
Last Sunday afternoon in California, when
Avriel walked down the wedding aisle to
John who awaited her, she wore a
beautiful white wedding dress. That
symbolized purity and devotion to one
man, her groom, for life.
So too, church, God calls us to walk in
purity and wholehearted devotion as the
bride of Christ.
A third foundational commitment of Paul’s
life was that he was
3. Devoted to God’s word 3
As Paul marvels over all God did before
time began in choosing for the Son those
who would be saved, he then turns a
corner.
He explains how God brought this
message to mankind. Verse 3: “but at the
proper time manifested, even His word,
in the proclamation with which I was
entrusted according to the
commandment of God our Savior.”
When was the proper time when God
made visible His plan?
It was when “God manifested”, Paul says,
His word! Those are the Scriptures, Old
and New Testament.
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Great mysteries are solved by gathering
evidence and clues.
But the greatest mystery of God’s plan of
salvation, that which angels long to look
into, God explains to us in His Word.
When Paul concludes his letter to the
believers at Rome, he leaves them with
that great soul- enthralling reality: God
pulling back the curtain and revealing His
wonderful plan of redemption.
Romans 16:25–26 “Now to Him who is
able to establish you according to my
gospel and the preaching of Jesus
Christ, according to the revelation of
the mystery which has been kept secret
for long ages past, 26 but now is
manifested, and by the Scriptures of the
prophets, according to the
commandment of the eternal God, has
been made known to all the nations,
leading to obedience of faith.”
To that he adds this great praise, “to the
only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be
the glory forever. Amen.”
It’s that mystery made known in God’s
Word that Paul passionately proclaimed.
Now that wasn’t just one of many things
the apostle did. He knew from the day he
was saved this was God’s calling on his
life- to proclaim the gospel.
Shortly after Paul’s conversion, it became
clear to whom he would be sent. The Lord
told Ananias, “Go, for he is a chosen
instrument of Mine, to bear My name
before the Gentiles and kings and the
sons of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
And that’s exactly what Paul did- he
heralded Christ’s name to both Gentiles
and Jews throughout the Mediterranean all
the way into Europe!
If you belong to Christ, He calls you to
represent Him wherever you go.
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Paul’s words to the Corinthian saints
remind us of our high calling: “Therefore,
we are ambassadors for Christ, as
though God were making an appeal
through us; we beg you on behalf of
Christ, be reconciled to God.”
2 Cor. 5:20
Let’s get it right. What we share with the
unsaved and what we share with the saved
is God’s Word. For it’s God’s word not
ours that He uses to change lives.
One day Martin Luther was asked to
explain the spread of the Reformation in
Germany. He said, “I simply taught,
preached, and wrote God’s Word,
otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept or
drank Wittenberg beer with my friends, the
Word so greatly weakened the papacy that
no prince or emperor even afflicted such
losses upon it. I did nothing, the Word of
God did everything.”
Now don’t get hung up on his drinking beer.
That’s not the point.
You see, God supernaturally changed the
course of history, and He used Luther’s
relentless commitment to speak and write
God!
God was “well-pleased through the
foolishness of the message preached to
save those who believe.” I Cor. 1:21
And God did the same through Paul.
You want to be mightily used by God?
Saturate your life in the Scripture so much
that when you open your mouth God’s
truth will come out.
Spurgeon once remarked about John
Bunyan, “Why, this man is a living Bible!
Poke with a pin him anywhere; his blood is
Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows
from him. He cannot speak without quoting
a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of
God!”
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Friends, there’s never been a time when
it’s been more vital for you to know and
speak God’s truth than now.
Churches throughout our land are selling
out to compromise.
I just read of a church movement that has
literally millions of followers and pumps out
Christian songs. Well, it has become a
“snakepit of full-blown apostasy and
heretical teaching.”
They fully affirm homosexual marriages,
promote a One World Religion and even
had a priest hold a Roman Catholic Mass.
Friends, you can’t sit idle and just watch.
The best defense is an offense. Speak
forth the unvarnished truth of God’s Word:
God is holy. Man is sinful. Only Jesus
saves through repentant faith. Those who
belong to Christ obey Him.
Friends, Paul understood proclaiming
God’s Word wasn’t optional. Not at all.
For he says it was entrusted to him as the
“commandment of God our Savior.”
O that we too would be gripped by God’s
call for us to proclaim His truth as was
Paul.
Listen to how he was driven by a holy
passion to proclaim God’s Word:
I Cor. 9:16-17 “For if I preach the
gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I
am under compulsion; for woe is me if I
do not preach the gospel. 17 For if I do
this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if
against my will, I have a stewardship
entrusted to me.
We too have a stewardship from God to
share Christ.
So choose to be devoted to God’s Word
like never before.
Be done with making excuses why you
don’t have time to daily take in God’s
Word.
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And ask God to help you take new steps of
obedience in the gospel.
Pray and plan in the Spirit’s power to
maximize open doors to make Christ
known this summer including gospel
opportunities before us as a church!
We have seen Paul’s model of being
devoted God’s rule, His plan, His Word.
And we see in verse 4, he was
4. Devoted to God’s church 4
Paul was fully devoted to God’s churchthat
means God’s people. And Titus was
one of them.
He affirms Titus calling him, “my true
child in a common faith.”
By that, he is vouching for the fact that
Titus was a genuine spiritual son.
Paul may have even led him to the Lord
years before. What is certain is that Titus,
in contrast to counterfeit Christians all
around, he was a faithful follower of Christ.
He is the one Paul had sent to represent
him and deal with difficulties in the church
at Corinth (II Cor. 2, 7, 8, 12).
And Titus is the man whom Paul will trust
to handle another tough assignment with
multiple churches.
Before he gets into any of that, Paul
commends to Titus these most soulstrengthening
words: “Grace and peace
from God the Father and Christ Jesus our
Savior.”
Grace- that’s all God has lavished on us in
Himself, His Son, and Spirit, all so totally
undeserved.
And peace, that’s the tranquility of soul that
comes from fully resting in God’s care.
For God is OUR Father who cares for us
perfectly, powerfully and personally.
And Christ Jesus is our Savior today,
tomorrow, and forever!
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As we celebrate Father’s Day today, let’s
not forget to celebrate and worship the
greatest Father. Our Father. The eternal
God who adopted us into His family.
And let’s celebrate and worship His Son
who showed us how much He loves us
when He gave His life for us!
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Possessed with God’s Purpose
Titus 1:1-4
Hope In Christ Bible Church 6/16/19
Intro. Titus 2:14
1. Devoted to God’s rule 1a
Rom. 6:17–18
2. Devoted to God’s plan 1b-2
Eph. 1:4; Acts 13:48; 2 Tim. 2:10; 2 Thes. 2:13;
John 15:16; I Sam. 15:29; Heb. 6:18; Heb. 13:20;
John 6:37,39
3. Devoted to God’s Word 3
Rom. 16:25–26; Acts 9:15; I Cor. 5:20; I Cor. 1:21;
I Cor. 9:16-17
4. Devoted to God’s church 4
Mat. 6:9
In what ways would God have me take steps of
obedience and be possessed with His purpose for
my life?