A Pattern for Sound Teaching

– All right, Titus for
Beginners, lesson number three in this series, the
last one in the series. A Pattern for Sound Preaching. Titus Two Verse One to Titus
Chapter Three Verse 15. So in the first chapter of Titus, Paul describes the important tasks that this young preacher must attend to, so that he can set in order
what has not been done, or what had not been
done, while Paul was there working with him. Paul encouraged Titus to set leaders, we call them, or the Bible called them, elders, or bishops, or
pastors, or overseers, or many different words that
refer to the same individual. So to set these men as leaders in churches located in each city
on the island of Crete. Titus was also instructed to silence and refute the teachings
of various false teachers that were troubling the
church where he served. Paul shows Titus that the proper and effective response to false teaching is not arguing and debating, but rather the presentation
of sound teaching, and in the following section,
the apostle gives Titus an example, or a pattern, of
the type of sound teaching that he can confidently follow. You answer these false
teachers with good teaching, sound teaching, and here’s a sample of this type of teaching. Basically, this is what
Paul is saying to Titus. So he begins by giving Titus an example of sound and very practical teaching that addresses the proper
attitude to cultivate in order to have peace and respect among all the members in the church. So we read Chapter Two, Verse One, But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. So, he sets it up, right,
this is what you ought to be teaching. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith,
in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to
be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips or
enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so
that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children. To be sensible, pure,
workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God
will not be dishonored. Likewise urge the young
men to be sensible; in all things show
yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity
in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. So a long list of things are mentioned. A very compact section,
and in this section, Paul addresses every demographic in the church of that era. One last verse here. Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the
doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. There we go, now we have
all the demographics of individuals that were in the church. So who does he talk to,
or who does he talk about? Well, he talks about older men, and he teaches, what should older, and of course, the thing
here in brackets is, older Christian men. Men who are not Christian
may strive for these things, yes or no, but if you’re a Christian, if you’re an older man as a Christian, then this is what you should
be striving for, Paul says. You should be dignified, dependable, in your knowledge of the Word. Having a loving attitude, and
not easily moved or swayed. Older women should be respectful of God and their husbands. Careful with their speech and conduct, wise in their advice to younger women. Married women, godly, devoted to husbands and home and family, examples of purity, and humility, and industry. In other words, not just,
they must stay in the home. Some people, unfortunately,
use this passage to prove a false idea
that women are not allowed to go out and work, that’s
not what he’s saying. He’s saying the women who are at home, should be workers at home. It’s not, they should only work at home, it should be, if they’re at home, they should be workers at home, not lazy. He talks to the young men, married or not. They’re to be sensible,
meaning serious-minded, not impulsive or ruled by their emotions. And then he talks to Titus himself, and in Titus he talks to all those who minister in the church. That they should provide an
example of spiritual maturity. And how do they do this? Well, with good deeds and good teaching, delivered in a humble
and dignified manner. Not giving opponents, meaning unbelievers, or enemies of the church, or doubters, not giving these people any opportunity to condemn your teaching, or to condemn your teaching
through your attitude. You know, a lot of times people
won’t accept your teaching, because you may be
teaching the right thing, but you’ve got the wrong attitude. And so Paul encourages
Titus to have not only the right teaching, but also to have the right attitude in his teaching. He says, let your manner of living actually cause others embarrassment, if they are attacking
you in the first place. And then he mentions slaves
at the end of this passage. Slaves who were believers, had a responsibility to
render a good witness of their sincere faith, since
they were not in a position to engage their masters in a conversation with the purpose of teaching
or trying to convert them. So if you were a believing slave, and you were enslaved to
a non-believing master, you couldn’t go up to him and just say, let me tell you how it is, here, you want to study the Bible with me? I’m going to teach you something. You couldn’t do that. It wasn’t done, I’m not
saying that was right, I’m just saying it wasn’t
done in that society. And so Paul is giving
believing slaves a strategy for winning over their
masters purely based on their conduct. Much like a woman married to a nonbeliever that Peter talks about in First Peter, Chapter Three, Verse One, that their witness was
made through their actions rather than their words. These would include
service done in sincerity, with a positive attitude. Being trustworthy, reliable,
so that his or her service would confirm and highlight their faith, not detract from their faith. So the master would see how
their Christian servant worked, and would see a difference between how the Christian servants
operated and served, and their non-Christian
servants operated or served. And it follows through today, doesn’t it? We’re hoping that as Christian employees, we’re working for other people, that the boss will notice our faith by the way we work for them, and not just by what we’re saying, or the fact that we have
a Bible at our desk, or something like that. That’s all fine and good,
but the proof of the pudding is what kind of employee are you, as a Christian? So this type of teaching did not deal with theological issues. It did not deal with religious mysteries, or debates on various topics. It was simple, even
mundane type of teaching, because it spoke to normal people about their conduct as
Christians in everyday life. There’s nothing spectacular
about this type of teaching, but this is type of teaching
that Christians needed. Everyday Christians needed
this type of teaching to help them live their Christian lives, y’know, in an everyday manner. However, Paul uses this
teaching as an example of what he calls sound
teaching, solid teaching. Sound, or healthy, in the Greek means healthy, the Greek word here, another meaning would be healthy teaching. Healthy teaching makes
for healthy members. So Paul has given Titus an
example of healthy teaching, or sound teaching, that
addresses the practical needs of this and every church
that Titus will serve. And, we can take this teaching and apply it to ourselves
today, and it works, right? It’s applicable today. The apostle then moves on from
an example of sound teaching to the pattern or the basic blueprint upon which all teaching
needs to be based on, or measured against. So in Verses 11 to 15,
he’s going to summarize the essence of the Gospel, so that Titus can be
reminded of the core ideas that will provide the guidance for whatever he teaches in the future. You know, just to kind of
make a parenthetical statement here about pattern theology. I am a believer in pattern theology. Pattern theology, the
idea that in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, you have a pattern, you have a blueprint for how things are done. So if you want to say, well how should we, how should we do the
communion, for example? How should we do that? Well, you know, you look
through the New Testament, and you study all the
examples and instances where the church was
serving the communion, and out of those
teachings, a pattern arises that teaches you, that demonstrates, how to do the communion. We take the unleavened bread, and we take the fruit of the vine. We do it on the Lord’s day,
everybody participates in it. You know, we get some
direction for how to do things. How should we organize the church? Who should lead the church, what are the roles in the church? The New Testament has a
pattern, or a blueprint, that teaches us all these things. So that idea, you know, is
called pattern theology, right? And so in the Churches of Christ, we use this idea in order
to come to conclusions about various matters. So, I’m a supporter of pattern theology, and I believe that Paul
provides here the pattern for the basic doctrine that sound elders and preachers are to teach, and which produces strong Christians, and healthy, growing churches. So the New Testament
pattern for our theology is the teaching concerning God’s grace. The New Testament pattern for our theology is the teaching concerning God’s grace. It’s the framework upon which
everything else is built. Here, in this passage here, Paul describes five
features regarding grace that needs to be taught, that needs to be taught, alright? So we’ll go through these first. The appearance of God’s grace, Verse 11. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. That’s the first and basic
theological principle of Christianity. The preaching of the Good News, as it was prophesied by
the Old Testament prophets, and fully proclaimed by the apostles. Before, men were in darkness. They were slaves to ignorance, and tossed about by every
myth and philosophy imagined. But now, the truth about
life and sin and death and salvation and man and creation and God who rules over it all has been revealed, and made plain for all to see. I’m going to jump out of Titus, and I’m going to go to
Romans here for a passage. Romans 16:25, Paul says, 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. Against this revelation,
we measure sound doctrine. Now, we not only know who God is, but we also know how He is. Not a vindictive, petulant
warrior, or an aloof creator, but a loving, merciful God who is gracious and kind to sinners. Therefore, the appearance of grace, reminds me, or removes me, rather, from the realm of
ignorance once and for all. I don’t have to figure everything out by sheer intellectual might. God has revealed the basic
mystery of life to me, through the Gospel. The light that I have must
be the light of grace, or I am still in the darkness. So that’s the basic principle of our theology. Through Jesus Christ, the
light has been revealed, and what has it revealed? That God is a gracious God,
that’s what it has revealed. Number two. The instruction of God’s grace, Verse 12. This “instructing us to deny ungodliness “and worldly desires and to live sensibly, “righteously, and godly
in the present age.” What does the Revelation
of Grace teach us? It teaches us to deny ungodliness, worldly desires, so on and so forth. So grace not only reveals
who and how God is, it also instructs me who and how I need to live as a Christian, how should I live
according to the revelation that I’ve received? Now the Gnostics, you
know, the Gnostic teachers, they either follow the
path of total denial, or total indulgence, but grace teaches me how to
live as a spiritual being in a material world. Yes, of course, we have
to deny some things, we have to deny ungodliness, you know, disbelief, paganism. We have to deny sinful desires, which are essentially disobedience to God. However, our life is not all about denial. There are things we do
have open access to. We can indulge in those things
that are wholesome and good, and conducive to joy and
thanks giving provided by God for our happiness and pleasure. There are many more things in
life that we can indulge in, than we have to deny ourselves. So the Gospel provides
me with the instruction that I need to alter my life in order to live the Christian life. It is a guide. My teaching needs to
reflect what grace teaches, and what grace permits. Very important. We also need to teach
about, concerning grace, the expectation of God’s grace. Verse 13. He says, looking for the blessed, what does grace hope for? Well, it says here, looking
for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. Again, we’ll jump out of Titus, and go to another passage. First Thessalonians Four Verse 13. Paul in that passage says, but we do not want you to
be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep,
so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. The world of unbelievers
has many ideas about death, many stories about seeing a white light at the end of a tunnel. They make movies, and they
speculate night and day about what happens after
death, but they have no hope. None of these movies give you hope. What is hope, Biblical hope? It is a confident expectation. None of these things,
none of these speculations about what happens after
death given to us by the world creates hope in us. The Gospel, as seen in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, brings us hope despite
the experience of death. I fully expect to live after I die. There is no wavering on this point. I am a follower of Jesus
because of this one hope. The promise of eternal life. People don’t become Christians because they’ll have the privilege of going to church three times a week for the rest of their lives. We go to church, why? To keep our faith strong, that’s why. I want my faith to be strong, because if my faith is
strong, then my hope is alive. That’s why I go, it’s a means to an end, it’s not an end to itself. And so, grace motivates me
to look beyond this life, to make decisions based
on an eternal perspective, to live joyfully in a
world filled with death because I know that death
is not the master over me, Jesus Christ is the master over me, and He is also the master over my death. And so my hope is based on
grace, and nothing else. Not my work, not my intelligence,
not even my affiliation. So what’s the point here? The point here, as far
as Titus is concerned, this is what needs to be taught! This is what sound doctrine sounds like. Number four, the purpose
of God’s grace, Verse 14. Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed,
and to purify for Himself a people of His own possession,
zealous for good deeds. For what reason has the mystery
been revealed to us, why? For what reason have we been instructed in the ways of godly living? For what reason does God allow us a glimpse into the eternal future that is grace’s hope, why, why grace? Why grace? That He, through grace, might save us from being destroyed forever in hell. That He might restore us as a holy people with whom He could have a relationship. That He might, through us,
bless others with His kindness. That’s why grace is revealed to us. In the beginning, in Genesis, it was love that created
us through Jesus Christ that we might have a blessed relationship with God and one another. It’s what Paul says in Colossians 1:16. Now, it is love working through grace that recreates us in Jesus Christ so that we can once again have a blessed relationship with God, and also, with one another. First Peter, Chapter One, Verse Three. You know, what is it all about? The revelation of grace, and
Jesus, what’s the endgame? Well the endgame is that we renew our uninhibited relationship with God, that has been broken because of sin. That’s the point, that’s
what all of this is about. We don’t initiate it, we don’t have the power to initiate
it, God has initiated it. We had a relationship, you know, described in Genesis. We had an intimate relationship
with God, at one point, which was broken because of sin. And so all of this, from
Genesis to Revelation, all the history, all the work, when I say work, I mean
by God, through Christ, all of it has what end? Well, to restore us back
to that relationship, so that we can enjoy a conscious, loving relationship with our Creator. Without reference to sin or weakness. So, my teaching needs to
reflect hope and salvation, and love, not issues and
personalities and systems. That’s the point, y’know, of the teaching that
Paul is giving to Titus. Number five. The authority of God’s grace. So we’ve been talking about,
you know, I’m saying to you, what is sound teaching about? Well, it’s about grace. Grace is the framework
for all of our teaching. And we’ve said the five features of grace, its appearance, instruction,
expectation, purpose, and now its authority. Verse 15. These things, he says, speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. So grace is God’s final dealing with man. This is the pattern for the relationship between man and God. No further teaching, no improvements, we are commissioned to preach grace, and we shouldn’t make excuses for this. The sophisticated, the philosophers, the scoffers, the
legalists, all seem to find the higher platforms for their message, but their message is
not authorized by God. The preaching of God’s
grace revealed to men is the great commission,
and will always be needed, and supported by God. If this is your message,
then don’t be afraid, and don’t apologize, he says. My teaching needs to reflect grace without fear of men’s opinions. In the balance of the book, Paul describes how the grace of God manifests itself in people’s
lives in the church, because sound teaching
equals sound Christians. So now he’s going to talk about
the fruit of sound doctrine, based on grace. First of all, he says sound
Christians are model Christians. Chapter Three, he says,
remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. And so sound Christians
are model citizens. Another thing he says, sound
Christians are highly motivated he says, for we also once
were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind
appeared, He saved us. Not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs
according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement, and concerning these things I
want you to speak confidently so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good
and profitable for men. So sound Christians are highly motivated. They’re motivated by their pasts, he says, he talked about their
past, not to repeat it. They’re motivated by their salvation, to draw strength from it, and they’re motivated by their actions. Positive reinforcement. The more I do good, the
more I want to do good. The closer I draw to God, the
closer I want to be to Him. And then he says, sound Christians
reject unsound teaching. Verses nine to 11. He says, but avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife
and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after
a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. So don’t be afraid to recognize and reject those people and teachings
that are contrary to grace. You know, many times
we argue over procedure and personal issues
instead of the real issues that need to be debated. And of course, this
teaching, and these ideas, are specifically geared toward who? Well, towards Titus, and he’s
supposed to be teaching this to those will be leaders in the church. And so those who are leaders in the church need to focus on these ideas, to promote these ideas,
and teach these things, in order to build the church spiritually. And unfortunately, what happens? Life gets in the way, right? I mean, the roof leaks. The youth minister crashes
the church van, or something, all of a sudden, the
emergency stuff takes over, and countless hours are taken
to do those type of things, but we have to remember
that these are the things that are primary and most important, even though they don’t
sound urgent at times. So Paul finishes the letter
with personal requests and instructions in Verse 12. He says, when I send
Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to
come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to
spend the winter there. And so the apostle is moving his workers from place-to-place, sending
either Tychicus or Artemas to replace Titus in Crete, so they can meet up in the
port city of Nicopolis. Paul was probably needing
Titus’s help for a work there, for which we have no further information. We don’t know everything Paul did, we just know some of what he did. In Verse 13 and 14, he
says diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them. Our people must also learn
to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. Again, we have no information on Zenas, which is a Greek name. A lawyer, probably a lawyer
of Old Testament law, not necessarily civil law,
who had been converted, and was now being sent along with Apollos. We know about Apollos in
Acts 18 and First Corinthians who had been taught by
Aquila and Priscilla. These were now Paul’s assistants, preparing to go on a mission of which we have no information. Again, mission trip, we
don’t know where, what. Paul instructs Titus to equip them with all that they may need. Well, what will they need? Well they need money, clothing, food, equipment, contacts,
for both their journey and their mission. These resources gathered
from church members, much like we do today, when we send people out on a campaign, or a mission effort out
in the field, same idea. Paul notes that this work
provides an opportunity for the Christians in
Crete to do a good work, and to produce spiritual fruit. His point is that they
can take the initiative to do this and demonstrate
their zeal in doing good works. The exercise of giving will do them some spiritual good, he says, it’ll be a good learning exercise. And then in Verse 15, he says, all who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace, once again, grace be with you all. So he sends greetings to Titus, on behalf of all those who are with him, traveling through Macedonia
on their way to Nicopolis. He also sends greetings
to the brethren at Crete. His blessing is brief,
but it’s all-encompassing. Again, he uses the term
grace as a compact word that contains all of the blessings of the Christian faith. Forgiveness, peace, joy,
eternal life with God, all of those things compressed
into a single word, grace. There can be no greater
blessing to bestow on anyone, no matter the time or the place. Well, a couple of lessons here from this final section of Titus, and this final lesson in the
series, lesson number one. Sound leaders preaching sound doctrine produce sound or healthy churches. That’s the formula, it’s
not very complicated. Churches that are dwindling, or divided, or discouraged, are
usually having problems with sound leaders or sound teaching. Sound teaching is the
lifeblood of the church, from infant to adult. Sound leadership provides
example and motivation for the church. When either of these are lacking, the result is easily seen in the church. Poor attendance, lack of giving, low service, low enthusiasm,
so on and so forth. Sound leaders preaching sound doctrine produce sound and healthy churches. Number two, sound doctrine
is measured by God’s grace. You know, they have a key questions, in politics, when somebody is vying for the leadership of a
party, or something like that, they go through a whole process, and they answer questions, you know, how are you on gun rights, or how are you on abortion rights, or taxes? They ask ’em questions to get a feel for, what is his position,
is this a man or a woman that we would like to see as a candidate? They go through that. Well, in the church, you know, if we want to find out
the soundness of a person, the soundness of teacher, it’s measured by their teaching on grace. What do they believe about God’s grace? What’s its purpose? So if your teaching content or style contradicts or does not
conform to the Gospel of grace, it will not produce
genuine spiritual fruit. Legalism, which is the opposite, produces fruit, but it produces fruit through pride and fear and guilt. Only grace produces a desire
in my heart to be righteous, and that desire is satisfied
through faith in Christ. Grace not only creates a felt
desire in me to be righteous, and I can’t emphasize that enough. Legalism does not produce in me the desire to do what’s right. Only grace of God, and
the teaching on grace, produces in me the desire
to do what is right. And it also enables me to be righteous by faith in Christ apart from works. That’s the teaching of grace. Well, to God be the
glory, in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, amen, and amen, and the class said? – [Congregation] Amen. – There we go, for those at home. Thank you very much, God bless you.

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