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Good Deeds, Good Doctrine #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
August 8, 2023 12:00 am

Good Deeds, Good Doctrine #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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August 8, 2023 12:00 am

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What we're talking about in this good distinction is not a fearful reaction to bad things that are around us. It is a confident pursuit of what God has set forth for His people to believe and to do.

We are confident! What should a true biblical church and ministry look like? What should it produce? Pastor Don Green will provide the answers from scripture today on The Truth Pulpit. Hello, I'm Bill Wright. We're continuing our series, Titus, God's Glorious Plan of Grace. Today, Don presents part one of a message titled, Good Deeds, Good Doctrine.

So Don, I guess it's safe to say the two things are inextricably related. My friend, this explains why biblical teaching is so very important. Our lives are built on what we think, and for a Christian, our lives must be built on good doctrine.

It informs our understanding, and it shapes our affections so that what we live is driven by what we love. God's Word can change your heart, and by that, it changes your life. That's what we're going to continue to do as we study today here on The Truth Pulpit. We'll be in Titus chapter 2, so turn there in your Bible as we join Don now in The Truth Pulpit. What we have to understand collectively as a body of believers that are growing together in Christ is to understand that we're not to be so weighed down with that that we lose sight of the positive aspects of ministry that we're to bring. There's a good distinction that Paul lays out for Titus here in chapter 2, verse 1. He says, but as for you, Paul has said everything that he wants to say for now about false teachers, and he says, Titus, it's an emphatic contrast, he says, but you, in the original language, but you.

I've been talking about false teachers, false teachers, but you. It's a sharp snap of the fingers that calls Titus, as it were, to attention to show what biblical ministry is supposed to be like. And so Paul is shifting now in his focus, and we need to recognize this distinction. Paul is shifting from the need to refute false teachers, that's one aspect of biblical ministry, but he goes on to show the need to build up the church with sound doctrine.

And this is so magnificently important for us to understand. You cannot build up Christians. You cannot build up a long-term ministry, you cannot build up a long-term local church simply by pointing out the defects and falsehood in other people's ministries. That is not an approach to biblical ministry at all. It's not enough to say, don't eat this, don't eat that.

You've got to give positive food, you've got to give nourishment that people can actually take in and grow on. And a purely negative ministry that only critiques other men, that only assaults false teaching, and never brings that positive dimension about what we're to believe and what we're to do is a ministry that's destined ultimately to collapse under its own weight. And so we see from the start a good distinction that Paul makes for Timothy. He says, Timothy, as for you, there's something different that you need to do. Paul is about to emphasize how constructive teaching is to be put forward. And so he's making a good distinction, that's point number one.

And there's two little sub-points under this. Paul is telling Titus, as you're making this good distinction, understand first of all that you have to be distinct in ministry. You have to be distinct in ministry. Paul had just instructed Titus to reprove false teachers severely. Look at verse 13. He says, for this reason, reprove them severely so that they may be sound in faith.

They being the true believers that were tempted to be drawn away by these false teachers. He says, but you, you have to make a distinction in your mind. And so there has to be a clarity in the man of God.

There has to be a clarity that realistically looks at the landscape around him and says, this is really bad. There is so much error about. There is so much false Christian living. There is so much sin even within the body of Christ. And you look at that realistically and say, okay, this is the battlefield. This is where it's at.

These are the problems that we are facing. But for the man of God, and it's true for the man in the pew as well, you look at that and say, okay, I see that and now I want you to understand. You say to the mirror, you say in the presence of God, we say to one another. We say, I see that and I decisively, emphatically, once for all reject that. My life will not be marked by that. You say to yourself, the man of God says, my ministry will not be marked by that. I realize that this falsehood, I realize that this sin, I realize that this mediocrity that is done in the name of Christ is an abomination to God.

It is detestable, it is worthless for any good deed. And you drive the spike home in your mind. You pour concrete down your spinal column that says, I'm not going to be like that. I reject that. I will be set apart for the ministry of Jesus Christ. I will be faithful to him if no one else follows me. That has to be the distinguishing mark of the man of God who's called to ministry in the name of Christ. There has to be a clear-cut distinction in your mind that says, I see that and I reject it and now I'm going to devote myself to what God has for me in ministry. That has to be clear so that you're strengthened against the temptation to go along with the fads of the world. It has to be clear in your mind so that you're strengthened against the temptations of your own heart to compromise, to be lukewarm, to be insincere and to just go through the motions. Oh beloved, you and I, men and women, young people, we have to separate ourselves from that lukewarm spirit that is content to have an outer form of Christianity without the inner reality.

There should be such a clarity of love for Christ and love for his word and commitment to the truth of Christ in your heart that says the idea of joining with the mediocrity, the spiritual mediocrity all around you is simply a detestable thought in your mind. That has to be clear. It has to be distinct and you have to recognize it and say, okay, I, whatever else anyone else do, as for me in my house, as for me in my church, we will serve the Lord according to the truth of his word and we'll let his word run our lives, we'll let his word run what we believe, we'll let his word run what we do without regard to the consequences and utterly indifferent to whether men notice or to whether men applaud. God, none of that matters to us because we have a singular desire, a singular focus to be faithful to the God who has revealed himself in the word, to be faithful to the Christ who laid his life down on the cross that he might redeem our souls.

That has to be clear. That has to be decisively set in our minds. The man of God must stand out by contrast and speak sound doctrine instead of false teaching.

He must be committed to holiness, not compromise, and that has to be the cornerstone of the way that he approaches life. Look back in 1 Timothy, you can see this contrast brought out as Paul spoke to another one of his young disciples. 1 Timothy chapter 6, I want you to see just the contrast, just the emphatic nature of it. Another aspect of this is there's just such an encouragement in this that says, okay, this gives me courage to stand up. This gives me courage, this gives me the desire to stand up. I don't have to be swept in, I don't have to be sucked in by the vortex of all of the false ministry that is around me.

I can actually stand and be distinct from this. God commands me to do it and that implies the fact that he's going to give me the power and grace that's necessary to do it. It's not just for the man in the pulpit, it's for you in the pew as well. You don't have to be sucked into mediocrity and if you're living a mediocre Christian life, you bear a responsibility for that. If you're lukewarm in the Word and you're prayerless and you're happy to just go about in worldly things with no real thought of Christ in your life, first of all, you should examine yourself to see if you're even in the faith or not. I don't understand how anyone could be content as a true Christian to be mediocre like that, but if you find yourself like that, you need to grieve over it and you need to repent and say, Lord, I'm sorry, I need to come out of this and realize that that's exactly what he calls you to do. Look at 1 Timothy 6 beginning in verse 3. So much parallel to Paul's thought to Timothy as it is to Titus. He says, if anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, see, there it is, it's a godly life. It's not about whether you've made a past decision at all.

We rode that horse to death many months ago in our pulpit ministry here. But it has nothing to do with whether you can say I made a past decision for Christ. True doctrine leads to true godliness. And if your decision didn't lead to a transformation of life, didn't lead you to a love for Christ, didn't lead you to a hot-hearted pursuit of godliness, you have every reason to question whether your salvation is real or not.

This is just the truth. It's the doctrine that conforms to godliness. Verse 3 of 1 Timothy 6. And if you don't agree with that, if you don't agree with those sound words, here's what Paul says. Here's what the Bible says about people who would dispute the clarity and simplicity of what we just said.

Verse 4, he says, he's conceited and he understands nothing, but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arrive envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is simply a means of gain. Now, that's a description of the false world of ministry, those who teach something different from what Scripture says. Remember, all that we're talking about right now is making a good distinction and having it clear in your mind about what you stand for, about what I stand for, about what we stand for as a body of believers in this region.

What do we stand for? Well, verse 11 of 1 Timothy 6. Having said all of these things and much more that I didn't take time to read, in verse 11 he says, But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith.

Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Verse 10 he had said, he had talked about the love of money, and he says to flee from that as well. But what I want you to see, all that we're saying right now is that it has to be clear in our minds that we are fleeing from the worldliness that is all around us. We are fleeing from false views of ministry. We're leaving them behind. They're not going to have a voice in our lives.

They're not going to have a voice in our ministry. We're leaving it behind even though that we know it's out there, even though that we realize that that's the water in which we swim, even though we realize that there are sharks in the water as we do that, it's clear in our minds what we're about and what we're doing and what we're pursuing. And it's not just a negative turning away in fear that, oh, isn't the world so bad, and the homosexuals are taking over, and what about all of the bad politics? This is not.

You must understand this. What we're talking about in this good distinction is not a fearful reaction to bad things that are around us. It is a confident pursuit of what God has set forth for his people to believe and to do. We are confident as we turn our backs on these worldly things. We're confident in the midst of the adversity that we see all around us, and we're confident because greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world, and because he's told us to pursue this. And so we pursue these things.

We pursue this distinction with a sense of confidence and expectation. And the man of God, the biblical pastor, as he realizes these things, turn back to Titus chapter 2 verse 1. The biblical pastor realizes that in the midst of that, one of his great priority in ministry is that he's going to speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. He's not going to get sucked into this other stuff.

He's not going to wait. He's not going to wait for somebody to write the next book that he's going to teach from. He's just going to study the Word, he's going to be sound in the Word, and he goes forth and he speaks those things that are consistent with and that advance the sound doctrine that the Bible teaches. This is what our ministry here at Truth Community is all about.

It's about being distinct, not following the trends of the world, not following the trends of the broad Christian movement. We simply want to speak the things that are fitting for sound doctrine and live in accordance with them. It's really simple about what our passion is as a congregation. And so, a biblical pastor, recognizing the things that are sound doctrine and speaking the things for sound doctrine, he understands that he must communicate the Word of God with depth, and he doesn't dabble in unprofitable talk because he has a job to do. That's the call of ministry, according to Scripture. Speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine, be separate, be distinct, don't be afraid to stand alone, be distinct in ministry and pursue what God has called us to do in the Scriptures. That's the kind of ministry that God will bless.

We can expect his blessing as we're faithful to that as a congregation. And so we have to be distinct in ministry as shown by that contrast that begins verse 1. Look at it with me again. But as for you, I've dealt with the false teachers. Now, as for you, here's what you do. There's a distinction that I'm calling to you. What's interesting about this, in that chapter 2 verse 1, the you there, this isn't the colloquial southern yawl, plural you, this is the singular you. Paul is speaking to Titus directly and saying, As for you, Titus, as for you, man of God, you set the tone, you set the pace.

Here's what you are to do. And if you will lead in this way, God will build a congregation that will support and further the things that you're standing for because it's the nature of Christ. As part of the work of Christ, he said, I will build my church. Well, here's the kind of man and here's the commitment of the men that he builds it around.

It's a distinction in commitment, but it's the distinction in commitment that I was just talking about, the singular you. Titus had a special responsibility for teaching here that Paul is highlighting here. And look at the verse with me there, chapter 2 verse 1. He says, As for you, Titus, here's your commitment, here's what you must do. He says, Speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. What's interesting about that verb construction in the original language is that it's speaking of an ongoing responsibility, an ongoing commitment. It's a present imperative in the original language, which means that this is the ongoing, unchanging nature of what a man is to be committed to. Listen.

Listen. For the biblical pastor, for the biblical congregation, for the commitment of a true Christian, our commitment to sound doctrine is a never-ending commitment that we carry with us throughout all of life. It's what we do week after week, day after day. It's the love of our heart. It's what makes our heart beat. It's the blood that courses through our spiritual veins.

It never changes. And that's so important for you to understand, knowing that we've come from a lot of different places, both geographically and from different churches and different backgrounds. What we have to understand is that biblical authority, biblical teaching, consistent, verse-by-verse teaching, week after week, year after year, this isn't a passing fad. What we've been doing, this isn't a stage that we're going through, and then we'll move on to something bigger and more important later. We're already doing the most important thing as we teach God's Word week by week. We're already expressing what we intend to do 20 years from now. When Paul says, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine, he says, Titus, as for you, your ongoing, unchanging commitment in ministry must be to have this kind of teaching ministry that puts sound doctrine, good doctrine, right at the center of everything that you do and say. It's an ongoing commitment. It's a distinct commitment. We're not waiting for the next book to come out to know what we're going to do three months from now. What I want you to see is that a biblical pastor, a biblical congregation, never outgrows the need for sound doctrine.

We never move on to something else. This is the ongoing commitment of what we do. Speak the things that are fitting for sound doctrine, Paul says to Titus.

Speak in an ongoing way. Do this as long as the Lord gives you breath. I often pray in various ways and in various times in a spirit that says, if I'm going to deviate from that, just take me home. I don't want to live a moment away from the centrality of that conviction.

I don't want to live a moment. So if my sinful heart is going to cause me to deviate, either into unprofitable behavior or unprofitable teaching, Lord, just take me away. Get me out of the way so that there wouldn't be an enduring, ending testimony about my life that he didn't stay with the things that were fitting for sound doctrine.

I'd rather die than deviate from that. And that ought to be the commitment of your heart as a Christian as well. It ought to be so dedicated and deep in your heart that, Lord, I just want to be faithful to you. I just want to be biblical in my life. I want to be godly.

More than I want to enjoy the passing, entertainments, and fashions of this world. God, just let me be godly. And if I'm not going to be like that, first of all, help me examine my heart to see whether I'm really a Christian or not. And if I am a Christian, then just don't let me deviate ever.

Don't ever let me deviate from that, oh God. And seeing all of this just puts all of life in perspective for us. It makes us think about what's really true and what really matters, and it causes us to think seriously about what we're doing with our lives.

And that's the way it ought to be. We shouldn't be living superficial lives. We shouldn't be caught up and swept up in every worldly thing that comes along or whatever entertains us for an hour. There ought to be beating in your heart if you're a Christian.

There ought to be a beating that says, God, I want to live a transcendent life. You young men, there ought to be beating in your heart if you're a Christian at all that says, Lord, I've got 50 good years in front of me. Why not make them count?

Why don't you use me and make those count? When it comes to the pastor who Paul is addressing here with Titus, the spiritual leader, but as for you, singular, what this means for the pastor and what it means for the congregation is is that a congregation should want and the pastor should be a man who makes preparation for teaching his supreme priority in life. Preparation and teaching is the priority of the man of God. Look over at 1 Timothy again.

I want to show you this from a couple of different places. Paul told Titus, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. He says, this is the distinction.

This is what makes you different. This is what you must do as my apostolic representative, Titus. You must speak continually the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. There's an emphasis on the content of his teaching. Now, 1 Timothy 4, verse 15, you can see him saying the same thing to Timothy, the priority of biblical instruction on the priorities of the man of God. Paul says, 1 Timothy 4, verse 15, take pains with these things.

Be absorbed in them so that your progress will be evident to all. You know, it's okay for a young pastor if he doesn't have his whole teaching act together. The question is, is he growing month by month, year by year? Do you see progress in his ministry over time? And so if you're a young guy moving into teaching for the first time and all of that, it's okay if you don't preach like a national radio pastor the first time that you preach.

The point is, where's the commitment of your heart, and are you making progress over time? And sometimes a congregation needs to be patient with a young pastor, to give him room, to encourage him, to affirm him. I remember that my precious friend who's now in heaven, Bob Moran, who was just a precious, godly man in his 70s when I was first doing my first initial teaching. And every time after I spoke, he'd come up, great job, so encouraging.

And you know what? I went back and listened to that stuff. A few years later, he was not telling me the truth.

It wasn't all that helpful. But he affirmed me and helped me along the way. And if you have a young man who's teaching along that, and you see a commitment to scripture in him, then you encourage him and you affirm him and just help him to progress along the way. A biblical church should indeed be distinctive. That is, it should not conform to the teaching and wisdom of this world.

Rather, scripture should be the solid ground from which our reasoning begins. Pastor Don Green will complete the picture of a true church on our next broadcast as he continues our series, Titus, God's Glorious Plan of Grace, on The Truth Pulpit. Don't miss a moment.

Right now, though, Don's back here in studio with some closing words. You know, friend, I listen to a lot of Christian radio myself, and I know how the game is played at this stage of the program. People have something to sell to you, or they make a strong ask for your support.

Well, that's not what I want to do today at all. I just want you to know that our perspective on this ministry is this. The Truth Pulpit exists for you to minister God's word to you.

You do not exist in order to make this ministry possible. We trust the Lord for his provision, and he's been very generous to us. So please know that we love you, that we want you to benefit from our program, and that we have no expectations of what you're going to do in response. We just want you to hear God's word, receive it, understand it, and obey it.

And we trust that God will bless you and us as that process takes place. Thanks, Don. And friend, remember to visit thetruthpulpit.com for more about this ministry. There you'll also find out how to get free CDs of Don's messages. Once more, that's thetruthpulpit.com. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time for more from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-08 04:22:05 / 2023-08-08 04:32:10 / 10

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