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Good Deeds, Good Doctrine #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
August 9, 2023 12:00 am

Good Deeds, Good Doctrine #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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Good doctrine, a good understanding of the character of God and biblical salvation. Good doctrine will shape your affections in a way which will compel you to live differently. We're so glad you've joined us on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and we're continuing our series, Titus, God's Glorious Plan of Grace. Don will wrap up his message titled Good Deeds, Good Doctrine. Last time we learned that a true biblical church is distinctive in that it reflects sound reasoning from scripture rather than worldly and empty speculation.

Today, Don will look more closely at the relationship between good deeds and good doctrine, and you'll see how one flows out of the other. Have your Bible open to Titus chapter two as we join Pastor Don Green now in The Truth Pulpit. What I'm about to read, 2 Timothy chapter 4 verses 1 and 2, this is just sobering. There should be a spirit of silent awe that comes upon us as we realize the significance of what Paul is saying. These are among Paul's final recorded words for us. 2 Timothy was the last book that he wrote. He's saying his final things to Timothy.

And what does he say to him? As Paul is about to depart from the scene and leave it to Timothy to carry on after him. Chapter 4 verse 1, he says, Timothy, I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead and by his appearing in his kingdom. This is a solemn charge.

This is so very serious. He says, Timothy, wake up. I am charging you in the presence of God himself. I'm charging you in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. I remind you that he is coming.

He's going to appear. He is going to establish his kingdom in light of all of these great eternal realities. Here's the final thing that I want to say to you. Verse 2, preach the word. Preach the word.

Be ready in season and out of season, whether people want to hear it or whether they don't. Be preaching the word, reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction. It's the priority of ministry to teach the word.

That is the distinct commitment. We're not worried about what kind of coffee we're going to serve. You've probably seen some of those direct mail pieces that come in from different churches. We've got great coffee. We've got great donuts. Are you kidding me? In the presence of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ in light of his appearing in his kingdom, we've got great coffee, we've got great donuts.

Are you kidding? Nothing could greater expose the superficiality and the fact that these people have nothing to say on behalf of the true and living God if they're talking about their coffee and donuts when Paul says, I command you, I charge you in the solemn name of our Lord Jesus Christ, preach the word. We're getting a little bit of a preview of how much stuff that passes for Christian ministry today is just going to burn up in smoke in a moment at the final judgment.

Not us, beloved. We're going to be distinct in commitment. We're going to be distinct in ministry. We're going to preach the word. That's going to be our commitment at Truth Community.

That is our commitment at Truth Community. A pastor cannot let his social calendar compromise his primary duty to teach sound doctrine. A pastor has to be in his study.

He has to be in his chair. He has to have his nose in the scriptures and in his books and in his Greek New Testament so that he can fulfill the solemn charge that the scriptures place upon him. A congregation that affirms that priority and respects that study time receives the long-term benefit in return. The second aspect of good biblical ministry.

I'll just call it this way. Point number two, good deeds. Good deeds.

This is a real shift from what you might expect. The commitment to sound doctrine, the commitment to a teaching ministry is evident. But as Paul goes on and teaches, he makes it clear that there is to be a practical outworking in life. This isn't simply a matter of academic debate, you know, a tennis match back and forth between good doctrine and bad doctrine.

This is meant to have a life impact on everyone that's under the sound of the ministry. Look at chapter 2 verse 1. He says, As for you, Titus, speak the things which are fitting, the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Now, what's he talking about here? Well, remember, Paul had just been saying that the culture in which Titus was ministering was a lazy, rebellious culture.

They were not fit for much good at all. Look at verse 10, for example. He says, There are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers. Verse 12, he says, One of their own, a prophet of their own, says, Cretans are always liars, evil beasts and lazy gluttons. It was in a lazy, gluttonous culture that the church on the island of Crete was born. Now, that has implications.

That has significance. It means that the church was composed of people who had come out of that culture. And as a result of a culture that was so debased, the church that was formed, the people who came out of that culture were still in need of further transformation. They needed to be instructed on the way Christians are to live. And Paul makes a big emphasis of this. After he says the things which are fitting for sound doctrine, what is it that I'm supposed to teach, Paul? He goes on and he talks about the duties of older men in verse 2, older women in verse 3, young women in verses 4 and 5, young men in verses 6, 7, and 8. He goes on and he says, Here are the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Teach them how to live with Christian character. Develop Christian character in them. You would think, you would think by looking around at some ministries that the things that are fitting for sound doctrines are a multiplicity of programs that keep people busy at night five days a week.

That's what you would think. Paul doesn't go there at all. Paul focuses on the character of the people that are in the church. He says, Titus, here are the things where you need to build up their character.

These are the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. He shows the different responsibilities that men and women have as they live out life in the body of Christ. And as he does that, as he talks about their character, he repeatedly emphasizes the role of good deeds in the life of a true Christian. Look at chapter 2, verse 7, for example. Chapter 2, verse 7. He says, In all things, show yourself to be an example of good deeds with purity and doctrine, dignified. Look at chapter 2, verse 14 as he speaks forth the purpose of the redemption work of Christ. Chapter 2, verse 14. 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.

That would be enough to make the point, wouldn't it? He said it twice in the period of a few verses. He's not done. Chapter 3, verse 1. Titus, remind them. Chapter 3, verse 1. Titus, remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed. Verse 8.

This is a trustworthy statement concerning these things. I want you to speak confidently so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. Verse 14. This is woven throughout the entire letter.

He doesn't want us to miss it. Verse 14. Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds, to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. One of the things about biblical ministry, about a biblical church, is the fact that you quickly come to realize the church isn't about ticking off the to-do list for being someplace on Sunday morning. And I realize how easy it is, especially in large ministries. Having come from a large ministry, I can say this with a measure of integrity, I think. You know, when you go someplace and there's thousands of people around, it's easy to just live on the periphery of that, to deceive yourself into thinking, oh, I was at church on Sunday, and therefore everything must be okay. Absolutely false.

That is not true at all. You see, it's not complicated for a Christian. Our lives are to be marked by a transformed life that is actually productive, not only for our own selves, but that's somehow productive in meeting the needs of others around us. And the way that that takes place is as we get together, as we come to know each other, you become acquainted with my needs and I become acquainted with yours, you start to meet my needs, I start to meet yours. It presumes, it assumes, it presupposes an involvement with the lives of one another in a way that knows each other well enough to know how I can serve you and then actually act upon that and do it. See a need, meet a need. And what I want you to see from this, Paul just kind of alludes to the point right now, he's going to expand on it more later as we see.

We'll talk about it in future weeks. When he talks about the things which are fitting for sound doctrine, he shifted away from a focus on who's doing the teaching to the people who are doing the listening. The things that are fitting for sound doctrine, for you as you hear the Word of God, is for your life to be transformed, for your life to be engaged, for you not to sit on the sidelines, but to be involved in ministry, to be involved in the lives of people in a way that makes your life productive and does good for others. It's not, oh goodness, it is not simply about you receiving teaching content and then going on living your life according to your own desires. You see, in a biblical church, to be under the ministry of a biblical church is a recognition of responsibility to others in the body, and it's a recognition that my life can't just continue on in my own selfish pursuits without regard to the people around me.

I'll give you something here, how to know when you're under a biblical ministry, how to recognize whether you're responding to a biblical ministry properly in your heart. It's when you find yourself saying this to yourself and to others, you say, my life is changing. I'm not like I was a year ago. I'm changing. My life is different than what it was. I see things coming out of my heart.

I find myself doing things that are not like what I used to be. You see, and that's a product, that's an evidence of the fact that your life is bringing forth the good deeds that biblical ministry is supposed to stimulate you to. Look over at Hebrews chapter 10.

Turn just to the right a few pages. Hebrews chapter 10 in verses 24 and 25. Actually verse 23, we'll start there. Verses 23 through 25.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Oh, there's so much sound doctrine built into that verse. Verse 24. And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. There it is again in another writer of scripture. This is to be the product of biblical ministry, is that we stimulate one another to love and good deeds.

And verse 25, we don't forsake our assembling together. We encourage one another all the more as we see the day drawing near. Christ is coming. You know, the return of Christ is closer now than it's ever been.

We see that coming. So we love one another and we manifest it in the way that we live. And when you find yourself saying, you know what, my life is changing. There's a spiritual biblical power at work in my heart that is making me think and act differently.

Oh, beloved, if that's true, be encouraged. Be encouraged because it's an indication in your life that what's supposed to be happening is happening and that's a product that you truly belong to Christ and you're not an imposter. Good deeds come out of a good distinction in ministry. Now, as you focus on that, and we'll talk about these transformed lives in verses to come in future weeks.

I'm just giving you a little bit of an overview for now. But as we focus on transformed lives, there's a final point that we need to make here. And it's this, is that when we talk about life change, we're not talking about reforming your morality.

We're not talking about something that's purely external. It's not something that you can even generate long term on your own power because you see good deeds come from point number three. Good deeds come from good doctrine. Good deeds come from good doctrine. That's what they flow from good doctrine, not the other way around.

You can't put the cart before the horse on this matter. Look at chapter two, verse one with me again. Paul says, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. And as you think through that, the sound doctrine is assumed, it's at the basis and you speak the things that flow out of that just as a flower grows out of good soil and proper hydration. As a flower grows out of that soil, so in the same way the good deeds flow out of good doctrine. You must understand biblical doctrine. You must understand biblical theology if you're going to live a biblical life. You cannot separate the two. And this idea of sound doctrine has the idea of being healthy.

It's a word that we get hygiene from. Paul is telling Titus to teach things that promote a healthy spiritual life. And what I want you to see, beloved, I'm almost done here, is that good doctrine, I'm going to illustrate this for you in a way that will be very evident. Good doctrine, a good understanding of the character of God and biblical salvation, good doctrine will shape your affections in a way which will compel you to live differently. It will force you. The power of persuasion in your heart will be so great that you will want to respond.

You want to act upon it. You will act upon it if you're truly redeemed because that's the transforming power of scripture at work in your heart. The transforming power of truth. You see, it's never just academic in the scripture.

The Bible condemns that. It says the demons believe and tremble. We recognize the real thing in our lives when our lives are transformed by this doctrine that we say that we believe. Look at 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 14. What we're illustrating here is the point that good doctrine gives rise to good deeds, not the other way around.

And when you understand doctrine, when you're serious about biblical truth, it informs your heart and that informs your behavior. 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 14. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance.

But, watch this, beloved. Verse 15. Like the holy one who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior because it is written you shall be holy for I am holy.

Lord God speaking there. When you understand perfect holiness of God, when you realize that he is utterly separated from sin, you understand that he cannot even be tempted by sin and he does not tempt men to sin. That's how separate from sin he is. How fully righteous he is as you read the life of Jesus Christ and see his perfect righteousness on display time and time again. And you start from that perspective of who God is. His holiness and his utter separate nature from sin. Then, you say, oh, if God is like that, then I need to be pursuing that as well. The character of God who is perfectly holy compels you, motivates you, searches you so that you would search out for holiness in your own life which he's given you to live. The character of God informs your pursuit of holiness. And so you start from a theological understanding of the character of God and then it affects the way that you live. Let's look at another example back in Ephesians chapter 4. And this one is going to pinch like a bad pair of shoes for some of you.

Pinch like a bad pair of shoes. Here we are, many of us in this room, we've believed in Christ. God has wiped our slate clean. He's not only wiped our slate clean of our transgressions, he says, I'm going to look at you through the lens of my Lord Jesus Christ. I'm going to look at you as though you had lived the perfect, righteous life of Christ. And so I accept you on the basis of the merits of my son. I receive you as one of my own and you now have bold and confident access to me. And I'm going to take you to heaven when you die and you'll see my face forever and ever where tears and sorrow will be no more. That's the gift that God has given to you and to me in true biblical salvation.

That's wonderful. You mean, God, you're not going to hold against me all of my past rebellion against you? The times where I cursed your name, all of my sinful ways, you're not going to hold that against me?

You're not going to raise that against me in judgment? God, this is wonderful. This is so perfect. You're so good to me.

This is so beautiful. To find out that the holy judge of the universe, I can now look in his face and see the face of my savior, one and the same. I've been forgiven. My conscience is clear. God's justice has been satisfied on my behalf. I love being a Christian.

You say to yourself, can you have this good clear vertical perception of it? All of that, here's what I want you to see. All of that is an expression of biblical theology. It's an expression of biblical truth. You don't find that kind of glorious hope in the gospel apart from the pages of the 66 books of the Bible.

Anything else will tell you, work your way, do this ritual, let the good outweigh the bad and maybe God will let you in. That's part of all of that demonic doctrine that we reject out of hand and that we're distinct from. All of that, beloved, is based on sound doctrine, the teaching of scripture.

Now watch this. Are you in Ephesians 4? Did I tell you to go to Ephesians 4? Go to Ephesians 4.

God has dealt with you so wonderfully graciously and that has consequences for the way that you live among men. Verse 31, let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

How are you supposed to deal with those irksome people in your life? How are you supposed to deal with the past of people that have wronged you and hurt you badly? Start with remembering how God has dealt with you in that great forgiveness that is so wonderful and say, oh, then this needs to flavor the way that I deal in relationships as well. Those of you that are harboring bitterness in your marriage with your children, with other parts of your family or business associates or all of that, realize that if your claim to know Christ has a direct implication for how you respond to that and there should be a tenderhearted view that you take toward those that have wronged you because God has been tenderhearted to you in salvation. That is a requirement of the Gospel. That if we've been forgiven, we give forgiveness. My point, the implications of this for forgiveness in your relationships is incidental to my bigger point. The bigger point is that doctrine impacts the way that you live. The commands of scripture for what we do always flow from sound doctrine, good doctrine. Good doctrine leads to good deeds. Only someone who has a clear understanding of forgiveness in Christ is able to forgive somebody else on a horizontal level in a proper way.

Everything else is just self-motivated and looking for advantage. But, beloved, I want you to think about those things that have made you bitter over the past few weeks. Bitter this past week. Bitter today.

Bitter this morning. I want you to think about that in light of the Gospel. You think about your bitter unforgiving spirit toward others in light of the great forgiveness that God has given you and you realize that has to change. Part of the Lord's prayer is, Lord forgive us our trespasses as we also have forgiven those who have trespassed against us. We don't insult the holiness of God by asking for forgiveness for our sins and being unwilling to extend it to others who have wronged us. Because good doctrine leads to good deeds, which flows from a good distinction in ministry. Sound doctrine produces good character, from which flows good deeds.

Not deeds that save us, mind you, but deeds that come as a result of salvation. Pastor Don Green will move further into our series, Titus, God's Glorious Plan of Grace, on our next broadcast. Join us then on The Truth Pulpit as our teacher offers insight into what it means to be a Christian man. Meanwhile, we invite you to visit our website, thetruthpulpit.com. There you can download podcasts or find out how to receive CD copies of Don's radio messages for your personal study library. And if you want to go even more in depth, you'll also find the link Follow Don's Pulpit. That'll take you to Don's full length weekly sermons, not subject to the time editing we need for radio broadcasts. And if you happen to be in the Cincinnati area, check out the service times for Truth Community Church, also on our website. Maybe plan a visit. We'd love to welcome you. Thanks for listening. I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time for more from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-09 04:50:42 / 2023-08-09 04:59:47 / 9

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