You and I have an effect on people by our presence, and that presence can be an instrument of great blessing if we are walking in the Spirit.
That's not just for our sake and for God's sake. It spills over in the lives of those around us. We're so glad you've joined us on the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, Founding Pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hello, I'm Bill Wright. We've come to the final installment of our series, Titus, God's Glorious Plan of Grace, as Don presents part two of a message titled, The Nature of Christian Good Deeds. Last time, Don reminded us that good works are not the source of our salvation, but rather the result of Christ's saving work on our behalf and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Our teacher also gave us the first main way we serve, and that's with our presence.
That is, we need to be there for the people in our lives. Today, we'll look at how we must also serve with our resources, so turn to Titus chapter three as we join Don Green now in the Truth Pulpit. Paul was giving a blueprint for a young church. Paul says, Sometimes, our Christian deeds will take a different character. That leads us to our second point.
We serve not only with our presence, sometimes we have to serve with our resources. Look at Titus again, go back to Titus, and look at verse 13 with me. A completely different turn in the nature of the good deeds of which Paul is speaking. Here, Paul is calling for something completely different.
He's saying that we not only respond to relational needs, but also to physical ones. And Zenas and Apollos had legitimate needs as servants of the gospel, and Paul says, Titus, I want you to provide for these. Now, we don't know anything about Zenas other than what we see written here. He was a lawyer of some kind, perhaps skilled in Jewish religious law, perhaps skilled in Roman law.
Beyond that, we don't know. We just know that he had a trained legal mind of some kind, and he was part of the service of the gospel. Paul knew him, and so did Titus.
Apollos, we know a little bit more about from Acts 18 and 1 Corinthians. He was a skilled teacher of Scripture. Together, the two of them must have been a formidable duo in the ministry of the gospel.
Zenas with his legal training, Apollos with what Scripture uniformly testifies was a man of great skill in teaching the Scripture, and they are going about, obviously, with a teaching ministry to further the gospel there in the first century. And so, these men are about the work of Christ. It's possible, if not likely, that these two men were the ones who physically carried the letter from Paul and delivered it to Titus. That would make sense, since they were the ones that needed the help. They were going to be there. It would make sense that they were the ones who physically carried the letter to Titus and said, here's the word from the apostle Paul.
Well, here's what I want you to see. These men, accredited and affirmed by the apostle Paul, out and about on gospel ministry had legitimate physical needs in order to carry forth the work that they were doing for Christ. And Paul calls that to Titus' attention.
And look at it again with me in verse 13. He says, diligently help them on their way so that nothing is lacking for them. It says, Titus, they need resources.
They need to be helped on the way. And Paul didn't expect Titus to personally supply that. This was a corporate responsibility for the Christians there on the island of Crete. It was a corporate responsibility, as you can see from verse 14.
Look at it with me. He says, our people must also learn. They're not like this, apparently. They were falling in this way, and so they needed to grow. They needed to learn that this was part of their responsibility as believers. He says, Titus, those people, our people, those who share in the faith have got to learn. They have to understand that they have a responsibility to step up and meet the needs of the gospel work when it's going forward. And here you have, Titus, he says, you have two men in front of you, my delegates, who are about the work of the gospel, and they have needs for resources. Titus, our people need to meet them.
Our people need to step up, as it were, dig into the pockets of their own and supply it. Give these men, give these servants of Christ what they need to do their work. Now, that tells us something about life in the body of Christ. Life in the body of Christ is a great privilege. Life in the body of Christ where the Word is taught and where elders watch over your souls, where elders pray for you on a consistent, ongoing basis, that is a privilege. The joy of relationships within the body of Christ, that's a privilege. This is sweet, wonderful fellowship to be in the body of Christ, to have a, as it were, an area of respite from the temptations and the assaults of the world around us.
That's a privilege. That's a joy. This is peace. This is a foretaste of heaven in the body of Christ.
And how glad I am to be able to share in that foretaste with you. This is precious. This is lovely.
This is good. This makes life sweet and worth living. Beloved, here's what I want you to think about. This is what our passage calls us to recognize, is that that privilege in the body of Christ comes with a correlating responsibility. There's responsibility we don't just take, we give. If we reap the spiritual benefits of being in the body of Christ, if we reap the benefits of a gospel ministry, then we share in the responsibility to materially support those who provide it.
That's what Paul is saying here in verse 14. He says our people need to learn to engage in good deeds. He says, Titus, this is their responsibility. They need to step up and meet the needs of these gospel workers. And so, Titus, I want you to be diligent to help them, to provide for them, and it's a corporate responsibility that you have every right and prerogative to call upon them to step up and meet. And so we serve not only with our relational presence, though we do that week by week, day by day, we also realize that there is a good deeds also involves a claim on our resources. Now, for those of you that do not regularly attend Truth Community, you would have no way of knowing the truth of what I'm about to say.
Those of you who do attend will know and quickly affirm that everything that I'm about to say is absolutely true. At Truth Community, we don't make finances prominent. We don't pass a plate during the service. We don't send out fundraising letters to our people, and we like it that way. We made a conscious, deliberate choice to de-emphasize the role of finances and giving in the life of our body. That was a deliberate philosophical choice that we made that fleshes itself out in the fact that there's a small little box on a table out there where donations can be made, otherwise we don't say a word about it unless the text of Scripture calls for it.
What's the result of that, Ben? Well, the Lord has more than abundantly met our needs. You can ask our treasurer, Paul Spires, about that any time you want, and he'll tell you story after story. And I want to tell you this is an opportunity for me to thank you, to thank those of you who so faithfully give. We have dozens of families that are faithful in supporting our church, and this text is an opportunity for me as the pastor and on behalf of our leadership to say thank you for what you do. God bless you. We see this being lived out without any exhortation to you to do it.
That's awesome. That is absolutely wonderful, and we're so grateful to be a part of a church that's like that, where people just intuitively recognize it and step up and do it. And then the Lord goes beyond and sends gifts of two and three hundred thousand dollars to us in the past three months to further the work from people who have nothing to do with our church, just outside the church and doing it. The Lord's blessing us financially. We're seeing lived out in our midst the very thing of which Paul speaks here.
We have a group of people. We have a body of believers who instinctively engage in these kinds of good deeds. Isn't that awesome? And you know what that means? As we continue to live this way with one another, do you know what that means? It means that you can come to church Sunday by Sunday without fear that you're going to be beaten over the head about reaching just a little bit deeper for the latest fundraising campaign, number six in this calendar year. I love the fact that our church is like that, and it works because of the spontaneous generosity of the people of God in our midst. Praise God. My heart is filled with gratitude for you and for the work of God in your heart, because your giving is a reflection of an appreciation for what Christ has done in your life.
We are greatly blessed to be a part of a body where we don't have to beat each other up. You don't have to cringe about the next time that he's going to preach on tithing from the pulpit. I don't do that. I don't even believe in tithing. Because the Bible doesn't teach it for New Testament believers.
Don't want to shock you there. That's for another time. But the New Testament speaks of joyful, cheerful giving according to your means.
And we're blessed to be in a place like this where we can do that. So thank you for what you do, every one of you that give like that. By the way, I have no idea. I never see the giving records. I don't want to see them. Those are kept apart from my involvement. I have no idea who gives what, apart from my own family.
Not even with my kids. I don't even know what my kids give. I know what I give, Nancy and I give. I don't know.
I don't care to know. I just see the corporate result of it and I'm grateful. Now, let me just say to kind of round out the application of that. For those few of you who never give, you really do need to rethink life. You need to rethink your involvement in the corporate life of our church. Supporting your church, supporting the ministry of the gospel is an aspect of being a Christian.
This is part of our responsibility. This is part of what God calls on us to do. It's not about the pastor.
It's not really about the church. It's about using your resources and realizing that the Lord owns them all and it's appropriate for you to support that ministry from which you derive a spiritual benefit. We receive and we give and it goes both ways. Overall, knowing that I speak for our leadership and our elders, we're so grateful. We are so profoundly thankful for the way that the Lord has blessed our church. And so profoundly grateful for those of you who give without being asked. That's incredible.
That's incredible. And I hope that you feel like I do. I want to keep it that way, don't you? I want to keep it that way. Well, the way that we keep it that way is by individually taking on the responsibility without being reminded or being scolded.
Better yet, I'm not going to scold you about it. And the way that works is when we all do our part and the Lord meets our needs through the provision of His people. What a great special thing it is for us to have established that so early in our lives as a body of believers. Now, Paul has come to the end of everything that he wants to say. He's taken care of his personal instructions. Titus, I want you with me. Titus, our people need to engage in good deeds. And now he closes it here in verse 15 with brief but affectionate words. He says, All who are with me greet you, greet those who love us in the faith and the closing benediction. Grace be with, watch this, you all. You all. Paul might have been from the south, I don't know.
Probably not. But when he says you all there at the end, that tells us that he intended this letter to be publicly read. It wasn't private correspondence with Titus that we happened to get. Paul wrote this to Titus, but he intended it to be read to everyone so that we know that this is application that goes beyond Titus, but it's for all of the church. And we see here in verse 15 the gracious attitude that underlies our service, that underlies our good deeds, that underlies our presence and underlies our giving. Paul says, look at it, greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. The personal greeting, a recognition of the love that animates life in the body of Christ, a prayer as it were, that God's grace would continue to abound on the people who were under the sound of this letter. Paul says, grace be with you all. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Everyone who's with me greets you. There's just a sweet spirit of love and gentleness that closes this letter. And it reminds us, it shows us that we serve in the body of Christ. We are faithful to attend week by week in the body of Christ. We go to be with the grieving and sorrowing in the body of Christ. We give in the body of Christ because... Look at verse 14 as we close. Why do we do this? Why don't we just stay home and sleep in on Sunday morning?
Why don't we just keep all of the resources to our own personal self? Why? Why? That makes no sense. That is not the selfish attitude that is inculcated by our society and culture around us.
Why? We live this way horizontally because of a vertical reality that is the anchor and the cornerstone of everything in this book. And I remind you one final time before we leave the book of Titus and move on to other things from the pulpit. Christ Jesus, chapter 2, verse 14.
I want you to look at it with me. Put your eyes on those verses. Titus 2, verse 14. Our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. Our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, gave Himself for us. He laid down His life on the cross for us to buy us out of our spiritual slavery to redeem us from every lawless deed. Christ wasn't merely canceling hell for you on the cross. He was buying you so that He would own you.
He bought you for Himself that you would belong to Him and live the way that He wants you to live and one day to be with Him forever. Why do we live this way? Well, because that's the purpose of salvation. That's why Christ bought us was in part to have us as His own possession. And we are so grateful, Lord Jesus. We are so grateful that you came down and that you went to the cross and gave yourself for us. We're so profoundly thankful that it overturns every priority that we ever had beforehand in life and makes us glad to pursue this kind of life that has been laid for us in the book of Titus, a blueprint for a young church. That's why we live this way.
It's vertical. It's not to impress anyone. It's not to earn God's favor. We've been on the receiving end of undeserved mercy and now we live that way in response. Those of you who still are outside of Christ, I ask you once again, won't you come to Him? Don't you see the preeminent claim upon your heart that the Lord Jesus Christ has?
When the gospel comes to you as it comes to you right now, understand that it's not a suggestion. Jesus Christ commands you to repent and believe in Him, to turn from sin and receive salvation before it is too late. Today is the day of your salvation. Today is the day that you must come to Him. He gave Himself for us.
He sacrificed His life to appease the wrath of God so that you could receive the grace of God. And it's time to bend the knee before Him, to turn from your sinful ways and receive Him now, today. There's no reason for waiting, delaying.
The time for excuses is over. Christ has preeminent claim on your life. And in love, He says, come to Me. In His Lordship, He says, come to Me.
Won't you come? Let's pray. Father, we are so very grateful for our Lord Jesus Christ to give Himself to redeem us from every lawless deed and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. Father, would You help us to grow? I thank You for what is already taking place in the lives of our people, in the lives of this flock. Father, help us now to excel still more, to press on, to move on in spiritual growth and that kind of spiritual maturity. Help us to that end, Father, we pray. We thank You that our souls are redeemed and secure in Christ and that there is no fear of condemnation because Jesus Christ has paid it all. Father, You know the hearts of all that are here.
You know, if even just a small percentage of people here don't truly know Christ, that there's still several too many who are in that condition. God, we ask You again to save their souls. We ask You again, Father, for the work that only You can do. We ask You for a work of Your Spirit on the hearts of the unbelieving and that You would turn their unbelief to belief, their rebellion into submission, their heart of stone into a heart of flesh. Father, by the power of Your Spirit, make our Lord Jesus Christ sweet and preeminent and lovely and worthy of following to them.
Draw their hearts to a saving knowledge of Your Son. Help them to consciously repent of sin and consciously submit their life to the Lordship of Christ. Thank You for the richness of our salvation. And we pray, Father, that You would help us to be faithful to Your Word at Truth Community in the year to come. Help us to be faithful individually and corporately. Help us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We pray these things in His name.
Amen. And with that, we've come to the end of our series in Titus, God's Glorious Plan of Grace, here on The Truth Pulpit. It's been an amazing and detailed series, Don. Well, you know, Bill, they say that time flies when you're having fun, and what I find is that time flies when you're studying God's Word. It's hard for me to believe that we've already reached the end of this study of Titus together. You know, this book of the Bible has taught us so much about true salvation, the nature of the Church, and how to live the Christian life. My friend, maybe you joined us late in the series, and you would like to take advantage of the full broadcast series that we've done.
It's easy to do. There is a full archive online of these broadcasts and more at our website. My friend, Bill, is here to help you find it. Just visit us at thetruthpulpit.com, and while you're there, you can also find out about service times at Truth Community Church. If your travels take you to the Cincinnati area or you live nearby, we'd love to see you. Again, all the info is at thetruthpulpit.com. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, and we'll see you next time for more from the Truth Pulpit.
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