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Rebuke to Restore

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
April 10, 2023 2:00 am

Rebuke to Restore

The Voice of Sovereign Grace / Doug Agnew

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April 10, 2023 2:00 am

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If you'd open with me to Paul's letter to Titus, we're going to be looking at Chapter 1, verses 9 and working our way through Chapter 2, verse 1.

Hear God's Word for us tonight. He must hold firm to the trustworthy Word as taught so that he may be able to give instruction and sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silent since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.

This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. To the purer all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure. But both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works.

They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Let's pray. Father, this evening we come before you as we open this text and our prayer, I hope, is what Jesus, when he met with the disciples from our Gospel reading, we pray that Jesus would open our minds to understand the Scriptures. Holy Spirit be with us tonight and teach us your word. Keep me from error and Lord God, let the text that you have provided us teach us and lead us closer in our walk with Christ. And let us give you honor and glory for those things and it's in Christ Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. This now will be our third study of Paul's letter to Titus. It's to Titus and it's to the church and I'd like to start out this evening by making an important point right out of the gate as we look at this. This is a pastoral instructional letter. This is a letter from the Apostle Paul to Titus as he's going to be ministering on the Isle of Crete and it's to the elders that are going to be appointed at Crete, but it's also to the churches we touched on that it was to be read in the churches.

And this word is for the people also. Though it is instruction for the pastors and the elders, it is important for the people as we get into the teachings of this text, especially of this sound doctrine that we're all founded upon it. Today at lunchtime I was talking to a member who had an appointment with a professional in the area and for some reason they got into a discussion scripturally and the person from our congregation said the person they were meeting with said they were an expert in the scriptures and they started to expound things that were false that actually were opposite to what scripture teaches and they were able to identify and correct and that is the importance of us knowing sound doctrine of the pastors and the ruling elders bringing forth sound doctrine and founding the congregation on it. It's much more than us just knowing it. It is in our lives we are the gospel out to those around us and so it is important for us when we encounter that we're going to be called to do the very same things that Paul is calling Titus and the elders who are being appointed to do here in this section of text. You know we started by looking that Paul gave us a foundational greeting and he grounded Titus in who God was in the work he's accomplished in Christ in verses one through four and then the last time we met and looked at it in verses five through nine we saw the importance of order in the church of office in the church and of sound doctrine or orthodoxy in the church and we saw that these were necessary the building block in order for the cretin church to go out with power in a land where even their own prophet said that they are always liars evil beasts and lazy gluttons and it founded on this importance of setting this order office and doctrine so that they could testify to the truth truth of the gospel that they could display God's means of stewarding and protecting his body through the the offices and display God's means of building and defending the body through sound doctrine tonight's text now takes that order office and sound doctrine work and it's going to put it to immediate action in the church and we need to see that this is addressing teaching that has come into the church normally you would have looked at one through four then five through nine and then we looked at the chunk of ten through sixteen in verses but I actually backed back a verse to verse nine and moved into the second chapter because there is a unique bookend that Paul gives and it's the importance of how they are going to do verses ten through sixteen when they have to address the false teaching that's occurring and I just want to put it into our minds at the end of the qualifications for elders the qualification in verse nine he must hold firm to the trustworthy word is taught so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it then he's going to give the charge to Titus and the elders of what they're going to face because the teaching is already there and after he tells them what they must do he finishes by beginning chapter two by saying but as for you teach what accords with sound doctrine so we see the importance as I ended the last look at this we finished on sound doctrine but tonight we're going to be centered in those bookends because that is how Paul is instructing Titus the ruling elders but also the church to respond to false teachings that come when we sit and look at what Paul directs Titus to do in verse 11 Paul teaches what needs to be done he said they must be silenced since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach in verse 13 he teaches how this is to be accomplished this testimony is true therefore rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the faith as we look tonight at Paul's teaching here I want us to see that Paul when he charges Titus the ruling elders who are being appointed and the church body itself to rebut or rebuke false teaching he does not teach them that it is by eloquent philosophy or a theological debate or an intellectual debate but rather Paul instructs to stop false teachers and teachings sound doctrine handled by men who are in for or in in firmly in Christ Jesus will silence the teaching it will stabilize and build the body and it will not just silence but it has the ability to convict and convince the false teachers and I think we missed that a lot of times when we want to win a debate tonight I would like to focus on three truths from our text those truths jumped out at me first heresy in the church leads to upheaval the second point is that our rebuke of false teaching is for restoration and finally that there is one truth and only one truth that can prevail in the church the first point I'd like to look at we find in verse 11 that first truth is heresy leads to upheaval Paul when he's describing what is going on in verse 11 he has told us about there are many who are an insubordinate empty talkers and deceivers and in verse 11 he said they must be silenced since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach if you remember back when we were looking at our last study the qualifications for office if you would glance back at that or if we would have done this in succession you would notice the play on what the qualifications for the office are and what the characteristics of the false teachers are you see that the false teachers are insubordinate they're rebellious you see that they're empty talkers and they deceive you see that what they're doing they're doing for shameful gain and if we drop back we see that an overseer of God must be above reproach he must not be arrogant or quick tempered he must not be violent or greedy for gain or like the the other translation that I read for filth the lucre so it's the opposites that Paul are describing in these false teachers but what is occurring is by their false teaching they are causing upheaval in the body unchecked false teachers cause upheaval do we see that you know I've told you many times I grew up in the Methodist Church I still have family members in the Methodist Church and right now the Methodist Church is going through one of what I would call the ugliest schisms that you would see because nobody's really standing for truth in the schism they're only trying to be amicable and split with no hard feelings well there's a reason they're splitting they're splitting because there is a group who is teaching falsely about human sexuality in the way God looks upon it but the other side does not want to cause too much issue because the other side may lose their pension or they may lose their ability to preach and so there's this amicable split going on you know we we look at the Methodist and say oh that's horrible but we're half mile down the road from the church we split away from why are we here today that church a half mile down the road says they have the same confession as us but they teach falsely portions of scripture and they hold that out as truth so we have to understand we see false teaching occurring even within the ranks of what we would call Christian denomination that we've all been involved with that unchecked false teaching causes upheaval in a church when that occurs families can split bodies in the church split there are breaks in relationship so when false teachers are allowed to bring false doctrine into the body it causes upheaval Paul states that whole families are being upset the Greek word upset here means to ruin to overturn them it's not just a disagreement it's not like somebody got mad and they'll get over it it's ruining relationships within the body of Christ this is not new in creed or in the church Timothy when Paul writes to him for his ministry training here's the same thing in second Timothy three six through seven we read for among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women burdened with sins and led astray by various passions always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of truth these letters Timothy and Titus are written about the same time so it's probably much the same heresy that's being faced but as we look at it what is the heresy in verses 10 to 16 what is the false teaching and as I was reading through commentary commentators the one that put it the way I like the best was what we're encountering here is a Jesus plus doctrine these are most likely Jewish converts to Christianity that Christ is the Messiah but they are adding something to Jesus and what they are adding is their old Jewish practices and saying they must be accomplished it is a Jesus plus doctrine they do appear to be within the church not outside just dividing the church by casting dispersion on it but it appears that they're within the church they are identified in a same sense as we see in other areas of scripture as of the circumcision party which was in acts 15 a descriptor of members in the church in verse 10 that is the descriptor empty talkers and deceivers especially those of the circumcision party so those Jewish believers who have come to a knowledge or an acknowledgement of Christ as Messiah but saying there is something more that needs to be added Paul describes them in court very harsh terms and he does so in order to get our attention to understand our need to respond the church is not to listen to them the church is to listen to the truth taught by God through Paul Titus and those men who have the opposite traits of the false teachers the elders who are being appointed this group teaching this Jesus plus works is not new to the church according to scripture this false teaching is recorded in acts 15 verses 1 and 2 and then we're going to touch on verse 5 it says this but some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers unless you are circumcised according to the customs of Moses you cannot be saved and after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them Paul and Barnabas and some of the elders were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question jumping to verse 5 in acts 15 but some believers who belong to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said it is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses this account in acts 15 is what is called the Jerusalem Council it is what we would call the first either presbytery or general assembly meeting where a theological doctrine was brought forth a teaching was brought forth and said what is right and the church came down and said no you Judaizers that is wrong it is not Jesus plus your old ways it is not Jesus plus circumcision it is not Jesus plus your days of celebration or Jesus plus your teachings of myths and commands but it is Jesus only and they are commissioned and right to the churches to let them know the truth that is to be told that council is estimated to have occurred around 50 A.D. Paul when he is writing to the church in Galatia facing the same false teaching and that book is dated somewhere from 49 to 55 A.D. so we see that 13 years before the letters to Titus and to Timothy we see that God or that the church has faced this same false teaching in Galatians Paul writes in chapter 2 we ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ so we also have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law because by works of the law no one will be justified this is not new to the church as Paul is addressing Titus and the elders there it is not new to the church now when we face into a society that looks for at times Jesus plus because men like to look for assurance within themselves don't they it is easy to make a Jesus plus theology because most of the time to make a Jesus plus theology means that I have to do some kind of work that makes me right or makes me more acceptable our Jesus plus theologies can be legalisms you shouldn't dance you shouldn't play cards if you do those things you may not be in relationship with Christ there are some denominations that fundamentally would say that if you do dance or you do play cards or you do smoke or whatever you are not in Christ because you're not keeping their legalistic demand of the law the Roman Catholic Church I don't it has anybody grown up here Roman Catholic half my family was and so there was somewhat of an understanding of how they viewed their salvation and their salvation was that it was of Christ but the church had the bank of his grace and by them doing the right religious rights they were infused more and more with Christ's grace by accomplishing the right religious rights that the Catholic Church called them to do so if it was to go to the confessional to give confession or to have a penance all these things were designed to earn them merit from Christ's bank of grace so that and this was the weird thing to me they wouldn't spend as long in not heaven but in a step below called purgatory where they had to be fully purged so that they could enter into heaven so it's it's not new to us folks and it's not even just these different outer like I said we are a split from a church that has allowed false teachings into it that what God has said in his word is not right we don't interpret it the right way so therefore this is now the 21st century this is what God would have meant in the 21st century and they bastardize the text of scripture in order to meet the sin that they want to have that is what we face and what that left unchecked allows is upheaval in families and in church bodies and it causes a withering of the church's power to move forward now Paul tells Titus and the elders that they must be silenced and they are going to be silenced in one fashion and that fashion is that they must be rebuked sharply and so he tells them in verse 13 that very thing he said this testimony is true referring back to what cretins are liars evil beasts and lazy gluttons which could be a descriptor of the United States right now it could be a descriptor of most nations right now why because most nations are comprised of what human beings and human beings are comprised of what a sin nature and so as we look and see Paul telling them this testimony is true therefore rebuke them sharply and the last part of that verse that they may be sound in their faith Paul instructs Titus and these false that these false teachers are to be sharply rebuked and the Greek here is there are a few different words for rebuke I'm going to run you through this real quick in Matthew 8 Jesus calms the seas if you remember the story and in verses 24 through 27 we read this and behold there arose a great storm on the sea so that the boat was being swamped by the waves but he was asleep and they went and woke him saying save us Lord we are perishing and he said to them why are you afraid oh you of little faith then he arose and he rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm and the men marveled saying what sort of man is this even the winds and sea obey him that word rebuked and I can never say them well it's epitome is a forceful warning it is a disapproval it is a rebuke telling it to stop and giving it no other choice because it is not approved of by God there is no other it's just a straight forward forceful warning to stop in Titus in verse 13 where we read this word rebuke it's a Lenko and that word is a little bit deeper it is to admonish through argument to convict and to convince so it is not just a harsh rebuke to get your point to win the argument to shut the mouth but it is an argumentation designed to convict and convince of the sin so that the spirit can bring restoration or sound doctrine faith to that person and I think we lose that many times I don't know if any of you were ever on a debate team or a rhetoric team I got the opportunity to participate in that and it was tremendous our goal was to soundly rebuke our opponent in the Jesus rebuke of the wind we weren't trying to convince them we would have an equal topic opposite sides and we were trying to expose and destroy their argument now if that argument in that destruction allowed them to see our point yay but if it didn't we didn't care we just needed to up them and be more accurate in our debate of either the fact or what was going on in this and it's going to tie to our last point hugely as Christians we are called to rebuke false teaching in a way that convicts the false teacher that convicts the hearers who are believing the false teaching a way in which rebuke is to restore those within our body who are airing we see Paul addressed that he doesn't hold back words about what their false teaching is doing what their characteristic traits are it's not in any way what you would call not it's not uplifting and he when he describes the false teacher but he's saying when you rebuke them rebuke them sharply in order to restore them to the faith he wants them restored he tells them to oppose it to silence it to disapprove of the teaching but they are to do it in a way that it if possible the spirit will restore them in Galatians six when Paul is speaking to the church there and he's trying to correct much the same false teaching in verse one of chapter six of Galatians Paul says this brothers if anyone is caught in any transgression you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness keep watch on yourself lest you too be tempted isn't that against our nature when we would encounter a false teaching or a false doctrine would we not want to stop up their mouth just to stop up their mouth and in our hearts in a prideful sense many times it wells up we know we have the right truth but we're not loving in the way we present it to them it's not our intent to rebuke to reprove them to bring them back it's our intent to rebuke and show that we shut them down and Paul is telling Titus he's telling the elders he's telling the church that when we rebuke we rebuke in order to re-win our brother from his erring ways there is only one way we can do that and it leads to the final point tonight and that final point is that there is one truth and only one truth and it is only by using that one truth that we can rebuke to restore in verse nine of chapter one he must hold firm to the trustworthy word is taught so that he may be able to give instruction and sound doctrine and also to rebuke those same word to rebuke to convict to convince those who contradict it and in chapter two verse one but as for you teach what accords with sound doctrine there's a reason I think Paul bookends here these two in teachings of this is the way that you are going to do verses ten through sixteen it is only by use of God's word of sound doctrine that we can rebuke properly and do two things number one build the believers that are in the church in truth and number two rebuke to quiet or silence but also to convict and convince and why is that I said before when we read a text of scripture that's probably the most important thing you'll hear come out of me there's a reason I believe that I believe because when the text of scriptures read that is the word of God put before you and that is what the Holy Spirit takes and teaches us in our heart he uses the words of God the truth of scripture that he is revealed and that is what he works in our hearts to build us to save us to sustain us to hold us and so as we look at this these two bookends on then what the church is to do is they are to take the truth of the gospel the false teachers that are causing upheaval in the body by teaching a Jesus plus theology have been teaching to the church excuse me you must be circumcised and have Jesus you must follow the old traditions that the Jews have kept coming out of the Old Testament and have Jesus they taught that you must follow the dietary restrictions you can't partake of certain foods and have Jesus that is what they've been saying and they're saying if you're not doing that you're truly not saved the false teachers are bastardizing the justification by faith alone that is the theological tenant that they are striking against they are saying it is not by faith alone in Christ alone they are saying it is with faith in Christ along with something else and Paul by calling us to use scripture is telling us to rebuke by presenting the sound doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ today's Easter folks we came together I got to say he is risen and you got to say you can say a little bit cheerier he is risen why is that statement tremendous because our only hope has overcome death our sin was nailed to the cross we bear it no more and his resurrection is the proof of that truth and it is his work alone that I stand right before a holy right God you stand right because Jesus not only came here and lived not only died on a cross but because he was truly who he said he was God raised him from the dead to show that it was truth that Jesus preached that when he said I go to prepare you a place and if I go to prepare you a place I come back to receive you to myself it's a promise we can rest in that I will be lifted up and many will be drawn to me and I am the one the propitiation of God's wrath I bear the burden that you could not I am the atoning lamb the sacrifice for your sin that truth is what we say he is risen indeed means it is not Jesus and J's daily devotional it is not Jesus and J's I don't know 20 minutes of prayer time if he gets it it is not J's keeping this rule or J's observing this day or J it has nothing to do with what you and I do it is all about Christ Jesus that gospel message is the sound doctrine of one nine and two one that the church is to be rebuking with Paul shares that that rebuke is founded upon that in Galatians when he is rebuking the Galatian church for so easily turning to this Jesus plus theology he says this in verses 11 through 16 but when Cephas came to Antioch I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned for before certain men came from James he was eating with the Gentiles but when they came he drew back and separated himself fearing the circumcision party and the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy but when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel I said to Cephas before them all if you though a Jew live like a Gentile and not like a Jew how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews listen verse 15 we ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ so we also believed in Christ Jesus in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law because by works of the law no one will be justified Paul makes that statement even stronger when he lays out that he's the Hebrew of Hebrews doesn't he and he said I consider all that rubbish trash for the sake of knowing Christ Jesus why is that because there is nothing there is nothing we can offer do or be that makes us more right for God other than being in Christ Jesus the false teachers are saying no it's fine to believe in Christ it's fine to say that he's the Messiah and he's done these things but we still need to do this this and this the United Methodist Church the Presbyterian Church USA the Roman Catholic Church and God forbid ever us if we start to err in false teaching may men be raised up may the body of Christ be raised up to say no it is by Christ in Christ only Paul makes it clear that justification is by faith alone in verses 20 and 21 he brings the full weight of this what it means to the church and the believer Paul says this in Galatians 2 20 and 21 I've been crucified with Christ it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me in the life of faith in the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me I do not nullify the grace of God for if righteousness were through the law then Christ died for no purpose false teachings and false teachers lessen Jesus Christ they lessen Jesus Christ in his work they lessen God and his covenant they lessen everything about what has been revealed by God in scripture true understanding true rebuke to false teaching of the gospel is the only hope that the false teachers and their followers have because that word of Christ that gospel truth is what the Holy Spirit uses to bring under conviction to change a person you and I we became believers because the Holy Spirit took the gospel message and gave it into our hearts gave us life and so as we encounter false teaching it's easy to scoff it's easy to throw our hands down and say stay away from that group but brothers and sisters what we need to do is share the gospel we are called especially if it is in the church to silence false teaching by rebuking with the truth of the gospel true understanding of Christ's work leads as Doug's sermon today peace that's the the point I have there as we present the gospel the true understanding of what Christ has accomplished on our behalf Paul says it I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me I do not nullify grace for if righteousness were through the law then Christ died for no purpose but we know because the tomb is empty today he did not die for no purpose it is true Christ Jesus is the Son of God who forgives sin through his atoning work on the cross and true understanding of that work leads us to worship we are called to teach this one and only truth we are called to rebuke false teachers but in a way that uses scripture in order to restore those who are airing in this manner the church thrives if the United Methodist Church and we can have other discussions on theological issues they have but if they would stand in scripture and stand and say this is the word of the Lord and truthfully present it they might lose their pension they might lose their buildings they might lose their property but I'm afraid what they're losing now is Christ Jesus a building a pension they mean nothing when you stand before the Lord you don't stand in Christ you stand defenseless before wrath and so there is an importance here as we do look at the importance of the church's response to false teaching the church will thrive the erring ones can be restored if rebuked in a way using God's word the Holy Spirit will move to make that word effective if they are his and the way in which God is honored is by us holding to that gospel truth I pray tonight that the spirit keeps us in sound doctrine so that we may display Christ to the world because that is what we're called to let's pray father we thank you for your word tonight Lord it is very difficult when we realize that false teaching can creep into churches Lord I pray that at Grace Church you equip and protect our pastors so that they can hear and see what is going on keep them founded in scripture Lord the session also Lord we're called to be shepherds of your body under shepherds under you and Lord God let us take on this role seriously so that we can make sure that we are protecting your word your doctrine so that that that the people here grow in truth and grace and wisdom in Christ Jesus Lord I pray for our congregation spirit teach us the word so that we know it so well that when challenged outside the arena of the church that we can rightly handle God's word and defend your truth your honor and your glory knowing that we must rest in the spirit to give us that ability father thank you for your word thank you for the way that the Holy Spirit strengthens us to understand it and I just pray that we continue to grow deeper and deeper into a knowledge of your son Jesus Christ and it's in Jesus name we pray amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-09 20:16:05 / 2023-04-09 20:28:20 / 12

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