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March 9, 2022 12:00 am
We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that Paul had all the answers to life's questions. We think he always knew where God wanted him to go next, and that he had the Christian life all figured out. But thankfully, Paul himself tells us the opposite. Today Stephen reminds us that remarkable Christians need the grace of God as much as everyone else.
So will this verse just answer he says when I send Artemis or to kick us to you in a Way Way Way Way, Paul is submitting in total transparency. The fact that he wasn't sure. For those of you delete a ministry elite of movement you leave the school nebulae the household is wonderful to hear Paul say Titus. I got two ways I can go and I'm not sure which one is the best.
I will Cicely God is looking for certain characteristics in the people that he works one of those characteristics is authenticity. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that what God wants is people who have everything figured out.
Thankfully, that's not the case in this message. Stephen remind you that remarkable Christians need the grace of God as much as everyone else. We never get to the point where we don't need grace this message is called wax free son test several years ago I read an article written by woman about her mother's collection of antique jars. She said that her mother collected over 200 of them over the years and none of them were exactly alike.
Authentic antiques all different kinds of colors and shapes and sizes of the largest piece in her collection was crafted glass jug from Eastern Europe and the smallest piece in her collection was a little tiny handcrafted glass perfume bottle that her mother actually dug up and she was searching in an area where it was once use that area was once up a stop for stagecoaches and the little bottle still held the faint aroma perfume even knows more than 100 years old about you, but I've watched on occasion that antique show people bring in their junk. And every once in a while is worth millions and you get so excited for those people and you start looking on your own attic for some chunk to maybe take over there but do not have all those clues and they can kinda figure out if it's an imitation or if it's the real genuine antique this woman wrote that her mother used a very simple test to determine whether or not these were approved. These genuine antique glass pieces. She would set it out in the sunlight.
She wrote that genuine antique bottle would change color when exposed to direct sunlight over the course of several weeks.
The glass and objects made more than 100 years ago had a high level of manganese. A metallic chemical added to make the glass just a little more clear and the sun's rays would cause a chemical reaction, pale green, for instance, she wrote would turn to brilliant shades of purple, the authentic antique was revealed when examined, as it were, by the light. If you travel back to the days of the apostle Paul in a news glass so much as these pottery and they had a similar test to determine pottery that was well-made pots and cups and bowls and so more objects.
Dishonest potters would cover over cracks and flaws in the pottery by filling them with wax and the person shopping there in that little shop where we could go undetected. So it was normal for people to take that piece of pottery outside and hold it up to the light and turn it in. They could tell because when the direct sunlight hit that crack covered over with wax wax would be a lighter color and it was evidently such a problem that they discovered pottery from the days of the apostle Paul where the merchants stamped their pottery with the formal Latin inscription assignment Serra sign means without Surat is the Latin word for wax.
In other words, my pottery is without wax sign Surat overtime became our English word sincere no wax, and in this analogy, that would mean the were open and honest.
If were sincere about cracks and flaws rather than covering it up.
We try to work it out.
Change from the inside out. This is authentic Christianity without wax son tested. What a wonderful resolution for every believer. For the entire church as we wrap up our series called remarkable Christianity were actually going to come to the end of Paul's letter to Titus, and it's only fitting that the characteristic of authenticity would be stamped here in the lives of Paul and these other men. What does authentic spiritual character look like what is a genuine heart for God look like an endless not use the typical terminology let's let's make it real. Let's hold Paul opposite works of the light and make some observations.
So what I want to do is go through this final paragraph with you and simply point out four ways for tests, so to speak, to determine authenticity and let's turn his life around and given the direct sunlight of the word of God. Notice verse 12 of Titus chapter 3 where Paul writes when I send Artemis or to kick us to you. Make every effort to come to me at the Coppola's for I have decided to spend the winter there. This verse is a sermon all by itself. This is loaded, but I'm determined to finish these four verses today because I want to I want to begin a brief study of the life of Daniel want to show you how Daniel was the first believing magi or wise men and how he so deliver the gospel so impacting that culture that his spiritual descendents will eventually arrive in Bethlehem the crown Christ King so we can start with Daniel all at the same to finish Titus today and all the people said not so loud as we begin. There are there are authors that I've encountered and I haven't bored you with that because some of this is nonsense, but there are those that believe that Paul was a know it all that Paul was this unfeeling, uncaring and and and probably did not any was unsmiling to he was. He was dogmatic he was, you know, never wrong, and he never let on to be anything other than certain as Paul Patel people feel some of my leather books. Is that true will know where is that proven more untrue. Then in the way Paul finishes his letters to be noticed as you study the word, they exude warmth and care. He drops names and their people. He's praying for and he cares about any was the church to be concerned for and they also revealed as I went through the paragraph over and over again.
It seems to me they reveal the marks of an authentic life begin before the first of the four is this authenticity is revealed through honest dilemmas was Paul unfeeling was Paul always sure of himself. Paul ever come across as uncertain. Well, this verse just answered it was go back and take a closer look.
He says when I send Artemis or to kick us to you in a way way way way what he just reveal you to get your pencil out in and if you have a new American Standard. You'll have the word or and if you have another translation go buy a new American Standard, and then come back with that you know ye here's a nugget you'd miss that little word or this is an indefinite clause for you Greek scholars Houghton with the subjunctive. What that means is, Paul doesn't know he doesn't know I'm so grateful for this little word or when I send Artemis OR take a test which means Paul is submitting in total transparency. The fact that he wasn't sure. And instead of couching his language of the great apostle. I owe some great leader might do with something more like all of Titus, there are two excellent candidates for the pastor that consider no he spells it out. No wax to smooth it over. You know he he lets them know the decision is difficult and he hasn't made up his mind.
For those of you delete a ministry you lead a class you lead a movement you leave the school maybe leave the household.
Isn't it wonderful to hear Paul say Titus I got to possible man. I got two ways I can go and I'm not sure which one is the best candidate. I don't know. Implied I'm thinking about it, which implies because we know is a man of prayer that that he's praying about this. Listen the spirit of God is inspiring his text of Scripture through the apostle Paul and embedded within this inspired Scripture is Paul's admission that the God has blessed him at that point clearly in every respect of his ministry. Paul, do you really want to let that out.
Yes, I think I will do you really want the church to know.
I think I do, I know.
And yet God is not filled in all the blanks of life and ministry yet so encouraging to discover hearings letter that little word for sure was to make other people come up to me asking you what book are we going to study next it's just given me great courage to say I don't know yet. I don't know and they give me this look with you mean you're not a year ahead. I like to be a month ahead. I like to be a week. I like to be at nevermind I would, that's enough transparency for me. I'm not there yet.
I love this.
I will know what I'm good.
Maybe you're wondering what class do I take maybe you're wondering which job offer what college do I go to how we can educate our children how we can educate this child which guide our marriage to fairly decent offers.
Send them to me help you decide, okay. Probably both unworthy of you which job will go which build like a first let's manage to our friends and to the family were not sure which way to turn that honest authenticity in the dilemmas of life and with that admission. By the way you come along prayer support right. Isn't this what happened.
Paul writes this and Titus would've obviously begun praying for the Lord to give Paul the apostle wisdom to choose which man to send to Crete.
The implications would be tremendous to these churches here on this island they needed the right man at the right time. What do we know about these men. When we told over, given their names. Artemis and to kick us. Artemis is a name derived from the name of the popular goddess of fertility in this world, this time Artemis feminine I sending something. He was actually named after her, just given the masculine and the deficit is his name more than likely had to throw my hat in I would agree with those that believe his name meant gift from articles either way. Yet the same package you got a family that is so dedicated to this goddess of fertility that they they have a son may be there only one maybe they waited for years, but they finally got this little boy and date believe that he was the result of the goddess name gift from articles they name him in honor of her. What this tells us sure is that he was born into a Gentile idolatrous family and he evidently came to faith later in life. You can only imagine the drastic changes in his life. We don't know anything about his parents. We don't really know anything about his past, but we do know that this Gentile man named in honor of goddess is now one of the most trusted systems to Paul the apostle in the early church.
The other candidate mentioned here. Verse 12 is to kick us his name means fortunate is also a Gentile came to faith in Christ while Artemis never shows up anywhere again in the entire New Testament ticket shows up often. Paul writes in Colossians 47 that he is his beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow slave. He also calls him at Ephesians 621 his beloved brother and faithful minister. We know the ticket just delivered Paul's letter to the Colossian believers living in Colossae. Acts chapter 20 tells us the tickets is also accompanied Paul on his one of his missionary journeys.
I believe it was his third month. He's obviously one of Paul's closest companions and you could see why both would be candidates that could serve well this Gentile population like Titus, they are Gentiles trained personally by the apostle Paul to carry on the tough ministry. These people on the island as we set our descendents of pirates, fishermen, and you don't have to study that the mind of the apostle Paul in his writings for very long before you discover that he's always looking for men is always investing in men he's training Timothy and Titus and now Artemis to kick us. He understands that these churches will need when he's laid out in chapter 1 for Titus godly man capable of leading seems to always be on the search EM bounds would writes about this kind of focus and he writes a good challenge to the church when he said the church is always looking for better methods. God is looking for better men with the church needs today is not more machinery but more men whom the Holy Spirit can use the Holy Spirit does not flow through methods but through men.
God does not anoint plans. He anoints people. He wrote that in 1880 we need it to this day.
If you put that the biblical clues together, you discover that Paul ended up sending Artemis to take the place of Titus, because we find that Paul sends to kick us to relieve Timothy in Ephesus.
In second Timothy chapter 4 the dimension, the point I want to make here is this mark of authenticity that could be easy to miss. Paul openly confesses here that at this moment, he doesn't know which man to sin and even admits as much in this inspired letter, it's going to be around all over the island of Crete and even to this day to a congregation in care. I love the fact that Paul was real. Don't stop at the beginning read the ending of his letters find this is by the way you find also the Paul refuses the pedestal that that that fully expected him to always know what was right always have a decision in mind never come across as uncertain or indecisive and here he does just the opposite. By adding that little phrase that reveals he doesn't happen to know everything ahead of time. Aren't you glad authenticity is revealed through honest dilemmas. Secondly, authenticity is revealed by personal deference to authority, verse 12.
Again, when I send Artemis or to kick us to you and notices make every effort to come to me at the Coppola's for I have decided to spend the winter there and now before you get to my point, I think it's interesting, Paul is saying another word. I have decided which means anything, but I normally spend the winter in the Coppola's but I want you to get this this paragraph here is gonna hit Titus and sky come out of the blue.
Everything about this letter has referred what Titus is it has been doing organizing the churches on the island, appointing elders challenging every age group standing down false teachers teaching doctrine, even eschatology, helping them understand that they need to make a demonstration of remarkable Christianity and doing good deeds and oh by the way here at the end of the letter. Titus and I could be there much longer wait, what I mean. Let me fix my glasses and go back and read what did he just say he sending Artemis or to kick us and I'm going to go to in the Coppola's Titus. I mean, I can imagine that perhaps he could've argued internally when invested here. Crete has become home and through he would think it orbits all the power struggles are taken on false teachers. The church is not have appointed elders fruit is now just beginning to bide what you mean you're sending Artemis or take a test at my place he could get his heels and said this is how this is where I belong. So understand that this letter is a bombshell to the plans of Titus's plans are about to be entirely interrupted from one of the passages tell us Titus is going to be sent to Dalmatia tough area to pioneer and it'll be a rough mission field is going to go without complaints because his authority, the apostle has informed him that his ministry there will soon come to an end. So how about holding Titus up to the light turn and you discover he's genuine and that he's willing to defer to God's authority in his life is willing to be interrupted. Beloved God not only orders the steps of his children. He orders their stops to. In fact, what I want to point out now is that Paul doesn't know it but his plans are about to be interrupted to his like a chain.
Did you notice what Paul said he's in a winter the Coppola's not a bad choice on the southern side of Greece city, founded by the first Roman Emperor Octavian to celebrate his victory in battle over Mark Antony and Cleopatra by comparing his plans that he delivers of the end this letter with what he delivers to the believers in Romney discover that his plans were to winter in the Coppola's to then go to Rome to serve the church there only briefly and to sort of repack restock and then to go from there to Spain. It's been on his mind and his heart for some time now.
Spain is sorta considered the end of the civilized world and in Paul views this is the next great missionary stop. Some of the greatest minds in Roman come from Spain Seneca. The Prime Minister was a Spaniard Lieut. the poet laureate was a Spaniard.
Paul couldn't wait to get to Spain so is effectively saying what I meant to be sure to send to the island of Crete. Am praying about that God had made that clear yet but but I know her better spend the winter it's metropolis and then I'm off to Roman and then the Spain got that nailed down. God says oh that's over. Artemis did arrive in Crete. Titus did leave for the Coppola's but we know that Paul was arrested, there he is taken to Rome not to meet with the church but serve a sentence in chains and he will never make it to Spain. Both men have put their entire lives into their plans and their ministries and they were both interrupted, so hold them both up to the light and look at them. They're both going to defer to the authority, ultimately, of their chief Shepherd, Tony Snow, believer who served as the Press Secretary for a while for George W. Bush battled cancer before passing away a few years ago as a believer. He was interviewed and and asking one of the spiritual lessons are learning in the found it interesting he he said with a smile he said well I have learned that we want to live lives of predictable ease smoothie even trails as far as the eye can see.
But I've learned that God likes to go off road and the good does he ever Paul is to be arrested for the final time.
Titus will have his winter plans changed and then I'll be off to an entirely new ministry in Dalmatia. Artemis will set up a new ministry.
Listen all this is going to change for these men within a matter of months but but isn't that Christianity is that your life and mine is that really the story is real is real smooth roads and and and clear pathways anything about this is Christianity and boys a quick turn and all of a sudden you're off road, no paved roads, no map, no GPS, no Cracker Barrel in sight. You know that what's on your list of expectations are three things I'm going to do this year there two things that I don't expect to experience. I plan to retire in five years or 10 years or 15 years then off to this life.
I'm planning on graduating and entering my career in this field or or that field now look, there's nothing wrong with planning effect, Paul and Titus are neck deep in it with her plans are written in pencil and they've given their authority the opportunity to Torres and to rewrite and and they defer to the wisdom and plan of God to see when we say that were following a sovereign God, we need to understand that it may mean we follow him even when he takes us off road even when we discover that he and he doesn't owe us an explanation as he orders our steps and our stops. That's authentic Christianity. Anything else is a cheap knockoff that is real is revealed through honest dilemmas is revealed by personal deference to authority. Thirdly, it's revealed by selfless deeds. Paul writes in verse 13 diligently help Xena's lawyer in the palace on their way so that nothing is lacking for them will now Paul surprises the entire church but things pass the plate does have a special offering Xena's and the palace are evidently the couriers of this letter we call Titus delivering it to Titus, but they're both on their way to other locations in and is Paul wants Titus to use this opportunity to teach the church to give to somebody we might refer to today as a missionary is traveling through was another ministry to go to our Hasmoneans need support temporarily or maybe vocationally or or full time.
The church try to send that one in our budget well done chain plans mind, but it's one of the characteristics of those who are pursuing authenticity there still more for us to learn from this text, but were going to come back to that next time. This is wisdom for the heart with Stephen Devi, Stephen pastors a church in Cary, North Carolina. You can learn more about us and our ministry by visiting wisdom online.org in addition to equipping you with these daily Bible lessons. We also have a magazine that includes articles written by Stephen to help you explore various topics.
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