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March 10, 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.
All right, our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs so that they will not be unfruitful.
So Paul wants the church to learn how to do this, not just the leaders of the entire church body and he happens to drop into this textile wonderful incentive. Did you notice he says you do this and you will not live and on why this is an audio kind of a spark in a flash. It's a lifestyle of the minds that you're learning how to give your life because they present a fake perception of themselves as Paul closes the book of Titus helps us understand more clearly what authentic Christianity looks like that's the topic of our study today here on wisdom for the hearts this lesson is called wax free son tested, you can imagine here verse 12 was to kick us his name means fortunate is also 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 ticket 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 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 tickets 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 in 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 the biblical close 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 said, and even admits as much in this inspired letter, it's gonna 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 it was right always have a decision in mind never come across as uncertain or indecisive and clearly does just the opposite. By adding that little phrase reveals he doesn't happen to know everything ahead of time. Aren't you glad authenticity is revealed through honest deliverance. Secondly, authenticity is revealed by personal deference to authority, verse 12, when I send Artemis or to kick us to you notices make every effort to come to me at the Coppola's for I have decided to spend the winter there and now before we 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. The end of the letter. Titus could be there much longer wait, what I mean. Let me fix my glasses and go back and read with just he's 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 you 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 bud what you mean you're sending Artemis or take a test.
Take 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 what other passages tell us Titus is going to be sent to Dalmatia tough area to pioneer and to 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 turned 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 logic in the chain. Did you notice what Paul said he's gonna 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 for the deliverers 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 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 look I may not be sure to send to the island of Crete. Am praying about that God had made that clear yet but but I know spend the winter, its 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. 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 said with a smile he said well I have learned that we want to live lives of predictable ease smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see.
But I've learned that God likes to go off road and they 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 it 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 that 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 thing was past the plate was have a special offering Xena's and the palace are evidently the couriers of this letter we call Titus delivering it to Titus, but there both on their way to other locations in and is a Paul wants Titus to use this opportunity to teach the church how to give to somebody we might refer to today as a missionary is traveling through was another ministry to go to or has needs needs support temporarily or maybe vocationally or or full time.
The church try to send that within our budget.
Well God to change your plans mine to now you might think. Will Xena's anyway. We don't know him. He isn't mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament that we know is a Greek because of his name is a converted Gentile.
But we do have this little little addition, Paul happens at a reference to the fact that he's a longer Paul uses the typical Greek word for an attorney at law here so we know is not a rabbis when trying to Jewish law, but is actually Greek, is a Gentile longer, which means he's the only Christian lawyer mentioned in the New Testament.
That doesn't mean he's the only lawyer who ever got say okay that don't go there. What it does mean is that you got up a lawyer, a practicing attorney who is a believer who is just so so IE just so happens to be committed to to the gospel to the point that he is built into his schedule.
What we might call a missions trip to come temporarily this practice on hold, deliver the Scriptures to another group of people and help a pastor for a while.
The missions trip is using the benefits of his career to aid in the spread of the gospel. What a blessing it is to us here as I read that I thought of a number of lawyers in our own church were doing the very same thing using their skills and their connections to help other believers and I'm not just saying that to get back on their goods which is where want to be the there's a great example of someone with a career who takes time out to help ministry vans also mentions Apollo's that you're familiar with his name, was a well-known Christian leader in the community was a well-known eloquent speaker.
He was a gifted apologist.
He could refute the Jews masterfully wonderful fruit. In fact, he had risen to such prominence that Paul rebukes the church in Corinth. On one occasion for dividing into four factions like you guys are all running around in your all divided he said in a some of you are saying will world. Paul we follow Paul and others are saying we follow Apollo's others are saying we follow Peter and so other really spiritual people were saying we just biology.
What a wonderful unity that church was experiencing, but no matter how you slice it, what you have are these four men. Jesus, the God man singer following him forget nobody else but I wanted I want to just point at the palace was at the top of that little mountain there with Paul, Peter, that's a heady place to be fact that you wander opposing given my life to you be what you know you're following the palace be stunted, shipwrecked guy comes along. The word that that is no denigrating comment in this text. Here's the mark of Paul's selfless actions. He tells the church. Make sure you help Apollo's in every way possible and Xena's to encourage them along authentic Christianity is revealed through honest dilemmas by personal deference. It's revealed in selfless deeds before authenticity is revealed through unified disciples.
Notice the next verse were Paul writes our people must also learn.
Note that word. Learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs so that they will not be unfruitful. Support authentic living is is giving serving others meeting their pressing needs.
Paul wants the church to learn how to do this not just Titus, not just the leaders but the entire church body and he happens to drop into this text. A wonderful incentive. Did you notice it.
He says you do this and you will not believe that unfruitful. Why nobody wants to limit unfruitful life. He says engage in good deeds, which means this is an audio kind of a spark in a flash of service.
It's a lifestyle. It's a mindset you're learning how to give your life to people so that you can be fruitful have fruits but you're not getting count out loud. All right, you know, that's one good deed, not to like get foreign before supper and it's been a good day know what somebody's talking ever thought about the fact that God never wired into a Peachtree the ability to count teaches at US one 512 203 I'm good for 300 this year.
That's it for me. They just bear fruit. Paul is effectively saying to the church in pre-work together pull together served together to meet pressing needs. That's how you can have fruit or fruitful living that only the church but as individual believers.
Any also implies, by the way, this is not going to come naturally. I asked you to mark that word in your mind, go back to what he said.
Did you notice doing good deeds would would be something the church would need to learn how to do believers would need to learn how to engage in good deeds, which means your children. You have to learn how to engage in good deeds.
It doesn't just kinda hit them at six or 16 or 21 or 40 or 60 know you learn how to engage in good deeds by doing them by watching others do them and then you do them again.
You practice, you relearn you practice you practice the more I don't know. I get to the end of this letter in it and the sentence that strikes me it's as if Paul is saying at the end here. Who cares who cares to care for somebody else to care for those serving Christ outside the walls of any particular ministry to care for young man preparing for ministry like Artemis and to build into their lives to care for people's needs inside the church as we've already learned in chapter 3 is to care for engaging in good deed so that others outside the church can see the love of Christ to care about that. Who cares. Obviously, the answer is authentic, believers are given care.
Authentic churches will to Paul comes to verse 15 where he commends the body. Now, with his customary greeting blessing of grace all who are with me greet you.
This shows the unity of the universal church. Greet those who love us in the faith, we summarize these four characteristics of authentic Christianity with four very brief statement is opposed communicating to the church than the end. Now number one.
None of us should occupy a role with a sense of permanent. This is my home this is my neighborhood. This is my job. This is my world and of God gives me the kind of Christianity that I think I deserve. That is the change is almost the message is is is almost delivered here implicitly with that idea of just keeping a bag packed holy things can change Thing in a matter of days. None of us should occupy a role with a sense of permanence. None of us number two. None of us are beyond needing helpful assistance. I haven't spent any time on it, but I'm just so moved by Paul saying Titus would you come and spend the winter with me. He tells Timothy the same thing I want you to spend the winter with me. I mean if the apostle Paul wants company okay for you to want that to the assistance of the close friend or companion. None of us are beyond needing helpful assistance. None of number three. None of us should avoid being intentionally generous. None of us number four. None of us can make it without the goodness of God's grace. None of us is why Paul ends with his typical blessing. Grace be with you all. The word you is actually plural is so translated you all it's to all of them. If Paul was from North Carolina.
He would said Grace be with you all pretty much what he say the southern translation is the idea. Grace be with you all the entire church just Titus. Why is why is he extending grace to everyone because you never pull off this letter without you never serve each other without grace never submit to authority without racial never pursue godly maturity without grace. You'll never live with humility without grace will never establish homes that honor Christ without grace will never operate as older men and older women and younger wives and younger men without grace will never stand up to false teaching and take the heat without the grace of God will never live with this longing for the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Without the work of God's grace in her life. No wonder he writes. Grace be with you all is without God's grace.
This letter is impossible to live authentic Christianity is impossible without the word of the grace of God in us all. And so with that, we say thank you, Paul. Thank you Spirit of God through whole. Thank you for describing in this little letter and impossible life impossible without grace of God, just pause Leviton put an exclamation points on some aspect of this letter. Perhaps this lesson, or previous lesson. Or maybe something totally different.
That's the beauty of Bible exposition God's spirit does text truth and applies it million different ways to deal with. Go to the Lord.
Maybe there's something change something to believe something to begin something to stop something to say something to write, say, Lord. I'm willing to defer to you as my highest willing to be honest in the dilemmas of my life to be selfless serve in this body with the disciple has areas of life where he or she needs to grow and develop or change.
I hope you take seriously Stephen's admonition to take that to the Lord today with this lesson. Stephen concludes the seven part series that he's calling remarkable Christianity. This lesson from that series is called wax free son tested. If you missed a portion of this lesson, or if you missed any of the lessons in the series, you can go online and listen to them. There the web address is wisdom online.org if you'd like to own this series on CD. Give us a call and we can give you information dial 86 648 Bible.
This is also the last day that we have Stephen's book on Titus available at a special rate.
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During this series, ask about that when you call if you have a comment or question, or would like more information you can send us an email if you address it to firstname.lastname@example.org is a special place on our website were Stephen answers questions that have come in from listeners like you and of course you can also go to our website and look at what other people have asked and read Stephen's answers to those questions. It might be that someone had the same question as you but anytime you have a question regarding the Bible or the Christian faith. Send it to email@example.com. Once Stephen has answered it will added to the collection and of course you can also use that email address. If you have any comment or question about our ministry as well.
Thanks again for joining us today we begin a series from first Peter, next time join us then your wisdom