By Learning to Engage in Good Deeds

Dustin Folden October 21, 2018 Titus 3:8-15
Outline

3 ways to help God’s people be a redemptive bridge to the world

I. Passionately Encourage One Another to Fulfill Our Purpose of Meeting Needs

A. Notice the intensity

1. “Trustworthy” (v. 8)—this is true!

2. “Speak confidently” (v. 8)—insist!

3. “Be careful to engage” (v. 8)—give sustained thought!

4. “Diligently help” (v. 13)—with haste!

5. “Must learn” (v. 14)

6. “Pressing”—necessary, essential

B. Notice the process—“learning”—this is a growth process for the believer

C. Notice the goal—you were saved for a purpose to do good deeds.

Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

The Church is to be the bridge on which the grace of Christ traverses to the world and on which the world comes into His community. This only occurs through the believer’s growth in Christ and subsequent loving engagement in the community by meeting pressing needs.

D. Notice the result—“good and profitable for all men (v. 8), not be unfruitful (v. 14)”

II. Decisively Reject Division That Distracts From Our Purpose

Titus 1:10-11 - For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.

Titus 1:16 - They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless (unfruitful) for any good deed.

A. Shun worthless (fruitless) speech (v. 9)

Romans 13:9-10 - For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

2 Timothy 2:16-17 - But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus…

B. Reject divisive people (v.10)

C. Conclude that persistent unfruitfulness is “perverted, sinning, and self-condemned”

2 Timothy 2:24-26 - But the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those in opposition, if perhaps the Lord may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

III. Consistently Remind One Another of the Purpose of Our Savior

Titus 3:4-7 - But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:15 - Grace be with you all.

 

Let me ask you a dangerous question. A question that may lead to marital conflict, longtime friends falling out, and perhaps even the end of civilization, as we know it.

What is the best way to get over to West Lafayette from here?

Let’s say you have a friend you want to visit in W. Lafayette, how do you get there….do you take state street, do you go to creasy and go down union, do you jump on the interstate and get on to Schuler and then Sagamore parkway….

Regardless of how you go, in order to visit your friend, what structure must you utilize? Do you remember when the sagamore parkway bridge was under construction…it was the worst thing ever….

Now can you imagine if there were no bridges to cross the mighty Wabash…granted it is not that big, but I have a feeling all your West Lafayette friends would now become acquaintances…cause you’re not going to swim it, you’re not going to find a boat, you’re not going to rent a helicopter…you are going to send your friend a postcard.

Here is the thing…Bridges connect people. They allow cities to share resources and to flourish. Even in our town there is a wonderful connection across the river with academia and industry and they both help each other.

Bridges are important spiritually as well…God has sent his son to bridge the gap, that is our foundation to build on, and the Lord has saved us to be his ambassadors and also to be bridge builders to help people connect with our great God and savior…and the way we build is not with brick and mortar or steel and concrete, but by good deeds, love in action…meeting pressing needs and bearing fruit to the glory of God our savior.

With that in mind please turn in your bible to Titus chapter 3, which is on Page 168 in the back section in the bible under the chair in front of you.

Our annual theme is Being Careful How We Build.

We adopted those words as our theme not only because we were building the NCC but because it represents the kind of work that has to take place in our lives and in our families.

Our current series, which we are concluding today is  Building from a Foundation of Grace, which is an exposition of the book of Titus

  • The man Titus was the spiritual child of the apostle Paul
  • Titus was also a pastor.
  • The apostle Paul was sending Titus to the island of Crete
  • Where Titus was to be the lead man in setting the new churches in order in Crete.

The goal was to ensure that the churches were in order so that they could be a bridge across the chasm between God people and the dark culture.

Titus’ job was to build up the body of Christ in Crete so that when the Cretans looked at the Church they saw Christ….

In this sense the book of Titus is evangelistic….

Now, the flow of the book of Titus gives us a great sequence of the church building/strengthening process

First,

Walk we me through the book of Titus… (Have the bible in hand)

V. 1, 4 Paul highlighted for Titus his identity in Christ. Paul was a bond-servant and Titus a child of God.  Titus need to be confident of his identity which is given in order to change your purpose in life…

Second, Paul instructed Titus to set the church of God in Crete in order….v. 5

“Setting the church of God in order” meant

  • Appoint leaders with character (their lives reflect the values of God not the values of Cretan). V. 6
  • Titus then was to reprove and silence the divisive men in the churches who were trying to tear down instead of carefully building. V. 10-11
  • Then Paul instructed Titus to the older generation to disciple the younger generation in what God values  (2.10)
  • Then Paul instructed Titus to make sure those in authority structures handled their authority differently (2:9, 3:1)

Let’s read all of chapter 3 together….Read Titus 1:1-15

Today we are talking about Building on a Foundation of Grace

By Learning to Engage in Good Deeds

So instead of arguing about the best way to get across the river, let’s look at …

3 ways to help God’s people be a redemptive bridge to the world.

Remember that this is the end of Paul’s letter to Titus. Paul is emphatic here. He is speaking with Apostolic Authority, to a young Pastor Titus, that this is part of your responsibility to put things in order in the church.

So this first point is a directive for a Pastor to the congregation, Pastors need to lead in this area, but it helps us see that for God’s people to be a redemptive bridge we need to…

I.                   Passionately encourage one another to fulfill our purpose of meeting needs

There are 4 aspects to this purpose I want us to be sure we notice this morning…

A.     Notice the intensity

Whatever Paul is exhorting Titus to do he is doing it with great intensity…

When we encouraged folks to meet needs and to engage in good deeds, we don’t want to do it halfhearted…hey could you maybe if you have some time come and help adorn the doctrine of God our savior…you know, the one who poured out upon us richly the hope of eternal life…could you come and help if you want to, if you don’t it’s ok….no, we are called to passionate insist confidently that we need to fulfill our purpose as believers.

As a leader if you are not excited about something, no one else is going to be…and by the sheer repetition of good deeds and the language used, God is excited and passionate about His people meeting needs in the culture they are in.

Now that said, it is not an overnight turn key solution…

B.      Notice the process—“learning”—this is a growth process for the believer

Paul says, “our people must learn…”

This is not something that comes instantaneously

So, there is great hope here.

You are not going to get this on day one of your salvation.

Over the course of your life you will be growing in this…

But nevertheless, the urgency is still present…you must learn..

It is not an option for the believer not to learn..

It is not an option for me and your pastors not to help you learn

If you are new to coming to church, here I hope one of the things you notice is that you are going to be challenged to learn and grow not just be passive.

I don’t know how difficult Titus task was, but I do know that because so many of you are desiring to learn, it is a privilege being a pastor here…Thank you for that…

Now what specifically is the goal of what we are to learn…?

C.      Notice the goal—you were saved for a purpose to do good deeds.

Let’s take a look at this emphasis once again in the book of Titus.

Paul also affirmed the purpose of salvation in…

Ephesians 2:8–10 — 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

This is how we adorn the doctrine of God our savior in every respect…

Jesus Christ loves you, he came to die on the cross so that you can be forgiven of your sin, that is the teaching, and when we have real tangible loving deeds, the message is in an even better place to be received just like a wonderful gift at Christmas is all the more special when a beautiful gift wrapping is chosen and carefully overlaid on the wonderful treasure inside.

The Church is to be the bridge on which the grace of Christ traverses to the world and on which the world comes into His community. This only occurs through the believer’s growth in Christ and subsequent loving engagement in the community by meeting pressing needs.

D.     Notice the result—“good and profitable for all men (v. 8), not be unfruitful (v. 14)”

Folks let me ask you, are you building a bridge or widening a chasm?

Are you Fruitful or unfruitful?

Let me ask you a few questions

  1. Have you ever mowed your neighbors grass?
  2. Have you ever helped them move something heavy into their house?
  3. Have you brought them a meal, some baked goods not just for the food, but for the chance to visit so they are not lonely, something to warm their stomachs and their hearts.

I know many of you do these types of things, but if you haven’t done it much or at all, think about it from a different perspective…their perspective, pressing needs…have they ever had a medical issue where they hadn’t been able to get to their lawn?

Have they ever needed help moving something that was just too heavy or cumbersome?

Have they ever needed some relational warmth from people not just because the weather is cold, but maybe they are having a hard time at work, a difficult family situation or ever marital struggles or just plain loneliness.

Now, there are so many more ways to show love for your neighbors by engaging in good deeds, but the idea is that you are thinking about them, and you have eyes to serve them as this is good and profitable for them, and fruitful for you.

There are so many good deeds waiting for you this time of year…you can volunteer at one of our community centers, serve in the Living Nativity, help at Christmas for everyone etc.

If you are known to be a person to engage in good deeds regularly, not just once in a blue moon, think about what kind of impact it has when you invite them to church, ask them about their relationship with God, share your story of the God of grace rescuing you from your sin….they are more likely to listen to you about the kingdom of God because you have built a bridge with your good deeds.

Titus 2:14 says that God redeemed us from every lawless deed, to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Let me encourage you to put time and thought into good deeds and to have a zealousness, a passion for the good works God has laid out for you to do each day.

Now part of being passionate about our mission, is not getting distracted…so we must…

II.                Decisively reject division that distracts from our purpose

With the same urgency and intensity that Paul has exhorted Pastor Titus to help believers learn their purpose, he also urgently and intensely exhorts Pastor Titus to deal with those persisting in unfruitful activity in the congregation.

Those who will not be bridges…..but instead make the chasm wider…

And, in contrast to giving “sustain thought” to how to engage in good deeds fulfilling our purpose…Paul uses imperatives that contrast “sustain thought”

—what’s the opposite of “sustain thought”…give no thought…

              9            But avoid (imperative (command), it means to shun—turn away from, turn your back on, the opposite of “sustained thought”) foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. (unprofitable and worthless means the opposite of fruitful—unfruitful…

              10          Reject (imperative—means rejectJ, don’t entertain, don’t give it sustain thought….) a factious man after a first and second warning,

              11          knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

Verses 9-10 perhaps again refer to the men in the congregation that Paul referred to in chapter 1:10, 11 and 16

Titus 1:10 says,

              1:10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain….16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless (unfruitful) for any good deed

Paul exhorts Titus to take three decisive actions with the persistently unfruitful or chasm wideners (ditch diggers)

A.     Shun worthless (fruitless) speech (v. 9)

Paul mentions “foolish controversies and arguments about genealogies and arguments about the Law.”

All of this indicates that it was probably self-righteous Jewish congregation members getting exercised over non-essentials and leading others to get exercised over the nonessentials…

We don’t know exactly what foolish controversies he was talking about.

We don’t know exactly what controversies about genealogies he was talking about…

  • But they were spending more time on Ancestry.com than helping their neighbors shovel snow…

And we don’t know what precise arguments about the Law were being discuss.

What we do know is this, they were not giving careful and sustain thought to the major point of the Law….

Romans 13:9   For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Paul tells pastor Titus that those in the congregation involved in non-fruitful activities like this arguments…”Shun them”—do not give careful and sustained thought to it…

                                           Why?

While Paul does not give the reason here in Titus he does in 2 Tim where he says something almost identical….and he gives us the reason….

2 Tim 2:16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

Shun, avoid this kind of unfruitful speech? Why…because it is like gangrene

             

Gangrene is when the blood does not circulate to the tissue in your body (or a bacterial infection), and the tissue dies, and it spreads as more and more of the tissue dies because there is no life giving nutrients being brought to it…it is empty of life.

              Just like to address gangrene you must cut out the dead tissue to stop it from spreading, so you have to cut off worldly and empty chatter as it just promotes more and more ungodliness among the people of God.

              Good deeds will not spread when worldliness is spreading amongst the congregation.

              If all we talk about is vacations, new cars, latest fashion trends, latest Netflix series, celebrity drama, royal wedding whatever,

              If we just talk about empty stuff…we will be so distracted we won’t spur each other on to love and good deeds, but rather help each other seek as much comfort and pleasure from this world, while what is actually best for us, actually fruitful, is to engage in good deeds serving others.

The second decisive action that Paul exhorts pastor Titus to take is …

B.      Reject divisive people (v.10)

This is part of a pastors responsibility, but it is really something the whole church needs to embrace as Titus sets things in order.

It is not a fun part, but it is a necessary part especially if the alternative is God’s people being unfruitful and distracted and divided rather than unified on the goal of exalting Christ.

The text says to Reject a factious man after a first and second warning.

Factions are when you divide up and fight and argue over your differences…it is like in the Corinthian church when they picked their favorite pastor and said I am of Paul, I am of Apollos instead of everyone being focused on growing to the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ.

So what that looks like, is you find something in the word of God that good people differ over. It’s not the gospel, it’s not the Jesus being the son of God, being born of a virgin and atoning a substitutionary death in place of sinners…it is not the fundamentals of the faith…it is non-core issue, that you want to make the most important thing, and you constantly talk to everyone you can to try to get them on your team, instead of focusing on wrapping kids gifts during Christmas for everyone…

Someone says, hey we could use a few more Shepherds in Bethlehem for the Living Nativity can you jump in the second weekend, and you go on about the identity of the Nephilim or how you believe Apollos has to be the writer of Hebrews, and instead of joining the other shepherd and serving you go and make it your mission to get as many people to agree with you and make it an issue that we divide over.

It could be anything people want to focus on, the latest health craze, political opinions, or even parenting approaches.

Let me remind you again, we are talking about among ourselves…in the church of the living God...

Titus was to set the church in order first before it could be a light to the culture…

And that meant…those who persisted in the unfruitful speech drawing people away from the main thing…that person should be warned twice and if he persists …reject that man….This is most likely a reference to the process of church discipline that the Lord Jesus gave the church to keep it pure and on point…Pure and on point…

 

And thus Titus was to conclude ….

C.      Conclude that persistent unfruitfulness is “perverted, sinning and self-condemned”

When you stand back and look at this type of behavior, it is evident to all that there is no value to anybody in it!

Perverted means twisted, instead of going God’s way, you twist things, even God’s word for your own purposes.

Even after someone is warned, they keep sinning, will not repent and even though they know it is wrong and have been warned, they keep going and are self-condemned as they know what they are doing is not pleasing to God and they are seeking to divide God’s people instead of bearing fruit with God’s people.

And the pastor and church need to make righteous judgments…

  • that decisively shuns unfruitful speech in the congregation to help the congregation not be unfruitful or chasm wideners
  • that decisively rejects divisive people in the congregation
  • that calls unfruitfulness sin, perverted—so that the chasm wideners don’t destroy the mission of bridge building with good works.

That doesn’t mean we get sinfully angry, or respond in a quarrelsome, harsh way…

2 Tim 2:24–26 But the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those in opposition, if perhaps the Lord may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

The gentleness but urgent decisiveness is born of love knowing that persistently unfruitful and divisive people are caught in the snare of the devil.

The 3rd way to help God’s people be a redemptive bridge to the world is to...

III.             Consistently remind one another of the purpose of our Savior

3:4But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. … 15…Grace be with you all.

The greatest chasm that has ever existed is between you and God.

And God did not retreat to his heavenly home and allow the chasm to be unspanned.

Instead God in Jesus Christ left his abode and crossed the Chasm. And Jesus Christ was the bridge from earth to heaven.

 

If Jesus was that bridge for you across the greatest chasm, how can this not motivate me to be functioning like our Savior—the bridge to the world by—fulfilling our purpose in living a life of good deeds to our community.

Your pastors have that obligation to

  1. Urgently help you fulfill that purpose—of being the bridge of grace through loving deeds.
  2. Decisively Reject persistently unfruitful, chasm widening
  3. Always remind you of your motivation—the one who build the bridge to you and met your most pressing need.

We all have the responsibility to build on the foundation of Grace with good works in a way that brings glory to God and invites people to the way, the truth and the Life, our great God and savior Jesus Christ.

Let’s Pray


Dustin Folden

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.