11 February 2009

Say Something

by Frank Turk

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
I have no idea how long this series is going to go on as I haven't really gotten to my favorite verse in this letter yet, but Paul's greeting to Titus is so rich, you have to at least admire the shiny parts even if you don't really count the stacks of wealth to find out all it is worth.

So we know that Paul thought of Titus and Timothy as true sons to him in the faith; we know that he believed that it was by God's command, and as a servant of God who commands, that he himself was called and therefore these men were called. But think about the purpose here Paul says the servant of God is called: for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth.

Now, what is that? I mean: if some are God's elect, what can anyone do about it? That's the quandry some would tell you is evident here -- Paul couldn't do anything about the elect, and certainly some non-apostolic preacher can't do anything about what God elects, right?

Well: plainly Paul says, "wrong". God hasn't just declared the ends but also the means of calling the elect -- and he hasn't published a proof of the book of Life so that the preacher or elder can just go out and scan the white pages and preach a limited a-phone-ment.

ahem.

Paul is telling Titus here that Paul is himself appointed by God's command to be the means of faith for the elect, and a means for them to know the truth of the faith. And while I may repeat myself, that means Titus is also these things as a true son in the faith -- as one who has an inheritance from Paul to carry on the work.

So what are you doing, pastor? How do you spend your time in this respect? You have at least one day a week in which the people God has put under your care come to you and sit down, and wait for you to say something. Are you saying things for the sake of their faith, and for their knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ? Have you considered that your sermons must be about Him and not about them?

Well ... consider it. Be a true son in the faith with Paul, and work for the sake of the faith of the elect, and for their knowledge of truth -- not for some other purpose that seems useful today but changes from week to week.







16 comments:

Johnny Dialectic said...

I prefer sermons that start "with a little somethin' funny" and where I can hold up my Bible and chant "I yam what it sez I yam..."

And "knowledge of the truth" is hopeless (did you not get the Pomo memo?)

jeff said...

Frank,
Thanks for the excellent post and I must say that I'm enjoying the series of posts on Timothy and Titus.
One comment I'll make about the pastor of the church that I attend is that he is a loving and God fearing man and he preaches with power. But I wish he would preach about the doctrines of Grace, but he doesn't. By that I mean election.
He preaches salvation by Grace through faith, but stresses the individuals ability to make that decision on their own.
His main emphasis seems to be on missions. Our church supports I think over 200 missionaries. Well, I guess I can't have it all.
God bless

Daniel said...

Quote of the day, "Have you considered that your sermons must be about Him and not about them [the congregation]?
"

Excellent stuff - even the a-phone-ment worked nice.

donsands said...

"..and a means for them to know the truth of the faith."

That's an awesome responsiblity "means", and a great privelege "means".

I wonder how many of God's elect were saved from the darknesss through the Apostle's ministry?

I know I have had little fruit in evangelism. But I would love to be like Paul, but I feel more like Jeremiah, or David Brainerd.

Bottom line, to God be the glory, of whatever I can do, say, and live out in my life for Christ.

Benjamin Nitu said...

Frank, how many pastors can say with confidence that they have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior to preach, to help us grow in Christ?

What is local church looking for when they look for their new pastor? someone good looking? someone who can attract masses? someone well organized? someone who's really good with people? a self starter? a man of vision? a man that makes us feel good about ourselves? a republican? an environmentalist? a Rick Warren follower? a don't-mention-sin-in-your-sermons kind of guy? anyone?

Paul is very clear:
What: entrusted by God to preach
Why: for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth

Frank Turk said...

Benjamin:

Eventually I will get to the difference between Saul, son of Tish, and David, son of Jesse.

Until then, let me say this about your comment: is there is a preaching elder out there who doesn't see himself in your "what" and "why", and (to tip my hand a little) it doesn't humble him to be those things, he needs to go get another job.

Because this thing which we're talking about here is not merely a "job".

Benjamin Nitu said...

Amen, Frank!I guess I jumped the gun.
I look forward to your next post.

Johnny Dialectic said...

The first church I ever joined was a Presbyterian church in my area. At the time I had no idea about differences in denominations. I just remember liking "A Man Called Peter" and Peter Marshall was Pres, so why not?

Anyway, a little while after I joined, I met with the pastor and talked about my life goals. I had some interest in seminary. And he said, "You know, when I got out of the Army I had to decide what to do, and I chose the pastorate. It's just like any other job. So you can choose to do it, too."

Even as young and naive as I was, that sounded strange to me. About a year later, it became clear that this church was spiritually dead. It threw me for a huge and disheartening loop. I trace it to that view of the pastorate.

tthompson said...

Amen and Amen...also, does the congregation allow the pastor to structure his time in a way that he can properly prepare to preach. Here is where plurality of elders is so essential to the protection and advancement of sound doctrine.

Frank Turk said...

Of course I meant "son of Kish" and not "son of Tish", above. Let me correct that before DJP does and makes me look dumber than I already am.

Strong Tower said...

until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

"Grow up in every way into mature manhood my true child in a common faith, be like me if you want to live..." 1 Arnold (a paraphrase).

But every one says it's not possible to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That's why everyone's opinion is as valid as anyone's. So what does it matter that we should actually become like our teachers and hold a common faith with the leadership? Don't you know, we have to wait till we get "there" wherever there is, to see clearly the face of the Son we behold, right? Until then, its all a matter of opinion.

Or... perhaps 2 Corinthians 3, especially, vs 18, is not just an ideal, a never realized potential, but an actual purpose of bringing many true sons of the faith to glory seeing the same thing...

nah!

...that requires that the leaders study to show that they have been approved by God and to insist that others hold, as sons, to a common faith.

What an awesome responsiblity to actually have to raise up mature believers. What a concept, who would have thunk it?

My guess as to The Turk's favorite verse: "Declare these things! Exhort and rebuke with all authority! Let no one disregard you!"

Then it might be: "Grace be with you all."

And who knows, maybe Kish's wife was named Tish.

Stefan said...

Frank, this was a very edifying post, and reading the inspired writing of Paul—and your application of it—is a treasure.

But does that hand on the Pyro logo have six fingers???

Stefan said...

Almost nine hours and not a single comment? What's up with that?

Strong Tower said...

Well Stefan, the title is Say Something.

My verify code is grake.

How's that?

Mike the Bible Burgh Host said...

Great Stuff! Would highly recc. John MacArthur's TITUS commentary to anyone. Just finished it and my producer and I are posting on this (and other stuff) at www.bibleburgh.blogspot.com.

May we all pray to this end, that churches and church leaders will be faithful to Christ, His Word, and our calling . . . obeying these words of Paul to Titus and Timothy. We need NO further instructions, AMEN??

Papa Giorgio said...

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Hey Guys,

Check out my critiques of the "church" called emergent:

http://religiopoliticaltalk.blogspot.com/2009/02/emergentcy-is-emergent-church-orthodox.html

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