18 February 2009

The Something to Say

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.
Last week we covered the idea Paul had in greeting Titus that the pastor/elder has the repsonsibility to preach for the sake of the elect (meaning: he is intended to do something for the believers) and for the sake of their knowledge of truth (meaning: he is intended to do this as a means to deliver truth), which all very well and good.

Was Paul then instructing Titus to deliver lessons on cooking and DIY home repair, or moralistic lessons?

Indeed: no. What Paul was doing -- and what Titus, who was Paul's true son in the faith ought to be doing -- is delivering that by means of God's own word, through preaching.

I'm travelling this week and have an early flight, so I can't do 1000 words on this today, but consider it, pastor: your words are not good enough to do what Paul was sent to do, and as his true son in the faith, they are not good enough to do what God intends for you to do.

God's words are good enough. They are the only thing which is good enough. Use them liberally. Lavish them upon the people God has given you.

They have been entrusted to you.


donsands said...

"Lavish them upon the people God has given you."

Amen. From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21--"The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

And a nice portion of church History is always an appropriate side dish.

David Regier said...

But now we come to the rub:

You say that only God's words are good enough.

But they must be preached. Not just read. Our Bibles aren't enough. The preacher must study faithfully, speak faithfully AND live faithfully to the Word, obeying all that is written in it.

Of course, that's why I'm not a preacher. And that's why I listen to one.

Anonymous said...

"God's words are good enough. They are the only thing which is good enough."

I get your main point here, but this could easily be taken to mean that pastors should only read from the Bible while preaching or teaching.

I love your posts on Titus. Thanks for doing them.

Dr. Paul W. Foltz said...

The Word of God will always
accomplish the Will of God. The art of Preaching is simply telling the sense of the words to people.

FX Turk said...

This is what happens when a guy who usually needs 1000 words to blow his nose posts a quickie.

OF COURSE it is through preaching - but Paul makes it clear WHAT KIND OF PREACHING ought to be made. This exortation opens all kinds of cans of worms - hermeneutical, theologcal, practical, epistemological - but it will do you well to think about what it means to present God's word by teaching.

FX Turk said...

Geez - and I'm posting from my iPod, so forgive fat fingers an unformatted text.

David Regier said...

Hey, leave the brevity to me.

Jugulum said...


Sure. The question then, for applying this to preaching, is this: Can I claim with any confidence that the words I am saying are faithfully representing & explaining what God has said?

Jugulum said...

Or applied another way: When people preach, they are presumably attempting to provide wisdom. But can we legitimately say that the source of that wisdom is God's revelation? Or is it just something that we think we've figured out?

Note: That's a higher standard than just saying, "Well, I'm being consistent with Scripture."

Jugulum said...

P.S. Frank, the smoke rising from that the fire in that image is simply gorgeous.

Ben N said...

Word, Frank!

I wonder if this is related to your post ? Here's Pope Benedict:
"We are losing the notion of sin"

Paul Nevergall said...

"If we want conversions, we must put more of God’s Word into our sermons; even if we paraphrase it into our own words, it must still be his Word upon which we place our reliance, for the only power which will bless men lies in that. It is God’s Word that saves souls not our comment upon it, however correct that comment may be." Spurgeon

Enjoying these post Frank, thank you!

Strong Tower said...

"at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching"

This is such a powerful statement. It refers to the promises before the ages began. And within it is a promise that through preaching, this promise is manifested in calling, sanctifying and glorifying. Paul has said before that he was called from the womb for this purpose and here tethers himself and his hearers to that same thing, the sake of the faith of God's elect.

Faithful preaching should manifest itself in the sake. That others might call upon him who has called them to a living hope, is the commanded end for the means given and the confidence that he who has promised is faithful to not forget the good work done.

David Regier said...


The confidence (for both the pastor and the congregation) lies in the gospel applied. Does the pastor live out the implications of this gospel? If not, that pastor has no reason for confidence, because he has no faith. And the congregation will receive the same faith that he has.

Chris said...

If I were a pastor, I'd find this post a most refreshing reminder indeed of my noble purpose! I hope it is a great encouragement to all you faithful shepherds reading it today!

Strong Tower said...

"Or is it just something that we think we've figured out?"

You mean his name is not Eureka?

Dr. Paul W. Foltz said...

Author; Dr. Paul Foltz
God's Word will always accomplish God's work, regardless of the condition of the person presenting it.
Saving faith and Repentance are granted to the elect sinner before he hears the word, that leads to his conversion. After he is saved, hearing the word brings faith in his life.

David Regier said...

Ah, but the pastor will have no confidence. That was the question.

And when the pastor does not demonstrate the gospel applied to his own life, he demonstrates his lack of faith. And replicates it.

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad V. said...

Dr. Foltz

Umm, mind explaining how saving faith and repentance can be grated before the elect sinner hears the word? Without the word he will not know whom he is to have faith in and what he is to repent of.

My bible says;

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? Rom 10:14-15

Stefan Ewing said...

Obviously, Frank doesn't mean that preachers should lift their sermons verbatim from the Bible and not use a single word of their own.

But the underlying subject material should be Scripture exposited—and quoted generously (according to sound hermeneutical principles)...not the topic of the day that just came into my head on Tuesday morning or (God have mercy) Saturday night.

Strong Tower said...

"exposited—and quoted generously"

Sounds like Obama's stimulus program- my earnings exposited from my account and quoted generously in anonther's ;)

Rick Frueh said...

"God's words are good enough."

Yes, and amen. God's Word preached in power and watered by God's Word lived out in power.

olan strickland said...

Amen Frank!

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn (Isaiah 8:20).

They [false prophets] are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We [true prophets] are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:5-6).

Morris Brooks said...

Yes, but the preacher's own words must be text driven, faithful to the context, explaining the text, lifting the principle from the text, and applying the text.

Additionally, the implication is that the preacher is both gifted and called to preach, and, as Paul points out in I Corinthians 4:1-2, a faithful and trustworthy steward of the grace of God. Paul also stated in I Timothy 1:12 that Christ had considered him faithful and as such had put him into service.

It is not our word, but His. It is not our flock, but His. It is not our possession, but His. It is not our body, but His. This ministry has been given to us by Him, it was never ours in the first place. It is not a career, nor a job, but ministry. We are to be faithful stewards and undershepherds, and it starts with the faithful proclamation of His word. Anything less is insubordination.


FX Turk said...

There's not much more to say after that: comments closed.