Book of Titus: Pouring Out of the Holy Spirit
Text: Titus 3:1-8
Today, we’re going to talk about the Holy Spirit
- We talk about God the Father and God the Son and we give an occasional nod to God the Spirit
- In the past, I read verses that talk about the Holy Spirit and I kind of glossed over them
- But Jesus said, after I resurrect and ascend to heaven, I’m not going to leave you alone
- I’m going to send you the promised Counselor, the Holy Spirit
- He will guide you in my absence until I return
- Before Jesus began His earthly ministry, heaven was torn open and the Spirit was poured down on Jesus
- We are talking about Jesus
- Do we think we can pull off Christian life without the Spirit’s help?
- The early church in Acts was instructed to wait until power came down from on high
- Then, you will be my witnesses
- A witness is someone who has seen and heard something
- Someone who has experienced the love of God the Father and God the Son through the Holy Spirit – he or she can tell you, let me tell you about God
- That’s testimony – here’s the Bible but let me tell you how this rings true in my life
Today, we are going to cover the entire book of Titus, 3 chapters, in one sermon
- Pick up the pace
- Nice to preach through to the end of Revelation by the close of 2014
- Hebrews might throw a wrench into that plan
- Not sure if it will happen because it’s up to the Lord but it’s my personal goal
This is the last of the Pastoral Epistles
- 1 and 2 Timothy were personal letters written by Paul to the young pastor Timothy and it includes pastoral wisdom being passed down from a veteran in the faith to a relative rookie
- Titus was similar to Timothy. He too was a young and inexperienced pastor
- NAMB – event to encourage church planters – giving away gifts to those who answered the questions the fastest
- One question to the pastor’s wives was, name the pastoral epistles
- And in my heart, I was like, Jackie got this
Approach for Titus is a bit different
- Not typical expositional preaching
- Half expositional, half topical
- Read some commentaries like I normally do
- Only 3 chapters so I read it over and over
- Then prayed and waiting
- This method of preaching is hard
- It’s easier to do my study, learn the text and then regurgitate facts
- But that’s not preaching
- That’s seminary
- You’re not here to learn facts
- You and I are here because you want to worship God
- We want an encounter with the living God
- Through the preaching of the Word, through praise, through prayer, at some point
- Theologian, wrote a 1100 page book about Systematic Theology
- Light reading you can do when you’re on the treadmill
- As a Anthro major, 1 class – 18 books, 2 thick readers – I learned how to skim 1100 pages, I read about 11 pages, got the section that I needed
- Good advice – don’t study longer, study smarter
- Frame talks about encountering God – he calls the existential perspective
- Existential perspective – experience, emotion, encounters, heart issues, private
- Asks the question – how can I meet God personally?
- That’s only one perspective
- Two others: Second – Normative perspective – norms, principles, facts, truths
- Asks the question – what does God say through the Bible?
- Third – Situational perspective – situations, real life contexts
- I agree with Frame that when you seek God and seek to know how to live out your Christian life, you have to incorporate all 3 views
- We all have our tendencies
- You’ve got the academic types who say, you can only know God through the study of His Word
- But aren’t there people that you know who are experts at the Bible, yet there is no joy, no peace, no humility?
- You got the emotional types, the feelers, they want to feel God yet they don’t care about anybody else, or the Great Commission, or evangelism because what matters is their experience with God
- Then you got the dutiful types, the ministry machines, the ones who are out there on the front lines, yet their doctrine is off and they get burnt out after a few years and fizzle out
- All 3 perspectives are valid perspectives but if you take only one of them and neglect the other two, you’re in serious danger
We must bring all 3 perspectives together
- That’s Frame’s argument
- In fact, if you really do any of these seriously and genuinely, the other 2 perspectives come into view
If you really take the normative perspective seriously
- And really study the Word
- You will read many verses about the existential perspective, about encountering the Lord
- And if you really study the Word and you come across verses that talk about love
- Well, love involves someone else and so the situational perspective comes into view
If you take the existential perspective seriously
- And really seek a genuine encounter with the Lord, you will be driven to open up your Bible, the normative perspective
- And you will seek out others, the situational perspective
- And if you take the situational perspective seriously
- And you want to live out your faith with others
- And let’s say you want to disciple them
- Then you need to teach them to observe everything Christ commanded, which will force you back to the normative perspective
- AND if you need to offer them real spiritual life in Jesus, you better be walking closely with Jesus yourself
I want to approach this letter from these 3 perspectives
- Normative – what does the text say?
- Situational – in light of what we’ve learned, what are we called to do in various situations?
- Existential – how can I meet with God because He’s the living Word whenever the Word is preached and He’s the fuel for all we do?
Maybe because this is a Pastoral Epistle and Paul is giving pastoral advice to younger pastors, there is a lot of the normative perspective and the situational perspective
- A lot of this is what the Bible says and a lot of now go do it
- A lot of doctrine AND duty
On a high level
- Ch 1 discusses our duty in the church
- Ch 2 discusses our duty in the home
- Ch 3 broadens it to our duty in the world
As I was praying through this letter, I received a few word pairings
- The first one is obvious in the text – Doctrine and Duty
- Truth and Godliness
- Invisible and Visible
- Grace and Glory
- Justification and Glorification
- Gospel and Good Works
- Truth and Godliness
- Titus 1:5-9 [DON’T READ] – Paul is instructing Titus to appoint godly elders
- Doctrine was preached, the truth was proclaimed and people were changed inwardly
- The invisible heart was touched and what came out?
- Visible expressions or works that flow from an invisible heart change, an inner character
- Doctrine becomes duty
- The truth getting expressed in godliness, both internal and external
- The invisible is made visible in godly leaders
- How? Titus 1:6-9
This is in sharp contrast to the false teachers – Titus 1:10-14
- Who were these false teachers?
- They were devout Jews
- What do they teach?
- Myths and commands of men
- They taught things that were not true, things that were not based on the gospel of Jesus Christ and they elevated the commands of men, basically, arbitrary rules
- In Judaism, there are hundreds of rules pertaining to dietary laws and rituals and practices and ceremonial cleansing
- What was the result of this false teaching? Or how can you know that you are listening to a false teacher?
- First, you look at the content of what they are saying? Is it based on the truth of God’s Word?
- Second, you can look at the fruit. You know a tree by its fruit
- If the fruit is bad, then the tree is bad
- If the fruit is good, then the tree is good
- The invisible things can be discerned by looking at what’s visible
- These false teacher are full of empty talk and deception
- They are motivated by money
- They are liars, evil beasts and gluttons
- And they are highly legalistic
- Titus 1:16
- The false teachers deny him by their works
Simple litmus test of true faith in God
- Look at your works
- Look at your life
- Look at how you live
- What are the visible works that flow out of your life?
- Are they godly, good works?
- Does your life reflect a godly character?
- Does your life deny that you know God or give evidence that you in fact know Him?
Paul continues to develop this theme in chapter 2
- Titus 2:1
- “Sound” teaching – literal translation is healthy teaching, a teaching that promotes health or wholesome teaching, a teaching that promotes wholeness
- Contrast this sound or healthy teaching with the “sickly” teaching of the false teachers
- One promotes health and wholeness and the other promotes sickliness
- How can you tell?
- You know a tree by its fruit
- A healthy tree will produce healthy fruit while a sickly tree will produce sickly fruit
In Titus 2 – Paul discusses how the sound teaching of the gospel expresses itself in relationships and in the home
- In older men, in older women
- In older women teaching younger women to love their husbands and their children so that the family is healthy and strong
- In young men being self-controlled
- What do you think he’s referring to here? I think he’s talking among other things, sexual purity
- Sound teaching brings health in older men, older women, in relationships between older women and younger women, in young men, in slaves toward their masters and in our context employees and their bosses
Paul’s gives his personal charge to Titus in Titus 2:7-8
- Titus, you be an example of good works
- Teaching and example, verbal and visual
- May there be integrity in your life – meaning what you profess to be truth with your lips AND how you live your life, there’s integrity, there’s a unity, there’s a wholeness
Why do so many non-believers have no desire to go to church?
- Because we lack integrity
- We are hypocritical
- There are blatant examples of so-called Christians who lie and cheat and steal and oppress and we know, these are just religious people
- They leave a bad taste in the mouth of non-Christians
- If this is Christianity, no thank you
- I’m fine with my yoga and meditation and tai chi and Mother Nature
But what about the rest of us?
- We say with our lips, God, we love you, Lord, you’re the most important person in my life
- But with our lives, we love something else more
- We love money more than God
We love the things we can buy right now more than the invisible treasures that await
- We love our careers more than God
- We love our kids more than God
- We love our stomach more than God
- Our lives contradict our lips
- If God is the one whom we love the most, how does it show up in your life?
- Your thoughts, your actions, what you think about, what you worry about, what you hunger for, is it God?
- How is your love for God showing up in your life?
- If our life and our lips don’t match, we call that a hypocrite
- If they match, then there is integrity
- When people see us, do they conclude, there’s something different about Jimmy, there’s something different about Sophia, I knew them before, but they’ve changed
- They no longer pursue the things they pursued before
- Their desires have changed
- They used to be arrogant or shy, but they are humble and bold
- I got to find out about this God
This is what Paul is talking about Titus 2:9-10
- The doctrine is taught and the duty is expressed through a humble submission, not just barely doing the job but to strive to be well-pleasing, not talking back, not stealing, but being utterly faithful
- This is how doctrine leads to duty and then it points back to the doctrine
- The exemplary behavior of the slave or worker adorns the teaching
- An adornment is a piece of jewelry that adds beauty
- The way we live out our faith adorns our message
You meet some people and they really know their Bible well
- Jackie and Audrey met such a person at the cafe this week
- But how we live is supposed to adorn our teaching and making our teaching attractive
- Because when you see someone who is joyful and humble and has good character and she treats others well, you are communicating that I’m not just following laws
- There is power in that person’s life
In chapter 3, Paul’s argument culminates in a convergence of the normative perspective, the situational perspective, and the existential perspective
- It’s easy to spot the first two
- Titus 3:1-2
- This is the situational perspective which asks the question, how should I live out my faith
- We are called to be a people who are ready for every good work
- What does that look like?
- Here are some examples: to slander no one, to avoid fighting, and to be kind, always showing gentleness to all people
- This is the normative perspective, it’s doctrine, probably one of the most extensive teachings about salvation in the entire Bible
- It’s packed with solid theology
- It contains: the grace of God, salvation which involves justification followed by a future glorification
Situational perspective – live a life of good works
Normative perspective – here is sound doctrine, the gospel in its full-orbed beauty
But that leaves us with a question, okay, I’m saved, but where do I go from here?
- How do I live out my Christian life?
- Paul is clear in Titus 3 – we live out our Christian lives in the power of the Holy Spirit
- How were we saved?
- God appeared to us
- We had an epiphany
- We were objects of wrath, we were in a prison called sin, then suddenly, the Holy Spirit blowed, the kindness of God appeared
We had an epiphany
- It wasn’t because of our works
- It wasn’t because we deserved it or because we were self-righteous
- No, we deserved hell because we rejected God but God in His mercy appeared
- He saved us purely out of His love and mercy
- We were born again of the Spirit
- We were regenerated and renewed by whom? Titus 3:5 – by the Holy Spirit
- Through Jesus Christ, or because Jesus ascended into heaven, now this Holy Spirit was poured out on dead corpses
- From that moment, we were saved, we were justified
- We are heirs of God, but not fully
- But when Jesus returns in full glory, we will be full heirs of God, sons and daughters inheriting everything that God promised
- This moment when Christ returns and gives us glorified bodies is referred to our glorification
- We are justified now, forgiven, accepted, but one day we will be glorified
- Two epiphanies are mentioned here
- The first one is the epiphany of grace, which occurs for the believer in the moment of salvation
- God’s grace has appeared
- The second epiphany is future-oriented
- The appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ
In between these 2 epiphanies–grace and glory–we are called to be a people eager to do good works.
- There are only 2 ways to live out the Christian life
- Either with or without the Holy Spirit
- I think this addresses Frame’s final perspective–the existential perspective
Without the Holy Spirit, we are left with the Nike method
- Just do it
- Do good works
- Here’s the gospel, I’ve taught it to you, now live it out
- Go out there and disciple others, plant churches, feed the homeless, do good works
- And it’s just your energy and effort
- How is that different from humanitarian efforts like Save the Whales or campaigns to end world poverty?
As parents, we give our kids rules–don’t watch TV, don’t play video games, eat your veggies, be in bed by 9–because they don’t know right from wrong and they are not disciplined yet and their characters are still being formed
- But at some point, they turn 18 and it’s time for them to live out their faith themselves
- I can’t follow my kids around and stalk them into their twenties on facebook because I want to make sure they don’t make bad choices
- Hopefully, what I am teaching them will become their own, not because I repeated myself over and over but because the Holy Spirit is being poured out on them continually and they actually have a Spirit-generated power and ability to do what’s right
- The normative perspective and the situational ethics won’t get very far without this existential encounter with the living God through the continually filling of the Holy Spirit
There are some in the world who are not yet saved and therefore lack the Holy Spirit, yet on the surface, they have seemingly good characters
- They’re kind, generous, self-controlled at least visibly
- But because they are not born again, this is just personality or nurture or upbringing or self-discipline
- Some are just born highly disciplined or they had strict disciplinarians are parents and they were raised that way
- This is not the same as a Spirit-generated character
Even in the church, we mistake human character which is just nature with spiritual character that comes from the Holy Spirit
- You have church leaders who are disciplined by nature making up arbitrary rules of proper behavior and because they perform better than others who are less disciplined, they become self-righteous
- Like, if you want to be considered godly, you must fast twice a week and attend 5am prayer meeting
- What if you don’t like food so fasting is no big deal for you?
- And what if you have insomnia so you’re already up at 4am anyway?
- And you say, fasting twice a week and 5am prayer meeting is what defines spirituality
- These practices could be motivated by genuine spiritual motivation but it could just be our egos
We need the Holy Spirit to be poured out continual
- When we were saved, it was completely a work of the Holy Spirit
- Through Christ, the Spirit was poured out
- It was completely a supernatural work
Isn’t it odd that as soon as we become a Christian, a work that began through the Spirit becomes a work of the flesh
- I’m saved, therefore, it’s up to me to live out the gospel and to do good works
How far will our flesh take you?
- If you are a young man as described in Titus 2 and you need self-control, how are you going to get yourself under control?
- In case you are wondering what Paul has in mind, he gives a clue in Titus 2:11-12
- Worldly lusts
- Paul as a man instructing Titus, a young man, knows the struggles of young men
- We struggle with keeping our minds and hearts pure
If you’ve been addicted to pornography, for example, how are you going to overcome it?
- Is a good book going to do it? It may help, but I don’t think it will take you far enough.
- What about accountability? This will help certainly, but you’ll still fall.
- How will your overcome lust that controls you so that you lack self-control?
- You need the Holy Spirit to come, to be poured out
Brothers and sisters, doctrine is not enough to overcome our core sins
- Duty may keep us occupied and busy so that we sin less frequently, but it will not hep you overcome your deepest and darkest sins
- Sin is like a heavy chain
- The normative perspective helps
- The situational perspective heps
- But we really need the Holy Spirit to come and break the chains
Paul before King Agrippa
- He’s in chains
- Testifies, I wish you could be like me, except for these chains
- Paul is a free man
Is the existential encounter with God, which began our spiritual life
- It’s when the grace of God appeared
- Our eyes and ears were opened
- I was blind but now I see
We need to ask the Spirit to continually be poured out and fill us
- Because the Holy Spirit makes the work of Jesus REAL
- Not a concept, but tangible
That’s one of the Holy Spirit’s role–to make Christ real
It’s our existential experience of God that DRIVES us to the normative Word of God and COMPELS us to situational duty of doing good works
- In these short verses, you have all 3 perspectives coming to light
- To keep this a present reality, we need to ask the Lord to send His Holy Spirit, to pour out His presence
- Grace is nice
- It’s wonderful that God accepts us as we are
- But if you accepted Jesus years ago and you are basically the same person, then all you know is grace
- And I bet you find yourselves asking for forgiveness for the same sins over and over
- Because deep down you are the same
- You may know grace, but you don’t know glory
- When the Holy Spirit is poured out upon your life and you overcome sins
- And chains are broken
- And you experience deep freedom in Christ
- It’s glorious
- Praise and thanksgiving
- There is power in your life because power has come into your life.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to come down in power that you may get a foretaste of the future glory that awaits us all