Though it is rapidly changing, most people in our region of the world have some exposure to the major tenets of Christianity, that God is creator, humanity is sinful, Jesus is Savior and we are looking forward to Heaven. Where things get clouded is how these truths find their way into our homes, budgets, calendars, friendships, workplaces, hobbies and even into our churches. Working out our own salvation in these areas can be challenging and confusing at times. We may frequently find ourselves asking about areas of conviction, “Am I being overly zealous about this?” or sometimes in areas where we feel freedom, “Have I been thoughtful enough about what I’m doing here?” These tensions are appropriate. When we stop considering how to work out our salvation, our orthopraxy, or the way we practice what we believe, we typically err in one of two directions: legalism or licentiousness.
Sometimes we err towards trying to win God’s favor with good works. This ignores the glory of our salvation being by grace alone through faith, and results in expectations from man rather than from God. There are movements among Christian brothers and sisters that are preoccupied with external moral norms rather than the person and work of Jesus. If we are honest, there are likely tendencies and attitudes that reflect this in our own hearts.
Another potential error is that we embrace the concepts of gospel logically and they have no real effect on how we are living, or may even give us license to live however we please. This is especially dangerous in our region. The number of people who have had a “religious experience” and have no real life change is staggering. This is a misunderstanding of the gospel. One of the results of our faith in Jesus Christ is a process of sanctification where we learn to desire God’s ways, put off sin and embrace good works. The expectation for our faith, that our knowledge of truth would also be in accordance with our actions, has somehow been lost. The biblical descriptions of a disciple, of faithful leaders and elders, of the ways they invest in one another, and ways that we are called to be servants to the mission of God, have been ignored for a diluted, impotent culture of Christianity that has lost power and influence in the world.
Overview of Titus
Soon we will begin a study of the book of Titus. In this new sermon series called Faithful, we will see some relevant and powerful correlations between our current day and culture and the setting and culture of this young church plant.
Titus receives several instructions from Paul as to how he should lead the congregation there to be faithful:
- Faithful Leadership: the expectations and instructions for appointing elders.
- Faithful Community: instructions for the way the elect in Crete should live together and invest in one another in community and in work, that they all had a place to belong and a part to play in one another’s lives.
- Faithful Doctrine: instruction on maintaining a sound understanding and instruction of the doctrines of God.
- Faithful Gospel: instruction on the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Faithful Mission: instruction on adorning the gospel of God with good works and living faithfully in the world
Paul’s desire for the church to remain faithful was grounded in the truth of the Gospel. The grace of God appeared and the result has been faith and salvation. Though the exact message of the false teachers addressed isn’t clear, it is clear that these areas Paul was addressing were timely and important to correct the issues of these particular churches. These areas were sound doctrine, Godly living, eternal hope and good works.
Prayer For This Series
As we seek to navigate similar cultural problems being addressed in Titus, our prayer is that we would allow the gospel to encourage, inform and shape faithful living. We would also pray that our own hearts would respond in obedience, humility and faith. Please join us in praying for our church as we dive into a gift of God’s word in Titus. We believe that God will use this series to make us a more faithful people.