Series: A Sound Church
Article 1: A continuing Kingdom

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The Importance of Truth and Godliness

Titus 1:

The faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness

In other words, the truth that leads to godliness cannot be separated from godly living and teaching. This is what Paul says in Romans 6,18:

And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness

It is, as Paul says, “we have been freed from sin” and “we have been freed to be slaves of righteousness and to conform ourselves to the form of pure doctrine”, as the apostle Paul puts it here in Romans 6.

Truth is consistent with godliness: We live in a culture that echoes the words of Pilate when he asked, “What is truth?” It’s common for people to make moral decisions based on their personal truth. While it may seem empowering to embrace one’s personal truth, this can lead to conflict when others disagree. It’s possible to reject someone else’s truth by calling it stupid or invalid, but this only creates division and hostility.

In reality, truth is fixed and absolute. It should always lead us to godliness, as Paul reminds us that “God cannot lie.” Ultimate truth will always point to God, and we should seek to align our beliefs and actions with that ultimate reality.

In Crete, some were teaching contradictory beliefs. Furthermore, there were those who taught the correct principles, but their actions contradicted their teachings. It is possible to have a vast understanding of religious doctrine, to know Bible verses for everything, and to be familiar with all the doctrines that ancient councils have decided upon. However, if your life does not reflect the importance of these teachings, then your knowledge is meaningless. The truth should be transformative and sanctifying, and if your life is not in alignment with your profession, then you are not being sanctified by the truth. Therefore, it is not sufficient to merely appreciate good teachings; one must also live them out in their daily life.

The Transformative Power of the Gospel

The purpose of our gathering is not simply to appreciate a good sermon. If that were the case, we would be a rather pitiful group. Rather, we are here to receive the gospel and the proclamation of God’s word, with the goal of allowing the information to transform us. In other words, transformation is the ultimate objective.

The significance lies not in the information that we possess, but in how we apply it to our lives. I once knew a man from Bible school who possessed great zeal and a love for theology. He even risked his safety to smuggle Bibles into China. However, he ignored advice to remain on the mission field and instead pursued a degree at a prestigious seminary in Escondido. Despite his newfound knowledge, I recently stumbled upon his Twitter account and found him cursing out the church. His life now has nothing to do with faith. This is a clear example of how knowledge alone does not guarantee godliness.

Verse 2 states,

in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the beginning of time.

The promise of eternal life is based on hope. Paul emphasizes that your salvation was planned before time. The whole plan was also promised before time began. He pulls back the curtain to show that this plan doesn’t end with him, Elijah, Moses, or Noah, but goes all the way back to eternity past. Before time began, God promised eternal life to His people. This plan is not limited to us; it didn’t start with us, and it won’t end with us. It is eternal and bookended from eternity past to eternity future.

The Historical Basis of the Faith and the Role of Preaching

In verse 2, he emphasizes that God “has in due time manifested His word,” primarily referring to the Incarnation of Christ. This means that our faith is rooted in history and the historical elements of the faith, such as Christ’s birth from a woman under the law to redeem those under the law. The story of Jesus is not just a principle that we choose to believe in; it is a historical reality that we wholeheartedly accept. Additionally, preaching plays a crucial role in manifesting the historical gospel. Paul emphasizes that God’s word is manifested through preaching. When God’s messenger takes the gospel with unwavering conviction and proclaims it with all authority, it manifests itself in the hearts of God’s people, and they respond to it with faith.

The power of the Holy Spirit attends the preaching of the Word, giving it strength and reality in the hearts of God’s people. This is what is happening now, and I hope it is happening to you as well. Just like Paul told the Galatians, Christ was publicly portrayed and crucified among them through the preaching of the gospel. Although Jesus was not physically crucified in Galatia, the message was so powerfully proclaimed that it was as if the Galatians saw it with their own eyes. This is what happens when we preach the gospel. We may be flawed and imperfect, but it’s not about us. We gather together to come under the sound of the preaching of the Bible, where the Word of God is proclaimed with authority and power.

We place a strong emphasis on preaching in our gatherings. We don’t gather in the service for superficial contributions from different individuals. Rather, we prioritize the explanation and proclamation of the authoritative Word of God, which has the power to transform our lives into the image of His son.

The Importance of Training and Empowering Leaders

And then we come to the audience. Titus 1:4

To Titus, a true son in our common faith

Paul left Titus behind after they had journeyed together on a mission. Paul affectionately refers to Titus as “a true son,” while Timothy is simply referred to as “a son.” The point here is that Titus was a protégé of Paul, and they shared a common faith. Paul did not have an exclusive faith; rather, they both shared the common faith of God’s elect. Even though Paul was the one who wrote about the faith in many ways, it was not an exclusive faith.

Consider what it must have been like for Paul to write the Bible and then declare that these were not his words, but rather those of Jesus, and that he too was under their authority. Another point is this: This again expresses that the kingdom continues, and we need to be training people, empowering people, and enlisting them in God’s service. In the next article, we will take a closer look at this high task that Titus had.

Now, we focus on our final point, which is the application. We must remind ourselves that these instructions were not only meant for Titus, but also for the church today. Paul’s words to Titus carry lasting relevance and authority, and God speaks to us through them.

We are called to see ourselves as part of something much bigger than ourselves, with Christ as our head and in union with all of God’s people, past, present, and future, under the headship of Christ. This mindset prompts us to consider how we can contribute to God’s ongoing work. Paul’s dedication to developing leaders like Titus highlights the importance of leadership, as everything rises or falls on leadership. We must invest in and equip leaders, entrusting them to carry out more significant responsibilities. As we belong to something greater than ourselves, we are called to contribute.

Let me conclude with a thought that we all need to ponder: What will be the legacy of Calvary Chapel Heidelberg in 50 years? There are many churches, but not all of them continue to thrive. Consider Crete, for example. Is there a church there today? Perhaps there is, but it’s probably not as vibrant as it used to be. You can travel across Germany and England, visit the historical churches and witness the wonderful things that have happened there in the past. But what about now? Are those churches still thriving or are they just being photographed by tourists?

When we lose sight of the centrality of preaching, applying the scriptures, and living out the gospel in our daily lives, we neglect our responsibility to contribute to God’s ongoing work in the church. As a result, the church suffers. However, with God’s grace, we can shine as a light in our community for many years to come, until the day Christ returns.


Go to next article: God’s Leaders Part 1

Published On: March 7th, 2021Categories: General0 Comments
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