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The Titus Challenge

Eric Walsh

Description

Paul sent Titus to Crete with an Urgency to "set things in order." This message gives advice on how to minister to the Cretes of the modern world.

Presenter

Eric Walsh

Pastor and Physician

Recorded

  • September 10, 2017
    12:00 PM
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This message was presented at the mission's twenty seventeen final conference. In Cape Town South Africa for more resources like this this is a. Dash mission starts here in the city. And business it's to if. We're going to go to book otitis my scripture reading will be taken from tight as one verses ten and eleven Titus one ten and eleven. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers especially day of the circumcision those whose mouths must be stopped who subvert whole houses teaching things which they ought not for filthy Leuchars sake. Teaching things which they should not for filthy lucre see. Our last message of the conference is intitled the Titus challenge setting things in order the Titus challenge Let us pray Father God we thank you Lord for this opportunity to study your word once again I ask that you just make me a nail on the wall otherwise useless bendable Lord even breakable. But father got asked that that nail be hammered into the wall with your Holy Spirit. And that a portrait of Jesus Christ be hung on that nail. Let the nail not be seen the Lord instead Father God let us hear word from the throne room of grace this is our prayer in Jesus is precious and holy name Amen. Paul was doing great work. In where new churches had been established Paul was wise enough to understand that his ministry could not go forward if he tried to be everywhere at once of course they didn't even have the internet back then so communication was difficult and they had to keep in touch and one. The ways that God lead Paul to keep in touch was Paul wrote letters. As I've talked to young people here in South Africa and strong in encouraging young people to finish school and get advanced degrees. The reason Paul writes so much of the New Testament we are told is because Paul is a sharpened to meaning he was highly educated he could handle the language Greek in a very very strong way Greek at the time was what we call the lingua franca it was the language everyone commonly spoke and so it was a language that was also very descriptive So Paul wrote in the Greek and he wrote to people he needed to reach and one of those individuals as tight as we were very familiar often with the two pistols he writes to Timothy but Titus is also someone he had to reach. Paul in his letters often reveals a lot he says in Titus one in verse one Paul a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the faith of God's elect and the and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness in hope of eternal life which God that cannot lie promised before the world began but have in due time as manifested his word through preaching which is committed on to me according to the commandment of God our Savior. Paul starts his letter to Titus a stablish in a few key things. He establishes that Paul is God's servant and he was an apostle of Jesus Christ that was often questioned in Paul's day Paul also says that in the hope of eternal life. That God promised. Paul says that eternal life has been promised to us and then he says that God cannot lie. God is so powerful that if God says that this floor is water rather that it be a lie the floor would turn to water. Got cannot lie then he says in the hope of eternal life was going to live promised before the world began he said that this promise came before the world came into existence and he says that in due times manifested his word through preaching. Which is committed on to me according to the commandment of God our Savior process Listen I have been committed I have been called to preach Titus that's who I am but to you Titus he says like you are now like my son after the common faith grace mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior for this cause I left you in Crete that you should set in order the things that are wanting and ordained elders in every city as I had appointed the. Boss as tight as you like my son I brought you in a among me and and we are close you like my son A I'm hoping the grace mercy in peace falls on you but I want to tell you why I left you where I left you I left it there in Crete because you are there to sect in order the things that are wanting your job is to is to set up leaders in Crete just like I appointed you you are to appoint them one of the quintessential lessons of this little letter Titus is that God leads you into ministry not so that you can simply be a minister God lead you into ministry so that you can call others into ministry behind you. The calling on many of your lives is a calling to now disciple others because guess what somebody has got to take up the slack when you're gone. In business we call it succession planning and too many times in our churches there is no succession planning there's no one to come up behind those that are there now in fact oftentimes folk are fighting an arrest sling over the positions in church if the ministry is to go on if the gospel is to go forward if the church is to continue one of the first things you want to get out of the book of Titus is that in fact you are not just called to preach a gospel your call to prepare folk to preach the Gospel when you can't and you're called to do this. In some difficult places. You Sleep tight as in a tough splays he was with the cretins in fact of his day if you call someone a cretin. It's an insult. Usually though they don't know it's an insult if they qualify it but it's are. The Koreans had a horrible reputation. In Titus one of verse twelve and thirteen Paul says something that I as a black man in America would classify as a racist statement he stereotypes and paints a broad picture of all Christians Paul says one of themselves who was a minute is a sixth century poet is the one who wrote this and a philosopher from Crete describes his own people this way even a prophet of their own said the Christians are always alive years evil beasts and slow bellies meaning these are lazy stubborn and immoral folk. They can't be trusted and they are rock hard stubborn headed folk and then Paul says there's something in the Bible that I think verse thirteen bothers me more than verse twelve honestly of Paul says this witness. Is true. Not a Christians were revolutionaries the reason they were so hard to be were part of reason is the heart of the it is they did not like the Greeks trying to rule them during the Hellenistic period and they did not like the Romans coming in behind them trying to rule them out either so they were always fighting against whoever was trying to rule them and the thing about the Koreans were they lived on the island at the top of one of its mountains where Jupiter himself was said to be born. So they had this idea that they had the right god they had the right situation they could fight whoever they wanted to fight because they lived in the birthplace of Zeus. Which is also Jupiter but the church in Crete had to deal with these folk. In fact as I was reading this it was difficult as I'm saying Wow Paul this is a tough statement Paul makes. Peter says that Paul when you read him it's difficult to understand Peter's right. But then I have to stop and say Paul is writing this to a man he's charging to not only win cretins over to Christ. But to serve the cretins. Here Don't miss this Don't miss this Paul is saying this is what I think of them this is what their own spoke of them and and I kind of see where he's coming from he says in verse thirteen but Paul says the fact that you think folk are not like you are maybe able or difficult than you are Paul is saying that is no excuse not to minister to them not to serve them and not to live among them so they had one challenge that they want the cretins a pagan population bent on Revolution always wanting to fight when Paul is trying to teach the church you're going to have to submit to the Powers That Be and change it by showing them who Christ is but he had another problem is that in dealing with these the people the church in Crete you see there was a Judaizing influence. That was affecting the church. And it went back to one and probably went back to when the Jews at Pentecost from Crete were converted in Acts two in verse eleven so what happens is you've got one faction of the people in the church who are being pulled back to paganism all the time always struggling with wanting to of to deal with the political injustice of the time and there's nothing wrong with addressing political injustice but you have them sometimes being pulled away from the Gospel because of those two things but then on the other hand he's got folk who are Judaizing the church meaning they're saying you still got to keep feasts. When there's absolutely no reason for the Christian to keep the Jewish feast they were nailed to the cross when Jesus went to the cross. And they were telling them you still got to circumcise your children if you're not circumcised you can't come to church so they were trying to Judy eyes the Church of Paul knew that Titus was in a conundrum he was in a difficult situation it wasn't simply racial or ethnic differences there were philosophic physiologic differences that were breaking the church apart Titus had to deal with that. On the one hand secularism today is pulling folk too far in one direction in our churches folks are thinking that they've got it all right if they understand the world in fact I've heard Adventist folk tell me that they believe in evolution. Fully believe one on one woman told one scientist she told me I'm a scientist I have to believe in evolution you make logical sense because if you're a dummy it's because if you're in evolution is why would you keep seventy seven if it took millions of years why keep a day seven days Abba disappears by default if you believe in true evolution. So you're a Seventh Day Adventist keeping the seventh day of something that never happened by was us thinking themselves wise they became as fools. Made a prophecy tells us that if the Sabbath that continue to be kept by all men evolution could never have risen up in the first place so you have that problem but then you have the problem of legalism and folk coming to church and not being a fear to other folks they are quick to judge other people quick to tell other people what to do and and how to live and oftentimes we are giving people our burden to carry. Sort of prophecy speaks heavily against that so what's going on in our churches Well I just got back from London and when I put this together I gave this first I just sit at a table with union leaders and Conference leaders in in London or outside of London and I looked up an article for them. And this article is written by a Catholic Damien Thompson and the statistics come from the British Social Attitudes survey and a British election study and census. Damian Thompson is Catholic says that by twenty sixty seven Christianity will cease to exist on the British Isles. Fifty years from now he says there will be no more Christians in all of Great Britain. In fact he says Anglicanism will disappear by twenty thirty three there will be no more Anglicans in England by twenty thirty three he says he says the number of Christians born in Brittania fell by five point three million between two thousand and one and two thousand and eleven that's a drop on average of ten thousand a week. Remember that their churches often grow by birth and not by conversion caplets in the church decreased an interest in Brittania decrease from ten percent to eight percent from one thousand anyone to twenty fourteen but he says in the article you've got to read between the lines because it is the immigration of people from Eastern Europe and from Asia like the Philippines that are actually feeling the pews of the Catholic Church in Great Britain so in fact British born Catholics are for are falling even faster. So then I started to try to look at what Adventism looks like on the British Isles. And in a on the British Isles where over seventy million people the figure I got from them was that there are only about thirty thousand Adventists thirty thousand so if the Anglican Church could disappear by twenty thirty three. Our church could disappear in the British Isles even faster. Now. That was tough to get so that I looked at the United States and this gentleman also deals with the United States he says in a Pew research study published a big study about America's changing religious landscape its subtitle is Christians declined sharply the share of population and affiliated other faiths continue to grow only fifty seven percent of Americans born between one thousand nine hundred one and one thousand nine hundred six now identify as Christians thirty six percent of young lady between the ages of eighteen and twenty four are the so-called nuns they have no religious affiliation at all the challenge given you here in South Africa is that I would imagine that in many sectors of this aside you are losing folk the exact same way that a church is being challenged the same way here as it is in the United States and in Great Britain and that if you're not careful the church could slowly do and go into nonexistence and some of you are probably old enough to remember when some of the churches were much stronger than they are now a made up of people born here. Paul says the tide is and one verse five for this reason what reason a church that is being ripped apart a generation that is giving up on God Those who are becoming cretins not born cretins choosing the Father life wanting to be gangsters those who idolize the people of the world. And at the same time having a whole nother group of people trying to give the church and the people of the church laws and rules to follow that are not Biblical He says For this reason I left you behind in Crete so that you would set right what remains and I like this word here unfinished I want you to set right what is unfinished and agree or dares epically your Theo it means to finish something that was started but has never been completed. I came all the way from California to tell you whole lot of stuff but the last thing I want to tell you today is this one. God has set you in this place. To finish what needs finishing in South Africa. God has put you together the Divine the diverse group of people that have seen on both both locations I've been while in South Africa God has put you together because it is going to take a group of people who do not value raise above Grace is going to take a group of people who are willing to go where other folks say is off limits it is going to take folks who are willing to be friends those who decide to say are not a friend. If there is such a word. It is your job to reach into the gap that has been created and finish the work that was started here so in his article he tells you why he thinks Christianity is done he gives three reasons number one secularism we touch that will come back around to why that is but the second one is interesting its social mobility and the loss of plausibility structures he says that as young people become more a portly mobile in the socio economic realm as as as affluence begins to creep in among folk who once had no affluence. As that begins to happen what Paul says happens is all of a sudden you move and you move out of your comfort zone out of your safe space geographically and theologically so you move to go get a better job in another city in South Africa or maybe another part of the world you move away from Grandma and from mom and from Uncle and from grandpa from your church family and when you're left in a space where you don't have the support you used to have you begin to believe like the people around you. Watch this especially when you go off to college but of course at the University of Alabama Huntsville while I was at Oakland I took a comparative anatomy class and I'll never forget that man teach evolution the guy had a cadence like a preacher he was teaching evolution as if he was preaching the gospel and it was crazy because I had come from a local where there were so many great preachers and I was like this professor is preaching later on I read a book by Roger Marino it called a trip into the supernatural I don't know if you read a book it's a powerful book but in the book he comes out of demon or something becomes Venice and he says that when he was a demon we should worship the demon priest told him that any time someone teaches evolution Satan gives that individual extra demonic power loss of plausibility structures and thirty says part of the reason the church is falling apart is a lack of leadership as well as a Catholic nonevent is due to speak and he says that the problem of the church now that the church is led by middle managers who often lead out of fear and at the same time arrogance as a horrible combination when you've got a proud chicken that's a problem and I have projects you know lead you to all of the projects. So how do you set things in order number one each one of us and it's funny as we're just having this conversation in between sessions ensue you must insulate the church from the effects of an intoxicated and addicted society the word sobriety is used at least five times in a short letter of Titus temperance is used at least twice and there are more multiple warnings against the filthy lucre Paul says you must not succumb to the intoxicating affects of the world South Africa one thing I did read about South Africa is I do a little research before I travel people here like to drink people who like to drink. I guess what I've learned in all my years in administering is that stuff sometimes spills into our own churches but it's not just chemical dependency drugs and alcohol that we have to worry about marijuana is a big problem I hope our churches are warning our children against using marijuana but it's also the intoxicating effect. Of the entertainment world so also the intoxicating effect of social media. So also the intoxicating effect of being influenced by folk who who do not know God setting up as idols Cardassian is on the other side of the world who have no TELL YOU KNOW HOW TO BE FAMOUS can sing dance or football can't do nothing. And you follow in fact Titus when he describes the leadership he says for a bishop must be blameless as the steward of God not look at this word self-willed not soon angry you can be somebodies quick to anger not given to whine no striker not given to filthy Luger look at what you're supposed to love if you can be a leader hospitality first thing Paul measures you need to love serving other folk if you can be a leader. A lover of good men sober just wholly temperate. That's the definition of a leader the word self-willed in Greek our faith is means you do not want someone who is self pleasing or arrogant. Oh come back around to arrogant but the second thing he says of the three things I'm a give you the second thing he says is that we are to rebuke false doctrine and speak sound uncorrupt doctrine is another conversation we were having the challenge of what happens when false doctrine begins to come into the church. It is a difficult thing in some churches you can be overwhelmed by the weight of the false doctrine that's coming into your church I challenge those that are here that you put together a group that defends the truth. Makes it gives resources to folks when people are coming along tell them look you've got to keep the festival still. You've got to do this you've got to do that you know all of these make sure somebody has got the resources in place for folks to go to so that they get the truth so they're not confused on these issues I will show you that these are demonic movements in a second to the one of a third as one nine says. Holding fast the Faithful Word as he has been taught that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and convince the gainsayers for there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers especially they have the circumcision all that means those that were been in the church a long time whose mouths must be stopped who subvert whorehouses teaching things which they ought not for filthy lucre sake and the filthy look at now is often self aggrandizement it is self righteousness and why people do this they want to give you rules to follow so they feel better about themselves but you fall into the trap of their foolishness The third thing. The third thing you said in order you've got to stay humble in fact Paul says Titus remember where you come from. Remember where you come you know every time any time I think I want to get beyond where I'm at I just remember my roots. I remember that little house I grew up in I remember a shovel in the snow I remember cleaning toilets to make money I remember a shovel and dung of the bird dung off the roof of the roof of the building at Oakwood to help make up my tuition I go back and I remember my roots I remember where I came from because I don't want to get beyond who I am. Bosses remember where you come from that's important from a socio economic position but it's even more important from a spiritual context. So pause and listen though it was Christians might be who they are they might be all those different things but guess what we were. He compares Paul always brings it around he sounds rough on the Christians but look I talk to him and Titus for we ourselves all so are sometimes foolish we were disobedient deceived serving diverse lusts and pleasures living in malice and envy hateful and hating one another he says listen we were racist one time we didn't like everybody we lived in malice we serve diverse lusts he says but after the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared he says not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy He saved us by the watching of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior Paul says that being justified by His grace we should be made eight years according to the hope of eternal life Paul says guess what our birthright did not make us righteous you were born righteous OK what group you were born into However they classify you you I didn't ethically a flawed because you are a child of your parents Adam and Eve and that flaw even though some of us can dress it up better some of us can dress it down just a down and don't look so good that flaw is the only flaw that actually matters so we look at the pheno type we look at the outward features the thickness of my lips or a coarseness of my hear the color of my skin we look at all that stuff God says listen on a jet level one that you can't see you are all flawed all in need of the blood of Jesus Christ when you go forward in South Africa to do the work that needs to be done always remember that you are for all the reaching the fraud you remember that your ministry will be powerful. When you remember that yet these people don't live like I live maybe live differently but guess what. Jesus died for them to. When it comes to the church being ripped apart. I was getting really really get discouraged at times I mean I've been places and seen things and you start wondering is this really God's churches some folk in America started teaching that the church is Babylon and all of this kind of stuff and we ought to leave the administrators and I started to get worried and I'm telling you some of that stuff is going to if it's not already here it's come and look at us where to put and here's the funny thing I tell you the Spirit of Prophecy to justify their foolishness Here's what has been a prophecy says she says God has a church upon the earth who are his chosen people and look at what identifies us who keep His commandments it is doctrine that distinguishes us he is leading not straight offshoots not one here and one there but what a people you know what I feel when I when I'm around you all that you are my people my parents are Jamaican I go to Jamaica not every Jamaican is my people I was born and raised in America every black American is not my people. I have a family of extended family of cousins and and brothers and half brothers and sisters and all kind of folk and guess what some of them are not my people. You know who is my people those who have been grafted in who have been brought into the vine that is Jesus Christ those who have been connected to him those who have been washed by the blood of the Lamb I don't care what you look like I don't care what language you speak if you are belong to the Lord Jesus Christ you are not a people. You are my people so. She says there is no need to doubt to be fearful that the work will not succeed she says God is that the head of the work and he will set everything in order. If matters need adjusting at the head of the world God will deal with it some of us are like Man we got to do something to the people at the top but it isn't the worst place they can fall is on the hands of the Living God Let God deal with them. One thing that no one can stop is that the church at its core all of the traction of the church all of the traction happens at the local church and this thing the real power is with the people the real power is on the ground the real power is what happens from Sabbath the Sabbath and our local churches that's what a real power is and along as we in our local churches and in conferences like this along as we lift up the name of Jesus lift up the standard and lifted all up put the cross of Jesus high so everyone man woman boy and girl in this vicinity can see it the work of God will continue the devil want you to focus on what is being messed up here and there and everywhere you start focusing on that and stop focusing on Jesus he said of matters need adjusting at the head of the work she says God will attend to that. And work to right every was wrong let us have faith that God is going to carry the noble ship which bears the people of God safely to port this church this seven administers is that noble ship Zion. And I know when some shark infested water and I know the waves be on a ship and I know the winds blow and I know to ship go sideways sometimes and also sometimes you get tossed around and bumps and bruises from getting bumped around in a ship and I notice I'm crazy folk on a ship which I don't get me wrong I know. But guess what ever makes no sense to jump out of the ship I'll deal with the ship rather than jump out and get eaten by the Sharks this noble ship will reach its port she says there's not a whole bunch of split groups here and there God has a people this is God's people his remnant people defined by the truths in the scripture that define us and call it one of my favorite stories is the story of John new album remember his first name right who wrote the hymn. Amazing Grace one of the most powerful stories in the last couple centuries. John Newton was the captain of a show of a slave ship when I was in London the last time my cousin there took me and the pastor they took me to see what one of the ships. Beautiful ship Interestingly enough there's a witch on the front of the ship was although the British were Christian they still have their superstitions as well as a statue of a witch there and they showed me the steps in London where the slaves would first reach Great Britain African slaves would come up those steps to a world that they did not understand the languages they could not understand and they were confused and perplexed the author of Amazing Grace was the captain of one of those slave ships and he came to know Jesus Christ and ultimately became a pastor. And when he began to think about all of the terrible things he did. Taking the chained souls of men across the Atlantic Ocean. He was humbled he was distraught when he was on a ship. He was the hero's African slaves home. One day the Lord God gave him words. And the former slave ship went back to the tune of the African slaves and as God poured out His Spirit on him he began to write Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved our retched like me I once was lost but now I'm found was blind but now I see. And he took the toll on of African slaves and put no one to it and the most popular him in the world is the hymn of a man who came to Christ the spite all of foolishness he did. The story stopped there to be powerful but he becomes the pastor. Of one of my favorite people in all of history a man named William Wilberforce William Wilberforce almost singlehandedly and it took him years to do it led the British parliament to end the African slave trade years before America and I'm Abraham Lincoln stop slavery in the United States he stopped the British Empire from the strum doing the slave trade why because not only was passed the new A Christian will be William Wilberforce was a Christian and May when they came into their Christianity began to understand that God had an incredible purpose for the two of them for me to use them. If God could use that form of slave ship captain to write the song that reminds us of the power of God's grace. And if God could use William Wilberforce who actually struggled with addiction himself a time for time and lead him to lead the most powerful empire at the time to relinquish one of its most profitable institutions what is there in South Africa that God can't lead you to do I leave that challenge with you but you set. These things in order. That you complete that which is to be finished. Because Jesus is coming soon is coming for church without spot or blemish my appeal brief appeal is this one you want to be a part of finishing the work in South Africa. You want to be a part of spreading the three angels messages here but God has been working for centuries you want to finish what God started four hundred years ago on the southern end of this continent if that's what you want I want you to stand with me and I'm going to pray for God to finish this work and for each of you to be instrumental in the finishing of that word that we have is about in every eyes closed. Father God we thank you Lord for this opportunity to look at your scriptures and look at your word I thank you Father God. Because you gave Titus such an incredible challenge but Father God that challenges left for Titus so that we could read it and so that we could understand the challenge that you have for us now to set in order those things that are unfinished. The Holy Ghost power fall on his group. For you to pour out your holy ghost upon him and double and triple portion as father got it angels that Excel and wisdom and strength would be given charge over those under the sound of my voice right now and Father God every Bible study that is done would be done so that Jesus is lifted up and the Holy Ghost would fall every time it's what is done every conference every sermon every seven zero hour that is led by someone in here every song that is song. Or of course the. Father God the Holy Ghost would be at the center of it that does spirit of the Living God would be there. That Jesus would be lifted up for he said if I be lifted up. Draw down to me. Father God draw let us do the lifting so that you can do the drawing Lord be with us as we go into a new week as well. But everyone in Florida Lord it is dealing with a hurricane right now. Father got to ask the Traveling Mercies back home. Bless Amen let his leadership let those that are about to joy and help lift the weight of the ministry father they would go forth conquering and conquer prayer in Jesus is precious and holy name but the church say amen and amen. This message was presented. To you. Not in time because. It's a good. Thing you need. To time to. Listen. To. This. Time. Or if you find this a good. Thing in. This recording.

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