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The Heart of a Servant



"Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the We return in our study of God's Word to Paul's epistle to Titus, Paul's epistle to Titus.  We're looking at the first four verses. proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment 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." 
Good Morning My Beloved,

Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We are so thankful for our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world, we are glad that you are all with us today. I would like to encourage you to visit our Prayer Wall, not only to pray for our brothers and sisters in their time of need, but to also add any prayers or concerns that you may have as well. We are all called to pray with and for one another, in keeping with the commands of our Lord.

In our fallen human nature, we are often prone to focus on those times when we didn’t win as resoundingly as we had hoped. Perhaps, it is that we succumbed to sinful impulse or were trapped in a persistent sin. It is, however, our tendency is to wallow in our defeat, how often we forget that we now have victory in Jesus Christ the Lord. The difference between a sheep and a pig, is that while a sheep may fall into sin, but it will never enjoy just lying down in sin. A pig, however, will seek out a smelly bog to lie down; but a sheep will want to be free of the muck. How precious is the encouragement we have received in the promise of God in 1 John 1:9, that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to 1forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

However, we are not sinless and therefore, victorious because we are sinless; but rather that we no longer enjoy sinning because we are born from above and into the love of God! Therefore, we no longer enjoy sin. Though we may experience a fleeting moment of thrill, we know we are defeated immediately after we have surrendered to the desire of the flesh, thus we cannot enjoy sin! In your moment of what some will surely say is your greatest defeat, if you look closely, you will see the Lord standing with you to transform your defeat into victory. I say this, because while things may look dark, if your eyes are fixed on this world, allow me to remind you today, that Jesus is coming again, and we stand on the cusp of victory! What a powerful truth.

Let us bow our heads.

Heavenly Father,

Father, we are so grateful for Your Word for us today. We confess that we are so often overwhelmed by the power of Your truth. It takes us to new levels exceeding our comprehension, and defies our understanding, that before anything was created, You chose us.We know that we are undeserving, we will never understand why You have chosen us. Thank You for entrusting us, and committing to us the task of serving You, and taking the edifying truth to the unregenerate, godless world. May we do it all with the love and compassion of Christ, our Lord and Savior, all for Your glory. 
In Jesus' name


Today's Message: The Heart of a Servant

Open with me your Bibles to Titus chapter 1. Today, as we return in our study of the Word of God, we come to  the Apostle Paul's epistle to Titus.  We'll be looking at the first four verses, which I had originally hoped, that we could kind of work our way through these four verses fairly quickly, however, in preparing for our message, I became overwhelmed by immensity of truth that is found here. So we'll wait and see how much we are able to actually cover today.

I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read, to set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts for a Word from the Holy Spirit. Titus 1:1-4

"Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the We return in our study of God's Word to Paul's epistle to Titus, Paul's epistle to Titus.  We're looking at the first four verses. proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment 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."

For decades, we have often referred to America as a Christian nation. Today, there certainly may be some debate as to whether that is still considered to be true, however, it seems to me that few would argue that we are still a Christian nation. Thankfully, we still have small vestiges of our Christian heritage in our Constitution and laws, however, I would say, that in practice, we are a thoroughly pagan nation.

Over the last fifty plus years, there has been a major moral shift that has taken place in our country.When I was growing up, families where the father worked to support the family, the mother was the homemaker, and the children were all from the same, first and only marriage, were normal. Today, such families are statistically in the minority. Television shows, were family oriented, wholesome and profanity was prohibited.

While even back then, various forms of sexual immorality existed, it was considered to be shameful and was therefore, hidden from public view. In our society today, it is not only flaunted in the media, it is celebrated by government officials. It is difficult today, to find movies that do not assume that sex outside of marriage is not only acceptable, but is the "norm." Sexual immorality was almost universally regarded as sinful perversion. Today, our culture celebrates every deviant form of immorality. Even many churches do not regard it as sin. And, if you dare to call it what it is, which is sin, you are quickly called a hypocrite, and viewed as judgemental. It has become short of a hate crime to say anything negative about any deviant form of behavior. The church, is now called to make people feel good about their sin, rather than to condemn it. The purpose of our life needs to be defined if we desire to be focused or we will not accomplish what God desires for us. The Apostle Paul's obedience to God caused him to search out what God wanted him to do with his life.

The Apostle Paul’s letter to Titus addresses this how God’s holy people are to live in a pagan world. Sometime after Paul's first Roman imprisonment and before his second and final imprisonment, Paul, along with Titus, visited Crete, leaving Titus there to straighten out the issues within the churches that were struggling to gain stability in a pagan culture. The Isle of Crete, is about 160 miles long and between 7 and 35 miles wide, situated just off the southern tip of Greece in the Mediterranean Sea. The Cretan people had acquired a notoriously bad reputation in the Roman world. In verse 12, Paul even cites one of their poets, Epimenides, "One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." This is the Liar paradox, declaring that "I am lying". If the liar is indeed lying, then the liar is telling the truth, which means the liar just lied. Paul, appears to use it tongue-in-cheek, however, it shows their reputation. In fact, the Cretans were such notorious liars that the Greek language coined a word, kretidzo, "to play the Cretan," which meant, "to lie."


Nonetheless, the seed of the gospel had managed to sprout in the inhospitable Cretan soil. Cretans had been present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, where they heard the disciples speak in their language of the mighty deeds of God. I believe that is highly likely, these Hellenistic Jews were converted when Peter preached then later went home to plant churches, these converted Gentiles had however, brought a lot of baggage with them. 

Because Titus had a commendable track record of dealing with some rather difficult problems in Corinth, Paul had left him in Crete to get the church there on solid ground. He wrote this letter to him and the churches to give instruction on how to be the people of God in that pagan culture. Though Titus is one of Paul’s shorter letters, it contains one of his longer introductions. Verses 1-4 are a single, difficult to diagram, sentence. However, all of the themes that he will deal with in the book are here. 

I believe that since Paul intended for the churches to read this letter, not just Titus, he felt it necessary to spend a little more time on his own credentials and the nature of God’s salvation. Certainly, one of the greatest glories of the gospel is that God has the power for salvation, even in the most corrupt cultures. The Apostle Paul packs much solid theology in these opening verses, where salvation is the dominant theme. The human race is dead in sin, and it is only God, Who has the power to raise the dead! When the church has a problem, it is because the world is invading the church rather than the church invading the world. The gospel is intended to be the disturbing element, in which to change society.

In Romans 5:20-21, Paul teaches us that "The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Paul, after identifying himself, quickly points out that salvation is rooted in God’s choosing us and in His eternal promise of eternal life. Paul then, in verse 3, he states that God our Savior and in the next verse he refers to Christ Jesus our Savior, placing Christ on the same level as God the Father. In fact, he repeats this several times throughout the Book of Titus; in 2:10 and 13, the again in 3:4 and 6.

In verse 1, Paul states that he is "a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of those chosen of God." Paul uses the Greek preposition, "kata,"  meaning, "for the purpose of." Paul labored as an apostle so that God’s elect would come to salvation through faith in Christ. He states God’s election without apology or further explanation. Paul assumes that both Titus and the mostly Gentile readers will understand and accept this truth that is repeated all through Scripture. Allow me to point out, that we are slaves first; and second, we are sent out.
Today, however, the modern church appears to largely rejects this clear, important truth, that salvation is not rooted in your choice of God, but rather in His sovereign choice of you! It seems to be often explain away by claiming God chose people for salvation because He foresaw that they would believe. However, this would essentially mean that God did not choose them, but rather they chose Him! To somehow imply that we chose God first, is to pervert and twist the Scripture. It would further imply that God is not Sovereign in determining His plan, but is dependent on man's decision, adjusting His plan accordingly. Allow to boldly say, that Scriptures is clear; that God does not choose people for salvation because He foresees that they will believe. But spiritually dead sinners come to life and believe because in His eternal purpose, God chose them for salvation!
In verse 1, Paul tells us that those who are chosen by God to come to faith, they must also come "to the knowledge of the truth." In other words, a person must understand he is a sinner. And, what Scripture teaches about God as absolutely holy. He must also understand that Jesus Christ, who is God in human flesh, bore the penalty that we deserved when He died on the cross. He must understand that God grants salvation as His free gift apart from any works or any goodness in us, and that we must have faith in Christ alone to save us. Paul states that the natural man cannot understand these truths unless the Spirit of God has first opened his eyes.
In I Corinthians 2:14, Paul says "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised."
The Apostle Paul knew who he was and what he was supposed to do. He also knew his purpose. He was a servant and an apostle “for the faith of God’s elect.” Paul’s mission was to fortify the faithful and grow them into godliness. The word “elect” means “to pick out for one’s self.” We don’t have time this morning to get into a detailed explanation of the doctrine of election except to say that the “elect,” according to Paul, are those who have accepted the gospel message and are therefore secure before God.
Paul encouraged the elect as he connects the doctrine with duty: "and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness." Knowledge is more than simply just knowing facts; it implies an intimate and personal relationship with truth. The truth must transform the way we live. In other words, having proper belief must lead to practical behavior. In fact, I believe that doctrine is deadly when it is divorced from godly living! If we’re going to be living godly, we must pursue it.
Then, in verse 2, Paul tells us that "in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago."  I love the way Paul brings faith and knowledge together with hope. I often hear people today say, You just have to have faith," as if we are to somehow disengage our minds and believe something that is completely untrue.I believe that faith and reason belong together. In fact, Psalm 9:10 tells us that 
"And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You." Those who know God, will trust Him. Our knowledge of God, is the foundation of our faith.
Our faith and knowledge rest on the hope of eternal life. We can have certainty in what we believe because we have hope. Hope is the superstructure on which genuine godliness is built. This word hope is different from how many of us use it. Some of you are "hoping" to win the lottery…but that’s not likely going to happen. Hope, as used in the Bible is synonymous with absolute certainty. It’s looking ahead eagerly with confident expectation. I believe that looking into the future should accelerate our motivation for godly living today.  
For those of you who have put your faith in Christ, eternal life is so certain that it doesn’t begin when you die, it actually begins at conversion! John 17:3, says "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." That’s why life is meant to be lived with abundance right now. Beloved, eternal life is not just some vague hope for the future; it’s an absolute certain reality for the believer. The basis for our belief is grounded in God himself, "which God, who cannot lie." In other words, God’s character backs up the hope of eternal life.Because God has said it in His Word, it will happen! Even in eternity past God pledged with all certainty what he was going to do: "…promised before the beginning of time. God is a promise keeping God. 
Joshua 23:14 says "Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the Lord your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed."
Psalm 145:13 says "Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; Your rule is for all generations.The Lord is faithful in all His words and gracious in all His actions."
Paul writes in verse 3, "but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior," The point is here, we must trust God's timing! All of God’s promises will come to pass on His timetable, not ours. The purpose behind God’s timing is known only to Him. The phrase "at the proper time," refers to a window of opportunity.
What ever season you are walking through in your life, God is never late; and He is rarely early. Therefore, trust His timing. I want you to understand, do not disregard the fact that if you have not put your faith and trust in Jesus yet, you must do so before it’s too late.  Allow me to remind you, that before people can respond, they must first hear the gospel.. However, we must earn the right to be heard by living a lifestyle that makes people thirsty, and we must proclaim the message with our words. 
Romans 10:14 says it this way, "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?" Paul understood that preaching was entrusted to him.
Paul's mission, like ours, is to get the message out, and if we pay attention, we will see, that we have opportunities all around us. Therefore, we must ready at all times to share the gospel. When the opportunities come, say a quick prayer and give priority to proclamation of the Word. In I Corinthians 9:16-17, we can hear just how passionate Paul was about it, "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me."
In verse 4, we see that we must commit to what we have in common. Paul writes, "To Titus, my true child n a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior." By today's standards, Paul would have been a superstar, but here Paul refers to his faith as being held in common with the faith of Titus. The idea here is the biblical model of unity within diversity. I am not better than you, nor are you better than me. This ministry is not better than any other Bible-believing ministry. As we decide to commit to what we have in common with other Bible believing Christians through Christ, I believe that we will be much better off. 
The Apostle Paul finishes his introduction with the words "Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior4." Grace is unmerited favor and peace is experienced by those who respond to the grace of God. "Grace and peace" was Paul’s common greeting, but it is always more than a greeting. Grace sums up the gospel, as opposed to all world religions. Every religion apart from the gospel is based on human merit and works. The gospel alone rests on God’s unmerited favor to sinners who deserve His wrath. The gospel alone results in peace with God. 
Today, we can stand for the truth because of the grace we have been given.
In Closing...
I believe it is nothing less than a tragedy when someone who professes to be a Christian disgraces the gospel through immorality or dishonesty in business or some other ungodly characteristic. God’s people should take great care to display godly behavior for the world to see. It's no secret, that authority is not a popular concept in our culture today. We have become a nation founded on a rebellion, and we value an independent, contrary spirit as opposed to virtue. Authority scares us: we tend to think either of mind-controlling cults or tyrannical dictators or oppressing governments. However, God instituted proper authority as the necessary structure for civil governments, for the home, and for His church.
If you are saved, there will be evidence of new life in your heart. You will love God and want to know Him better. You will hate sin and continuously strive to conquer it. You will love God’s Word and His people.
May it be so.. 

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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