Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 45
The Faithful Servant of Christ Says Goodbye
II Timothy – Titus
In the last lesson we finished I Timothy, but we’re going to be turning to the Book of Titus, rather than II Timothy in this lesson. The reason I am skipping over II Timothy until the next lesson is that I Timothy was written just shortly after Paul received his acquittal after his first arrest. During his first imprisonment he wrote what we call the Prison Epistles, which are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and the little letter of Philemon. Then First and Second Timothy and Titus are set apart. First Timothy is written shortly after he is out of prison, after his acquittal, and Titus is much the same instructions. only now the two men are serving in two different areas of the Roman Empire.
Timothy is holding the fort in the area of Ephesus and Asia Minor and probably over into Greece. Whereas, Titus has been left in control of things down on the Island of Crete. So when he wrote I Timothy it was much the same as he writes to Titus on how to behave in the house of God, and how to establish the shepherding aspect of the bishops and the elders and so forth. Whereas, II Timothy is going to be written during his second arrest and while he is in prison awaiting his martyrdom. So I am going to leave II Timothy until after we have spent at least one program in the little letter to Titus. The reason I am spending only a little time in Titus is so much of the language is almost identical to I Timothy. Now Titus, verse 1.
“Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth…”
Remember, I mentioned in a previous program that is one of Paul’s favorite words – truth! It is kicked around a lot lately, isn’t it? Doesn’t mean much for most people today. But, for those of us who are adherents to the Word of God, truth is everything. This is what the Apostle Paul is constantly emphasizing. Then the truth:
“…which is after godliness;”
You have heard me over the years as I teach Grace, say that we are not under Law and that Grace is total freedom. But, I am always qualifying that it is not license. We are not just free to live like the devil because we are under Grace. Now, some people have tried to teach that and even some accuse Paul of teaching that, of which he says, we have been erroneously accused.
So, now I am going to take you to the part of Titus that I think we can almost take as the heart of this little letter. I will probably fill this lesson with this series of verses. It is in Chapter 2. We are going to skip all these requirements for the deacons and so forth and come into chapter 2, and dropping down to verse 11. If anybody thinks that Grace is license then these verses and this lesson will put that to rest.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”
Now that is in accordance with several other verses of Scripture, that no one will ever come before the Great White Throne and say “But, I never had a chance.” Yes, they have. How? I can’t tell you, but they have been given enough understanding that they will have no excuse as Paul says in Romans chapter one.
So this grace of God, this outpouring of an opportunity of salvation has appeared to all men. It’s not exclusive. It’s for Jew and Gentile. Black and white. Rich and poor. East and West, there are none excluded. Now then, the grace of God, contrary to what a lot of people try to make it, is not license, but it teaches us. See this? This is what the grace of God teaches us:
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,…”
Here again is where the freedom aspect comes in. It’s not a command that IF you do any of this you are “lost.” Not the IF you do any of this you are “doomed.” But, the admonition is that the grace of God is going to teach us to deny those things that are inappropriate now for the believer. I think it is obvious especially in our culture, that probably the number one sin of the flesh is the sin of the sexual nature. We are being bombarded. I feel so sorry for our kids, I don’t see how they stand a chance. The way they are bombarded from Hollywood and from television and from their literature and from now, the internet. But yet, we have to be aware that this is the number one thing that Scripture is constantly warning us to be against.
Come back with me now, if you will, in that light, to Galatians chapter 5 verse 17. Remember what he is just telling us, that the Grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, or appetites. Worldly appetites, or the appetites of the flesh. Alright, Galatians chapter 5, drop in at verse 17.
“For the flesh (see there it is – the flesh) lusteth (or exercises it’s appetites) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: (the two are not compatible) and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
In other words, you can’t just drift with the stream and be spiritual. It’s contrary to human nature, because, human nature is going to take us into the flesh. Now, verse 19, and this gets down to the nitty-gritty. What is Paul, by the inspiration of the Spirit, talking about when he says that the flesh wareth or lusteth against the Spirit?
“Now the works (the activity) of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,”
Every one of those words is connected to what kind of sins? Sexual sins. So that is the first paragraph of the lusts of the flesh. We are being bombarded with it, and don’t ever think for a minute that it hasn’t always been that way, and it was the same way back in Old Testament times. But, now by virtue of our technology and our communications and everything, it is snowballing and most of us are more aware of it than ever before in history. Here is what the Bible says, these are the things that pertain to ungodliness and worldly appetites or lusts or desire, and it doesn’t stop there. The next category of the things of the flesh are:
“Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,”
That is another category of the sins of the flesh. Then the next step down, even to those that are far more damaging to our fellow human beings are:
“Envyings, (what does that lead to?) murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like:…”
These are all the things that Paul calls, here in Titus, that we are to deny. We are to have nothing to do with those things.
As I was mulling this over last night, a saying came to mind that we hear from the scoffers. “Well, if I can’t do any of these things, I might as well be dead.” But you see that is foolishness, that is idiocy. Because the whole idea is that for you and I as believers, we are turning our back on that, because we have a whole eternity coming!
It is going to be SO fabulous, that these sins of the flesh are nothing but pigpen material by comparison. Yet the world can’t comprehend that. Listen, you and I have no idea of the glory and the joy and the happiness that we are going to have, not for twenty or thirty years, but forever! We have such a future ahead of us and that is why the early believers were perfectly willing to be martyred. They understood that this life had nothing compared to eternity, which is out in front of us.
Now back to Titus chapter 2 again. So, as believers we are set free by the grace of God, with no “thou shalt and thou shalt not.” None of that is upon us. We are free. But, the admonition is, deny these things that are contrary to the will of God. As we deny ungodliness and these worldly, fleshly appetites, the other side of the coin is:
“…we should live soberly,…”
Soberly doesn’t mean that you have to go through life with a long face and can’t smile and have a good laugh. I do! There’s nothing I like better than a good laugh, Iris can tell you that. I just revel in a good laugh, and there is nothing wrong with it.
But, on the other hand, we have to understand that when it comes to the things of the Spirit, these are not frivolous. In fact, I read an article one time where someone questioned, “Why didn’t Jesus ever smile? Why didn’t He ever laugh? Why didn’t He ever say something funny? Well, it is easy. He had the burden of the sins of the world upon Him from day one. How could He make light of any of that? Well, He couldn’t. So consequently, no, we have nothing in Scripture to indicate that He told jokes, or that He laughed or anything like that. It just wouldn’t have fit.
But, for us today, that does not mean that we have to walk a life like we are tired of living. If anything, we as believers, have more to be happy about that anybody on earth. So the wordsoberly simply means that we are not frivolous. That we understand that life is serious business but on the other hand that we can certainly enjoy a good laugh. Alright the next one is:
I think a lot of people are afraid of that word. I have my own pet definition. It is simply “a right standing with God that we receive when we believe Paul’s Gospel for salvation.”When we are made righteous, we are made “right with God.” To live righteously then, is to live in consort with God’s desires on our behalf. That is a simple word. Righteously.
Now that is a small “g.” We will never become God. Never! But, we can become godlike. See? In fact when the term Christian first came up, it was a derogatory term, it was a slur, because these people were living so Christlike in the midst of their pagan communities. Well, so be it! That’s what we are to be. We are to be godly, we are to be godlike.
In fact, I was just visiting with a law officer the other night. I asked him how often do you arrest good, true, practicing Christians in your line of work? How often do you have to make a call to a violent situation that is involving Christians? The answer? Never! I asked him how often do you have to pursue Christians who are setting up an amphetamine lab? Well, never. So this is the whole difference. Christians, as I have always maintained, are good citizens. Christians are not the people that are on the police blotter every day of the week. And then the world in general thinks that we’re a detriment to society? Well, they do. And, it is going to get worse. They are going to think that we are against everything and that we’re not for anything. But, listen, this is all part and parcel of our living, soberly, righteously and godlike. Where? Now what are the next three words?
“…in this present world.”
Not in some pie in the sky existence but right here and now, in the workplace, in our relationships with family members. We are to be living according to the grace of God with these as the hallmark of our character.
At the same time, that we are to be living godly, righteously and that which is pleasing in God’s sight, we are also to be having one eye on which direction? Upward!
“Looking (I think that verb in the Greek is an active word. We are to be just constantly aware and looking) for the blessed hope,…”
A lot of people don’t know what that blessed hope is. But, they are going to know after they study this lesson. The blessed hope is what we call the Rapture! That one day soon, in spite of all the turmoil and all the suffering and all the hurting, we are going to out of here! Instantly!
As I explained to someone early this morning who still wanted to know some ramifications of the differences between the Second Coming and the Rapture. I told them that the Second Coming is going to follow seven years of Tribulation. The earth is going to be totally pummeled with the wrath of God. Six billion people or more are going to lose their life, in a short period of the last three and one half years. It’s going to be a world of nuclear holocaust. Volcanoes. Earthquakes. We’ve seen nothing. We are seeing the beginnings of it. But that is all leading up to the Second Coming.
Paul never says a word about that leading up to the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture is not attended with a bunch of violent upheavals. The Rapture is not introduced by great cataclysmic events but rather; what does Paul say? In the twinkling of an eye! We are suddenly gone. There will be no fanfare, no trumpets blasting, just all of a sudden the true believer will be gone, and Paul calls it “the blessed hope.”
And as you see the world falling apart in front of our eyes and we see the hopelessness and despair of so many. My you ought to hear our phone calls. Now I’m not a counselor and I tell people that constantly but, oh you ought to hear the lament of people and what they are going through. All I can say when I hang up is “Lord, come quickly!” I see more and more, people are coming under these horrible circumstances of life. But, for us, we are to be:
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (this is not the Second Coming. This is the Rapture, when Christ comes to the air and we will meet Him in the air. So, the glorious appearing) of the great God (who is the great God?) and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
I have told a lot of people that ask how to deal with some of the people that come to your door and they refuse to admit that Jesus Christ is God. You probably know the people that I am referring to. They will not even for a second admit that Jesus Christ is God. They say, “Oh He’s a prophet of some sort, but He’s not God. Well, show them this verse. This is the only verse that I have found that they cannot walk around or turn upside down. They just look at it with a blank stare and they leave. But, look what it says. That the appearing of the great God, the God of the universe, the God of Creation, the God of eternity future, and who is it? Jesus Christ! He’s one and the same.
People have a problem with that. But, oh He IS coming! And, it is not going to be with earthquakes and warfare and all the great catastrophic events of the tribulation. No, we are going to be here one moment and gone the next! The world will hardly even blink an eye that we are gone. They are not even going to miss us. Do you know that? They are not going to miss us except maybe to say “good riddance. So, this is our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Now verse 14. Paul can’t go very far without bringing in the what? The gospel of salvation! He just can’t help it. Of course, the Holy Spirit is inspiring him, I know. But, here it comes again. This One that is our blessed hope is the One who:
“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us (or buy us back) from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people,…”
Now, the world probably thinks that word peculiar means what it says in our language, and that is somebody that is odd and out of step. But that is not what the word means in Scripture. Let’s go all the way back to Exodus chapter 19. I know the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and I know that the New Testament was written in Greek, but we still come back to the English translation which means the same connotation. It’s the same definition.
Alright, Exodus chapter 19 verse 5. Remember the setting. Israel has just recently come out of Egypt. They are gathered around Mt. Sinai and Moses has gone up into the mount to converse with the Lord. And, the Lord is speaking.
“Now therefore, (God is speaking to Moses.) if ye will obey my voice indeed, (He is speaking through Moses to the nation.) and keep my covenant, (The one He is going to give in chapter 20, the Covenant of Law.) then ye (the nation, the covenant people of Israel.) shall be a peculiar treasure…”
The word peculiar as well as how Paul uses it in Titus, is something if intrinsic value. Something that you couldn’t even put a price number on. It is just beyond imagination.And that is what Israel was to have been IF they had remained obedient to God’s commandments. All the promises of God were laid out in front of them. But in their unbelief they dropped it. Now come back to Titus and we have the same word that speaks of us as believers. This is something that you can just lock in and say that’s me! That’s us!
“Who gave himself for us, (He died on that cross. Arose from the dead.) that he might redeem us (Buy us back from that slave market of sin. To redeem us) from all iniquity, (The same things that Paul refers to back there in verse 12. That we have been bought back from all of that stuff. We have been rescued from it.) and purify unto himself a peculiar people…”
A called out people, just like Israel was called out of Egypt. Set aside as God’s covenant people, in a particular role above all the rest of the nations of the world. That’s where you and I are to be as believers! The Body of Christ is a called out people! We are a peculiar people. Not that we are odd but that we are of intrinsic value. We’ve been bought with the greatest price in all of eternity, the blood of Christ! So read on. That He might purify unto himself a peculiar people and as such we are to be:
“…zealous of (what?) good works.” Not that works are going to save us, but because we have been saved, NOW we are to have energy and ambition to perform good works in response to what God has accomplished on our behalf. Now verse 15.
“These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all (what?) authority….” Where did he get that authority? Come back to Romans chapter 11 verse 13 and this is the basis for his authority. I never thought much of it, but years ago Jerry Pool said “I’ve never seen that verse before. Repeat it and repeat it and repeat it!” So here it is!
“For I speak to you Gentiles, in as much as I am the apostle of the Gentiles,…”