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An Authoritative Model of Gospel-Driven Ministry, Part 4

October 21, 2012 Pastor: John Fonville Series: Titus

Scripture: Titus 1:1–1:4

An Authoritative Model of

Gospel-Driven Ministry

Part 4

 

Text: Titus 1:1-4

 

Introduction/Review:

 

I.     A gospel-driven ministry is devoted to the service of the gospel. 1:1a-b

 

II.    A gospel-driven ministry is devoted to the goal of the gospel. 1:1c-3a

 

A.    Faith, 1:1c

 

Lesson:

 

B.    Knowledge, 1:1d

 

Why was Paul so concerned to establish believers in the knowledge of the truth?

 

“We ground and grow God’s people in the Gospel…We may preach it, teach it, and unpack it in a variety of ways, but it is the Faith of the Gospel that is ever our content. We move on in the Gospel, but never from the Gospel,” (J.I. Packer & Gary Parrett, Grounded in the Gospel, p. 183).

 

“…green pastures are essential to success with sheep…Meeting the need for God’s truth is a key to the health and growth of His people…’The flock of Christ cannot be fed except with pure doctrine which is alone our spiritual food,’ (quoting John Calvin)…A fundamental responsibility of any and every shepherd is to assure that the sheep are well-nourished,” (Timothy Witmer, The Shepherd Leader, pp. 140-141).

 

“Evangelicals have long acted as though the Gospel was the right ‘medicine’ for unbelievers, but that believers need to move beyond the Gospel and go on to other things, a movement from the ‘milk’ to the ‘meat.’ But this seems untrue—thoroughly out of step with the biblical witness. We believe, rather, that it is imperative to think of moving on from the ‘milk’ of the Gospel to the ‘meat’ of the Gospel. For in fact the Gospel is more profound and multifaceted than our finite minds can ever grasp. We never move on from the Gospel; we move on in the Gospel,” (J.I. Packer and Gary Parrett, Grounded in the Gospel, p. 96; emphasis mine).

 

Why must we continually move on in the knowledge of the Gospel?

 

1.    We must continually move on in the knowledge of the gospel because there will never be a time in our lives when we do not need Christ and His saving work.

 

2.    We must continually move on in the knowledge of the gospel because we are prone to deception.

 

3.    We must continually move on in the knowledge of the gospel because satan continually speaks an accusing word to our hearts.

 

4.    We must continually move on in the knowledge of the gospel because the chief aim of the enemy is to keep unbelievers and believers away from the gospel.

 

5.    We must continually move on in the knowledge of the gospel because we are always prone to self-justification.

 

“It is not easy to get the law killed; something of a legal disposition remains even in the believer while he is in this world: many a stroke does self and self-righteousness get, but still it revives again. If he were wholly dead to the law, he would be wholly dead to sin; but so far as the law lives, so far sin lives.


They that think they know the Gospel well enough bewray (reveal-J.F.) their ignorance; no man can be too evangelical, it will take all his life-time to get a legal temper (disposition-J.F.) destroyed.


Though the believer be delivered wholly from the law, in its commanding and condemning power and authority, or its rightful power that it hath over all that are under it: yet he is not delivered wholly from its usurped power, which takes place many times upon him, while here, through remaining unbelief,” (Ralph Esrkine, “Law-Death, Gospel-Life,” p. 27).

 

6.    We must continually move on in the knowledge of the gospel because we are prone to unbelief.

 

“…unbelief is so deeply rooted in our hearts, and we are so inclined to it, that not without hard struggle is each one able to persuade himself of what all confess with the mouth: namely, that God is faithful. Especially when it comes to reality itself, every man’s wavering uncovers hidden weakness,” (John Calvin, Institutes, 3.2.15.).

 

“…believers are in perpetual conflict with their own unbelief,” (3.2.17).

 

Believers are “troubled on all sides by the agitation of unbelief,” (3.2.18).

 

“Why do so many believers, including those deeply serious about their Christian commitment, live lives of quiet desperation? One answer is that we have a truncated (clipped, cut short- J.F.) view of the gospel, tending to see it only as a door we walk through to become a Christian. In this view, the gospel is only for unbelievers. Once you become a Christian, you don’t need it anymore except to share with people who are still outside the door. What you need to hear instead are the challenges and how-tos of discipleship” (Jerry Bridges, The Gospel for Real Life, pp. 12-13).

 

Reflection:

 

1.    We are not only to take the gospel to those outside the church but also to those inside the church.

 

2.    Our knowledge of the gospel is to grow.

 

3.    Burning hearts are not nourished by empty heads.

 

“God commands us to love Him with all our heart and mind (Matt. 22:37). We can't love anyone we don't know—even our great God. Burning hearts are not nourished by empty heads. We can have heads full of knowledge that never penetrates our hearts, but our hearts can't fully adore the Lord unless we love Him with our minds.” R.C. Sproul

 

© John Fonville

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