Sermon Notes & References

Priority Statement of Faith

Titus 2:11-14

October 21, 2018

A. Statements of Faith

    1. Our Own

    2. The 17th Century Confessions

        a. The Westminster Confession

        b. The Savoy Declaration

        c. Second London Baptist Confession

    3. The Earlier Creeds

        a. The Nicene Creed

        b. The Apostles’ Creed

    4. From the Bible 1

B. Life-Changing Truth

    1. Not Mere Semantics

    2. Two Epiphanies (vv 11, 13) 2

    3. The Transformation (vv 12, 14) 3

    4. Divine Fellowship (v 14) 4


1  Titus 2:11-14. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Priority Statement of Faith

 

A. Statements of Faith

    1. Our Own

        a. was taken directly from that produced by the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Church in Canada (FEBCC) in the last century

        b. you will find it on our web-site 2 under the title “What We Believe” along with our mission, object and covenant statements.

        c. the purpose of ours, and other such statements in history, is to state that we stand for, and will protect, certain key doctrines of Scripture.

 

    2. The 17th Century Confessions

        a. The Westminster Confession 3

            (A)    1643, the English Parliament called upon “learned, godly & judicious Divines” to meet at Westminster Abbey to provide advice on issues of worship, doctrine, government & discipline of Church of England.

            (B)    1646 Westminster Assembly accepted this as the confession of the Church of England, a part of the Westminster Standards

                 (1)    the “subordinate standard”; subordinate, that is, to the Bible

                 (2)    so used as doctrine in the Church of Scotland

                 (3)    influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

                 (4)    its polity is basically presbyterial self-government

                 (5)    accompanied by shorter & longer catechisms

        b. The Savoy Declaration (1658) 4

            (A)    congregationalist churches adopted modified form of above

            (B)    this was amended by selected Puritans and Presbyterians

        c. Second London Baptist Confession (1689) 5

            (A)    amended the above to reflect baptist distinctives

            (B)    nature of the local church

            (C)   the matter of believer’s baptism

            (D)   the doctrine of the Lord’s supper

            (E)    polity, being congregational in local church government

 

    3. The Earlier Creeds

        a. The Nicene Creed 6

            (A)    325AD, a council was held at Nicaea (present-day Iznik, Turkey)

            (B)    convened to combat the Arian heresy which taught that God the Son was a created being, and that Jesus was not really divine

            (C)   We [some, I] believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God,] Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth]; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. [But those who say: 'There was a time when he was not;' and 'He was not before he was made;' and 'He was made out of nothing,' or 'He is of another substance' or 'essence,' or 'The Son of God is created,' or 'changeable,' or 'alterable'— they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.]

        b. The Apostles’ Creed

            (A)    tradition was that each phrase in this creed was contributed by a different one of the 12 apostles; one ancient writer even assigned names to the various phrases

            (B)    better is the more accepted explanation, as the statement of the Christian Reformed Church says, ‘This creed is called the Apostles' Creed not because it was produced by the apostles themselves but because it contains a brief summary of their teachings. It sets forth their doctrine “in sublime simplicity, in unsurpassable brevity, in beautiful order, and with liturgical solemnity.”’ 7

            (C)   you will finds an altered form in our hymn books, Praise! 622

            (D)   I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

 

    4. From the Bible

        a. but there are also statements, in the Scriptures themselves, which are considered as creedal in their form:

        b. on the incarnation of God the Son:”5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

        c. on Jesus Christ’s mediatorial, saving work: “3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.” (1 Timothy 2:3-6)

        d. on Jesus Christ as central to gospel: “And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Beheld by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

        e. on Christ’s atoning work; “1 ¶ Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-5)

        f.  and the passage before us today, Titus 2:11-14

 

B. Life-Changing Truth

    1. Not Mere Semantics

        a. each of these statements which we have looked at, ever so briefly, were not written as abstract, irrelevant truths

            (A)    but, as one has expressed it, “a faith to live by”

            (B)    truth applied is intended to change the way we think and live

            (C)   and this statement in Titus 2:11-14 is no different

            (D)   Paul has been instructing Titus in the discipling – making disciples – of the members of the church in various cities in Crete

            (E)    such teaching was to be addressed indiscriminately to the various classes: young and old; men and women; slave and free

        b. and now in verse 11, he commences, ‘For the grace of God …

            (A)    that word, ‘for’, connects what has preceded – the instruction on giving instruction – with what now follows, a statement of the source, reception and purpose of the gospel of salvation

            (B)    and the connection between the two is that of effect and cause

            (C)   the Christians in Crete were to live out a transformed life, a life in sharp contrast to that of their unsaved neighbours – a character described by Paul, and one of their own poets, in the first chapter

            (D)   and the reason for this is because of the character of the Saviour and the character of the salvation He has provided

 

    2. Two Epiphanies (vv 11, 13)

        a. “11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,” (NAS), but I prefer here, with reason, the alternate translation, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,” (NKJV)

            (A)    I am well aware of the arguments for each, and have concluded that those favouring the AV, NKJV, & NIV are much stronger

            (B)    translated literally, honouring the syntax, it reads: “For it appeared, God’s salvation-bringing grace, to all men” – “brings salvation” is really just one word, an adjective, that describes God’s grace

            (C)   moreover, the word ‘appeared’ in its form refers to one distinct event in the past; and we use its English equivalent in the same way – The Epiphany – the season after the birth of Christ in which the incarnation was made known to the world: to the shepherds, the wise men, to Simeon and Anna in the temple

            (D)   but this word, epiphany, appears a second time in these 4 verses

        b. “13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Christ Jesus;”

            (A)    that is the second epiphany: the fact that Jesus Christ who came the first time, in humiliation (as described in the Philippian 2 passage that we read) is to appear a second time in glory.

            (B)    some attempt to make that first phrase, ‘our great God’ apply to the Father, and the second to the Son – but that will not stand

                 (1)    the terms God, Saviour and Christ Jesus are so tightly bound together in the original that you cannot separate them

                 (2)    the Father is never spoken of as appearing

                 (3)    but the Son is, and doing so with the Father’s glory showing their equality, as in, “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; …” (Matthew 16:27)

                 (4)    so just in passing, this statement gives further evidence of one of the great articles of Christian faith: the deity of Jesus Christ

        c. it is between these two epiphanies – Christ’s first and second coming – that the preparation for the purpose of God’s gracious salvation is to be accomplished

            (A)    the salvation of men, women, children from sin

                 (1)    its guilt, its stain, its punishment, its power

                 (2)    and, having the hope – the expectance arising from the new covenant or will of the dead & risen Christ – the hope of ultimately being delivered from sin’s very presence

            (B)    this, then, is the motivation for us to pay attention to the discipling words that Paul is asking Titus to deliver to the church in Crete

 

    3. The Transformation (v 12, 14)

        a. “12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,”

            (A)    note the change in focus between verse 11 and 12

                 (1)    verse 11 reveals a truth that is for all men

                 (2)    this is consistent with the all encompassing classes that Titus is to instruct according to the earlier verses in the chapter

                 (3)    it is consistent with the great commission, “19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

                 (4)    verse 12 focusses on ‘us’ – to those who have become disciples and is addressed equally to Paul the great apostle, and to the youngest and least instructed of new believers

            (B)    and its subject is repentance

        b. there are two words in the NT translated ‘repent’, &c.

            (A)    one is that which described Judas as he repented and then went and hanged himself: its chief idea is that of being sorry, of feeling remorse – and primarily an emotional response to a bad action

            (B)    the other is found where Peter on the day of Pentecost to the crowds, among whom were those who had 50 days previously cried out ‘Crucify Him!’ against Jesus (Acts 2:36-38):

                 (1)    Peter: ‘God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus

                 (2)    they were pierced to the heart … said … “what shall we do?”

                 (3)    Peter:’Repent

            (C)   this word is not one of emotion but ot the mind and will: meaning to be with a new mind – a change of thinking, attitude, world-view

        c. we have here the negative and positive of repentance

            (A)    Deny ungodliness and worldly desires’ – external & internal

            (B)    ‘live sensibly’ – soberly – ‘saved-mindedly’ – toward ourselves

            (C)   ‘righteously’ – justly – toward others

            (D)   ‘godly’ – fearing God, piously – towards God

        d. verse 14 tells us this is a work which God intends to carry out in us:

            (A)    who gave Himself for us that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good deeds.

            (B)    and it He intends it, He will do it! ... so that we are prepared for …

 

    4. Divine Fellowship (v 14)

        a. one last look at the final verse of this section

            (A)    the AV reads “… and purify unto himself a peculiar people, …”

                 (1)    and some people, in looking at Christians, are prone to remark, ‘Peculiar, yes they’re that all right!’

                 (2)    however, the oldest meaning of that English word is defined in the OED as, ‘That is one’s own private property; that belongs or pertains to, or characterises, an individual person, place or thing, as distinct from all others.’

                 (3)    when salvation through faith in Christ takes place, then that believer is

                     (a)    made part of God’s own private property

                     (b)    he or she is characterised as one of God’s people, distinct from all others

        b. it is small wonder, therefore, that these words which are used to describe the ultimate state of the Christian

            (A)    are the same as found in the OT applied to Israel,

                 (1)    “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;” (Exodus 19:5)

                 (2)    “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 14:2)

            (B)    showing the unity in God’s view of the OT and NT church – they are the people of Gd

        c. and this unity is further found in God’s declared destiny for His people

            (A)    “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.”

            (B)    found in various forms in Ezekiel 37:27, Revelation 21:3, as well as Jeremiah and Zechariah

            (C)   and that wonderful destiny is eternal fellowship with God.

Footnotes

Endnotes

1

© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:

 

              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

              NRSV             New Revised Standard Version © 1989 Division of Christian Education of national Council of Churches of Christ

              JBP         The New Testament in Modern English, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

              UBS        Greek text of the United Bible Societies; particularly that published in 1954 by The British and Foreign Bible Society

              WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth


Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:


              Barnes –  Notes on the New Testament by Alfred E. Barnes

              Calvin –   Commentaries on the Bible, by Jean Calvin; translated into English & published in the Online Bible.

              Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

              JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

              Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site, www.holwick.com.

              RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

2

At http://www.faith-baptist-aurora.org/Associates/Materials/FFBCA_Beliefs.pdf

3

Materials primarily from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westminster_Confession_of_Faith

4

Ibid.

5

‘A Faith to Confess: the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689', © Carey Publications Ltd, 1975

6

Materials primarily from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed

7

https://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/creeds/apostles-creed