Closing Thoughts On Practical Faith

Discovering Practical Faith Through Sound Teaching

Ross Sawyers
Mar 24, 2024    49m
Do you struggle to live out your faith in a tangible, practical way? Many Christians find it challenging to consistently apply biblical principles to their daily lives. In this powerful message, you'll discover how to develop a practical faith firmly rooted in sound biblical teaching. Explore the importance of grace as the foundation for good works, and learn how to guard against false doctrines that can shipwreck your faith. You'll gain insights into cultivating a lifestyle of mentorship, strong leadership, and being a witness to unbelievers through your actions. Don't miss this life-transforming opportunity to embrace a truly practical faith that honors God in every aspect of your life. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: [00:00:00] We started this series in the Book of Titus about nine or so weeks ago, and I began with a quote from a friend of mine in Gadsden, Alabama who shared this with me back 25-plus years ago. And with any kind of quote that's not scripture, oftentimes it might not be like 100% spot on, but in general, it captures the idea. And what he said is that what you do is what you believe, everything else is just talk. So whatever it is that we believe, whatever it is that we value from those beliefs, that's what our actions will be. And I think it's why Jesus said that you'll know them by their fruit. You'll know if it's the character of Jesus, the ways of Jesus, if that's what they believe and that's what they value, then they'll start looking that way. And if we don't really believe it, or really value it, we won't look that way. And Titus is a book about practical faith. It is the essence of that phrase, what you do is what you believe, everything else is just talk.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:19] If you'll turn your Bibles to Titus, chapter 3, verses 9 through 15, while we began the series thinking that way, I want us to end it the same, in thinking about the practical faith and just give some closing thoughts on practical faith from Titus. And then give a little bit of a review of the overall book if you haven't been here before, it's your first time, what a great time to be here. You're going to get the summary of Titus, everyone else had to sit for nine weeks to get here, and so we're grateful that you're here with us. And we don't want to just move on from what we're doing series to series, we're continuing to just build on the faith of what it is that God is doing and the instruction that he's given us in his word. And the question I want us to ponder for all of us, as I move through this today, and to reflect back a little bit, the purpose and reason for Titus, this book in the Bible, we're told, is for us to consider the things being spoken by God, to be exhorted or urged to do something, or to be reproved to be corrected for something that we're doing wrong, and the instruction is very specific. So when we think about Titus, we think about those three things. So my question would be in that subset of things I just said, what is at least one or maybe two things that God has been either speaking to you., exhorting you, or urging you to do something different that lines up with the teaching of God; or correcting you and reproving you.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:59] So there's been one thing specifically for me where I've been corrected, and one way that I've been exhorted or urged on. When I was reading and studying the characteristics of a godly man, one of the characteristics I was reading said, part of what this means is that you don't watch or engage in kind of sexually immoral humor. And I'm involved in quite a few serious kinds of conversations, and the very nature of what we're doing has a gravity and a weight to it. And sometimes just to unwind, my wife and I started watching Seinfeld. We're usually about 20 years behind when everybody else has done something. And as I studied this and thought about what I was watching on Seinfeld, and it's funny, and Kramer is especially funny to me, and it's light-hearted, it's a way just to kind of chill out, but the whole context of Seinfeld is set in sexually immoral humor. And it's a possibility that Seinfeld actually helped, I'm just saying a small part, hastened, the sexual immorality and the ease with which we flow with it in our culture, because it was just funny, and it lightens the gravity of the purity and holiness of God in regard to sexuality. And so we stopped watching it after I studied that. That was me personally, I'm not imposing that on someone else, I'm simply saying that as I studied this part of God's Word, that was something God convicted me of.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:50] The second urging that I receive from him is the power of the cross. I speak often about the love of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God, and the compassion of God, but I don't always linger in the power of God. And the conviction for me, and the exhortation to me was, to lean more into the power of God. I don't just have to manage my sin and try to get by, rather, I've been crucified with Christ, it's no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the faith I live by faith in the Son of God, who delivered me and delivered himself up for me. He's crucified, I've been crucified with him, and my sin has been crucified with him. I don't just have to manage my sin, there is power and victory to cut off the sin and the consequences of sin, it's a matter of will we believe and walk in that power. And when we read the Gospels and you read about Jesus, they were amazed again and again. What were they amazed about? His power and his authority. They might have been amazed about his love, they might have been amazed at his grace, but what we read again and again, they were amazed at his power and his authority. And that's a way we can live today, triumphantly, as Christians, under the power and authority of God. What is God doing in you in regard to a practical faith that is dependent on sound teaching in a very specific way?

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:38] So let's take a look at this and wrap up this letter. Remember it's a letter, and here are some closing thoughts that Paul gives to Titus. Again, Titus is helping young churches establish strong leadership in their homes and in the churches, and then how to be a witness or a bright light to the outside world, and here's how he wraps up. And I would say a good way to think about verses 9 through 11 of chapter 3, in Titus, is to guard sound teaching, to guard it. In Acts chapter 20, verse 28, Paul is writing, and he says, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." So he says in Acts, he said, be careful, because I'm leaving, and when I leave, there's going to be a vacuum in leadership, and you need to guard yourself and be willing to guard the flock, guard the church, because the verse after this says, there will be savage wolves that are going to come in with false teaching, and they're going to try to disrupt everything that's just been done, so be on guard.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:48] Paul is writing to Titus, and he's telling him the same thing about the churches here, and he's saying, hey, you need to guard sound teaching, and this is how we do it. Verse 9, "But avoid foolish controversies." Avoid them. There's a transition here, "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless." Okay, so how do we guard sound teaching? One of the ways we do that is to avoid or shun foolish controversies. Not all controversies are foolish controversies. What would foolish ones be? Well, I was in one this week, and I didn't realize it until I was about midway through, and I thought, this is one of those foolish ones. And so we ended up talking about a topic of the day, I won't go into the topic, it'll distract us in this moment. And he had a particular view, and I agreed with his view, and then he started giving me all the exceptions to the view. I tried to counter the view with the exceptions, I said, well, yeah, that doesn't really work, and I realized this was not working, he just wanted to argue and talk. But what I did finally, we talked for quite a while and I thought, okay, I'm doing exactly what I'm teaching on. And by the way, I didn't try to do that. I was just in that, and because I was fresh in God's word, that's what was coming. And I went and just sat right next to him where we were, and this was appropriate, by the way, I said, could I just quote some scripture over you? And he said yes. And so I quoted about 3 or 4 verses out of Titus over him, and it was the calmest piece of our whole conversation, and it was a gracious and respectful conversation. But there's something about the power of God's word spoken over someone that brings calm. So avoid the philosophy, the philosophical conversations, the things that are based around secular humanism, and a lot of the nonsense that's in our day today, and stay Word focused. We want to stay Word focused. I think it was actually helpful we had some of that dialog, it allowed me to get to that point, it would be foolish for me to engage in that conversation with him the same way again. So avoid those. And then genealogies, they were using allegory, they're trying to make a genealogy more than it really was. Strife, arguments being divisive, and disputes about the law. There are a number of disputes about the rules and regulations of the law, and he said, hey, shun those, there's something more we're focused on today in Christ. And then because these are unprofitable and they're worthless, they're not helpful.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:48] And then verse 10, he says, "Reject a factious man after a first and second warning." So reject a factious man. And this could sound harsh, but this is to guard the sound teaching in the church and to guard the unity of the church. So reject a factious man, but he's to get a first and second warning, so there's two shots at this. Now I was thinking about how to think about this because people think sometimes this can be mean, and the purpose is not to be mean, the purpose is to be restorative, and it's to protect and guard the church from divisive and false teaching in the church. So I guess the way we can maybe think about this is in your job, or in your family, or maybe in the neighborhood or on a team when there's someone that's divisive, does it go well to continue to allow that divisive person to spread that division in that business unit? Does it go well in families when we let division continue to fester over time? Does it go well on a sports team when there are factious and divisive people on the team? It does not. So why would we think it would go well in the church? It does not. And so there's a way that Jesus prescribed, and there's a way that Paul prescribes, that we're to deal with divisive people in the church. There's one warning, there's a second warning, think, 90-day PIP plans, or something to say, hey, this isn't working out, here's where you need to improve, and let's see if you can improve in the next 90 days. It could be an attitude, or it could be a skill, but what are those things that can divide, and there's a way to take care of those things so that there can be a unity that's maintained? So reject not in a way that is, again, to be rude or mean, but the goal is that they will see the seriousness of what they're doing and the division, and that they would repent and come back to the ways of Christ if they're even a believer in the first place.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:48] Which in verse 11, there's a question about that because it says, "Knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned." That word perverted means to be twisted, to be warped in thinking they've gotten off track, they're ongoing in sin, and actually they'll end up being self-condemned, without anyone else actually condemning by the nature of their actions. Now there's, you know, is this person a Christian or not a Christian? We don't always know the answer. However, in First John chapter 3, verses 8 through 10, we do get a little bit of insight into the way that we live, and how sin affects that. It says, "The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil." So it's one of the purposes for which Jesus came. "So no one who is born of God practices sin..." Just continually ongoingly practices it, "...because his seed abides in him." meaning the seed of Christ. Christ is in us, and he's saying, you can't continue to practice sin if that's the case, because he's born of God, "By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother." John is really black and white, it's really clear for him and it's obvious. So it would seem to me that this man in Titus, perhaps is someone in the church who doesn't really know God, and hasn't experienced Christ in a real way, and therefore is creating division, or it could be others.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:04] In Galatians chapter 5, verse 20, this is in the middle of two verses that have a really ugly list of our sin nature, and at the end of this list is the word factions. So anytime we're being factious and divisive, then we can know that that's something from the flesh, and from our sin nature that's coming out because that's part of what it is to be in the flesh and not of the Spirit. Now, I also understand that we might say things, but we can say them in a way that creates challenges. But there's a difference in having a factious spirit, and then, when people are just upset because of truth, and they are trying to wrestle through what grace and truth would look like.

Ross Sawyers: [00:15:50] And then Paul also writes in Romans 16, verses 17 and 18, he says," Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them." Verse 18, "For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting." There are constant warnings from Jesus and Paul that false teaching has to be quickly removed because it shipwrecks the faith of people, and it ruins the hearers.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:29] So a practical faith dependent on sound teaching is all of us guarding that sound teaching, that we know what the truth is and then we protect the church. That would be the responsibility of life groups, of mentoring relationships, of our staff, our elders, and every person in the body, we work together to guard the sound teaching of the word. Are there ways that God would have you do that? And when you think about this practical faith, it's dependent on sound teaching, is there anybody in your life group, anybody in your world right now that says they're a follower of Jesus, that they're spreading false ideas? And just being a good listener is not the best answer to that, it's listening and understanding, and then it's responding with truth. I listened to this gentleman I was talking with, and multiple times I responded with truth from God's Word. It would have been easier just to listen and move on. Respond with truth.

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:56] The second thing that we can think about in practical faith, in these closing thoughts, is to value and lean on each other. In verse 12, Paul is wrapping up his letter, and he says, "When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there." So he's going to send a couple, he can't decide yet who he's going to send, so we're kind of getting just the reality, real-time of what's going on with Paul. But we know that Titus is not going to be the one who's going to stay on the island of Crete. Instead, he has some other guys he's considering that he's going to send. And Artemis is, this is the only time he's mentioned, so we don't know much about him. But Tychicus we know quite a bit about, and he was one of the traveling companions with Paul. he was described as a fellow bondservant, a beloved brother, and a faithful minister. He was an Asian man, we learned in Acts chapter 20, verse 4, in the midst of a varied group of people from different cities and countries that were traveling along with Paul in spreading the message of Christ. And so one of those guys is coming to Crete and is going to relieve Titus because Titus is told to make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, and Nicopolis is about 200 miles northwest of Athens in Greece. And Paul says I've decided to spend the winter there, and this is why I want you to come. Now, there are times in life, a variety of times where we really just yearn and desire for someone, whether it's a friend or a spouse or a child, that we just want them to be with us, and Paul is wanting Titus just to be with him over the course of the winter, and he's letting Titus know that things are changing, they're coming.

Ross Sawyers: [00:20:04] And then the second thing he talks about, it's the valuing of people. And then he tells them in verse 13 to, "Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way, so that..." Think about a purpose clause here, "...nothing is lacking for them." Zenas and Apollos would be like our modern-day kind of missionaries. We call them global workers today, not missionaries for safety reasons, a number of them are in dangerous places across the world, and so this is the way we refer to them. And Zenas, that's a Greek name, he could have been a Jew, but he might not have been, not positive there. He was a lawyer; he was familiar with Roman law. And then Apollos, we do know more about him, he's described as a man mighty in the scriptures, and he refuted people who were speaking things that were not true about the scriptures because he was mighty in the scriptures. Now, this is a powerful group of friends, isn't it? Once you're described as beloved brothers and sisters, ones who are faithful ministers, fellow bond-servants, mighty in the scriptures. Paul had some people around him who were incredibly strong in their faith, and he would deploy them to different places depending on what was going on, he trusted them. But he said to Titus, make sure that these two men are taken care of so they can do the work that they're doing, diligently help them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:40] So what would that look like for us today? So we have a number of people that we partner with that are from 121 on global missions, and there are ways that we help them, and it's a mutual help, we're always growing and learning from them. But the way that we specifically help, because he says here diligently help them, we have A-Teams, we call them, that are small groups of people, and if you wanted to attach your practical faith to sound teaching and be a part of that, that's one way to do it. And these teams, they do ongoing support and care for our global workers across the world. We have helped people with weeks-long counseling intensives, to help them work through different challenges that they have and where they are. Seventeen and a half percent of our budget, whenever you give at 121, to God, then seventeen and a half percent of that goes to global, US, or local missions. That's a little over $1 million a year right now, that just goes when you give faithfully to what we're doing in the work of the church. We send people on trips to care for our, just like Paul was asking for Titus to come to him, we send people to go and to be a refreshment and an encouragement to those who are in the field. We have a mission house in the area when global workers come into town, they have a place where they can stay. We just bought a new vehicle a few months ago so when they come, they have transportation and that they can be refreshed and be ready to go when it's time to head back to the field. Those are just a few ways that God has worked through 121 to do what Paul is saying with Zenas and Apollos.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:43] But it's not just our global workers and mission that he values and is leaning on each other. But he says, our people, so think about us, "Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful." So he says about the believers in Crete and the different churches, hey, they need to learn how to engage in good deeds. So it wasn't, I guess, natural to them, they needed to learn it, and then to meet pressing needs. And for us, I just asked our life group staff the other day, so what are ways that our life groups, and really the front line for being in Bible study together, praying together, needs being met, and relationships built, is in our life groups, and that is kind of where we put our focus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:49] So how are we meeting pressing needs? Three of our empty nester groups have provided, they provided Christmas dinner and gifts for single moms. Another lady and her husband moved here a few months ago, a really really godly couple, they had time to go to one group and another group, and then her husband passed away, and each of those groups stepped up to meet different needs for her. We had a life group that did a baby shower for a lady who decided not to have an abortion. We have a lady in a group with breast cancer, and the life group has provided meals for them, done prayer meetings for her, caring for the kids, scripture reading, and just weeping with her. Our young marrieds' took the challenge of serving, and everyone in a couple of our young married life groups are serving somewhere in the church. Another few of our groups are helping meet the physical needs for single moms and widows with house projects. And then we have groups that are just helping people work through the grief of a lost family member or friend. I'm so grateful to be a part of a church where people step in to meet, all those are pressing needs, and all those would line up with the sound teaching of Scripture in practical ways that we live out our faith.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:30] Well, in verse 15, he wraps it up. He says, "All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all." All who are with me greet you. We only get a few named people that are with Paul, most of them are unnamed. Most of us will be in that unnamed category, but we can be unnamed people who are faithful ministers, beloved brothers and sisters, fellow bondservants of Jesus Christ, mighty in the scriptures, engaging in good deeds, and meeting pressing needs, and no one ever has to know our name. And so he said, all of us send greetings and then greet those who love us in the faith. There are a number of people that weren't really loving him, and loving believers, and he just said to greet those who love us in the faith. And grace be with you all. He begins this letter with grace, and he ends this letter with grace, and there are two substantive pieces in the middle about grace, everything flows from the grace of God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:30] So what now? How do we build on what it is that God has been working on us through Titus, and not move on from it? How do we build on what he has for us? And one way, Eric Estes, when he preached a few weeks ago, talked about this book, The Titus Ten, it's a great book for men to go through with men. This guy actually wrote it to go through with his son, and so I think it's a great dad and son book, it'd be a great way to work back through Titus, thinking about it from a godly manhood perspective, any kind of man on man would work with that book, so that's one way now.

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:44] And then we'd want to look at and say, what are the main ideas that are flowing through Titus? So when we're studying God's Word and we look at a letter, we want to know, what is it about that letter, what was he trying to say? And as we've moved through Titus, here are a few things that I believe he wanted us to make sure we captured. Grace is the first thing because everything flows from grace, that's why I wanted to start here, it's how the letter starts, ends, and it's in between, and it's the undeserved outflow of God's goodness and generosity towards us. So it's undeserved, it's His goodness and his generosity, it's outflow from his character. When we think about grace, the greatest act and gift of grace is what Jesus Christ did for us at the cross when he took on himself our sin and shame and guilt and the consequences and penalty of that sin. And in faith, when we believe what he did there, we're relieved of that, not on the basis of anything that you and I could do, but on the basis of everything Jesus did.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:53] I was talking to Sundae Foster yesterday at our Easter egg hunt, and she was telling me about her son, who was in the Dominican Republic this last week on spring break on a mission trip. He was with a group of 30-something athletes, they were partnering with Athletes in Action, it was a great opportunity to share the gospel all week long. And then yesterday, their flight was delayed, and I said, so why don't we pray? And other people were praying as well. What is prayed, is when God delays things or interrupts things, he has purposes for that. And I was reading this week, a guy said, if you look at Jesus's life, so much of what he did was in interruptions. People interrupted him, and then all these life-changing kinds of things happened. And so yesterday, this group of students were at the airport, and a little while later Sunday texted me back and she said, Casen just sent me a text and he said they just led four airport workers to Christ. You see, God has reasons for delays and reasons for interruptions, and I don't know if they've made their way back yet, they said it'll probably be Tuesday before they can get back, but who knows what God has in store. And those four airport workers now have experienced and know the grace of God in salvation.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:19] Good deeds is a theme, it's about five different times that he talks about good deeds in Titus, and it's important that we catch the flow of grace that works. It's not good deeds that work, and then somehow there's grace in all that, it's from grace that good deeds flow. And that's a core theme, that there's evidence of that grace in our lives.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:43] The third thing is sound teaching, what we believe is what will drive what we do. And then strong leadership in the church and in the home, that's in chapters 1 and 2. Mentoring the older, mentoring the younger. And we've had a great response to people desiring to be mentored one-on-one and for others to mentor. And the opportunity is still there, so if God's working on your heart at all today about mentoring and being a mentor or being mentored, please let us know. This is one of the really strong ways we can grow in our faith. And then to be an outside witness, to those who are not of the faith. So those are some themes running through that. And then if you're studying Titus, reread it again and look for those. And what is God saying to you in them?

Ross Sawyers: [00:32:36] But I want to highlight something else that I don't know if you'll love it or not, I love it, but you're kind of looking for what's going on in that letter, right? Those are the main themes, but there are eleven, if you're an English person, you'll love this, there are eleven 'so that' clauses in this letter, and what that means is there's a purpose for why we're being instructed a certain way. And oftentimes we want to know why, why are we being told that this is the way we're to live? This is about practical faith, and it's dependent on sound teaching. Well, this is the sound teaching, and there are 11 times that we see this 'so that' clause. So if you want to write the references down so you can look for yourself this week, I think it'd be a great study, but I just want to show you where they are. And in my Bible, you can't see it, but I'm going to act like you can, I put a triangle around every 'so that', so I know everywhere that I'm being told why I'm to behave a particular way or what I'm to believe, 'so that'. And so let's look at those 'so that'.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:43] This is the only spot where the 'so' is not there, but he says this way I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains. So I left you there that you would appoint elders. There's a reason I left you in Crete, it wasn't just random. that's [Titus] 1:5.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:58] In [Titus] 1:9, he's telling the ones who are overseers that they are to hold fast to the faithful word. And then why? So that he'll be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. There's a twofold reason that they're to be one to hold fast to the faithful word.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:18] And then in [Titus] 1:13, he's talking about the false teachers, and he says, "For this reason reprove them severely so that..." Not so that we can just be mean and kick them out, "So that they'll be sound in the faith." We want them to have a sound faith. That's [Titus] 1:13.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:35] [Titus] 2:4, the older women have been told to be a particular way, now we're told why they're told to be that way, "So that they may encourage the young women." And if the older women aren't the way Paul describes them that they're to be, then they're not going to be good ones to be encouraging the young women, 'so that' there's a reason. And then there's this list of how the young women are to be, "So that the Word of God will not be dishonored." There's a reason, God has a design for men and for women. And he says, here's why, "So that God's Word will not be dishonored." We want to honor God and His Word.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:14] And then in [Titus] 2:8, he's talking to Titus, and tells him, "Be sound in speech." Why? "So that his opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us." that he's sound in who he is.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:28] And then [Titus] 2:10, talking about bondslaves. Why are they to respond a certain way? "So that they'll adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.", that they'll be the perfect setting for people to see Jesus in the way they conduct themselves.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:50] And then [Titus] 3:7, talking about God saving us, and he says, "So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs."

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:03] And then [Titus] 3:8, it's a trustworthy statement, "I want you to speak confidently, so that those who believe God will be careful to engage in good deeds." There's a reason, I want you to be confident when you speak about it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:16] And then [Titus] 3:13, help these guys, "So that nothing is lacking for them." Make sure they're cared for so they can do the work they've been called to do.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:27] [Titus] 3:14, "Our people must engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs." Why? "So that they will not be unfruitful." We want them to live fruitful lives and this is how to live it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:45] Well, that's a summary of Titus, but I think there's an even better way for us to sum it up. Whenever someone sends you a letter, maybe you have to think back a while to when you got a real letter. If it's a personal letter from someone you love and value, you'll read and reread that letter because you cherish and treasure the person who sent it. And if they say encouraging things and good things to you, you'll reread those trying to understand what she is saying, or what he is saying. And this is a letter that's God's Word, and God's Word is living and active, it's God-breathed, and it's inspired by God himself. This is God's Word, and it's to be treasured so that we might not sin against God the psalmist said. And I think one of the ways we can treasure God's Word is to memorize and hide God's Word so that it just flows.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:08] Remember I told you about the guy, and I just quoted some scripture over him, and it was way more powerful than the whole conversation. I can give you my thoughts and ideas from things I study, but where I can't go wrong is when I just give you God's Word. So I've been challenged and motivated by three guys in our church, two are in their 60s and people start to say, it gets harder to memorize when you're in your 60s, but two in their 60s are memorizing chapters and books of the Bible right now, one in his 30s, two in their 60s. Now, I just learned some others as they left the last service. So what I'd like to do is just, I went to work on this when I kind of wasn't motived, I'd gotten lazy. And I'm going to give it a shot to just quote Titus over you as our summary for this book. And that you might be encouraged in however God would motivate you to treasure God's Word, sound teaching, that drives a really practical faith.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:26] "1Paul, 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, 2in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, 3but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior, 4To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. 5For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, 6namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. 7For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 9holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. 10For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. 12One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed."

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:37] "1But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 3Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 6Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. 9Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. 11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. 15These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you."

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:53] "1Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. 3For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. 9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. 12When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them. 14Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. 15All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all."

Ross Sawyers: [00:47:45] Father, thank you for the power of your word. And I pray, God, that your word would rest on us. I pray, God, that we would hear specific things you might be speaking to us. God, that the things that you're exhorting or urging us towards, we'd respond to that. And where you're reproving and correcting us, God, help us repent, receive it, and then walk in the way you would have us to go. Thank you for the overwhelming and stunning grace of God in Christ Jesus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:48:35] So I'd like for us, just in a moment of quiet before the Lord, musicians’ kind of play behind us. What is at least one thing that God is saying to you about practical faith that's dependent on sound teaching that he wants you to change or move on? And let us be known as a people of God, just as he was zealous for us, that we'd be zealous for him, and then we'd respond in either believing or acting on what he would have us to. So let these moments be for you to consider, and then could we just together, gladly respond to God's worth, in song as we anticipate him and praise him for the God that he is? He is worthy today to be praised and to be given thanks for the grace, and may that grace be with us all and motivate our hearts in all that we do.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051