The Importance of Truth

Examining The Importance Of God's Truth In Leadership

Ross Sawyers
Jan 28, 2024    53m
Do you struggle with understanding the importance of God's truth in leadership? This sermon explores how grounding leadership in God's unchanging truth brings integrity, wisdom, and fruitfulness. Discover the keys to impactful leadership rooted in the truth of God's Word. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: [00:00:00] What an awesome time in worship this morning. We just want to continue to build on what we've been talking about the last few weeks. We're shifting gears of where we are in God's Word today, but I want us to continue to think about what God's idea is of worship, and today has just been a beautiful response to him. I've been crafting a definition of worship for us over the last few weeks, and I've shrunk it a little bit more, and I think I have it where I like it for what we're thinking about in worship. So when we think about worshiping God, it is a glad response to God's worth. Each word matters, the word glad matters. When we think about worship of God, it's with glad hearts that we worship him. And we can do that whether we're in despair or whether things are difficult, because of who Christ is, our heart is glad in him. And it's a response, it's a response to who God is and his character, it's a response to who God is and what he's done. And God, himself, is the object of our worship. There could be a number of things that we could worship, but when we talk about worship the way God expects it from us, it's a glad response to him, and it's a response to his worth. The word worship means worth-ship, and that's actually what the word means, so we're giving worth to something when we worship it and God is worth it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:32] We can give statistics about things, of why it's important to be at church, how it's helpful for you, and so forth, and those things are valid for us to consider. But the reality is, at the end of the day, the thing that absolutely matters when we gather together is that God himself is worth it. That is our prime motivation. we're asking God to move our motivations that way so that he himself is worth it. He is worth singing to. He is worth bowing before. He is worth praying to. He is worth getting our minds focused in on the truth of His Word. He is worth our hands being raised to and surrender to him. He is worth going to our knees in humility before him. He is worth going prostrate before him on our faces. He is worth our lives. He is worth Sunday through Saturday 24/7, every aspect of our lives shaping and conforming to him. He's absolutely worth it, and that's why we gather to worship a God who's worthy. So thank you for being a part of that so far this morning.

Ross Sawyers: [00:02:50] And then we continue in our response to him and his Word as we look in Titus today. Titus is in the back of your Bibles. If you have a Bible, you can turn there, we'll have the verses on the screen in just a few minutes. But I want to give some background, as we think about this. So when we think about worship, we're not moving on from it, we're building on to what we know and that God will continue to increase in that with us and that foundational part of who we are, and then we continue to build on what God teaches us in His Word.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:26] Towards the end of the week, I'm in a text thread with some guys, and, Jermaine, our youth pastor, is the prime instigator as a norm of what goes on in that text. We're usually talking about sports to some degree, and then occasionally it will shift gears, and go to something that is actually a little more substantive than the sports world. And the other day, he sent this text and I thought, man, this is exactly what Titus is talking about. So I just wanted to give you a way Jermaine was talking about it the other day as a way to think about what Titus is about, that we'll be spending our time in the next several weeks. This is what he said, he said there are three primary reasons that young adults choose Jesus and stay in the faith. So when we think about our students, we think about young adults, here's the three reasons.

Ross Sawyers: [00:04:22] The first is that they're actually equipped with a worldview that makes sense of the actual things going on in their world, Sunday connects the rest of the week. What we're talking about on Sunday actually makes sense for what their life is like when they move through the week, so they have a biblical worldview, and they see how it connects. And what I would say today, in regard to that, is if you took your Bible and you read through your Bible and you overlay it on the culture as a whole, you'll see that the Bible makes the most sense of what our world actually does, and the way it responds, and the way to actually have hope and joy in this world. So when we have a connection, and we realize Sunday connects all the way through, then Jesus is the one that we will stay in faith with.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:14] The second thing he said is that there are connections with older mentors in the church who have lived experience following Jesus over a lifetime. And that is what Titus will speak to us about what Paul says to him, and it's anecdotally, I think, what I can say about our faith, that when there are older mentors who have lived out the faith that are pouring their lives into younger ones, and this can be any age span, this is not just about young adults, but it's older that are pouring their lives into younger. And for every person that's a follower of Jesus, we should be one of two things at any given moment, we should either be being mentored and led and discipled by someone, or we should be doing the same thing with someone else, and so we're in this constant cycle of being mentored and of doing the same with others. And when there's that older believer in the life of a younger one, then the odds of staying in the faith increase dramatically.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:16] The third thing, he said is that they're a part of a vibrant community, living their beliefs as actually true. Now here's my generalization of how ministry works in a church from preschool through college. I'm going to stop there for the sake of what this text thread was. In preschool, Pam Nichols does a phenomenal job of leading our preschoolers in studying God's Word, and all the leaders who are in there do the same. Memorizing Scripture and what it is to love Jesus. And preschoolers are a little bit trapped, they have to go, and they go where their parents say. Then we get to children, and they continue to deepen in the Word, and so if you think about a funnel, there's a large number of children. And if we just think about the mid-cities area there are opportunities like we have here to be substantive in the Word, and to have the Word. Then you get to middle school, and it starts to narrow in the funnel, there's probably still as many of them, but it starts to fade a little bit on actually following Jesus and loving Jesus. Yes, they're in the youth group, and yes, they're doing the thing. It might be that in the schools doing FCA Student Standing Strong, Young Life, there are multiple things going on that are fantastic in our area, but it starts to narrow on the ones who are actually loving and following Jesus. It doesn't mean they're not in these things, you can be at these things and not be following Jesus. And then you get to high school, and it really narrows, and there are fewer and fewer that actually love Jesus, love God's Word, will walk with Jesus Sunday through Saturday, and it gets awfully lonely sometimes for someone in high school because there are fewer and fewer. And then college happens, and we tend to think that what happens in college is that that's where their faith just gets blown.

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:29] I don't know about you, but I talked to so many people, it's actually when their faith explodes. So we don't have to think about college as just like, oh no, everything's going in the tank, that does happen, but there are so many that Christ explodes in them and their understanding of who he is and their loving and following of him. But I think what Jermaine said is spot on, where that happens is when they have a worldview from the Bible that actually makes sense with their world, when they have mentors in their life, and when they actually have friends that are doing the same thing. I think that's a good descriptor today, of Titus, from thinking of it, from a young adult perspective.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:16] So I'd like to give a big overview of Titus and give some background to it before we move into the first four verses of it. And I want to give the overview, because oftentimes we'll read our Bibles and we'll think, why is this in there? Why did he say this? Well, it will make sense, oftentimes, if we understand the background of why the letter was even written or why the book was even written. When we understand that, then we know this is why he was saying what he was saying. And so when we think about Titus, and giving it an overview of Titus, it is 46 verses long, we're going to spend about nine weeks in it, and we're going to carefully look at it verse by verse, phrase by phrase in breaking this down, I would cheer you on each week if you would just read Titus, it won't take you very long to read 46 verses, spread it out over the week, and by the end of the nine weeks, you'll have a really good grip of what Paul was saying to Titus. And what he's saying to him, is this is how a church, a healthy, robust church, is to function. This is what leadership looks like. This is what it looks like to follow leadership. This is what family looks like, and this is what it looks like to live in a culture that's in opposition to God. All of those things are so relevant to our day to day, so we'll find that as we unpack Titus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:56] First and Second Timothy and Titus are three letters that are together, and they're called pastoral epistles. What that means is they're letters, Paul has written them to Timothy and to Titus, these are young pastors, and he's giving them instructions on how to lead the church. I believe as we look at it, this is great leadership, for any of us who are in any kind of leadership roles and how God would have us to lead and again, how he would have us to follow. So that's the background, a little bit of what happens in Titus. The question we want to ask though is to understand why did Paul feel like he needed to write this letter to Titus? This is one of 13 letters that the Holy Spirit of God inspired Paul to write that are a part of our Scripture. So why did he write this letter to Titus? Why did he have to write it and tell him this is how the church is to function, this is about family and culture, and how you function with them.

Ross Sawyers: [00:12:00] And what we find early on is that Paul has left Titus on the island of Crete, and there are several churches that have been started on this island. So if we look at a map, Greece is up top, and Crete is an island that is to the south in the Mediterranean of Greece. And Paul had been there with Titus, and there were several churches on the island. And Paul is leaving Titus behind to help the churches, as they move ahead. Now, why was he leaving Titus behind? Well, Crete has an international vibe to it, there are several ports, and ships would come in from multiple nations and multiple ethnicities, so it had a very international vibe on the island. It would have been a great place to go, my understanding is, I think today it's still a great place to go and to vacation. But it was also known for its immorality, and Cretans were thought to be liars. So it's an island of immorality and of liars, and it's in this context that these young churches are starting. Now it's possible that how they were started, goes back to Acts chapter 2. And if we go before Acts chapter 2 and think about Jesus's life and then his death on the cross, his resurrection, and then several days of appearing to his disciples and others. And then in Acts chapter one, it's recorded that he ascended to heaven, and he promised that the Holy Spirit would come. And when the Spirit came, then the church would break loose. And in Acts chapter 2, the Holy Spirit of God comes down, and in chapter 2, verse 11 it says among those who were there that day were Cretans. So it's highly possible that there were those from Crete who had trusted Jesus, received the Spirit of God, and went back to their island, and the seeds of the Gospel were now on the island of Crete. And then it's possible that Paul, in one of his journeys went to Crete with Titus, and helped start these churches where the seed of the Gospel was, and now there were some things that needed to happen to be a help to those young churches. See Crete was also known as a central place for worship of the Greek gods, and it's Crete where Zeus was said to have been born. Zeus was the chief god, and Zeus was known for being a seducer of women and a liar. Why does worship matter? Because that which we think is worth worshiping, we will become like that God. And on the island of Crete, they looked like their god Zeus, they were liars and seducers of women. In that mix, people would come to Christ, and it so often happens they were mixing together the things with Zeus and the things of Jesus. That happens today, people will mix different things, different faiths, different religions, and different ideas with Jesus that aren't Jesus. This little letter that Paul wrote to Titus is so relevant today. Because the reality is, you and I live on an island of immorality and liars, false teachers and opponents, and those who are against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul says to Titus, what I need you to do is go around to the churches, get everything set back right again. And what he does is he'll come, and he'll teach really sound doctrine and then practical ways to live that out. That's how Paul writes his other letters. He'll talk about really substantive things, and then out of those substantive truths about God, about who Christ is, then he'll say, practically, this is how you live. We see that pattern mixed together in Titus.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:53] Another way to think about the main idea of Titus, is a belief that is matched by behavior. Or I heard this quote years ago, I heard the guy say it, I don't know who said it before him. Last week I put a quote on the screen, and I said, I don't know who said this, I just know it's a quote from somewhere else. The quote was, "Sin is a legit need that is being met in an illegitimate way." Three different people texted me and told me who said that, and they told me three different people. So what they say about quotes is the first time you say this is who quoted it, the second time you say, I heard somebody say, and the third time, you just start owning it as your own. And by the time you do that, then everybody thinks these are the people that actually said this. So I have no idea who said this, it just makes sense to me for Titus that what you do is what you believe, everything else is just talk. What you do, what you believe, everything else is just talk. Paul is telling Titus; it is time to do what you believe.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:23] So we launch into the first part, this is the greeting that we have in this letter, in the first four verses. It's common in letters in that day that there would be a greeting, and then the body of the letter, the conclusion to the letter. And it's the opposite of how we do letters, we put our name at the end of a letter, and the way they would do it in this era, the one who's writing the letter, their name is the first thing that you see, and then there's some kind of descriptor. But we see the shape of this greeting gives the shape of this particular letter. And I would say that as we read these first four verses, the importance of truth is the idea we want to think about, as we move, through the letter. But in these four verses, I want to talk about the importance of truth, and there's three things I want to say about it in these four verses. We'll spend the bulk of our time in verse 1, it's incredibly substantive. and then, I'll go a little bit more quickly through 2 through 4. But what I want us to think about truth, and why would Paul shape his greeting around truth? Because he's writing to Titus, who is among a people where there are false teachers and liars that are rising up within the church, and so he's establishing the importance of truth in that kind of environment.

Ross Sawyers: [00:19:51] So the first thing I would say about the importance of truth is that we know an increase in the truth, that we're always knowing and increasing in the truth. Verse 1, "Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ." Let's stop right there. sometimes we make an assumption that everybody knows who Paul is. Well, he is the author of thirteen of the letters that we have in the New Testament, that the Spirit of God, has inspired, it is God-breathed, I mentioned that just a moment ago. But what is his story? And in these letters to Timothy and to Titus, he actually, in First Timothy chapter 1, writes his story with clarity to us. And I asked you several months ago, and I've asked multiple times over the years if you would write your story out. There is power in putting pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard and typing out or writing out your story, and then you can send it to people. This is what Paul does, he wrote his story, and then he sent it out for people to read it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:01] And I just want you to hear his story the way he told it to Timothy, verse 12, chapter 1, "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor." That should give every one of us hope. Paul was a violent aggressor, he was a persecutor of the people of God, and he was a blasphemer of God. Yet, he said I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief. So often that's what people do, they don't know who God is, they don't understand who Christ is, and they're acting in ignorance against him. And Paul was saying, that's what he did, but he was shown mercy in his ignorant unbelief, "And the grace of our Lord was more than abundant." That grace of God covers all of our ignorance and unbelief, "With the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." He looked at himself, and he wasn't trying to justify anything. He looked at his life and he said, I'm the worst sinner of all. He owned it. "Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life." He has perfect patience with me. How many of us would tell that story of how patient God must be to watch me do all the things I did in sin and in opposition to him, and yet in his mercy and grace he overwhelmed all of that and brought me in as his own. Well, when we talk about worship as a glad response to God's worth, Paul couldn't help himself after telling his story. "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." He never got tired of telling his story and what it is that God had done in him, and the only way he could end his story is in praise to God. God is worth it, and I'm responding to what he's done in my own life, that's what he's doing when he writes that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:37] So this is Paul, this is who we're talking about, that's writing this letter. And then he describes himself in two ways. He says he's a bond-servant of God. A bond-servant is someone who has been bought with a price. And what he's saying is, I've been bought with a price, I've been bought through Jesus Christ. I'm no longer my own, God is my owner, and I'm his slave. I'm his doulos, I'm his servant, doulos is the Greek word for slave. I'm completely his. I'm going low, I'm going to be a man of no reputation, I'm a servant of God. This is what God said about Moses, and this is what God said about Joshua, these are my servants. He establishes who he is first and foremost, he is a bond-servant of God, and he's writing to them out of being a servant. Could that be said of us today? That we are men and women of no reputation. Men and women who do not need a name for ourselves. Men and women who were willing to go low and do the most menial of things for the sake of God himself. So there's a humility that he establishes, I'm a bond-servant of God, that's why I'm doing what I'm doing. And he says, "An apostle of Jesus Christ." So he does something here, he talks about it is humility and it is authority. An apostle, that was the first 12 disciples, and then Paul was one as well, and the word apostle means that you are a sent out one with authority. And Paul has been chosen as an apostle to be sent out with authority with the good news of Jesus Christ, and so he's establishing that he has authority to write what he's about to write, but he's doing it out of humility and as a servant of God, and that's why he's bringing what he's bringing to Titus to bring to the churches. So he has both humility and authority.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:07] Think about leaders in your life, whether it's the workplace, whether it's in your home, wherever it is, and wherever there's a leader that has humility and has an authority that's a leader that we enjoy, respect, and can follow. But where there's a leader that has authority but they're arrogant, that's usually no fun for anyone. Paul, both humility and authority, of which he writes. What is he saying? We're talking about increasing in the truth, and this is where that piece begins. So Paul's writing that this is who he is, and he says, I'm writing this for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth, which is according to godliness.

Ross Sawyers: [00:26:55] Let's pause at faith. The word, or just before that, before the faith. That means, according to, with a view to, and most would agree it's with the idea of furthering the faith of those who are at Crete. So he's doing what he can to help promote their faith and to further it. So that would be a faith that initially I entered into, and then it's a faith that Jesus speaks of, that we either have little faith or we have large faith, but we want to increase from having little faith to large faith. So there's that initial where I step into the faith, once I'm in the faith, then I'm increasing and growing in that faith and in that truth. So when we think about what it is to get in the faith, we see Paul's story that I read in Timothy, of how God brought him into that initial faith. The faith we're talking about has Jesus Christ as the object of that faith. I've spoken about his death and resurrection today, but the response to that, and initially to get into the faith, the Scripture says is by repentance and belief.

Ross Sawyers: [00:28:13] I was listening to a podcast this week where Rosario Butterfield spoke, and she talked about repentance, and there was a real richness to the repentance she spoke of. And she quoted six phases of repentance from a book called The Doctrine of Repentance by Thomas Watson. He's a Puritan writer. I know that excites your soul today, I can't wait to go buy a book on the doctrine of repentance. And I thought I did good, I remembered five out of the six things she said. I'm sure that the sixth one is pretty crucial, but I'll share with you five. I didn't have time to go back and listen to it again, I will this week. We need to recognize sin, if we don't recognize it, there's nothing to repent of. Once you recognize the sin, then there's sorrow over the sin, that I actually feel bad about what it's done to God and what it's done to other people. And the third thing is to confess it, to verbally confess to God. Not just that I recognize it, but I verbally acknowledge that it's a sin before God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:31] And then here's where I got a little bit lost, but here are the two that I remember. The next one is to actually have shame over your sin. You say, wait a minute, I thought we tried to get rid of the shame. Yes, and she said, this isn't the kind of shame that straps you down and just kind of takes you out, but there needs to be the kind of shame that says, I don't ever want to do this again. That's when we're repenting from sin when I don't want to ever do that again.

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:06] Then the last thing I remember is that it gets replaced with something righteous. That you don't just turn from something, and you don't get anything, you get all the righteousness and goodness of Christ to replace that which has been repented of, but that would be genuine repentance. So it's repent and believe. Is that what's happened to you, like it did with Paul? So that now you're in that initial faith in Christ. And then once we're in that initial faith, then we're moving from there and we're growing and increasing in that faith. and he lets us know how to do that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:48] But who does he say this is for? He says, "It's for the faith of those chosen of God." That word chosen of God there is the word elect, and in the Old Testament, when God chose Israel to be his people, they were the chosen people of God, and they were called the elect. And the intention was that God would work through his chosen people, and that the nations would come to faith in God through the chosen people of God. And then when the New Testament comes into play, that same language is used so that every person that trusts in Christ is called the elect of God. So there's a continuity all through the scriptures of who those are that are chosen by God, and those who trust in him are the elect, and it's the continuing people of God. So what he's doing is trying to increase the faith of those who are the chosen of God. But it's not just increasing the faith, but it's the knowledge of the truth that he wants to see increased.

Ross Sawyers: [00:31:48] Now, when we think about knowledge, that's information, and we all have knowledge about particular things. We can have knowledge about a person and actually not know the person, we can know things about them and not know them. And then we're also told about knowledge in the scriptures that knowledge can make us arrogant. If knowledge is not tied to love, then we're arrogant and we sound like a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal, nobody's listening. Have ever been around people and you just think they're just waiting to talk, and so it's just noise, and you just kind of quit listening? Knowledge can puff us up and it can make us arrogant; at the same time, it's knowledge that enables us to increase and grow in our faith. So it's a knowledge of the truth, and the truth is Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. And the more we get to know him, the more we're set free. So the more knowledge of him that we have, and the more our love increases of him, the more freedom we have. John 8:31-32, "You'll be my disciples, and those who continue in my Word and you'll be set free, the truth will set you free." So we're set free in the truth, so it's the knowledge of the truth.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:13] Now where do I get the idea of increasing. In Colossians chapter 1 all rights in verses 9 and 10, "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." Paul is praying that they will increase in the knowledge of God, so that they will in turn live lives that are worthy of him. The psalmist says something similar in Psalm 119:13, it says, "The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple." So as God's Word unfolds, then we see more and more light, we understand more and more truth, we increase in it, and we can walk in it more. And we celebrate the steps every time we learn more and more truth about God and our knowledge increases. But not to make us more arrogant or puffed up because we know these things, but so that our love for God increases, in our love for everyone else increases, so we increase in the knowledge of the truth.

Ross Sawyers: [00:34:32] So how do we do that? We can be intimidated by God's Word, the truth, some of us, and so sometimes it can be hard to get going. But we have a class that's starting up, so if you have any interest, you're just thinking, you know what I don't understand? I don't even know where to start. I don't understand the big idea. we have a class that you could take that would be helpful for that. There are the eight ways that we talk about as a path to discipleship. And there's a discovery Bible study method, when the couple was up here earlier, that's one of the things they use in global work, is a way to study the Bible with no other resources. We have a video that teaches how to do that under the eight ways on our website. It could be that you subscribe to the table of two devotional. It might be that you're ambitious and you're going to read through the Bible in a year. I was getting my hair cut the other day, and the lady who cuts my hair had that plan, but she already found herself discouraged by it. But you know what she did, I love this, she's not going to bail reading through the Bible, she's just not going to do it in a year. It might take her two years, or it might take her three years, she's going to continue the plan, she's just slowing down the pace.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:49] So I say, as an encouragement to you, what would be a way for you to legitimately get in the truth and not be discouraged by it, but be encouraged by whatever pace that you're setting? We have life groups, we have 20 groups that are studying Ephesians this fall, 20 ladies’ groups. We have a men's group that's studying Second Corinthians. So the Bible is being studied all throughout our life groups, there's podcasts, and sermons. I've been listening to the Bible, some guy reads it to me, on the YouVersion app, and I've found that really encouraging to have the word read over me as I drive. So when we think about the truth, those are ways that we can immerse in the knowledge of the truth.

Ross Sawyers: [00:36:30] And the purpose of having knowledge of the truth, Paul says in verse 1, is for godliness. To what we would want to be looking at our own lives and saying the test of the increase of knowledge of truth and of our faith is are we becoming more godly in our character. The reason we're chosen, is to be conformed to the image of Jesus. Are we more and more being godly in the character of Christ? Do we have more integrity today than we did a year ago? Do we? Are we more self-controlled today than we were a few months ago? Are we more patient than we once were? And it's not because every morning I get up and say, God, I want to be more patient today. It's because I abide more deeply in Jesus every day, and the truth of Jesus and the character of Jesus starts to flow through. And so I look up and say, the more I'm with him, the more I start to look like him. We can either look like Zeus or we can look like God. It's really going to be a matter of what are we feeding into our hearts and minds.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:41] I think it's comical the way we talk about social media. Most of us would say, maybe you wouldn't, but most of us I think would say, we're on it too much, and most of us will not change one thing this week. We'll just keep doing the same thing, and then we'll keep complaining about its negative impact, what it does to our kids, but we'll just keep doing it if we don't change the pattern. At the end of Proverbs chapter 3 it says that there's an onslaught of wickedness coming. And so my thought was, as I thought about that, i thought, what if we just had an onslaught of truth overwhelm us? What if our minds were constantly filled with truth? What if every day we were somehow in the truth of God, and we were mulling over the truth of God through the day, and we were listening to podcasts and things that were pouring in the truth of God, and we're in gatherings like this, just like you are today, and we're being in an onslaught of God's truth. And imagine what would happen, as that truth continues to permeate us, and it'll start to shape and mold us, it'll capture us, and then we'll look like the truth of who God is. It's that godly character.

Ross Sawyers: [00:38:54] Two weeks ago we went to Atlanta to Passion, and I'm sure you're tired of me talking about it, but we were on an airplane and heading that way. And I had just finished, a thing called 75 Hard, and part of it was 75 days to do 5 different things. I added some things, I made it harder for myself, and loved it. I finished it on January 2nd, well, part of it was to drink a gallon of water every day, and I tried to continue that as best I can. So I had my water bottle I took onto the airplane, we're sitting, and there's a group of us, and I was turned around talking to a girl who goes to the University of Alabama, we were talking about things, and I just turned around. I got my water bottle, and I took the spout, and I put it up real quick. What I didn't understand was the cabin pressure and what that does to a water bottle, and the water just goes, it just shoots all over my face, it goes up onto the ceiling of the airplane. I mean, it just shot, and it was just like I was stunned, I don't even know what just happened. And this girl's laughing, and a couple of other people saw it, then they saw me and water was dripping off of me and that is kind of what happened there. How cool would that be if God's Word so filled us up and was so powerful that it just exploded out of us, and it's in us, and over us, and it's refreshing to everyone around us to be in the truth. Yes, I refreshed multiple people. We want an onslaught of truth, knowledge of the truth, and continue to increase and grow in it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:40:50] Let's look at these last two parts a little quicker than verse 1. Don't you love the richness of God's Word? We've just hovered, in some deep concepts, and this is what will cause the rest of the letter to flow. But this is based on the character of truth that's in God himself. So we're trusting God's character of truth. So it's "In the hope of eternal life." So there's a certainty of eternal life, and God who cannot lie. So God is a God of truth, he cannot lie. Hebrews 6:18 says the same, and he promised long ages ago. So if God is a God of truth and he cannot lie, this is who he is and his character, he's trustworthy as a God of truth. We can know that whenever there's a promise of God, we can believe and trust that promise, and we can believe and trust that promise because of the one who made the promise. Any time that we don't believe in a promise of God, the sin underneath that sin is we're not believing that God Himself is truth. This whole introduction and greeting is shaped around truth, that God Himself is the truth, and we're cheered on to increase and grow in the knowledge of the truth.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:02] And then he says in verse 3, "At the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior." This has been entrusted to Paul the truth of God, the knowledge of the truth, and who God is as one who cannot lie, and he's had this trust given to him according to the commandment of God our Savior, and he can't do anything but preach it and talk about is because of who God is as a God of truth, and because of the promises of God that are anchored in eternal life.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:38] We'll note it throughout this book, but look what he says here, "It's the commandment of God our Savior." And then in verse 4, he'll talk about Christ Jesus our Savior. In chapter 2, he'll talk about God our Savior and Jesus our Savior. In chapter 3, he'll talk about God as our Savior and Jesus as our Savior. Who's our Savior? Jesus is God, it was interchangeable for Paul, he's our savior. When people ask the question, how do you know Jesus is God? Well, Paul tells us that God is our Savior, and through Jesus our Savior, salvation comes, Jesus is God, he's our Savior, and that will unfold more in the letter. Do you personally believe that God is trustworthy and true? Paul suffered deeply in his life, and he never wavered that God himself is truth, that he's trustworthy.

Ross Sawyers: [00:43:46] The last thing in verse 4 that we would say today in this greeting is to entrust the truth to faithful people. We see Paul to Titus, and it's an entrusting of things that Paul knows to Titus, entrusting the truth to him. He says this letter is being written to Titus, my true child in a common faith, my true child. Again, he's shaping around truth against the Cretans who are liars. This is my genuine child in the faith, he's not someone who's saying he's in the faith and he's not, this is my true child in the faith, and he's genuine in that common faith that's in Jesus Christ. When Paul writes to Timothy, he says in chapter 2, "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." There are four generations of entrusting and passing down. You see, what God has given us in truth was never intended to stop in any of us, it was intended to pass on to faithful people who are trustworthy, who will in turn entrust it to others that it just keeps moving through us to those around us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:45:07] So what do we know about Titus? He's not mentioned in Acts, but we do see he's mentioned nine times in Second Corinthians. And when you see the scriptures, there are First and Second Corinthians, there's actually a third letter to Corinth that was written by Paul that's in between First and Second Corinthians, and it's thought of as a severe letter. And Paul wrote a very hard letter to the Corinthians because of the way they were living. Titus is the one that delivered the letter, and we find in Second Corinthians the response of the Corinthians to that letter that Paul had written them, and they actually responded well. So we learn about Titus, what we know about Titus is that Paul trusted him with hard conversations, he was someone that could be trusted with the hard things. We also know that Titus was a refreshment to Paul. And while he waited to get word on how the Corinthians responded to that letter, Paul was restless and wondering, have you ever been in a scenario like that? You know somebody and they're having a hard conversation with someone else, and you're just kind of waiting to hear how that conversation went. That's what Paul is doing, but he could trust him with it. Titus also did a collection of money from the Corinthian church to take to the poor in Judea, so he was trusted with finances in the church. He was trusted with hard things. He was trusted with financial things. He was a comfort and a refreshment to Paul. He was described as being earnest, sincere, genuine, and as a partner and a fellow worker in the labor of taking the Gospel.

Ross Sawyers: [00:46:58] Now, all of this links back to that text thread that I told you that Jermaine wrote us and the different responses. What's happening here? What did Jermaine say? That last part's lonely because our students have fewer and fewer who were really loving and following Jesus, and it gets really difficult to do. Well, Paul had Titus, and we see at the end of this letter there were a number of others, so we see that with him. Paul was Titus's mentor, Titus now is mentoring the leaders of the churches on Crete, and he is passing it down, and more leaders will be developed that can turn around and lead others. It's a beautiful model that Jesus set in play and Paul is executing. We have all kinds of opportunities to lead. In that text thread, somebody came back and said, this is why so many of us need to be coaches of our kids because you can set environments and atmospheres that have truth in the midst of them. Kids love their teachers, kids love their coaches, and when they connect, that coach and teacher have a profound impact. The profound impact that we would love to see happen is those who genuinely know Jesus, and in the midst of all those hours they'll spend, that they're getting the impact of Jesus through those men and women who are coaching and teaching and leading them. It's in our homes, and it's in our churches that we have these opportunities.

Ross Sawyers: [00:48:36] So what trust has been given to you? If you're a follower of Jesus, you've been given a trust, with your family, there's some segment of people you work with, the neighborhood where you live, the sports that your kids play, or where you still play, the arts, where your kids are involved or that you're still involved, dancing. If you've been given a large trust of people, what will you do with that trust? Will you bring truth to bear so those entrusted to you have the same opportunity you've had? And who is pouring into you because they see you as faithful and can be trusted with the things of God because they know that you'll pass them on to somebody else?

Ross Sawyers: [00:49:44] Thursday night we had the opportunity to encourage and cheer on our life group leaders. And I love 121, Creation Land, 121 Kids, our students, and life group leaders, there are so many that are leading. And we had a time of worship, a time of prayer, and time just to cheer on our leaders and to thank you for what you're doing and being a picture of this.

Ross Sawyers: [00:50:16] What we want to do in the days and weeks ahead is we want to overlay Titus on 121. And we want with humility to ask God, do we look like this, because this is what a healthy, robust church looks like. And we want to come with real repentance in the places where we're not, and we want to continue in real gratitude and continue to build on those places where we are. That's the beauty of God and His grace and the continual increase and growth in him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:50:54] Lord, thank you for the time in your Word, thank you for the time we've had to worship you in song, and God, thank you for the chance to respond back to you gladly for the worth of what you've revealed to us in your Word today. God, that we can respond back to you with gladness that you are a God who's called us to be servants of yours, that you've called us to be people to further the faith of those around us, to help each other increase in knowledge of the truth, and to help us, God, to progress in godly character and godly ways. And thank you that it's anchored, God, in you today so we can praise you and we can respond back to you as a God who cannot lie because you're a God of truth. You've anchored that promise in the hope of eternal life. And God, help us to be like Paul and be obedient to your command to make disciples and to take that message. And I pray, God, that we would increase and be like Titus, that we could be trusted with hard things that we'd be trusted with the financial things of the kingdom, that we would be a refreshment to the people around us, with truth just flowing in and around and over us. And God, as Paul finished that intro, that grace and peace would be what mixes in with the truth and the grace that you speak of again and again, grace and truth. Thank you for the importance of truth in our day, and Father, I pray we would walk in it, live it, love it, and God that more and more people be drawn to the refreshment of it. So let our response now be one that is pleasing and honoring to you in spirit and truth today. In Jesus' name.

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