Titus 3:12-15

Valuing Our Gospel-Ministry Workers (Full Sermon Manuscript)

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Introduction:

In the entire book of Titus, Paul’s pastoral epistle for the church in Crete, the church there was expected to exemplify the correct characteristic of a Christian. In chapter 1, we saw that the church needs elders to set things in order.

In chapter 2, we explored the importance of discipleship within the mixed congregation.

Lastly, in chapter 3, we were taught that we ought to be part of the bigger community. We have a responsibility to do “good works”—out of our love towards Christ and others—to show who really Christians are. 

Background:

Sadly, many churches do not value the works of our missionaries, evangelists, and even local pastors. It was in this kind of thought where Paul is reminding the church to appreciate and value our ministry workers. Not that they deserve it, but because they are not perfect. They are as flawed as we are. They struggle in sin; they experience similar sufferings as how most human beings do. I like how Eugene Peterson called them; they are “wounded healers.” They take care of others while taking care of themselves.

Main Idea:

Verse 12
In verse 12, you can see how Paul desired to meet Titus. Maybe they will have a meeting, a sabbatical leave, or another mission assignment. But clearly, in here, you can see how Paul values mentoring and discipleship. That Paul is not merely instructing Titus but also showing Titus the ways of ministerial works.

So, Titus, as we know when we started the Titus series, was with Paul in Jerusalem, then Ephesus and Corinth. Also, in Philippi before going to Crete. Now after Crete, Paul is telling Titus to go to Nicopolis and later to Dalmatia (Yugoslavia).

Verse 13
Make sure to “help” Zenas and Apollos. The church ought to support fellow missionaries. The church’s role in supporting missions is told here. The “help” is the same as hospitality, “make sure they lack nothing.” Their accommodation, food, and more. Why?

Remember, there was no train, no plane back then. They needed to travel by walking, hiking, months and weeks in a ship just to deliver the letter before going to another place. Here most likely going to Alexandria or another part of Northern Africa.

Verse 14
Devoting to do good works, the main theme of Paul’s letter, and assisting or helping the urgent needs in the church. This opportunity to assist Zenas and Apollos is one more example of how Christians can be involved in good works, providing needs, and furthering the gospel.

Hence, giving to the church matters. It is not something optional. It is necessary to the Christian faith because it is for the cause of proclaiming Christ to others. Our fund is not only for self-enrichment but rather for missions and providing the urgent needs of the church. We are not a mere institutional church; we are a missional church. That is our goal.

Verse 15
This part is like the signature line of the writer. Like “Sincerely Yours, or Lovingly, or Yours Truly.” Here, this is very important to know. Letters during Ancient times were designed to be read in public out loud. So, even this is addressed to Titus, this letter is intended to be read out loud. Meaning, everyone ought to hear these words.

Practical Directions:

1. Pray for them. Scottish Baptist minister, Oswald Chambers, said: “Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work.”

2. Promote relationships. Ask the leaders of the church, “how can we keep in touch with them?” Make sure that you also know the person. Add them on Facebook.

3. Prevent or Protect them. Do not create rumors or gossip about our ministerial workers. It is not well for anyone to have a divisive spirit when it comes to the ministry of God. Being accountable is also part of this.

4. Plan to visit. Let us plan as a church to visit where they are working.

5. Prioritize giving. It is in giving where we take part in the broader ministry.

6. Praise or Appreciate their works.

7. Participate in ministry activities.

8. Lastly, Pause and pray. Every time you remember the person or the place where we have missions and outreaches, practice pause and pray. Pause from whatever you were doing and pray for a minute or two.

Conclusion:

We ought to be intentional in valuing our ministerial workers. As to how Paul ended his letter, “Grace be with all of you.”

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
October 24, 2021

 

This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.

 

 

Text: Titus 2:9-15

The Revealed Hope (Full Sermon Manuscript)

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Background:

The world of the early church during the first century was not a golden time full of abundance, resources, and economic rise. It was a time where ordinary people need to work hard, exert much effort and time just to put something on their table. This was a time when they also need to pay high taxes to the Roman government. A time when security was tight, and the politics were full of corrupt people even from the lowest form of their government.

In short, it feels like the last days and it seems like it is the end of the world. No hope. No purpose. Everything is meaningless. EXCEPT for the faithful Christians.

Main Idea:

Jesus Christ is the Revealed Hope to the whole world. Now let us dissect this statement of mine one by one. We will start from the last words up to the first part.

1. The Whole World.

In verse 11 of our passage, it is clear that “the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” To whom? To ALL PEOPLE. Plain, simple, and clear. For everyone. Now reading this verse is not enough since the starting word is “for” –conjunction. Meaning, it is connected to the prior verses.

When Christ came, He became the liberator not just of the social status but the spiritual realities of each person. Paul here was echoing Christ. He is saying to Titus that the bondservants have the same privilege, access, and responsibilities to the Christian faith. This may not be something extravagant nowadays. But during that time where bondservants do not have rights or any choice. Finally, someone is giving them a significant value in the community. This community is the Christian faith.

So in here, Paul is saying that the Grace of God is for everyone—equally given to all people who will call upon His Name. Paul is surely consistent with this doctrine. Let us look at the book just after the book of Titus. Philemon. Paul here is saying that Philemon—the master—needs to equally treat Onesimus—the bondservant—as brothers in Christ (Philemon 12-17).

2. The Revealed Hope

As stated, everyone is given the same offer to embrace such freedom. This freedom, liberty, redemption is the hope of those people in ancient times. This hope is a revelation. This revelation of hope is a person. This person is Jesus Christ. They know that Christ will return.

God has revealed to the world that there is hope. Tell the person beside you, there is hope and this hope is Jesus Christ. This revealed hope is the blessed hope that was stated in verse 13. Even in verse 11, the term “appeared” implies a revelation. Therefore, Christ is also the personified grace of God.

3. Jesus Christ (read verse 13b-14)

For every one look at YOURSELF, take ten looks at CHRIST.” – Robert M. M’cheyne

Means, look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions. But as I shared this last ladies prayer meeting, Wednesday. I told them that this statement is applicable to many circumstances in life. Sufferings, righteousness, goodness, achievements, sin, forgiveness, giving, and more.

When we need someone, you immediately call the person you know who can help you. If you want someone to talk to, someone who will listen to you, then open the Bible. The Bible is Christ’s words. “To read it is to hear Christ.”

The Bible is God’s speaking to us; prayer is our speaking him. We acknowledge that God is a real person. Someone, we can lean on. Do not treat God as a tyrant abusive demanding father but rather a loving gracious Father.

4. is/ ego eime/ am

2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. (Heb 1:2) Christ even said that He is the same “Great I AM” whom Moses met at the burning bush event. Christ said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58) –that was more than 6, 000 years ago.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. (Heb. 13:8) – If Jesus is good before, he is still good today. If he was faithful during the broken times of David, He is still faithful today. If he was gracious to the thief on the cross, He is still gracious today. That is the “is” the “am” be-verb means. Christ was and is and always will be the very Friend, Savior, Redeemer that is.

Conclusion:

The Blessed-Revealed Hope – we are all sojourners of this world. We feel pain, experience problems in life, we grieve but we have hope, unlike other people. Why? Because we are not going to stay here in this world permanently. Our home is in the heavenly kingdom of God. We are kingdom citizens.

Embrace the Revealed Hope—Jesus Christ.

 

Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
September 26, 2021

This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.