Colossians 1:1-14; Key Verses: Col 1:13-14


1.    Who was the author of this letter? What was his situation? (Col 4:3,18) How does Paul identify himself? Who were the recipients of the letter? (Col 1:2) How did the church at Colosse begin? (Col 1:7-8; Ac 19:9b,10)

2.    Why was Paul thankful for the Colossian believers? (Col 1:3-4) What are the three virtues mentioned here, how are they interrelated, and why are they the essentials in Christian life? (Col 1:4-5) How are they a testament to the power of the gospel? (Col 1:6)

*  PAUL’S PRAYER (9–12a)

3.    What was Paul’s prayer for them? (Col 1:9) What was the purpose of his prayer? (Col 1:10a; Eph 4:1; Php 1:27)

4.    What are the four ways in which we can please God? (Col 1:10b-12) [“bearing fruit,” “growing,” “being strengthened,” “giving thanks”] Why is knowing the will of God so important? (Php 1:9,10)


5.    What is the great privilege Paul mentions, and how can we have it? (Col 1:12b)

6.    Read verses Col 1:13-14. What was our life like in the dominion of darkness? What has God done for us? What blessings have we received? What is the meaning of the redemption Paul mentions? (Jn 8:34–36; Lk 23:34a; Tit 2:14) Why is it such a great blessing?


Colossians 1:15–23; Key Verses: Col 1:18-19


1.    Who is Jesus in relation to God? (Col 1:15a) How did Paul describe God? (1 Ti 1:17; Jn 4:24) What does it mean that Jesus is the “image” of God? (Heb 1:3; Jn 1:18; 14:9b)

2.    What does the phrase “the firstborn over all creation” teach us about Jesus? (Col 1:15b; Jn 1:1,2 [Here, the term “firstborn” does not mean created but preeminent.]

3.    How does verse 16 explain the scope, means and purpose of Jesus’ creation? (Jn 1:3) How is Jesus continually involved in his creation? (Col 1:17)


4.    What is Jesus’ relation to the church? (Col 1:18a) What does it mean that Jesus is the head of the church? (Eph 1:22,23) How did he become the head? (Col 1:18b; 1Co 15:20–22; Ro6:9)

5.    Based on verses Col 1:15-18, in what respects does Jesus have the supremacy? Why is Jesus alone sufficient? (Col 1:19)


6.    What did God do through Jesus? (Col 1:20a) What does reconciliation mean? How did God reconcile all things to himself? (Col 1:20b)

7.    How did Paul describe our former condition? (Col 1:21) What happened to us because of Jesus’ death? (Col 1:22) What do we need to continue in? (Col 1:23a

Grace: The Key That Unlocks the Bible (Titus 2:11-15)


Titus 2:11-15; Key Verse: 2:11

"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people."

Just how important is grace? Grace (charis) occurs 156 times in the N.T. J.I. Packer, the well respected British theologian and author, says, "In the New Testament, ‘grace' is a word of central importance - the keyword, in fact, of Christianity. The thought of grace is the key that unlocks the New Testament; and it is the only key that does so. However well we may know the New Testament, we cannot get inside its meaning till we know something of what grace is."

Whether we realize it or not, the entire Bible centers on grace and reveals grace, for grace is the way our God operates. But grace is counter-intuitive to all human beings including Christians, who function on the basis of the law, which is blessing and reward based on merit, not grace.

  • Major Distinction: Grace distinguishes between Christianity and all other religions in the world. All humanistic ideologies and religions, including Christianity wrongly understood and wrongly communicated, teaches that God/"the heavens" blesses us/saves us according to our work, effort or sincerity in being good and repentant. Only Christianity among all religions teaches that salvation is by grace alone, through faith (in Christ), which is the gift of God (Eph 2:8-9).
  • Man's Inability: In other words, the doctrine of grace teaches us explicitly that there is nothing that any man can do to bring about his own salvation. Even our faith/belief/trust in Jesus gives us no credit whatsoever, because our faith, which is God's divine work in us, is not in our "work" of faith, but our trust in a person--Jesus--who alone is able to save us.
  • Old Testament (OT)--Grace Precedes Law: Grace is not just a NT teaching on salvation, but OT as well. The 10 Commandments (Exo 20:2-17) is preceded by the grace of God's deliverance (Exo 20:1). Christians do not keep the 10 Commandments to be saved, but because God has already saved/delivered them.
  • OT Pattern/Order--1. Grace, 2. Law, 3 Reward/Punishment (Alec Motyer): Ex 19:4-6 shows this order. The Bible is understood when this order is understood. Grace always comes 1st. The order in the Bible is that we 1st receive grace, then next we obey. The Bible never teaches that we obey in order to receive grace. In a sermon, "On the Mountain: The Terrifying and Beckoning God" (Ex 19:1-25), Tim Keller explains this order of:
  1. Grace: The saving acts of the Lord (Ex 19:4). God carried them on eagle's wings.
  2. Law: Our responsive obedience (Ex 19:5). When they realize God's grace, they want to obey God.
  3. Blessing: The blessing obedience brings (Ex 19:6). When they obey because of grace, God blesses them.
Tit 2:11-14 is the heart of Titus. The ESV Study Bible refers to it as "Gospel Basics," where Paul gives the theological basis for the lifestyles he describes in Tit 2:1-10, which make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. Christians should live this way because (“for”) the grace of God that saves also instructs its recipients to live in a new way. One cannot truly claim to be a recipient of saving grace without also being a pupil of “training grace.” This change in lifestyle is rooted in the atonement (Tit 2:14) and the expectation of Christ’s return (Tit 2:13). Tit 2:11-14 answers the question why Christians ought to obey the exhortations in Tit 2:1-10. It is because of the grace of God. "For the grace of God has appeared..." (Tit 2:11). What happens when the grace of God appears? Let's see what happens when the grace of God appears:

  1. Grace transforms/motivates/enables (Tit 2:11).
  2. Grace teaches (Tit 2:12).
  3. Grace waits/looks (Tit 2:13).
  4. Grace works/redeems/purifies (Tit 2:14).
  5. Grace gives authority/confidence (Tit 2:15).

I. Grace Transforms (Tit 2:11)

When grace appears, grace transforms. As much as we want to, we cannot change ourselves because of our sins. Sin resists God. Sin rebels against God (Rom 8:7). But grace changes and transforms us so that we desire to live in accordance with his Word and obey the exhortations in Tit 2:1-10. Grace brings/offers salvation to all people (Tit 2:11).

This does not mean universalism, that all men will be saved. Paul had just addressed the false teachers and their false teachings (Tit 1:10-16) that forfeits God's grace offered to them. "All" does not mean all people without exception. "All" means all people without distinction, whether slave or free, Jew or Gentile (Gal 3:28), from every tribe, nation and people (Rev 5:9).

God has shown us His grace through His Son. When we know and taste His grace, we will reveal the grace of God in the way we live. God gives our hearts the power and the desire to live a holy life not grudgingly but willingly. When grace is lived out/adorned in our life, we make the gospel attractive (Tit 2:10).

II. Grace Teaches (Tit 2:12)

Grace not only transforms and changes us. Grace also teaches us. Grace "teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age" (Tit 2:12). How do you know that you are saved by grace? You can say "No" and "Yes": "No" to ungodliness and "Yes" to godliness. Where grace reigns, grace trains. God teaches/trains us in grace in 3 areas--in relation to:

  1. Self: We have self-control (Gal 5:23), self-mastery over worldly passions.
  2. Others: We live an upright life in relationship with others; we love our neighbors.
  3. God: We live a godly life of devotion in an ungodly age (Mt 6:33; 1 Cor 10:31).
III. Grace Waits (Tit 2:13)

Grace enables us to "wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Tit 2:13). This is the Christian's ultimate hope. The question is what do we do while we wait in hope? Watch movies? Play video games? Go on vacation?

How did Jesus express his hope while on earth? Heb 12:2b says, "For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Jesus' glorious hope gave him the joy to endure the cross and scorn its shame day by day till he was executed on the cross.

What did Jesus do practically to endure the cross? Jesus said, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (Jn 5:17). He also said, "I always do what pleases him" (Jn 8:29). Jesus is always working like his Father, and his single sole motivation for working is to please God.

How do we Christians express our hope? How do we wait for our glorious and blessed hope? In the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Mt 25:1-13), there were 5 foolish virgins and 5 wise virgins. The former were foolish because they were unprepared for the bridegroom's return, while the latter were ready, prepared and waiting for his unannounced return at any time without warning.

A lady once asked John Wesley how he would live if he knew that he would die at midnight the next day. He replied, "Why, madam, just as I intend to spend it now. I would preach this evening at Gloucester, and again at five tomorrow morning; after that I would ride to Tewkesbury, preach in the afternoon, and meet the societies in the evening. I would then go to Martin's house...talk and pray with the family as usual, retire myself to my room at 10 o'clock, commend myself to my Heavenly Father, lie down to rest, and wake up in glory." This may be a very good question to ask ourselves.

Does our Christian hope fuel our Christian life?

IV. Grace Works (Tit 2:14)

Grace works through what Jesus did for us. Jesus "gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good" (Tit 2:14). God's work is always 2-fold with a negative and a positive purpose: 1) redeem us from wickedness, and 2) purify us to do what is good.

Jesus "gave himself for us." Gal 1:4 says that Jesus "gave himself for our sins." Jesus "gave himself" to redeem us, to rescue us, and to save us. This simply means that only Jesus can save us, for only Jesus could our worthy Substitute (2 Cor 5:21). Salvation is entirely God's work and never the result of man's effort. This is grace. This is the key to knowing God and unlocking the Bible.

How does grace work? Eph 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of Godnot by works, so that no one can boast." That Christ "gave himself for us (for our sins)" (Tit 2:14; Gal 1:4) means that Christians are saved by grace alone, through faith, which is a gift from God.

But throughout history, Christians have feared that if they teach that salvation is by grace, it would lead to a carefree, irresponsible, godless life. So, they add "works" to grace. They say, suggest, or insinuate that grace alone is not enough; by saying, suggesting, or insinuating that we are saved by "grace and works," or "faith and works," or "faith and faithfulness," or "faith and bearing fruit," or "faith and __________." But Paul clearly says that we are saved only by grace and through faith and not by works in Eph 2:8-9. For some reason "not by works" scares Christians to this day and they hesitate to say boldly, clearly and precisely what the Bible says.

Paul, however, was not afraid or hesitant to say "not by works." In Galatians, Paul says clearly that if we add anything to grace and to the gospel, we are foolish and bewitched (Gal 3:1), and should be eternally condemned (Gal 1:8-9) and emasculated (Gal 5:12). Paul saved his strongest, harshest language for anyone who dares to add anything to the grace of God in the gospel. To Paul, grace alone was always sufficient (2 Cor 12:9).

Since we are saved by grace alone shall we just go on sinning (Rom 6:1, 15)? Are there no works in salvation? Eph 2:10 explains that we are not saved by good works, but for good works: "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." To Paul works is the evidence of grace, not the means of grace. No one gets grace by working more, yet when grace is working in us, good works abound.

V. Grace Gives Authority/Confidence (Tit 2:15)

Grace does not make us wimps. Instead, grace gives us authority and confidence. "These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you" (Tit 2:15). There are 2 kinds of authority. 1) Authority that comes from your rank or position. 2) Authority that comes from grace. Positional authority compels obedience out of fear. Authority that comes from grace promotes obedience that comes from love and gratitude.

Why do you obey God? Do you obey because you are afraid of your shepherd? Or do you obey because you realize that "the grace of God has appeared" (Tit 2:11) to you personally?

Being a Christian and living the Christian life is not primarily about obedience. Obedience is always secondary in the Bible. The problem may be that Christians tend to teach that obedience is primary by glossing over or assuming grace. Grace is the primary mover in the Bible, both OT and NT. Our God is an awesome and terrifying God. But he does not come to us to terrify us until we obey him. Rather God always comes to us in grace so that we want to obey him out of love and gratitude and utmost delight. Do you have a sense that "the grace of God has appeared" (Tit 2:11) to you?


  1. “What the Grace of God Teaches” (Tit 2:11-15), Ligon Duncan, 1/16/2005.
  2. The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus: Guard the Truth. (Bible Speaks Today.) John Stott. 2001.
  3. ESV Study Bible. 2008.
  4. The MacArthur Study Bible. NASB. 2006.

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Make The Teaching About God Our Savior Attractive (Titus 2:1-10)


Titus 2:1-10; Key Verse: 2:10b

"...in every way...make the teaching about God our Savior attractive."

Does the way you live your Christian life make the teaching about God our Savior attractive? That's a tough question! What's the deal about beauty and attractiveness anyway?

All human beings without exception are wired to be attracted to something that is beautiful (and repulsed by something that is ugly). That is why if anyone finds pornography attractive, they are often unable, by an act of the will, to simply resist looking at it. If someone feels attracted to someone else, they can't stop thinking about that person. Or if we see an attractive person, it may be hard not to do a double take, and to think of delightful ways of engaging that person. God has wired us to be attracted to beauty. On the other hand, if we see an unattractive person, we might do our best not to end up in a conversation or interaction with them. That, sadly and truly, is how we (fallen) humans are.

God, though, is different. God's inclination toward us humans is not based on how beautiful or ugly we are (how good or bad, how righteous or unrighteous). Why? It is because God is our Creator and Father. God regards all people as his children. As parents love their kids, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, God loves people, regardless (Mt 5:45). The attribute of God's love that does not show favoritism (Rom 2:11) is extremely attractive. How do we Christians make our teaching about God our Savior attractive? Let's briefly review what Titus is about, and next consider how and why we should make our teaching about God our Savior attractive.

What Titus is about?

  • Living out what we say we believe--the B,C,D of being a Christian so that there is no inconsistency or hypocrisy in our:
  • Belief and Behavior
  • Creed and Conduct
  • Doctrine and Deeds/Duty (with Devotion).
  • Paul's instructions on how to build a healthy church:
  • appoint godly "blameless" elders (Tit 1:5-9),
  • deal with false teachers (Tit 1:10-16),
  • express the grace of Jesus in our families/personal relationships (Tit 2:1-15), and
  • live as a Christian in society (Tit 3:1-15).

In Tit 2:1-15, think about how and why we are to make the teaching about God our Savior attractive:

  • How to make the teaching about God our Savior attractive?
  • Why we should make the teaching about God our Savior attractive?

I. How To Make the Teaching about God our Savior Attractive? (Tit 2:1-10)

Paul begins by saying, "You, however..." (Tit 2:1). The conjunction "de" can be translated "however" or "but" or "moreover." This is to contrast with the false Bible teachers whose character, hypocrisy and anthropocentrity distracts from sound/healthy Bible teaching (Tit 1:10-16). How should Christians be different from false teachers/teachings? Paul gives specific instructions to 5-6 groups of people in the church to show what sound doctrine would look like, and how their lives would make Jesus attractive.

1. Older men (Tit 2:2). They should show dignity and maturity.

  • Dignity: "temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled." Older men might demand or expect respect like bosses and rulers (Mt 20:25; Mk 10:42). But they need to be taught to be worthy of respect. This makes Jesus attractive.
  • Maturity: "sound in faith, in love and in endurance." Older men could easily become impatient and expect certain perks for their age and seniority. They need to desperately show their spiritual maturity in how much they need Jesus, just like anyone else. As older men, they need to exemplify more than all others in the church the 3 cardinal Christian virtues of faith, love, and hope (1 Cor 13:13), expressed through patient endurance. A life of faith, love, and hope makes Jesus attractive.

2. Older women (Tit 2:3-4a).  Like older men, older women could expect to be treated like a queen. They need to be taught how "to be reverent in the way they live." Older women likely know more about everyone else--both good and bad--in the church. They have to be instructed "not to be slanderers," not to gossip. They may want to relax and take life easy. They should not be "addicted to much wine." They can become demanding. They need to "teach what is good." Their influence on younger women in the church cannot be overstated (Tit 2:4a). What is the good they should teach?

3. Younger women (Tit 2:4b-5). The image of young women in society tends to be physical, sexual and sensual. Society makes them out to primarily be playmates for men. They are told that they are to be enjoyed, but not taught how to love or serve. Or radical feminist influences (prevalent since the days of Babylon and Assyria) propel them to seek their own careers and ambitions predominantly, and that men/husbands in their life should submit to their expectations and wants. By making Jesus attractive, the older women "...can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God" (Tit 2:4-5). The phrase "subject to their husbands" sounds very offensive to many. But this never ever means inferiority, or unquestioning obedience, or that they have less value or significance. This is always in the context of equality and love, similar to how Jesus was always subject and in submission to the will of His loving Father in heaven. A godly Christian woman will compel others to not "malign the word of God" (Tit 2:5).

4. Young men (Tit 2:6). Among these groups of people, instructions to young men are the shortest: "Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled" (Tit 2:6). They are urged to develop only 1 quality, that of self-mastery. Their expectation is simple, yet comprehensive. What should they have under control? The most obvious are laziness, licentiousness, and a lack of ambition. David's encouragement to his son Solomon is, "Be strong, and show yourself a man" (1 Ki 2:2). If a young man is weak, he will be unable to overcome laziness, licentiousness and a lack of noble ambition. A self-controlled makes the teaching about Jesus attractive.

5. Leaders (Tit 2:7-8). Titus himself, as the lead pastor, should set an example to all in everything through his life example and teaching (Tit 2:7-8).

  • Life. Titus, the leader, must do what is good. His life must make Jesus attractive. Jesus said, "Follow me." Paul said, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Cor 11:1; cf. 4:16; Phil 3:17; 2 Th 3:7,9). The greatest influence in the church is from the leader. The greatest attribute of Christ is humility (Phil 2:5-8), which is the loveliest of human attributes along with unconditional love. Surely, the leader must model humility and love in his life, relationships and interaction with others.
  • Teaching. Bible teaching must "show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us" (Tit 2:7b-8). The KJV says to show "uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech." Clearly, Bible teaching is not for the sake of joking and laughter. It must have gravity and seriousness, for it concerns our eternity. This does not mean that Bible study must be boring, heavy and burdensome. When the Bible is taught with gravity and seriousness, God brings joy and enlightenment to the soul.

6. Slaves (Tit 2:9-10). Interestingly, as wrong as slavery is, the Bible does not call for its immediate and total abolition. This requires a separate discussion. Also, it is interesting that Paul concludes his sound doctrine to the various groups with slaves and with the reasoning "that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive" (Tit 2:10b). Both the ESV and KJV says, "they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior" in everything. To make Jesus attractive in everything, Paul instructs Titus, "Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted" (Tit 2:9-10a). Before their masters, slaves should be submissive, willing to obey them, respectful and honest. Joseph was such a slave, so much so that his master entrusted everything to his care (Gen 39:6).

When we live according to sound doctrine (Tit 2:1-10), we make the gospel attractive. Paul's concern is the Christian's witness to the non-Christian world. He expressed this 3 times (Tit 2:5,8,10). What then is the teaching about God our Savior that it is attractive? It is the grace of God.

II Why We Make the Teaching about God our Savior Attractive (Tit 2:11-15)

Tit 2:11-14 is the heart of the letter, which we will conclude next Sun.

"...in every way...make the teaching about God our Savior attractive." We Christians can make the teachings of the Bible attractive when we live in accordance with sound doctrine from our heart. Beauty is irresistible to all people. Jesus and the gospel is irresistible when we live in accordance to what we say we believe.


  1. In contrast to the false teachers (Tit 1:10-16), what should Titus teach (Tit 2:1,15)?
  2. What should Titus teach:
  • older men (Tit 2:2)?
  • older women (Tit 2:3-4)? Why?
  • younger women (Tit 2:4-5)? Why?
  • young men (Tit 2:6)? Why?
  • slaves (Tit 2:9-10)? Why?
  • What should Titus show himself to be in all things (Tit 2:7-8)? Why?
  • How can Christians make the teaching about God our Savior attractive (Tit 2:10)?
  • What does the conjunction "for" in Tit 2:11 teach us? What is the fundamental basis for Paul's ethical appeal in Tit 2:1-10?
  • Think about how God's grace:
    • Transforms/Enables/Motivates (Tit 2:11)
    • Teaches (Tit 2:12)
    • Waits/Looks (Tit 2:13)
    • Works (Tit 2:14).
    • Will not be despised (Tit 2:15).
    1. The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus: Guard the Truth. (Bible Speaks Today.) John Stott. 2001.
    2. ESV Study Bible. 2008.
    3. The MacArthur Study Bible. NASB. 2006.

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    The Role of Preaching (Bible Teaching) in the Church (Tit 1:3,9-16)


    Titus 1:3,9-16; Key Verse: 1:9

    "He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."

    Two words/phrases are repeated in this short letter of Titus:
    • "sound doctrine" (Tit 1:9; 2:1), "sound in (the) faith" (Tit 1:13, 2:2) (4 times), and
    • "loves/do(ing)/teach what(ever) is good" (Tit 1:8, 16; 2:3,7,14; 3:1,8,14) (8 times).
    "Sound" means to be in good health. "Good" has the meaning of excellence and beauty (genuine, noble, praiseworthy, etc). Surely there is only One who is sound, and excellent, and with exquisite beauty. It is the Lord (Ps 27:4; Isa 33:17). How do we come to know what is sound and good? It is through the preaching and teaching of the Word, which is the theme today.

    To review, In Paul's introduction, he identifies himself (Tit 1:1), expresses his purpose (Tit 1:2-3), and greets Titus (Tit 1:4). Next, he proceeds with his top agenda of instructing Titus to appoint elders to oversee the churches in Crete (Tit 1:5-9). He stresses the prime attribute of elders, that they must be blameless (Tit 1:6,7; 1 Tim 3:2). Then he deals with those who damage and destroy the spiritual health of churches: the false teachers who are lazy liars (Tit 1:10-16).

    What is Paul's strategy for Titus in dealing with these destructive influences? It is to hold firmly to the Word of the gospel message that he has heard from the preaching of Paul (Tit 1:3), so that he can clearly teach (didaskalia [21 times in NT]) the truth, which always does 2 things (Tit 1:9):

    1. Encourage the people of God.
    2. Refute the false Bible teachers.
    Preaching and teaching the Word of God are the primary tools to instruct the church. Paul saw this as the way for churches to be built up when elders who live blamelessly are also blameless in their proclamation of the gospel message. Indeed, the Word rightly proclaimed (Tit 1:9) and correctly handled (2 Tim 2:15) is the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17). How important is preaching?

    In Strong's concordance, "preaching" (kerygma) occurs 8 times in the NT, and "preach"  (kerysso) occurs 61 times. Both words have the similar meaning of "to proclaim, to herald, to publish, to declare with formality, gravity and authority that which must be listened to and obeyed." But kerygma signifies, not the action of the preacher, but that which he preaches upon, the content of the proclamation, while kerysso is the act of preaching or declaring the message to a group of people. What is the object or the content of what is preached? It is the gospel (Acts 20:24), which always carries with it the implications of "good tidings proclaimed." Let us consider a few things about preaching and teaching as we conclude Titus chap 1:

    1. The work of preaching: What does preaching do (Tit 1:3,9)?
    2. The subject of preaching: What is the subject of preaching (Acts 20:24; 1 Cor 15:1-4)?
    3. The spirit of preaching: How does preaching work (1 Cor 2:13; 1 Pet 4:11)?
    4. The error of preaching: How might we "mis-teach" the Bible (Tit 1:10-16; Col 2:20-23)?
    5. The rebuke of preaching: How does preaching refute false teachers/teachings (Tit 1:9-16)?
    I. The Work of Preaching/Bible Teaching (Tit 1:3,9)

    What does biblical preaching/Bible teaching do?

    • It brings God's word to light (Tit 1:3; Ps 119:105).
    • It encourages God's people (Tit 1:9).
    II. The Subject of Preaching/Bible Teaching

    What is the main teaching/point/goal (telos) of the Bible? Is it primarily to live a "good" moral life? Is it to live by the "golden rule"? Live a life of mission? Live a life of obedience? "Yes" to all. But ... they are the results or the secondary or derivative effects of appreciating the main teaching and the primary subject of the Bible. What is that?

    • First/chief/principal importance is the gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4). Why?
    • It is the "only" power of God for salvation (Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18). Nothing else can save us.
    • Paul describes his main point in preaching/Bible teaching in numerous ways:
    • The gospel of the grace of God (Acts 10:24).
    • Christ crucified (1 Cor 1:23, 2:2).
    • Knowing Jesus and his righteousness (Phil 3:9-10).
  • In Titus it is:
    • The grace of God (Tit 2:11). This leads to sanctification and hope (Tit 2:12-15).
    • The mercy of God (Tit 3:5).
  • Jesus says that the point of the Bible (OT) is himself (Jn 5:39,46; Lk 24:27,44).
  • III. The Spirit of Preaching/Bible Teaching

    How does anyone come to grasp, to know, and to understand the main point of the Bible when it is preached/taught?

    • The Spirit explains spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words (1 Cor 2:13).
    • It is thus crucial that the preacher/Bible teacher teaches/speaks the very words (logion [oracles, utterances) of God (1 Pet 4:11).

    IV. The Error of Preaching/Bible Teaching (Tit 1:10-16)

    Is it possible to teach the Bible in a way that does not emphasize/highlight what Paul says or what Jesus says is the main point? Let's see the errors of Bible teaching from the false teachers:

    1. Their character. Elders are to be blameless (Tit 1:6,7). But the false teachers have the very opposite attributes. They seek personal benefit/gain. They are:
    • Rebellious (Tit 1:10). They cannot be controlled.
    • Deceptive (Tit 1:10). Skillful in deceiving/seducing people.
    • Dishonest (Tit 1:11). Baseless. Lacking honor.
    • Liars (Tit 1:12). The character of the devil (Jn 8:44).
    • Lazy (Tit 1:12). Leisurely. Shunning labor which one ought to perform. Inexcusable for a child of God (cf. 1 Cor 15:10; Dt 6:5; Mt 22:37).
    • Talkers. Big words, big talk with little substance. Utters empty senseless things. Engage in meaningless talk (Tit 1:10), myths (Tit 1:14); fables, fiction, inventions, made up stories.
    • Disobedient (Tit 1:16). Stubbornly or willfully disobedient to authority.
  • Their hypocrisy.
    • (External) purity (Tit 1:15). For man to see (1 Sam 16:7). Disregards God who sees the heart (Matt 5:8). Like whitewashed tombs (Matt 23:5, 25).
    • Their actions deny their claim to know God (Tit 1:16a). "They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good" (Tit 1:16b). This is surely the sin of all Christians which requires daily repentance and a daily checking of our own deceitful hearts before God (Jer 17:9).
  • Their anthropocentricity. They emphasize human commands (Tit 1:14). (anthropos [559 times]). Col 2:20-23 say, "Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence." When the Bible is taught with an emphasis on human commands, the point and the emphasis is lost in that the Bible is primarily about Jesus and the gospel. Bonhoeffer states quite explicitly in Life Together that charisma, personality, human love and a Christian leaders "wish dream" that compels others to obey God's word does not necessarily lead one to become a Christian or to grow in spiritual maturity. It is because no man and no human command, no matter how well intentioned, can ever cause anyone to become a Christian. It should always be remembered that the imperatives are based on the indicatives and the order is not reversible.
  • V. The Rebuke of Preaching/Bible Teaching

    Problems in life and in the church are a given. False teaching by deceptive lying Bible teachers and leaders in the church is not uncommon. Proper preaching and teaching of Scripture as God's truth not only encourages those who need encouragement, but also exposes/refutes/opposes/rebukes those who are against the truth. Paul says, "They must be silenced/stopped" (Tit 1:11), and "Rebuke them sharply" (Tit 1:13). This does not mean that the preacher/Bible teacher is rude or condescending or disrespectful. But it does mean that they deal with this firmly, clearly, decisively, even severely. There is no place for vagueness, ambiguity, or "good-mindedness." The false teachers in Crete that Titus needs to deal with seem to be of the liberal variety. In Galatians the false teachers--the Judaizers--were of the legalistic variety. In Colosians, the heresy seems to be a combination of both liberalism and legalism. The single solution to all false Bible teaching is the clear preaching and teaching of the gospel of salvation through the work of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the enlightenment of the Spirit.

    Today we thought of the primacy of preaching and proper Bible teaching in the life and health of the church. The Bible is about Jesus and the gospel. It is not primarily about rules and regulations. Legalism kills. Liberalism weakens. But the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone (Rom 1:16). By his grace alone, we hold firmly to Christ and to the trustworthy message (Tit 1:9).


    1. What is the role of preaching (kerygma) (Tit 1:3, 9; Mt 12:41). What does Paul preach (Rom 1:16, 16:25; 1 Cor 1:23, 2:2,4, 15:1-4, 14; 2 Tim 4:17)? What does preaching bring to light (Tit 1:3)? What does preaching do for others (Tit 1:9)? How are we enlightened and encouraged by Scripture (1 Cor 2:13; 1 Pet 4:11)?
    2. How does preaching deal with those who oppose Scripture (Tit 1:9-11)? What characterizes such people (Tit 1:10,12)? 
    3. What is the danger of the "circumcision group" and of "merely human commands" (Titus 1:10,14)? How is the Bible usually taught (Col 2:20-23)? How do they obscure the gospel (Rom 4:5; Eph 2:8-9; Prov 14:12; Isa 64:6; Jer 17:9)? How should we preach/teach the Bible (Jn 5:39,46; Lk 24:27,44)?
    4. What is the difference between true purity and external purity (Titus 1:15-16; Mt 5:8, 23:5, 25; 1 Sam 16:7)?

    Books on Preaching:

    1. Feed My Sheep. A Passionate Plea for Preaching. Various authors. Foreward by Ligon Duncan. 2008.
    2. Preaching & Preachers. 40th Anniversary Edition. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, edited by Kevin DeYoung. 2011.
    3. 360-Degree Preaching. Hearing, Speaking, and Living the Word. Michael J. Quicke. 2003.

    Posted via email from benjamintoh's posterous


    An Elder/Leader Must Be Blameless (Titus 1:5-9)

    (Watch Video of Sermon) (25 min)

    Titus 1:5-9; Key Verse: Tit 1:6

    "An elder must be blameless..." ("above reproach")

    This text is about the prime attribute of an elder/leader/overseer/pastor of the church, which is "blameless," (NIV) or "above reproach" (ESV). But "blameless" should surely also be the chief characteristic of any and every genuine sincere Christian.