At the heart of Christmas is love. You can’t have Christmas in any meaningful way without love. Christmas is a season of love and generosity because God is loving and generous. Christmas is about God’s love in action. The celebration of the birth of Jesus, is about the goodness and love of God appearing, that is, being made manifest, tangible, seen, experienced so as to change our lives forever.
Because we have been a beneficiary of God’s love and kindness, Paul instructs us to use our lives to bless others, to devote our lives to good deeds that are excellent, that benefit and bless others. True appreciation for the gifts of God will lead one to be eager to work or do good on behalf of another. Our ultimate desire is that God would be praised because of our good works, that people would be drawn to the good news of the gospel and that Jesus would look amazingly beautiful in the transformation He brings to people’s lives. Our good works have an opportunity to make an eternal impact in the lives of those around us.
The gospel is powerful; powerful enough to save from sin and powerful enough to transform who we are. In chapter 3 of Titus, Paul provides instructions detailing how Christians should act within the local culture as citizens of a pagan nation. And he grounds our ability to live this way in the power of the gospel. God's loving kindness has reached us, saved us and is producing ongoing transformation within us, enabling us to live lives that glorify God as we are zealous to do good works.
This week we are delighted to welcome Andrew Pack as our guest preacher. Andrew is one of the pastors at Restoration Road Church in Snohomish, and he is the Executive Director of 3 Strand, a local network of churches seeking to advance the gospel in our region by strengthening churches and making disciples. He will be picking up where we left off last week in the Book of Titus. We are blessed to have him with us this morning.
The Apostle Paul writes to Titus, urging him to continue in their task of evangelizing the lost on the island of Crete and to strengthen local churches by appointing elders in every congregation. The elders who are appointed must be qualified to lead. And so Paul provides Titus, as he did Timothy, with a list of important, non-negotiable qualifications for these men. These elders will serve to promote discipleship, live as an example for others to follow and protect the church from harmful, false doctrine. Therefore, elders must be qualified to do so. Qualified elders produce and promote godliness within the church and guard the church from error.
This Father’s Day, we look at the instructions Paul gives for older and younger men. We see that men are to be a model of good works and practice self-control. The rise and fall of the family and local church rests in part on their ability to do these two things.