The second sermon in our series, “Seven Sayings from the Cross” comes from Luke 23:35-43. Everything Jesus did and said had a purpose. There were no wasted movements or waster breath with Him. Including the words, He spoke from the cross. While I don’t think they were intended to be wordy theological dialogues like the parables, they are indeed practical theology. The complexity and immensity of what Jesus accomplished on the cross are demonstrated in these statements in a way that every person can understand with ease.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. 36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, 37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. 38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews. 39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
First, we see this Scripture demonstrating the instant nature of salvation by the grace of God alone received by faith alone.
- In the very moment, “today,” we receive God’s gracious offer of salvation by faith we are brought into justification and adoption.
- Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”
- Romans 8:14-17, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
- Romans 10:9-13, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
- Notice, the only thing the penitent thief could do was confess his fallen nature and need of the Father’s grace. He could do not works, and we can do no works to gain or add to our salvation.
- Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
This Scripture also demonstrates the reality of heaven and hell.
- The cross stands as a dividing line between those who receive Christ by faith and those who reject (the two thieves being on each side of Christ).
- Lazuras and the rich man in Luke 16:9 show the clear teachings of Jesus’ teaching on our eternal destiny.
- While our culture talks about a lot of grey areas, Jesus did not. For example, look at Jesus’ “altar call” at the end of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:13-29). There are two separate gates, two different paths, two different endings to find. You either bear good fruit or evil fruit. A person can either build on the teachings of Jesus (rock) or reject them (building on the sand). There are no grey areas in any of our responses to Christ. You are either with Him or against Him.
Lastly, this Scripture demonstrates the comfort knowing Jesus brings to us.
- Since salvation is made a reality at the moment we receive Him by faith, we can have confidence before God in the Judgement. We do not trust in ourselves but in Jesus’ glorious work on the cross and His Word to us. We find comfort in knowing Jesus, for at the end of our life we will be with our Lord in eternity.
- 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
We started a series this past Sunday on the seven last sayings from Jesus from the cross. I have preached these sayings as a sermon. However, we are looking at one saying each Sunday leading up to Easter. I pray these upcoming short summaries from the sermon will encourage your faith each week.
33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
The Setting – The Cross
- The violent, vicarious, but voluntary death of Christ. Crucifixion was a Roman tactic for intense and prolonged torment to demonstrate their power over anyone who would stand against them. Death was our price to pay for sin. Christ paid our sin debt with His own life. He did not owe on the debt, but we could not pay it. Jesus gave his life for us freely. We did not take it away from Him. Instead, he died for us because of His love for the Father and us.
- Matthew 20:28, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
The Saying – Father, Forgive them; for they know not what they do.
- In this statement, we see the ignorance of the soldiers and Pharisees. They did not know who Jesus truly was or His purpose. In 1 Cor. 2:8, Paul wrote, “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
- Still, the most potent understanding we receive from this statement is Jesus as our mediator. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus not only took our place in death, He stands before God as our Priest and Advocate. He asks for our forgiveness by the Father.
- Jesus is also our example of forgiveness. Jesus taught in Matthew 5:43-44, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” There is no better example found in Scripture of loving, blessing, and praying, for those who do us wrong then Jesus praying for the one crucifying Him at the same moment.
The Result – The rest is history
- Jesus died for us, and this first statement really addresses all Jesus’ death accomplished. Through the death of Christ on the cross we have forgiveness of sins. By Jesus we receive atonement and the hope of salvation. God’s love is sufficiently demonstrated to us on the cross. We can still receive the blessing of forgiveness if we accept Christ by faith. Second Peter 3:9 reminds us, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
The following is an outline of our proclamation course for Faith Bible Institute. The outline is based on a book by Peter Adams, “Speaking God’s Word.”
Proclamation outline outline
- God has spoken, It was written, preach the word.
- This book for a practical theology of preaching was given at an important time in my life.
- Three biblical foundations of preaching.
- The ministry of the Word in the Bible includes the writing and reading of Scripture and the use of Scripture in personal exhortation and encouragement as well as in public teaching and preaching. Preaching is best understood as one part of the ministry of the Word, and it derives its theological character from the biblical basis for all aspects of the ministry of the Word.
- God has spoken.
- God’s revelation begins with a sermon; God preaches and the world was made. God said, “let there be light,” and there was light. Six sermons are preached in a wonderful sequence; the Word of God is proclaimed in heaven’s pulpit and all come to pass; the preaching forms the universe…the Word preached is no empty word; it accomplishes what it pleases and never returns void to him who speaks.
- God speaks, and his words are powerful, effective and creative of reality. The God who speaks is the God who acts through his words.
- Psalm. 115:3-8 – idols on dumb and incompetent
- Isaiah 41:21-23,25-28
- Pro. 7:1-3
- John 1:1-3
- Without God’s words, there can be no ministry of the Word. if God is mute, we may speak, but we cannot speak God’s Words, for there are none to speak.
- It was written.
- Inscripturation – What we have in scripture is the revealed and preserved words of God.
- Scripture is preachment.
- Ex. 34:27
- Jer. 30:1-2
- Is. 30:8
- Lk. 1:1-4
- Jn. 20:30-31
- Col. 4:16
- Preach the word.
- Preaching depends not only on having a God-given source, the Bible, but also a God-given commission to preach, teach and explain it to people and to encourage and urge them to respond.
- Enoch (Jude 14) Noah (2 Pet. 2:5) Abraham (Gn. 28:19)
- Moses – Ex. 4:10-16
- Ezra – Ne. 8:13, 18
- John the Baptist – Mk. 1:1-4
- Jesus – Mk. 1:14-15
- Jesus – Lk. 4:!6-21
- The apostles – Acts 3, Acts 4:31
- Romans 10:14-17
- 1 Cor. 1:18-21
- 1 John 1:1-3
- God’s words are effective.
- God’s words are part of his self-revelation.
- God has appointed the ministry of the Word.
- God has preserved his words for us today.
- God has human agents in giving his revelation and preserving his words.
- God’s revelation is both historical and contemporary
- The Preacher at work
- Our definition of preaching as the explanation and application of the Word in the assembled congregation of Christ in order to produce corporate preparation for service, the unity of faith, maturity, growth and upbuilding. It includes
- Evangelism of unbelievers.
- Training and equipping saints.
- Counseling through the word.
- Public reading of Scripture.
- You are not responsible for the individual response in the congregation but the congregational.
- To preach at one person’s sin in the congregation as a hidden rebuke is dangerous.
- Preaching in the NT can be summed up in these categories:
- Word of information
- Words of declaration
- Words of exhortation
- Words of persuasion
- Words of conversation
- Biblical model
- The introduction (Acts 2:14-21)
- The main body (22-36)
- Practical application (38)
- Sound teaching
- 1 Tim. 1:10; 6:3; 2 Tim. 1:13; 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1-2
- Preach the word
- The great reason why the preacher must return continually to the Bible is that the Bible is the greatest sermon in the world.
- The effectiveness of Scripture: it is useful
- 1 Pet. 1:23-25
- We are preaching not a dead word but a living Word: we are preaching not a word which is ineffective but a Word which is effective in the hand of God, for God’s own good purposes. We can thus preach with confidence, faith, and expectation.
- We should aim to encourage people to test what we say by Scripture.
- To preach is to open up the inspired text with such faithfulness and sensitivity that God’s voice is heard and God’s people obey him. Preaching is not an end in itself. It is, to make the obvious point, a form of Christian ministry through which we serve God and Christ, the Word of God, and the people God.
Good Works and Hazards
Good works (3:8)
- Forgotten sermons and forgotten meals illustration (Affirm constantly)
- Eph. 2, 8-10, “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
- We are not saved by our works, Christ’s death is only sufficient.
- However, we are served to do good works.
- To claim to be saved and not do works is hypocrisy.
- To do good works without salvation is empty.
Hazards to deep ministry (3:9-11)
- Avoid pointless pursuits.
- Everything that can be counted doesn’t allows count and you can’t always count the things that should count.
- If all we do is sit around and talk, we will only produce disciples who sit around and talk.
- Reject (the divisive person) after the second Hairetikos, schismatic, factious, a follower of false doctrine:
We are in this together (3:12-15)
- We are in a real world doing real ministry together.
- There is no way all that needs to be done can be done by one person.
- There are many names that are mentioned you will not be familiar with. We also see that there are more names never mentioned. However, they all have important contributions.
Abundant Regeneration & Renewing
- Not by your works. Notice, this passage talks about good works. We are supposed to do right and think right. But, that is not enough to save us.
- We were to far out in sin.
- Is. 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
- Rom 3:23, “All have sinned.”
How are we saved?
- Not by our works.
- By the Kindness, love, and mercy of God (vs. 4-5).
- Salvation is truly the work of God, through the sacrificial death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, and brought to reality in our lives through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.
So what, Paul?
- How you treat people and your good works show and tell God’s presence in you (vs. 1-2, 4-7).
- Why? Because once you were a sinner too (vs. 3).
- We are to live Christ Like in a Christless culture.
- Be subject to powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
For the Grace of God
The Future is now.
- Cartoons and ads that tried to look at the technological advances of the future.
- In Jesus’ resurrection, we have a glimpse, or first fruit, of our own future. So it is important to live like that is a reality.
- It gives us the why to what and how.
We now move to the end of the second chapter, and third focus of Paul’s writing to Titus that he outlined in the first three verses.
- In 1:4, he looked at the faith of God’s elect.
- In 1:5-2:10, he spoke on the knowledge of the truth.
- Now, for the remainder of the letter, his focus is on the “hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (1:3).
- What is the grace of God? What is the blessed hope?
- It is the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is underserved and unearned.
- Everyone has the opportunity.
- John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life
- 1 Timo. 2:3-4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of kGod our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and mto come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
- 2 Pet. 3:8-10, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, uas some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Holiness (12 & 15) – Christian life in a nutshell.
- Sober – Don’t be an animal.
- Righteous (just) – Our life has been put right and we work to help others be put right.
- Devout (godly) – Not in a legalistic way, but normally being in God’s presence.
- You say life is too hard, and to live holy is too difficult.
- The call to follow Jesus isn’t impossible. Why? Because it’s an invitation to live in a way that empowers us. His death, burial, and resurrection, have unlocked the door and we are invited to live in His power.
- The hope of Heaven can be experienced by living in Christ now.
- Will you join the life that is in Christ? Will you measure your life by His Word?
The Sound Mind
Sound Teaching (1)
- Wholesome teaching is plain and clear.
- Expository preaching, verse by verse best achieves this.
- Example of bad teaching: NO MORE FISH!
- Preaching and teaching that is not practical and wholesome is not of God.
- Teach not only with your words but your actions.
Discipleship in the Home and Church (2-10)
- House codes, unpopular, old fashioned, or limits human freedom.
- Men, women, and slaves. – Roman Culture
- The Role of Slaves – Some scholars have estimated there were fifty million slaves living in the Roman Empire during the first century, comprising perhaps one third of the population. The institution of slavery was deeply enmeshed in Roman society. It would have been impossible to change this system suddenly without the collapse of the entire culture. In dealing with slavery, Paul does not suggest an open rebellion but a revolution from within. He calls on owners to provide their slaves with what is “right and fair” (Col. 4:1) and calls on slaves to treat their master with respect (1 Tim. 6:1). Paul goes so far as to state that believing slaves and their Christian owners are brothers (1 Tim. 6:2). In the sight of God, Paul teaches, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Ga. 3:28).
- Do or Do Not
- The box illustration.
- True freedom is never mere anarchy. Being a rebel is fine, sometimes even necessary; but it can’t be the only thing you believe in and do, or you end up isolated, lonely and aimless. Even revolutionaries, when they’re successful, discover that they then have to reinvent social structures in order to get on with the business of life. Far more important, especially if you’re part of a small and struggling Christian community, is to live with integrity in the framework you’ve got, and make your witness to the gospel tell by refusing to give outsiders any chance to mock or criticize your home and family life.
- Older men and women are to be an example of lifestyle to younger generation. Everyone is an ambassador to the World.
- Three times in Titus, Paul expresses a concern over the way our behavior impacts the world around us. He admonishes young women to live “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (2:5)., or as J.B. Philips puts it, so they will be a good advertisement for the Christian faith.” Paul challenges Titus himself to live and teach “so that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (2:8). Finally, Paul urges slaves to live so “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (2:10). Whatever our station in life, we are observed by others. The manner in which we live will be our first witness to the power of the Gospel.
- The family is, according to biblical wisdom, the center of God’s covenant activity. It could easily be argued that as the family went, so went Old Testament Israel. When the family has remained strong in Christian history, so has the faith of the community.
Everyone is to pursue the following: Sober Thinking
- Wholesome mind
- “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
- What things trap our mind?
- Fear, pride, past, drugs, etc.
- “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” – Philippians 4:8-9
False Teachers (Vs. 10-13a, 14-16)
- Identifying False Teachers (Vs. 10-11)
- Those who add some special spirituality to people.
- Those who are in ministry simple for the money.
- What kind of people were the Cretans? (Vs. 12-13a)
- The Vanity and danger of False Teaching (14-16)
- Destroys homes (vs. 11)
- Turns from the truth
- It doesn’t matter how good it is, the inside is filthy.
- Sounds pretty but is empty.
The hope of sinners is a transformed life (vs. 13)
- Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.
- False Teachers and the outright sinner.
- Rebuke is not arguing. (Shepherds call to sheep and scare wolves).
- It is reprimand, chastisement, criticism.
- Reproof, admonishment, or correction.
- Why do we argue?
- Some people argue and debate simply because they want to be seen as right all the time.
- Some people argue and debate simply because its their contentious nature. – James
- Paul says we rebuke, not to shame, not to be right, not because we like to argue, but because we want total transformation of the individual.
- Sick to Healthy (sound in the faith).
- The problem is that many people do not want to submit to the authority of Scripture.
- But, this is the optimism of Paul and us today. People who are false teachers and are leading people away from faith can be changed the Gospel. Individuals who have the worst of natures like the Cretans can be changed by the Gospel.
- John 8:31Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Are you truly free? Has you life been changed? Is your faith sick and weak?
N.T. Wright and the bad plane experience – “When the pilot can’t figure out what’s going on, the whole plane is in trouble.”
Why a sermon on pastors? -You, the church, problems, application,
What is a pastor? (vs. 5 & 7a.)
- Paul is leaving a blueprint, the same the church has used for 2,000 years, to select pastoral leadership in the local congregations.
- Elder – bearded one, bishop – overseer, Pastor (Jer. 17:16) – to tend a flock, shepherd.
- Scripture does not point out how one is selected, only the character.
Blameless – Unquestioned integrity – lifestyle and reputation no reproach.
The Pastor’s Home (vs. 6)
- Known for their home life. – Faithfulness to one wife for a lifetime and raises faithful children.
The Pastor’s Role (vs. 7)
- Steward of God – not for self, not angry, no alcohol, not violent or greedy.
The Pastor’s Pursuits (vs. 8)
- Hospitality, good men, clear minded, just, holy, disciplined.
The Pastor’s Work (vs. 9)
- When you have a firm grip on the truth you can – encourage others by sound doctrine.
- When you have a firm grip on the truth you can – refute those who oppose it.
- When people oppose healthy teaching, as, alas, some will always do, there is a temptation to avoid confrontation, to back off and hope they will go away. They won’t. The leader – this is a particular function of elders and bishops, and one which doesn’t normally gain them popularity – must know how to rebut false teaching.
Pray that God would raise up Godly pastors in our Conference.
The following series of posts are the notes I used for a sermon series on the letter to Titus last Summer. I typically use a bare bones outline that helps me recall the direction I want to go without being encumbered by several pages and several lines of writings.
God Cannot lie
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What does Titus focus on?
- Church leadership, False teachers, All age groups instructions on doing good, Holy living.
Who is Titus? (V.s 4)
- Though Paul said he tried to be everything to everyone, even he knew it was impossible to be everywhere. Titus seemed to be trusted co-laborer of Paul’s.
- Titus is not mentioned in the book of Acts, the history of the Church, rather references are found in Galatians, 2 Cor. 2 Tim. and Titus. We find in these references that he was Greek by birth, accompanied Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem, twice served as Paul’s ambassador, served as church leader in Crete, may have wintered with Paul in Nicopolis, and went to Dalmatia, with Paul’s direction.
- Timothy and Titus – inexperience and experience.
Why is this letter important? Paul wanted the people of island of Crete to be taught:
Faith, Truth, & Hope – in Jesus Christ. (vs. 1-2)
- Faith of God’s elect – is trust in God’s chosen way of salvation. – later explained (ch. 3). Who is God’s elect? Everyone who believes. With Paul’s focus later in the chapter on the Jews, he is focusing on the notion that many argued only Jews could be saved.
- Knowledge of the Truth – Faith is not just a matter of the heart but also the mind. You cannot ride a wave of emotion forever. Knowledge leads to godliness, or life transformation for us.
- Hope of eternal life – Our hope is not vague, it’s rests on the trustworthiness of God. We must know and trust it because God cannot lie and promised it before the world began. In Greek mythology, the gods lied all the time. Not ours.
God’s Person (vs. 3)
- God promised salvation before time, and when the time was right, revealed it through Jesus Christ, and is preached until this time.
- Preaching: When any preacher or teacher stands before a congregation, he or she holds a trust from God. Those who communicate God’s message must never lose their sense of wonder over this sacred responsibility.
- If every preacher, teacher, and leader adopted Paul’s instructions to Titus as the purpose of his or her ministry, what a difference it would make for the Church. When we make it our goal to build stronger faith in the hearts of our people, increase their knowledge of the truth, and instill the hope of eternal life within them, the church will thrive!