Effective Shepherding

Titus 2:11-15

Ever get one of those fancy invitations, requests for your presence at a wedding? Open envelope, inside is another envelope with invitation, inside that another envelope for you to return a response. Titus is like that: envelope that contains entire letter, inside that another envelope containing just chapter 2. Begins with imperative “speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine”. Closes with: “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority.” Considered leadership structure, characteristics necessary for leadership; mens’ ministry, womens’ ministry in the local church; now, how the shepherd cares for the sheep.

Pastoral epistle, written by Apostle Paul to Pastor Titus – mentor to protege. More experienced / seasoned to younger man, instructing in mechanics of pastoral duties within local church. Inside the letter addressing broad issues relevant to churches in Crete, particular emphasis given in chapter 2 – ongoing work of pastor as he leads an established church. What was Titus to do, what instruction was he to pass along to those he was mentoring in pastoral ministry?

Effective pastoral ministry learned as much in trenches as from textbooks and lectures. Definitelynot learned from the culture, from example of those people and businesses counted successful. Is learned from God’s Word and by his Spirit, taught by those he has called to that purpose. It is Christ’s church, he has made his plan for his church plain in his Word. If we are to build his church and not our own organization that claims to be the church, must go about it his way. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, the Bible must be our authority.

God’s Word in our text tells us: “effective shepherding equips and encourages sheep” to change… in these ways – renounce ungodliness, understand their redemption from lawlessness, practice righteous living, all in dependence on “the grace of God”.

Remember the believer’s destiny: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29) …”in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

Text instructs us how that comes about: shepherd has been given message to proclaim, not suggest; to declare, not speculate. Message not targeted at needs people think they have, feel they have. Is directed to needs God knows his people have – areas of thought, word, deed that need to change to become like Lord Jesus. A faithful pastor/shepherd must communicate, convince and correct

A. speakλαλέω – communicate

elder/shepherd not only one who can teach, is one who does teach, does communicate

God has revealed himself to humanity in two ways: pictures and words – natural revelation, special revelation

primary means of communicating truths necessary for salvation and sanctification: words, not pictures

learn in God’s Word how we are saved by grace through faith, learn from God’s Word how to live and walk by faith in light of God’s grace

should be no surprise: “faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God” Rom. 10:17

read the text, explain the text, apply the text – read Neh. 8:1-12

who is present: men, women, children – all who could hear with understanding

what happened:

opened the book – v.5

read from the book, gave the sense of it, helped them understand – v.8

here’s what it says, here’s what it means, here’s how you use it

notice response of people: “all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law” – v.9

mentally compared what they heard, how they lived – recognized a problem / mismatch, were greatly distressed

“they understood the words that were declared to them” v.12 from God’s Law, recognized what needed to change, committed to doing so

all under umbrella of principles in 11-14

“all scripture is God-breathed and profitable” – 2 Tim. 3:16 – yes,… even lists of names, other less captivating portions are there by God’s purpose for our profit

expository preaching should have as “big goal” – transformation of hearers: becoming less like first Adam, more like last Adam, Jesus (1 Cor. 15:45)

faithful shepherding must include regular reminders: it is by grace through faith, not works that God’s people find favor

message all people need to hear, not only the unconverted

cannot deny ungodliness, worldly lusts; cannot live soberly, righteously, godly apart from God’s grace

B. exhortπαρακαλέω – convince (come along side)

plead with”, i.e., ask in earnestness, beg, exhort (Renn); call upon, admonish, exhort, persuade, beg, beseech, entreat, implore (Perschbacher)

as with communicating, so with exhorting – see Titus 1:9 – a necessary proven qualification of elder

when determining if God has called man to office of elder, evaluate whether he meets qualifications

how do you know if he is “able to teach”, “able to exhort and convict”? you’ve heard/seen him in that role, know he is effective instructor, persuader

“exhort” an intense word with particular goal in view

used >20 times by Paul – “I beg you”, “I plead with you” => classic text: Rom. 12:1

intent is to persuade – focus is the mind and affections, ultimate target includes actions

I beg you to change your mind, your desires, and then act this way

for the shepherd: I beg you to see / think the way God does, the way the Bible declares it, then act accordingly

Rom 12:1 God has shown you incredible mercy in the Gospel; Lord Jesus gave his life for you, in loving thankfulness you should offer your life to him in return

basis of persuasion: since you have experienced God’s saving grace, respond this way (11)

not simply moralistic preaching

this is how Bible hero A, B, C, or D acted in this situation, there’s the example, go do it

this is what is good and right and you ought to do it – true, but doesn’t go far enough

good works presented as logical and loving obedience in light of God’s goodness in Christ

Bible hero A, B, C, or D just like you a recipient of God’s great goodness and grace – granted to you through relationship with Lord Jesus

Lord Jesus desires that you live in this way, has promised his help by means of Holy Spirit

you can trust him, depend on him for guidance and strength, he will enable you to succeed in living like v.12

follow my example: see 7-8

if shepherd is to lead sheep along right path, must walk it himself first

Christ is perfect example for shepherd and sheep – he lived pleasing to his Father while leading disciples

C. rebukeἐλέγχω – correct

sometimes leading isn’t sufficient – have to get more personal and specific

George Beverly Shea: “there were ninety and nine who safely lay in the shelter of the fold; but one was out on the hills away, far off from the gates of gold.”

speak, strongly encourage, stand in the way

physical redirection needed for young child

poster child: Apostle Peter – read Gal. 2:11-14

Peter acting hypocritically – behaving like Gentile with Gentiles, like Jew with Jews; even led other sheep off the path with him including Barnabas

Paul blew his cover, called him out publicly: held up his behavior, called it sin, challenged him to repent

public rebuke of individual should be last resort – attempts at private persuasion should come first

sometimes sin is so egregious or individual has made sin so public there’s no alternative

D. with all authorityἐπιταγή – contra postmodernism

most unpopular phrase in entire text; most unpopular concept in entire Bible – that anyone can speak with authority, expect that authority to be honored

practiced to an art-form in USA, has roots in the Garden – refusal to live under God’s authority

before you turn hearing aids off – text says “speak these things… with all authority”

two things: it is authoritative Word of God that says “speak these…..” – charge given by God to shepherd

it’s Word of God that has authority – “these things”; shepherd has no authority of his own, only when communicating, convincing, correcting according to God’s Word

Goal of shepherding: lead people of God in way of increasing godliness, eager to do what is good by God’s definition – loving obedience while joyfully anticipating Christ’s return. So when God’s people hear God’s Word from God’s appointed shepherd, how should they respond? With commitment to loving obedience, willingly being conformed to image of Christ – Potter taking clay, forming into shape fit for his use. Depend on God’s grace, live in Holy Spirit enabled obedience, grow more like Christ each day as you joyfully anticipate his return.

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