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Titus 1:1; I Timothy 6:2-4 – “What is Theology For?” – Dr. Ligon Duncan

April 16, 2009
(I’ll be updating as the sermon progress, refresh often)

Titus 1:1; I Timothy 6:2-4 – “What is Theology For?”
Dr. Ligon Duncan

Titus 1:1 – Paul, a servant [1] of God and a an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and b their knowledge of the truth, c which accords with godliness,

I Timothy 6:2-4 – Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are q brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. r Teach and urge these things. 3 If anyone s teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with t the sound [2] words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching u that accords with godliness, 4 v he is puffed up with conceit and w understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for x controversy and for y quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,

These represent an important theme in Paul’s teaching. The teaching which he and Timothy are to do. False teaching leads to vain speculations; does not benefit their well being. The true doctrine of God’s Word by the Spirit is productive in the life of the believer. As you expound the word of God always have the view of what that word is to produce in believers which is a “right apprehension of the 1 true God and His gospel and His grace and what it should produce = Piety, Proper understanding of God. Packer says, the Bible is about God and godliness. It is about doctrine and duty, ____?________, theology and living, God and godliness. The truth is unto godliness. In many circles today the application of the truth is held in great suspicion. Some believe that application is inappropriate. Paul’s words here and his practice makes it clear that it is the preacher’s duty to make His word applicable to the hearer.

In Titus 1:1 he says his service is for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth which accords with godliness. Your knowledge of the truth SHOULD produce godliness. “Sanctify them with Thy truth”. “Teach and urge these things.” Convey applicable, practical, profound truth! The purpose of truth, theology is the promotion of godliness, piety, reverance for God.
What is truth, what is theology for, how is it used and applied?
Theology exists in the interests of pastoral ministry. How do you pastor? “Believe in God, believe in Me.” Every doctrine has its application. Every truth has its practical aim and effect in the life of God’s people. What is the truth for? Biblical ignorance is so wide in the truth now that you cannot assume even, “What the truth is for”. Are you receiving complaints of your practical application? It could because you are not applying the word to them. They are asking, What is this truth for?

4 Passages on the Application of Theology
1. Romans 11:32-36 – (Refer to Derek Thomas’ talk on Romans 11 from Wednesday night) – 32 For God r has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches and s wisdom and knowledge of God! t How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For u who has known the mind of the Lord, or v who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or w who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For x from him and through him and to him are all things. y To him be glory forever. Amen.

“He consigned all to disobedience.” How do you get from vs. 32a to now the Doxology? Paul shows that by vs. 32b “That He may have mercy on all.” The mind blogging spine tiggling of Romans 11 is to serve the purpose of Displaying God’s Glory! All doctrine is about, is for GOD’s GLORY!
2. Doctrine is for our Assurance – John 15:15-16 – 15 u No longer do I call you servants, [1] for the servant [2] w does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for x all that I have heard from my Father y I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but z I chose you and appointed you that you should go and a bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that b whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. – Jesus is about to die and the thing which He teaches in the Upper Room is about Election, that He has chosen them and them not Him. Matthew tells us that they (the disciples) would abandon Him, not just Judas. Doctrine is for Assurance.
3. Marriage – truth is for marriage – Ephesians 5 – 25 g Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and h gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by i the washing of water j with the word, 27 so k that he might present the church to himself in splendor, l without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. [1] – Doctrine of Atonement. We contributed nothing to this marriage with Christ AND get all the benefits of this marriage. Paul draws us to this passage and points us to an ethical obligation of all husbands. Love her in the light of the doctrine of the atonement. WOW!!! Love her like Jesus loves her. The atonement. Men, don’t let what you’ve heard these 3 days go to waste. Come back to your families with more love, more intimacy, tell her how you learned about your Saviour and how that has made you want to learn how to love your wife more, how you want to hate your sins more, how you want to see God’s glory and have an everlasting zeal for Him. Doctrine is for marriage.
4. Joy – Truth/Theoloy/Doctrine is for Joy – Philippians 3:1-11 – Finally, my brothers, [1] k rejoice in the Lord. l To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. 2 Look out for m the dogs, look out for n the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For o we are the circumcision, p who worship q by the Spirit of God [2] and r glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 s though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 t circumcised on the eighth day, u of the people of Israel, v of the tribe of Benjamin, u a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, w a Pharisee; 6 x as to zeal, y a persecutor of the church; z as to righteousness under the law, [3] blameless. 7 But a whatever gain I had, b I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of c the surpassing worth of d knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I e have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having f a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but g that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 h that I may know him and i the power of his resurrection, and j may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may k attain the resurrection from the dead. – Rejoice in the Lord…. Then doctrine. The joy producing truth is what produced the remaining verses following “Rejoice in the Lord.” In our rejoicing, we should know why. The pastor should always have that “joy” to want to tell people why one should rejoice. He is saying in these passages why he can suffer with such joy and what brings him this joy, it is the truth, the doctrine, the theology. Why? Because of Christology! Justification! Glorification! All doctrine brings joy and points to joy! Rob your people of the joy, don’t bring the truth home.
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