Truth Tightly Packed — Part One
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Truth Tightly Packed — Part One

Titus 1:1–4  (ID: 2867)

As a servant of God and an apostle of Christ, Paul wrote to Titus with a clear purpose: to see men and women come to faith and grow in their knowledge of the truth. In this study of Titus 1:1–4, Alistair Begg explores the authority and single-mindedness of Paul’s ministry as he examines the doctrine of election. As Paul affirmed, although God is sovereign, we still have the responsibility to believe and proclaim the Gospel.

Series Containing This Sermon

Encore 2023

Series ID: 25919

Get It Right!, Volume 1

Titus 1:1–2:4 Series ID: 15603

Sermon Transcript: Print

I invite you to turn with me to the letter of Paul to Titus, towards the end of the New Testament. It’s page 998, if you care to use one of the Bibles around you. And we’re going to read just the first four verses. Titus 1:1:

“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

“To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

“Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.”


We pray together:

O Lord, as we turn to the Bible now, we need your help, both to be able to speak and to listen, to pay attention, to understand, to believe. And you prepared us by bringing us here. You prepared your preacher, that his lips might speak for you. You have prepared us by providing for us the Bible, that we can read. And so, with that preparation and that accompanying sense of expectation, we look to you now. Meet with us, Lord, we pray, and help us, for your Son’s sake. Amen.

Well, we tried to begin Titus a couple of Sundays ago. I said to my wife when I went home, “That was a little over the place, wasn’t it?” There was a pause, and she said, “Yes, it was, actually. I hadn’t a clue where you were going.” So I said, “Well, thank you for the encouragement,” and she said, “Well, you shouldn’t ask.” But here we are, and we’re going to slow the pace and narrow the focus.

Paul has left Titus in Crete to shepherd and teach the church. Crete is not a very nice place. I’m not saying today; it was not a very nice place. One of the historians at the time said it was “almost impossible to find … personal conduct more treacherous or public policy more unjust than in Crete.”[1] “Personal conduct” that was “treacherous” and “public policy” that was “unjust.”

And for those of us who are tempted to bemoan our circumstances here in Cleveland or in the vastness of America, just a careful reading of church history will remind us of how vastly different our circumstances are from those who were living in the congregations that were settled in the island of Crete. This is actually a wonderful place to live. It is a great nation. There are so many freedoms and opportunities that are ours. And we do no service to ourselves or to our fellow members in society by becoming the company of the moaning and the groaning and the bemoaning. It is a bad thing when the Christian, who has supposedly lifted his eyes up and beyond things, finds himself buried in that kind of preoccupation. So I warn you against it; I warn myself against it.

They were in Crete. We are in Cleveland. Paul’s concern for the church there we could summarize in three words. He was concerned that it would be tidy—tidy in the sense of verse 5: “I left you [there], so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every [church].”[2] Not the kind of tidiness that some of us are capable of, where we pile things into a closet and manage just to make the door close, hoping that no one will ever have occasion to open it, because then they will see just how untidy our attempt at tidiness has been, but rather the tidiness that comes about as a result of doing things God’s way, and particularly ensuring that the leadership of the church is put together according to God’s plan. To that we’ll come later.

Tidy, and secondly, healthy—that the church there would be healthy. If you look at verse 13 of this opening chapter, you will see that the people who are teaching falsehoods are to be “rebuke[d] … sharply,” with the purpose that “they may be sound in the faith.” That word there, “sound,” might equally be translated “healthy”—in other words, “spiritually healthy.” And you find it coming immediately at the beginning of chapter 2: “As for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.”[3] Healthy.

Tidy, healthy, and lovely. Lovely. He says of the slaves that they shouldn’t be argumentative, they shouldn’t be stealing stuff, but they should live in such a way that they adorn the gospel of grace[4]—in other words, that they make the story of the gospel attractive by the loveliness of their lives. And, of course, that word extends beyond the boundaries of Crete and comes to us with relevance this morning. And when this is true of a local congregation, then it will stand as an attractive contrast to some who “profess to know God, but [who] deny him by their [actions].”[5]

And they’re referenced at the end of chapter 1, verse 16—these individuals who were religious, they had much to say about God, but there was a dissonance, there was a gap, between their creed and their conduct, between the way that they professed their faith and the way that their faith functioned. And so Paul says, “You should know that these individuals are detestable, they’re disobedient, and they’re actually disqualified. They’re unfit for any good work. There’s no point in giving them a job in the church, because they’ll just be a complete menace to you.”[6]

So, he then proceeds to provide us with one long sentence by way of introducing his letter. And these four verses are tightly packed with truth. And in an endeavor to save us from getting bogged down in the sentence or, alternatively, skimming superficially over the top of it, I want us to consider the opening four verses from the perspective, first, of Paul’s position, then Paul’s purpose, then Paul’s preaching, and then Paul’s partner.

Paul’s Position

So, first of all, then, let us look at what we’re told about Paul’s position. He describes himself, first of all, as “a servant of God.” “A servant of God.”

Now, that may not seem like very much of an introduction in these days of blogging and Twittering and self-aggrandizement, where people post online totally irrelevant information that none of us should have any real concern to pay attention to, and often, just the exaltation of the self runs rampant. Well, such individuals would be thoroughly disappointed with an introduction like this: “Paul, a servant of God.”

But it actually was a title which Barclay says “mingled humility and legitimate pride.”[7] The pride lay in actually being described as a servant of God—being called this of all things. It wasn’t a task for which he had applied and which he had received an appointment to on the basis of his giftedness, but it rather was a task to which he had been appointed by God’s grace. And the wonder of it was that he now shared the same designation as is reserved throughout the Bible for some of the choicest saints of God. The prophets were described as servants of God, as the ones who were the recipients of the secrets of God.[8]

The authority of the apostles is left to us in the authority of Scripture.

Let me just illustrate it for you in the Old Testament. You can turn here, if you choose, to Joshua and to chapter 1, where we read these statements concerning Moses: “After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord … Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, [said,] ‘Moses my servant is dead … therefore arise.’”[9] You go down to verse 7, and you find him designated in the exact same way: “[I want you to be] careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you.” If you go down to verse 13, you find there: “Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you.” You go to verse 15: “Then you shall return to the land of your possession and shall possess it, the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you.” Do you think that God wants us to know about Moses’s position? Again and again and again: “Moses the servant of the Lord.”

Joshua takes over from him. And when you read all the way through the book of Joshua, you will find that finally, on his deathbed, he receives the same designation, and at the end of chapter 24, it reads: “[And] after these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died.”[10]

Now, keep in mind that Paul wasn’t missing any credentials. It wasn’t that when he thought about introducing himself, he had nothing that he could have written—no qualifications, no significant background, no fine education. No, he had all of that. But he introduces himself because he has been arrested and amazed by the same grace that he is now about to remind the readers of. He would have been happy to concur with the psalmist that the job of a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord would be far more significant than pitching his tent in the realm of wickedness.[11] It is, actually, a striking thing that he introduces himself in such a simple, humble, wonderful fashion. “What is your position, Paul?” “A servant of God.” “A servant of God.”

Secondly, “an apostle of Jesus Christ.” “An apostle of Jesus Christ.” So, he’s a servant of God, and he’s been sent by Jesus. He’s part of a unique and unrepeatable group who had the privilege of witnessing the ministry of the Lord Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus. And you will recall, if you know your Bible, that in Acts, Luke tells us of the occasion when Paul, Saul of Tarsus, discovers that Jesus Christ is actually Lord. He responds by saying, “Who are you, Lord?”[12] And in the ensuing moments, Ananias is given the responsibility of nurturing and caring for this Saul of Tarsus, because, says God, “he is [my] chosen instrument … to [bear] my name before the Gentiles.”[13]

And it is because he was set apart as an apostle of God that his words carried the authority that they carried. He was given, as an apostle, an insight into the secrets of God. So, for example, in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for them that love him, but he has revealed it to us,” says Paul. “He has revealed it to us.”[14] And to the apostles has been given this insight in order that they in turn may both speak the word of God and write the Word of God.

Now, the reason this is important to understand is because the apostles are long gone. They are all dead and buried. So where, then, do we have apostolic authority? It doesn’t lie in bishops. It doesn’t lie in a line that comes from the See of Rome. Apostolic succession does not run down a line of those appointed in that way. No, the authority of the apostles is left to us in the authority of Scripture. God has breathed out.[15] The apostles have written them down. They now are removed from us, and we obey their word. Why? Because it is the Word of God.

Otherwise, on what basis could Paul possibly say to Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things that you’ve heard me say—what you heard me say—you entrust to faithful men who will then be able to teach others also”?[16] Who does he think he is? “I want you to make sure that the things you heard me say, you tell other men, so that those other men may tell other men.” Wherein lies the authority? As “a servant of God” and as “an apostle of Jesus Christ.”

Bruce Milne, in his most helpful book Know the Truth—which, if you don’t have a copy of, you should buy one and refer to it frequently—he makes this wonderful statement; he says, “The apostles stand between Jesus and … subsequent generations of [Christians].” Okay? So, you have Christ; he’s now ascended into heaven. He pours out his spirit upon his people, and he gives to his apostles the responsibility to proclaim the word of God and in turn to have it written. “We reach him”—that is, Jesus—“only by way of the apostles and their testimony incorporated in the [New Testament].”[17] We reach Jesus by way of the apostolic truth which is given to us, recorded for us, left to us in our New Testaments.

Now, you see the significance of this. People are going around wearing bracelets saying “What would Jesus do?” They’ve kind of died out now, and I’m fairly glad they have. But it seemed very pious at the time. But the fact is, half the time we wouldn’t know what Jesus would do. So it was a kind of a silly question. The real question should be, What does God’s Word say? Because the only way that we can find out what Jesus did or would do or has done is in the Bible—not in our heads, not in our imaginations, not in ex cathedra statements made by those who are religious professionals, but in the Scriptures.

So Paul says to Titus, “Here I am, Titus.” And realize, this is both a private letter, but it’s also a public letter. Why would he be telling Titus that he was a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ? Titus would have said, “I know that.” Because the letter would get a public reading. And so the people who are hearing it are reminded of the fact that here is Paul—here is Paul—and this is where his authority lies, and this is the basis of his humility.

That’s the first thing: his position as a servant and a sent one.

Paul’s Purpose

Secondly, his purpose. Why is he a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ? Well, he tells us: “for the sake of the faith of God’s elect.” “For the sake of the faith of God’s elect.” Who are God’s elect? The people of God, those upon whom God has set his love.

Let’s pause it here for just a moment, because this is the little phrase that sometimes unsettles people, and we ought not to be unsettled at all. The story line of the Bible is the story line of God taking the initiative in seeking out a people who are his very own. Completely out of the blue, as it were, from a human perspective, he calls Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees. He calls Abraham to himself, and he entrusts to Abraham the privileges that will flow from him and tells him that through his seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed.[18]

By the time you get to the book of Deuteronomy, you have the record of what God is doing and why God has acted as he’s acted. And let me just read to you Deuteronomy 7:6. God says,

For you[’re] a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was[n’t] because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh [the] king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love [and so on, for] a thousand generations [and on].

When you get to the New Testament, you find that the apostles pick up this terminology and use it to describe all who have been embraced by the Lord Jesus Christ, so that the elect of God comprises those who in every age have been redeemed on the basis of the work of Jesus on the cross, so that the Old Testament believers have been redeemed—put right with God—on the strength of a sacrifice that was prospective to them. The New Testament believers, and all subsequently, are redeemed on the strength of a sacrifice that is retrospective to us. But all who are included in the family of God are there as a result of grace through faith.

And so you have this amazing juxtaposition of the people of God of the Old Testament being married into those who are added in the New Testament. The one who is a child of Abraham is not, says Paul, the one who has been circumcised or comes from a certain lineage, but it is the one who shares the faith of Abraham and the one who, like Abraham, has been declared righteous in God’s sight, who has been justified. Now, there’s tremendous mystery in that. But there is no dilemma in it when you realize that it sits on the very surface of the Scriptures.

Let me say, you know, for example, 1 Peter 2:9, when Peter picks up these things, he says to the people of his day, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” When Paul does the same thing, for example, in speaking to the Colossians, he refers to them as “God’s chosen ones.”[19]

Jesus doesn’t issue a call to the elect of God to waken up and come to him. He issues a universal call to all and any to come to him.

So here we are, with the reality of the doctrine of election. Three things concerning it. Number one, it is a biblical doctrine. It is a biblical doctrine. It is impossible to read your Bible without being confronted by it. It is revealed in Scripture, and therefore, it is to be believed. Secondly, it therefore follows that it is an essential doctrine. It’s essential. There’s nothing there that is irrelevant to us. The fact that it has been and is the occasion of debate and disagreement is to be regretted, because of its essential nature. And thirdly, it is practical. It is practical, in this sense: that in the face of all that threatens to unhinge us and to undo us, the children of God are able to rest in the security of the initiative of God. We saw that, didn’t we, when we studied Romans chapter 8? “What … shall we say [then in response to all of this]? If God [be] for us, who can be against us? … Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn?” and so on.[20]

So when we find ourselves confronted by all these onslaughts, when we are made aware of our own propensity to wander and to stray, our security lies in the fact that we’ve been “loved before the dawn of time.”[21] “Loved before the dawn of time.” Now, that is an immense thought, isn’t it? “He chose us in him,” says Paul to the Ephesians, “before the creation of the world,” that we should “be holy and blameless in his sight,”[22] so that the significant identifying feature of these Christians in Crete was going to be not simply the healthiness of their doctrine but the loveliness of their lives. There were other people in Crete who said a lot of things about God, but their lifestyle denied their profession. “So,” says Paul, “let me remind you that I am writing here to you, Titus, and the reason that I have been set apart as God’s servant and as Christ’s apostle is in order that men and women might come to faith through my preaching”—and we’ll see that later in the sentence—“and that they might grow in faith as a result of the letter that I am writing to you now.”

But immediately that you address these issues, somebody says, “Well, if that is the case, that God has chosen his people before time ever began, then surely it follows that there is nothing for us to do. There is no point in us going out to tell anybody about Christ if he’s already made up his mind who are his own.” Well, that would seem to be legitimate concern, wouldn’t it? Until we recognize the fact that Jesus didn’t operate that way. And I have a very simple rule—you may think it’s strange after my comments about your favorite bracelets—but I have a very simple rule, and that is that when I come to some area of doctrine, I say to myself, “If it doesn’t work for Jesus, it doesn’t work for me,” or “If it’s not a problem for Jesus, it’s not a problem for me.” And this is no problem for Jesus. Otherwise, why would he say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and [heavy laden], and I will give you rest”?[23] He doesn’t say, “Come to me, all those that God has chosen.” He doesn’t issue a call to the elect of God to waken up and come to him. He issues a universal call to all and any to come to him.

Jesus says, “Who[so]ever comes to me I will never [turn away].”[24] “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe[s] in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,”[25] so that the free offer of the gospel is exactly that: the free offer of the gospel—to say to people, “God commands you to repent and to trust in Christ.”

And someone says, “Yeah, well, what about the other part?” Professor John Murray has helped me greatly with this, and in his volume 1 of his writings, page 82, he makes this statement: “It is on … the wave of divine sovereignty that the unrestricted summons comes to the [weary] and [the] heavy laden. … Any inhibition or reserve in presenting the overtures of grace”—or presenting the gospel—“any inhibition or reserve in presenting the overtures of grace should no more characterize our proclamation than it characterized the Lord’s witness.”[26] We should be no more inhibited than was Jesus.

Now, you see, what you have in the Bible is you have the fact of God’s sovereignty in election, and you have the fact of man’s responsibility both to proclaim this gospel and to believe this gospel. So, for example, when the Philippian jailer said, “What must I do to be saved?”[27] Paul did not say, “Well, we can talk about that later, but it’s going to depend on whether you’re part of the elect.” No, he said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. In fact, you and your household along with you. They believe, they’ll be saved too.”[28]

So, the temptation is to either err on one side or the other, championing the cause of man’s freedom and his own personal sovereignty, as it were—freedom of his will and responsibility—or championing the fact of God’s sovereign purpose from all of eternity; or attempting to collapse them into one another in some strange amalgam, which usually goes along on the lines of “Well, it has to do with God’s foreknowledge. He knew who was going to believe; because he knew who was going to believe, then he elected them once he knew who was going to believe,” which denudes it of any significance at all. It’s really a pretty worthless argument.

No, the answer doesn’t lie in one extreme or the other, it doesn’t lie in collapsing them into each other, but it lies in believing both of them simultaneously and believing both of them entirely—absolutely and entirely: that God purposed from all of eternity to have a people of his very own, that he has ordained men and women to salvation, but he has also ordained the means whereby men and women come to salvation. Otherwise, there was no reason for him to say, “Go into all the world and [preach] the gospel.”[29] There would be no reason to do so were it not for the fact that it was by the preaching of the gospel that men and women would come to understand the truth, and when they understood God’s truth, then they believed.

So, for example, if you want it, just look at Ephesians chapter 1, which is probably Paul’s most sustained treatment of the notion. And if you take it in reverse, as it were, if you get to verse 13… He’s writing to the Ephesians, and he’s begun by talking about the God “who has blessed us … with every spiritual blessing, … chose[n] us in him before the foundation of the world.”[30] And then he says, verse 13, “In him you also”—notice this—“when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

So in other words, he says to them, “If you think about it, here I came with some of my colleagues, and we came into Ephesus, into all of the challenge of that community, and we began to tell you that if you would read the Old Testament, you would discover that the Messiah of God had to suffer and die, and we labored hard to try and show you from the Scriptures that the Messiah had to suffer and die. And when you came to a conviction as to the validity of that view, we then told you, ‘And this Jesus is that Messiah.’ ‘This Jesus is that Messiah.’ And then, in the mercy and goodness of God, you actually believed the word of truth, and the Holy Spirit invaded your life. And that same Holy Spirit is keeping you today and guaranteeing you an inheritance that is your own possession, that is reserved for you. It essentially has your name on it. And if you’ve had time to ponder the immensity of God’s grace and have started back from my preaching to you, if you have gone far enough back, you have now found yourself in the mysteries of God’s eternal will. You have found yourself going back to say, ‘How was it that I was there on that day? Why was it that my friend brought me to that event? Why was it that I actually understood? How come I really believed? What is going on here?’ And as you get further and further back, you say,

“Loved before the dawn of time,
Chosen [in] my Maker,
Hidden in my Savior:
I am his and he is mine.”[31]

“But on the day you believed, whether you were four years old or forty years old, it seemed like you were supposed to do everything. You may even have felt that you did it, that you made yourself a Christian, that God kind of congratulated you for making a good decision. But, of course, you know now that he didn’t. If that were the case, you’d be smug, wouldn’t you?”

Even my response to God’s offer of salvation has only been made possible by his grace.

Listen to how Shedd puts it when he thinks in terms of calling people to respond to the gospel. This is what he says:

When God calls upon [people] universally to believe, he does[n’t] call … them to believe they are elected, or that Christ died for them in particular. He calls upon them to believe that Christ died for sin, for sinners, for the world …. The atonement is not offered to an individual either as an elect man, or as a non-elect man; but as a man, and a sinner, simply.[32]

Hence Newton: “I know two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is my great Savior.”[33] “Rabbi” Duncan, the professor at the new Free Church College in Scotland many years ago, put it so simply, and I’ve never forgotten this little triplet of his. This is how he put it: “Christ died for sinners. Rabbi Duncan is a sinner. Therefore, Christ died for Rabbi Duncan.” “Christ died for sinners. Rabbi Duncan is a sinner. Therefore, Christ died for Rabbi Duncan.”

You know the reason that many people balk at this? It’s not actually intellectual, because there is no way for us in our human intellect to reconcile this antinomy—two self-existent truths that set side by side that cannot be reconciled within the framework of our own human intellect. But I don’t think intellect is the problem in most cases. Pride is the problem. Pride is the problem. Because we want to be able to contribute something to our salvation. We want it to be like getting into a country club or achieving a postgraduate status, so that we can then say, “You know, and this is what I did, and this is what I did, and I was rewarded for this, and I was rewarded for that.” But a true believer never operates that way, because we know: this is entirely gratuitous. Even my response to God’s offer has only been made possible by his grace. Even my response is only possible by his grace.

Well, let me finish in this way; we’ll come back to this tonight. This is how Spurgeon addressed his congregation when he was dealing with this on one occasion in the Tabernacle in London. He said, “O my hearers…”

O my hearer[s], if [you believe] in the Lord Jesus Christ this morning, [you are] saved! … I beg you to get hold of this truth [of God], that according to his mercy the Lord has saved us who believe in Jesus. Will you tell me, or rather tell yourselves, whether you[’re] saved or not? If you are not saved, you are lost; if you are not already forgiven, you are already condemned.[34]

Will you not tell the person next to you, or tell yourself, whether you’re saved or not?

You see, Jesus Christ is not a life coach. He helps us in our lives. The invitation that he gives is an invitation to come and die—to die to myself, to die to my own agendas, my own initiatives, to die to my own little kingdom that I’m seeking to erect—and to believe that he has come to be Lord and King. And he calls us to that.

The hymn writer says, “I heard the voice of Jesus say, ‘Come unto me and rest,’ and I came to Jesus. I heard the voice of Jesus say, ‘Come unto me and drink the living water, thirsty one; stoop down and drink and live,’ And I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life-giving stream.”[35] Is that your testimony? Can you sing salvation’s song?

You see, when we go on in this, what we’re going to discover is that the whole message of salvation is about God, who does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He regenerates us. He makes us new from the inside out. We do not make ourselves new from the outside in.

So, the position he had was as a servant and as an apostle, and the purpose that he had was for the faith of God’s elect, which, when understood, will be revealed in holiness and will be revealed in a genuine desire to see others brought into the realm of God’s mercy and his goodness.

Let us pray together:

God, help us as we think our way through these things, so that we might become increasingly humbled by the overtures of your mercy, increasingly reverent before the wonder of your love to us, and increasingly keen to see unbelieving people becoming the committed followers of Jesus Christ. Help us to be able to sing our song from our hearts. For we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.

[1] Polybius, Histories 6.47.

[2] Titus 1:5 (ESV).

[3] Titus 2:1 (ESV).

[4] See Titus 2:9–10.

[5] Titus 1:16 (ESV).

[6] Titus 1:16 (paraphrased).

[7] William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, rev. ed., The Daily Study Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975), 227.

[8] See Amos 3:7.

[9] Joshua 1:1–2 (ESV). In the context of the passage read as a whole, the Lord, and not Joshua, is the speaker.

[10] Joshua 24:29 (ESV).

[11] See Psalm 84:10.

[12] Acts 9:5 (ESV).

[13] Acts 9:15 (ESV).

[14] 1 Corinthians 2:9–10 (paraphrased).

[15] See 2 Timothy 3:16.

[16] 2 Timothy 2:2 (paraphrased).

[17] Bruce Milne, Know the Truth: A Handbook of Christian Belief, rev. ed. (1982; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1998), 269.

[18] See Genesis 11:27‒12:3.

[19] Colossians 3:12 (ESV).

[20] Romans 8:31‒34 (ESV).

[21] Stuart Townend and Andrew Small, “Salvation’s Song” (2008).

[22] Ephesians 1:4 (NIV).

[23] Matthew 11:28 (NIV).

[24] John 6:37 (ESV).

[25] John 3:16 (KJV).

[26] Collected Writings of John Murray, vol. 1, The Claims of Truth (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1976), 82.

[27] Acts 16:30 (ESV).

[28] Acts 16:31 (paraphrased).

[29] Mark 16:15 (ESV).

[30] Ephesians 1:3–4 (ESV).

[31] Townend and Small, “Salvation’s Song.”

[32] William G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 3rd ed. (New York: Scribner’s, 1891), 2:485–86.

[33] John Newton, quoted in John Pollock, Amazing Grace: John Newton’s Story (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1981), 182. Paraphrased.

[34] C. H. Spurgeon, “The Maintenance of Good Works,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 34, no. 2042, 498–99.

[35] Horatius Bonar, “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” (1846). Paraphrased.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.