Zealous of Good Works
Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Intro: Rarely do we find Christians that could be described as ZEALOUS of good works.
Many are hesitant; intimidated; afraid; cautious; undercover; incognito; camouflaged; anything but zealous.
What the modern New Testament church lacks today is ZEAL.
When we think of words to describe the Christians of today, we think of many words.
Words like apathy, cold, complacent, compromising, worldly, indifferent, distracted, etc.
A person that has zeal has no room for passivity.
You cannot be passive and have zeal at the same time.
Notice the formula for revival that Jesus gave to the church of Laodicea.
- Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
ILLUSTRATION: Some are more excited about opening day for the Baltimore Orioles than they are about the church. Even with a 2021 record of 52-110-0, 5th place in AL_East, fans are excited. They made the Top Ten worst teams in baseball list. They are the massive underdogs to win anything in 2022. Yet some are more excited about the Orioles than about what God is doing at Calvary Baptist Church.
Before we get into the message, let’s examine the context.
The context of the book:
A young pastor by the name of Titus has been assigned by the Apostle Paul to go to the island of Crete and assist the churches. His objective was to “set in order the things that are wanting.”
1. Elders – vs. 5-8
2. Enforcement – vs. 10-16
3. Exhortation – 2:1-3:15
His duty was to ordain elders and challenge the churches and the Christians to learn and portray sound doctrine.
The context of the chapter:
Chapter Two is an appeal to every Christian, young and old to be sober and live godly.
Though each group is targeted individually, they are all told pretty much the same thing.
The context of the verse:
A. The Sacrificial Death – Who gave himself for us,
B. The Spiritual Deliverance – that he might redeem us from all iniquity
C. The Sanctified Disciples – and purify unto himself a peculiar people – (peculiar: belonging to; possession
D. The Saints Desire – zealous of good works.
One of the most notable characteristics of a revived believer is zeal.
The word ZEALOUS in Titus 2:14 is the Greek word zelotesmeans: one burning with zeal, used of God as jealous of any rival and sternly vindicating his control; most eagerly desirous of, zealous for, a thing; to defend and uphold a thing, vehemently contending for a thing; a zealot;
The word ZEALOT means: a person who shows zeal; an excessively zealous person; fanatic
There was actually a group of Jews in the first century that were called Zealots. From the time of the Maccabees there existed among the Jews a class of men, called Zealots, who vigorously adhered to the Mosaic law and endeavouring even by a resort to violence, after the example of Phinehas, to prevent religion from being violated by others; but in the latter days of the Jewish commonwealth they used their holy zeal as a pretext for the basest crimes. One of the disciples that Jesus called in Luke 6:15 was Simon called Zelotes.
Old Testament Kings had zeal for God.
- 2 Kings 10:16 And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they made him ride in his chariot.
He slew the 70 sons of Ahab and put their heads in baskets.
Took them to the entering in of the gates and left them in two big heaps.
Then he took the brethren of Ahazaiah, king of Judah and slew 42 of them in a pit.
Then he announced a worship service for Baal and gathered every Baal worshipper and priest in the nation and slew every one of them in the house of Baal as they were worshipping.
Verse 28 says, “Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.”
The Nation of Israel had zeal in Romans 10.
- 1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
- 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
- 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
The New Testament Pharisee Saul had zeal.
- 13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
- 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
- 5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
- 6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
- 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Before salvation, there was a zeal, but not unto good works.
In fact, Paul addressed this crowd in chapter 1.
- Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
REPROBATE: not standing the test, not approved
Now, the believer is expected to be zealous of good works.
Not tolerant, or approving, or cooperating, or in agreement, but ZEALOUS!!
What we need today is saved, sanctified and Spirit-filled Christians with some zeal!!
Notice how many times Paul referenced good works in the book of Titus.
A PATTERN of good works.
- Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
A READINESS to every good work.
- Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
A CAREFULNESS to maintain good works.
- Titus 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
- Titus 3:14 And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.
Other places where the Scripture emphasizes the believer’s zeal for good works:
We were CREATED unto good works.
- Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We should be PREPARED unto every good work.
- 2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
We should be FRUITFUL in every good work.
- Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
We should be PERFECT in every good work.
- Hebrews 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Zealous of Good Works
We should not only be walking in good works, but we should do so with zeal.
What areas of the Christian life will be impacted by a life of zeal?
I. Zeal about Godliness
Notice Paul’s assessment of their response to him and his letter in 2 Corinthians 7.
I could have preached about a zeal for God’s man but decided not to. But its in the passage.
2 Corinthians 7
- 6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
- 7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.
But then Paul turned his attention to their response to his previous letter.
2 Corinthians 7
- 9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
- 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
- 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
Paul started the chapter.
- 2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Paul referred to their sorrow being after a godly manner several times.
Vs. 9, 10, and 11
II. Zeal about Giving
2 Corinthians 9
- 1 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:
- 2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
God desires zealous giving.
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
CHEERFUL: GREEK hilaros – cheerful, joyous, prompt to do anything
TURN TO Exodus 35:20-29
- 20 And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.
- 21 And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.
III. Zealous about God’s People
- 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
- 13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.
The passage is clear; epaphras was from the church of Colosse. Notice several things about him.
1. He sent his greeting.
2. Paul said he laboured fervently for you in prayers
3. His prayer for his church was that they might stand perfect and complete in all the will of God
4. As if that wasn’t evidence enough, Paul emphasized – for I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you.
What a testimony!
Zealous about his home church; for his church family; for their spiritual well-being.
IV. Zealous about God’s House
- John 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
Jesus set an example of zeal about the house of God.
Jesus’ zeal was…
A. A Painful Zeal– vs. 15
1. It was Painful Discovery
I can’t help but notice that the zeal that Jesus had for the house of God was a painful zeal.
Imagine how He felt at what He found going on in the temple.
The first few words of verse 14 reveals a heartbreaking discovery.
- John 2:14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
Jesus came to the temple to observe the Passover.
When He came into the temple, He was disappointed in what He found.
He wasn’t glad they were there.
He wasn’t flattered that of all the places they could be, they came to the Temple.
He wasn’t excited about the prospect of so many people to influence.
NO! He was disappointed; He was angered; He was disgusted by what He found.
2. It was Painful Dispersing
It caused a great deal of discomfort for those that did not share His zeal.
- Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.
One of the greatest misconceptions today among so-called Christians is that the church is a place of tolerance and acceptance.
Jesus made a scourge.
This was not a symbol of love and affection.
It was a devise used to inflict pain.
The temple was a welcome place for people that came for the right reasons.
The hospital is open for people that want help; but not open for people that want to come in and hurt others.
I’ll say this – if your zeal for God’s house doesn’t bother some people, I question your level of zeal.
B. A Purging Zeal – v. 15
Preaching on “small things” run them off. Scourge of small cords.
READ 1 Corinthians 5 if you think the church should stay open to people that want to insert leaven into the church.
Paul said, “Purge out the leaven…” 1 Corinthians 5:6, 7
Show me someone with a Christ-like zeal for the Father’s house, and I’ll show you someone that believes in purging!
- 1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
C. A Powerful Zeal
One man’s zeal made a difference. That place was between 20-30 acres.
One person with some zeal can turn a church around.
D. A Protective Zeal- v. 16
The Father’s house is worth protecting because of:
- The Haven if Provides
- The Holiness it Promotes
- The Help it Produces
- The Heritage it Prolongs – Jude (once delivered unto the saints…)