Professing God

Title: Professing God

Bible Book: Titus 1 : 16

Author: Franklin L. Kirksey

Subject: God, Professing; Witness; Testimony



Professing God is of utmost importance. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to profess is “to declare or admit openly or freely: affirm: to declare in words or appearances only: pretend, claim or to confess one's faith in or allegiance to”.[1]

As any God-called preacher, I have a deep concern that you make or have made a genuine profession of God. As Paul the apostle exhorts in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”

Dr. D. Edmond Hiebert (1928-1995) comments on Titus 1:5, “This verse gives us the historical setting for the Epistle. Titus is working on the island of Crete when Paul writes to him. Crete is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, situated almost equidistant from Europe, Asia, and Africa. A high state of civilization once flourished there, but by New Testament times the moral level of its inhabitants was deplorable. Their ferocity and fraud were widely attested; their falsehood was proverbial; the wine in Crete was famous, and drunkenness prevailed.”[2]

The apostle Paul writes in Titus 1:5-9, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.”

We must beware of those who make an abhorrent profession of God from the pulpit to the pew. Dr. Albert Barnes (1798-1870) explains, “The Jewish teachers particularly, . . . are referred to in Titus 1:14. All those persons were professors of religion, and claimed that they had a special knowledge of God. But in works they deny him - Their conduct is such as to show that they have no real acquaintance with him.”[3]

Paul warns Titus about those “[Who] profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:16). Dr. Barnes comments, “It was for this reason; from the character of the people of the island of Crete, and of those who claimed to be teachers there enforcing the obligation of the Mosaic law, that it was so important for Titus to exercise special care in introducing men into the ministry, and in completing the arrangements contemplated in the organization of the churches there. Yet is this character confined to them? Are there none now who profess that they know God, but in works deny him; whose conduct is such that it ought to be abhorred; who are disobedient to the plain commands of God, and whose character in respect to all that pertains to true piety is to be disapproved by the truly pious, and will be by God at the last day? Alas, taking the church at large, there are many such, and the fact that there are such persons is the grand hindrance to the triumphs of religion on the earth. ‘The way to heaven is blocked up by dead professors of religion.’”[4]

It is the burden of my heart for you to know exactly where you stand with God, because one day you will stand before God. Our outline reveals three possibilities related to the profession of God.

I. When the profession of God is absent.

From Romans 1:18-32 we read about a godless society. Here, Paul writes, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

Paul the apostle writes, "At that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). Dr. William Hendriksen summarizes the teaching of this verse in the following way, “Before the Gentiles became Christians, they were Christless, stateless, friendless, hopeless and Godless.”[5]

It is a dereliction of duty to fail to profess God. God will judge everyone according to their response to the light revealed to them.

II. When the profession of God is abhorrent.

We read in Titus 1:10-16, “For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. One of them, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”

Dr. Eugene Stock (1836-1928) explains, “‘Abominable,’ bdeluktos, does not occur again in the N.T., but we have ‘abomination,’ bdelugma, as meaning something disgusting, particularly in Revelation (xvii. 4, 5, xxi. 27). ‘Reprobate,’ adokimos, means literally not approved,’ that is, tested, but not passing the test, and therefore rejected. It is ‘reprobate’ in Rom. i. 28 and 2 Cor. xiii. 5, 6, 7, and ‘rejected’ in Heb. vi. 8 and 1 Cor. ix. 27.”[6]

Dr. Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) observes, “Of all bad men religious bad men are the worse.”[7]

Can you imagine what went through Paul’s mind as he reflected on at least twenty years of ministry? He knew the joy of seeing people come to faith in Jesus Christ and seeing people come together under the Lord to form new churches. Although Paul moved on from place to place, he continued to receive reports of the well-being of converts and congregations. It is difficult to measure his emotions as he hears about people who worked their way into the lives of those he loved and led them astray. They completely contradicted his sound biblical teaching and preaching.

From an article in Vantage Point we read, “The heresy of the Judaizers and their distortion of the gospel, (Galatians 1:6-9; 2:4) ‘a different gospel,’ is the same issue present today. The Judaizers, then, as today were seeking to establish a requirement for covenant membership through law keeping, signs and seals (circumcision or baptism), in addition to faith in Christ, thus destroying grace. (Romans 11:6)”[8]

Dr. John Gill (1697-1771) shares the following on the phrase, “They profess that they know God” (Titus 1:16), “That there is a God; that there is but one, only, true, and living God, the God of Israel, as professed by the Jews; and that this God is Father, Son, and Spirit, as believed by the Christians: for the persons the apostle speaks of were judaizing Christians. Yet this knowledge was but notional; it lay in theory and profession only; they had not a spiritual experimental knowledge of God in Christ, which only has eternal life connected with it.” On the phrase, “but in works they deny him” (Titus 1:16), Dr. Gill explains, “The Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, "in their own works"; they were not professed, but practical atheists; they owned there was a God, and boasted of their knowledge of him; but their lives and conversations showed that they had no true knowledge of him, and that the fear of him was not before their eyes; these gave the lie to their profession; they practically denied that faith they professed to hold, and the power of godliness, of which they had the form.”[9]

Paul the apostle warns in 2 Timothy 3:1-9, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.”

We read in 1 John 2:4, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Dr. Thomas Secker (1693-1768) warns, “Religion is not to be rejected because of hypocrites: - Many people are offended with the profession of religion, because all are not religious who make a profession. A little consideration will correct this error. Does the sheep despise its fleece because the wolf has worn it? . . . God rejects all religion but His own.”[10]

In studying Titus chapter one, it is helpful to read Mark 7:1-23 and its parallel recorded in Matthew 15:1-20, “Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, ‘Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.’ He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God’— then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, / And honor Me with their lips, / But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, / Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, ‘Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.’ Then His disciples came and said to Him, ‘Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?’ But He answered and said, ‘Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.’ Then Peter answered and said to Him, ‘Explain this parable to us.’ So Jesus said, ‘Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

Jesus warns in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

Jesus asks in Luke 6:46, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”

From the pen of Asaph we read in Psalm 50:16, “But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to declare My statutes, / Or take My covenant in your mouth.”

III. When the profession of God is abundant.

Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) states, “Salvation does not come from the assent of the head but by the consent of the heart.”[11] Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34b). There are those like the apostle Paul who abundantly profess God. In Romans 1:16-17 he writes, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” Paul also states in 2 Timothy 1:12b, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” Paul shares the basis of his profession in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

An abundant profession of God involves professing Him in every area of life. Three areas often overlooked involve education, entertainment, and employment. In education we must profess God in history, in science, and in every other academic discipline. Many who profess God, deny Him in their pursuit of entertainment. Every believer has a calling and this has a direct impact upon employment. How we approach the issues of marriage and money reveal much about our profession of God.

While we are to profess God individually, we are also to profess God in community. We read in Hebrews 10:24-25, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” In addition, we read in Ephesians 5:19-21, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

Professing God touches the world as Jesus tells believers in Matthew 5:13-16, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. ‘You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Rev. Ed Wood shares, “Almost everyone has heard of Mr. H. J. Heinz [of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania] whose ‘57 varieties’ of pickles have distinguished his name. One day after an evangelistic service the speaker turned to him and said, ‘You are a believer, but with all your energy why aren’t you up and at it for the Lord?’

Heinz went home in anger. That night he couldn’t sleep, however, and at 4 o’clock in the morning he prayed that God would use him to lead others to the Savior.

A day or so later at a meeting of bank presidents, he turned to the man next to him and told him of his joy in knowing Jesus. His friend looked at him in surprise and said, ‘Because I knew you were a Christian, I’ve wondered many times why you never spoke to me about salvation.’

That gentleman became the first of 267 converts — people of different varieties, from all walks of life — that Mr. Heinz eventually won to Christ!”[12]


Allow me to frame the points of our message in the form of three diagnostic questions to assist in determining where you stand with the Lord.

Is your profession of God absent?

Is your profession of God abhorrent?

Is your profession of God abundant?

May you to know exactly where you stand with God, because one day you will stand before God. It is my prayer you will heed Paul’s warning about professing God.

[1]Available from: Accessed: 01/21/12

[2]D. Edmond Hiebert, Titus and Philemon (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1957), p. 29

[3]Available from: Accessed: 01/24/12

[4]Available from: Accessed: 01/24/12

[5]William Hendriksen, Ephesians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1967), pp. 129-131

[6]Eugene Stock, Practical Truths From the Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1983) [Originally published as Plain Talks on the Pastoral Epistles (London: Robert Scott, 1914)], p. 234

[7]C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms (London: Collins, 1961), p. 32
[8]Vantage Point, “Mini Profile: Baptismal Regeneration”, (Arlington, TX: Watchman Fellowship, November 1998), Available from: Accessed: 12/08/07

[9]John Gill, John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, Bible Study Tools, Titus 1:16 [online]; available at: Accessed: 01/23/12; accessed on 23 January 2012

[10]The Biblical Illustrator, ed. Joseph S. Exell, [Titus], (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, n .d [originally published 1887) p. 54

[11]Available from: Accessed: 01/22/12

[12]Ed Wood, “The Gift of Prophecy” sermon notes, Romans 12:6, Available from: Accessed: 01/23/12

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on and / [email protected] / (251) 626-6210

© January 29, 2012 All Rights Reserved

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