725.) Titus 3

The nucleus of the Church in Crete, perhaps, was started by the “Cretans” who were at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11).  Pictured:   St. Nicholas chapel at Georgioupolis on the Greek island of Crete

Titus 3 (English Standard Version)

Be Ready for Every Good Work

 1Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
Let us not for a moment think we are better than anyone else!  Only because God has graciously worked in our lives are we any different today!  Remembering this work of God builds four things in us.

  • First, gratitude for how God changed us.
  • Second, humility as we see that it was His work that changed us.
  • Third, kindness to others in the same place.
  • Finally, faith that God can change those who are still in that place.

–David Guzik

4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw

BEFORE AND AFTER

God not only wants to forgive us; he wants to regenerate us, make us new creatures.  Forgiveness is the first step.  It removes the things that alienate us from each other.  God forgives our offenses against him and forgets them.  then when we turn to God, we are not afraid or loaded with guilt.  But he wants to do more.  He wants to transform us to fit us for a future very different from our past.

Forgiveness and regeneration are like two sides of the same coin.  They cannot be separated.,  Salvation is more than a change of record.  It is a change of us.  It deals with our sin, the bent within our nature that causes us to commit our sins.  It affects who we are as well as what we do.  Paul makes this clear as he writes to his understudy Titus.  Notice his language:  “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of pleasures” (Titus 3:3).  Christians have a past of which they cannot boast, but it does not determine their future.  Paul is clear:  “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (Titus 3:4-5).  The change is a washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.  We now have a new life as well as a new relationship to God.  And that new life is God’s life within us.

My present, therefore, is different from my past.  It is as different as the sources from which the before and after come.  The before had its source in a”me” empty of him.  The after has its source in the very life of God that now lives within me.  Small wonder that there is a difference.

_________________________
6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

_________________________

Music:

It is no small thing to try to understand this idea:  that God loves us, and saves us, by the suffering of Christ on the cross, so that our sins can be forgiven and we can live kindly, gracious lives, according to the compassion and mercy that God has already shown us.  “Thank you” seems somehow not a strong enough response.

“Worthy Is the Lamb”  from Darlene Zschech and Hillsong.

_________________________

8The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

“It is much easier to discuss theological questions than to be kind and considerate and helpful at home, or efficient and diligent and honest at work.”

–William Barclay

OF MINOR IMPORTANCE

from Morning and Evening
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Avoid foolish controversies.

Our days are few and are far better spent in doing good than in disputing over matters that are, at best, of minor importance.  The old scholars did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our churches suffer too often from petty wars over obscure points and unimportant questions.

After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser, and therefore the discussion promotes neither knowledge nor love, and it is foolish to sow in so barren a field.

Questions about issues on which Scripture is silent, on mysteries that belong to God alone, on prophecies of doubtful interpretation, and on mere modes of observing human ceremonials are all foolish, and wise men avoid them.

There are, however, some questions that are the reverse of foolish, which we must not avoid but fairly and honestly meet, such as these: Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind? Am I walking not after the flesh but after the Spirit? Am I growing in grace? Does my behavior adorn the doctrine of God my Savior? Am I looking for the coming of the Lord and watching as a servant should who expects his master? What more can I do for Jesus?

10As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Final Instructions and Greetings

12When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. 15All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.

Grace be with you all.

_________________________

English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
St. Nicolas Chapel.   http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3136/2645611724_e006ca4440.jpg
Titus 3:5.  http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KnGy_tGQ5QE/TsY6JjfoanI/AAAAAAAAAu0/stPWo8g9ItQ/s1600/Titus+3.5.jpg
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