The book of Titus is a really important book I think for anyone to study and especially for our church, because our church is a church plant, and Titus is written to a church plant. What that means is the Apostle Paul sent Titus to this place called Crete, in order to see the church established. Paul’s thinking about the people there, wanting to reach them and wanting to see the church thrive. What does it mean to be a part of a healthy church making a difference in the lives of people around them?
Paul writes this book to Titus. Titus was a Gentile. The island of Crete was a very Gentile place. It was a very rough place. Titus was a pretty tough dude, but it tells us in Titus chapter 1, verse 12, that Paul quotes one of their own people from Crete, and one of their own people said that Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.
All right, so you think about planting a church. This is one of the darkest, most difficult places that you could plant a church, and Paul’s saying the church can still have a different in even the darkest of places. This is important for us because no matter where you find yourself in life, no matter how dark the day may be, the greater light is in Christ. God can make a difference. Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.
God has you in a place for a specific reason, and understanding why the church exists and how the church should function is very important. We’ve said this repeatedly throughout this message. The reason your church exists isn’t just to have church on Sunday. God created a movement. When Jesus said I will build my church, he said the gates of hell will not prevail against it. As we rest in the promise of who he is, and he describes himself as the rock. So on Jesus’ promise of his identity, he calls his church, which he created for his purpose, to be a movement in this world, to make a difference in darkness, as light that represents him.
Jesus said, as it relates to the church, that he is the head. We are the body. You are the extension of Jesus in this world. When God wants to work and move his miracles in the lives of others, he wants to work through his people. What we do is important. We don’t want to do things just to do things. We don’t serve tradition. We serve Jesus.
We leverage tradition for the purpose of reaching the hearts, and if what we’re doing isn’t working, then we need to change what we’re doing for the sake of Christ and the benefit of others. God calls us to live for his glory, to the benefit of people. In fact, when you love Jesus, you love what Jesus loves, and what Jesus loves is people. You see this heart in Paul. He’s writing to Crete because he cares about people, and he cares about the church reaching people for the glory of God and to the benefit of others.
A promise all the way back to Abraham, was through you, all nations or all people groups would be blessed. God calls us as a light into the world, to always think outwardly. It’s not about us and this building and that’s the end. It’s about what Jesus does in us so that he works through us for the glory, for his glory to the benefit of others.
So when Paul starts thinking about the church, let me just say it like this. If you were part of a church, what would it look like to establish a healthy group of people, making a difference for Jesus? If you think about your church, if it were gone tomorrow, what would people miss? What difference if any do you make? Do we make?
So Paul is thinking about the church. He knows God’s called them to make a difference and so, he starts sharing from this passage a perspective as it relates to the church that it’s healthy to build on and impact the lives of people around you. So in Titus chapter 1, he started off in the identity of himself. He labels his own self in the presentation of who he is to this people group to Titus and to the church. He calls himself in verse 1, a servant leader.
Though Paul was an apostle, he doesn’t identify himself primarily as the apostle. He just calls himself a servant. In calling himself a servant, he then goes on from there and talks about healthy leadership. We think about leadership in society around us, leadership in society around us is all about getting to the top of the pyramid so you can tell everybody below you what to do. But biblical leadership is the exact opposite. It’s about leveraging all that God has given you to help others become all that God has called them to be.
It’s about getting beneath people. In fact, Jesus did that with his own life. He came as king of kings, Lord of Lords, became the servant of servants, to the point of giving his life on the cross. Now in emulating his king and savior, Paul labels himself as a servant leader, and then describes to the church what healthy leadership should look like. He reminds us that we are all called to be leaders.
In fact, when Paul described leadership in the church in the form of elders in Titus chapter 1, verse 3, he says, “Anyone that aspires to this position, it is a noble pursuit.” Though not everyone may hold position, God calls us all to be leaders. With that leadership comes responsibility but God’s placed you in this world to be an influencer in some capacity. We all lead in some capacity in this world. It’s impossible not to because we all influence in some way or another. It is impossible not to.
The question is, how are you influencing? What are you influencing people toward? You share the things you’re passionate about. It comes naturally. Maybe the inward question is, what comes out Jesus? Because if it’s not Jesus, the question should be, really am I truly passionate about him?
So you see, servant leadership and healthy leadership in chapter 1, and then in chapter 2, he starts talking about how we influence and make an impact in the lives of people around us. In chapter 2, it’s all about the older man serving the younger man and the older woman serving the younger woman. Younger man, younger women seeing your place on earth. They talk about employee and employer and how God calls you into different seasons of life, different places of life to make a difference.
That gave us the stat, some groups have studied, that most people have about 8 to 15 close relationships in their lives. That’s about all we got. I know FB say you have 1000 friends, but you don’t have 1000 friends. You have 1000 people that clicked to follow you, but you don’t have 1000 friends, right? You have about 8 to 15 close relationships in this world.
Now that changes in different seasons of life because more different people come in and different people go out. You have different likes with different people, so you relate to people differently. But at any given time, no matter where you are in life, about 8 to 15 relationships with people. That’s 8 to 15 places of influence. You can’t make a difference everywhere, but you can somewhere. You share the things that you’re passionate about.
So he encourages the church, as we think about what God’s called us to in this world, to encourage one another, to model the beauty of who Christ is with each other. That’s chapter 2. Then in chapter 3, he gets into the idea of the world around us. To think about the world around us, that what God’s doing in us isn’t to stop in us but work through us. So in chapter 3, Paul starts wrestling with the idea of right thinking and right living.
Because of who Jesus is, how that should make a difference in our lives and impact the world around us, it should be a better place than when we first arrived, when we leave. God wants us to make a difference. It’s the right way of thinking and the right living. Said in a more sophisticated way, we’re talking about orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Orthodoxy, what you believe. Orthopraxy, how you live it.
So Paul starts to lay this out for us in Titus chapter 3. As you think about your church as it relates to this church, what does God desire for us to do? If we are here, how can we make a difference in the lives of the world around us? So he says this. In Titus chapter 3, verse 1, he starts in the most simplistic place. Like if you live somewhere, then you’re a citizen of wherever it is that you live.
So he says this, “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,” unless they don’t do what you like. Then complain about it all the time, right? I’m kidding. That’s not in here. When Titus, this chapter is written, I think it’s very important to understand the context for which Paul is writing these words. Because Paul is writing Titus chapter 3 when Nero is ruling. And Nero is going to be the one that martyrs both Paul and Peter. Nero stood against he church.
Yet, what Paul is saying here is that God didn’t create the church to be a thorn in the side of authority and leaders, but rather be ready for every good deed. The most basic sense of thinking about your influence in the world around you is saying that Christians are called to be good citizens and encouraging good deeds in the lives of the people that are represented under the authority for which they rest.
I know, I know government doesn’t always agree with your values, right? In Acts chapter 5, verse 29, when the apostles are brought before the leaders of the Jewish community at the time. They tell the apostles to do something and the apostles respond back, “Shall we obey man rather than God?” The statement there is to indicate, no. When it comes to pursuing God or pursuing the things of this world, no matter who it is and what authority they have, if it conflicts with the god that we’re supposed to follow, then we pursue the God. We pursue God.
Because what God ultimately wants is intended to be for our good, but in pursuing God, the apostles willingly took their licks, because it tells us in the same story that they considered themselves worthy to be beaten for the cause of Christ. They stood up and they stood to bless. I like the way that Paul says it in Titus. We didn’t get a whole lot of time to spend in this verse last week, but I just want to point it back out to you in Titus chapter 2, verse 13, in talking about the authority of which we rest under, he says, “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior, Christ Jesus.”
I like that. It’s as if, Paul’s not ultimately here putting his hope in politics. It’s like as if, no matter what the earthly kings do, that his king still reigns. When he talks about this king, the phrases that he used for Jesus, he says that Jesus is both God and his rescuer. What a good king that is, in his pursuit, so all of his hope in glory is in the identity of who this is that he is representing in this world, this Jesus who is both God and king, and serving under that great king. He calls us to bless and not curse. To pray for those that may be against us, to seek peace with all men, it tells us in Romans.
I like the way that Paul says it, sort of a similar statement as Titus 2, in Philippians chapter 2. Philippians chapter 2, Paul is actually in jail writing this letter because of his faith in Christ. In the time of Rome, anyone that was a Roman citizen was expected to give a certain pronunciation from their lips in the loyalty in their heart, and on the pronunciation on their lips and loyalty of their heart, it was “Kaiser Curious,” or Caesar is Lord. As Romans worshiped many gods, they saw Caesar as a God and worshiped Caesar.
To be a Roman citizen and not pronounce Kaiser Curious, was contradictory to the Roman belief system. When the early church comes along and they believe in one God, the church started getting persecuted. It was interesting that the claim brought against Christians as they are being persecuted for their faith is that they are actually called atheists, because Rome believes in all these gods. Here comes this people group that only talk about one god and it’s as if they’re atheists all together.
The church gets persecuted because they didn’t believe in the gods and they wouldn’t pronounce Kaiser Curious, Caesar is Lord. Instead Paul said this, “Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.” This statement was scandalous. Just imagine Paul in jail, because of his faith in Jesus, and he says, rather than Kaiser Curious, he says Christos Curious. Caesar is Lord, take this letter. Deliver it to people. I mean even holding this thing could get your head cut off. What is Paul doing?
He’s showing the loyalty in all of this belongs to Jesus, and so when you think about where you live and your allegiance, I know you want to be for the people around you, and I also recognize your allegiance ultimately belongs to Christ. So let me say it like this guys. Sometimes we look at the world around us and we just grumble and complain. It’s not what it’s supposed to be, right?
I mean a generation ago it was so much better, grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble. Let’s just all build a bunker and hide and let the world go to hell in a hand basket. God’s done a good thing here and then that’s it, right? Everything else is unsaveable, but when you look in the book of Titus, chapter 1, verse 12, he’s saying to us, look. Even the darkest places, these evil beasts, these lazy gluttons, God can make a difference because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.
Look. If you live in a country that’s everything you want it to be, that’s 90% Christian, or you live in the most difficult country on planet earth and it’s 1% Christian, when you wake up tomorrow, it should never change what you do. Always for the glory of God to the benefit of people. I love Martin Luther’s quote on that. They asked him once, not King Jr, but Martin Luther in the 1500s, “If tomorrow was the last day that you had on planet earth, what would you do?” Would you imagine that? You sit beneath him. You see him as this great giant in the faith and here you are as a student. You’re like, okay I’m not, I can’t be Martin Luther, but I want to do that one thing. I can make a difference.
Then he just looks and he says, “I’d plant an apple tree.” What do you do with that? Right? But what Luther is saying, he’s saying, “Look, I’m going to be who I’m supposed to be, regardless of what tomorrow holds, regardless of what people do around me, regardless of how good or difficult it may be, God always calls you to be a difference maker and to be light in this world.”
When Jesus was about to be crucified on the cross, after he says this to his disciples in the upper room, he’s with them. You can imagine, your world’s falling apart. Oh Lord, how are we going to make a difference? Oh gosh, this is going to get so dark. You’re going to get persecuted. What are they doing to do to us, right? All these bad things. Jesus looks at them and says this, in John 14, verse 1, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. Behold I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also.”
There’s hope. I think people in this world know that the world is broken. I think we look for things to cling to. That’s why we care so much about politics, right? The solution, the solution, the solution, for at least two more years, until the next round of elections come around. Then it’s all pandemonium again. We know the world’s broken, and yet what the pronouncement is in this passage is that there is a kingdom that transcends.
He’s going to show us in this story how for the world that this becomes our hope and how your position in this world to make a difference becomes so paramount beyond these governmental things that we often fight against. There’s a greater kingdom. I know Paul [inaudible 00:15:31] place and God cares about things in our world, but I don’t think he cares about certain things as much as we think he does.
His kingdom’s far greater and the solution far more important than to be derailed by things that ultimately may not matter at the end of the day. So he says this, to be ready for every good deed. Don’t get lost in that garbage. Live to bless. Be ready for every good deed. He says then in verse 2, “To malign no one.” Do you know why he says to malign no one? Because when people act stupid, it’s easy to do, right? But to malign no one, but rather to be peaceable and gentle and show every consideration for all men, for we also were once foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived and slaves to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life on malice and envy and hateful, hating one another.
We’re doing this good for all people. He says at the end of verse 2, look malign no one because we’re taking consideration for all men. All mankind. God’s called you, and the scope of the aim of Crete, Paul’s thinking all about the Cretans and how he can reach them for the cause of Christ. A pursuit that’s greater than just this world. He recognizes, he recognizes that there’s a battle within all of us, right? Even this morning, who’s king of your heart?
There are only two kings that you can serve, yourself or Jesus. He starts to describe the way that we pursue the kingdom of self here. He says, “For we also were once foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived.” The pursuit of our live we made about ourselves because we thought that was the right thing, and so in order to please ourselves because we’re the king of ourselves, we then pursue after our lusts because we think that’s what brings us pleasure.
But here’s what he says on the back, at the end of this pleasure, is we spend our life in a malice and envy and hate and hating and hating one another. Why in the world have we put ourselves on the throne, if we think that’s the an answer to life, do we end up with such negativity? The answer is oftentimes we make ourselves God of this world, thinking that we are God and things in this world are about serving us for our pleasure.
We find that the things that we own, we don’t really own them, but rather they own us. When they own us, our appetites are never fully indulged and therefore when we see other people having the things that we think bring us such pleasure, in our hearts, we start with this attitude of envy and hateful and hating one another and this malice.
You’re preventing me from getting what I want, what will ultimately make me happy because you have it. So we destroy. So Paul is showing us in this story that when our lives aren’t given to him, to the Lord, and our heart turned over to him to be a blessing to those around us, that it pursues our own lusts, and our own lusts, we become enslaved to those things because we don’t really own them. They end up owning us and in owning us, we hate those that hold the things in which we desire because we want them, and we become malicious in pursuing them.
Then he says this. But, and this but introduces something radical for us in the changing of our lives. This I think is what sets Christianity apart from every religious belief in the world. This is what I would say. In these two verses, and if anyone memorizes anything out of Titus, it’s typically these two verses because these two verses are paramount to our faith. These first five verses, for me, I think are some of the most precious that I hold to in my life in scripture, as I live a life which God calls me to in him.
Whatever someone’s ever told you about Christianity, if you could just forget that for a minute and just hold these two verses. This gives the basis for why we do what we do. “For when the kindness of God our savior, and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us.” So what it’s saying at the beginning of this verse, but which is opposing a life that lives for self-made pleasure, but something else happens that changes the pursuit of our heart and it’s this God and savior which we saw in chapter 2, verse 13, is Jesus. Who’s appeared to save us.
His love for mankind has appeared to save us. God’s love is rescuing us. Which begs the question how, how does God’s love save us and change us? He gives the thought that we often go to religiously in the very next phrase. He saves us, look at this, “Not on the basis of deeds which we have done and righteousness.” Religious mentality is to say God saves me and rescues me by making myself lovable. He can’t stop loving me because I’ve made myself so lovable to him. Therefore he loves me, right?
Or oftentimes, we’ll say well how does God save your or how does God change your life? Well he saves me after I’ve done all that I can do. I’ve done the certain status quo and therefore made myself lovable. So it’s after all I can do. Let me just ask, have you ever just thought through some of that. I know it can sound like a nice pithy cliché statement, but just consider it for a minute.
After everything you’ve done, then God loves you. Because if you ever had opportunity to pray, spend some time in prayer that day or go maybe instead to the movies with a friend and you chose movie over praying, how unspiritual of you right? Or have you ever had opportunity to read the Bible or get on Facebook to read posts that won’t matter in five seconds from now? And you chose to spend two hours on Facebook and then tried to convince your friends of why you don’t have time to read the Bible? You ever done that?
Or have you ever had the opportunity to give to someone in need because you had a little extra money, you had an opportunity to give to someone in need and you just drove right past them thinking, but I want to spend that on this next item that I am thinking about, right? If you’ve ever done those things, can you really say that you’ve done all that you can do? And if you didn’t do those things, now you know you can’t do all you can do. So therefore, can God really save you?
It’s impossible. We fall short. There’s never enough. In fact, it doesn’t even answer the question, what about the bad that you’ve already done? Does doing good undo the bad? James chapter 2 verse 10 says it like this, “If you have sinned and been guilty of one area of the law, you are guilty of all of it.” The law isn’t intended to free you. The law’s intended to condemn, Romans chapter 2 and 3, Galatians chapter 2 and 3, the same thing. Go read those chapters today if you’re trying to think through the purpose of the law. It’s not about, it’s not about your salvation.
So this still begs the question, how does God save us? Because it tells us very plainly, it’s not based on what we do. Look how this person describes it here. Not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness. It’s saying even those deeds, even if you think they were good deeds in which you have done, that’s not how it happens. So how does God save us and change us?
He then goes on. Not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but look. According to his mercy. For the washing and regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. He goes on from here. I’ll do that in just a minute. I actually want you to see how God flips this here. Because you think how does God save us, and everyone thinks it’s about what you do, what you do. Then all of a sudden he gives this exact opposite statement, but according to his mercy.
Because what mercy is saying is you don’t actually want what you deserve. Mercy is God withholding what you deserve. When it comes before a holy God, is he compares himself to you. I know oftentimes we think in life, well there’s the murderer. Go get him God while I scan through the pearly gates, right? I am not a murderer. I didn’t do that in life. Yeah, let me in, right? That’s how we tend to think. I’m better than him. That’s not how God compares us.
He compares us to his holiness. It’s not the standard that we pick. It’s the standard of who he is. Anytime we’ve ever sinned, I think it’s important to know that sin isn’t just what we do against one another. Sin is sin because it ultimately violates God when you tell a lie to someone, yeah that lie can hurt them, but what makes a lie a lie is that God is truth.
When you tell a lie, you oppose the one who is truth, that creates all truth. Every sin you ever do is first against God before it’s against someone else. That’s what Jesus said to us when he came on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5. He said, you know “The law says you shall not murder, but I tell you he who has had anger in his heart has committed murder already.” Yeah, you may not have killed the guy down the road when he made you angry, but your heart sure wanted to.
Because the action that breeds murder was birthed in a heart of anger. Your problem isn’t you have this behavior modification. It’s a heart transformation. We can’t control our heart. No matter how much religion you put on it, you’ll never be free. Religion will always condemn because you’re never good enough.
God shows us and rather than giving you what you do deserve, he saves you on the basis of his mercy by withholding what you deserve to give you something else. Look what it says. “Through the washing of regeneration or renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Now these two words are powerful words. There’s only two times in scripture, this word for regeneration and this word for renewing is used in the Greek New Testament.
Both of them create this incredible imagery. It’s sort of like a superhero imagery, if you let me play on that for a minute, because Stan Lee just died and I’m still grieving, all right? You think about superheroes. You ever get that question, you show up in one of those awkward groups where no one knows everyone and some of us think, okay how are we going to ice break this? What question? Okay I got it. If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have?
You know when you’re young, the answer is always either to fly or to have like super speed, right? But when you get older, I know what the answer is every time. Every time, guys, it’s invisibility, especially if you got kids. It’s like, “Mom!” Invisible. “Dad!” Invisible. It is definitely the right answer. But when you think about superheroes, my kids love superheroes because they see the good guy going in, saving the day, stopping the bad guy. But on the back end of all that stopping of the bad guy, it still leaves a wake of destruction and death. It shares the story of how, whoever flies in, Ironman or Nerdy Spiderman or whatever hero you like, and it saves the day, and then it doesn’t tell the story of how everyone’s left in their devastation to figure out how to pick up the pieces and rebuild.
Superhero’s super but at some point his superpower has limitations. If you’re a superhero, what superpowers would you want? I think I changed my answer now. I think I’m going to go with regeneration or renewing, but I don’t want that. I’m just thankful Jesus has it, because this is what it means. Regeneration carries this, probably the idea that you’re thinking of. You get an arm cut off, you’re like, “Regenerate!” Like dead person, regenerate back to life. Tree falls over and dies, regenerate. Dog gets run over, regenerate. It brings it all back to life. That’s exactly what it’s saying.
It’s like it’s taking the things which are dead, the things which cause pain, the destruction which you see, and it makes them undone. When God first uses this idea of regeneration, Jesus does. It’s in Matthew chapter 19, verse 28. What he’s actually talking about is all of creation. To look in the pain of a mother’s eyes and saying, “No tear wasted. Regenerate.” Making all things new.
All bad done away. The glory of the goodness of God in victory made known. Regenerate, right? But not only is the word regeneration important. It’s also the word renew, and the only other time this word, this exact wording in Greek is used is in Romans chapter 12, verse 2, a beautiful passage, these first two verses. Because Paul lays out the gospel for the first 11. Then he gets to chapter 12, and he says this, “I beg you brothers, by the mercy of God, withholding his wrath, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God which is your reasonable act of service.”
And look what it says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Renewed. So even if God regenerated everything, it still doesn’t fix where the ultimate problem rests. Really that’s in my heart. God doesn’t just fix the external. He renews it from the inside out. Regenerate, renew.
The reason Paul cares about creed is because this God came into his life. As God has known him in his darkest place in his heart, God desires to make himself known in the lives of the people in Crete and the lives of the people around you, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. He goes on from there. Let me move forward a little quicker here.
He says in verse 6, he says, “Whom he poured out upon you richly in Christ Jesus our savior, in Jesus Christ our savior.” So he’s saying, when God did this, he didn’t just save you from something. He saved you for something. When Jesus’ mercy and grace is made known, God just didn’t fill your cup up. It is overflowing with the goodness of who he is, so that being justified by his grace. So this means, justified means being made right. So that when God sees you, he doesn’t see you in your religious performance. When God sees you, he sees the blood of Christ covering your life.
Jesus, when he paid for you, paid it all. So being justified by his grace, grace is not a work. In fact, Romans 11:6 tells us if work is added to grace at all, it is no longer grace. It’s something else, but it is not grace because what makes grace grace is that it is absolutely free. God knew you did not have the ability to save yourselves. I mean that’s the point of Romans 3 and verse 5, “Not by works of righteousness by which you have done, but according to his mercy in withholding what you do deserve,” because you don’t want what you deserve.
To regenerate and renew, pouring this out on you richly, so that you would be declared right by his grace. We would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. So it’s not just rescuing from the darkness. It’s a whole new identity in living that you become an heir with Jesus, as he is king of kings and Lord of Lords. You are in his kingdom, belonging to him.
Paul’s passionate about this. This is the orthodoxy of what Christianity is all about, and this is what we carry into this world so that we can live it in orthopraxy. This is where he goes in verse 8. This is a trustworthy statement. I like those, because I don’t like being lied to. You ever vouch for somebody? They’ll be a good employee. Hire them. Right? And then you have to swallow your pride after that. I’m not vouching for anyone ever again, right? They were liars. It’s not fun to be lied to.
This is what Paul is saying to us in this statement. There’s no reason to be disappointed or ashamed, because God will never disappoint. “This is a trustworthy statement and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds.” So he’s saying to us in this passage, listen. There’s a truth that we proclaim and because the truth that we proclaim and believe, there’s a certain way that we are to live and he says we want to proclaim this truthfully and not be ashamed of it because of the way God calls us to live so that we can do this carefully.”
Now this isn’t like I got to do this carefully because I might screw it up. But he’s saying, be thoughtful. Don’t let the world happen to you. You go happen to the world. Be intentional about the place God’s got you. You can’t make a difference everywhere, but you can make a difference somewhere, and you have relationships to make a difference. If this truth is this freeing, it becomes that important.
I heard a story once of a guy that was in California. An earthquake happened and he was driving in the night, and he saw in front of him the car driving just off a little bit in the distance, then all of a sudden, he saw the car disappears. So he slams on his brakes and he runs ahead to see why in the world this car just randomly disappeared, and he found out that the bridge was gone and a 70 foot plummet to the bottom to your death. And this guy put on his brakes and he starts running to his car and he can see traffic come on and he’s just flailing his arms on the street trying to get cars to stop, and all they thought was this guy’s insane. Lock your doors and hit the peddle right? He just watched car after car plummet, trying to stop them.
All of a sudden he sees a bus, and he decided this is it. This is it. This bus is full of people and if this bus is going off the cliff, it’s taking me with it. So he started just flailing his arms and eventually the bus stopped and the driver happened to just get out and at least ask enough, are you crazy or is there a reason, right? The guy informs him that what’s taken place ahead on the road and that they would plummet to their death. So the bus positions himself not only to save the people on the bus but anyone else that could come through there.
The point is this. The guy said this about that event. That when the magnitude of what the message he had to share was so important with reckless abandonment he did not care what people thought about him. It was too valuable to hold on. Guys, I think Jesus was the same way.
I know there’s tact in the way you do it. You don’t want to just punch people in the arm and make them hate Jesus because you just but if Jesus really regenerates, renews, the thought of the way we share this becomes important being careful. Let me just look at this thought for one more minute in thinking about orthopraxy because he’s saying what you say and how you live to be intentional for the sake of the world around you.
Paul in these verses has shown us the attitude for which we are to consider as we go into this world, because he said to us in verse 2, “Malign no one, to be peaceable and gentle, considerate for all mankind.” Why? Here’s why. Because they were you. For we also once were foolish ourselves. Malign no one. Rather Paul tells us how to live in the universe too. And the reason why is because we used to be those people. Honestly, sometimes we still struggle with where we are.
Paul is sharing in this passage the heart of a world changer. The heart of a world changer rests on this one area. They never get over what Jesus did for them. That’s the beauty in this passage. You see it in verse 3. “For we were once foolish ourselves,” and then verse 4, “But God. But when the kindness of God our savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us, not because of what we’ve done, but because of what he has done for us.” This is why I say for me, this is my favorite section of scripture, because it reminds me of the heart of compassion which Jesus desires to built in all of us.
Jesus had a heart of compassion for this world. He became as we were to understand our suffering, so that he could relate to us, and then calls us to do the same. Jesus wept, the Bible tells us with compassion over Jerusalem. Jesus on the cross, while people crucified him, said, “Father forgive them.” He understood what it was like to be in human skin. He calls us to be the same, to care for the people around us and to never forget what Jesus brought us from and what Jesus has brought us to. Remembering our past without Christ allows us to fight for a future for people in Christ.
This becomes important guys, because this answers the question for us, what kind of church do you want to be? Jesus is the hope of the world, and we are his body by extension. Therefore Jesus desires to work his hope through you. Don’t wait for people around you to be the answer because God sent you. Say it like this, that we should be willing to do whatever it takes, short of sin for people to know and enjoy Christ. You are the church. You are God’s messenger. You are God’s answer.
Now sometimes we look at the church and we think, you know, Jesus has done a great thing, but the rest of the world, oh, it’s unsaveable now. Let’s bury ourselves and let it go to hell in a hand basket, while we just appreciate what God’s done around us. Yes, God has done a good thing, but the point of Titus chapter 3, verses 1 to 5, is that God’s not finished doing a great thing. He is poised to continue to allow his miracle to work, through the hands of his people.
As we remember where our hearts are apart from him, and now where our hearts rest because of him and invite others into that, as a church when you look at Titus chapter 3, verses 1 to 5, I can tell you this. We aren’t in the heart of religiously perfect people. We’re in the heart of a broken, sinful world. People that know that they need Jesus, or they need something at least. I think people know this world is broken. They look for a solution. That’s why we get so many passionate people about so many topics in our society.
But here’s what we know. It’s all broken. Jesus is the solution. Yeah, sometimes, and I should end with this. Sometimes we recognize our place in the world. I realize guys that being a light for Christ can seem overwhelming and daunting, but I want to remind you. God isn’t calling you to be the savior. He already holds that title. What God’s calling you to do is simply introduce people to him. Serve them, love them, speak truth to them. You’ll naturally care and share the things that you’re passionate about, but can I tell you some of the best ways I think I’ve learned to do that in my life? Meet them where they’re at. Ask them what they’ve got going on in their life. Care about their heart. Listen to their story. As you listen to their story, share your story of how God changed yours, your life.
I think asking questions of people begins to just show that you care about their soul. Jesus calls us to care about the hearts that we come in contact with. God cares about how you treat the person that you have the least to gain from in life. What do you say to the guy at McDonald’s when he gets your order wrong or the person checking out in the supermarket when they take too long? God cares about that heart. God cares about how you treat that heart, especially when you don’t have anything to gain from them.
Asking questions shows that you genuinely care about them, and Jesus was the master at that. Can I tell you one of the best ways to get a spiritual conversation started with people? Is just to ask them, what do you think about Jesus? What do you think of who he is? You get to share who you think Christ is. You saw a verse, Titus chapter 2, verse 13, or the section of scripture today, to walk through it, because here’s what happens in our lives when we hear this message. These last two verses say this, that, “But to avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, strife and disputes about the law for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”
He’s saying this. Because it gets easy to get sidetracked, sometimes we make these things important that aren’t important, like in Paul’s day they cared about these certain controversies and genealogies, like God cares who your dad is, like that’s going to make a difference. God cares about your heart. You don’t get to name drop before God. Genealogy is not going to matter. We can get sidetracked in these secondary issues that make no difference.
Or, we can get into a tiff with someone that’s a factious person and the frustration of working with that person can lead our hearts astray. You know what the best way to find out if someone really wants to learn about spiritual things? Ask this question. If what you believe isn’t true, do you want to know? That will tell you if they’re open to a conversation or not. But the point is in our lives to see this, that God has you in a place to make a difference, and what Jesus does in your heart is too important to let it stop with you because the transformation that God has brought into your life is a blessing to the lives of those around you, and you want them to experience that blessing too. Because just as God changed your heart in the midst of that darkness, that same miracle-working God is on the move today.