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Titus Session 6

The Pastoral Epistles   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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I want to start out the study tonight with a quick discussion that will lead us into our passage for this evening.
Here’s the question: How do we know the difference between doing things that are good versus doing things that are bad?
How are those lines drawn and who enforces those lines?
Is good and bad merely a matter of perspective… what might be good for you is not necessarily good for me and whatever is bad for you may not be bad to me?
This question can move us into talking about morality and ethics… unwritten codes that help govern our conduct, behavior, and attitudes.
As believers, we understand that we receive this knowledge from the Word of God and from the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
How we live, what we say, and how we treat others is all determined by what Scripture has to say. Not only do we take these instructions to heart, but God’s Spirit dwells within our hearts and He helps us to navigate through life in this world.
So all of this talk regarding good and bad leads us up to chapter 3 in Titus… a passage of Scripture where Paul urges Titus to “Do what is good.”
Paul does an amazing contrast between where the believer stands today versus where they once stood yesterday… apart from God.
The ability of the believer to “do what is good” does not give the believer the right to look down upon those who are doing bad or are living in sin. As we will see in a moment, Paul humbles the do-gooders and for good reason.
Our ability to do good did NOT come naturally from within. Our ability to do good in the eyes of God came from the redemptive work Christ did on our hearts.
Our sinful nature - the nature of the flesh - can only be overcome through the blood of Christ. So… I throw this thought out there: our ability to follow the instruction found in Titus 3 is rooted in our relationship with Jesus. We are not only to do good by the world’s standard… we are to do good according to God’s standards.

Do What is Good.

Let’s read the first couple of verses of Titus 3:1-2
Titus 3:1–2 NIV
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
Whoa… this passage comes out swinging if you will. This passage, a passage about always doing good, starts out by instructing believers to be subject to rulers and authorities… EARTHLY RULERS AND AUTHORITIES!
This is a very important teaching for a church who is working to present to the culture the God who does not lie! As they work to confront the deceptions of their culture, THEY MUST BE SEEN LIVING OUT THE TRUTH OF GOD. This means obeying the laws of the land.
Even today, it is important for the ongoing influence of Christ’s message that Christians obey civil laws and authorities. We need to be good citizens and act as respectful neighbors in our communities.
Now, as we consider this… I want us to also understand something that tis very important. Our subjugation to local authorities does come with an important clause: We are to follow the laws of the land so long as the laws do not go against the Word of God.
Yes we are to obey our local authorities… but our obedience to God in all things must come first. If obeying the laws of the land will cause a person to sin, then obedience to such law is not required.
This is NOT an act of rebellion toward local or national government… it is simply obeying God’s command to do what is good. Choosing to sin is NEVER categorized as doing good in God’s eyes.
Really, what this instruction comes down to is what we have identified as the second part of the mission of this church. Loving people.
Loving people as Christ loved people is doing good. And Christ is our ultimate example of what this level of good should look like. He wrote the code… and lived the code. And church… really it is far more than a code. It’s a position of the heart… it’s an inward desire to please the Lord that translates into outward actions.
In the hallway, our bulletin board has transformed a bit. The mission statement is in the middle and it is surrounded by images of congregants loving God and loving people. It is our mission in motion board and it is full of images of good things!
The world NEEDS TO SEE MORE GOOD! NOT JUST EARTHLY GOOD, but GODLY GOOD! As the body of Christ, we need to display the fruit of the Spirit, not the ways of the flesh. It is far too easy to slip into the flesh mode these days. It’s easy to complain and to worry about current affairs. It’s a whole other story to be a lighthouse in these dark times.
And there is one more thing we need to consider with this instruction… when Paul says to do what is good, he implies that we need to stay away from doing bad. We need to stay away from sin.
God has a much higher standard on this than the world. The world has embraced many things that God says is sin. It is imperative that the worldly culture does not slip into the hearts of believers.
The world is redefining what it considers to be good and bad. God’s standards will NEVER change. So before a person buys into what the world is selling or celebrating as good… they ought to measure it up against the Word of God. God has given us the standard right here… in this book. Straying away from His standard is not a good thing to do.
It may not be easy to stand for what God defines as good… the world may look down upon you for such a stance… but do not budge from that spot. God’s way is the only way… the only way to what? The only way to living life to the full or more abundantly. Jesus came that we may have life… that we might be rescued from the death found in this world.

Remember Who Made You Good.

Good… is not really the right word to use here. We need to remember who it was that made us righteous in the eyes of God. We need to remember how our justification came to be. Let’s read on in Titus 3:3-8
Titus 3:3–8 NIV
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
Here we see the contrast that I mentioned before. Paul is reminding Titus that all people have lived a “foolish, disobedient” life influenced by the world. We all know what it means to do what is bad. We all know what it feels like to be enslaved by earthly passions and desires. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory… But not all will stay in that position of sin.
For those who have called on Jesus’ name for salvation have been justified because of His mercy and love. Justified meaning we have been made righteous in the eyes of God.
Jesus took on our sin and nailed it to the cross. Through justification, we take on His righteousness, the righteousness of Christ, as our own.
Remember what I said earlier… it is impossible for us to overcome our sinful nature on our own. The blood of Jesus is the ONLY solution for our sin problem.
We are not made “good” in the eyes of God by our own actions… we are made “good” in His eyes through “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
Paul says to do what is good… live like you didn’t live before… walk as those who have been brought from death to life… remember where you were before Christ, and look where you are now - redeemed, set free, forgiven through the blood of the Lamb.
And there is one last key item to note in this passage. Paul spoke of the days when we knew what it felt like to be hated and hating one another. He brings up this reality for good reason.
We know what hate feels like… but now in Christ, we know what love feels like and looks like. THIS IS HOW WE ARE TO PRESENT OURSELVES TO THE WORLD, NOT AS THOSE WHO HATE BUT AS THOSE WHO LOVE.
We know what the kindness and love of God feels like for we have been saved - we have been saved, delivered from a reality of hate and brokenness to a reality of grace.
And that is the reality we need to live in and display… a reality of the goodness of God… a reality of His love and righteousness.
The world knows and understands brokenness and corruption. The world knows what “bad” feels like. The world needs a HUGE does of the goodness of God.
Interstate Batteries produced a commercial several years ago addressing this need. The Chairman, Norm Miller, saw a need for goodness and wanted to encourage the world with goodness so he made a commercial in hopes in would inspire people to seek out the love of God.
Norm Miller - the chair of a battery company - saw the need. I pray the church also sees this need today. I pray that we not only see the need but we live as examples of God’s love and goodness.
So in closing, let’s choose to do what is good and remember where our goodness came from.
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