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TITUS

DOING WHAT IS GOOD

by LARRY CORY

 

A SUMMARY OF THE MESSAGE OF
TITUS

 

1. How did we become Christians who can do what is good (1:1-4)

2. How we are to choose those who can lead us to do what is
    good (1:5-9)

3. How we are to deal with those who refuse to do what is good
    (1:10-16)

4. How we are to teach different types of Christians to do what is
    good (2:1-10)

a. What is good for older men (2:1,2)

b. What is good for older women (2:3a)

c. What is good for younger women (2:3b,5)

d. What is good for younger men (2:6-8)

e. What is good for slaves (2:9,10)

5. How God's grace teaches us to do what is good (2:11-15)

6. A summary of what is good (3:1,2)

7. A summary of the process that God used to change us into
    people who can do what is good (3:3-11)

a. What we were like before we became Christians? (3:3)

b. What motivated God to want to change us? (3:4,5a)

c. What did God do that changed us? (3:5b,6)

d. What is our new relationship with God like? (3:7)

e. What should we do now that God has changed us? (3:9-11)

f. How should we handle those who oppose what is good?
       (3:9-11)

8. Final remarks:  "Our people must devote themselves to doing

what is good."  (3:12-15)

 

Introductory Information About the Book of Titus

1. The author: Paul identifies himself as the author in the first verse of Titus:  "Paul, a servant of God and an Apostle of Jesus Christ." (1:1)

2. The period in Paul's life when the book was written:  It is believed that the book of Titus was written after Paul's imprisonment in Rome that is described in Acts 28 and before his final imprisonment that resulted in his death.

He wrote II Timothy during his final imprisonment and just before his death.  See II Timothy 1:12,16  It is believed that he died during his second imprisonment in Rome.  Tradition says that he was killed in Rome during Nero's reign.

In I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus, Paul mentions travels that are not described in the book of Acts.  It appears, then, that these travels by Paul took place after his imprisonment that is described in the final chapters of the book of Acts.  During these final journeys he visited the Macedonians, including Philippi (I Timothy 1:31), Troas (II Timothy 4:13), Miletus  (II Timothy 4:20), Ephesus (I Timothy 1:3), Corinth (II Timothy 4:20), as well as Crete (Titus 1:5). 

3. The recipient:  Paul wrote this letter…"To Titus my true son in our common faith."  (1:4)  We do not know when Titus became a Christian or when he first became a companion of Paul.  He is not mentioned at all in the book of Acts, though he was with Paul during some of this period of time.  We first hear about him in Galatians 2:1,3:  "Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas.  I took Titus along also…..Yet not even Titus, who was with me was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek."  Although there is some disagreement between Bible scholars, this visit was most likely Paul's visit to Jerusalem that is described in Acts 15.  That would mean that Titus had become a follower of Paul before the Jerusalem Council described in Acts 15, and also before Paul's second missionary journey which began right after the Jerusalem Council.  We will see later that Paul commissioned Titus to some of his most difficult tasks.

4. Crete:  Titus was in Crete when he received the letter.  Crete is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean.  At the time of this letter, Paul identifies the people on this island as being rebellious, lazy, gluttonous, and liars.

5. The occasion:  Paul left Titus on the island of Crete to bring order among the Christians on this island whose people were known for their unruliness and immorality.  He was also to appoint leaders to guide these Christians:  "The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you." (1:5) 

After Titus completed this task and he was replaced by other church leaders, he was to meet Paul in Nicopolis:  "As soon as I send Artemis and Tychichus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there."  (3:12)

6. The man Titus:  Because Paul chose Titus for a number of difficult tasks, we can conclude that he must have been a man of strong convictions and strong character:  (1) He was chosen to carry a strong letter to the divided and backslidden church at Corinth  See II Corinthians 2:1-4,12,13, 7:5-13  (2) He was chosen to collect an offering from the Christian churches to help the poor Christians in Jerusalem.  See II Corinthians 8:1-7, 16-24  (3) He went with Paul to Jerusalem to argue that the Gentiles could become Christians without having to be circumcised and without needing to obey the other Jewish practices that God had given to the nation of Israel.  See Galatians 2:1-3  (4) As we see here, Titus was also chosen by Paul to work with the unruly Cretans.  So, as was stated at the beginning of this section, we can conclude from the difficult tasks that Paul chose for Titus to do, that he must have been a man of great tact and courage.

 

THE MESSAGE OF TITUS

     J. Sidlow Baxter makes the following observations about the book of Titus:  "Read Titus…, noting the emphasis, all through, on good works as the necessary evidence of salvation.  It will leave no doubt as to the key theme here.  Perhaps we may say that the key verse is chapter iii. 8: 'Be careful to maintain good works; though we might also say the same about chapter ii.14 and one or two other verses.  The very last word before the parting salutation is again, 'Maintain good works' (iii.14)."  "Taken from Explore the Book by J. Sidlow Baxter.  Copyright 1960 by Zondervan Publishing House."
     Paul is writing to Titus urging him to encourage the Christians in Crete---where doing bad had always been the pattern of their lives---that now as washed, reborn, and renewed Christians they should now do what is good!  In our world, where doing bad is becoming more fashionable and where it is becoming less clear what is good and what is bad, we also are to do what the Cretan Christians were to do.  We also are to do that which is good.  Because doing good has become an endangered lifestyle in our post-modern age, we need to continue to do good so that what is good will not fade and disappear from our world.  For this reason, the book of Titus is a very relevant book for us.  It teaches us how to do good and to encourage the doing of good while living in a society where there is strong resistance to doing what is good.
    
1. How do we become people who can do what is good?  (1:1-4)

"Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness---a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, to Titus, my true son in our common faith:  Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior."

Thought Question:  What do you find in these verses that should motivate us to do what is godly and good?

 

 

Why are we who are Christians able to do what is good?  Paul answers this question in the very first verse:  "the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness."  The Cretans undoubtedly reasoned in a way similar to the way our world reasons today: "if this life before the grave is all there is, I am going to get all I can for myself before I die."  Those who live in this type of darkness do what is bad, but those who are brought out of the darkness and into the light of God's truth are able to do what is good.

A very important part of that truth is that God has rescued us from death and has promised us eternal life with Him: "a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life."  Can we continue to live exactly the same as we did when our only hope was this short life before the grave?  In these verses Paul explains how God was using him to bring people out of the darkness---that a godless life before the grave is all there is to life--- and into the realization that eternal life was now available for them.  See I John 2:4

Paul had given himself fully to God to do His will.  He did this so that God's chosen ones would come to believe and understand the truth.  Paul saw himself as part of God's eternal plan to bring people into the truth through the preaching of God's Word.  He chose to use Paul at just the right time to preach God's eternal truth: "and at this appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior."

The truths that Paul taught and preached were the very opposite of the self-centered way of looking at life that Titus was finding on the island of Crete.  The people of Crete were living to get what they could get for themselves.  They were not thinking about much more than the food they were filling their stomachs with.  They were living for now, but Paul was preaching a message of eternal life.  Doing what is good had little value to the "now-focused" Cretans. Doing good was of little value to them, for it did not get them what they immediately wanted for themselves.  As we will see in verses 10-16, they lied and deceived as they selfishly always put their own wants as the primary focus of their lives.  Paul, on the other hand, offered them a totally different plan.  He offered to them "a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life."  "God who does not lie," promised this to them.

God's plan for those of us who have become Christians is for us to do good to others in our short lives in this world: doing good is a part of God's eternal plan for us. The Cretans did bad to others because it was the most effective and immediate way to get what they wanted for themselves.  Doing good makes sense to us who have God's eternal perspective on life, doing bad makes sense to those who believe there is nothing beyond the grave.  We who are Christians should always believe that the doing of good is the very best use of our time during our short life on this earth.  For we are those who believe that one day our faith and acts of goodness will be rewarded by receiving from God a life full of His goodness that will never end.

Also, the source of our doing good will never be in ourselves.  We do good because God in His perfect time brought us out of the darkness and into His wonderful light.  We have come to believe that Jesus died for our sins and has given to us His eternal life.  It is, then, the appropriate response for us to want to do what is good.  See I John 2:4

2. Those who are qualified to lead us to do what is good (1:5-9)

"The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I have directed you."  We in the church need good leaders to guide us in doing that which is good.  The qualifications for leaders that Paul gave Titus can be divided into the following categories:  A Christian leader needs to be (1) a good family man, (2) one who does what is good and not one who does what is bad, and (3) one who is good at teaching God's Word.

a. A good family man (1:6)

"An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient." 

Thought Question:  What does Paul mean by blameless? (For example, does he mean perfect?)

 

 

Paul begins by saying an elder "must be blameless."  This qualification appears to be a summary of all the qualifications that he will be listing.  One who is "blameless" is one who has the type of character where no just accusation can be made against him in the areas he is about to list.

(1)  "the husband of but one wife"

Thought Question:  What is meant by "the husband of one wife"?  (For example, does it mean that anyone who has had two wives can not be qualified to be an elder?)

 

 

What is meant by this qualification?  Does it mean that if a man's wife dies, he can never marry again and be qualified to be an elder?  Does it mean that if a man's wife leaves him, he will not be qualified to be an elder if he marries again?  Does it mean that if a man married and divorced before he became a Christian, he will never be able to be qualified to be an elder?

The Greek words that are translated "the husband of but one wife" simply means "a one-woman man."  Most would agree that this verse does not teach that an elder cannot remarry if his wife dies, for the Bible clearly teaches that this practice is not sinful and is allowable.  See I Timothy 5:14 and Romans 7:1-3  But, the Bible also teaches that it is allowable to remarry if a wife commits adultery or if an unbelieving wife leaves a believing husband.  See Matthew 19:9 and I Corinthians 7:15  Would remarriage in these circumstances make someone no longer a "one-woman man"? 

To be consistent with other qualifications for an elder, a "a one-woman man" must also be a character trait that a man can develop as he matures in the Christian life.  Just as a man may once have had a problem with anger or with drunkenness, but has matured past those years, so a man may once have been weak in the area of his relationships with women (as the famous Christian of the past Augustine was), but has now matured into a "one-woman man."  None of the other areas of weakness permanently disqualify a man from being an elder.  It is inconsistent for someone to believe that this is the one area where someone can fail in and never be able to be an elder.  Remember Paul said to Timothy, "If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task" (I Timothy 3:1). 

What is meant by this qualification?  It means that at the time this man is being evaluated he clearly has the character trait of being committed to one woman.  Although he may have been weak in this area in the past, he has clearly matured and there is no basis for accusing him now of being weak in this area.

(2) "a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of

being wild and disobedient."

Thought Question:  Is it possible for a man to have one of his children be rebellious and still be qualified to be an elder?  Please explain your answer.

 

 

If a man is not able to lead his children to do what is good, he will also not be able to lead the church to do what is good.  "He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect.  (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?")  (I Timothy 3:4,5)

There are some practical considerations that need to be considered, though, in the choosing of elders using this criterion.  For example, what if all of a man's children are well-behaved and Christian, but there is one child who turns from God?  What if a man's children turn from God for a period of time, but then later return?  Franklin Graham rebelled against his parents, Billy and Ruth Graham, for a period of time, but now he is a very committed Christian.  We should not be legalistic about these qualifications.  Instead, they are given to us so that we have guidelines to help us to choose the most qualified men to lead God's church.  They also provide men who seek to be elders, a goal to seek.  They were not meant to be used as a pharisaical standard to permanently condemn someone.

b. Not those who do what is bad (1:7)

"Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless---not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain."

Thought Question:  Think of a man you know who most has all of these qualities:

 

 

An elder can't lead a church to do good, if in his behavior he is regularly doing what is bad.  If he is overbearing, quick-tempered, regularly drunk, violent, and greedy, he will lead the church to be like him and he will not be able to lead the church to do what is good.

(1) "not overbearing"

The Greek word is authade, which is a combination of the Greek words auto – oneself and hedomai – enjoy; together describing someone who is self involved.  Kent summarizes the meaning in the following way:  "Here is the head-strong, stubborn man who demands his own way without regard for others."  "Taken from The Pastoral Epistles by Homer A. Kent.  Copyright 1958 by Moody Press."

(2) "not quick-tempered"

As we would say today, he must not be someone who has a short fuse.

(3) "not given to drunkenness"

The Greek words are literally, "not alongside wine."  "Alongside wine" describes someone who is regularly sitting next to wine.  We would say today that he is a drinker or a drunkard.

(4) "not violent"

"This is derived from the verb plesso, to strike, and denotes a pugnacious, quick-tempered individual who strikes back with his fists when 'annoyed.'"  "Taken from THE PASTORAL EPISTLES by Homer A. Kent.  Copyright 1958 by Moody Press.  Used by permission of Moody Press."

(5) "not pursuing dishonest gain"

He is not to be someone who is controlled by money.  A man can be so determined to make a profit, that he can come to the place where he regularly says and does whatever will bring him the most financial gain.  For example, if he is a car salesman or real estate salesman, a man who pursues "dishonest gain" would say whatever will bring him a sale, even if it is not completely true.  This type of man is not qualified to be an elder.

c. Those who do what is good (1:8)

"Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined."

Thought Question:  Think of a man who you know who most possesses all of these qualities:

 

(1) "hospitable"

The Greek word is philoxenon or "lover of strangers."  He is not one who is selfish with regard to his home and sees it as only his property and to be used only for himself.  But, he is one who loves to have people in his home or staying in his home.  In Paul's day, there were few safe places for travelers to stay, so it was important that Christian families took in Christian travelers.  An elder needed then and needs today to be a leader in this area.

(2) "one who loves what is good"

The Greek word "philagathon" or lover of what is good.  Phileo = "love" and agathos = good.  So, the two together = "loves what is good."  The theme of Titus is "doing what is good."  An elder is to be one  who "loves what is good."  An elder should be one who is clearly dedicated to what is good and pure.  He is required to be someone who is dedicated to love, peace, forgiveness, truth, mercy, and holiness.

(3) "self-controlled"

"Plato defined it as the 'the mastery of pleasure and desire.' . . . Trench describes sophrosune as 'the condition of entire command over the passion and desires, so that they receive no further allowance than that which law and right reason admit and approve.'"  "Taken from The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon by William Barclay."  (Quoted from his commentary on I Timothy 3)

(4) "upright"

It is the Greek word for "righteous."  An "upright" man is one who characteristically does that which is morally and legally right before God.

(5) "holy"

It is the Greek word hosion rather than the Greek word hagiosHagios is the Greek word for "Holy" in Holy Spirit.  "Hosios means holy in the sense of unpolluted.  Conduct which is true to one's moral and religious obligations is denoted by this word."  "Taken from The Pastoral Epistles by Homer A. Kent.  Copyright 1958 by Moody Press.  Used by permission of Moody Press."

(6) "disciplined"

Someone who keeps his sensual appetites in check.  His desires do not control him; he controls his desires.

d. Good at teaching God's word (1:9)

"He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it."

Thought Question:  According to this verse, why is it important for an elder to have a knowledge of God's Word?

 

 

Church history teaches us that it is very easy for the church and for church leaders to drift away from God's Word and from sound doctrine.  We need leaders who "hold firmly" to sound doctrine.  We also need leaders who do not keep their understanding of sound doctrine to themselves, but we need leaders who are continuously encouraging others toward sound doctrine and continually exposing false doctrine.  We need church leaders who have a sound understanding of the Bible, and who regularly do all that they can so that the church they lead will also have a sound understanding of the Bible.

3. How to deal with people who refuse to do what is good (1:10-16)

There will always be those who are doing what is bad in our world.  When a church is located in an area where the people are particularly immoral and rebellious, the people and the immoral atmosphere outside the church will have its influence inside the church.  In these verses, Paul instructs Titus in how to deal with the rebelliousness that was characteristic of the people of Crete.

"For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group.  They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach---and that for the sake of dishonest gain.  Even one of their own prophets has said, 'Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.'  This testimony is true.  Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.  To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.  In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.  They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.  They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good."

Thought Question #1:  In what ways, if any, were the Cretans similar to the people in the world that we now live in?

 

 

Thought Question #2:  What is the proper response to those who are rebellious and a real threat to God's church?

 

 

Rebels are those who will not put themselves under anyone's authority.  Cult leaders are those who, rather than submitting themselves to the Bible's authority, create their own doctrine, and require that others submit to their authority.  Paul calls these Cretan rebels "mere talkers."  The words of the Bible describe reality; they are not just words.  But the words of these rebels were just words, for they were empty of God's truth.  They were, instead, merely men's fantasies.  Humanistic philosophers, for the most part, are those who create the world they way they want it to be, rather than those who seek to understand the world the way it really is.  But, it is not just cult leaders and philosophers whose words of wisdom are empty; godless men can be heard in a bar or in many other places spouting their opinions of what the world is all about.

These Cretans were also "deceivers."  Rebellious men and woman first turn away from God's truth, then they create their own truth, and finally they lead others to follow them.  But, because they cannot simply read the Bible and seek to understand what it says or let others seek to understand what is true, they must teach you their twisted version of the truth.  Cult leaders cannot encourage their followers to read the Bible and find out for themselves what it says; they must require that their followers attend their indoctrination classes.  In these classes, the cult members are regularly indoctrinated into the contrived teachings of their leader or leaders.

Humanistic college educators often discourage any interaction in their classes, so that they can be in complete control as they indoctrinate their classes in their version of the world.

In Crete there was one group that was particularly a problem, "the circumcision group."  It appears that it was the Jews in Crete who posed the greatest threat to the church in Crete.  Paul understood this group very well, for he was once one of them.  During Jesus' earthly ministry, the greatest threat to His message was the religious system in Israel that was supposed to be based on God's Word.  Instead, men had twisted what was taught in God's Word and, as has been the case so many times, they created their own religion.  It was a religion of pride rather than being based on the humility before God that is taught in the Bible.  They hated Jesus because he opposed their pride-based system.  It was this prideful system of the Jews that was the greatest threat to the Jews on the island of Crete.

It is also possible that this "circumcision group" was part of the church in Crete and that they were requiring that Christians submit to the regulations of the Pharisaic religious system before they could be accepted into the church.  The book of Galatians and Acts 15 both deal with this legalistic requirement.  Also, it is possible that some other false religious beliefs had been added to the Jewish religious system.  The book of Colossians deals with a false belief that was a mix of Jewish false teachings and Gentile false teachings.

Whatever the false teaching was in Crete, it was a serious threat to the church in Crete.  "they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach---and that for the sake of dishonest gain."  A characteristic of false teachers is that their primary motive is to use religion for their own personal gain to gain popularity, power, prestige, and profit.  What should church leaders do about these false and greedy teachers?  "They must be silenced because they are ruining whole households, by teaching things they ought not to teach."  If they are not exposed and silenced, they will cause all kinds of destruction in the church.

"Even one of their prophets has said, 'Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.  This testimony is true.  Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths, or to the commands of those who reject the truth."  

Thought Question #1:  According to these verses, when is it appropriate to "sharply" rebuke someone?

 

 

Thought Question #2:  Can you think of any examples from the Bible where someone was "sharply" and appropriately rebuked?

 

 

All those in positions of authority need to develop the ability to discern how stern a correction is needed when someone is rebellious and disobedient.  For example, some children only need a gentle word of correction, but others will not be moved to change apart from a strong form of discipline.  Judges must make these types of decisions on a weekly basis.  They must decide when a light sentence is called for and when a stern sentence is needed.

Hendricksen quotes a number of ancient writers (Polybus, Cicero, Livy, and Plutarch) who all agree with this prophet and with Paul about the Cretans of this time.  Here is a summary of their low opinions of the Cretans:  "no profit is ever disgraceful," they "consider highway robbery…to be honorable" (Cicero) "Taken from New Testament Commentary by William Hedricksen.  Copyright 1957 by Baker Book House."

Certainly, the Cretan Christians would be more receptive to this prophet's strong words about their rebelliousness than they would have been to Paul saying the very same strong words about them.

Paul agrees with what this prophet said and says that those who exhibit this type of strong rebellion need to be rebuked "sharply."  Walter Martin, during his lifetime, was a leading opponent of the teachings of the cults.  In his book The Kingdom of the Cults he exposes their false teachings.  Some of us have seen him debating cult leaders.  It may have appeared to us that he was unnecessarily stern with them.  But, he was doing exactly what Paul taught in these verses.  He was rebuking them "sharply."  Why was he so hard on them?  He did it so that those who were listening to the debate would not be led astray by their false and twisted teachings.  Jesus was stern in this way in Matthew 23 where he sharply rebuked the Pharisees.  He calls them "hypocrites," "sons of hell," "blind guides," "whitewashed tombs," "snakes," and a "brood of vipers."  Sometimes it is necessary to be sharp!

"This rebuke is to be sharp and severe (apotomos from apo, off, from and temno, cut as with a knife).  The purpose, however, is restorative, not vindictive."  "Taken from The Pastoral Epistles by Homer A. Kent.  Copywrite 1958 by Moody Press."  Titus was to rebuke them "so that they would be sound in the faith," and so that they would "pay no attentions to Jewish myths."  In the book of I Timothy, Paul also talked about false teaching that was not based on reality, but was made up of myths.  See I Timothy 1:4-7

Why would a sharp rebuke lead to them being "sound in faith" and lead them to "pay no attention to Jewish myths"?  Paul is actually doing in this letter exactly what he is urging Titus to do.  He is rebuking them "sharply" in this letter.

The Apostle John rebuked a rebellious man in III John 9,10.  "I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.  So if I come I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us.  Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers.  He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church."  There is a time for strong words and strong action.  Jesus strongly rebuked and exposed false teaching.  When there is strong rebellion and forceful false teaching threatening the church, we need to even more strongly confront it.  Listen to God's words to Ezekiel:  "The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn…You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious……  But I will make you as unyielding and as hardened as they are.  I will make your forehead like flint."  (Ezekiel 2:4,7, 3:8)

The people who are being rebuked may not allow themselves to be corrected, but there will usually be those who will recognize that the rebuke is appropriate and describes what is true about those who are being rebuked.  Titus undoubtedly realized that what Paul was saying in this letter was true and that these false teachers and the Cretan Christians needed to be strongly rebuked.

Notice that Paul says that after Titus has "sharply" rebuked those in Crete who need to be rebuked, that the Cretan Christians will "pay no attention …. to the commands of those who reject the truth."  The sharp rebuke delivered by Titus to the Cretan Christians will result in them seeing that the false teachers who are seeking to mislead them are not speaking the truth.  Instead, they will see that they are false teachers who are rejecting the truth.

There are those today who are teaching "a word of faith" or a "name it claim it" type of doctrine.  For some time few, if any, said anything publicly about their false teaching.  But, now they have been sharply rebuked for their teaching.  Their teaching essentially says that if you will follow their principles, God will make you rich.  Paul would not have handled these false teachers of today as fellow Christians who merely have a different viewpoint than ours. He would have rebuked them "sharply"! 

When the rebellious false teacher is "sharply" rebuked, they no longer are able to feel comfortable in our churches (worming their way more and more into our churches).  Now, everyone needs to choose to be with them or against them.  The sharp rebuke forces people to either stand with the false teacher or the rebuker!  There is no longer a middle ground.

"To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.  In fact, both their minds and their consciences are corrupted---They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him.  They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good." 

Thought Question:  What do these verses tell us about how false teachers become false teachers?

 

 

Is there any question about whether or not Paul is rebuking these false teachers "sharply"?  Here we have a description of how men's hearts get hardened.  Instead of their minds and consciences being pure, they refuse to believe the truth and believe in God.  This rebellion against the truth starts a downward spiral.  First, their hearts and consciences become "corrupted."  Other words that could be used here are defiled, contaminated, polluted, and filthy.  What effect does a "corrupted," defiled, contaminated, polluted and filthy mind have on a person?  It makes him become "detestable," abominable, putrid, nauseous, and shameful.

They also become "disobedient."  They are those who must do it "their" way!  They do not submit to anyone, including God.  Jim Jones and David Koresh are examples of this type of rebellion or disobedience.

They are "unfit for doing anything good."  There is our theme again: "doing what is good."  But those who are rebellious have so polluted their consciences and motives that they have become incapable of doing anything with a pure motive; they are incapable of "doing anything good." 

Paul says that these people "say that they know God, but by their actions they deny him."  Jesus said of the false prophets that you will know them by their fruits.  See Matthew 7:15-23  Do not listen to what a teacher says, but watch what he does.  Does he do what he says?

The obvious message to us it that we should not rebel against God and choose lies over truth.  Instead, we should seek after a pure heart before God.  Then, our pure heart will enable us to look on the world with the heart and eyes of Jesus Christ. We will see the world as He sees it.  And we will see God.  Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God."  (Matthew 5:8)  Paul will return to this subject in chapter three.

4. How to teach different types of Christians to do what is good (2:1-10)

One of the greatest changes that has taken place in our society is as follows: over the last fifty years it has become less and less clear what is good and what is bad.  But, we in the church need to continue to clearly teach the various types of people in the church what is good and what is bad.  In this chapter Paul directs Titus to teach the Cretan Christians to do what is good.  This was not a simple or an easy task, for the people of Crete were known for their unruliness.

In this second chapter of Titus, Paul instructs Titus on how to teach five classes of Christians at Crete.   The five groups are (1) the older men, (2) the older women, (3) the younger women, (4) the younger men, and (5) the slaves.  In this chapter, there are instructions directed to the specific group of people that you and I belong to.

a. Teach older men to do what is good (2:1,2)

"You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.  Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and endurance."

Thought Question:  Think of the most godly older man that you have known.  Then, see if the description in these verses fits him.

 

 

"You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine."  Notice that Paul says you "must" teach.  A very important part of the use of God's Word is that we should use it for correction.  See II Timothy 3:16,17  Titus had the unenviable task of teaching the Cretan Christians so that they would go from being liars, evildoers, and lazy gluttons to doing what is good.  Paul expected that Titus would receive opposition; and he knew that it would be easier for him to avoid doing it than for him to do it.  Nevertheless, Titus "must" teach what is "in accord with sound doctrine." 

"Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance."

What are God's standards for older men?  Older men are doing good when they are doing what is listed in this verse.

In this verse there are two triads.  The first triad can be called the triad of dignity: to grow in being temperate, respectable, and in exercising self-control.  "Temperate" describes someone who is controlled in his use of alcohol.  He either does not drink at all or he only drinks alcohol in a controlled and moderate way.  He is "worthy of respect."  A person with this quality is serious in a proper way.  He is not flippant about life, nor is he gloomy.  He is properly reverent and serious.  He takes his place in God's plan seriously.  The last quality to be developed by older men that is found in the first triad of dignity is that he is to be "self-controlled."  An older man needs to have his sensual desires brought under control.  Older men need to grow into those who are temperate, respectable, and self-controlled.

The second triad is "faith," "love," and "endurance."  Do these words sound familiar to you?  They are almost the same as the "faith, hope, and love" of I Corinthians 13, the love chapter:  "and now these three remain: faith, hope and love." (I Corinthians 13:13)  Older men are to grow in "faith."  Their "faith" should grow stronger.  They should be less easily discouraged and less likely to be fearful than those who are younger in the faith.  They are to grow in "love."  They should be less likely to be selfish and to become embittered than younger Christians.  And they should grow in "endurance."  They should be able to handle difficulties with longsuffering, holding on when it would be easy to give up or to give in to grumbling.

Titus was to teach these older men to grow in dignity, "faith," "love," and "endurance."  And today we should encourage and teach our older men (and our younger men) to develop these qualities.

b. Teach older women to do what is good (2:3a)

"Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine."

Thought Question:  Think of the mostgodly older woman that you have known.  Then, see if the description in this verse fits her.

 

 

The word that is translated "reverent" is the Greek word hieropropes.  It comes from the two words hieron – a sacred place or a temple and prepo - that which is fitting and appropriate.  Together, the hieropropes means to do that which is fitting or appropriate within a temple.  Paul is saying that older women should live as if all of life and every place is sacred.  If you have been around older women who have developed this reverent quality in their lives, you know that being with them is very special.  It is like being in the peaceful and reverent presence of God.

They are also "not to be slanderers."  The Greek word is diabolos.  It is the word that is translated, "the Devil."  He is the slanderer and accuser of the church.  See Revelation 12:10  Older women are not to be like him.  We have also probably been around older women who tend toward slandering people.  It is not at all like being in the presence of God and it is not a special time.

They are "not to be addicted to much wine."  There apparently was a drinking problem among the older women on the island of Crete.  And Titus needed to teach these older women that they needed to bring their use of alcohol under control.

c. Teach younger women to do what is good (2:3b-5)

"but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home; to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."

Thought Question:  Do you see anything in these verses that the older woman were to teach younger woman to do that is different than what is often being taught from woman to woman in our culture?

 

 

 

The older women are here exhorted to train the younger women.  If our Christian older women would first grow in the character qualities listed in verse three and then train our younger women in the ways described in these verses, we would have much stronger families in our country; and we would have a much stronger country.  Instead, even our churches are affected by the philosophy of the feminists' movement which is forcefully indoctrinating our society with the very opposite message than that which is taught in God's Word.  So, sadly our families and even our church families have grown weaker instead of stronger.  Our county has grown weaker as well.

Let's consider what the older women are to teach the younger women.  Paul summed it up in verse three: "teach what is good."  They are to "train the younger women to love their husbands and their children."  Love is the opposite of self-centeredness.  Today, women are exhorted to think of themselves first and to make sure their own needs are being met.  But, Paul instructs Titus to exhort the older women to train the younger women to focus on loving the other members of their family; to love their husbands and children.  The wife and mother who sacrificially loves her husband and children is looked on today as being a fool by those who have bought in to the philosophy of what is called the woman's movement.

Next, the older women are to teach the younger women "to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind."  Again, their character qualities are to be the very opposite from being self-centered.  The self-centered person is irritable, angry, lazy, and harsh.  With the constant strain of the housework, the typical self-centeredness of children, and the busy schedule of husbands (and their self-centered behavior?), it is not easy at all for young mothers and wives to be self-controlled and kind.  She needs God's grace to continue to be selflessly busy with the constant work at home and to be selflessly loving toward her family members who are too often not grateful for her sacrifice on their behalf.

Then, she is "to be subject to her husband."  Certainly, this is an admonition that would not be well received in our society today.  The Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution that wives should "graciously submit" to their husbands.  You would have thought that they had passed a resolution that wives should be the personal slaves of their husbands and that husbands should have the right to beat them regularly, by the uproar in our society over this resolution.  But, here in Titus 2, is Paul's instruction that the older women are to teach the younger women to submit to their husbands.

"be subject" is a translation of the Greek word "hupatasso used in a military connection of a general arranging soldiers under him in subjection to himself."  "Taken from Word Studies in the Greek New Testament by Kenneth S. Wuest.  Copyright 1942 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company."  So, "be subject" clearly means that a wife is to put herself under her husband's leadership.  But, the reason she is to put herself under her husband's leadership is not so she will be his personal slave.  In fact, the Bible teaches that her husband is to voluntarily and lovingly serve his wife.  See Ephesians 5:25  The reason she is to submit to her husband is so that there will be clear leadership in the home.  Without this leadership, it is likely that there will be constant strife, rather than order and harmony in the home, as the husband and wife battle over who is to lead the home.

The reason that Paul gives for the wife to be subject to her husband is so that "no one will malign the word of God."  Submission to the authority in a country is an essential part of God's way.  Even Christian slaves were not to rebel against their masters.  So, also wives are to submit to the authority that God has given to their husbands.  If women choose to rebel against their husbands' authority, they are also bringing God's Word into disrepute, for the word of God teaches that wives are to submit their husbands.  Also, rebellion is the very problem that separated us from God.

Christian young women are to seek to be the best wives and mothers.  By this they show that God changes people for the good.  If they demand their freedom from God's authority, they instead are showing the very opposite.  They are showing that becoming a Christian leads to a wife becoming a rebel.

d. Teach younger men to do what is good (2:6-8)

"Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.  In everything set them an example by doing what is good.  In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."

Thought Question#1:  Why do you believe Paul chooses the particular character qualities for young men that he chooses in these verses?

 

 

Thought Question #2:  What do these verses teach us about how a Christian leader can be successful in his task of leading, particularly when he or she faces opposition?

 

 

A young man is doing what is good when he is "self-controlled."  It is not hard to notice that there are young men, usually on Friday or Saturday nights who are not exercising self-control.  They screech around corners in the cars or trucks and scream out the windows, sometimes with beer cans in their hands.  Sometimes, this out-of-control behavior results in their lives being cut short at this very young age.

It is the young men who particularly have trouble with this lack of self-control.  You do not usually see men over fifty screeching around corners, screaming out windows with beer cans in their hands.  Somewhere between fifteen and fifty years of age, we men develop more self-control.  You can see why we in our churches today need to encourage young men to be self-controlled.  See Proverbs  16:32

Paul also encourages Titus to teach the young men by being a good example.  "In everything set them an example."  He was teaching the young men by doing good himself.  Telling young men that they should do what we say, but not what we do is, is never appropriate for us as Christians.  The first way that we teach our young people is by the way we live our own lives.

Paul gives a pattern of ministry for every Christian leader in verses seven and eight:  "In your teaching show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."  Paul assumes that Titus is going to face opposition.  What will enable him to be victorious over this opposition?  He must keep his words and behavior faultless so that they have no just cause to condemn him.  How can we be most effective in seeking to influence young men to do what is good?  Paul lists the qualities that Titus needed, and we need to influence young people in the right direction.

"Integrity," is the first word that Paul mentions in this list of qualities which describes the way we are to be most effective when we meet with opposition  We have "integrity" when our teaching contains no false motives or deception.  It is teaching that comes from pure motives and from a desire to be true to God's Word.  It is the opposite of the crafty salesman who will say and do anything to make his sale.  Sadly, there are those who pose as Christian spokesmen whose real goal is to gain fame and fortune for themselves through the church.  But, there are also many more who are serving God and teaching God's Word with "integrity."

Barclay gives this rich description of the meaning of "seriousness."  We successfully face opposition not when we out-argue them, but when we are sound in our lifestyle and sound in our words.  "He must have dignity ["seriousness" in the NIV].  Dignity is not aloofness, or arrogance, or pride; it is the consciousness of having the terrible responsibility of being the ambassador of Christ.  Other men may step to pettiness; he must be above it.  Other men may bear their grudges; he must have no bitterness.  Other men may be touchy about their place; he must have a humility which has forgotten its place.  Other men may grow irritable or blaze into anger in an argument; he must have serenity which cannot be provoked.  Nothing so injures the cause of Christ as leaders of the Church and the pastors of the people to descend to conduct and to words unbefitting of an envoy of Christ.  "Taken from The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon by William Barclay.  Copyright 1975 by The Westminster Press." 

The final quality is "soundness of speech."  It means that his words are so sound and biblically based that they cannot be rightly or fairly rebuked.  You can not make a just case against words that are truly sound.

The minister of Jesus Christ who exhibits this type of behavior will win even when it seems like he is losing.  There is nothing that he is doing that can be fairly or justly condemned.  Many through the years, who have appeared to have lost, have won because they continued to do right and to respond in the right way.  There are many examples of those who have won in this way.  There were those in the early church who died rather than bowing and worshiping the Emperor.  Some of those who are most admired by the church today are those who appeared to be defeated, but they continued in godly behavior in the face of strong opposition.  Men and women like Martin Luther, John Hus, and Athanasius were men who stood for sound doctrine against strong opposition and maintained a godly integrity and demeanor.

e. Teach slaves to do what is good (2:9,10)

"Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive."

Thought Question:  What do we learn about the relationship between employees and employers from Paul's instructions about how slaves should act toward their masters?

 

 

Homer Kent makes the following interesting point:  "It is generally believed by historians that slaves outnumbered free men in the Roman Empire during the first century.  Hence a great percentage of early converts, particularly in the larger cities must have been of this class.  Many of these slaves were well-educated, holding responsible positions for their masters.  Yet Paul did not advocate revolution to rectify the situation."  "Taken from The Pastoral Epistles by Homer A. Kent.  Copyright 1958 by Moody Press."

When a slave became a Christian and therefore came to be a member of God's Royal family the obvious temptation would be for them to feel that they should no longer be a slave; especially if their master was a Christian.  In these verses, though, Paul teaches that they were not only to remain a slave, but they were to become a much better slave.  By their good behavior, they would make the Gospel message of Jesus the Savior  more "attractive."

Particularly, they were to avoid practices that were typical of slaves (and in our world, that which is typical of employees).  (1) They were not to be rebellious, but they were to be obedient to their masters.  He describes this in a positive way: "try to please them," and in a negative way: "not talk back to them."  Imagine that you are the owner of a restaurant.  How much pleasanter it is if you have an employee who wants your business to be successful and who wants to please you, than to have someone who is doing everything begrudgingly and who will argue with you when you ask him to do something in a different way than he is doing it.  Christian slaves had an opportunity to make a good impression on their masters by their willingness to "be subject to them."

(2) They were not to steal from their masters.  Slaves could feel that it was wrong for them to be someone's slave, and that they were being treated unfairly.  It is not hard to see why they might then think that they were justified in stealing from them.  People can use a similar rationale when they feel that the government is treating them unfairly, so they are justified in cheating on their income tax.  But, in both cases it is still stealing.  It is also wrong to steal from an employer, even if we believe that employer has treated us unfairly.  Stealing is stealing.  Every slave had a just reason to feel that he or she had been mistreated, for it was unfair for them to be slaves; but it was still wrong for them to steal from their masters.

If these masters who owned slaves on the Island of Crete recognized that they could trust these Christians slaves, then they were more likely to also become interested in the message about Jesus Christ that had so obviously changed their slaves for the better.

5. How God's grace teaches us to do what is good (2:11-15)

Why are we able to do what is good?  It is because of the good that God did for us that makes us able to do that which is good.  In particular, it is because of God's grace through Jesus Christ that we are able to do what is good.  These four verses are rich in describing how God's grace enables us both to be able to do what is good and to want to do what is good.

a. God's grace teaches us to do what is good (2:11,12)

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age."

Thought Question:  How does the grace of God teach "us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age"?

 

 

Many believe that God gave us the Ten Commandments so that we would live godly lives.  But the Bible says that the Law does not enable us to live godly lives, but it actually provokes us to rebel against God's ways.  For the Law stirs up the sinful rebellion that is already in our hearts.  Then, the Law justly condemns us by accurately describing the ways that we disobey God.  See Romans 5:21, 7:5,7-11

Others believe that God's grace means that we now have the license to sin.  But, here we are clearly told that it is God's grace that makes it possible for us to live godly lives.  "Grace" means that someone gives us something that we do not deserve.  God has graciously given all that we need to be saved from the penalty of sin and from the power of sin in our lives.  And because of God's grace, we are now able to live "godly," "self-controlled" lives.

But, God's grace also enables us to want to obey God.  Paul is a perfect example of someone who wanted to obey God because of what God had done for him:  "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.  The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." (I Timothy 1:12-14)  "I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.  That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome."  (Romans 1:14,15)  Once we realize how much God has done for us---the price he paid to purchase forgiveness for our sins and the gracious presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives to give us the power to live a godly life---, it makes no sense for us to want to go back to a sinful lifestyle.

If we understand what God has graciously done for us, we will want to say "No" to all that is wrong and we will want to do that which is good.

b. God's grace give us a certain and blessed hope for the future (2:13)

As Christians, we not only look back on when God graciously and lovingly gave His Son to die for us, but we also look forward to the fulfillment of Gods grace toward us when Jesus Christ returns ---"the blessed hope."  "While we wait for the blessed hope---the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."

Thought Question:  How does our "blessed hope" motivate us to want to do what is good?

 

 

When He returns he will not be like the Lamb led to the slaughter, but He will return in His full glory!  All Christians look forward to that day when we see Jesus in all His beauty and majesty.  It is surely our "blessed hope."

In I John we find these words:  "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure."  (I John 3:2,3)  When we look back on our salvation, it motivates us to not want to go back to the type of sinful life that made it necessary for Jesus to die for us.  When we look forward to the fact that we will one day see Jesus in all His glory, it also motivates us to want to be pleasing to Him on that day.  Our "blessed hope" is also a blessed reason for us to want to do what is good.  One day, we will see Him and will know for sure that He has been watching all the time; the One who cared so much for us that He died for us.  Can we life as if that does not matter to us?

Notice that Paul says that Jesus Christ "our great God and Savior" will appear.  It is clear in this verse that Paul is not talking about the appearing of God the Father, but the return of  "our great God…Jesus Christ."  This verse is a clear statement that Jesus Christ is God!

c. Jesus gave Himself for us so that we would want to do that which is good

(2:14)
"who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."

Thought Question:  According to this verse, how should we who are Christians be easy to notice in our world?  List examples of how Christianity has had a good impact on the world.

 

 

Jesus' first coming and the hope of His second coming in glory, together, have one purpose: to set us free from sin ("wickedness") and to clean us up on the inside ("purify" us) so that we can be those who will wholeheartedly be "eager" to seek what is good!  If we grow in understanding of the many facets of God's grace, we will also grow in our desire to do what is good.  For example, as we learn more about our sinfulness, we also realize to a greater degree how gracious God has been to us.  As we learn more about our new life in Christ, we will be more eager to live like the new persons that we now are.  God's grace provides us with both the motivation and the ability to do what is good.

Christians, through the ages have been those who have been eager to do what is good.  Many works of mercy such as hospitals, Union Gospel Missions, the Y.M.C.A., Salvation Army, and many others were started by Christians who were "eager to do what is good."

d. How we should teach Christians to do good (2:15)

Paul now concludes what he has been saying to Titus about the training of the various types of Christians at Crete.  In this verse he summarizes how Titus should go about doing his teaching:  "These, then, are the things you should teach.  Encourage and rebuke with all authority.  Do not let anyone despise you."

Thought Question: In what ways is this verse an encouragement to you?

 

 

In Titus 1:10-14, Paul describes the stubbornness and rebelliousness of the people of Crete.  In 1:13, he says to Titus to "rebuke them sharply."  In these verses he continues this exhortation.  He tells Titus that you must persevere in the difficult work of teaching the Christians at Crete, so that they will change from doing what is bad, to doing what is good.  He was to correct them with the total confidence that God was giving Him the authority to "encourage and rebuke" them.  When he says, "Do not let any despise you," he is saying, do not be intimidated by them.  Titus was to keep right on doing and saying what they needed to hear, even if they did not want to hear it.  Certainly, Paul's words provide God's guidelines for all Christian teachers and leaders.  We are to tell people what they need to hear with kindness and patience, even if they do not want to hear it.  See II Timothy 2:24-26, 4:25

 

 

6. A summary of what is good (3:1,2)

"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 peaceful and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men."

Thought Question:  What in these verses describes an area in your life that you need to work on?

 

 

The Cretans were known for being rebels.  "The Cretans were notoriously turbulent and quarrelsome and impatient of all authority.  Polybius, the Greek historian, said of them that they were constantly involved in 'insurrections, murders and internecine [internal] wars.'"  "Taken from The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon by William Barclay.  Copyright 1975 by The Westminster Press." 

This rebellious spirit was obviously not the good that Paul had been talking about.  Cretans who became Christians were now to do what is good.  So, instead of rebelling against their leaders, they were now to submit to their leaders.  Also, instead of seeking to get what they could from others, they were to be eager to give to others.

They also were no longer to participate in men's and women's favorite pastime.  They were no longer to speak against anyone.  They were to no longer be machoMacho is the Greek word for fighter.  The Greek word Paul uses that is translated "peaceful" is amacho.  The a in front of macho turn the word into "not" macho.  Instead of being feisty arguers and fighters, they were to do good by being "peaceful." 

They were to be "considerate."  The Greek word describes a yielding spirit.  A "considerate" person is someone who does not have to be right.  He is willing to consider another's viewpoint, and he is willing to yield to that person.  He is not a demander, but a yielder.  Hendricksen calls it a "sweet reasonableness."  "Taken from New Testament Commentary – on Titus by William Hendricksen.  Copyright 1957 by Baker Book House."

Finally, they were "to show true humility toward all men."  The Greek word describes someone who responds to others' faults gently, because he or she is even more aware of his or her own faults.

Our post-Christian world is very much like the society of Crete.  We, like the Cretans, are prone to do the very opposite of each of these traits:  Before we were Christians we were rebels, stingy, me-first oriented, slanderers, gossips, arguers, unreasonable, and arrogant.  Now, as Christians we are to do the very opposite and become those who no longer do what is bad.  Instead, we are to do what is good.

7. A summary of the process that God used to change us into people who

can do what is good (3:3-11)
These verses will answer some of the most basic questions about Christianity.  They also will show us how God can transform us into His people, people who are able to do what is good.  The following questions will be answered:  What were we like before we became a Christian? (3:3)  What motivated God to want to change us? (3:4,5)  What did God do to change us? (3:5b,6)  What is our present relationship with God like? (3:7)  What should we do now that God has changed us? (3:8)  How should we handle those who oppose us because we do what is good? (3:9-11)

a. What were we like before we became a Christian? (3:3)

"At one time we to 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."

Thought Question:  You may not want to write the answer to this question down on paper.  How does this verse describe you before you became a Christian?

 

 

When we were separate from God and His ways, we were also acting like we were separate from God!  We were "foolish."  We at one time were totally blind and deaf to God  See I Corinthians 2:14  We were "disobedient."  Our blindness led us to do things "our way" and not "God's way."  In Romans 8:7, Paul says we were "hostile to God."

We were "deceived."  We were blind to the truth, and living in a false world that was created by our darkened mind.  See II Timothy 3:13; II Thessalonians2:9-11  We were "enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures."  Those enslaved to sin do not realize how little control they have over their lives.  Jesus said, "everyone who sins is a slave to sin." (John 8:34)  Paul says in Ephesus 2:3: "all of us lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts." See also Ephesians 4:19  The "cravings of our sinful nature" (the flesh) were leading us around like slaves being pulled around by rings in our noses.

"We lived in malice and envy."  The meaning of "malice" and "envy" is as follows:  Those who are malicious and envious despise and are against others, rather than for them.  Saul was against David, Cain was against Abel and killed him, Joseph's brothers were jealous and against him and threw him into a pit, and the Pharisees were against  Jesus and had Him crucified.  Before we became Christians, slandering someone and talking against someone came easily to our tongues.  See Proverbs 14:30  We were not loved and loving others, but we were part of a circle of ugly hatred.  We hated those who had more than we had.  We hated those who did anything to frustrate us.  And they did the same right back to us.

b. What motivated God to want to change us? (3:4,5a)

"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." 

Thought Question:  According to these verses, why did God save us?  Why is the teaching in this verse an important teaching?

 

 

 

We should still be what we used to be, except that God is kind and loving!  It was not because of anything good that we did that God saved us.  We have already seen what we were like before we became Christians.  Did God save us because we were enslaved by our lusts? Or did He save us because we were malicious haters?  No, God saved us because of what He is like.  It was because of God's mercy.

You may be thinking that God did choose you because you have always tried to be a moral and good person.  But, the Bible is really clear that all of us are rotten to the core:  "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure." (Jeremiah 17:9)  "There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who seeks God."  (Romans 3:12)  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  (Romans 3:23)  "Know that a man is not justified by observing the law." (Galatians 2:16)  "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather through the law we become conscious of sin." (Romans 3:20)

We would not become the new person we have become except that God is merciful.  Mercy is when we do not get what we deserve.  Grace is when we get something good we do not deserve.  Mercy is when the policemen does not give us the speeding ticket that we deserve.  Grace is when he also gives us a free ticket to a professional baseball game.  We did not deserve to be changed, but God in His mercy has made us people who are able to do what is good. 

c. What did God do that changed us (3:5b,6)

"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,"

Thought Question:  What do you believe is the "washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit"?  In what ways did they change you?

 

 

What makes a Christian different from someone who is not a Christian?  These verses give a very clear answer to this question. First of all, we are told here that all Christians have been washed on the inside by a new birth.  In the deepest part of us who are Christians, we are no longer the deeply self-centered and rotten-to-the-core person we once were.  God washed us out and made us a genuinely new person.  "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (II Corinthians 5:17)  There is a new you and a new I inside of us.  "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin."  (Romans 6:6)  "and to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:24) "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the image of its Creator." (Colossians 3:9,10)  The Bible is absolutely clear, if we are a Christian, we are no longer the same person we were before we were a Christian.  God has made us a new person.

Secondly, we also need the power to live like the new person that we have become.  This empowering comes through the renewing power of the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit inside of each Christian who gives us the ability to go from doing all the ugly things described in 3:3, to being able to do all the good things described in Titus 3:1,2

d. What is our new relationship with God like? (3:7)

"So that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."

Thought Question:  According to this verse, how has our legal status changed before God because of His grace?

 

 

God's mercy and grace put us in a totally new legal relationship with God.  In stead of being legally guilty before a holy God deserving of eternal hell, we are legally justified before a holy God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ and heading toward heaven!  Instead of being in a state of total separation from God, we now are legally and justly united with Him.  First of all, we are now "justified by his grace."  Grace changes our legal status before God.  We once were legally and justly deserving of God's punishment.  But because of His grace, we are legally and justly heirs to God's fortunes.  See Romans 8:17  Finally, instead of legally and fairly deserving eternal punishment, because of God's grace, we now have the certain hope of eternal life.  This is a short little verse in this book of Titus, but are you not glad that this verse is in Titus?  If we believe this verse, it will certainly change the way we look at our life.

e. What should we do now that God has changed us? (3:8)

"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."

Thought Question:  Here is Paul's application.  How has Paul's message been getting through to you?  Write down why you are motivated to do what is good.

 

 

The pattern in the New Testament is to reveal how sinful we were before we became Christians, to reveal that God has made us new people, and, finally, to urge us to live like the new people that we now are.  This final step is what Paul does in this verse.  He has been leading up to what he says at this time.  His purpose is "that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good."  God did not make us new people so that we would live just like those who are not new people.  We who are God's transformed people are to live like God's transformed people.  If we live like this, it will be "excellent and profitable for everyone" 

Do we desire that God can say that what we are doing is excellent?  Do we want to know that our lives are profitable to God and to others?  Many of us have had times when we wondered if our lives, in the large scheme of things, were of any value at all.  Here in God's Word is a promise about how our lives can be "excellent and profitable."  Our lives will be "excellent and profitable" if we devote ourselves to doing good!

Notice also that Paul urges Titus to forcefully "stress" to the Christians at Crete that they should "devote themselves to doing what is good."  We are not only to teach what is in the Bible, but we are also to forcefully urge Christians to live like Christians should live.  We are to teach what is in the Scriptures, and we are to exhort Christians to apply and to obey what is taught in them.  God's Word must not just affect our thinking, but it must also affect our will, our decisions, our lives!  God is good.  We, His children, are also to be good.

 f. How should we handle those who oppose what is good? (3:9-11)

How do we handle it when we encounter those who stubbornly reject what the Bible clearly says is true?  The answer to this question is found in these three verses:  "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law; because they are unprofitable and useless."

Thought Question:  What insight does this verse give as to when you should stop trying to persuade someone of what you believe to be the truth?

 

 

Paul tells Titus not to argue with those who stubbornly reject the truth.  It is true that no one can win an argument.  There are those who can be persuaded, and there are those who choose not to be persuaded.  When Paul first went into a city, he would go to the meetings of the Jewish Synagogue and reason with the Jews and Gentiles who attended it.  Some would be persuaded that Jesus is the Messiah promised to the world in the Old Testament Scriptures, but others refused to be persuaded.  See Acts 17:2-5, 18:4, 19:8  What Paul is saying here is that when someone refuses to be persuaded, it does no good to argue with him.

Paul gives us the pattern we are to follow in handling those who resist what is taught in God's Word.  "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time.  After that, have nothing to do with him.  You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."

Thought Question #1:  Why do you think we are to stop warning a person after a second warning?

 

 

Thought Question #2:  What does this verse tell us about how we should act toward a person from a cult who knocks at our door?

 

 

Who is a "divisive person"?  The NIV STUDY BIBLE has the following explanation:  "The Greek for this phrase became a technical term in the early church for a type of 'heretic' who promoted dissension by propagating extreme views of legitimate Christian truths."  "Taken from NIV Study Bible note.  Copyright 1995 by Zondervan Publishing House."  Today, we might use the term "cultist" to describe the "divisive person."  "The Greek is hairetikos.  The harein means to choose, and haresis means a party, or a school or a sect."  "Taken from The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon by William Barclay.  Copyright 1975 by The Westminster Press."  So, the "divisive person" is someone who chooses to reject the truth and chooses to believe a lie.

When we try to talk to someone who has a twisted view of what the Bible says, we can try twice to reason with him.  But, if they persist in their twisted viewpoints, it shows that they are willfully rejecting God's truth.  The problem is not that they are confused, but that they are choosing to not understand.  They have purposely blinded themselves, and they want to stay blind.  They gather arguments to protect their twisted views, rather than using that energy to seek for the truth.

Paul says that they are "warped."  This person is not using straight thinking, but twisted thinking.  Straight talk will not get through to someone who is determined to stay twisted.  The problem comes when someone has his own ideas and prefers his ideas to what God's Word teaches.  He prefers developing his own ideas rather than discovering what God teaches in His book.  When someone stubbornly refuses to listen after two warnings, it indicates that they are "the fool" that the book of Proverbs describes:  "a fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions." (Proverbs 18:2)

Paul urges Titus to "have nothing to do" with a person who has proven himself to be a "divisive person."  Jesus urged that similar steps be taken when a person was confronted on three occasions about a sin and still refused to acknowledge that he did any wrong.  See Matthew 18:15-17   When people choose to separate themselves from God's truth, we also must choose to separate ourselves from them.  See II John 7-11

8. Final remarks "our people must devote themselves to doing what is

good."  (3:12-15)
"As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there."

Thought Question:  What wisdom do you see in Paul's instructions to Titus in this verse?

 

 

We see Paul's wisdom here.  Titus was assigned the very difficult task of working with the stubborn Cretan church.  Paul will not let him burn-out, but will be sending him reinforcements.  After the help comes, Titus is to take a break. He is to go to be with Paul where Paul and he will be able to spend some time together.  A sort of spiritual retreat and co-ministry with Paul.  Certainly Titus would leave his time with Paul refreshed and strengthened in his walk with God.  It is good for all of us who are strenuously involved in God's work to take breaks for times of spiritual refreshment and encouragement.

This is the only mention of "Artemis" in the Bible.  "Tychicus" was a constant companion of Paul.  See Acts 20:4; Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7,8; and II Timothy 4:12

"Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need."

Thought Question:  Titus had an immediate opportunity to apply what Paul had been teaching by the way he treated the visitors who had brought this letter to him.  Can you figure out what it was?

 

 

It is likely that "Zenas" and "Apollos" carried this letter to Titus and gave it to him when they stayed with him.  "Zenas," like Artemis, is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible.  All we know about him is that he was a "lawyer."  This may mean that he had been a Roman lawyer or it may mean that he was an expert in the Mosaic Law.  "Zenas" is the only "lawyer" mentioned in the New Testament.

"Apollos," on the other hand, is mentioned a number of times in the New Testament.  See Acts 18:24,27,28, 19:1; I Corinthians 1:12, 3:4-6,22, 4:6, 16:12  We know he was an eloquent preacher and that he had a significant ministry to the church at Corinth.

Upon receiving this letter from Paul about doing what was good, Titus was to do good to "Zenas" and "Apollos:"  "Do everything you can to help" and "see that they have everything they need."

"Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives."

Thought Question:  The Cretan Christians were to learn to devote themselves to doing what is good.  Has Paul convinced you to devote yourselves to doing what is good?  List areas that you are now devoted to doing what is good.  Then, list areas where you want to begin to devote yourselves to doing what is good.

 

 

The Cretans had been living self-centered and unproductive lives.  Paul urges Titus to teach them "to devote themselves to doing what is good."  And in the whole letter Titus has described in detail how they can live productive lives.  See Galatians 6:9,10  If the Christians do good, they will not be part of the problem in Crete, but part of the solution.  If we do what is good, we will not be part of the problem in our world, but part of the solution; God's solution! 

"Everyone with me sends you greetings.  Greet those who love us in the faith.  Grace be with all of you."  Paul closes with these warm words of Christian greeting.

 

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. ®   NIV ®   Copyright ©  1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission.  All Rights reserved.

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The Battle For The Sunshine Psalms Vol I
The Battle For The Sunshine Psalms Vol II
How To Live A Full Life In An Empty World Ecclesiastes 1-6
How To Live A Full Life In An Empty World Ecclesiastes 6-12
God Is Ruler Of The Times Of The Gentiles Daniel 1-6
God Is Ruler Of The Times Of The Gentiles Daniel 7-12
When God Seems Far Away Habakkuk
The Good News About Israel's King Matthew 1-7
The Good News About Israel's King Matthew 8-14
The Good News About Israel's King Matthew 15-22
The Good News About Israel's King Matthew 23-28
The Good News About The Son Of Man Luke 1-6
The Good News About The Son Of Man Luke 7-12
The Good News About The Son Of Man Luke 13-18
The Word Became Flesh! John 1-6
The Word Became Flesh! John 7-12
The Word Became Flesh! John 13-17
The Word Became Flesh! John 18-21
Christianity In The Courtroom Romans 1-4
Christianity In The Courtroom Romans 5-8
Christianity In The Courtroom Romans 9-11
Christianity In The Courtroom Romans 12-16
The Battle For The Sunshine I Corinthians 1-6
The Battle For The Sunshine I Corinthians 7-11
The Battle For The Sunshine I Corinthians 12-16
Paul's Life And Ministry: Triumph Through Weakness II Corinthians 1-7
Paul's Life And Ministry: Triumph Through Weakness II Corinthians 8-13
Rediscovering The Joy Of The Gospel Galatians
Seeing The Church From God's Perspective - Seeing The Riches Of God's Grace! Ephesians 1-3
Seeing The Church From God's Perspective - Seeing The Riches Of God's Grace! Ephesians 4-6
How To Be A Joyful And United Church Philippians
Pursuing Our Fulness In Christ Colossians
A Message To New Christians I Thessalonians
A Second Message To New Christians - A Wider Focus On The Christian Life II Thessalonians
God's Plan For Order In The Church I Timothy
How To Finish Strong In The Lord II Timothy
Doing What Is Good Titus
How To Motivate Others To Do What God Wants Them To Do Philemon
We Should Always Move Forward In Our Faith Hebrews 1-9
We Should Always Move Forward In Our Faith Hebrews 10-13
From Double-Minded To Single-Minded Christianity James
How To Live In Tough Times With An Eternal Perspective I Peter
How To Have Wholesome Christian Thinking II Peter
The Glorious Circle That Is Eternal Life I John
How Our Joy Can Be Complete &
Two Good Examples And One Bad Example
II & III John
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The Unveiling Of The Glorified Jesus Christ And The End Of The Age Revelation 6-11
The Unveiling Of The Glorified Jesus Christ And The End Of The Age Revelation 12-16
The Unveiling Of The Glorified Jesus Christ And The End Of The Age Revelation 17-22