Summary: We have received the instruction to "be careful" as a church. That instruction serves a purpose.
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
Be careful! That was two words I heard a lot growing up. It wasn’t that I was accident prone, or clumsy. It just seemed as if my parents, and especially my grandmother loved to tell me to be careful, no matter what I was getting ready to do. I could get into the car to drive three hundred yards to the store, and my grandmother would always find herself to tell me, “be careful.” Even today, when I visit my parents, often before I leave their house, my grandmother still tells me to be careful.
Has someone said those words to you before? Of course they have. And, to be honest about it, there were definitely times that you needed to hear it. The bad thing about hearing someone say to be careful is when you hear it, but then ignore it.
Why do you suppose that anyone would ever find it important to say those words to you? Why is it that someone would ever take the time to utter those two words to you? Sometimes it could be that you were doing something where there was a level of danger involved, and so someone told you to be careful so that you could avoid injury. Maybe it was because there could be a reward for being careful, kind of like the teacher telling the student to be careful and check their work before turning it in so they could get a better grade. That is one case where I never heeded the warning. The truth is, people tell you to be careful because they care about you.
Listen, that very act of being careful is geared toward a purpose. When you see another person who is approaching something with care, what kind of thought do you have about them? Is that person demonstrating maturity, or immaturity? Think about it this way. If you saw an older person, and then you saw a younger person, and you were given the words careful and careless, which word would you ascribe to Sherri, and which one would you ascribe to Noah? Carefulness is something that you attribute to maturity. The reason that you are admonished to carefulness is because it brings about maturity.
How about this question? What would cause you to not be careful? It could be a lack of belief. You just refuse to believe there is any benefit to being careful. Rebellion could be another thing that would cause you to ignore someone telling you to be careful. There are some people that when you warn them of dangers, and advise them to be careful, they seemingly ignore the warnings. It just aggravates them to no end for another person to give them advice, and so there is jus no way they are going to take it. In all, refusing to be careful when someone admonishes you to do so is a response of immaturity.
With that in mind, are you a careful Christian? If it came down to it, what word would describe your Christian life? Would it be careful or careless? Just how careful are you as a Christian?
When Paul wrote his letter to Titus, he was addressing several problems that existed in the churches in Crete. You might say that this was a church that was careless and immature. They had a lack of organization. There were several in the church that opposed true doctrine. God’s word could be preached, but they refused to heed it. They held on to ungodly principles rather than God’s Word. There were some men who were causing divisions over certain things for the purpose of personal gain. The very act of sin stems from a desire to please self over that of pleasing God. All of these actions demonstrate an attitude of carelessness. It shows the immaturity of a church to have these problems running rampant through the church body. So, Paul admonished the people of Crete to be careful.
Listen, God desires for the church, and for us as individual believers to be careful. I would like to give you four things, plus some application principles, as we look at the message, “Be Careful; Giving proper thought to what is important to God.”
Before we get into the message, we need to define what being careful means. In the Greek language, the word translated here as “be careful” means to exercise thought. This Greek word in this case is in what is called the subjunctive mood, the present tense, and in an active voice. To put that very simply, being careful means to make the exercise of thoughtfulness a permanent condition of active thinking. Literally, it means to think about something all of the time. Make this a habit of your mind.