Summary: Jesus uses changed people to change people
Little Books with a Big Message
Changed People Change People
Pastor Pat Damiani
August 26, 2018
Sarah, the church gossip and self-appointed arbiter of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business. Several church members were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon. She commented to George and others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.
George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing. Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Sarah's house.
And left it there all night.
While that story is intended to address the dangers of gossip, which is not the main issue we’ll be addressing this morning, it also reminds us of the importance of appearances, which is more relevant to the main message that we’ll be thinking about this morning.
For the most part, the world does not judge the church based on our creeds, but rather on our conduct. They aren’t nearly as influenced by what we say as they are by what we do. In fact, I would go so far as to say that most people ultimately make their decision about whether the Bible is really true, and powerful and life-changing, which I think all of us would claim that it is, by observing whether or not it actually changes our lives.
That is the main idea we’re going to find as we study Titus chapter 2 together this morning.
We are now in the next to last week of our current series, titled “Little Books with a Big Message”. The book of Titus is the 8th and final little book that we’ve studied over the past several months and hopefully you still have it bookmarked from last week so that you can find it easily.
Before I read chapter 2, I want to point out that this chapter is so full of great practical teaching that I can’t possibly cover it all in one message. So I’m considering coming back to this book, and particularly this chapter, some time next year to cover all that I won’t be able to address this morning.
Here in chapter 2, we find that Paul addresses both the why and the what. He covers both the purpose of living in the manner he is going to describe as well as the practices that are to be a part of our lifestyle. So because I believe we almost always need to know the why before the what, that is where I am going to focus my attention this morning.
So as you follow along as I read chapter 2, I am going to encourage you to see if you can pick out the why. I’ll give you a clue. There are three places in this passage where Paul is going to focus on the why.
[Read Titus 2:1-15]
Paul begins and ends the chapter with the same command. Although the command in verse 1 and verse 15 consists of the same underlying Greek word, for some reason the ESV uses two different English words – “teach” in verse 1 and “declare” in verse 15. This is one of the places where the KJV actually translates both verbs more accurately and consistently with the command to “speak” those things that are consistent with sound doctrine in verse 1 and to “speak” these things in verse 15. So the idea is that Titus is to be constantly speaking to the people about all that is sandwiched in between those two commands.
And between those two bookends, we find some very practical instruction about how to live in a way that accords with sound doctrine. But as I said earlier, we’re going to focus on the why and not the what this morning. And here is why that it is important that our lives are lived in a way that is consistent with sound doctrine:
Jesus uses changed people
to change people
We live in a world where people are largely focused on self and the church has not been immune from that influence. And so the usual focus when we talk about holy living tends to be about how that is going to benefit me. But as Paul writes to Titus, he is not nearly as concerned about the effect of holy living on those who are already disciples of Jesus, as he is about the impact it will have on those who are outside the body.
It is a given that living my life in a way that is consistent with sound doctrine is going to result in blessing and joy in my life. But as Paul points out here, the world largely judges the validity of the Bible based on our lives and not just on our lips. People outside the church are watching us to see if our faith in Jesus is really life changing or if we are merely paying lip service to it.