Summary: Thank God everyday that the President and Congress cannot tell any American how they are to worship, and what they are to believe. This is one of the greatest freedoms of life, and most people in history have never enjoyed it.

An insurance adjuster tells of a life policy taken out in the name

of Abraham Brown in a small southern town. For five years the

insurance company received the premiums when they were due.

Then all of a sudden they stopped without warning. The company

sent several notices and then finally there came this reply: "Dear

Sirs: Hope you will excuse us. We can't pay no more insurance on

Abe because he died last Sept. Yours truly, Mrs. A. L. Brown."

Here was a wife more ignorant than most about insurance, but

the fact is we live in a world when all of us are ignorant about so

many things and the result is their are con people everywhere

seeking to profit from our ignorance. Like the salesman who was

bragging about selling a widow a new suit for her husband to be

buried in. He was bragging because he sold her a suit with an extra

pair of pants.

The desire to profit from others ignorance and gullibility was a

problem in Paul's day even in the church where he says in v.11 that

eloquent con artists were teaching false doctrine for the sake of

dishonest gain. It is a universal trait of human nature, and so even

on this island of lazy people some were working hard to deceive and

rip off the people.

A father have his little boy a dollar for his birthday and the boy

spent all afternoon going from store to store asking the clerk to

change the dollar into silver, and then he would go and get it

changed back to a dollar bill. When his father heard of it he asked

the reason. Little Sanday replied, "Sooner or later somebody is goin

to make a mistake and it ain't going to be me." Here was a small lad

illustrating the universal desire to make a profit off of other people's

mistakes. Unfortunately, such crime does pay, and that is why Paul

is so strong in his determination to silence the con artists in the

church. . They were making a profit and their victims were suffering

great loss.

Paul is giving witness to the great power of words to both defend

the faith and to destroy it. Words can ruin lives or redeem them.

When Paul says they are mere talkers he does not mean they are no

threat because of their empty words. He says they are a great threat,

for words are weapons that can do what bullets and bombs cannot

do. Words have awesome power for good or evil, and it is a never

ending battle to keep them from being destructive. James says in his

letter in 3:5-6, "Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small

spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of

the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his

life on fire, and it itself set on fire by hell."

The tragic truth is, both Paul and James are writing about

Christians when they describe the destructive power of the tongue.

Christians destroy the lives of other Christians by gossip and

slander, as well as by false teaching. This has not change since the

days of Paul. Good people still start fires that do great damage. I

read about the greatest prairie fire to ever take place in Kansas. It

was set by an officer of the U. S. government. He and a party of

officers from Fort Hayes were returning from a wild turkey hunt.

This officer just wanted to shock and surprise the others. It was a

practical joke he had in mind when he touched a match to the dry

grass. He had no idea of the power he was dealing with. The fire

took off like a frightened deer and swept across the prairie. Nothing

could stop it. It swept all the way across Kansas into Oklahoma and

burned out thousands of settlers. They not only lost their homes but

their horses and cattle as well.

The deep remorse of the officer could not take back the damage

his careless act had caused. He did not intend it to get out of hand,

but he had no control once it was set loose. So it is with words. Once

you let the fire of words get started you no longer have control over

them. They can go about doing damage you never intended. That is

why Paul says to Titus that the only way to go is to prevent the

words from being uttered. Silence the false teachers and don't let

their flame throwers be turned on. This is easier said than done, and

in our culture it is nearly impossible.

Paul says that Christian leaders have a two fold responsibility.

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