Summary: These principles are so simple and basic that we should instictively know they are right. Christians really shouldn’t have to be taught to them... but we do. Why?
OPEN: The popular author Robert Fulghum once wrote in the Kansas City Times, “Most of what I really need to know about life… I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but it WAS always taught in the sandbox at nursery school. These are the things I learned:
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody . . .
When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.”
APPLY: Can’t get much simpler than that, can you?
If everybody lived like that, life would be more pleasant wouldn’t it?
And, as I was reading over the passage for today’s sermon, it occurred to me that the things Titus was supposed to teach the Christians in Crete were fairly basic instructions for good behavior as well:
Don’t get drunk
Obey people in authority over you
Be good workers in the workplace
Love your family
I could preach entire sermons on each of those topics… but I shouldn’t have to.
Everybody knows Christians should behave themselves like this.
I mean, these principles are so simple - so basic - that every Christian should live in this way.
ILLUS: There’s a comic strip called “Dilbert” in the Newspaper - he once observed:
“I decided to start a discount religion. The tithing would only be 5% and I’d let people sin as much as they wanted. The only problem is that I don’t want to spend time with anyone who would join that sort of religion.”
The way the Bible teaches us about Christianity, this is a religion that people should want to join because of the basic moral life that is taught. The kind of lifestyle Paul described in Titus 2 should be par for the course with believers. Preachers shouldn’t have to preach those kind of topics in churches.
It should come naturally to all of us… but apparently it doesn’t.
Titus was instructed by Paul to preach about these things in the CHURCHES in Crete. He’s to preach to CHRISTIANS on these topics.
Now, why would preachers HAVE to talk about such topics?
Well, because Christians… tend to forget.
We tend to forget how critical it is for us to live godly lives.
ILLUS: In a recent survey conducted amongst young people, one researcher heard these comments from college students on various campuses:
“Christians go about things in an unChristian manner.”
“They have forgotten the point of what it means to be a Christian.”
“The faith has gotten off track with the teachings of Jesus.”
This was a repeated theme from many of the youth they interviewed.
And it goes to show that many “Christians” forget what it is to live like Christians.
Why do they forget? I can think of two basic reasons:
1st - We live in a pagan world
Titus was preaching on Crete. And the isle Crete was populated by (pause…)“Cretans”.
Paul wrote that “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” Titus 1:12-13a
You see, the Christians living on Crete were surrounded by people were notorious for being pagans.
The men were apparently known for getting drunk, and lacking self-control. The women seem to have been known for gossiping and neglecting their families. Slaves were guilty of lying and stealing.
And everybody showed disrespect for their rulers and authorities.
When you live in a pagan culture, it becomes easy to fudge a little. When you’re surrounded by people who tell dirty jokes, it’s hard not to laugh. When you spend time with people who curse, it’s hard not to pick up the practice. When you’re surrounded by friends who drink, it’s difficult to refuse a glass
When you spend time in a school or an office where people cheat to get ahead, it’s hard not to do the same thing because if you don’t – you might lose out.
And so on…
It’s called peer pressure, and it’s happened to better people than you or I. We live in a pagan world and we sometimes find ourselves being drawn into pagan way of life and we can thus forget the importance of living godly lives.
2nd reason we tend to forget to live Godly lives is that we tend to confuse “good doctrine” with good Christianity.
It’s possible to know all there is to know about good Bible doctrine and still offend God.
You can go to Bible College and graduate the top of your class.