Summary: Paul tells Titus to making the Gospel attractive, but how is that done?
17- Make it Pretty- Titus
Ugly bunch don’t you think? This week’s edition of people magazine included pictures of the world’s 50 most beautiful people, as selected by their readers. The group you saw were the photos that were posted online at People’s homepage.
All fairly attractive people. Siblings being siblings though Penelope Cruz’s brother, Eduardo, tells her that she has a lazy eye and that one of her ears is bigger than the other. Poor Penelope.
In the scripture that Mike read this morning was the statement Titus 2:10 Then they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive in every way.
The statement is found in Titus the 17th book of the New Testament. The book was written by Paul and is another personal letter. This time addressed to Titus who was a protégé of Paul’s who helped him begin several churches in the eastern half of the Roman Empire. This letter was written to Titus while he was serving as overseer of the churches on the Island of Crete, which if we pull down our map we discover is here in the Mediterranean. The book was written around AD 64 and the reason it was written was to help Titus with the problems at Crete.
Crete had a reputation in the ancient world, and it wasn’t a good one. Paul quotes from the Greek poet Epimenides when he told Titus Titus 1:12 One of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars; they are cruel animals and lazy gluttons.” This is also known as the Epimenides Paradox, because if everyone from Crete was a liar, and if Epimenides was from Crete then he was a liar so when he said everyone from Crete was a liar then he obviously was lying meaning that not everyone from Crete were liars. Or if he was telling the truth that everyone from Crete was a liar then he was lying because he had just told the truth. But that’s really irrelevant.
Paul was telling Timothy that in a culture that was so depraved that the Church had an even greater responsibility to show the beauty of the Gospel. And it is the beauty of the Gospel that Paul did not say the “Cretans are so evil that you must flee from that island.” Instead he encouraged Titus to reach out and offer them the grace of God.
Have you ever thought of your responsibility in making the gospel attractive? Now most us figure that would be as difficult as making the bunch we had up here attractive. Kind of following the old adage, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”
But think about this, reality is often more attractive then the best photographs or images. I have photos of the high Artic and the purple and rose hues in the rock contrasting with the blue white of the icebergs and deep indigo of the ocean are incredible. But they are a far cry from the breath taking beauty of the real thing.
Has everyone here seen pictures of Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World? But until you stand at the foot of Cinderella’s Castle and look up watching the graceful spires and pinnacles reach for the clouds you have never really seen the full beauty of it. And Niagara Falls is just another set of waterfalls until you sail up to its splendour on the “Lady of the Mist.” And so the Gospel is just another religious philosophy until it’s seen in all its beauty in the life of the believer.