Summary: Christians are more and more known for what we are against than what we are for. This confuses people about what the gospel is really about. Paul gives some very practical advice on how to be practically spiritual in an unsaved world.
How can we sum up Titus? It’s as simple as 1-2-3.
1. Find a good Biblical model and follow it (chapter 1) - Personal Faith
2. Allow yourself to be inconvenienced in order for the gospel to be attractive (ch 2) - Interpersonal Example
3. Seek to cooperate and assist others around you by being a representative of Christ’s grace on the earth. (chapter 3) - Community Witness
It doesn’t get much simpler than that. So what’s the big deal - how complicated could that be? Well, it seems especially today it is much easier said than done.
Brian Broderson, Chuck Smith’s son-in-law, said at a recent Calvary Chapel pastors conference that today the church of Jesus Christ is becoming known as merely another political party. We as Christians are known more for what we are against - than what we are for - and we spend so much time commenting and complaining about things that have nothing to do with the gospel that people are getting confused about just what it means to be a Christian in today’s society.
Jesus Himself said that the one thing that should set us apart - the thing that non-believers should comment on when asked about Christians is this: love.
John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Paul the Apostle said in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is the pinnacle - the greatest thing that we should aspire for.
Now, what does that have to do with Titus three and being a representative of the grace of Jesus Christ where you live? Everything!
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Love the Lord - love your neighbor - that’s what being a representative of Jesus Christ where you live is all about - and what Titus chapter 3 is all about.
1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
On the surface this sounds pretty self explanatory. But in reality as Christians we easily fall into a mindset where we don’t do these things - we are rebellious against authority, stingy, big-mouthed, and an arrogant jerk!
Why? Because of spiritual pride. Pride, you see, I think - is the real opposite of love. It’s not hate - though that is a byproduct. But after we get saved we are a member of a new kingdom - so the present kingdom is now beneath us. We are a new creature and we start feeling pretty good about ourselves - and above others and attending to the needs of others.
Now remember - this was being written in a time when there was beginning to be tremendous persecution of the church by an emperor in Rome. And it was being written to a people who were by nature rebellious and disobedient - so much like ourselves today in America - the place where anyone from the government is automatically suspect.
Paul wants Titus to remind people of how they should be - model citizens - by reminding them of where they have come:
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
We who think we are so high and mighty need to remember 1-where we came from and 2-who got us out of the mess we were in!
Before Jesus Christ came into our lives we were ruled by passions and pleasures - we "lived" in malice and hatred - it was our home base. We were hopeless - lost - and unable to do anything about it. One time I helped a guy move - I didn’t know him - and when I went into his house it was filled with stacks and stacks of junk - magazines, and stuff I don’t even know what it was - but this guy thought it was just fine to live this way. When we were living in sin it seemed perfectly normal, even though we lived in the midst of spiritual junk.