Summary: Paul concludes his letter to Titus by reminding Titus of Titus’s former life without God, and of God’s saving grace. These are the things that keep the Christian life in perspective as we strive to "do what is good."
The Productive Life, part 5
Titus chapter 3
Wildwind Community Church
April 9, 2006
Today we put the wrap on our series on the book of Titus. I hope you’ve learned something. I’ve learned a lot. Most important, I hope you have realized the importance of right teaching, right belief, and right living. A lot of people would tell you there’s no such thing as right teaching – just pick the teaching that suits you and live by it – or don’t. It doesn’t matter because I don’t want to force my beliefs on you. A lot of people will tell you there’s no such thing as right belief. Pick your beliefs from among the infinite options and then live by them. Or don’t. As long as you’re sincere, that’s all that matters. A lot of people would tell you there’s no such thing as right living. It’s a free country. Live however you want. It’s up to you as long as you don’t hurt anybody else.
But Christians believe in right teaching, that it’s important to be taught the right things. Why? Because as we looked at two weeks ago, right living stems from right teaching. Wrong living stems from what? Wrong teaching leads to what? Right teaching leads to what?
Christians believe that the Bible understands something profoundly true about human nature when it says that we are what we think about, that as a man thinks in his heart, so he is.
Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)
7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
What you are taught forms the basis for what you believe, and what you believe will determine how you live, and how you live will determine the legacy you leave. Right now in this moment as you sit here, you are forming what you believe, and thus how you live. That’s why you’re better off being here than being home in bed, or mowing your lawn. Grass is cut down and grows back again. It will always replace what is gone. But in a human life, there is no recovering lost time – what’s gone is gone. So the question is how we use the time we have.
Even for those most diligent about using time wisely, about believing right teaching and living right lives, it’s easy to get off track, to lose focus, to just kind of drift. That’s why Paul starts out chapter 3 of Titus with the words, “Remind the people.” Remind them Titus. This stuff is nothing they don’t already know, that they haven’t heard a thousand times. But remind them. Keep reminding them.” He doesn’t say “force them, guilt-trip them, manipulate them, cajole them, or make them.” Just “remind them.” Isn’t that a huge part of why we come to church in the first place, to be reminded of what we already know? To be taught again what we have already learned. To believe again with renewed enthusiasm; to follow with increased devotion; to serve with greater humility.
In fact, that’s what most of us need more than anything, is reminding. Your greatest need for most of you this morning is not new learning, it’s to be called to remember and live by what you already know. Many of us are educated far beyond our level of obedience. We know way more than we apply. What if I’d said last month, “I’ll tell you what – we just finished six weeks on marriage. I’m not starting a new sermon series until you are applying in your marriage everything that we talked about – until you have – as we discussed – perfected holiness in your life out of reverence for Christ.” How long would it have been until you heard another sermon?
Next week is Easter Sunday. We don’t celebrate any new information on Easter. Most people don’t leave Easter Sunday morning and say, “Holy cow honey, did you hear that? A man was dead and now he’s alive again!” People have already heard that. Hearing or reading something is the first and easiest step in learning it. Believing is harder than hearing/reading, and applying is the hardest step of all. So we come to church to remember all that we have learned – to dig into the well of our knowledge and pray that God will help just a little bit more of that knowledge spill over into application – into our lifestyle. That’s why it bugs me when I hear church people say, “This material isn’t working for me – I’ve been through it before.” The question isn’t whether it has been heard, the question is whether it has been applied and is now being LIVED. Until we have completely applied something and are living it, we DO need to be reminded of it again and again.