Thesis: Christians must devote themselves to doing what is good.
I. INTRODUCTION TO TITUS.
A. What do we know about Titus? < Not much! >
1. Name appears 13 times in NT, never in Acts.
2. Converted by Paul and worked closely with him (1:4 ... Biological? Adopted? Spiritual!)
a. Involved in collection for Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:18; 12:18).
b. Attends Jerusalem Conference with Paul (Gal. 2:1-5).
B. What do we know about the church in Crete? < Not much! >
2. Titus 1:10-13.
a. Picture of a less-than-cohesive church structure.
b. Quote is from Epimenides of Crete (ca. 600 B.C.)--talking about the False Teachers!
C. Paul sent Titus into this situation (1:5).
1. The situation:
a. Paul could not stay in Crete.
b. Left Titus there to put church on "good foot."
c. This letter tells him how to do it!
2. Illust. Churches and children are alike in at least one respect--both programmed for growth. Eat, sleep, get exercise--most grow like crazy! Only a problem if something stunts growth. Churches are the same way-- programmed for growth. Possible to get in God's way and mess things up. If you just don't do wrong things church will grow!
3. How do you keep from doing the wrong things? You become preoccupied with doing the right things!
II. GOOD WORKS IN TITUS.
A. The dominant theme in Titus is good works.
1. 1:1 "The faith that leads to godliness (goodliness)."
2. 1:8 "Loves what is good."
3. 1:16 "Unfit for doing anything good."
5. 2:7 Titus an example of doing what is good.
6. 2:14 Eager ("zealots") to do what is good.
7. 3:1 "Ready to do whatever is good."
8. 3:8 "Devote themselves to doing what is good."
9. 3:14 "Devote themselves to doing what is good."
B. How does a church stay focused on good works?
III. STAYING FOCUSED ON GOOD WORKS? (Chapter 3)
A. BY BEING KIND TO EVERYONE (3:1-8).
1. "Slander no one!" (who does that include?)
a. Why? Because we used to be like that! (v. 3)
1) Foolish & disobedient.
2) Deceived & enslaved.
3) Malice & envy (wish evil vs. resent good).
4) Being hated & hating one another.
b. Illust. Sometimes X'ians can be very unkind. Why is that? Have you ever noticed who the most militant anti-smoking people are? Former smokers! Ever notice who gets most worked up about "saying NO to drugs"? Former druggies! Tendency to become self-righteous and unkind about what we have overcome. Reminds us of a little girl's prayer: "Dear God: Help all the bad people to be good; and help all the good people to be nice."
2. The grace of God keeps us focused! (4-8).
B. BY AVOIDING CONTROVERSY (9).
1. Some controversies must not be avoided!
a. Some are not foolish (Jude 3).
b. Those who dislike conflict must not wimp out when matters of the faith once-delivered are at stake!
2. But most of the things that get argued about in churches are not matters of the faith!
a. We think they are, but usually they're not.
b. Illust. A writer in a gospel paper tells of meeting a student who came from a town where he used to preach. She told him there were two churches there, both running about 30. He asked her ho w there came to be 2 churches--was it doctrinal or personal. She said, "Oh, it was doctrinal all right, the other group believed in having fellowship suppers!"
c. That's why it's so crucial that a church knows what the main thing is ... so it can keep main thing the main thing!
3. We must avoid controvery because it is "unprofitable and useless."
a. Note contrast between verses 8-9.
b. Illust. In 1917 when the Russian revolution was taking place in Petrograd, the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church were meeting in the same city. Argued color of priest's robes!
C. BY CONFRONTING DIVISIVE PEOPLE (10-11).
1. Three kinds of people can be divisive in the church:
a. False teacher (Tit. 1:11).
b. Immoral example (1 Cor. 5).
c. Contentious spirit (some people like to fight!)
2. Avoid factious people--let them "stew in their own juices" (10-11).
D. BY BEING PREOCCUPIED WITH DOING WHAT IS GOOD (14).
1. The best way to maintain harmony in the church is for each of us to be devoted to doing what is good (Gal. 6:10).
a. Note the contrast--NOT working together (9-11) is contrasted with working together (12-13)!
b. Illust. How a church is able to "do what is good" is the focus of this text. Our exploration of it is going to be like a person who doesn't like pickles eating a McDonald's hamburger. Note vv. 8, 14--emphasis on doing good--buns. In between is the bad stuff (pickles) and good stuff (meat). Not working together (9-11) is contrasted with working together (12-13).
2. May God help us to be devoted to doing what is good (Others will then see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven!)