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28
Relationships. Titus 3:9-15.
May 28, 2017

Ahead of the announcement of the new leader of the Federal Conservative Party last night, the party’s interim leader Rona Ambrose took to the stage for one final farewell — and to send some words of advice to whomever replaces her. “Bedrock conservative values are more important than any policy proposals shared during the campaign, Ambrose said.“ When we rally around those values and speak with one voice there is no limit to what we can achieve together,” she said. The winner should also take heed of the advice former leader Stephen Harper gave caucus when she replaced him, she added. “The measure of a good leader is also how they treat their opponents in defeat.” (http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/andrew-scheer-is-the-new-leader-of-the-conservative-party-of-canada)

 

How we treat others is a great concern to God. As we loving care for our co-ministers, look out for our fellow servants, deal with difficult people and protect against those who seek to undermine the Christian faith, how we deal with these people speaks volumes. It not only is a barometer to Church health but has very practical implications in how we reach the lost. The most effective and God designed program for reaching the lost is not a rally, public event, book or video program. It is calling believers to live in such a way that shows that our God saves sinners from sin. Such testimony is built on sanctified relationships.In chapter 1 of the book of Titus has dealt with the relationship of believers in the church with the Lord of the church, as exemplified by its leadership. Chapter 2 introduced believers’ relationships with each other, and the first half of chapter 3 deals with the relationship of believers with the unregenerate society in which they live. In Titus 3:9-15, the end of the letter, Paul gives what might be called “The last word on relationships,” in which he concludes by distinguishing true relationships between Christians with false ones.

 

When a person has an important conversation or correspondence with a friend or counselor, the most personal, and sometimes the most urgent, concerns are mentioned last. That seems to be true in this epistle. In his closing words, Paul mentions four distinct and important categories of personal relationships within the church that are of special importance: 1) Relationships with false teachers (Titus 3:9), 2) With factious people (Titus 3:10–11), 3) With fellow servants (Titus 3:12–13), and 4) With faithful friends (Titus 3:14–15).

 

In order to have an effective witness, Christians must distinguish true relationships against those with:

1)      False Teachers(Titus 3:9)

Titus 3:9But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. (ESV)

 

Believers on the island of Crete had been overexposed to a large number of men who claimed to represent the Lord, to be His servants, and to teach His Word. In reality, however, they were spiritually corrupt and were enemies of the Lord, His Word, and His church. Those men had generated so much confusion that Paul had admonished Titus to “set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city … [who would hold] fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that [they] may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict,” namely, the “many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain” (1:5, 9–11).

 

Therefore, Titus’ first instruction here was to “avoid foolish controversies”. “Avoid/Shun” translates a form of the verb periistēmi, which in the mid middle voice, as here, means “to turn oneself around, to purposely turn away from something or someone.” This is a PRESENT MIDDLE IMPERATIVE, meaning “to continue to keep aloof from or avoid” (Utley, R. J. (2000). Paul’s Fourth Missionary Journey: I Timothy, Titus, II Timothy (Vol. Volume 9, p. 128). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.).

 

Titus, the other elders, and the congregations on Crete were to turn the other way from morally and spiritually destructive false teachers, who not only corrupted the churches but, by their sinful and sordid lifestyles, were a great hindrance to the credibility of the gospel. The effect of false teaching is explained in several New Testament passages. It unsettles the soul (Acts 15:24), shipwrecks faith (1 Tim. 1:19), leads to blasphemy (v. 20) and to the ruin of the hearers (2 Tim. 2:14), produces ungodliness (v. 16), and spreads “like gangrene” (v. 17).  The basic reason given for such avoidance is the essential unprofitableness and uselessness of the false teaching(Guthrie, D. (1990). Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 14, p. 230). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.).

 

In this single verse Paul mentions four specific categories of errors these false teachers were espousing: foolish controversies and genealogies, dissensions/strife and quarrels/disputes about the Law.  Foolish is from mōros, from which in English is the word moron, and controversies is from zētēsis, which has the basic sense of searching or investigating but came to be used for discussion or debate, especially that which was controversial and contentious.

 

Please turn to 1 Timothy 1 (p.991)

 

In Paul’s letters controversies (zētēsis) always has a negative connotation and issued in warningssimilar to the one given here—about Christians becoming involved in futile arguments about matters of philosophy, or even theology, that are based on human reason and imagination rather than God’s Word. Paul uses it three times in his words to Timothy. At the beginning of his first letter, the apostle admonishes that other young elder to

1 Timothy 1:3–7As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. (ESV) ( cf. 1 Tim. 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:23)

  • False teachers in the church invariably distort and contradict Scripture, replacing it with novel insights, ideas, and notions that confuse and mislead God’s people and undercut their trust in God’s revealed truth. The danger of false doctrine is made all the worse because, appealing to natural wisdom and desires, it finds ready acceptance among unbelievers and even among worldly, self-centered Christians who are poorly grounded in the Word. Once a false teacher is exposed, they are to be rejected by the church and given no platform to spread their spiritually cancerous and destructive falsehoods. They are not to be debated but denounced and expelled (cf. 2 Cor. 6:14–18).

 

One wonders how many hours and years and lifetimes of Christians have been lost to genuine teaching of God’s Word and to effective evangelism and discipling because of time wasted with foolish controversies. Although false doctrines themselves certainly are foolish, Paul’s point here is that wasting time discussing them is a seriously foolish behavior for God’s people to be involved in.

 

Equally worthless for believers is becoming involved in interpretations of genealogies. Paul was not, of course, belittling the many genealogies that are found in both the New and Old Testaments. Those genealogies were critical for determining the God-given lineage of the priesthood, the kings of Judah and Israel, and even the Messiah (Matt. 1:1; cf. 2–17). Paul’s warning to Titus concerned rather the many fanciful and allegorical interpretations of such genealogies that had fascinated many Jews for centuries. The fourth-century church historian Eusebius reported that when the apostles died, a conspiracy of godless error arose through deceptive false teachers, who arrogantly propagated their insidious lies in opposition to God’s Word. It is obvious from Paul’s counsel to Timothy and Titus that those godless errors were a serious threat to the church even before all of the apostles were gone.

 

A third kind of error that Christians on Crete faced is simply referred to as dissensions/strife a general term that carries the ideas of all kinds of self-centered rivalry and contentiousness about the truth.

 

Because the early church included so many converted Jews, a fourth common error involved quarrels/disputes about the Mosaic Law. Paul refers to that problem in his letter to the Galatian churches.Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised,” he warned, “simply that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised, that they may boast in your flesh” (Gal. 6:12–13; cf. 1 Tim. 1:6–7). This issue was clarified and settled at the Council of Jerusalem recorded in Acts 15. The People in Crete wasted their time running down theological “rabbit trails,” becoming lost in futile discussions and ideas, contending with one another and destroying the community of believers. As they argued and quarreled with one another, a climate of anger and bitterness developed, and the church was derailed from its mission.

  • The modern church falls prey to the same mentality, arguing and dividing itself over opinions, political views, parenting styles, worship styles, secondary theological issues, and a vast assortment of opinions and personal preferences that we elevate to spiritual law. Where this occurs, the result is the same today as in the first century. The church is distracted from its mission to bring salvation, love, and hope to a dying world. Rather than attracting the unbeliever to something new and gooda community of faith and the grace of Godthe church repels the outside world because of (unnecessary infighting).( Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, pp. 385–386). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

 

Quarrels/disputes about the Mosaic Law are to be shunned because they are unprofitable and worthless. Arguing theology, doctrine, or morality with those who distort or disregard God’s Word is unavoidably fruitless. Unlike believers, who accept the authority of Scripture and discuss its meaning, Paul is here referring to discussion with false teachers, who have no desire to accept divine truth.

 

Illustration:  In the 1920s a man named Frank Buchman started the Oxford Group later renamed Moral Rearmament. He emphasized four absolutes for living. These were absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love. (The principals all sounded great but they were not properly defined by Christ and His work). The movement made a deep impact at the time and challenged many people to undertake a personal moral pilgrimage. It taught that you did not need Christian theology, or the old-fashioned gospel; you simply must strive for goodness. But where is that movement now? What lasting impression has it left on the life of our nation? None. Such movements, even those full of splendid good intentions, inevitably fail. They cannot be sustained. Human frailty, because of sin, is too great. They neither recognize the power of sin, nor have an answer to it. Ultimately therefore they are unprofitable. (Benton, J. (1997). Straightening Out the Self-Centered Church: The Message of Titus (p. 173). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.)

 

In order to have an effective witness, Christians must distinguish true relationships against those with:

2)      Factious People(Titus 3:10–11)

Titus 3:10–1110 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (ESV)

 

Just as we are to shun the ungodly, fruitless, and corrupting endeavors mentioned in verse 9, we are to “have nothing more to do with/reject”  “a  person who stirs up division /factious man”.  This comes after warning them.  The purpose of warning people who disrupt the church or mislead others is to bring about repentance in the erring believer. A warning must be clear, not couched in vague references or surrounded by excuses. Rebuke must be loving but not timid. The goal is to bring the disobedient back into the fellowship of obedience. Warning or rebuking seeks this with humility.( Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 386). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

 

Unfortunately not everyone heeds a warning.  “A  person who stirs up division/factious man” is from hairetikos, from which heretic is derived. Heresy,” originally meant a division resulting from individual self-will; the individual doing and teaching what he chose, independent of the teaching and practice of the Church… The heretics of Crete, when Titus was there, were in doctrine followers of their own self-willed “questions” reprobated in Tit 3:9, and immoral in practice. (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 435). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.)

 

The person who stirs up division /factious” person will not submit to the Word or to godly leaders in the church. Such a person is autonomous, or a law unto themselves and has no concern for spiritual truth or unity.  A divisive spirit is like gangrene. It spreads; it is never satisfied. It poisons and destroys by pitting one person against another. It is so serious that such a person should be disfellowshipped for continuing to do it: “Have nothing to do with him” (Titus 3:10). We don’t hesitate to do that with our physical bodies. Though it is painful, we will use surgery to cut away a part of our bodies that is harming the rest. We do not let toxic malignancy take over. Neither should we allow it to grow in the body of Christ. Christ is the head of His body, the church, and He (desires) to have a healthy body. (Staton, K. (1988). Timothy–Philemon: Unlocking the Scriptures for You (p. 192). Cincinnati, OH: Standard.)

 

Please turn to Romans 16 (p.950)

 

Although false teachers certainly are the most devastatingly ones who “stirs up division/factious”, Paul is here casting a broader net, which includes anyone in the church who is divisive and disruptive. Because the consequences of unbiblical insubordination, non-submission, and bickering can be so destructive of unity among the Lord’s people, the apostle commands that one who “stirs up division/factious”, should be rejected by the church if they do not heed the correction  after warning him once and then twice. The issues themselves may be trivial, but arguing about them is not. The Lord Jesus speaks of three warnings (Matt. 18:15–17)., while Paul speaks of only two. The discrepancy is probably that the Lord’s first warning is a private warning, and Paul simply concentrates on the two public warnings with witnesses and with the church (Benton, J. (1997). Straightening Out the Self-Centered Church: The Message of Titus (p. 176). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.).

 

In Romans 16, Paul instructed:

 Romans 16:17-18 17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (ESV)

  • These individuals may be long standing members of the church. They may be pleasant and think that they are being genuinely helpful. They may look around and put forward an idea that they think is going to work. This is where the error stems from. Instead of starting first with scripture and building a biblical case, they most often draw upon common practice, or perception. There is no clearer contemporary example than attempting to dumb down biblical expectation with a desire to be relevant. In a well meaning effort to be pleasant and inoffensive, the very life saving truth and process of Godly directive is put aside. When the biblical standard is shown and insisted upon, to continue to push forward with this misguided plan and attempt to draw further proponents is biblically divisive and factious. They need to be admonished (2 Thess. 3:14-15), not given continued opportunity for division, and lovingly called back to orthodoxy.

 

To a believer who is well grounded in the Word, according to verse 11, the errors and sinfulness of factious and divisive people in the church should be obvious, knowing that a person who persists in quarreling over foolish ideas is warped/perverted and sinful. The present tense verb sinful/keeps on sinning,” implies that the warning has been rejected and therefore that the individual, now with knowledge of the error, is culpable (see on 1 Tim 5:20). That they are classified as “sinful/keeps on sinningincludes willful ongoing self-deception and error, in continuing to embrace the culturally deformed message as true; but it also includes deliberate wrongdoing, in leading others astray, disrupting households and the church, and in rebelling against (God ordained) authority (1:10) This is a PRESENT ACTIVE INDICATIVE, which implies habitual, on-going, lifestyle characteristics (Utley, R. J. (2000). Paul’s Fourth Missionary Journey: I Timothy, Titus, II Timothy (Vol. Volume 9, p. 129). Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International.).

 

A final participial phrase concludes the assessment of such a person or group as “being self-condemned.” The meaning is clear: having been admonished of error (repeatedly), the offender’s persistence in the teaching and stubborn refusal to acknowledge the apostolic warning amount to a self-pronouncement of guilt (cf. Luke 19:22; Gal 2:11). One such as this person is to be set out of the church. (Towner, P. H. (2006). The Letters to Timothy and Titus (pp. 798–799). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.)

 

They are finally classified as being “warped/perverted (ekstrephō), which has the meaning of “turning inside out, or twisting.” The factious person, who is twisted and sinful, in a state of steady, unrepentant sin, they will manifest their wicked condition by their own words and actions, there by becoming self-condemned. Paul’s use of the rare term “self-condemned” (autokatakritos) suggests that having refused correction, the factious person actually participates in their own condemnation since they are without excuse. (Lea, T. D., & Griffin, H. P. (1992). 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Vol. 34, p. 328). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

  • It is sad that men and women in evangelical churches who teach ideas that are utterly foreign to Scripture often are not only not disciplined but are instead praised and given opportunity for promulgating their aberrations in a mistaken notion of tolerance.

Illustration: 4866 Spurgeon’s Effective Weapon

Charles Spurgeon was once warned about a certain quarrelsome woman and told that she intended to give him a tongue-lashing. Not long afterward she met him and assailed him with a flood of abuse. He smiled and said, “Yes, thank you, I am quite well. I hope you are the same.” Then came another burst of complaints, pitched in a higher key to which he replied, still smiling, “Yes, it does look rather as if it might rain. I think I had better be getting on.” “Bless the man!” she exclaimed. “He’s as deaf as a post. What’s the use of storming at him!” And so her railings ceased and were never again attempted. (J. A. Clarks as quoted in Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 1109). Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.)

  • Entertaining those who seek to do nothing but criticize, put down and excuse sin is destructive for all participants. For those who will not listen to biblical standards or head warning, we should not embrace. To do so is dangerous to both parties. As Proverbs 6:27 states “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned?” (ESV)

 

In order to have an effective witness, Christians must seek true relationships with:

3)   Fellow Servants(Titus 3:12–13)

Titus 3:12–1312 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. (ESV)

 

Turning to the positive side, Paul moves from condemning false teachers to commending church leaders who were genuinely being used by the Lord and who blessed his own life. In an especially personal word, Paul asked two favors of Titusfirst, to visit him and second, to care for two fellow servants.

 

Paul did not know when he would send a replacement for Titus or whether it would be Artemas or Tychicus. We know nothing at all about Artemas and can only surmise that, because Paul obviously had confidence in his godliness and leadership ability, he was a faithful pastor and teacher who was well qualified to assume direction over the Cretan churches. Tychicus is mentioned a number of times in the New Testament. He accompanied Paul on the missionary journey from Corinth to Asia Minor (Acts 20:4), delivered Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae (Col. 4:7) and probably the one to Ephesus (Eph. 6:21). In the first of those two references Tychicus is called our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord” and in the second “the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord.” That remarkable man of God had earlier been sent by Paul to replace Timothy in Ephesus (2 Tim. 4:12). That he must have done a commendable job in Ephesus is clear from Paul’s confidence in him to take over the much larger task of administering and dealing with the problems in the numerous churches on Crete.

 

There were perhaps as many as nine cities in New Testament times that were called Nicopolis, which means “city of victory,” so named by various military conquerors to commemorate a decisive victory. The Nicopolis where Paul planned to spend the winter was probably on the west coast of Achaia, the southern province of Greece, and founded by Octavian (the first Roman Emperor, later named Augustus) after his great victory over Marc Antony and Cleopatra at the battle of Atrium in 31 b.c. The city was about 200 miles northwest of Athens. Spending the winter on land was the reasonable thing to do since travel by sea in winter was difficult if not impossible (Moss, C. M. (1994). 1, 2 Timothy & Titus (Tt 3:12). Joplin, MO: College Press.)

  • This time at Nicopolis would allow Paul to write, study, and minister. We should never allow outward circumstances to give us the impression that it prevents us from ministry. Often these circumstances, orchestrated by God, allow us to do the very things that He desires us to do.

 

In verse 13, before Titus left Crete to join Paul, he was asked to do your best/diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. As with Artemas, we know nothing about Zenas apart from this brief mention, which identifies him as a lawyer. Whether he was a Roman litigator or a Jewish expert on the Mosaic Law we cannot tell. The fact that he had a Roman name means little in this regard, because many Jews of that day, including Paul, were given or had adopted Roman names. Also as with Artemas, we can safely assume that Zenas was a godly believer in whom the apostle had great confidence and for whom he had great love.

 

Apollos, on the other hand, is mentioned numerous times in the New Testament, always favorably. He was an eloquent Jewish preacher of the gospel from Alexandria, Egypt, who “was mighty in the Scriptures” and who “had been instructed in the way of the Lord,” was “fervent in spirit,speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus,[but was] acquainted only with the baptism of John” (Acts 18:24–25). When he came to Ephesus and “began to speak out boldly in the synagogue, … Priscilla and Aquila heard him … [and] took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he helped greatly those who had believed through grace” (vv. 26–27). Zenas the lawyer and Apollos the well-known preacher (3:13; cf. Acts 18:24) were on their way to Crete. They may have been carrying this letter to Titus. Even in his final words(Hughes, R. B., & Laney, J. C. (2001). Tyndale concise Bible commentary (p. 654). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.)

 

Please turn to 1 Corinthians 1 (p.952)

 

Although Apollos had not yet visited Corinth by the time Paul wrote his first letter to the church there (see 1 Cor. 16:12), apparently some of his converts had come to that city and formed one of the factions about which Paul lamented.

1 Corinthians 1:10-17 10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (ESV)

  • Even though Apollos was an orthodox teacher who modeled holiness, people under his ministry wandered from the truth to almost idolize the teacher himself. God creates unity through the death of His son. To create division based on the preference of a teacher of that truth is not only contradictory, but offensive to God and counter to His plan. Satan loves division over preference because it renders God’s followers ineffective for service and destroys their testimony to the Gospel. When we fail to truly submit our wills to Christ, we get in the way of the Gospel.

 

Whenever Zenas and Apollos were to arrive on Crete and wherever they may have been headed as they passed through, Titus was urged to help them on their way and see that they lack nothing/nothing is lacking for them. They were cherished partners of Paul and faithful co-laborers in the work of the kingdom. The kingdom of God is not about competition, but co-operation for the cause of Christ. Paul doubtless sensed that his time of freedom would soon end and that, if he lived to carry on the Lord’s work at all, it would be from a prison cell. It was therefore all the more imperative that the men he had trained and left behind be encouraged and supported.  Even though Paul specifically placed the obligation to help Zenas and Apollos upon Titus, his example of this good work should be a lesson to other Cretan Christians(Lea, T. D., & Griffin, H. P. (1992). 1, 2 Timothy, Titus (Vol. 34, p. 332). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.).

  • That spirit of mutual support and care should always characterize Christ’s church, especially its spiritual leadership. Under the sovereign Lord, leaders are interdependent, called and commissioned to trust and assist one another as fellow servants of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Finally and only briefly, in order to have an effective witness, Christians must seek true relationships with:

4)      Faithful Friends(Titus 3:14–15)

Titus 3:14–1514 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. 15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. (ESV)

In closing, Paul gives a last word on faithful friends. Like Titus and the other elders on Crete, the people among whom they ministered were also [to] learn to engage in good works/deeds so as to help/meet cases of urgent/pressing need. All who engage in such works of mercy need never fear that they will be unfruitful (Donald Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 210 as quoted in Hindson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 2525). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.).

 

It is not possible for a pastor, or even a team of elders, to meet all of the many urgent/pressing needs of a congregation. Not only is there not enough time for one man to do it all, but other believers in the church invariably have spiritual gifts and abilities that the pastor does not have, by which certain good works/deeds can be accomplished and the urgent/pressing need of fellow believers can be met.

  • One of greatest dangers for a congregation is to stop looking outward to minister to needs and share the gospel, and revert to self-entertainment. As much as we may enjoy to be around each other, our primary mission is upward in worship, outward in evangelism and inward in holiness.

 

Beyond that, a harmonious, loving, and serving church also will be a beacon to the world, attracting unbelievers to the light of salvation through trust in Christ. Paul’s final word for faithful friends in verse 15 is love for others in the faith. He knows that this love is from God and it is not deserved or earned by human effort or merit. It is of grace. People will engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs when they faithfully love each other. The final word for faithful friends is love. Love that engages in good deeds to meet pressing needs. This is the best environment for evangelism. The key to evangelism is right relationships. That involves shunning false teachers, and  rejecting factious people. It involves helping fellow servants and loving faithful friends. You see, the whole thing in evangelism, the whole credibility issue is built on the character of our lives. And the only way to pull this off is his final conclusion, "Grace be with you all." Apart from God's grace it can't happen. By His grace it can. (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/56-26/the-last-word-on-relationships)

 (Format note: Outline & some base commentary from MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1996). Titus (pp. 157–168). Chicago: Moody Press.)

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