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Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless – Titus 3:8-11

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Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless – Titus 3:8-11 – 02/25/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 3:8 (ESV) The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 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.

Paul continues his thought in the middle of this letter in verse eight; let’s look at the text on a verse by verse basis…

V8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

In the last article we looked at those who were foolish and disobedient, and Paul reminded those to be submissive to rulers and authorities and gave some great characteristics of how a Christian should be especially in a society that is not “Christ-friendly”, Paul continues this thought and finishes it with this sentence, he was insistent that the Christians focus on what is important.

We are all called to a battle, a heavenly war if you will and as soldiers in that battle against darkness we all have to stay on task. We are fighting an enemy who is relentless in his pursuit against the people who have chosen to follow the messiah Jesus Christ; I know from personal experience that my most trying times where I have been spiritually attacked have been when I have been deepest in the trenches following the will of God in my life.

We are to be devoted to good works, that is what we are saved for, we are called to be different to this world, as the world gets darker we are supposed to shine as beacons of light that point towards our Messiah Jesus. Paul goes on to look at our conduct as Christians…

V9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

Paul goes back to the beginning of his letter and almost brings it full circle and continues the thought that began when he spoke of the things that should not be taught, Paul uses a word for “avoid” that literally means “point the other way” and that is possibly a better understanding for us. My advice to the modern day Christian is the same, ask yourself a question “will this debate matter in five years?” or “Is this debate worth the people it will cost me?” and often times that will change our minds in getting involved in discussions that we really have no business being in.

We usually do this electronically these days as opposed to in person, when we add our fellow brothers and sisters onto our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts we give them access to ourselves and sometimes that access leads to viewpoints that are different, most often in the areas of theology and politics, just because they sit near you in a building on your preferred day of worship (most of us Sundays) does not always mean that they mirror your stance on every issue.

The Pharisees were tremendous at causing dissention and creating “holy laws” (or cultural laws) in addition to the already unattainable Law of Moses and often times they created these great religious discussions to flex their theological muscles and show how much they knew. That also happens today and as Christians we should avoid any discussions that stoke individual pride even if we are doing so “for God”. If the motivation (and be honest now) is prideful or the motivation is to show how holy you are then it will have little worth.

Quite often we see the mission of God as discussions like these and we neglect the basics such as “loving our neighbor” or “mentoring up a weaker believer” claiming that we are simply too busy to do these simple works when we are tying ourselves up in great theological disputes that will often cause contention and very rarely win a soul to Christ.

And lastly we should avoid contention for the sake of contention. I have friends who are young earth, some who are old earth, I have friends that are pre-trib, I have friends that are post-trib and I respect and value their friendship enough that I won’t keep tagging them in article that are against their viewpoint on these issues that are contentious. If they have known me for more than five minutes they will know my individual stance on these articles and how I back that stance up with scripture. I find that most drama can be avoided with a little care on the instigators part. Here is what Paul says about these types of people…

V10 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.

We all have those folks, we maybe know those folks, and we maybe are those folks who could cause a fight in an empty room. Even as you are reading this I bet you are casting your mind to some folks that you could think of who are like this. Paul is not using this as an excuse to cut someone loose that is contentious (I have seen this passage of scripture used to shun someone who has less popular viewpoints in the hope that the person eventually gets the message and leaves) but more as a guideline that they should not be shunned as stated earlier, that we should be pursuing that person who has gone his own way.

We should be warning him multiple times yes but we should not give up on him. Jesus paid such a high price for our Salvation and we should be doing all we can to welcome him (or her) back if they decide to repent and wish to be part of the church again. Often times the leaving of that person is done in such a way that the person would never be able to be returned to fellowship. Obviously that should be avoided and we must love even in tough love and often times that is missing when situations like this happen and people with axes to grind against churches will often feel “unloved”. (It may or may not be the case but we have to take that idea out of the water)

Obviously, if the person is unrepentant and has to go then so be it, but it should not be the first option. If he chooses to not partake of the communion of the saints and chooses the route of self-condemnation then let him go. I would go as far as to say minister to him from a distance in prayer in the hope that he returns to his messiah and also in the hope of correction of doctrine also. His choices are between him and God now.

Lord willing, in our next article in Titus we look at the end of the chapter and see how Paul concludes this letter to Titus in chapter three verses twelve through fifteen. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work – Titus 3:1-7

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Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work – Titus 3:1-7 – 02/11/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 3:1 (ESV) Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Paul continues his thought in the middle of this letter in verse one of chapter three; let’s look at it in a verse by verse basis…

V1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Paul exhorts Titus to “Remind them” as if they required constant remembrance to do what is being asked of them. Paul is asking them to be submissive to rulers and authorities that do not share their vision and values and often times worked against the mission of the church where Titus was located. We today are called to the same, regardless of our thoughts of those who are in charge of us whether that be workplace managers, politicians, kings, queens or whomever we are called to be submissive to them and deal with them in a humble manner.

Paul lists characteristics that categorize this…

• Be obedient – Whether we like it or not God had a plan in placing those people in authority, it is not our role to be disobedient to the ones ruling us. You don’t have to imagine a Government who is passing laws that do not reflect the values that you hold as it happens even today, just as it did in Paul’s time; we are called to be obedient. Be law abiding, work hard, pay taxes, be an example to other so that they question what is different in our lives and desire a relationship with Jesus for themselves.
• Be ready for every good work – In addition to keeping our civil obligations we are also to be active Christians and be ready to do the work of the Father! We have to be beacons of light, tell others about the good news and be that example to others. It should keep us up at night that people are dying in their sins; we should be primed and ready to give an account of what we believe in and evangelize whenever we have that opportunity.
• Speak evil of no-one – “be careful little tongue what you speak…” We have to be careful in what we say in regards to others, a good rule of thumb is to only speak of people in an edifying manner, judge it under the following criteria “would you say it to them if they were standing here?”
• Avoid quarreling – This is something that Paul writes elsewhere in the epistles and people are all different and some folks look for arguments, ask yourself in the midst of an argument “will this matter in 5 years?” and then you can assess whether it is worth bickering about!
• Be gentle – Paul does not write “be a doormat” but love folks enough to be gentle with them, not just in good manners or to be “people pleasing” but be willing to serve others prior to serving yourself.
• Show perfect courtesy towards all people – Some translations say “showing humility” and these are distinctly Christian traits and will come to some easier than others. If you are struggling in this area then my advice is to pray about the areas you find hard.

V3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Paul refers to where we were before Christ, if you have been following our studies in the book of Romans, you will see a similar vein here as what is spoken in Paul’s epistle to the Roman church. We have to remember who we were in order that we do not slide back and copy those behaviors. Please do not get me wrong, there is no sin we could commit that Christ has not atoned for, but speaking personally I have knowledge of what life what like before Christ and I really have no desire to return to that life.

Paul lists that we were the following

• Foolish and disobedient – This is the epitome of the man living for himself, he is so insular and self-focused that he cannot see beyond himself and is caught up in his own folly and disobedience to the will of God.
• Led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures – Once the slow fade of being led astray and lines begin to be blurred then you embrace the sin and go back to your former lives away from God.
• Passing away our days in malice and envy – Because of our sin and self-focus, we look to bettering our situations and we do our best to better our situations by tearing at others and attempting to get ahead by tearing others down.
• Hated by others and hating one another – Of course of the last one was the seed, this is the root plant, the malice and envy blooms into hatred and strife, does this seem attractive to anyone?

Does this sound like the life you are living? If so I urge you to come home to Jesus and rededicate your life to Him. Paul continues in verse four…

V4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

That place in verse 3 is a dark place huh? We can’t rescue ourselves from that and it is very God that we do not have to! We were rescued by the grace (goodness and loving kindness of God) Paul talks about this also in Romans 5…

Romans 5:6 (ESV) For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

What I am saying is that God reached out to us and did all the work long before our hearts gravitated towards him. Paul reiterates by saying “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” and this is the essence of the good news of the Gospel, I mean talk about finishing your letter with a left hook or your sermon with a bang.

Let us get a few things clear, going to church or bible study a Christian does not make, responding to an altar call 25 years ago at a Billy Graham crusade a Christian does not make, being baptized 11 years ago a Christian does not make, these are great works but we are saved by the mercy of God and our hearts being sold out and changed by the work of the Holy Spirit. Can I hear an AMEN? God is always the one who makes the first move and we will always receive back much more than we give out.

Verse 7 tells us that we are “justified by his grace” and this is the roof the house is built upon and our reward is to be “joint heirs in the Kingdom” and what a pearl of great price that should be! When we become saved and full “all in believers” then we have that blessed assurance of that eternal reward.

Lord willing, in our next article in Titus we look at the end of the chapter and see how Paul concludes this letter to Titus in chapter three verses eight through fifteen. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

They knew God but did not honor him

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They knew God but did not honor him.

Romans 1:18 (ESV) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

This is a series in the book of Romans, for the home page in our study and to see other studies then please click here or our main epistle page is here. My aim is to go through the Book of Romans as the LORD wills.

People’s perception of the wrath of God

Who all likes talking about the wrath of God? (watches as no-one’s hand is raised!) Doesn’t “sell well” in today’s consumer driven, drive through; reap the blessings but to hang with the curses Christianity that we have here in quite a few Christian blogs and websites. It is a tough topic and no mistake, but it is integral to the gospel message and here is why.

In order for Jesus sacrifice to make sense, we have to have a God that has been grieved enough by the sin of the world to want to rectify the situation. You see, people’s perception of the wrath of God is all wrong! God hates the sin and desires that all would come to his saving grace. You see, we deserve the wrath of God because of “sin” what we do not deserve is Gods amazing grace.

The “benevolent dictator”

Failure to acknowledge this fact will have God as a “benevolent dictator” allowing us to be on this planet long enough so that we can accumulate enough sin so he can nuke us! Sounds ridiculous huh? This line of thinking is not scriptural and does not follow logical theological patterns. The wrath of God is always completely righteous.

Only God can judge me

As we see in the text God’s wrath is “revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” which does clarify what is being said above. If you set yourself against God then expect him to allow you to reap what you sew. I find it laughable when I read T-Shirts and tattoos that state “Only God can judge me” I feel like asking “do you really know what you are challenging God to do?”

If you are thinking this sounds unfair, well actually it is perfectly fair. The driver in whether the wrath of God comes down upon you is believe it or not you! You have the option of choosing to be on Gods side or not. You can choose a life of unrighteousness by Gods standards and live by your own standards that should you not change you will end up getting the eternity that you have asked for.

Ungodliness versus Unrighteousness

So why did he say ungodliness and unrighteousness? Well it deals with two distinct sins, ungodliness is man’s offenses concerning God and unrighteousness deals with man’s sins towards everyone else. You can be without God and still be seen as righteous in the world’s eyes. The question you have to ask is who’s judgment do you trust more?

They suppressed the truth, if you try to cover up, defame, lie about or otherwise pervert people away from God, and then this one is for you. This is for all of the evolutionists who try to contort the creation account in order to elevate man’s wisdom and try to cloud man’s thoughts towards the truth that is written in the Holy Scriptures.

The sad truth about what they know

Paul goes on to say that “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them” this is tragic as they knew God but failed to glorify him, therefore they have the knowledge and really have no absolution from excuse. We tried to pervert, re-size God, and make him fit into what we needed him to fit into. This carries onto verse 23 where we turn God into what the Greek work “Eikon” (Where we get our modern day Icon) where they reduced God to an image of what they wanted him to be. They were not thankful for all that he had done, ungrateful and “professing to become wise they became fools”. The wisdom of God far supersedes anything that man could come up with.

I liken this to a desperate man, when I have been desperate I usually get scammed or do something foolish (almost always with money) which is why we have tried to elevate our thinking beyond God and why so many houses of Academia try to “dumb down” theological thinkers. It is happening today dear Christian. If you read a Creation/Evolution debate, the Evolutionist will always attack the intelligence of the Creationist first.

What does God do?

Well God allows them to go after the lusts of their heart. In the same way he allowed Israel to elect a king even although he knew it was going to lead to heartache, he is not that benevolent dictator that I spoke about earlier. If we are insistent on going a certain way, perhaps God will allow us to go through our consequences before delivering us.

By going after the lusts of their hearts they are inviting their own consequences. Anyone see a parallel with today? They are going after impurity, dishonoring their bodies and served the created rather than the creator. A horrible situation that sounds like my life in reverse. If you are reading this and are still in your sin or are thinking of walking away from God, please take this passage as a warning. I have been there! See my testimony page, I have been circling the drain many times and God has pulled me out of the toilet bowl.

Paul was surrounded by this writing from the city of Corinth where lusts, vile passions and basically whatever your heart’s desire was, you could get it there. They gave up the truth for the lie, notice Paul advises there is only one truth, by the same token they gave themselves up for the lie, the lie of idolatry.

I am hoping that this Bible study was fruitful for you and I pray that you share, like or comment as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

No other gospel

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No other Gospel

Galatians 1:6 (ESV) I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Oh Foolish Galatians!

When people think of the Galatian church the first thing that people think of is the verse “Oh foolish Galatians” it is easy to think that as this letter to this church is very heavy on teaching and also very loving. Paul exhorts the church; he corrects and gives great instruction that is still applicable some 2000 years later.

The reason this is so prevalent today is that Paul marvels/is astonished (depends on the version of the Bible you read) that the Galatians have fallen into theology that is not correct. This is not a minor theological contention such as whether we sprinkle or fully immerse in baptism, whether we have one cup or many cups at communion or whether we wear suits or come as you are to church. They are turning away from the basic beliefs and tenets on the Christian faith, the building blocks of what makes them Christian.

They were embracing heresy based on confusion. Like so many of todays cults, they were trying to do “Jesus plus” what I mean was that Jesus was not enough, they had to do Jesus plus the law, Jesus plus something else, like the blood on the cross was not enough to atone for the sins of the world.

Works are good

Don’t get me wrong, as a guy who is very point by point, line by line, precept upon precept in my Bible studies, I find it beneficial to have certain works listed as good to do, but they should not be kept in the same line or same vein as what is required to be saved. Many of the things that we contend with each other these days are not Salvation issues, many are not even heretical, many are based on theological stances that attempt to help, but sometimes cause frustration.

Traditionally, (and my wife Chelsea would be the first to confirm this) I have been “works orientated” where I try to “tick the boxes” and try to (in Gods will and his power) live in a way that would befitting the title Christian. This is good, if you are a flaky person and need structure in your life then this is a good way to get some structure and have some way to grow as a Christian.

You have to be careful though, we have a tendency as humans to elevate the structure that we have as high as the reason we are doing this in the first place. Please do not allow the ritual to become the main thing and also by the same token do not worship the ritual, this leads to resentment of your mind on when you think of all the other stuff you could be doing with your time and then it leads to you dragging your feet and “going through the motions” with minimum effort.

God knows this, God knows your heart, he knows who has their heart in it and who does not.

If I don’t feel like it should I not worship God?

In the words of the Apostle Paul, God forbid. I read a really cool graphic on Facebook yesterday that read “There are two times to worship God, 1) When you feel like it 2) When you don’t.

I think this is an awesome reminder that worshipping God should be as natural as eating or drinking water, we were created to do so and if we allow our emotions to drive how we feel about God, it stands to reason that when things go badly, we will not be in a mood to worship God.

Paradoxically, when some people are in their deepest hole and when they have exhausted all other alternatives, that is when they find God. Those of whom are literally at the bottom of their “pit of despair”.

What if the hosts of heaven appear to me?

Paul states quite clearly, “if he or even an angel preaches any other gospel” and the instructions to go with that. This even happens today; I am sure you will remember about 6 years ago we had a guy called Todd Bentley who had his “Lakeland revival” in Florida. Part of this guy’s testimony was he was visited by an Angel called “Emma” who gave “new revelation” and advised that he was to do a spiritual outpouring and declare revival in the Florida area and beyond.

I am all for revival, however this testimony sounds like it is in contradiction to what is stated in Galatians. It is similar to the testimony by the founder of the LDS (Mormon) Church called Joseph Smith Junior, he was visited by an angel called “Moroni” and given golden tablets (that disappeared as soon as he translated them) in an ancient and forgotten language that he was given supernatural powers to translate into what is now called the “Book of Mormon”.

So what is the problem?

We are told that if they give a gospel contrary to the one of Jesus Christ, what Paul calls “no gospel at all” he will be “eternally condemned” If you want a picture of what that looks like, have a quick read of Revelation 20:7-10, doesn’t look like fun huh?

Trying to please men

Paul finishes by stating that what he states will not be popular among men and that if he had desired to be popular with men he would have stayed as Saul, the Jewish zealot who was a career persecutor and very popular hatchet man of the Jewish faith. Instead he had a zealous heart for what God wanted in his life, so when he was face to face with Christ (not angels as you notice) he followed what God wanted with scant regard for his own life!

LORD MAKE ME LIKE THAT PLEASE!

I hope and pray this was a blessing and please share this article and leave any comments as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE