Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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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

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Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority – Titus 2:11-15

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Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority – Titus 2:11-15 – 01/28/2016

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 2:11 (ESV) For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. 15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

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

V11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,

Paul exposes a rich revelation here it is the grace of God that once it has appeared is what brings salvation for all people. We cannot earn it, there is no pre-selection and no one is excluded who truly wants to be saved. We also cannot earn it, work our way towards it of by some effort of ourselves. It cannot be purchased, traded or bought, it is a free gift given by God and God alone, our responsibility is to accept it, we don’t have to be separated from God, we choose to be if we fail to accept the grace of God which brings salvation for all!

None of us deserve it and we are recipients of a gift that is better and worth more in value than any lottery win. The criteria are simple and plain “all people”. From the avid churchgoer to the man on death row, the volume of sin is not important, the heart of repentance is!

V12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

The word “training” is the same word that would be used for a parent child relationship, if you haven’t been a parent you most certainly will have been a child and you will understand what is meant by the mentoring, training, teachable moments, exhortations, encouragements, the teacher is the aforementioned “grace”. We know what we have been saved from, we have stared over the abyss and being saved, changed creatures we are taught by grace to do the following…

• Renounce ungodliness and worldly passions – We have to actually BE different to the world, we are called to be “salt” and “light” and I am testimony to a life lived completely surrendered to God’s plan will cause others to question what you have and whether they want it in their lives. In my case it was a Pastor and his wife who were the dictionary definition of “loving someone to Christ”. It made such an impact on my life.

We are called not just to give up the things of our past but we are called to renounce them, remove them completely from our present day lives. We have to completely deny the worldly passions and do what so many of us do and keep one foot in the fire. We have to live towards sanctification and we see this in the next part of what Paul says.
• Live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age – Accepting the grace of God and embracing salvation is only the first part and first step on a journey, we are called to be holy, and we are called to live self-controlled, upright lives in the age where God has placed us. We have to live (some translations call it) soberly towards our fellow man and be a good example of Christianity, we are also called to live in an upright manner showing that we take our relationship with God seriously. When you assess your life, a good barometer to use would be the question “would this bring people to Christ?” Often times I have been frustrated by lack of movement in my Christian life and when I do a decent honest self-assessment I realize that I am the problem.
• Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ – And that is the timescale we have, we have until the Savior Jesus Christ comes in the appearing of His glory. A good question you have to answer would be “Are you living your life in the expectant hope of Jesus return? How are you preparing for that?

I love it when I hear that someone has an idea when the Lord Jesus will return, I like to listen but I am reminded that “no-one knows the hour or time” I always think about when I undergo something “Is this something I want to be doing if Jesus returns at this time?” It really cuts down on your sin! Jesus is appropriately named here “Our great God” and it should be remembered that the one you are serving is the very one who saved you from your sins, the only one who could and the only one who is holy enough to be acceptable to God the father as a sacrifice! Even if you are a Christian newbie Paul allows you to read this in verse fourteen…

V14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

And that is it in a nutshell! Jesus sacrifice and God’s grace allows us to be in communion with God because Jesus atoned for man’s sin when he went to Calvary and rose again. Jesus “gave” this was voluntary, he gave “himself” all that he could give and he gave it all “for us” because he knew that we had a debt with God that we could not pay on our own. He was doing the biggest debt forbearance known to man but he was buying something with a price and that price was him.

He is described as redeeming us from the lawlessness that was our lives past. In the same way that we can receive savings by redeeming a token or voucher, we receive eternal savings (pun intended) buy the redeeming work of Jesus. We are slaves that have been purchased from our master of sin and we are called to “purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works”. We are reserved for the good works, we are set apart and we are to hunger for holiness. We are to be zealous for the good works that we are commissioned to do for the Lord, I find it not great the task I have for the Lord but I am overwhelmed that he could accomplish it on his own, but he chooses to use me.

It is like when I let my six year old help me in the yard, often times it slows me down but I have to focus on the task at hand and it is as much about spending time with her as it is completing the task. Your heavenly father feels the same way when you labor in the tasks he has allowed you to help with.

V15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Amen to this notion! Can you imagine what the world would be like if we had a church with 4,000 believers that met on a Sunday go out and be 4,000 “salt and light” to the community around us? Imagine we declared these things zealously like we are meant to? Would you see your city be revived for Jesus Christ? I am not pointing the finger at anyone and I am as much talking to me as I am you dear reader! But imagine what it would be like if that was the case? Cities would be on fire for Jesus all over this land and beyond!

We are called to do this with all authority and let no-one despise you, we have to live beyond reproach and have nothing for your detractors to have against you in an accusatory fashion, we have to proclaim this message as urgent as if it came from an earthly ruler, this is a message that could quite literally snatch someone from the jaws of hell at the eleventh hour. That is how much authority our message is from; we are to preach it “in and out of season” and regardless of how it will be culturally received.

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