Titus is the third pastoral letter that we will study from Paul. Paul is writing to Titus, who has been placed in Crete to start a church there. Crete is like an exaggerated modern-day Las Vegas. It was a place where the people's identity was in their lying and unjust behavior. Paul wrote this letter to show "how" and "why" to live out the Christian faith in a culture that is hostile to Christianity. It is a conduct manual.
Ch. 1:1-16 Counter-cultural elders
Ch. 2:1-10 How do we live counter-culturally
Ch. 2:11-14 Why we live counter-culturally
Ch. 3:1-2 How we live counter-culturally
Ch. 3:3-8 Why we live counter-culturally
Ch. 3:9-11 How NOT to live
Ch. 3:1-2 shows us how to live:
1. Be submissive to rulers and authorities
2. Be obedient
3. Be ready for every good work
4. Speak evil of no one
5. Avoid quarreling
6. Be gentle
7. Show perfect courtesy to all people
Ch. 3:4-7 shows us the why:
He saved us! We were dead, but made alive in Christ. We are joint heirs with Jesus and need to show mercy to others the way God showed mercy to us. The gospel good works point to Christ. He modeled for us how we should live.
Loving kindness is philanthropy. This type of philanthropy is not just a good work in itself, but a good work that points others to Christ.
Ch. 3:8 speaks to past actions with present results. Believe in God and devote yourself to good works for the sake of the gospel. Every day is a treasure, and we need to be mindful of the small things that we can do for others that could lead to transformation in their lives. In abiding in Christ, we can choose to celebrate the fruit in each other's lives.
Questions to Consider:
1. Does your Holy Spirit kindness "melt people"? Give an example of how you have seen this in your life or another's life.
2. What are some practical "small things" you can do that God can use to speak through into someone's life? (Remember Land's note...)
3. Good orthodoxy leads to good orthopraxy. (doctrine and practice). Do you focus on what really matters, or do you get "caught in the theological discussions" that cause division? What really matters?