Titus for Church Planters: Part 14

The source of a wonderful life

Look at 2:15: ‘These, then, are the things you should teach.’ How do we disciple one another? By teaching these things. What are ‘these things’? Certainly the call to self-control in verses 1-10. But supremely we teach the grace of God in verses 11-14.

Verses 1-10 describe what a wonderful life looks. It gives it content. But if all you ever do is reiterate those commands then you will crush people. ‘Be self-controlled.’ ‘I can’t.’ ‘Well, try harder’. That’s not good news! It’s condemnation and there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

No, the heart of our exhortation and discipleship is the grace of God. Look at verses 11-12: ‘For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.’

Let’s be clear. We need to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions. We’re to be self-controlled. Our ‘selves’ are active, bringing our passions under our control. But what enables and energizes this is God’s grace.

There will be times when you need to tell people what a good life looks like. That’s what verses 1-10 are for. But if you want people actually to live a good life then don’t emphasise the good they must do for God. Instead, emphasise the good God has done for them.

Let me repeat that: Don’t emphasise the good they must do for God; emphasise the good God has done for them. Let me highlight three things from verses 13-14.

1. A new hope from God our Saviour (verse 13)

We live between two ‘appearings’. Verse 11 says: ‘the grace of God has appeared’ (past tense). Verse 13 says: ‘we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ’. The first was an appearing of grace (‘the grace of God has appeared’). The second will be an appearing of glory (‘the glorious appearing’ of our God and Saviour). We live a wonderful life. But we await an even more wonderful life. The attractions of this world don’t gleam so bright when compared to the treasures of the world to come.

These, then, are the things you should teach.’ (2:15)

2. A new love from God our Saviour (verse 14a)

We await a Saviour ‘who gave himself for us’ (2:14). Jesus gave himself for us. This love wins our hearts.

Why do I serve my wife? Not because I must. I don’t have to win her love. She’s already given himself to me. I serve my wife because I love her and my love for her is fed by her love for me.

Why do I serve my Saviour? Not because I must. I don’t have to win his love. He’s already given himself for me. I serve my Saviour because I love him and my love for him is fed by his love for me. ‘We love because he first loved us.’ (1 John 4:19)

These, then, are the things you should teach.’ (2:15)

3. A new identity from God our Saviour (verse 14b)

We await a Saviour ‘who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.’

Who are we? We are God’s people, God’s very own people, purified for good works. Who are you? You are God’s child, his own child, his precious child, redeemed with the blood of his Son, purified for good works, made pure to be pure, set apart for a wonderful life. So be who you are in Christ.

These, then, are the things you should teach.’ (2:15)

If you’re young, find someone to disciple you. If you’re old, find someone to disciple. If you’re anywhere in between, do both. And what does that involve? Remind people of their hope, the hope of eternal life (1:2; 3:7). Remind people of God’s love towards them. Remind them of who they are in Christ.

These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.’ (2:15)

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One thought on “Titus for Church Planters: Part 14

  1. Pingback: Tim Chester On The Book Of Titus And Church Planting « Faith In Motion

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