The Way - Day 173 (Titus 3)

Daily Reading:
Titus 3
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Titus 3 holds practical, but difficult instructions for the church.  How are they difficult for you?  Explain (humbly and as an example to others) how God has called you personally to "be careful to devote themselves to good works."
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 82:3-4
OPTION 2: Proverbs 21:1
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:27-28
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Titus 3 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
The final advice given by Paul to the young pastor, Titus, was regarding behavior outside the walls of the church. Paul had spent the first words of his letter addressing behavior inside the church...mainly the leadership (Titus 1) and the congregation (Titus 2); however, the believers must also exemplify proper behavior outside the church. The first instruction Paul writes is "to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work" (3:1). A good Christian testimony in the community is directly related to the response of believers to human authorities (government). In a day where people are always complaining and badmouthing government, the follower of Christ should never get caught up in rebellion against these God-given authorities. Although many members of the government are not Christians, we are called to submit to their authority. What should be the substitute for criticism? Prayer. Paul wrote to Timothy, who was also a young pastor, about this same issue of government and here is what he said: "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority..." (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Rather than spending all your waking hours criticizing government authority and discussing what you think they should be doing, believers should pray and be thankful for them. I am not saying that they always make the right decisions, but I am commanded to pray for them. Paul gives a stern reminder to the believers on the island of Crete - submit to human authority. Do not get caught in the media and 24-hour news coverage which spends every moment analyzing governmental decisions. Be is easy to sit back and judge, but it is another thing to show your support by praying!

TITUS 3:2-15
As Paul closes out this letter to Titus, he leaves instructions about the behavior of believers outside the walls of the church. It was extremely important that the church conducted themselves with integrity and love while interacting with those who were outside the church. The actions of Christians would directly affect the way the lost would think about Jesus Christ. If there was no distinction in their conduct, why would non-believers want to become believers? Paul had already challenged the followers of Christ to submit themselves to government authority (3:1) and he continues his instructions by commanding them to "speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men" (3:2). Then Paul reminds them of their past so that pride would not enter into their relationships with others: "For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another" (3:3). I guess we all need this reminder in case we think highly of ourselves when it comes to relationships. So what now makes the difference in the lives of these Cretan believers? Paul writes that only through "the kindness and the love of God our Savior" we have experienced mercy and forgiveness (3:4). The implication is clear - we have accepted God's forgiveness and we must extend patience and forgiveness to those who treat us wrong. Paul gives them bottom line of what he is trying to say by writing "those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men" (3:8). Those who all called Christians should be characterized by doing good to all people. Before giving his final farewell and instructions with this letter (3:12-15), Paul writes that the Cretan Christians should "avoid foolish disputes [arguing for the sake of arguing], genealogies, contentions, strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned" (3:9-11). Paul has written many things in these last verses of Titus, but we must heed his words for they will bring effectiveness to the church in reaching out to a lost world who needs to hear the saving message of Jesus Christ.

Dear God, fill me with good works so that others will see You living through me!