Transforming Power of Kindness

Titus 3

 

I                      The Christian’s relation to human society 1:1-3

A       Relation to government authorities  1

1        Subject yourself to the legitimate authority of the government

2        Beyond mere subjection, contribute positively to the well-being of the culture

B       Look at the lost with compassion  2

1        Do not be malicious in your talk about your neighbors

2        Instead, seek to infiltrate a brutal society with redeeming qualities

C       Recognize the common root of sin 

1        The mind was dominated by sin – “foolish”

2        We did not submit willingly to authority – disobedient

3        We rejected as false what was true and accepted the false as true – deceived

4        We sought fulfillment in worldly pleasure, not eternal joy

5        All personal relationships were adversarial and antagonist

II                   The Christian’s rescue from the fallen condition  4-7

A       In contrast to our life of hate God intervened with kindness and love

1        Though consistent with his justice, the appearance of Christ was an expression of the infinite love and kindness of God

2        Appearing must refer to Christ’s appearing cf. 2 Timothy 1:10

B       His kindness operated salvifically for us

1        Notice that the appearance is particularly for salvation and attributes the saving activity to God—He saved us

2        To emphasize the aggressiveness of God and the unilateral nature of this action, Paul puts the negative, “not according to our righteousness”

3        Positively, salvation is according to his mercy

4        Its effects come to bear in experience only by the operation of the Holy Spirit

5        The Holy Spirit is received only by the completed work of Christ

6        Justification comes by grace

7        We receive the hope of eternal life promised in the eternal covenant cf  1:2

III                 Affirm the edifying things, avoid that which is profitless  8-11

A       These things concerning salvation Titus is to teach with confidence  8

1        His statement about salvation appears confessional 1 Tim 1:15; 3:1, 16; 2 Tim 2:11

2        Titus must not be brushed aside in his commission to teach these things

3        Good deeds are consistent with a belief in the God of mercy and salvation

B       Matters of mere speculation cause unnecessary division  9

C       People that insist on such dispute must be excluded 10, 11

1        Two warnings should be sufficient to discern a man is teachable

2        His own resistance to truth excludes him

IV                The Christian’s relations to the larger church  12-15

A       Titus should see that Christians displaced for the cause of Christ are cared for

B       Titus should visit Paul at Nicopolis  12

C       The church in Crete should be ready to help meet these needs  14

D       Love in Christ creates bonds of genuine concern 15


Transforming Power of Kindness

Titus 3

 

I                      The Christian’s relation to human society 1:1-3

A       Relation to government authorities  1

1        Subject yourself to the legitimate authority of the government

2        Beyond mere subjection, contribute positively to the well-being of the culture – For similar admonitions see Romans 13:1-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-6.  Order in the world is a good thing and the Christian must be a supporter of good order.  While living with discernment, the Christian should not act or speak maliciously toward governmental authorities.

B       Look at the lost with compassion  2

1        Do not be malicious in your talk about your neighbors

2        Instead, seek to infiltrate a brutal society with redeeming qualities – We know that the world will be judged and will see the righteous wrath f God poured on it.  Revelation 6 under the fifth seal pictures the martyred saints as praying for the immediate vindication of the honor of God and their own blood.  It will happen at the appointed time, but patience should characterize our attitude toward the world now, even as it does God’s.  See Romans 2 and 2 Peter 3.  Two reasons, therefore motivate our patience and gentle consideration for all men: (1)  God is patient and bestows goodness upon all the sons of men; (2) God may yet save the very ones about whom we have the most unfriendly feeling.

C       Recognize the common root of sin -  We should never think that in our natural state we have been better than any other sinner.  The only thing that distinguishes us from others is God’s grace.  When the Corinthians began to develop pride in spiritual gifts and develop a party spirit, Paul had to remind them that nothing distinguished them from the perverse culture around them but God’s election manifest in a transforming call of the gospel. 

1        The mind was dominated by sin – “foolish”

2        We did not submit willingly to authority – disobedient

3        We rejected as false what was true and accepted the false as true – deceived

4        We sought fulfillment in worldly pleasure, not eternal joy

5        All personal relationships were adversarial and antagonist  -All of these things show a life that is most miserable indeed; yet those who engage in it think that they are living in the only pleasure that counts.  The mental life becomes irrational, personal relations deteriorate, no focus of authority to give purpose and answerability is recognized, pleasures soon fade and have to be renewed constantly in more intense forms when they are an end in themselves and not see in light of the lordship and the creator.  Not only did we hate those around us as we sought our own advancement at their expense, they regarded us in the same way.  The unregenerate life truly is a life that has the first-fruits of hell in it.  James speaks of this kind of life in terms of the use of the tongue.  He says that the tongue is set on fire of hell.  We bless God, we curse men.  Remnants remain even in the regenerate that must be mortified relentlessly.

II                   The Christian’s rescue from the fallen condition  4-7

A       In contrast to our life of hate God intervened with kindness and love – notice hw strictly Paul focuses on God’s kind an merciful action toward us.  He is emphasizing not only the benevolent aspect of it, but the fact that God takes the initiative. 

1        Though consistent with his justice, the appearance of Christ was an expression of the infinite love and kindness of God – God did not need an opportunity to show his justice.  That would have been evident enough in eternity when the entire world received its just recompense in hell.  The appearance of Christ [see #2] below] is made necessary only because God wanted to be gracious and kind.  Christ came into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.  It was already under condemnation, but his death accomplishes salvation for all those that God gave him.  There still might be many, and they are scattered throughout the world.  There probably are a number of great sinners.

2        Appearing must refer to Christ’s appearing cf. 2 Timothy 1:10

B       His kindness operated salvifically for us

1        Notice that the appearance is particularly for salvation and attributes the saving activity to God—He saved us;  Note the definiteness of it.

2        To emphasize the aggressiveness of God and the unilateral nature of this action, Paul puts the negative, “not according to our righteousness”

3        Positively, salvation is according to his mercy

4        Its effects come to bear in experience only by the operation of the Holy Spirit:  Here Paul wants to emphasize that prior to any operations of the human spirit, there is the powerful transforming operation of the Holy Spirit.  The washing of regeneration means not baptism, but the transforming and spiritually cleansing power exerted in regeneration.  IT refers to purification rites under the old covenant that rendered the priest fit to perform his services.  The heart is made fit, cleansed, washed, by the Holy Spirit in regeneration so that its affections receive rather than ignore or despise the sacrificial work of Christ.  This what it means to be born of water and the Spirit [John 3]; Also in Ephesians 5:26, “That he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing f water with the word.

5        The Holy Spirit is received only by the completed work of Christ.  Though we receive Christ only by a work of the Spirit, also we can only receive this transforming work of the Spirit, because Christ’s atoning work has purchased these holy operations by his work of reconciliation.  God sent forth his son, born of a woman born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!”

6        Justification comes by grace – He does not deny justification by faith but want to emphasize the initiative and priority of the divine action.  Justification is by faith on our part, by Grace on God’s part.

7        We receive the hope of eternal life promised in the eternal covenant cf  1:2  That which Paul mentioned at the beginning as constituting the message he was commissioned o preach.

III                 Affirm the edifying things, avoid that which is profitless  8-11  Again, we have the emphasis that appears throughout the pastorals, that human speculation should be avoided and disregarded.  The apostolic message constitutes life and godliness for the people of God.

A       These things concerning salvation Titus is to teach with confidence  8

1        His statement about salvation appears confessional 1 Tim 1:15; 3:1, 16; 2 Tim 2:11  The passage just presented in 4-7 could have been a confessional statement of the early church, arising from oral teaching of the apostles as others of these “trustworthy statements” appear to be.

2        Titus must not be brushed aside in his commission to teach these things -  Though some may try to ignore him, he must refuse to be ignored on these important matters.

3        Good deeds are consistent with a belief in the God of mercy and salvation

B       Matters of mere speculation cause unnecessary division  9

C       People that insist on such dispute must be excluded 10, 11

1        Two warnings should be sufficient to discern a man is teachable

2        His own resistance to truth excludes him

IV                The Christian’s relations to the larger church  12-15

A       Titus should see that Christians displaced for the cause of Christ are cared for

B       Titus should visit Paul at Nicopolis  12

C       The church in Crete should be ready to help meet these needs  14

D       Love in Christ creates bonds of genuine concern 15