Last week we learned that Cretans were characterised by one of their own poet’s as being “liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons”. It’s into this context that Paul instructs Titus to teach God’s people what it looks like to have homes that look different to the sinful, messy, debauched homes of their fellow Cretans. Easier said than done when their former way of living was culturally acceptable and indeed normal to them. How do you teach someone to think and to do things so completely opposite to what they have always done. Words might be helpful in conveying the idea of a different way of life, but learning to live it requires demonstration. The ultimate vehicle for this teaching is discipleship.
We might not be liars, brutes, and gluttons, but the truth is, we probably have some habits and norms of our own that are culturally acceptable, but at odds with the gospel in ways that we aren’t aware of… and wouldn’t know how to begin to do differently even if someone were to point it out to us. How can we change? How can we become more Christlike, as God’s Word calls us to? Only by learning from others who have gone before us and learnt those same lessons that we need to learn - that’s the kind of everyday discipleship that Paul describes in this passage to Titus.
Read this week’s Bible passage: Titus 2 [NIV]
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Paul commissions Titus to show how the good news of Jesus can transform Cretan culture from within. Paul’s letter to Titus urged him to remind Cretan believers that while they live in a sinful culture, they can be transformed into a new humanity by the same grace that Jesus demonstrated when he died to redeem them.
In Part 2 of our Titus series, Paul mentions a large number of rebellious people who are full of empty talk and deception. Fortunately, Scripture makes a clear distinction between right and wrong to assist Christians in distinguishing what is good and what is not good. Just as Scripture addresses what is right and wrong, it also calls on Christians to defend the truth and combat false teaching.
How often do we focus on doctrine to evaluate a "false teacher" without also considering the (possibly more significant) issue of their behavior? Join us this Sunday as we will continue our sermon series.
Read this week’s Bible passage: Titus 1:10-16 [NIV]