Please read Titus 2:11-15 in your Bible. Me? I use the NIV.
A lifetime of godly change is a sign of salvation.
Many years ago an accomplished organist was giving a concert. His music was so masterfully made, it seemed to come from heaven itself. In spite of his usual better judgment, the organist was excited by his own performance and the audience’s enthusiastic appreciation. Departing from his usual method, he addressed the people and spoke at some length about his giftedness, experience, and mastery of the organ. With a triumphant smile, he said, “And now I shall play for you my final number, my magnificent opus!”
With a flourish and to applause, he seated himself on the organ bench. He adjusted his music, then the stops, and finally struck the keys and pedals. Nothing happened. The organ was silent.
He repeated this process, all of it, with the same result. His face was red with embarrassment as he called out a name angrily, “George!”
In those days pipe organs were powered by a backstage assistant who pumped large bellows. This voice of this assistant, George, was heard from behind the organ, “Say ‘WE!’”
After the organist made this concession to teamwork, the mighty pipe organ thundered through the final number.
And so it is with each church. All God’s people serve God’s purpose. He has called us out of the lonely, divided world to become a cooperative people of faith.
- Say “Yes!” to God’s offer of salvation (11+14).
Though God’s offer of salvation is universal, acceptance of it is limited (11). Paul’s letter reveals three parts to God’s offer.
First, the word APPEARED, which may also translated as “offered.” This word points specifically at Jesus’ life offered up on the cross and generally to His Incarnation. It is translated from the Greek word epiphanea, from which we get “Epiphany,” which means “to become visible or apparent.” This word has been used as the name for the wise men/magi’s visit to the infant Jesus. January 6th is Epiphany day.
Second, the word GRACE. GRACE is defined as “unmerited favor” and may be remembered as an acrostic: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross and His victorious Resurrection are the supreme examples of God’s GRACE.
Paul wrote that this GRACE has APPEARED TO ALL PEOPLE. That is true in a spiritual sense; when we witness to our faith in word and deed, the GRACE of God makes yet another appearance in us.
Third, the phrase TO ALL PEOPLE. The word “for” may be a better translation of the Greek; FOR the benefit of ALL PEOPLE. As the New Testament affirms in other places, SALVATION is offered universally (FOR ALL PEOPLE), but it is not accepted by all people. Those who refuse it are self-condemned.
Salvation changes us from putrification and petrification to purification (14).
“Putrification” is a process of decay. Generally, living things decay when after death. Those who refuse God’s grace are decaying spiritually but unaware of it.
“Petrification” is a process of fossilization or turning to “stone.” If you go to the Petrified Gardens in Kadoka, you won’t find anything growing there but the grass; everything else has turned to stone. This is a picture of a person who resorts to legalism and works in a mistaken attempt to earn salvation.
Paul explanation of purification is two-fold.
It is redemption. He wrote that God offers SALVATION to REDEEM US FROM ALL WICKEDNESS. Redemption speaks to freeing slaves by buying them from their current master. In the case of persons who have not yet accepted Jesus, they are mastered by their sin nature. In the case of persons who have put their trust in Jesus, they have to power to gain mastery over sin (see RMS 6:14). The word WICKEDNESS can also be translated as “lawlessness,” defying God’s commands.
It is identification: we are identified as the children of God. Paul explained that God intends to PURIFY FOR HIMSELF A PEOPLE WHO ARE HIS VERY OWN. To PURIFY someone is to wipe away every trace of the dirty mark of guilt which every lawless person deserves. Biblically, this is all of us. God is pure & His people must also be pure. The problem is, we can’t achieve that purity by will or by law, so God graciously gives it to all who will repent and trust His salvation. This gift entitles us to be His people: HIS VERY OWN people. This word means “reserved for himself” and referred to the spoils of war that the king reserved for his treasury. (Think of it! You are a treasured possession!)
- Say “Yes!” to good and “No” to evil (12+13).
God’s salvation TEACHES US (12). The word “teach” refers to training or bringing up a child. In the Greek it describes an ongoing process. We always have more to learn. It is also comprehensive of all methods of teaching; instruction, encouragement, discipline, correction. The term is further defined in 2:1, where it is written that true teaching must be IN ACCORD WITH SOUND DOCTRINE.
But this training is not just about learning doctrine and Scripture; it must result in an improved moral life and in good works. We do not do good works in order to be saved, but we do good works because we are saved. There are two general responsibilities that accompany salvation. They are our new year’s resolution: to say “YES!” and “NO!”
First, we must say “NO!” to evil.
– Say “NO!” to UNGODLINESS, which begins with a lack of respect or reverence for God.
– Say “NO!” to WORLDLY PASSIONS; caring more about material things than we care about God and/or His people.
Second, we must say “YES!” to good.
– Say “YES!” to being SELF-CONTROLLED. This is an inwardly-directed mandate. It is to be in control of one’s passions and attitudes.
– Say “YES!” to being UPRIGHT. This is an outwardly-directed mandate. It is to be in control of one’s words and deeds.
– Say “YES!” to being GODLY. This is an upwardly-directed mandate. It is to look to God for direction and strength in our daily living. We don’t do good on our own, we do it by the Holy Spirit and prayer.
In fact, we must be EAGER to do good (14). The word EAGER can be translated as “zealot” or “enthusiast.” We ought to feel grateful for God’s grace and demonstrate our gratitude by our eagerness to do good. This means we aren’t content to sit around waiting for opportunities to come to us, we look and pray for opportunities to do good and make it happen. Verse twelve described three aspects of good deeds; self-control, uprightness, and godliness.
Paul addressed another motive: anticipating Jesus’ Second Coming = WHILE WE WAIT FOR THE BLESSED HOPE (13). We are to say “NO!” to evil and “YES!” to good while we are awaiting Jesus’ second and final return to earth. Any day now Jesus will appear and call His people to His side. Having this hope means we want to
be found doing good when He appears, that we want to please Him, and earn rewards that we can return to Him in triumphant worship on that greatest occasion.
- Say “Yes!” to godly leadership (15).
Leaders are to exercise authority and followers respect authority. In verse fifteen Paul summed up the teaching of 1:1-2:14 by commanding young pastor Titus to TEACH, ENCOURAGE, and REBUKE WITH ALL AUTHORITY. As Titus was in the right, his leadership was to direct his church to right living. In the Church, authority is to be invested in the elders who lead t church, including the pastor.
Paul gave command DO NOT LET ANYONE DESPISE YOU because despising godly leaders and refusing to follow direction, are signs of a heart not committed to Christ. As we conclude, allow me to offer some advice on the care and feeding of church leaders.
Be a friend. Influence without intimacy is merely intimidation. Get to know the leaders of our church by spending time with them on a person-to-person level.
Be a cheerleader, not a “jeer-leader.” There’s no place for negativity in this relationship. Use constructive criticism if criticism must be used at all. It takes 10 compliments to offset a single critique; earn the right to criticize by doing ten positive/uplifting things first.
Be the right kind of volunteer. Don’t volunteer unsolicited advice, pass on criticisms, or insistence on following the “good ol’ days.” Instead, volunteer your time and other practical means of support.
Be a brother/sister in Christ. Pray daily for our leaders. Encourage them in their service. Share Scripture with them. If it is hard to respect the person, at least respect the office.
Feed them. We all appreciate being appreciated. Small tokens and treats that express our thanks mean a lot to a leader.
Protect them. Show some discernment. Not all complaints or concerns need to be passed on. In fact, if it’s something you can fix on your own, do it yourself. As Jesus said, “Your Father sees what you do in secret and He will reward you accordingly. Protect the leader’s reputation by not sharing in gossip or slander.
Let us be resolved to say “YES!” to God and “NO!” to Satan.