Titus pt. 5

Titus Part 5

The wonderful Josh Skidmore closes our series in Titus with this great little piece on chapter 3.

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Josh Skidmore

Josh Skidmore

Mr J. Skidmore is a University student at Oxford, studying Theology. 

He is a small man from Wolverhampton (this can be held against him), who has gone to study the subject he loves. He has been a friend of ours at The Bridge for a good long time now and we respect what he has to teach us. He is a solid preacher and a very truthful teacher who leads from a place of wisdom and humility. We have alot of time for him. 

Joshua enjoys sounding posher than he truely is. 

Streams

The Big Story #6: God's Church

The Big Story #6: God's Church

Rounding off our big Bible overview we look to the conclusion of the story and what we need to do to get there. God has chosen us to play a part in it, but how? What does it mean to be God's church?

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The Big Story #5: God's Son

The Big Story #5: God's Son

It all points to Him, everything that had come before, the promises, the prophecies, the people. Here we reach the climax of God's story in a person, God's son, Jesus Christ. We don't understand him until we see how he fits into what's come before.

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The Big Story #3: God's Kingdom

The Big Story #3: God's Kingdom

Look around the world and we see kings, presidents, leaders who are very much flawed. Israel had a king - God, but they wanted a human king. We look at how that worked out for God's people.

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The Big Story #2: God's People

The Big Story #2: God's People

God's story is both cosmic in scope and intimate in care, we see that as he chose to fulfil his purposes in a family. But why did God choose Abraham and the people of Israel to be the ones who would be a blessing to the whole world?

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Titus Part 5

Isn't this the boring old list of rules which puts so many people off religion?

Here we are in Titus 3! Even at the end of this nifty little book, Paul isn't gently winding down, he's got some big stuff for us yet. But the first 2 verses sound a bit like the list of instructions your mum gives when you go away for a week or a term. Be good, offer to wash up, remember to fold your clothes, wash behind your ears, don't cause trouble. Paul tells Titus to teach his church to obey authority, do whatever is good, don't be nasty to or about people, but be peaceable, considerate and gentle. Isn't this the boring old list of rules which puts so many people off religion?

Well, not really. First of all, they are healthy! Jesus says that he offers life in all it's fullness - his way isn't easy, but it's the creator's instructions for how his creations should operate. I recommend you go through them and think about how they apply to you in your situation.

Jesus says that he offers life in all it's fullness - his way isn't easy, but it's the creator's instructions for how his creations should operate.

Secondly, we saw in Titus 2 that Christians living godly lives makes Jesus look fantastic, and draws people to him more and more.

Thirdly, and most importantly, verses 3-8 show that the reason we are to do the sort of good stuff Paul talks about is that Jesus has died for us! In the Greek text, verse 3 is introduced by a crucial little word, which means 'for' or 'because', which a lot of English translations weirdly leave out. It's a massively important word because it means that everything he has just said is on the basis of and the result of what he's about to say...

He says that we as Christians used to be just as messed up and hopeless as the rest of the world, and the only reason we have anything is because 'when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.'

He says we should be humble, gentle, considerate since everything we have, we have because of Jesus!

This means that our motivation for treating other people in a loving way is that God first loved us, not because we were good or loveable (verse 5), but because he is good and merciful. He sent his own son to die horribly to bring us to a right standing before him, where he counts us as perfect before we did anything to deserve it (that's what Paul means when he says we are 'justified by his grace' in verse 7), and we are born again by the Holy Spirit. He reminds us of all this before saying 'those who have trusted in God... devote themselves to doing what is good.' Those of us who have really really believed in what a Holy God has done for us in Jesus must start devoting ourselves to doing good.

Those of us who have really really believed in what a Holy God has done for us must start devoting ourselves to doing good.

If you like, Paul is a doctor, and his prescription for learning to act more lovingly towards others is to read and remember what Jesus has done for us. The dosage is to be taken every day, in quantities as large as possible. My own very limited experience is that it needs to be taken along with lots of repentance as we continually fail to live up to the standard of Jesus, and usually a friend to be accountable to (for more about accountability, click here).

So Paul's genius in this chapter is that he takes those pretty boring sounding instructions, and grounds them in the most explosive truth in history! He shows that if we really spend some time in prayer and work hard at it (please pray God helps me not to be a hypocrite with that statement!), the gospel of Jesus' sacrificial death will not only save us, it can start changing us too.

Your brother,
Joshua

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