If I were to start working out, I should expect to see results, right? I mean, if I start working out for an hour every day but my weight just goes up as well as my blood-sugar levels, then an investigation is in order as to what my workout program consists of. If you discovered that my “workout” was to watch exercise programs on TV for an hour while I sat on the couch eating Cheetos and drinking Mountain Dew, you would most likely find the culprit for my physical decline instead of intended advance. You (if you are my real friend) would tell me “Rob, your workout isn’t effective because sitting still and consuming calories is the OPPOSITE of an effective workout.”
That’s SORT of what Paul is going to say as he closes his letter to Titus and what we’ll be considering as we finish our study by reading Titus 3:9-15.
Paul is wrapping up his thoughts, and summarizing his instructions by challenging Titus on what to do with contentious people. His overall point has been to get the churches in Crete up and running, and if the church is going to be effectual in representing God’s plan to redeem, it must steer clear of what he describes in v9 – nitpicking and arguing over peripherals. Have you ever witnessed this sort of thing happening in the church (arguments over doctrines or practices)? How did it effect you? What effect does Paul describe these arguments as having?
Paul even goes so far as to tell us to have nothing to do with a person who stirs up divisions through his or her doctrine. The idea may be that we should completely disengage with those kinds of debates. What is the danger of an “us versus them” mentality in the church? What happens to people who think of themselves as “us”? How might people feel who are identified as “them”? How does this square with how Jesus lived and taught?
Paul finishes off his letter with a sweeping instruction about how we live in v14. What is his instruction, and what can we learn from it about what it means to be an effective church?
Hope to see you Sunday!