There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

help me write this sermon

preach.jpgNo, I’m not trying to outsource my responsibility, but I thought it would be…different, if not intriguing, to bring those with whom I identify the most into a dialogue about a particular passage and how it speaks to their condition.  Sermons are explanations of how a text of God’s word speaks to our condition–in what we think, feel, or do, and usually all three.

It is not a complicated text in terms of its meaning. I think it focuses on two themes, but I won’t share what I think they are so that I don’t prejudice your reading and reflecting.

So by “helping” me I mean feel free to share your own reflections on the text.

  • How do you see the parts fitting together?
  • What do you think its primary message(s) is/are?
  • What do you think motivated Paul to say these things to Titus?
  • What might Titus’ church and we have in common? (that will help us unearth the present day application of an ancient text!)
  • What are the primary hindrances you find in yourself to obeying what it says?

Here’s my text (Titus 3:1-8)

Titus 3:1   Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

feel free to post here or email me….see you Sunday.


  Krüll wrote @

My take:

verses. 2 and 3 seem to contrast our current lifestyle as believers (essentially benevolent & easy to get along with), with our past lives/lifestyle of those that are still unbelievers (chasing various passions, selfishly causing trouble). Our current lifestyle is a direct result of the good and loving kindness of God. With the knowledge of what God has done in His mercy to change us, we are to encourage others to do good works.

  Krüll wrote @

(that’s what I gleaned as the primary message. I need to read more of Titus before I can answer the other questions)

  pclafferty wrote @

I think you’ve honed in on the most interesting part of the passage: the little “so that” between the explanation of the good works of the gospel and the command to titus to preach the gospel so that believers might have an inner disposition toward good works.

My lingering question is why does a deep grasp of the good works of God lead to a deep devotion to our good works in the world. It’s not so that we can earn salvation since that salvation, Paul says in vv4-7 has already been procured by Christ. It can’t be a motivation of “pay him back”; his payment for us is incalculable and beyond our means.

So why should a grasp of the gospel necessarily lead to a devotion to good works? I’m simmering on that question. thanks, Krull for your musings!

  Matt wrote @

A grasp of the sufferings and good works of Christ ought to, at the very least make our motivation pour out from thanksgiving. This would make verses 4 and 5 pivotal. It seems that Paul is saying this to foster gratitude of his grace in order that we might then do good works. Gratitude and thankfulness comes with a full grasp and understanding of the gospel (in a nutshell).

  Matt wrote @

and by the way, let me then say that there is a notable difference between penance and payback, and gratitude and thanksgiving… the latter is more from the heart. The former is one out of obligation. just thought I should clarify.

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