- Sermon Notes
Spending Your Life Well
There is a lot of similarity between this letter that Paul wrote to Titus and the letters he wrote to Timothy. Together these letters are often called
the pastoral letters because both Timothy and Titus were overseeing groups of churches. Timothy was overseeing churches in the city of Ephesus
and Titus was overseeing churches on the island of Crete which is just south of Greece in the Mediterranean Sea.
We don’t have much specific information about when Paul himself was in Crete, but from what we read in the book of Acts as well as other accounts of
Paul’s life we can make some fairly good conclusions.
First, we know Paul spent considerable time in the city of Corinth, a major city in southern Greece. Titus was with Paul and the influence of that
ministry would easily have touched Crete as well.
Secondly, after Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and sat in prison for two years without facing charges, he finally appealed to Caesar. He was then handed
to a Roman centurion named Julius and placed onboard a ship headed for Rome. Along the way they stopped and spent time in Crete. As winter was
approaching and the harbor not ideal for spending the winter, the captain decided to risk sailing for the port of Phoenix on the north side of
the island, although Paul advised against it.
As they were making their way, trying to stay close to shore, a violent nor’easter wind came out of Europe, blasting against their ship and forcing
them into the open seas of the Mediterranean. They fought through that hurricane force storm for two weeks; almost losing their lives. Finally,
they shipwrecked on the island of Malta.
Most historians believe that Paul was released at his first trial since there were no charges against him. After this, many surmise that he led a great
revival in Rome and then traveled to Greece, spending time on the island of Crete, making his way toward Ephesus where he was finally arrested
again by the Emperor Nero who then had him executed.
This letter to Titus is Paul’s instruction to “set things in order” in Crete, to establish leaders, to strengthen the churches and to strengthen his
own spiritual life.
At one point in this short letter he tells Titus that he must instruct the people in the churches to be ready for every good deed and to be gracious
and kind to those in the world, showing every consideration because we were once ourselves spending our lives in malice and worldliness.
In other words, we were once spending our lives very badly, but God in his kindness has redeemed us. Therefore, we should spend our lives differently.
He is transforming us; it should translate into how we spend our lives.
- Remind them and instruct them to respect authority and to be ready for every good deed, Paul wrote.
- In other words, God expects you to spend your life well, and especially in how you treat others. Be ready for every good deed, do not treat other
people poorly, but rather, show every consideration for all men.
- Paul explains the reason; we used to spend our lives in worldliness and in malice and envy, but God, rich in mercy, poured His kindness on us.
Can we not spend our lives treating others with kindness as well?
- Paul gave us instruction in both the positive sense as well as the negative; telling us what we should do and what we should not do toward others.
- To show every consideration means to consider their perspective, to be gentle and humble enough to understand how this may affect them.
James 3:13, Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show, by his good behavior, his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
- The “golden rule” is based upon this exact principle.
Matthew 7:12, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
- Paul adds to this principle; not only should we consider how we want others to treat us, we should consider how God has
treated us. If God has poured out such kindness upon us, can we not give kindness to others?
Illus – The story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19 is one of the most compelling stories in the Bible of the change that comes upon those who truly understand what God has done for them.
Zacchaeus was a despised tax collector. Actually, he was a chief tax collector. Though he was a Jew, he worked for the Roman government and took advantage of his own people.
Many people understand why he was despised because they have their own strong feelings about paying taxes.
Illus – There’s a story of a man who sent the IRS a check for $1500 and included a letter, which read, “Please find enclosed a check for $1500. I didn’t pay all my taxes and can’t sleep…”
- One day Jesus was coming through Jericho. Zacchaeus wanted to see Him, but he was short in stature, and so, because of the crowd, he ran ahead
and climbed into a sycamore tree.
- As Jesus was walking on that road, He stopped, and looking up, He said, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”
- When the crowd saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.”
- Zacchaeus was so transformed by the kindness of Jesus to someone so despicable that he responded by saying, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.”
Luke 19:10-11, Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house… For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
- Back to Titus 3; Paul then tells us what we should not do in our relationship to others when we consider the kindness that God has poured out upon
B. Malign no one
- The word in the Greek is ‘blaspheme.’ It’s not a word we often use in reference to relationships to other people, but it means that we must not
defame when speaking about other people.
- We have an English word ‘malignant’ that comes from the same root.
Illus – Cancer is malignant when it spreads its deadly reach into other parts of the body. Words can also be malignant and very hurtful to others.
James 3:9-10, With (our tongue) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.
- There is something ‘purposeful” in the word ‘malign.’ In other words, if you malign someone you know that your words are destructive.
Illus – We judge someone more leniently when something was not done on purpose – like when I ate someone else’s fries at Wendy’s.
- The difficulty comes when someone does something purposely hurtful to you. Oh how tempting it is to want to say or do something purposely hurtful in
return. But God has a better word.
Ephesians 4:31-32, Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
C. Don’t be contentious
- Paul instructed Timothy to find leaders for the church that were neither pugnacious nor contentious. Here, Paul instructs Titus that this should be
taught to the whole church. This is part of the godly character God wants to transform us to have.
- You’ve got to love the Greek word here, it’s amachos. In other words, it means “not macho.” The idea of being macho is exaggerated
manliness such as brawling or being contentious.
- To be pugnacious and contentious does not respect or honor other people, yet God has shown much patience and kindness to us, even when we were sinners.
Proverbs 26:21, Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
2 Timothy 2:24-25, The Lord’s bondservant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition,
- Where there are people there are going to be conflicts and contentions, but it doesn’t mean we have to be contentious.
- I have found that when it comes to resolving conflicts and disagreements, there’s nothing so powerful as grace; the very thing we received from the
- One of the principles I teach at our leadership conferences is that we should win people, not arguments.
II. Spend Your Godly Inheritance
- Verse 7 – we use to spend our lives in malice and worldliness, in conflict with others, but the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind
appeared and He poured His Holy Spirit upon us richly that we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life, Paul wrote.
- What is it that you have inherited? What is it that you have received so richly that you now have that you can spend?
Romans 2:4, Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
Ephesians 1:18-19, I pray that the eyes of your heart may be opened, so that you will know the hope of His calling and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints and the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
- The riches of our inheritance is the grace, the kindness, the favor of God, the character of God, the Holy Spirit of God all poured out upon us lavishly.
A. Because you’re washed in regeneration
- Verse 5 – He saved us according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly.
- This is a picture we can understand; God pours His Holy Spirit out upon us lavishly and it brings the washing of regeneration and renewal.
- Your inheritance is God Himself which he pours out upon you richly through the Holy Spirit.
- Let’s step back and see the big picture of this chapter. We used to spend our lives in malice and envy and worldly things, in other words, we were
despicable sinners like Zacchaeus.
- But God sent His Son to seek and to save that which was lost. Verse 4 – when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved
us, by washing us in regeneration and renewal.
Illus – Baptism is perhaps one of the clearest pictures of both the washing of regeneration and the renewal that comes from the Holy Spirit.
Illus – The words of a song by Keith Green:
My eyes are dry, my prayers are cold,
my heart is hard, my faith is old,
Oh I know how I ought to be,
Alive to You and dead to me.
What can be done for an old heart like mine?
Soften it up with oil and wine.
The oil is You, Your Spirit of love,
Please wash me anew, in the wine of Your blood.
B. Freely you received; freely give
- That phrase comes from when Jesus sent out the 12 apostles to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He gave them instruction to declare the gospel
and to pour out blessing on the sick, the broken, and those held in bondage by demons and then He said, “Freely you received; freely give.”
- After the resurrection when Peter and John were on their way up to the temple, they came to the gate which is called Beautiful and there sat a man begging alms of those who were entering the temple.
- Peter fixed his gaze on him and when the man gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them, Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none; but what I do have I give to you freely; in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk!”
- What has God poured lavishly out upon you? Has He not poured grace abundantly? Has he not poured forgiveness generously? Has he not poured His kindness
Illus – The words of the famous hymn, He Giveth More Grace…
His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
for out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
- There’s a line in one of the verses in that hymn that always touches me deeply, “And when we’ve come to the end of our hoarded resources, He giveth,
and giveth, and giveth again.”
- Don’t be selfish – don’t keep it for yourself – that’s how you lay up for yourself treasure in heaven, when you spend your eternal inheritance here
on the earth. Freely you have received; freely give.
Titus 3:1-6 NASB
1 Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2 to malign no one, to be peaceable,
gentle, showing every consideration for all men. 3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and
pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing
by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,