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About this series
The Book of Titus
If Christians are “saved by grace,” totally apart from good works, what difference does it make if we Do Good or not? In this series, from the book of Titus, Chip reveals that there are four key reasons why Doing Good matters so much. He also explains how we can become people who habitually Do Good – and the first step begins with who we are, not what we do. According to scripture, Doing Good is not just a suggestion, it is very powerful, and can be costly. Chip encourages us, however, that the price of not Doing Good, can be even more costly. This series clarifies what Doing Good will do in you and then through you, for the benefit of others and the glory of God.More from this series
When people do good, they change the world. And when we do good, we can change our world. When Christians act like Christians, people get loved, homes get healed, communities and neighborhoods get changed.
And the Scripture says that when God’s people do good, your world can actually be changed.
When the apostle Paul wanted to sum up the very reason why Jesus came to earth, 1 Timothy 1:15 he said this, “This is a trustworthy statement,” it’s a statement that deserves full agreement, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” and then I love his last line, “of which I am the worst.”
The word “saved” there literally means “to be delivered”. Jesus Christ came to earth to deliver us and all men and all women and all children out of bondage and sin and slavery and all the bad stuff it creates and to deliver us into a new life, and a new relationship.
So what has the power, let’s get it down to where we live, what has the power to change your world, your neighborhood, where you work?
Well, on the front of your notes I’d like to suggest that there are three things. They’re in the form of questions. And question number one is, “What has the power to convince your neighbors and friends and coworkers that God’s Word is true?” I would say it’s safe to say, in our day, that by and large, in our culture, the Bible is no longer respected by many.
Second question is, “What has the power to restore your credibility and influence as a follower of Christ?”
We are viewed as judgmental, hypocritical, anti-intellectual. What has the power to change that?
Third, “What has the power to make your neighbors and your friends and your coworkers actually come to you and want to explore a relationship with Jesus Christ?” Some of us don’t even believe that’s possible.
But the answer to all three of those questions is very simple, and it’s the exact same issue that was happening when the apostle Paul spoke to this young pastor, Titus, and he said, “There are these Christians on this island called Crete and because of the immorality there, because of the weakness of the Christians and false teaching, they don’t live like Christians and, Titus, here’s what you’ve got to tell them. You tell them, when they do good at home, when they do good at work, and when they do good in their communities, God’s Word will be honored, they will be respected, and their neighbors will see the difference in their life and they will flock to them and want to know how their lives can change.”
And so, open your notes if you will. The question I want to ask and answer is, “What does it look like for Christians to live like Christians?” More specifically, what’s it look like for me and you to live like Christians in our community?
Open your Bible, if you would, to Titus chapter 3. If you skim up to chapter 2, you realize he has told older men how to live like Christians, he has told older women how to live like Christians, he has said to younger men, “This is how you need to live like a Christian.” Younger women…
And now he says in chapter 3, “Remind the people,” so this is for everyone, “to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.”
So basically, chapter 1, here’s how leaders need to live. Chapter 2, here’s how individuals need to live. Now chapter 3, he says to all people and you’ll notice there are six specific things that will demonstrate that Jesus is alive, that He’s true, that He loves people, and there’s hope.
And so, notice in your notes, here’s what I did. I just made a quick point from each one of those. You want to change your community? You want your neighbors to think about Christ differently? Number one, obey the law. It’s what he says. When he says, “Be subject to rulers and authorities,” and then he repeats it, “Be obedient.”
The context is we need to obey the law, we need to obey the laws that we agree with, we need to obey the laws that we disagree with. I mean, every tax time, don’t you just sit down and think, you know, especially those of us that itemize? “You know, this is right in the grey area and I could or I couldn’t and, boy, they waste so much of my money and…”
And some of you that have businesses where you have to decide whether you’re going to declare or that cash that you receive or… Boy, there are a lot of areas of obedience to the law and God says, “Here’s the command,” Romans 13:7, “render to all what is due them,” speaking of the government, “tax to whom tax is due, custom to whom custom is due, fear to whom fear is due, and honor to whom honor is due.”
I don’t know about you but my heart breaks when I hear of people that have a very strong Christian testimony and then it’s revealed some time later that they break the law and they are completely discredited.
One of my favorite coaches is Jim Tressel, Ohio State University, and I had the opportunity because we were at an event together and he was speaking and I was speaking and so I got to know him in the back room and he had a very strong Christian testimony. Wonderful guy.
And if some of you sports fans know the story, a couple of his players were selling their jerseys and some things, memorabilia, for a few hundred dollars here and there. And NCAA rules, if a coach becomes aware of that, he has to report it.
And he was on the national championship run, and it came to be known that he was aware of it and he didn’t report it. And I’m sure there were parts of him that thought, “You know, they’re young kids, they’re twenty years old, it’s a crazy rule,” but he’s not the coach of Ohio State University anymore.
And I remember later reading an article by some commentators and other coaches. “You know that Tressel? All he talked about was Christ and honor and kids and raising up young men. See? He’s a liar like all the rest.”
See, we can’t afford that. We can’t afford that. When I do my taxes, when I have these moments, here’s what I have to think about, “Is a few hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars or getting away with a little something, is that worth God’s reputation and forfeiting the blessing of God?” We want to change the world, number one, we have to obey the law.
Number two, that little phrase “be ready to do whatever is good,” serve your community. God expects His followers to make wherever they live, your neighborhood, your community, wherever we live, He says, “You need to serve your community.” The word means “to be prepared and active to serve the welfare of your community.”
Galatians chapter 6 verse 10 says, “So then while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people. Let us do good to all people, and especially those who are the household of the faith.”
Because we’ve got to transform the world and the way we transform the world is not by arguing with people. It’s by obeying the law, it’s by doing good and serving our community.
And third, we are to guard our tongue. Notice the phrase here, “Slander no one.” Basically, refuse to be negative. Guard your words about other people. Critical views, untested information.
You may have strong political views, you may disagree with people, you may think the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but be very careful what you put on your Facebook, be very careful what emails you pass on to people, be very careful in coffee shops how you speak about other people.
Because your name isn’t simply, in my case, “Chip Ingram,” it’s, “Chip Ingram, son of the living God.” And it’s and it’s not just your reputation, it’s His reputation. And we have been known for being so negative and so harsh. And we pass on untested truth, and we attack, and I got news for you, no one’s heart is won that way. He says to this group in Crete and says to us, “Obey the law, serve your community, guard your tongue.”
In fact, if you want a good test, a great verse to memorize, all my children would say they had to memorize this, “Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification or building up, according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear it.”
No putrid, no corrupt word comes out of your mouth because they identify you, not just with your job or your family, but as a follower of Christ. And your words have the power for good and for evil.
Fourth, he says, “Refuse to fight.” It says, “Be peaceable,” is how it’s translated. Literally the word is “be a non-fighter.” Yes, we’re to take a stand on the truth but we’re to take a stand with grace. We’re not in a cultural war. If I hear that one more time, we’re not trying to win a cultural war, we’re trying to win people’s hearts! We’re trying to care about individual people.
If you win people’s hearts and you love them and you take a stand for truth but you do it with a winsome and grace and concern and you treat people with dignity, even if you disagree with them, that’s how the early Church changed the world. Their culture was completely anti-God. But people just couldn’t get over the fact that they were the people that helped the poor, they were the people that helped the lepers, they were the people that gave good for evil.
Romans 12:17 and 18 says, “Never,” I mean, there’s not a lot of room here, “never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.” Literally that word “respect” is “consider; take into account.”
You don’t have to agree with people but they grew up and they have had experiences and they have been through some things and this is how they look at life. “Respect what is right in the sight of all men.” “If possible,” and it’s not always possible, but, “if possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
People who think so radically different than us need to meet someone like you that is a thinking, loving, kind Christian that actually believes in the Bible, that is bold about your spiritual experience, your life has been transformed, your commitment in your relationships, and you come to work and you do excellent work and you can articulate your faith.
And what they realize is you’re not weird, you’re not crazy, you’re not angry, you’re not harsh, you don’t talk negatively, and they need to have a friend! People that strongly believe in abortion need to have a great Christian friend. Homosexuals in our community need to have a strong Christian friend. People who are just absolutely on the opposite end of the continuum of wherever you are politically, they need a strong Christian friend.
That’s when the walls break down. This is what Jesus says, this is what Paul says to this young pastor, “This is how you turn around this immoral place called Crete.”
Fifth, be winsome and forbearing. The word means “to be considerate, gentle, willing to yield one’s rights.” The opposite is don’t be stubborn and insisting on your own way. It has the idea of not clinging to your rights. We’ve gotten this idea that these are my rights and this is how I view it and…
You want a great example? Jot in your notes, “1 Peter 2:18 to 25.” If anyone had the right to cling to their rights, it was Jesus. But Jesus understood it wasn’t about changing the Roman Empire, it wasn’t about Him having His rights. It says He set an example for us and He says to those Christians through Peter, “What credit is there if you suffer for doing what’s wrong?”
In other words, if you cheat, if you lie, if you steal, and you suffer, what credit is that? “But if when you do what is right and suffer for it,” are you ready? “this finds favor with God, for Christ suffered and set for you an example that you might follow in His steps and although He was reviled, He reviled not, but instead entrusted His soul to a faithful Creator.”
See, we don’t get to have our rights. It was His power – meekness is not weakness! Meekness is strength under control. The strength not to spew back, the strength not to retaliate, the strength not to say, “I’ve got to have my rights.” That’s the Spirit of God living inside believers who are following Christ.
He says in James 3:17, if you’re wondering what’s coming out of your mouth or your actions, if this is God’s wisdom or the Spirit’s wisdom, here’s a picture of the Spirit’s wisdom. James 3:17, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”
That’s the litmus test for my attitudes, when I “forbear,” or “put up with,” or “am considerate,” in a very godless world.
Finally, he says, “Treat everyone like a VIP.” Very important person. He says, “Show yourself humble to all men,” would you circle the word “all”? I mean, do you realize how crazy this was in the Roman Empire? To a slave, “Treat everyone, all people, that Roman guard, your master who has beat you, okay, treat all men with humility.”
And the reason I put a “VIP,” like a very important person, is I remembered a story, it was a number of years ago, we were flying into Jakarta to do some ministry and if you’ve ever traveled internationally and go to a really big city, here we are and getting through immigration, there had to be four hundred and some people, and I thought, “It’s going to take as long to get through this line as it did to fly here.”
And there was this line that had a, it said, “VIP,” and no one is going in it, except a couple apparently important people. And I’m in the back with our team like this and thinking, “We’re going to be here forever and ever and ever,” and I saw this guy walking and he had a sign with two things that rarely go together, “VIP,” and the name, “Ingram”, holding it up.
And I’m thinking, Gosh, I wonder what other Ingram was on this plane! And I realized it was me! And our host in Indonesia was a retired general, General Mantirie. He was involved in the ministry and he was hosting us. Well, I guess retired generals have a lot of pull.
And I went through and this man came and said, “Give me your passport, please,” I gave him my passport, and he said “Don’t worry about your luggage, I can take care of this,” he flashed it, I mean, whew.
And then we got in the car and the traffic there is like Mexico City or Manila. I mean, like, three days to get from one side of the city. We’re in his car with his little flags. We start driving and everyone, the Red Sea parts. Now listen carefully, I was treated like a very important person because I was a friend of the general.
And God says to me and He says to you, “I want you to treat these people that I have created, and I want you to treat these people that whether they receive the gift or not, I believe that every person on the face of the earth was worthy of the price tag of the blood of my Son, Jesus. And so regardless of their color, regardless of their education, regardless if they’re dirty, regardless if they’re smelly, regardless if they’re rich, regardless if they’re poor – I want you to treat every person, 24/7, like a very important person.
“Whether they have the penthouse or whether they are the elevator operator. Whether they’re the person in front of McDonalds or the people that owns the McDonalds chain, I want you to treat everyone, regardless of their political views, regardless of their lifestyles, regardless of how they live, regardless of how many tattoos or piercings they have, or how many Rolex watches they wear! I want you to treat them as a very important person.”
And the apostle Paul said when we do that, you’ll change your community. That’s what we do. Christians who live like Christians in our community That’s what we do. obey the law, serve their community, guard their tongue, refuse to fight, are winsome and forbearing, and they treat everyone like a VIP.
God says to me and He says to you, “I want you to treat these people that I have created, and I want you to treat these people that whether they receive the gift or not, I believe that every person on the face of the earth was worthy of the price tag of the blood of my Son, Jesus. And so regardless of their color, regardless of their education, regardless if they’re dirty, regardless if they’re smelly, regardless if they’re rich, regardless if they’re poor – I want you to treat every person, 24/7, like a very important person.
And the apostle Paul said when we do that, you’ll change your community. That’s what we do. Christians who live like Christians in our community obey the law, serve their community, guard their tongue, refuse to fight, are winsome and forbearing, and they treat everyone like a VIP.
In the rest of this chapter, he is going to say why. Why is this a non-negotiable? Got your Bible handy? We’re going to pick up the story, chapter 3, verse 3. The NIV says, “At one time,” if you have a New American Standard it says, “For,” in the original language, there’s a little word, “f-o-r,” it means there’s a reason.
The reason we’re to live like that is this, “For at one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures, we lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.”
The first reason that we have to live like the apostle Paul, filled by the Holy Spirit shared with us, is because of our former life. Our former life demands that we care. It demands that we care.
These words, “foolish” as not an intellectual. We think of a fool as someone – this means “a moral fool”. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” A fool is someone who doesn’t have spiritual discernment, they don’t know about spiritual realities.
“Disobedient” means people that are defying authority, with their parents, the government, and most of all, God. “Deceived” means actively straying from the course or path that you know is right and following false guides. The phrase, “enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures,” we get that, right?
And then envy and malice,” it means that when other people are doing well, we resent them for it.
And then finally, this phrase of, “being hated and hating,” it’s literally when our lives get to the point where we continue to degenerate, where we’re odious and repulsive and disgusting to other people.
There’s stuff in your past, and there’s stuff in your mind, and there’s stuff that you’ve done, and there’s stuff that you’ve said, and there’s closets that you have – here’s the deal – there is no room for judgment. There’s only room for compassion.
Apart from the grace of God, so go all of us. And the apostle Paul said, “We’ve got to obey the law, and we’ve got to serve, and we’ve got to care, and we’ve got to love, and we’ve got to treat everyone like a VIP,” because the only difference between us and them is that we used to be here and we have received grace and we’re over here. So we need to look back and we need to care the way God cared for us.
How do you view… I think some Christians think that those outside of Christ are, like, the enemy. And God is saying, “What, wait, I died for them! I love them! You must treat them with love. Yes, with truth but with love because I made them.”
Follow along in verse 4, notice it starts with, “but.” He talks about the former way that all of us lived, to some degree or another, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior appeared,” that’s that word “epiphany,” it means at a historical point in time, in space time history, Jesus came to the earth, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, was killed, paid for the sins of all men of all time, rose from the dead, ascended to the right hand of God.
“But at the right time, the kindness and love of our Savior appeared, He saved us,” and then he’s going to give the basis for it, “not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy He saved us,” how? “through the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,” purpose clause, “so that having been justified by His grace we might become heirs, heirs with God, having hope of eternal life. And this is a trustworthy statement, and I want to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.”
The divine intervention, He saved us. Write that down, will you? He saved us. Two key words: Kindness and the love, literally, it’s a very interesting compound word. The motivation here, the divine intervention, kindness is pity or concern and a heart that is moved by someone’s condition.
God saw your sin and my sin and our broken relationships and our lying and our posing and all of our stuff and instead of being repulsed, even though He’s holy, His heart was, “I want to help.”
The compound word, “the love of man” is phileo, you know, like Philadelphia? And we get our, and the other word we get is for “mankind”. Like “anthropology”. And those two words are stuck together.
The God of the universe, totally apart from anything He sees in you, or me, or any person, His heart and compassion is to save and to love and to care. And it was an intervention.
I saw an intervention, it wasn’t done really well and Dr. Drew didn’t show up and we didn’t have a lot of professionals but my dad’s alcoholism went from mild to not mild to extreme to not coming home. And I remember the intervention and I was there, my sister was there, and my dad was there, and my mom was like this, “Reb,” that was, his name was Ralph but we called him Reb. “Reb, you got a decision to make. You can have me and the kids,” and she held up this bottle, “us or them.” Intervention. “You got twenty-four hours. ”My dad was a smart guy. He never took another drink. Now, I wish he would have gotten counseling, I wish he got help, he later became a Christian. Can you understand that God intervened for you? He came to earth, He intervened.
Last night I was at the door and one of the people that was serving as an usher, just a casual conversation, and another guy, his kids are grown, they had a friend who is a single mom, single mom had four children, and she died in July. No family, no relatives.
This man and his wife went to his kids and said, “You know, we feel like we should give generously and we should love extravagantly,” and they are of a different ethnic background than this man. “And we’re sensing God wants us to adopt all four of these kids.” And they did.
You know, when we came and we talked and we dreamed and we prayed and we talked about doing good, that’s doing good, that’s doing good. That’s not like: I did a nice little good deed or I brought coffee for someone at work. All that’s great, but those are all the training wheels. When you and I start doing good where it costs us like that, we will receive grace and you know what? Can you imagine what all of his friends are thinking? “You’re an idiot.” Right? “What were you thinking?”
And then the other thing they’re thinking is, “Where in the world do you get something inside of you to make that level of sacrifice?” I will tell you this, there are four lives that will be changed forever and ever and ever and ever. And who knows how many others.
And it’s going to look different for all of us. But the question that God is asking you today and me today is, “What’s it look like for you?”
You know, we talk about, “Change the world!” Here’s how the world gets changed, it gets changed when you change your world and you change your world when you do good in your home, when you do good at work, and when you do good in your community.
And so he says, “He saved us, He intervened.” And now he’s kind of going to break down the basis of that salvation. Notice it’s not because you’re so wonderful, “Not by works of righteousness that we have done.” Basically, you can’t earn your way to God’s favor.
He’s really clear. Doing good is so important, it has nothing to do with being saved, it has nothing to do with being delivered out of your sin and being delivered into relationship. “Not by works of righteousness but according to His mercy.”
Mercy means that someone deserves something and you withhold the punishment that they deserve. It’s God’s mercy, it’s His kindness, it is love. Salvation is all about what God has done. We receive it by faith but it’s His work.
And then notice the means of salvation, “By the washing and regeneration,” literally it’s a picture of the new birth.
When Jesus was walking upon the earth and He had done multiple miracles and one very smart, moral, religious man who was a religious leader came to Him by night and he said, “We know that you’re from God because no one except someone from God could do all the miracles that you do.”
And before he could even ask a specific question, Jesus said to him, “Nicodemus, unless a man is born again, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.” And Nicodemus, I mean, this is this brilliant guy, had probably most all of the Old Testament memorized, schooled, trained, moral, squeaky clean. And he goes, “I don’t get it.” That’s Chip’s translation. “I don’t get it because I’m getting pretty big and I couldn’t go back in my mother’s womb.”
He said, “No, you don’t understand. Physical life demands a physical birth. Spiritual life demands a spiritual birth. That which was born of water,” picturing of the birth, the water breaks, “is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.”
“Nicodemus, how can you, a teacher of Israel, not understand that you must have a second birth? You need to understand that you, despite your religion and your morality, you have sinned against a holy God and you need to recognize that you fall short of His perfection, repent of your sin, and with the empty hands of faith, ask Him to forgive you.
And the new covenant is the Spirit of the living God will come inside your mortal body, washing your sins away, and regenerating you as the Spirit takes up presence.”
In the early Church, baptism was so linked, so linked to salvation because it was so public. Man, when you went public then you might get disowned. When a Gentile wanted to convert to Judaism, they would have a baptism, he would baptize himself, he would go underwater, “My old life has died, and now I’m a Jew.”
And in the early Church when people would trust in Christ, in fact, notice how closely, they trust in Christ, baptism; trust in Christ, baptism. Because they were going public with their faith.
And so he uses this, the washing, that symbolic washing of baptism is the picture of what God has done spiritually. And I think in some circles, we have tried to make it so clear that it’s not the actual act of being baptized that saves you, we have hundreds and hundreds of Christians that have not obeyed God and done good in some of the most basic first steps as a follower of Christ. Being baptized, going public, recognizing that you’re not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, you want the world to know.
And so he tells us not only the means of salvation, but then he talks about the result. The result of our salvation, he says, “Therefore having been justified,” that means we have a new standing with God, “Justification,” literally the word, this is a legal perspective. Justification is declaring just as if you hadn’t sinned.
It would be like if you went before a judge and then had all these things and you owed five billion dollars and you’re going to be in jail until you can pay all five billion dollars. And Jesus would show up and say, “Tell you what, I’ll take the debt of that five billion dollars on Me, and I want everything in my account put on her or him.”
And so God, in a legal action, justifies you and so views you as a son or a daughter, just as though you have never sinned and in your new legal position, you have the imputed righteousness of Christ. You never have to earn God’s favor. You are the object of His affection, not because you are wonderful, but because Jesus is wonderful. And so, you are covered with a robe of righteousness.
Then next he says, “Not only are you legally declared, but you have a new family relationship. Now you’re an heir.” What’s an heir? This isn’t hard. What? An “heir” is you are related to someone so what they have, you have access to. Right? Your heirs get your money, your heirs get your house, your heirs get your cars, your heirs get your stuff.
Well what does Jesus have? Every spiritual blessing in heaven! Ephesians 1 says, “Every spiritual blessing you have, you’re seated with Him,” all God’s resources, His power, His love, His Spirit, that’s now, the moment you trust in Christ, and forever.
And then finally, it’s interesting, not only does He legally declare you as a son or daughter and say that you’re now an heir with full privileges, but He says there is a new mandate from God. And he says, “Be careful to do good works,” that’s like a new vocation.
He says, “You’re never saved by works, but once you are saved, when you, at a certain time on a certain day, turn from your sin, and receive the grace of God,” he says, “your new job description is you’re like an ambassador. You’re like an agent of light, an agent of love. It’s Jesus living in you, by His Spirit, directing you through His Word, encouraging you through His body.”
And when you wake up, there’s your neighborhood and you’re the agent of light. You’re at work, you’re the agent of light, there’s a need, you’re an agent of love. And the love of Christ and the light of Christ, you do good, and when you do good they glorify your Father who is in heaven and say, “Why would someone who doesn’t know me adopt me? Why would someone who doesn’t care loan me money? Why would someone who doesn’t care, and I totally disagree with him, treat me with dignity?”
Do you get it? It’s like Jesus has said, “I have given you the cure for cancer or I have given you the cure for HIV. And now you’re going to hoard it? Because people are dying. They’re dying all around you, their marriages are dying, their families are dying, they’re struggling in their finances, they are depressed, they drink too much, they take too many pills, they are discouraged.”
What do they need? They need to be delivered! They need to be delivered out of and delivered into, and how are they going to know that God cares? When you do good where you’re at, with who you know, just the way God made you.
God can change your neighborhood, your workplace, your home, your community. And I believe He will.
Now the question for you is, “What are you going to do?”
The question for some of you is, “When I went through what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ,” you realize, “I either don’t know for sure that I have that or I’m pretty sure I don’t.” You can’t do good out of your own strength for any amount of time.
God is good and when He lives in you, He will do good in you and then through you. And so your application is to let God do good for you and receive Him today as your Savior.