Titus 3.8-9 – A Solid Platform

The poem found in 3.4-7 lays out for us the foundational Christian truth that really, God has done and provided everything so that we can have everything. Today, Paul reinforces this and encourages Titus to platform his teaching on this, and for good reason…

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. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

Titus 3.8-9

These things seems to refer back to the truths found in vv.4-7, simply that God has provided everything we need for salvation. Paul insists that his young charge platform his teaching on this so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. This is not Paul going against salvation by faith alone, rather, saying look, now that you are saved by faith alone (so that those who have believed in God), this is how you show it (may be careful to devote themselves to good works).

This needs to be the focus of our teaching in churches and this needs to be the foundation for our individual Christian lives: our conduct demonstrates what we believe and have received. I read recently that faith alone saves, but faith that saves is never alone! Our theology is grace-based, our ethic is gratitude-in-action.

Paul goes on to say that we are to stay away from secondary and non-essential issues in the main teaching time of the church (remember the context, Paul is writing to Titus as the Pastor of this new church). Foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law can, in some contexts and settings, prove very interesting, thought provoking, and useful, but as the steady diet of the assembled church, a Christ-centered, God-honoring, Spirit-empowered teaching time is a must.

Really simply for you and for me, Titus 3.8-9 teaches us that the main thing must remain the main thing. Titus was left in Crete to put things in order and to build up the saints for the work of ministry (1.5 cf. Ephesians 4.10-12) and teaching sound doctrine, based on the truths of 3.4-7 is a great start.

2 Timothy 2.14 – Nobody Cares What You Think

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

Paul continues his instruction and encouragement to Pastor Timothy by telling him, basically, that you need to keep the main thing as the main thing.

He writes that Timothy is to remind them of these thingsthese being the core tenets of the Gospel in vv.8-13.

When the church gathers, when God’s people assemble together, it is the Word of God that must be first and foremost. The Gospel message of reconciliation to God through remission of sins through faith in Jesus must be present above and beyond everything else. These things must be more important than quarrelling about words, which Paul says is good for nothing and eventually leads to ruining the hearers.

Just pause and think – when you go to church, what do you want to hear?

You don’t want to hear a guy stand up and tell you everything he thinks about how you should live.

You don’t want to hear someone read the Bible then proceed to tell you everything they think about it.

You don’t want to be entertained but not equipped for life.

You want to go to church and be filled and fed by the Word of God.

You want to go to church and leave just a little bit firmer in your faith.

The truth of Jesus and the Word of God must be central for this to happen.

Romans 10.17 tells us that faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ. Here preached word means what it says, the preached word about and of God, of His Christ Jesus, and of the Holy Spirit.

So, Pastor, growth-group leader, kids church teacher, counsellor, Christian, nobody is that interested in what you think on any given subject. Perhaps, maybe, sometimes, people might ask for your opinions about secondary things. However, first and foremost, where you have the profound privilege of speaking into people’s lives, do so with these things, do so with the Gospel, do so with the Word of God.