“These Things Are Good and Helpful”

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8 This saying is trustworthy. I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have put their faith in God may devote themselves to good actions. These things are good and helpful to other people. ​- Titus 3:8 ISV​

Paul started chapter three by asking Titus to remind the church at Crete of certain things, such as  ”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 always to be gentle toward everyone.”  In verses 2 and 3 ,he reminds them of how they used to act and in verses 4-9, he tells them why they should act differently now and in the future.  They have been saved from the wrath to come, redeemed from their sins and justified by the grace of God.  They are now heirs of God with the hope of eternal life. The same is true for us today. Because God has placed the Holy Spirit in us as an earnest of this hope, we can be sure of its fulfillment. These things still need to be stressed in today’s world, so that we will also devote ourselves to “doing what is good”.   Jesus said that He did the works of the Father and in the book of Acts, we read this verse:

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. ​ —  Acts 10:38 

So, “doing what is good” means to follow the example of what Jesus did while He was here on earth. The “works of the Father” are accomplished by living a lifestyle modeled after Jesus. A list of “works” would be very long but would definitely include witnessing and disciplining. We can’t do these works alone but, just as Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, so are we.
Ask God today, what “good works” He has planned and proposed for your life. Then be obedient in following the leadership of the Holy Spirit in accomplishing those “good works” . Do not become disappointed if you don’t see immediate results. Just remember three things:
1. Not everyone accepted the message when Jesus gave it, so not everyone will accept it from you.
2. We are not responsible for the results, that is the work of the Holy Spirit.
3. Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, we are witnessing for good or for evil, which one will we choose?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“We Ourselves Were Once Foolish”

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3 After all, we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, and misled. ​ – Titus 3:3a ISV​

Titus 3:1-7 ISV

When we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we experienced a new birth, not physically, but spiritually.  At that time, we are or were new babies in Christ. Just as physical babies have to learn to crawl, stand, and walk before they can run, so we must do that spiritually. For a baby to grow and mature, the baby needs a proper diet along with proper care and training.  We need the same things as new babies in Christ.  The process of growing up spiritually is called renewal.  We are being renewed daily as we are led by the Holy Spirit.  The more we seek God’s wisdom and the more we allow the Holy Spirit to influence our lives, the faster we will grow.  The physical baby grows physically and in time becomes an adult. At some point, our physical growth will reach its limit, whether it be at four feet, five feet, six feet or more.  The spiritual baby grows spiritually and matures.  That growth is limited only by our willingness to be obedient and exercise spiritually every day. We will never be totally perfected here on earth.  So, we must never think that there is not more to learn. If we reach that point, it is pride not perfection. When we become judgmental of others, we need to be reminded that we used to be like that and to some extent, we are still like that and always will be. Any difference in us and the world is because of God’s great love and mercy, not because of any goodness in us.  We need to show that same love to others. To do less is to limit what God can do for us and through us.

40  How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,and grieved Him in the desert! 41  Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. — Psalm 78:40-41 NKJV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“It Trains Us”

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12 It trains us to renounce ungodly living and worldly passions so that we might live sensible, honest, and godly lives in the present age – Titus 2:12 ISV 

Titus 2:11-14 ISV

We who have accepted Jesus are saved by grace through faith.  That offer is made available to everyone.  Once we accept the gift of salvation, there will be a change in the desires of our hearts. Worldly, material things will mean less and less to us as we allow the Holy Spirit to change us.  There will be things that we used to do, that will no longer hold any attraction for us. Whereas, before the flesh was in control and we followed after the things of the flesh, now, the Spirit is in control and we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  We now want to live a lifestyle that is upright and Godly.  If we have truly repented and turned from our sins, we will now focus on Jesus and use His lifestyle as an example for us to follow.  As Christians, we have a living God and Savior, a claim that no religion can make.  We have a high Priest who became flesh and has endured the same temptations that we endure.  Our hope, the hope of an eternity with Jesus, cannot be offered by any religion.  God, as Jesus, gave Himself to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify us. This purification process starts after we accept Him and continues as long as we are in the flesh.  We are being changed from “me first” creatures to “Jesus first, others second and us last”  images of the living God. The death and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the law and brought the dispensation of grace.  There are those who will choose not to believe, but others will believe and turn to the Lord,  It is God’s desire that everyone should be saved and transformed into His image.

15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. — 2 Cor. 3:15-18 NIV

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“He Revealed His Message”

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 3 At the right time he revealed his message through the proclamation that was entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior. ​ – Titus 1:3 ISV​

Titus 1:1-4 ISV

Not much is known about Titus, except that he is of Greek descent.  He is mentioned in only 4 books of the Bible. Paul calls him “my true son in the faith” and “my fellow worker”.  The same phrases that Paul used to describe Timothy. Just as Paul wrote letters of encouragement and instructions to the churches, he also wrote letters of encouragement and instructions to Timothy and Titus. He showed the same care and concern for individuals as he did for the churches he had established. The purpose of these letters was to further the faith of the elect and to instruct them in their knowledge of the truth.  Just as surely as God had His missionaries teaching the Gospel, satan had his disciples trying to tear it down with confusing and divisive stories.  It was true then and it is still true today.  That is why we need to spend time in disciplining new converts and being sure that they are well established in the faith and will be able to continue on to good works. We need to be sure that they understand that God is THE truth and that God is love, then they will not be easily shaken or deterred from leading others to Christ.  If we do this job well, the Kingdom of God will continue to grow and God will be given honor and glory. By doing this, we will be fulfilling our purpose here on earth, which is to bring glory to God.

20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. — Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Give Thanks In All Circumstances”

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18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:18 ISV 

1 Thess. 5:16-25 ISV

If we rejoice all the time, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances, that doesn’t leave us any time to be idle. Of course, we can’t literally do these things all the time, but we can develop habits that will allow us to spend more time actually doing these things.  We can take all of our thoughts captive and bring them into submission under Jesus Christ.

5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.         – 2 Cor. 10:5 NIV

When we find our thoughts wandering into areas that lead us into temptation, doubt and worry, we need to immediately bring them back into submission. If we do this, then we will always have an attitude of gratitude.  We will always be in an attitude of prayer regardless of what we are doing physically.  We are not bound by our circumstances or feelings, but by our knowledge of Jesus Christ and who we are in Him.  When we feel those little nudges of the Holy Spirit, we will be ready to act on them and do what God is asking us to do minute by minute. We will also find that our days are full of peace and joy as we are being sanctified daily by the Holy Spirit.  We cannot do this in the flesh, God knows that.  But the God that called us to repentance is able and He is faithful to finish what He has started in our lives. We are saved by grace through faith and we must live our daily lives walking by faith.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Be Patient With Everyone”

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14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.— 1 Thess 5:14, 15 NIV

We pray and ask God to bless the work of our hands, but if we aren’t doing anything with our hands, there is nothing for God to bless. If we are doing the works of our Father, then He certainly will bless the works of our hands. We do need to be full time Christians, but that doesn’t mean we have to be employed by the church or a mission organization,  God needs workers in the workplace. Our vocation and how we support our families is important to God.  He has placed us in secular organizations to spread His Word there.  Jesus was a friend to sinners and we can use that example in our workplaces.  We can build bridges by encouraging the disheartened and helping those that are weak.  Each of us have areas in our lives that are weak and need developing.  We need to look for those weak areas in those around us.  Not so that we can criticize the other person, but so that we will be able to encourage them and build them up. When we find them, we need to pray for them and  marinate those weak areas in prayer.  We need to pray for discernment for ourselves, so that we can be specific in our prayers for others. Then with love, patience and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we can help them develop their weak areas.

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. — Eph. 4:32 NIV 

As the old adage goes, “No one cares what you know, until they know that you care”. Our lifestyles will let them know whether or not we really care . So, above all, we must live our lives so that they see Jesus in us everyday.

17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—​yes, establish the work of our hands.– Psalm 90:17 NIV​


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Hold Them In the Highest Regard”

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12 Brothers, we ask you to show your appreciation for those who work among you, set an example for you in the Lord, and instruct you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard, loving them because of their work. Live in peace with each other.  – 1 Thess. 5:12-13 ISV

We are instructed to pray for and respect those that are in leadership positions and have authority over us. This is true in the natural and spiritual areas of our lives. It is God that has lifted them up or has allowed them to be lifted up to those positions. God can use these people, be they good or evil, to accomplish His plans and purposes. As long as their instructions to us do not violate man’s law or the Word of God, we should follow their directives.  So, it is imperative for us to pray for and support our pastoral staff as long as they hold to Biblical principles. Our support should not only be financial, but we should support them with our time and our presence at the activities they have planned for the church.  Love them, pray for them and  be there for them when they need someone. The leaders of the church are worthy of double honor. 

17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” — 1 Timothy 5:17-18

God has raised them up and if they are no longer worthy of that position, He is their judge and He will bring them down. We should live in peace, not only with the leaders of our congregation, but also with our brothers and sisters in our church, our community and throughout the world.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Encourage and Build”

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11 So then, encourage one another and build each other up, as you are doing.  ​- 1 Thess. 5:11 ISV

1 Thess. 5:4-11 ISV

We are saved by grace through faith, nothing else is required for salvation. That faith produces love and hope. Love because Jesus loved us enough to die for each one of us and His love shines through us to draw others to Himself.  It produces hope in a world where there is no other hope. The death and resurrection of Jesus assures us that we will not have to go through the wrath that is coming. We are saved from an eternity of punishment and  saved to an eternity of living together with Jesus. When we repented, we received Jesus as our Savior.  He not only wants to be our Savior but, He wants to be Lord of our lives as well.  This is necessary so that we allow Him to change us into His image. While salvation is instant, being changed is a lifelong process called sanctification. We are “set apart” to become holy. A part of this process is words and works that are worthy of the calling to be holy.  So, as Paul says here, we should encourage and build each other up.  We should also be doing the same things that Jesus did while He was here. This shows others that we believe in Jesus Christ and are committed to following His example.

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. — John 14:12-14 NIV


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else”

“Make It Your Goal”

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11 Also, make it your goal to live quietly, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you, – 1 Thess. 4:11 ISV

1 Thess. 4:9-11 ISV

God hates sin, all sins, but He loved sinners enough to send His Son to die for us. And not just die, but to be crucified cruelly and mocked publicly.  This is His example to us of how much we should love others, not just family and friends, but also strangers and enemies. The people that Paul was writing to at this time were those who gave of their resources to others who had needs and also gave to support Paul in his missionary work so that he could meet the spiritual needs of others and spread the gospel.   How do we show our love for Jesus? By being obedient and helping those in need.  Not just physical needs by giving of our resources, which we should do, but also giving of our time in caring for those with spiritual and emotional needs. A smile, a handshake, a hug, a word in season, a minute listening are all gifts that we can give each other and they are often much more appreciated than any monetary gift that we could give. These gifts we can give over and over since they don’t affect our budgets. So, we can do more and more.  We need to be very careful of how we spend the time God has given us. The majority of our time should be spent in doing those things that will win the respect of outsiders and build up the Kingdom of God. By making it a habit to do these things, we will soon find that it is our heart’s desire to do them more and more. Not only will we receive a great blessing here and now, but we will also be laying up treasures in heaven.
 

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matt. 6:19-21 NIV


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“For This Is the Will of God”

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 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;– 1 Thess. 4:3 ISV

1 Thess. 4:1-5 ISV

Paul, in his letters, to the churches reminds them of the things he has taught them about how to live a Christian lifestyle. He continually encourages them to study, to pray for and encourage each other.  These letters were written to churches whose members understood persecution.  They lived with it every day. He was a great example to them because of all the beatings and persecutions that he endured on an almost daily basis.  We don’t have to face those types of offenses every day like they did. But, the temptations of the flesh that Paul warns them against are just as real today as they were then.  As long as we are on this earth, we will be tempted to sin. But, we are also told that we will never be tempted above that which we can bear and there is always a way out, if we want to avoid the sin badly enough. Our flesh tempts in some many areas, we can sin when we gossip, when we hate others, when we withhold our abundance of worldly goods from those around us, when we see others hurting and don’t take the time to comfort them. When we think unkind thoughts about others, even though we don’t say the words, the harm is done to us and our relationship with God. The world is a cesspool of temptations for the flesh.  All of these sins are outside the body, except for sexual sin, which defiles the temple of the living God, Our bodies were created by God to glorify God.  When we participate in illicit sexual activity, whether in thought or action, our bodies and souls are bound with those bodies and desecrate the Temple.

15 Surely you know that your bodies are parts of Christ himself. So I must never take the parts of Christ and join them to a prostitute! 16 It is written in the Scriptures, “The two will become one body.” So you should know that anyone who joins with a prostitute becomes one body with the prostitute. 17 But the one who joins with the Lord is one spirit with the Lord.. — 1 Cor. 6:15-17 NC

So, we must be careful to avoid all temptations, but, especially sexual temptations.  So, when you feel that nudge to walk away from a situation, don’t just walk away, Run!

18 So run away from sexual sin. Every other sin people do is outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies. 19 You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you. You have received the Holy Spirit from God. So you do not belong to yourselves, 20 because you were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies. — 1 Cor. 6:18-2​0

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous