“Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others.” (v14)
He Saved Us Because of His Mercy – Titus 3:1-15
“He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (v5)
? Main Idea: Because of His mercy, God saves us to do what is good. Do you comprehend the depth of God’s mercy, so that your life overflows with doing what is good? A classical hymn (1958) says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days, all the days of my life.” This is the happy testimony of every Christian who has ever tasted the mercy and grace of God.
1. Good Works is a major theme, or topic, of the Pastoral Epistles, especially in Titus. Gordon Fee says, ”The dominant theme in Titus … is good works … that is, exemplary Christian behavior, and that for the sake of outsiders” and “in contrast to the false teachers.” It is “the recurring theme of the entire letter.”
a. However, our good works, or goodness, always follows our realization of God’s goodness, mercy and grace; our goodness is never the basis of God’s goodness to us.
2. In Titus 2:1-15, we learned that grace is the key that unlocks the Bible, that the grace of God is the key to our salvation. Titus 3:1-15 explains why our salvation is entirely due to God’s mercy, and not to anything we have done. God’s mercy is the basis, the impetus, the motivation, the foundation, and the driving force behind doing what is good. Let us think about the who, why and how of doing good as a Christian:
Who we do good to (Titus 3:1-2): to authorities and all people.
Why we do good (Titus 3:3-8): we are sinners saved only by God’s mercy.
How we do good (Titus 3:9-15): dealing with problem people and good people.
Please note, the word “Good” is used 4 times in this chapter
I. Who We Do Good To (Titus 3:1-2)
1 Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. 2 They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
1. Rulers and Authorities. Christians should be Subject and obedient to them as God’s servant (Acts 17:11); “always ready to do what is good.” …Yet we live to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). In our hearts we fear God, not man (Pro 29:25). Titus should remind them (Titus 3:1a) to live as good citizens. The Christian life needs constant reminders (1 Cor 15:1-2; 2 Pet 1:12-13; 1 Jn 2:21). The Bible stresses the importance of the reminding ministry.
2. Everyone. We should be reminded often that our attitude and disposition toward all people should be that of Christ’s attitude and disposition toward us. What should a Christian’s behavior be in public life?
4 Christian attitudes which are universal in application:
not slander anyone
show true humility
II. Why We Do Good (Titus 3:3-8)
3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. 4 But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.
? “Why” may be the most important question in the Bible? Why do we do what we do? Why should Christians be subject to ungodly rulers and authorities and be generous, gracious and good toward all people everywhere? If we do so simply because the Bible says so, it will likely not be sustainable. “The Bible says it, that settles it” may be a cute axiom. But some elaboration and explanation is needed, if not preferable and necessary.
Paul explains 6 Components of our Salvation:
1. Need (Titus 3:3). Why do we need salvation? As “slaves to many lusts and pleasures,” we can’t save ourselves. “Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.” Read each descriptive adjective, verb and noun, and deeply realize how no human being can ever deliver himself or herself. We need a Savior!
2. Origin (Titus 3:4). What is the origin of our salvation? It is entirely because the “kindness and love” of God our Savior has appeared in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. “Kindness,” “love,” “mercy” (Titus 3:5) and “grace” (Titus 3:7) are 4 tremendous words that reveal that salvation originated in the heart of God, who took the initiative and intervened on our behalf to save us at great cost to himself.
3. Ground (Titus 3:5a). What does our salvation rest on? What are the grounds/basis of our salvation? It is entirely because of God’s mercy expressed in the cross, and not because of any goodness or righteousness in us…”not because of the righteous things we had done”
4. Means (Titus 3:5b-7a). What are the means of our salvation? How does our salvation come to us? Key words: washing; new birth; new life; Our salvation is clearly God’s work and God’s doing, through Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit. Though we should not confuse justification (our new status) and regeneration (our new birth), yet the work of Christ in justification and the work of the Spirit in regeneration are simultaneous. The order of redemption/salvation (ordo salutis) proposed by John Murray, Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminister Theological Seminary, (1 – 5 occurs simultaneously):
Regeneration (new birth)
Faith and Repentance
Justification (new status)
5. Goal (Titus 3:7b). What is the goal of our salvation? What does it lead to? Become heirs (Rom 8:17), certain “that we will inherit eternal life”
6. Evidence (Titus 3:8). What is the evidence/fruit of our salvation? How do we “prove” our salvation? Good works. We are always careful to devote ourselves to doing “what is good.”
? Works is not the root of our salvation, but the fruit of our salvation.
III. How We Do Good (Titus 3:9-15)
9 Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. 10 If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. 11 For people like that have turned away from the truth, and their own sins condemn them.
12 I am planning to send either Artemas or Tychicus to you. As soon as one of them arrives, do your best to meet me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to stay there for the winter. 13 Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos with their trip. See that they are given everything they need. 14 Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.
15 Everybody here sends greetings. Please give my greetings to the believers—all who love us. May God’s grace be with you all.
- Avoid foolish controversies (Titus 3:9). This is not a prohibition of all theological controversy. It is a choice to live with wisdomI
- Warn divisive people (Titus 3:10-11). We have to do good to the church by helping correct those who divide others.
- Oversee/Steward God’s church (Titus 3:12a). Paul was always leading, always seeking to do good for the church.
- Support /Help God’s people so that they have everything they need (Titus 3:13). “Do everything you can to help..” Paul is challenging all of us to help others.
- Disciple God’s people to be financially responsible and to live profitable lives (Titus 3:14). How the church see the need and role to help others.
- Promote True Fellowship (Titus 3:15). Greetings, Love, grace…let’s promote these type of things in our church.
Conclusion: Do you know and taste and experience the kindness, the love, and the mercy of God (Titus 3:4-5)?
To be kind to us sinners, God had to be very unkind to His Son.
To show us love, God had to withdraw his love from His Son.
To extend to us mercy, God had to be merciless toward His own Son.
God’s love for His Son is pure and perfect…So that He can extend to us kindness, love and mercy. When we taste God’s kindness, love and mercy, our selfishness dissipates, and we want more than anything else to give ourselves to “doing what is good” (Titus 3:8).