Like a DVD or Blu ray you buy for movies. There’s always to “Director’s cut”, “Extended Edition”, deleted scenes and extras. So what’s the movie? I thought I’d put in a post here about the sermon series on Titus – Family Matters in a similar way. Our church went through a sermon series on Titus over the last 3 weeks. The book is interconnected and a build up towards the end. It’s best to go through all 3 sermons if you’ve missed any of it. So here goes the “movie extras”…
- Why I Left You Titus [Titus 1:1-16] (Pastor Steven Tran)
- Declare These Things [Titus 2:1 – 3:3] (Mario Cheng)
- Remind them to be… [Titus 3:1-15] (Mervin Chiang)
In chapter 3, I wanted to use the following “in-Bible” illustrate as well to show how Paul himself rebuke when required and avoided foolish conflict all to push the “good works” that is the gospel agenda.
“I’ll show you how Paul deals with it in Acts. Here’s a quick condensed version of events from Acts chapter 13 to 16. The 2 min version. So stay with me.
Paul’s first mission out had been generally successful and mainly to the Gentiles. The non-Jews. As early as chapter 13 there was a division brewing. As he travelled through the region the Jews started to add to the gospel, causing conflict and saying if you want to truly become Christian you must circumcise. Hence they were called the circumcision party. Paul knows this was wrong doctrine. At first he just escaped them and avoided the issue. Then he wrote the book of Galatians to address it, but eventually by the tail end of Chapter 14 it escalated to a point that he had to call a council meeting to address this problem head on. Did we or did we not have to circumcise to be a Christian? Have a read of Chapter 15 at your own time about this Jerusalem Council meeting. In short, thankfully we don’t! But here’s the shocking thing. Almost immediately after the meeting in Acts Chapter 16 verse 3 (coming up on the screen) “Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and… circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.” Wait what? Didn’t Paul just fought for no circumcision? It’s truly a “what the…” moment.
You see, Paul had a greater goal in mind. He knew that if he didn’t circumcise Timothy, the Jewish people he reaches out to along the way would get so distracted by Timothy’s lack of circumcision that they totally miss the Gospel message. Timothy would become such a centre for foolish conflict he cannot carry on the ministry. That is why he did it. It had nothing to do with the act itself. He had the profitable good works in mind.
Paul sums up his actions in 1 Corinthians 10:31 – 11:1. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that.. they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
The following are inspired content that helped me greatly in 2014 to grasp this concept of “Devotion to good works” as a Christian. As a recap, “devotion to good words” by Paul paraphrased means: “Give all or most of one’s time to good works is Paul’s instructions to the one who have believed in God.”
1. Crazy Love by Francis Chan – This book sums up a Christian’s view of God and why we must and can get with the “Family business”.
2. The Course of Your Life – At bible study last year, my group did this study over almost half a year and this also radically changed my outlook of my life and how I view and interact with this world as a Christian. An excerpt script from one of the training videos…
“…People have strange ideas about this. Some people think, for example, that being a Christian is like having God as one of your co-workers so that you get through your agenda really successfully and well. Becoming a Christian doesn’t change your life agenda—it just makes it easier to achieve because you have God on your side! This is pretty self-centered and a bit arrogant as well—as if we know better than our creator what is important and worth achieving in life!
But it’s a very common mindset, especially among Christians who haven’t really grasped what a radical thing it is to submit to Christ. Other people think that becoming a Christian, or getting more involved in church, is really about adding something to my agenda—perhaps something that was missing: the spiritual side of life that will make me a more rounded individual. It’s a bit like one of those important subjects you know you should get to in the meeting, but which always somehow falls down the list because of the business arising. And so there is a new agenda item called ‘Be involved in Christ and church-type stuff’. And you see it as your aim to try to move it up the agenda a bit more.
In fact, you might even think that the aim of this course is to get you to move the Christ and church stuff further up your agenda.