PAUL’S EPISTLE TO TITUS
THE CHRISTIAN’S BEHAVIOUR
TEXT: TITUS 3:1-5
1. We have been studying the apostle Paul’s epistle to Titus, and we are now beginning our exposition of chapter 3.
2. This section deals with the Christian’s behaviour toward others – his conduct towards those in authority, and his conduct in relation to everyone.
3. Titus 2 touched upon the believer’s conduct in the church and in the home. Titus 3 deals with the Christian’s conduct in society at large.
4. Society and government are usually quite pagan. Paul gives practical instructions as to how we are to conduct ourselves in a way that is pleasing to God.
I. OUR BEHAVIOUR TOWARD OTHERS (3:1, 2)
1. Christians are citizens of two countries – one is down here and the other is up in heaven.
2. While we are down here we must respect and obey those in authority over us (Titus 3:1, 2).
3. Harry Ironside said the Christian “must not plead heavenly citizenship in order to free himself from his responsibilities as an earthly citizen. The same apostle who wrote to the Philippians, ‘Our citizenship is in heaven,’ declared himself a Roman citizen on more than one occasion, and claimed rights thereby” (Titus).
4. Christianity makes better citizens of people.
5. The Cretans were a rebellious people and hostile to those in authority (cf. Titus 1:12, 13).
6. Back in the apostolic era, the Roman Empire governed the world. When Paul wrote his epistles, Nero was the emperor. Nero was a wicked and cruel man but nevertheless Christians were to respect his authority (cf. Rom. 13:1-4).
7. First Peter 2:13, 14 says, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
8. There is only one Biblical exception, and that is if the government commands us to disobey God. Daniel continued to pray, even though they passed a law in Babylon against it. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to the golden image.
9. In Acts 5:29 we read, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
10. “To be ready to every good work” (Titus 3:1b). We are not saved by our works, but if we are truly saved we will work.
11. James 2:18-20 says, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
12. We often quote Ephesians 2:8, 9 but let us not forget verse 10. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).
13. Titus 3:2 says we are “to speak evil of no man.” Titus 3:1 reminds us we should not speak evil of those in authority. This does not mean they cannot be criticized or exposed when they are wrong.
14. Our Lord referred to the religious leaders of His day as hypocrites, blind guides, fools, whited sepulchres, serpents, and generation of vipers (Matthew 23).
15. In Luke 13:32, our Lord called Herod a fox, and He did not mean it as a compliment.
16. You may recall the time the apostle Paul called the high priest Ananias a “whited wall” (Acts 23:3). “And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest?” (Acts 23:4). When Paul discovered that Ananias was the high priest he apologized, saying, “I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people” (Acts 23:5).
17. The Christian is to be “gentle” and “meek” (Titus 3:2). Paul was gentle before Festus and King Agrippa. He addressed Festus as “most noble Festus” in Acts 26:25.
18. The Christian is to be meek (Titus 3:2). Meekness is not weakness. Moses was meek. Numbers 12:3 says, “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”
19. Our Lord said in Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
II. OUR BEHAVIOUR BEFORE WE WERE SAVED
1. There is a contrast here. Titus 3:3 says, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish…” Then in verse 4 Paul says, “But after that…”
2. First Paul describes the way we were before we were saved (Titus 3:3). This verse emphasizes the transforming power of “the kindness and love of God our Saviour” (3:4) in the life of a believer. This kindness and love is the grace of God (cf. 2:11).
3. When we recall the way we were before God saved us, it ought to make us more patient and gentle toward the lost (3:3).
· Foolish – lacking in spiritual discernment. Romans 1:22 says, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
· Disobedient – sinners have no qualms about disobeying God’s laws.
· Deceived – sinners are easily led astray; deceived by false religion and false teachings like socialism, communism, evolution, global warning, etc.
· Serving divers lusts and pleasures – sinners are slaves to sin.
· Living in malice – some people are always angry (e.g., “road rage”). Malice has been defined as “that evil attitude of mind which manifests itself in ill-will and desire to injure” (D. Edmond Hiebert, Titus and Philemon).
· Envy “begrudges others their good fortune” (Hiebert). Proverbs 27:4 says, “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” Acts 7:9 says, “And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him.” King Saul was envious of David and tried to kill him. Matthew 27:18 says Pontius Pilate knew that for envy the Jewish leaders had delivered Christ to be crucified.
· Hateful, and hating one another – Hiebert said, “Their detestable character and malignant disposition aroused mutual repulsion and antagonism” (Titus and Philemon).
III. OUR BEHAVIOUR AFTER WE WERE SAVED
1. What a sharp contrast between verses 3 and 4!
2. Salvation is all by the “kindness and love of God our Saviour” (3:4). It is not based on our good works, but according to God’s mercy (3:5).
3. “Saved” is past tense. Many religious people have no assurance of salvation, but those that have been regenerated and renewed by the Holy Spirit know they are saved.
4. The same word “washing” is found in Ephesians 5:26. The Spirit of God takes the Word of God and transforms a sinner into a child of God.
5. “By the Word” in Ephesians 5:26 means we are sanctified and cleansed by the Word. Our Lord said in John 15:3, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
6. Psalm 119:9 says, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
7. First Peter 1:23 says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
8. Despite these and many other Scriptures, some people insist that the “washing” in Titus 3:5 refers to baptism. Baptism is symbolic and should follow regeneration.
9. Baptism is an outward sign of the inward reality. In the New Testament, conversion and baptism are closely connected, but the Bible does not teach “baptismal regeneration.”
10. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15, 16).
11. There is also a distinction between regeneration and renewal (Titus 3:5). The renewing work of the Holy Spirit began when we were regenerated, and it will continue till we get to heaven.
12. Romans 12:1, 2 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
13. Regeneration takes place one time. Renewal is a continuous experience. It is the development and extension of regeneration. “It is the continuing work of the Spirit” (Hiebert).
1. I will not be able to say much about Titus 3:6 tonight. The Holy Spirit was “shed on us abundantly” (poured out) when we were saved.
2. This also has reference to the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
3. Note the Trinity – “God our Saviour” (3:4), the Holy Ghost (3:5), and “Jesus Christ our Saviour” (3:6).
4. In Titus 3:6 – “Which” (Holy Spirit, cf. vs. 5); “he” (God, cf. vs. 4); and “Jesus Christ our Saviour.”