How church families can have harmony – Titus 3:9-15, Part 5

16 Aug

Are you a person of grace? Or is giving grace hard for you? As we conclude this series on Titus 3:9-15, we get a peek into the church family that Paul was a part of.  See verses 12-13.  There he mentions his friends who were members of his ministry network, in which he was sending people here and there to serve the needs of the various churches.  Who were these various people?  What did they do?  We don’t know a whole lot.  Artemas is mentioned only here.  Tychichus, however, is mentioned in numerous other letters.  Zenas is mentioned only here.  Apollos is missionary teacher like Paul, who appears in many places throughout the New Testament writings. 

What we do know, though, is that in verse 12, Paul really wants Titus to return to him.  You can see how important Titus was to him.  Titus will only be at Crete a short while after receiving this letter.  Also in verse 13, Paul says Titus and the people in Crete should help these ministers Paul mentions and see they have what they need. Then in verse 14, Paul continues the thought from what he says in verse 13: Christians should be productive to help support those in need. 

There are a number of principles, then, in verses 12-14:

First, devote yourselves to doing good.  We have seen this how many times now in Titus?  Paul repeats it again.  That means there should be no question about what flows out of Christian lives.  God’s goodness should be clear, abundantly clear in our lives. 

Second, Be mindful of the needs of others.  Paul says, “see that they have everything they need.”  Christians are distinctly other-minded.  This doesn’t mean that we neglect ourselves, but it does mean that we look out for and are aware of the needs of others.  Especially in our own church family.  Paul was asking the Christians in Crete to provide for those in need.  In that case it was the needs of his missionary friends.  But this can and should be expanded.  We are a church family that cares for one another.

The last two principles are very related: Provide for daily necessities and Live a productive life. These are very earthy.  Christianity speaks to the nitty-gritty of work and paying the bills and making ends meet.  Boring?  Maybe, but important.  Foundational, even, is the daily work of life, to the mission of the Kingdom of God.  Your washing dishes, mowing the lawn, and working your job are injected with meaning.  I get it that work can be dull sometimes, even soul-sucking.  But no matter what you do, when you see your work from God’s eyes, it is transformed into something vital.  I’m not just talking about paying jobs.  I’m talking about volunteering.  About the chores at home.  Yes, kids, even cleaning your rooms, cleaning toilets or whatever your parents consider to be chores. 

Finally, in verse 15, Paul shares greetings and grace.  He says, “Greet those who love us in the faith.”  Here Paul is focusing on encouraging the church who he had spent time with.  And lastly, he offers grace to all.  Grace has been a theme throughout Titus.  So vital.  Grace from Christ, that transforms.

Grace is favor, good will, from God. We don’t deserve it.  We didn’t earn it.  God gives it, and thus learn from God and give grace to the people in our lives. 

Giving grace can be costly.  It sure was for Jesus.  Who do you need to be gracious to?  Who is it that you perhaps don’t want to be gracious to? 

What will it look like for you shower grace on the people around you?  I think some personalities have a hard time with grace.  For others it is easy.  No matter if it is difficult for you, grace is the goal.  Practice grace to the people in your church family, even those who are difficult for you. Is there someone you need to give grace to even today?  Someone you need to make things right with?  Someone you need to confess to?  So often we just let things go and never deal with them.  I urge you not to avoid this.  Instead go to a person, make things right, be gracious.

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