Commentary by Walter and Dean Albritton
Set a Good Example by Doing the Right Thing
Titus 2:1 – 3:11
Key Verse: In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness. – Titus 2:7
Charles Barkley is well known for declaring that he is not a role model. A former professional basketball player, now TV sports commentator, he may make that choice. However, a disciple of Jesus Christ cannot. God expects every Christian to set a good example. Christians set good examples by doing good, by seeking in all circumstances to do the right thing!
Daniel Webster said, “If religious books are not widely circulated among the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be. If God and His Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy. If the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will. If the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.” The Prophet Jeremiah (2:7-8) said essentially the same thing:
“I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.” In verse 11 he says, “Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols.” The KJV renders this “that which doth not profit.”
To do the right thing one must look to the Word of God for direction on how to think. Paul said, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus spoke plainly to the Pharisees: “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him” (Matthew 12:34-35). So what is inside a person determines what comes out. Actions and deeds spring from what we have stored within us. In order to be ready to serve the Lord, we must pay attention to our thoughts, especially since Jesus said, “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew ).
Everyone desires what is profitable [valuable]. This does not always mean money. If Jeremiah is right and we know that he is, when we have the glory of God upon us, that is profitable to us and to all those who come in contact with us. In Titus, we have two of the most comprehensive statements of Christian truth to be found in the New Testament.
The first is found in Titus 2:11-14: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
The second can be found in Titus 3: 4-7. It is a powerful statement: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; That being justified by his Grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Observe that Paul goes on to say “And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone” (3:8).
Do you get tired of everyone talking at once on news broadcasts? Often I cannot understand anything that they are saying, so I turn the news off. My mother always said, “You can’t learn anything while you are talking.” We know a mother who always answers for her children. If you ask the child a simple question, the mother will answer. Sometimes for fun, we will keep on asking the children questions just to see how far the mother will go with her answers. Our lesson from Titus tells us to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone. This we must do even with those who never stop talking!
There is a story of a mother, father and their little son going into a restaurant. After they are seated, the cheerful server comes over and asks what she can bring them. The father gave her his order and then the mother told her what she would like. The little boy said quickly, “I’ll have a hotdog with mustard and a large coke.” The mother said, “No, bring him a vegetable plate with milk to drink.”
The server without batting an eye said to the little boy, “Do you want catsup on your hotdog?” He said. “Oh yes!” When the server left to go after the food the little boy said, “Wow, she thinks I am a real person.” How many people around you are cut off from expressing themselves? So many people want to be real people but the rudeness of those around them keeps them silent. The Holy Spirit works in an orderly way. The church must operate in an orderly fashion. Paul says, “there are many unruly and vain talkers.” Have you ever been in a meeting and you find yourself with your mouth open to say something and you can never find a time to say anything? The letter of Titus is so clear about how we are to treat each other. We can learn something from every person we meet if we will only give each person a chance to speak.
We are to avoid two things. First, avoid stupid controversies. If you do not know what this means, just turn on the news and listen to the controversies over war records. Paul’s advice is clear: “”But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable [worthless] and useless.” Second, avoid anyone who causes divisions with the church. “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.”
Paul’s concluding advice to Titus is good
advice for the church today: maintain
good works. Our church is to be “God’s
The profit in doing good? We find our eternal “profit” in the words of Jesus: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done” (Matthew -27). + + + + (Contact Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org)