Titus 3:13-15Amplified Bible
13 Do your best to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they are supplied and lack nothing. 14 Our people must learn to do good deeds to meet necessary demands [whatever the occasion may require], so that they will not be unproductive.
15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with all of you.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
These verses are Paul’s final exhortations in the book of Titus.
Paul is saying to this church leader help people to devote themselves to doing good works, and then he uses this phrase in Titus 3:14,
“so as to help cases of urgent need”.
Let that soak in, an urgent need.
Take some time to ponder the day to day stuff about your life in this moment.
Ponder and take some time to recognize where is there urgent need around you in your life, in your own family, in your church, in your community, in the city around you? Just kind of broaden it. Where is there urgent need in the world?
We are entering into the seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas – How does this wee little tidbit of information stir up your heart and your soul and life?
First thoughts might turn to filling local church pantries, donating necessary items to local emergency or long term shelters – preparing and serving food.
Are we familiar with Operation Christmas Child – https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/
There are always a host of charitable organizations to connect ourselves with.
Except the inevitable question are …. do we, will we – but not just one or twice a year depending on whether there is a major holiday or Christian celebrations?
Hours of service volunteering our services ought not to be determined that way.
God’s Word here revealed in Paul’s Letter to Titus, a Church Leader, is calling us to open wide our eyes to “urgent need” and to devote ourselves to good works.
Devote ourselves to good works – where ever and when ever God presents them.
You and I are not here by chance but by God’s choosing.
You did not invent yourself, nor did you have any part in your own creation.
You were intricately knit together in the womb (Psalm 139:13).
The hand of God formed us to be the people that we are; He created you and me at the very exact moment that He desired, and He has placed you and I at this exact point in history so that we, in Christ, by grace, through faith, might do good deeds—good deeds which He has planned for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
In other words, we have received grace upon grace that we might do good work.
While the concept of “doing good works” is not foreign to anyone, and may not be our very first morning thought when we consider the impact on ourselves of God’s transforming grace, it was virtually number one on the apostle Paul’s list.
In his very brief letter to Titus, he writes him and his church that God, in Christ Jesus, “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14, emphasis added).
This emphasis appears several times throughout the letter, culminating in Paul’s closing exhortation:
“Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works.”
Paul’s particular zeal for good works was and is completely countercultural, both in his day and in our own.
We live in a 21st century world full of enticements to pursue self-centered lives of solitary leisure. How, then, are we to imitate Paul and excel in good deeds?
First, we need to ponder, recognize, be clear our pursuit of good deeds does not, cannot earn God’s favor. We do not do good to be saved but because we’re saved.
Without grace as its foundation, the call to virtuous living is pure externalism and will either exhaust us or puff us up.
Second, we need to remember that our pursuit of good deeds does bring God pleasure; we live “not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
So, we to ponder and recognize living a life to be marked by God-honoring, Christ-exalting goodness as a true, living testimony to our great salvation.
Recognize also that our ability to do good is also, Paul says, a learned behavior.
We are called to “learn to devote” ourselves to goodness.
Our actions should not just be the result of an emotional surge or come about only when we feel like it.
Instead, we all are to endeavor on a daily basis to do the kingdom work that God has planned for each one of us, recognize, and do it intentionally and habitually.
We must ponder, recognize opportunities for Kingdom Works for new believers.
Train those new to the faith to be confident, take courage and to let them know there is a definite place for them to exercise and energize their quickened lives.
Get them Started – Get them Inspired – Get them Energized – Set them on Fire for God – then release them – then Unleash them upon an unsuspecting need.
And we are to look at those further on in their faith who live this kind of life and seek to learn from them – be mentored – be groomed by God for greater works.
John 14:10-12Amplified Bible
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you I do not say on My own initiative or authority, but the Father, abiding continually in Me, does His works [His attesting miracles and acts of power]. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe [Me] because of the [very] works themselves [which you have witnessed]. 12 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me [as Savior] will also do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these [in extent and outreach], because I am going to the Father.
In our Savior Christ, all of our days and all of our deeds will one day be good and beneficial, 100% divinely blessed for that someone, for something, somewhere.
Learn to recognize “God Opportunities” – Learn to begin each day asking for His help to do good to others as a response to His grace to you, trusting that He will 100% graciously enable you to give evidence of your beliefs by your actions.
Everyday is always a very great day to open wide our eyes and our souls and our hands to the “urgent needs” of others, devoting ourselves to doing good works.
Titus 3:14 Reminds Each of Us That There Are Always Going to be MANY Urgent Needs
God in his word is calling us to open our eyes to urgent need.
He’s telling us to devote ourselves to good works in order to help in cases of urgent need.
I watch television, I watch the news – both local and national and global.
I am on the internet and from all this I certainly see urgent needs on a local, national and global scale and my heart is “strangely warmed and stirred up.”
So obviously I don’t know what’s going on in your specific life and your specific community, but on a global scale when I see places where there’s no gospel in the world, I truly recognize that there is definitely all manner of urgent needs.
There’s people right now that are dying and going to an eternity separated from God who’ve never even heard about the gospel.
That’s urgent need.
People who don’t have the gospel, people who don’t have water, like clean water, that’s urgent need.
I was just seeing statistics about disease epidemics in many different countries due to a definite lack of clean and safe drinking water. That’s urgent need.
I think about places where there’s no food, where starvation is a reality.
People don’t just say kind of casually, “Oh, I’m starving”, because they want a meal. That’s actually a reality. People are starving to death. That’s urgent need.
I think about orphans who don’t have a family. That’s urgent need.
I think about people who are oppressed and persecuted around the world and every day being abused, mistreated, broken, even killed. That’s urgent need.
Just to take a few moments to think about it, we can obviously get overwhelmed recognizing about what God presents to us as “urgent need,” but the picture is there’s a very real sense in which we should be driven and a way driving us to devote ourselves to good works in a world of urgent need, to not be unfruitful.
Titus 3:3-8Amplified Bible
3 For we too once were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various sinful desires and pleasures, spending and wasting our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared [in human form as the Man, Jesus Christ], 5 He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we have done, but because of His own compassion and mercy, by the cleansing of the new birth (spiritual transformation, regeneration) and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out richly upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so we would be justified [made free of the guilt of sin] by His [compassionate, undeserved] grace, and that we would be [acknowledged as acceptable to Him and] made heirs of eternal life [actually experiencing it] according to our hope (His guarantee). 8 This is a faithful and trustworthy saying; and concerning these things I want you to speak with great confidence, so that those who have believed God [that is, those who have trusted in, relied on, and accepted Christ Jesus as Savior,] will be careful to participate in doing good and honorable things. These things are excellent [in themselves] and profitable for the people.
Paul reminded Titus that at one time they were fully foolish and utterly ungodly—“disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.”
Ouch! That was probably a sharp and painful reminder stuck into their ribcages.
Paul also would have surely insisted that we be included in that description too!
But then “the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,” and now through God’s power and because of our Savior Jesus Christ, we can all be transformed!
God always does the unexpected.
He comes to us with kindness and love, for he is “God our Savior,” who “saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”
I recall that the German philosopher Nietzsche hated Christianity with a great passion because it encouraged all manner of human kindness to all humanity.
He rejected the biblical concept of love because, he said, it always drained the strong people among them by making them kind, driving them to waste their time, energies and resources on the lepers, cripples, and the oppressed people.
How thankful we can be that God comes to us with kindness in his heart and in his hands.
We need a God who is loving and compassionate and kind beyond all measure.
We have a Savior who is compassionate and merciful and kind beyond measure!
We have a Holy Spirit who intercedes on our behalf 24 hours a day – every day!
What’s more, our nations, our communities, and our families constantly need a Savior in Christ, people who are willing to “waste their energy” by being kind.
Let’s see how many people we can “waste our energies” and be kind to today.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
God, we pray that the commentary on our lives in a world of urgent need right around us and then on a global scale, that it would not be said of our lives that we were unfruitful. Lord, we want to be fruitful in a world of urgent need. Lord, help us to be fruitful. We want that to be said of our lives and of our families. Help us to devote ourselves to good works. God, we pray for that in your church today. We are so tempted, we’re so tempted to use so many of our resources in our lives, our families and our churches on ourselves, so we pray for a devotion to thy compassion, good works in the world around us to mark our churches.
Savior Jesus, We pray that we would be a fruitful people who are helping cases of urgent need for the glory of your name. Urgent physical need and urgent spiritual need. We know that the most urgent need anyone in the world has right now is to hear the gospel, to believe in Christ, and to receive salvation from sins. God, help us to devote ourselves to that good work, sharing that good news. Then as we do that, God, help us to devote ourselves to all sorts of good works. To help cases of urgent need so that it would be said of us, oh God, may it be said of us that our lives, our families, our churches were fruitful for the glory of your name in a world of urgent need. In Savior Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.