Google+ 06/06/13 Three Strikes and You're Out!!!

Titus 3:8-10

 

This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings

So that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good.

These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees

Or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws.

These things are useless and a waste of time.  

If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning.

After that, have nothing more to do with them.

 

Titus is a small epistle, tucked into the New Testament between 2nd Timothy and Philemon, that we would miss altogether if we weren’t looking for it!  Paul authored this epistle, along with twelve others, in the New Testament.  Titus was one of the young men who were the “many witnesses” to whom the apostle Paul committed the things given to him.  It was Paul’s intent that they would pass these teachings on to others.  Unlike Timothy who was half Jewish and half Gentile, Titus was of purely Gentile extraction.  Titus was trying to bring organization to the church on the island of Crete and to encourage Zenas and Apollos in their ministry journey.  Obviously, Titus was meeting with great opposition as he taught the message of Jesus.  Like many churches, Titus was experiencing the “my phylactery is bigger than your phylactery” syndrome.  Often we become so caught up in our degrees, that we forget that Jesus didn’t have one!  Paul calls these scholarly discussions foolish.  Paul is also very blunt to say that quarrels and fighting about obedience to Jewish laws are simply useless and a waste of time. It is here we should spend some time listening to Paul’s admonitions.  Both in our personal life and our church life, we need to stop wasting God’s time.  If we are truly listening to the Word of God and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, we will never be bored or idle.  God has a plan and He wants us to be His hands and feet, not His judge and jury.  We need to be actively evangelizing and discipling every day. If we do this, we have no time to waste.  Academic discussions become mute issues and do nothing but cause conflicts and divisions among God’s people.  Now, for the big finish from Paul!  According to Paul, if people are causing divisions and wasting God’s time, warn them.  Paul puts a limit on this warning process for good reason.  If we continually have to remind the same people to stop wasting God’s time, we will be guilty of doing the very same thing!  So, like baseball, Paul sets a limit.  Remember it, in dealing with people who are “dividers” rather than “uniters.”  Simply put, Paul says, “Three Strikes and You’re Out!!!”