Be Ready for Every Good Work
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The Christian's Responsibility in a Pagan Society Part 1
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: Being Good
Sometimes it seems like no matter how often we've heard something, another reminder is in order. That's what our passage today suggests. "Remind them". Obviously these were things the Cretans knew or had heard before, but about which they needed to be reminded.
There are two reasons why these Christians especially might need to be reminded of these duties. First, the Cretans were notorious in the ancient world for their rebelliousness and insubordination. Second, new Christians, with their glorious new sense of loyalty to the Almighty God, might think the pretensions of human rulers of little consequence. Why should they obey petty human rulers when their allegiance is to the Triune God, the Maker of heaven and earth? But Christians have obligations as citizens of this world and it is particularly important that theymeet those obligations precisely because they are Christians. In the then current situation, the last thing the gospel needed was unnecessarily to be associated with political rebellion....
Not easy commandments to keep when you are surrounded by people whose view of life and of morals you are now convinced is profoundly wrong. Not easy commandments to keep when you are likely to be the butt of a great deal of negative comment by those who think your conversion to Christianity passing strange.
we are living in a sub-Christian America. We want to say we're Christians, we just don't want to commit to what Christianity is. Our Christianity has become hollow. We are clearly pagan but we wear the mask of religion.
It really is the unfortunate reality that we're living in a pagan culture, and it's so easy to get caught up in our cultural worldview and lose sight of a biblical perspective. But we need to keep this perspective in mind - our mission is to bring people to God. It is not to moralize the nation, it is to save the nation! That can only happen from the inside out. That doesn't mean that we don't care who becomes Prime Minister (or President, depending where you live), but it means that we shouldn't be spending all our energy into trying to legislate morality, but rather we need to realize that the issue is salvation. And a huge part of demonstrating the saving, transforming power of God is by living that transformed life. The way we live, among Christians and non-Christians, is crucial in order for our proclamation to be believable.
Then Paul lists some very practical ways in which to do so.
We need to be subject to rulers and authorities and obey them - whether they're good ones or bad (unless obedience means violating God's commands).
We need to be ready for every good work - we need to be aggressively good, purposefully good, intentionally good.
We are not to speak evil of anyone - pretty self explanatory. Note this doesn't mean we cannot confront people, but we need to do so in respect and with pure motives.
We are to avoid quarreling. We should not be hostile or argumentative, but rather peaceful and friendly. Again, this doesn't mean we never have confrontation when necessary - but we don't go looking for a fight.
We need to be gentle - kind, considerate, patient, and reasonable.
We need to show perfect courtesy - we don't fight for our rights, we don't have an agenda.
And we're supposed to do this for all people - that means everyone.
Rayburn finishes it off with a bit of a sucker punch....
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Titus 3:3-7