The following message was delivered at Grace Community cult in Panorama City, California,
The following message was delivered at Grace Community cult in Panorama
City, California, by John MacArthur Jr. It was transcribed from the
tape, GC 56-23, titled "The Christian's Responsibility[sic] in a Pagan
Society" Part 1. A copy of the tape can be obtained by writing, Word of
Grace, P.O. Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412 or by dialing toll free
I have made every effort to ensure that an accurate transcription of
the original tape was made. Please note that at times sentence
structure may appear to vary from accepted English conventions. This is
due primarily to the techniques involved in preaching and the obvious
choices I had to make in placing the correct punctuation in the article.
It is my intent and prayer that the Holy Spirit will use this
transcription to strengthen and encourage the true Church of Jesus
The Christian's Responsibility in a Pagan Society
John F. MacArthur, Jr.
All rights reserved.
We are having a great time studying the book of Titus and I want you to
open your Bible, if you will to Titus, chapter 3. I believe we have
come into one of the most challenging and relevant sections of this
brief epistle as we approach this last chapter. I want to begin this
morning to address the first eight verses, and I want to look at those
verses under the title, "The Christian's Responsibility[sic] in a Pagan
Society." Before we look particularly at the text I want to say some
things that I trust will create a setting for our understanding of it.
America is a pagan society. I think all of us have come to the place
reluctantly where we can see that that is in fact the case. We have
experienced as a nation over 150 years of strong Christian Biblical
influence, but that is rapidly declining. People still attend
religious services, they still say they believe in God when they are
polled, but there exists a kind of practical atheism, and at best a
situational morality. For the most part, whatever vestiges of
Christian religion still pervade our culture are weak and compromising,
if not cultic and apostate. Some have said in years past that, "we are
living in a Post-Christian America;" perhaps it could better be said
"we are living in a Sub-Christian America." We want to say, "we are
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. Our nation is now affirming through its leaders,
through its congresses, its legislative bodies, its courts, and its
judges a distinctively anti-Christian agenda. Anything, and everything
that is distinctively Christian is being swept away under the aegis of
"Equal Rights" and "Moral Freedom,"--and as believers, frankly we tend
to resent this.
The Christianity that once was part of the fabric of our nation that
created some cultural props to hold us up and to give us a Biblical
morality and some divine standard in which to judge behavior is now
gone. Cultural Christianity, whatever it was, is dead. Biblical
morality is assaulted constantly. Moral freedom reigns as god.
Materialism, family breakup and breakdown, is epidemic. Abortions go
on, sexual evils, drugs, crime, [and] pagan education is flooding our
nation like the Mississippi River, and we can't come close to coping or
dealing with this flood of evil. We have torn down all of the standards
and now we can't figure out what is right, so we don't know what to
teach anybody, so we can't control behavior in the early years of
childhood. We now have a generation of people who have taken the agenda
and are running with it. We don't have enough standards to control
them. We don't have enough police to arrest them. We don't have enough
courts to process them, and we don't have enough jails to keep them in.
For those of us who watched the great revival of the 70's, and I
believe it was, when we saw the tremendous movement that started out
known as the "Jesus Movement," a sweeping movement of campuses and
young people, we saw those great movements of students toward Christ.
We saw mass baptisms in the oceans. We thought it was all going to lead
us to days of glory and blessing. We saw Bibles being translated so
that we could have them in a fresher English translation. We saw the
proliferation of books and publishers, and tapes, and new music, and
there was a definite wind of the Spirit of God blowing in our country.
Those were wonderful days, but the revival of the 70's and the early
80's has turned into the debauchery of the 90's, and the change is sad.
We feel the sadness and after a while we begin to feel resentment. We
don't like what the President is doing. We don't like his agenda. We
don't like his decisions. We don't like what our Governor and even our
Mayor is saying about homosexuality. We don't like the kinds of things
that our Senators and Congressmen are doing. We are not happy with the
decisions that they are making. We are repulsed by the verdicts that
are being rendered in courts that are exonerating people of criminal
intent and act, and are judging people who had no intended ill, and
letting off people who are guilty of things we think are heinous. We
aren't happy with the agenda all the way down, whether it is the
judicial branch, or the legislative or the executive branch. We are
tired of the evolution of freedom to the point where anybody can do
absolutely anything. We are angry that perversion is legalized in our
country and the will of God is blatantly rejected. It's one thing to
have sin, it's something else to redefine it as acceptable human
I really believe that these are times that can breed not only a sadness
in the life of Christians, but even hostility. I sense that in
conversations and meetings I have at various places with people, [that]
first of all we were sad at the trends and now we are a bit angry about
it. We get even angrier when they decide to raise our taxes so we can
fund more of this agenda. We fear for ourselves, and mostly we fear for
our children, and we fear for our grandchildren--don't we? The worst,
we know, is yet to come, and it is going to come on our children's
The question that I want to pose to you this morning is this: "How are
we to respond now that our society is so pagan? How are we to react?
What is a proper Christian response in a pagan culture?"
Paul answers that very question in Titus 3:1-8; that is precisely the
issue here. Titus, as you know, is on the Island of Crete. He is there
to set in order the things that remain in the churches. There were at
least 100 cities on this island, and we don't know how many had
churches--but many. He has a very great responsibility to set the
church in order, to ordain godly leaders against a very corrupt
culture. Cretans, you remember, according to chapter one, verse 12,
were basically designated by a prophet of their own as "liars, evil
beasts, and lazy gluttons." Unquestionably, they were engulfed in
idolatry and all of the extant paganism that made up the Greek and
Roman world of the time. Titus, then had these churches as little
pockets of righteousness in a sewer of paganism and needed to instruct
them how to react to the culture around them--very important.
Now just a footnote before we read the text. I hear a lot of talk today
about the church impacting culture. Coming back from Atlanta where I
went to the Christian Booksellers Convention this week, I read a couple
of books on the plane. Both of them had to do with confronting our
culture, effecting and impacting our culture, but frankly, folks, that
is not our goal. That is not our goal! It sounds like a noble goal and
I'm sure that there are people who could see certain noble aspects of
it and there may be some. But our goal is not to impact our culture by
changing their moral values. Our goal is not to impact our culture by
creating traditional values [and] family values through legislation or
judicial process. Our goal is not to make sure that the United States
of America adheres to a national policy that equates to Biblical
morality--that is not our goal.
We are not involved in altering social morality. We are not involved in
upgrading cultural conduct. We are interested in people becoming
saved--that is our only agenda. If we are going to change our culture,
we are going to change it from the inside out. You see, the church has
one mission--we are a nation of priests, and a priest had one simple
function: to bring people to God, to usher them into His presence. It
is the only thing we are in the world to do.
Frankly, if people die in a communist government or a democracy it
really doesn't matter if they end up in hell. If they die under a
tyrant or a benevolent dictator--it doesn't matter if they end up in
hell. If they die believing that homosexuality is wrong, or believing
that homosexuality is right and end up in hell--it doesn't matter. If
they die as a policeman or a prostitute without Christ they are going
to end up in the same place.
Whether they die moral or immoral will make no difference in their
eternity. Whether they stood on the side of the street with the
Pro-Abortion Rights group and screamed for legalizing and maintaining
legal abortions or on the other side of the street against abortion and
screamed to stop the killing, if they didn't know Christ they are going
to end up in the same place. Right? That isn't the issue--the issue is
salvation. The issue is salvation, and the sad reality is that when the
church gets a moralizing, politicizing bent it usually has a negative
impact on its evangelization mission because then it makes the people
hostile to the current system and they become the enemies of the
society, rather than the compassionate friend.
If we are going to see our nation transformed it has to be done from
the inside out--that's our agenda, and so we are hear to preach Christ,
and to know nothing among you except Christ and Him crucified. But
behind that preaching must come some manner of living, some kind of
life that makes our message believable. It is to that which Paul
addresses himself in chapter three; let's read it,
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be
obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to
be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all
men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient,
deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our
life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when
the kindness of God our Savior, and His love for mankind
appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have
done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the
washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He
poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that
being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to
the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and
concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that
those who have believed God may be careful to engage in good
deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.
I want to start with that last line, "These things are good and
profitable for men." What are you talking about? Paul, what are you
saying? What I am saying is, If you live this way it's going to benefit
everybody around you. It's very important how you conduct yourself. In
what sense is it good and profitable for men? Go back to chapter two.
In chapter two he was also talking about Christian conduct, and he says
in verse five that "We are to so live that the Word of God may not be
dishonored (verse 8), that our opponent may be put to shame having
nothing bad to say about us." And the end of verse 10, "that we may
adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect."
What's the point? We want to so live as to exalt the Word of God, shut
the mouth of the critic, and put on display God's saving power. We want
the world to know that God is a saving God; that God transforms people.
And how can we convince them of that? By showing them our transformed
We are to be displaying God's saving power. Now remember that chapter
three follows this wonderful discussion in chapter two, verses 1 to 14.
And in that section, verses 1 to 14 of chapter 2, Paul was also telling
Titus that he needed to instruct the church about their behavior, but
in that chapter it was the behavior among Christians. How we conduct
ourselves together as Christians is going to give a testimony to the
world of God's saving, transforming power. When we live holy, gracious,
loving, wise, kind lives--all of the things he said in chapter two, it
is very evident that we are not like everybody else to the watching
world. That is going to make the Word of God honored; that is going to
silence the critics, and that is going to adorn the gospel of God as a
saving God--One who can totally transform people.
So the way we live within the church and among ourselves is crucial as
a platform for our proclamation. Then in chapter three he is concerned
not with how we live among each other in the church, but how we live in
the society--how we live among non-Christians. How we live in our
culture. If we are going to make God's saving power manifest, we have
to make it manifest in our relations with Christians and with
non-Christians. And never is the time more crucial for careful
Christian behavior than when believers are engulfed in pagan culture. I
mean, that's how it was, you understand, don't you, in Paul's day?
There was no cultural Christianity, there was no Christianity until he
introduced it. In the gentile world it was just blatant, comprehensive
paganism, with all of the trappings that Satan could develop into it.
It was totally and exclusively, with the exception of a few Jews, a
Satanic system. All the existing religion, all the existing ideology,
philosophy, and thought, all the existing law and order, all the
existing values, mores, were derived from a non-Christian system. It
was thoroughly pagan until Paul arrived and the clash was so great that
it cost him and many others their lives.
Paul knew what it was like to live in a thoroughly pagan culture, far
more pagan than what we experience, because in our country there is a
great force of truly regenerated people. He knew what it was to be in a
world of abusive, deadly inequality and slavery. He knew what it was to
be in a culture of tyrants, petty dictators who were murderous. He knew
what it was to be under abusive leadership. He knew what it was to see
a society engulfed up to its ears in sexual perversion, the breakdown
of the family. We read in some ancient documents about people who had
26 and 27 wives, and/or husbands, depending on the situation. The world
was literally flooded with idols [and] petty gods. People were heavily
taxed. The tax collectors were extortionists who took what wasn't
justly due them. If anybody complained they would take their life as
soon as look at them. And the world was full of terrorists, people who
were going around executing those who had done something against them.
Even in the Jewish world there were the zealots, the Secari (sp.), the
guys who carried the daggers, and came up behind the authorities in
Israel and stabbed them to death. Terrorism was everywhere. It was an
Paul never ever says in any of his letters, "Now, ladies and gentlemen,
we need to moralize our pagan culture. We need to impact our culture
somehow." No, all he ever said was, "We need to evangelize it." And he
wasn't calling for any kind of protest; he wasn't calling for any kind
of contention or any kind of war against the existing mentality--he was
calling for the preaching of the gospel that transforms the life. But
it wasn't just the preaching, it was the living within the church, and
outside the church that gave a platform that made the message
believable. You see, what God had done for the Christians in Crete He
wanted to do for a lot of other folks too. The conduct of the believers
there was crucial to that saving work, that saving enterprise. So he
tells Titus to instruct the people with authority (remember that in
chapter 2:15--with authority regarding their duty in a pagan world).
Now, first let's look at verse one; he says just two words, "remind
them." I want to point out to you that he is simply saying, "This isn't
anything new." Obviously he had covered this in the past, certainly the
folks knew the responsibilities they had for living in a pagan culture,
but they needed to be reminded and that is a duty that belongs to
everyone who stands behind the sacred desk, as it were, and proclaims
the truth to God's flock. We are basically here to remind you of what
you know. The present imperative means that it is a regular ongoing
continuing duty of reminding them. And he wants to remind them of the
necessity for behaving themselves in a pagan society.
Now, what he does in these eight verses is [to] sum it up by asking
them to remember four realities--four great realities. It is
wonderfully organized around these realities:
1. Remember your duty.
2. Remember your former condition.
3. Remember your salvation.
4. Remember your mission.
And if you will remind the people of those four things, it will keep
their behavior, as Peter put it--excellent among the pagans. "Remember
your duty," and he outlines them in verses one to two. "Remember your
former condition," and he outlines that in verse three. Then he says,
"Remember your salvation," verses four through seven. Finally, in verse
eight he reminds them, "Remember your mission." If you keep those
things in mind, they become the motivation for living excellently in a
pagan world. I wish that I could give them all to you this
morning--well, I could, but I won't, so you will have to come back next
week for the last, but let's take point one.
1. Remember your duty.
What is our duty? We may be hurt, we may be disappointed, we may be
angry as we watch the vestiges of Christian influence die. We may be
angry at what we see happening in the courts, in the congresses, in the
executive offices of our land. What is our response? We may not agree
with the decisions that they are making. Here's what he says, "Remind
them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be
ready for every good deed. To malign no one, to be uncontentious,
gentle, showing every consideration for all men." Seven virtues are
listed there--seven virtues.
Now, listen to this, it doesn't matter whether your ruler is Caesar,
Herod, Pilate, Felix, Festus, Agrippa, Stalin, Hitler, Winston
Churchill, [or] Bill Clinton, it doesn't matter who it is--he says, "Be
subject. You teach them to be subject." Rulers were tyrants, they
lacked integrity, they were not noble. Governments made laws and maybe
all the laws weren't equitable, just, and fair, but he says, "You be
subject to rulers, to authorities." He is reiterating a very, very,
commonly given Biblical principal.
Matthew 22, the Pharisees were always trying to trap Jesus. They wanted
to trap Him publicly, because they wanted to discredit Him publicly and
turn some element of the population against Him, so they sent disciples
to Him along with the Herodians. They said in verse 16, "Teacher we
know that you are truthful and you teach the way of God in truth and
defer to no one, for you are not partial to any." That was a whole lot
of sinful flattery. "Tell us, therefore, what do you think. Is it
lawful to give a poll tax to Caesar or not?"
Now, what they are trying to get Him to do is to say it is or it isn't.
If He says that it is lawful, all the Jews are going to hate Him
because they hate Caesar, they hate the poll tax, they hate the whole
idea of being a occupied country ruled by a bunch of pagans. If, on the
other hand, He agrees with the Jews and says, "No, it is not right, it
is not lawful before God to pay tax to Caesar. Don't pay your tax,"
then they are going to tell the Romans. One way or the other they are
going to get some element of the power of the populous against him, but
Jesus perceived their evil intent. He said, "Why are you testing me you
hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the poll tax." They brought Him a
denarius, He said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?"
They said to Him, "Caesar's." And do you know what? They hated to use
those coins, because anything with an image on it constituted a what?
An idol. They hated that, and of course, Caesar was god, and this was
idolatry to them. They hated not only the idea of taxation, but they
hated the idea of the inherent idolatry in it--a graven image made
after a god! It was a violation of the first commandment.
But Jesus was so wise--He said to them, "Then render to Caesar the
things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." He
upheld both, He said, "On the one hand, pay your tax, on the other
hand, this has nothing to do with God. You must give to God what is
The point for us today is--Jesus paid His tax, even with the inherent
idolatry--He said, "Pay you tax." What were they doing with that tax?
Things that surely Jesus was not pleased with, but the general overall
thrust of government was positive, and Christians are to submit to it.
Go to Romans 13, and here you have one of the most comprehensive
statement about this from the Apostle Paul, the first few verses of
chapter 13. Verse 1, "Let every person be in subjection to the
governing authorities." That's just a plain and simple blanket
statement: everybody is in subjection. It doesn't matter whether it is
a democracy or communist form of government. It doesn't matter whether
it is a monarchy or whether it is a dictatorship--you're in
subjection. Good, bad, whatever form, you're in subjection to the
governing authorities. Then he gives you seven reasons why:
1. Government is designed by God. [Like Nazi Germany?--- drice]
There is no authority except from God and those which exist are
established by God. God has designed human government. He has designed
it to exist in a number of forms, and it is there because of His design
for the control of human life. So, submit! God designed it!
2. Resisting is resisting God.
Verse 2, "He who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God."
3. Resisters will be punished.
End of verse two, "Those who oppose will receive condemnation upon
themselves." So you submit to the government. Why? It is designed by
God, resisting is resisting God, and resisters will be punished.
4. Government is designed to restrain evil.
Verse 3, "Rulers are not a cause for fear for good behavior, but for
evil." Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and
you will have praise from the same. In other words, government is
designed to restrain evil.
5. Government is designed to promote good.
Verse 4, "It is a minister of God to you for good, if you do what is
6. Government is empowered to punish.
"It is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who
practices evil." That is why it "doesn't bear the sword for nothing." God
has given it the right of capital punishment, that is what bearing the sword
means. God has even given government the right to take a life.
7. Submit to the government for conscience sake (verse 5).
Not just because you fear the wrath that is going to come if you
disobey, but for the sake of conscience, because it's right.
So, submit to the government. Why? It is designed by God. Resisting is
resisting God. Resisters will be punished. Government is designed to
restrain evil and promote good. Rulers are empowered to punish. Do it
for conscience sake. Then the sum of it, verses 6 and 7, "So, pay your
taxes (verse 6 says), for rulers are servants of God devoting
themselves to this very thing." Then verse 7, "Render to all what is
due--tax to whom tax is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear,
honor to whom honor." The whole point is, God has put government in
place and you are to submit to it.
Now, he gives all those reasons, the one reason that he doesn't give is
the evangelistic reason--so that we can live and demonstrate that this
world is not an issue to us. What's the difference how much tax we pay?
That's not our concern. It is not our concern to be worried about
legislation. It is not our concern to be worried about what the
president does. It is our concern to live holy lives and call people to
Christ. Our citizenship is in another world, we are only strangers and
aliens here. We'll do whatever we are asked so that we do not mar our
testimony, because that is the greater and compelling issue.
1 Peter 2 adds the very important note of evangelism. In 1 Peter 2:9
says, "We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation," and we
are to "proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness
into His marvelous light." In other words, we are to demonstrate what
salvation looks like. We are to show people what a saved person is. How
do we do it? Verse 12, "Keep your behavior excellent among the
pagans." What do you mean by that? Verse 13, "Submit yourselves, for
the Lord's sake to every human institution: whether to a king, as one
in authority, or governors, as sent by Him for the punishment of evil
doers and the praise of those who do right. This is the will of God
that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men."
"Honor all men," verse 17, "love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the
king." How you live in a pagan culture is crucial to proclaiming the
excellencies of the One who saved you, to demonstrating your
transformed life--that's the issue. Now that takes us back to Titus
The Apostle Paul is saying, "You need to be subject to rulers and
authorities for evangelistic reasons," back down to the bottom of verse
8, "This is good and profitable for the watching world." Then he says,
"You need to be obedient," verse one, "To be obedient." You are to obey
whatever it is they say. You say, "Are we ever to disobey?" Yes, there
is one occasion when we disobey--that is when they ask us to do what
the Bible forbids us to do, or when they ask us not to do what the
Bible commands us to do. The best illustration of that, as you know, is
in Acts, chapter 4. They told the apostles not to preach, you remember,
they summoned them in Acts 4:18, commanded them not to speak or teach.
Peter and John said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God
to give heed to you, rather than to God--you be the judge. You judge
whether we obey you or God, for we cannot stop speaking," they said.
Chapter 5, they flogged them, whipped them; verse 40, ordered them to
speak no more; they went on their way from the presence of the council
rejoicing they had been considered worthy to suffer. Verse 42,
"Everyday, in the temple, from house to house, they kept right on
teaching, preaching Jesus as Christ."
There comes a point in time when the state turns against the church and
tells the church not to do what God has mandated it do, then we have to
obey God and suffer the consequence--be it prison or death. The only
time that we disobey is when we have been mandated by Scripture to do
something we are forbidden to do, or not to do something we are being
compelled to do. We are obedient.
Then he says, the end of verse one, "Remind them to be ready for every
good deed." This is so good. "Remind them to be ready for every good
deed." This is aggressive goodness. This isn't reluctance, saying,
"Well, I'm not going to make an issue. I am going to dutifully grit my
teeth and pay my tax. I am going to keep my anger under control." No,
this is an internal eagerness (the word 'ready' means eager), eagerness
to do every conceivable good deed. Approach life, no matter how
volatile the culture is against Christianity, no matter how pagan it is
to the very core, how engulfed in idolatry and sin it is--we
aggressively pursue every good thing as Galatians 6:10 says, "We are
doing good to all men, especially those of the household of faith."
By the way, this is in direct contrast with the behavior of false
teachers. Look back at chapter one, verse 16. Remember the description
of false teachers? "They are detestable, disobedient, and worthless
for any good deed." One of the things beloved, that sets believers
apart from false teachers and their followers is the eager goodness in
the lives of believers that demonstrates transformation, that
demonstrates new birth, salvation, the life of God, the power of the
Spirit, righteousness, virtue. We are to be known in society for our
goodness, for our aggressive goodness.
Then in verse 2 he moves on in his list of 7 virtues, "To malign no
one." Not even one person is the idea. It is the verb "blasphemeo"
(Greek) from which we get the word "blaspheme," it means to slander or
to treat with contempt. We must confront sin, we can confront sin, we
can confront the sinner because of his sin, we must call sinners to
repentance--but we do not stoop to blasphemy, slander, cursing, and
speaking contemptuously of people. I don't appreciate that when
Christian people do that with regard to leaders. That's not the
We may not like what they do, but we must remember, folks, the
condition that they are in. Do we forget that they are blinded in their
minds by the God of this world. How else do we expect unconverted
people to act than like unconverted people, and how do unconverted
people act? They act under the influence of Satan and his current
system and they are just carrying out the only agenda that they can
comprehend. Maligning them is unacceptable.
Look at 1 Timothy for a moment, chapter 2, 1 Timothy 2:1. Here is
Timothy in Ephesus, another corrupt idolatrous city: he [Paul] says to
Timothy, "I want to urge you that in treaties, and prayers, and
petitions, and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings
and all who are in authority in order that we may lead a tranquil and
quiet life in all godliness and dignity." Listen to that! We are to be
tranquil--that's peaceful, quiet, godly, dignified. And what is our
attitude towards the President, and the Congress, and the Judges, the
Kings, and everybody in authority--we pray for them! This is what God
wants us to do--to pray for them--constantly, making petition, prayers,
entreaties for those in authority that God will work in their lives,
that God will save them, because God (it says in verses 3 and 4) is a
"saving God," who has sent (verses 5 and 6) Jesus Christ to provide
salvation. God wants to save--and we want to pray for their salvation.
Don't malign them--pray for their salvation.
Then he says to Titus another interesting thing, "That Christians are
to be uncontentious." "Amachos" (Greek), "not fighting." We are not to
fight. We are to be peaceful, friendly, don't quarrel with government.
Don't fight leaders. We are not to be combative; that's not the agenda
for us. We are not even of this world, this isn't even our country--in
a sense. We are just kind of sliding through. It is so easy to be
contentious and hostile and angry about what happens in the pagan
culture in which we live, and especially if it elevates our taxes, or
if it changes our neighborhood or our culture, or whatever it is--we
get angry about that. We don't like to see God denied His proper place
and Satan exalted to be the leader of everything. We are not to be
contentious, we are not to fight--this is a passing world for us. All
we can do is to reach out, as we move through, and by the grace of God
touch some life with the saving gospel, both by what we say and what we
Then he says, "We are to be gentle." It is a beautiful word, "epieikes"
(Greek); it means to be reasonable and forbearing. I think that the
simplest synonym is kind, considerate of human weakness, very patient
with sinners. One writer says, "sweet reasonableness," not
cantankerous, not argumentative, not angry, not hostile--sweetly
reasonable, graciously kind, gentle.
Then he closes in verse 2, with the last of the 7, "Showing every
consideration." That's the word "meekness" in the beatitudes: Matthew
5:5, "prautes" (Greek) "meekness." We are meek, that's "power under
control," you remember. Never asserting one's rights is what it means.
Never fighting for one's rights; Christians don't do that. We are not
in a fight for our rights. We don't have any political agenda. We don't
have any legislative agenda. We are not after any rights. We don't want
any particular rights with this society, we'll just live for
Christ--come what may! It refers to patient trust in God. We commit
our lives to Him. 2 Timothy 2 says, if we live like this; meekly,
gently, God may use us to lead people to repentance and the knowledge
of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25). You see, everything we do has an
evangelistic goal, and as we live in this world subjected to the
authorities, the rulers, obedient to all the things that they lay out
that don't directly violate Scripture. As we are eagerly pursuing every
imaginable good deed within our society, as we malign no one, fight
with no one, but rather are patient with sinners, gentle, kind--we are
going to demonstrate salvation, because only transformed people can act
Then he closes in verse 2 by saying, "For all men." You need to do this
before everybody. That little phrase is very important. It appears a
number of times in 1 Timothy and I want to point them out to you, and
we'll close. 1 Timothy, chapter 2, verse 1, why does he say "for all
men"? Why does he throw that in there? Because "all men" has become
an important term in Paul's mind. 1 Timothy 2:1, "Prayers" he says, at
the end of verse one, "should be made on behalf of all men." Why?
Verse 4, "because God desires all men to be" What? "Saved!" Verse 6,
"Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all." God desires all
men to be saved, Christ gives His life as a ransom for all, and then he
says to believers, "Live your lives this way for all men to see."
That's consonant with God's saving purpose. 1 Timothy 4:10 says, "God
is the Savior of all men." All men need to see our testimony, they need
to see the transformation.
Titus 2:11, "The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all
men." You see, he repeats that phrase again, and again, and again. God
loves all men. God desires that all men be saved, He says. God has
provided a sacrifice for all men. God wants you to pray for all men.
The grace of God has appeared to all men. You live your life before all
men, so that they can see the transformation. Only Christians can live
like that--that's our duty--that's how we have to live.
Father, thank You for our time this morning in Your Word.
- We want to be Your people.
- We want to live for Your glory.
- We want to exalt You.
- We want to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
- We want the world to know that You are a saving God, because they can
see saved people, transformed people.
Help us to so live, not only in the church, but in the pagan world in a
way that they see that we are different. We are submissive, we are
obedient, kind, considerate, eager to do what is good. We are just
transcendent, it is as if we really didn't care what happens in this
life--we don't even belong here. We just want to gather souls for the
world to come.
Lord God, may the world who watches see transformed people and believe
in Your transforming power. As You have saved us may You use us to
bring many more to the same salvation. Amen.
Transcribed by Tony Capoccia of
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