3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2018/06)
Titus 2:1-3:11 (ESV)
2:1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
3:1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Day 1: Loving God
Read: Titus 2:1-3:11
3:5-7 tell us that “[God] saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy. … so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” The word “justified” is a verbal form of the word “righteousness.” It’s a legal language that means to “declare innocent or righteous.” This repetition highlights the contrast between our inadequate “righteousness,” and God’s act of declaring us righteous. Though we are not righteous, we were declared righteous, because Christ, as our substitute, bore our punishment, and because His righteousness has been counted as ours. And the basis for this was God’s “mercy” and “grace,” not our merit. Do you live in light of this reality? Or as if your standing before God depended on your spiritual “performance”? The good news of Jesus Christ is the reason why we abound in good works (3:8); our good works are not the precondition for the good news.
- Confess your sins, accept God’s grace, and praise God for His mercy! (Song Recommendation: “His Mercy Is More” by Matt Papa)
- Pray that you would grow in your love for God and live more in light of His mercy and grace.
- Pray through the list of “good works” commended in Chapter 2, that you might grow in them.
Day 2: Loving One Another
Read: Titus 2:8-11
The trustworthy “saying” that Paul is referring to is the good news of God’s salvation that he just declared in the preceding verses. Then, he instructs Titus to insist on “these things.” “The saying” is singular, while “these things” are plural, so by “these things,” Paul is not referring to the gospel saying only, but also to the ethical instruction in verses 1-2 (cf. 2:15). If we are to build one another up as the church, we must devote ourselves to things that are “excellent and profitable.” Do we faithfully exhort one another with the good news of Jesus Christ and enjoin the good works that are in keeping with our new identity in Christ?
Conversely, we are to avoid things that are “unprofitable and worthless,” such as “foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law.” Do you have a tendency to get embroiled in these unprofitable things? Do your conversations with people encourage unity in the gospel, or do they tend to cause divisions and dissensions?
- Pray that every member would minister the gospel one another so that we might devote ourselves to good works.
- Pray for the unity of our church.
- Pray that the deacons we appoint next week will hold this trustworthy saying with a clear conscience (cf. 1 Tim. 3:9).
Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
Read: Titus 2:1-3:7
Paul uses three parallel, purpose clauses to explain why Christians ought to behave in a manner that “accords with sound doctrine” (2:1). Why should young women “love their husbands and children”? So “that the word of God may not be reviled” (2:5). Why should Titus “show [him]self in all respects to be a model of good works”? “So that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (v. 8). Why should bondservants be “submissive to their own masters in everything”? “So that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (v. 10). Paul is concerned about the reputation of the church, not for their own sake, but so that the “word ofGod may not be reviled,” so that the “doctrine of God” “may be adorned.” Do you live with the awareness that we are ambassadors of Christ and that our integrity affects the credibility of the gospel? Is there anything in your life that you should change so that you could be a better witness to the watching world?
In 3:1-3, Paul reminds us to be submissive to rulers and authorities and “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” And Paul’s rationale for this command is that “we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” Often, we speak evil of others, quarrel with them, and fail to be magnanimous, gracious, and courteous with them, because we do not humbly recognize that we are no better than them apart from the saving and sanctifying grace of God. When we see others do foolish and wicked things, instead of saying in self-righteous disbelief, “How can they do such a thing,” “I would never do such a thing,” we should think to ourselves, “apart from the grace of God, I would be no better off and do just such a thing.”
- Repent of the ways you have not been magnanimous and courteous toward others who have offended you. Pray that God would help you to be gracious toward people as He has been gracious to you.
- Ask God to show you how you can conform your life more to Christ in order to make the gospel more compelling to unbelievers.
- Pray for specific neighbors, for opportunities to befriend and serve them, and for boldness to share the gospel with them.