GodSpeak for the Week of September 9
We’re between sermon series this week, going back to a one week tour of our “Missed Links” series (i.e., looking at texts which do not appear in the Lectionary).
Day 1…Read Titus 3:1-11 (focusing especially on v. 1)
- Consider this – Paul writes this letter to his friend, Titus – who he has put in charge of a series of congregations on the island of Crete.
- In those days, Crete was known to be a lawless and immoral place. As the old saying says: “Anything goes,” would have been an apt description of life on Crete in those days.
- Answer this – in light of that, why are Paul’s words in v. 1 so important?
- What is Paul calling from Titus to teach the faithful on Crete in v. 1? What is the desired outcome of this behavior?
Day 2…Read Titus 3:1-11 again (focusing especially on vv. 3-5)
- Consider this – Paul admits to Titus that at one time they each acted the way the world acts: foolish, disobedient, deceived and ruled by all kinds of “pleasures” (FYI – the Greek word here is “hedone” from which we derive our English word “hedonism”)
- Answer this – what changed for them, though? More accurately, what worked through them to change them?
Day 3…Read Titus 3:1-11 (again, focusing on v. 5)
- Consider this – Paul’s mention that: “…He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy,” lies at the very heart of our Lutheran-Christian witness.
- From within ourselves, by our own power and will…WE don’t have the power to do what God calls and requires.
- It is ONLY by His loving mercy – worked out through the perfect love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ – that we have been MADE RIGHT with God!!!
- Answer this – what if God had NOT given us His mercy through Christ?
- What would our lives, our world look like then?
Day 4…Read Titus 3:1-11 (focusing especially on vv. 5-8)
- Answer this – by what means has God joined us to His merciful promise?
Day 5…Read Titus 3:1-11 (focusing especially on v. 8)
- Consider this – Paul notes that his comment about God’s mercy is a “trustworthy saying”; the Greek word for “trustworthy” carries the connotation of being faithful with business practices.
- Put into context, Paul appears to be emphasizing that God has been faithful in transacting HIS “end of the deal”/relationship with us, by doing the work of bringing us back to Him.
- Answer this – given that, what do you think Paul means when he says (in reference to calling people to devote themselves to doing what is “good”), he says: “These things are excellent and profitable for everyone”?
Day 6…Read Titus 3:9-11
- Consider this – Paul finally counsels Titus to “…avoid foolish controversies”.
- By “foolish,” Paul is referring to the idea of quibbling over inconsequential matters (i.e., over whether or not someone was truly descended from someone famous [i.e., “genealogies”], and arguments about the Law).
- Consider this – Paul calls these quarrels “unprofitable and useless”.
- The Greek word for “unprofitable” means “useless”; so, Paul may be compounding how wasteful it is to get into these kinds of arguments.
- Answer this – what kinds of debates do we engage in these days, which would be “useless useless” by Paul’s standards?
- Why is it important to avoid these controversies?
- What do we avoid doing, if we do engage in these debates?