Sermon Notes & References

Priority Warnings

Titus 3:1-3, 9-11

November 4, 2018

A. Warnings

    1. Many Make Sense

    2. Some Silly or Funny

    3. Necessary Spiritual Ones

B. Warnings of Living in the World – 3:1-3

    1. In Relation to Unbelievers 1

    2. Respecting Worldly Authorities (v 1a) 2

    3. Respecting Neighbours (vv 1b-2) 3

    4. Respecting Our Own Past (v 3)

C. Warnings of Living in the Church – 3:9-11

    1. In Relation to Discourse (v 9) 4

    2. In Relation to Dissidents (vv 10-11) 5

D. Conclusion

1 Titus 3:1-3, 9-11. . . . . . . . . . . .  Priority Warnings


A. Warnings

    1. Many Make Sense

        a. even though we might think they are obvious

        b. On a plastic bag (“Warning: to avoid danger of suffocation keep away from babies and children. Do not use in cribs, carriages or playpens. This bag is not a toy.”)

        c. On methyl hydrate (“Contents may catch fire, fumes may catch fire. Contents harmful. May irritate eyes ...”) – similar to WD-40

        d. Battery charger (“charge only Ni-MH rechargeable batteries. Do not connect +ve & –ve terminals reversed. Risk of electric shock. For indoor dry location use only.”) – and similarly on electric appliances

        e. Allegra (“Do not administer to children under 12 years of age. Do not exceed the recommended dosage. Avoid prolonged use unless advised by a physician.”) – so on for most medicines


    2. Some Silly or Funny

        a. Suitable for outdoor use. Found on a rain gauge.

        b. For use by trained personnel only. On a can of air freshener.

        c. Warning: has been found to cause cancer in laboratory mice. On a box of rat poison.

        d. Remove wrapper, open mouth, insert muffin, eat.

        e. Use like regular soap. On a bar of soap.

        f.  This product is not to be used in bathrooms. On a bathroom heater.

        g. Simply pour the biscuits into a bowl and allow the cat to eat when it wants. On a bag of cat biscuits 2


    3. Necessary Spiritual Ones

        a. we read that passage from Acts 20 where Paul warns the Ephesian elders – to alert them to the dangers for which they should watch out

        b. for the Christian, this world – its views, values and ideas, as inspired by its ruler – is a dangerous place

        c. as Paul talks about in Ephesians 6, encouraging his readers to take on the whole armour of God to stand firm against the powers of darkness

        d. so we find in Scripture many warning signs which we must heed

        e. warning the Christians in Crete was a priority given to pastor Titus

        f.  we are going, today, to look at the parts of Titus 3 that particularly give warning – to that church and to us


B. Warnings of Living in the World                                3:1-3

    1. In Relation to Unbelievers

        a. we cannot but help living in this world

            (A)    Jesus’ high priestly prayer makes this clear: ‘15 I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.’ (John 17:15-16)

        b. so though we are in the world, we are not, however of the world

        c. Titus, chapter 3, begins with word, ‘Remind’

            (A)    or, ‘bring it to their remembrance’

            (B)    what Paul is presenting, and Titus is to repeat to believers, is not some new truth

                 (1)    in 2 Timothy 4:3, Paul warns of people being merely curious: having itching ears, or, wanting their ears tickled

                 (2)    people gravitate, like the philosophers on the Areopagus, to hearing something new, exciting, controversial

                 (3)    but that was not what the Christians in Crete needed; nor is it very often what we need

            (C)   the need, for them & for us, is putting into practice what we know

        d. so what follows is not new teaching, but a reminder of the old


    2. Respecting Worldly Authorities (v 1a)

        a. 1a Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, …

            (A)    this is a Biblical principle

                 (1)    Paul wrote of it in Romans 13:1-2, 1 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; …’

                 (2)    so did Peter, 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.’ (1 Peter 2:13-15)

                 (3)    and these same rulers – Nero, emperor & his delegates were those who would put these two men – Paul & Peter – to death

        b. the people of Crete had a reputation of insubordination & unruliness

            (A)    so there was that attitude in Crete’s Christian church

            (B)    but there was also Jewish element in the church

                 (1)    in Jeremiah’s day had refused to obey God and to surrender to Nebuchadnezzaar, God’s instrument of punishment

                 (2)    in Ezra’s time were truly described by their enemies, the ‘city is a rebellious city and damaging to kings and provinces, and that they have incited revolt within it in past days’ (Ezra 4:15)

                 (3)    and in NT days were still a rebellious people

            (C)   so this was a necessary admonition to those who being saved, made themselves obnoxious by considering themselves above the law

            (D)   for the fact that a Christian’s citizenship is in heaven, is all the more reason that they should be good citizens on earth


    3. Respecting Neighbours (vv 1b-2)

        a. 1b … to be ready for every good deed, 2 to malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.

            (A)    Christians should do good – seek the welfare – of the society in which they live, even thought that society be godless

            (B)    the Jews in exile were so instructed: ‘And seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.’ (Jeremiah 29:7)

        b. though this society not acknowledge God, that is all the more reason

            (A)    there was a man I knew, a church representative, who had wronged a family outside of the church

            (B)    in being corrected, he could see no reason for the church to make an apology or to repay that unbelieving family

            (C)   that is directly contrary to the spirit of Jesus Christ, damaging to the church’s witness for Christ and of the gospel

        c. so we are warned here to follow a ‘to do’ list in order that ‘If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.’ (Romans 12:18)

            (A)    to malign no one – literally, do not blaspheme (speak evil) of anyone – train your mouth-gate to stay closed against slander

            (B)    to be uncontentious – literally, un-warlike – not brawlers, nor quarrelsome

                 (1)    there are people who are unhappy if they are not arguing

                 (2)    Norman Rockwell cover on he Saturday Evening Post, May 23, 1953, of a girl with a black eye and a grin 3 who had just won her battle!

                 (3)    back to the list

            (C)   gentle – a word that encompasses all that is meant when parents instruct their child to be on its best behaviour: acting properly

            (D)   showing all meekness – imitating the humility that was in Christ

        d. these are the things that will, in the words of Dale Carnegie’s book title ‘Win Friends & Influence People’, and moreover attract people to Jesus


    4. Respecting Our Own Past (v 3)

        a. 3 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.

            (A)    this ‘we” includes Paul, Titus, every believer

            (B)    not that every one of these faults has applied to every person

            (C)   but, as self-righteousness, holier-than-thou cannot be sustained – somewhere in that list there is a word that will prick our conscience

        b. so we are to be reminded of our past, too, to act with a sympathetic attitude to our neighbours, so as to show to them the love of Christ

            (A)    for, as we see men and women, rebellious against God’s truth

            (B)    we can say in humility – and in prayer for them – that ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I.’


C. Warnings of Living in the Church                             3:9-11

    1. In Relation to Discourse (v 9)

        a. But shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law; for they are unprofitable and worthless.

            (A)    we do have the right to have an opinion on certain uncertainties in the Scriptures; nowhere more so than in the details surrounding the Second Coming of our Lord

            (B)    All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable [expedient, helpful]. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.’ (1 Corinthians 10:23)

            (C)   so Titus is warned against getting involved in such discourses

        b. you may have heard of one of the great questions of the middle ages as to how many angels could stand on the head of a pin

            (A)    you may laugh at that, but some of the questions that get raised in Bible studies are not much more important

            (B)    this is particularly true in the matter of some of the aspects of the OT laws, particularly those governing Israel once they came into God’s promised land: what to eat, how to cut their beard, & so on which were to distinguish them from all the nations round about

            (C)   Paul gives the principle to live by in many of these things in Romans 14, as for example in the following verses: 2 One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables [only.] 3 Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him.’ (Romans 14:2-3 NAS) – but read the chapter

            (D)   better this than ‘strife and disputes’, than legal wrangling

        c. such arguing is worthless, and empty or vain


    2. In Relation to Dissidents (vv 10-11)

        a. 10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11 knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

            (A)    factious – Greek root word from which we get ‘heretic, heresy’

                 (1)    the underlying meaning is ‘capable of choosing’, ‘the course of one’s actions or thoughts’

                 (2)    and hence, those who followed a certain school of thought

                 (3)    then ‘sect, or party’, particularly describing one who separates to himself a group who follows his own opinions

                 (4)    and so readily describes those whose opinions are contrary to the Scriptures – but not necessarily so

                 (5)    for the key element is such a person is divisive, and counter to true church unity

            (B)    in my teen-age years there was a family that came for a while to our church – the two daughters had good voices and sung in churches from place to place

                 (1)    but they never settled down into any one church

                 (2)    the problem was the father, who had a very strong belief in one particular interpretation of the second coming of the Lord

                 (3)    not that his was an unreasonable interpretation, and in fact it has much Scriptural support, and I find much to commend it

                 (4)    but to him it was the only acceptable interpretation

                 (5)    so that if a message in any way contrary to it was preached, then loudly, vehemently, dogmatically he would tear that message apart, and the preacher, as false; and some listened

                 (6)    in this fashion, he had gone from church to church, causing division and strife: that is what Paul is speaking about there.

        b. how the body of believers that comprise the local church should act – give warning & warning – towards such a person is given elsewhere

            (A)    by Jesus, 15 And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen [to you,] take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.’ (Matthew 18:15-17 NAS)

            (B)    and by Paul on the attitude in warning, ‘Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; [each one] looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.’ (Galatians 6:1 NAS)

        c. that word, ‘reject’, has been taken by some far beyond its meaning

            (A)    to include excommunication: throwing a person out of the church

            (B)    to include pursuing through legal means or otherwise to bring punishment upon that person

            (C)   and in past centuries, the application of torture, demanding that the person recant his or her opinion

            (D)   but the reality is much milder, and is elsewhere translated (in the AV) as ‘excuse, avoid’, or in more modern terms ‘have nothing to do with’ or ‘beg off from’

        d. a person so perverted – i.e., with a twisted moral sense – that persists in his own, divisive opinions, after being warned a first and second, will wind up condemning or excluding himself from the fellowship of other believers by his own attitude


D. Conclusion – we have these warnings; let us pay heed.




© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:


              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

       NRSV             New Revised Standard Version © 1989 Division of Christian Education of national Council of Churches of Christ

       JBP         The New Testament in Modern English, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

       UBS        Greek text of the United Bible Societies; particularly that published in 1954 by The British and Foreign Bible Society

       WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth


Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:


       Barnes –  Notes on the New Testament by Alfred E. Barnes

       Calvin –   Commentaries on the Bible, by Jean Calvin; translated into English & published in the Online Bible.

       EB   -      The Expositor’s Bible, edited by Sir William Robertson Nicoll, C.H., D.D., LL.D., 1903

       EBC             The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

       EGT             The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

       Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

       JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

       Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site,

       RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson


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