Living In A Pagan World

Living In a Pagan World

Titus 3:1-2

America has become more pagan every year .
That is a fact.

As a nation we have had over 150 years of a strong Christian influence.
But that has rapidly declined.

People still attend religious services.
They still say they believe in God when they are polled.
But there is a practical atheism and a situational morality which pervades our society.
We would like to believe that our nation is Christians, but our Christianity has become hollow.
Our nation has affirmed its legislative bodies, its courts and its judges, a distinctively anti-Christian agenda.

Anything and everything that is distinctively Christian has being denied under the cry of equal rights.
The Christianity that once was part of the fabric of our nation is no more.
Biblical morality is assaulted constantly.
Situation ethics and "do what feels good" has replaced Christian standards.

Materialism, family breakup and breakdown is rampant.
Abortions, sexual immorality, drugs, violence and crime pollutes our nation.

We now have a generation of people who don't have enough police to curb the lawless.
We don't have enough courts to process them, and we don't have enough prisons to hold them.

We are weary of those who cry about their equal rights We are upset over those who get away with murder.
We are angry that perversion is legalized in our country and the will of God is blatantly rejected.
We should fear for the future of our children and for our grandchildren.
We dread to think of what they are going to face in the years ahead.

How should we respond to our pagan society?
How should we respond as Christians?
Paul answers that question in Titus 3.

Titus is on the island of Crete.
He come to deal with the difficulties in the church.
In verse 12 of the first chapter the Cretans were described as liars, evil beasts and lazy gluttons.
They were involved in the paganism that made up the Greek and Roman world of that day.
Titus' task was to encourage and instruct them on living and influencing their world for Christ.

Our mission is the same as theirs.
We have a commission to tell the world about Jesus.
That is our only mission.

We are to preach Christ!
And our preaching must be translated into righteous living.
In chapter 3 Paul 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 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
."

Paul says that "these things are good and profitable for men."
We must live in a way that will benefit everybody around us.
It's very important how we conduct ourselves.

In 2:5 Paul says that are to live so that the Word of God may not be dishonored.
Then our opponents will have nothing bad to say about us.
And then we will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
We must live so as to exalt the Word of God.
This will shut the mouths of our critics and will display God's saving power.
We must tell the world to know that God is a saving God.
God transforms people -- He changes people!

Paul also told Titus that he should instruct the church about their behavior.

We must conduct ourselves as Christians.
This will give a powerful testimony to the world of God's saving transforming power.
And the way we live within the church and the way we treat each other is crucial in our witness to the world.
We must live a truly Christ-like life in our everyday living.
It is crucial for living in a pagan world.

All the existing religion, philosophy and thought, and all the existing values were derived
from a non-Christian system.
It was a pagan world until Paul arrived.
Paul knew what it was like to live in a pagan culture.

Paul knew what it was like to live in a world of abusive inequality and slavery.
He knew what it was to live in a culture of tyrants and murderous dictators.
He knew what it was to live in a society that fostered sexual perversion and the breakdown of the family.

The world was heavily populated with idols and other gods.
People were heavily taxed.
Most tax collectors were extortionists who took what wasn't justly due them.
If anybody complained they would take their life.
It was a wicked world.
And Paul never says in any of his letters,
"We must moralize and impact our pagan culture."

Paul’s message was: "We must evangelize it."
And Paul didn't call for a sit-in or a protest march.
He didn't call for a war to bring needed change.
Paul called for the preaching of the gospel of Jesus.
The preaching of the gospel coupled with Christ-like living would be the method and the mission.
Paul tells Titus to "Remind them."
Remind them that this isn't something new.
The Christians knew their responsibilities.

Then Paul urges them to remember four great realities.

These are our motivations for living in a pagan world.

We may be hurt.
We may be disappointed.
We may be angry as we witness the weakening of Christian influence.
We may be angry at the violence and injustice we see in our land.

Paul tells us: "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
."

Paul knew first hand the pagan leadership of his day.
The rulers were tyrants.
They lacked integrity.
They were murderous.

But Paul says we are to be subject to rulers and to authorities.
Jesus gave us this biblical principle.
In Matthew 22 the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus.

They want to trap Him publicly and to discredit Him publicly to turn the people against Him.

So they said in verse 16, "Teacher, we know that You're truthful
and You teach the way of God in truth and defer to no one for You're not partial to any.
Tell us therefore, what do You think?
Is it lawful to give a poll tax to Caesar or not
?"

They played Him in a dilemma.
They're trying to get Him to say one way or another.

If He says it is lawful, the Jews are going to hate Him because they hate Caesar
and they hate the poll tax.
They hate being occupied and ruled by pagans.
If He agrees with the Jews and says that it is not right to pay tax to Caesar,
then they're going to tell the Romans.

They thought they had Him.

But Jesus perceived their evil intent and 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
.' "”

They hated to use those coins because to them the image on it constituted an idol.
They despised that.
Caesar was a god to the Romans and this was idolatry.
They hated paying taxes to a pagan government.
This was a violation of the first commandment.

But Jesus said to them,
"Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's."

Jesus paid His tax, even with the pagan idolatry.
He said pay your tax.
Jesus certainly was not in agreement with that godless government.
But He practiced what He preached.

In Titus Paul says that we are to be subject to rulers and authorities for evangelistic reasons.
Verse 8 states, "This is good and profitable for the watching world."

Paul said, "Remind them to be ready for every good deed." This is aggressive goodness.
No matter how vicious the world is against Christianity and no matter how pagan it is,
we must pursue every good thing.

Galatians 6:10 says, "We are doing good to all men, especially those of the household of faith."

This is what sets the Christian apart from a pagan world.
This will give evidence of the life of Christ in us and of His power to transform lives.
We must be known for our goodness.

Paul says in verse 2 that we are not to "to malign no one." We are not to malign anyone.
We are not to slander or to treat anyone with contempt.

We may not like what people do, but we must remember that they are blinded by the god of this world.
We can expect unconverted people to act in these worldly and pagan ways.

Paul tells Titus that Christians are to not to be contentious.
We're not to fight.
We are to be peaceful and friendly.
We must reach out to others with the gospel of Jesus by what we say and we live.
We are to be gentle.
We are to be reasonable and forebearing.
We are to be kind, considerate, and patient with others.

Paul also says, "Showing every consideration...showing every consider." Paul is saying we are to be meek.
Meekness is power under control.
This is a persistent trust in God.
We commit our lives to Him.

If we live like this, God will use us to lead people to repentance and the knowledge of the truth.
( 2 Timothy 2:25)

Everything we do should have an evangelistic goal.
As we are eagerly pursue every good deed and malign no one, fight with no one, and are patient and kind,
we will be demonstrating salvation to our pagan world.
Only true Christians can behave like that.

God loves all men.
God desires the salvation of all.
So, let us live before all men so that they can see the difference Christ makes in our lives.

This is how we should live in our present, pagan world.

So, let's live for Christ!

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White