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Doing Good

In the closing statements of Paul’s letter to Titus, he said (3:3ff), “At one time, we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us... And I (Paul) want you (Titus) to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.” NIV (emphasis mine)

By this point in the letter, Titus had read words about doing good 5 other times and one more is still to come in 3:14. A total of 7 times in three chapters, the importance of doing what is good is emphasized as a priority --- something to be stressed, modeled, taught, and lived --- in the context of the Cretan liars, evil brutes, and lazy gluttons as well as the mere talkers of the circumcision group that claimed to know God but whose actions denied him --- a group described as unfit for doing anything good.

Such a priority was significant because Paul wanted to eliminate any possible excuse that this crowd would have for diminishing the Word of God and those who believed it and followed it. He instructed Titus to do what is good “so that no one will malign the Word of God,” (2:5) NIV which he noted was the very thing going on, and “so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” (2:8) NIV

Finally, he says this: “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every way.” NASV Let me paraphrase: dress up, by your behavior, the already attractive message of God our Savior, in every way that you possibly can (namely, doing good), knowing that such behavior authenticates the message.

In other words, Paul asserts that leaving a good impression for the Gospel among those we encounter is paramount.

And that certainly includes Sunday morning. What if your church made it a goal to dress up the message of God with relevant acts of goodness and kindness expressed in a myriad of ways (“every way”) to guests that wander into church on a Sunday morning to visit --- leaving no doubt about either the message or the messengers?

So often the Sunday morning experience is left to the proclamation of what Paul calls “sound doctrine.” Without diminishing the importance of that in the least, Paul does not leave the matter there with Titus. No, he calls for behavior --- activity ---- that demonstrates out-loud the trustworthiness of the message. He calls for doing good.

Organized and intentional acts of kindness on Sunday morning are not busy work. They are powerful authenticators of truth. What Sunday morning activities might do that at your church? What does “in every way” suggest? How can you dress up the message with good deeds on Sunday?

Make a good impression on Sunday --- intentionally, purposefully, and gladly --- with your guests. They will notice and more of them will stick!

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