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September 24, 2022 - Titus 1-3

These “pastoral epistles” of Paul are all about life in the congregation, its leaders and all who gather as the church. I would like to comment on several texts beginning with: “Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith . . . not turning away from the truth” (1:13,14). Never is discipline or rebuke to be done out of spite or mean-spiritedness; rather, with compassion and patience and for the good of the person. And so it is here.

To young Titus: “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us” (2:7,8). Nothing at all bad to say about us . . . that’s a pretty high standard, but it’s the standard to which we should strive.

For the final text, I jump back to the beginning of the letter and Paul’s mention of our “hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began” (1:2). There’s a hymn whose verses in their entirety I want to include.

Time is filled with swift transition.

Naught of earth unmoved can stand.

Build your hopes on things eternal.

Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

Trust in Him who will not leave you.

Whatsoever years may bring.

If by earthly friends forsaken,

Still more closely to Him cling.

Covet not this world’s vain riches

That so rapidly decay.

Seek to gain the heav’nly treasures.

They will never pass away.

When your journey is completed,

If to God you have been true,

Fair and bright the home in Glory

Your enraptured soul will view.

Hold to His hand, God’s unchanging hand.

Hold to His hand, God’s unchanging hand.

Build your hopes on things eternal.

Hold to God’s unchanging hand. --Jennie Wilson (20th century)

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