When you think of someone doing good deeds, what comes to your mind? Is it giving a gift, saying a kind word, maybe even community service? I mean, all that's really good, but there's more. In fact, there's a power, not quoting good deeds, but in doing good.
And the Bible talks about an amazing power that happens when we do good. I can't wait to tell you about it today. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Druey, and in just a minute, we'll launch our series called Doing Good, What Happens When Christians Live Like Christians. Well, over the next several programs, Chip's going to reveal how our simple choice to do good can change the world around us.
One person, one family, and one neighborhood at a time. And if you're looking for more practical ways to make this happen, stick around after every message in this series to hear some additional thoughts from Chip. Okay, if you have a Bible, open now to Titus chapter two, and let's join Chip as he kicks off this series with his message, Why Doing Good Matters So Much. Doing good is powerful. Doing good changes the course of people's lives. And as we do good to other people, I don't know about you, but it does something inside of us as well. Doing good is positive, it's powerful, it's rewarding, and in fact, the Bible commands us to do good.
But I think we're living in a day where doing good has kind of fallen on hard times. There's a couple extremes that keep us from doing good the way God wants us to. People say, well, if it's by grace that you're saved, then, you know, why do good?
God loves me anyway, right? Then religious people get really upset about that for good reason, and so they try and correct it with the other extreme. And the other extreme is then, well, if you really want God to love you, then they make it conditional, and you need to stop doing these five things and start doing these seven things, and on these days you always have to do these things, and so you get legalism over here, and you get sort of like grace that doesn't have any impact.
And so all the way back in the early church, these two extremes were troubling, and they began to discredit Christianity. And so there's a whole book, already a whole book in the New Testament written just to help you and me understand what doing good looks like. The why of doing good, the what of doing good, and the how to do good, and what it does for us, what it does for God, and then what it does for other people. I put some teaching notes, if you want to pull those out, I want to give you a little overview of what it means to do good, and as we do, that's one of those words that has a broad meaning. Webster says doing good is the opposite of bad or poor or evil. Someone who is good has favorable character. The word always has a sense of moral purity, and doing good or being good, some synonyms are it's productive, wholesome, it enhances, it blesses, it encourages, it helps, it improves, it provides.
I mean it's good. The Bible's definition says it's acts designed specifically to benefit others. When we do good works, they're acts that are designed specifically to benefit other people and reveal the characteristics of God. The Apostle Paul apparently, we don't have lots of details, but he and a young pastor were doing ministry on this island, the island of Crete. A number of people come to Christ and there was a number of smaller cities on this island, and then churches started popping up and there were followers, many of them probably just house churches, and some of them were growing. And so the churches begin to grow, but this island of Crete a couple thousand years ago, they were known for their moral laxness.
They were known for their corruption. And so the church is beginning to get birthed and they've heard this amazing message about forgiveness and grace, but they're getting pulled back to their old culture. At the same time, a group of people who say, hey, we can fix that. They start making up a bunch of rules and false teachers come in. And so Paul writes a very brief letter, three short little chapters to this young pastor.
He says, now we were there, now I want you to go back and finish the job. And then he writes an entire book on this issue of doing good, what it looks like, why do you do it? Notice the three problems that were in the church. And as I read these, they seem to be the three problems in the church today. Number one, believers' lives don't match their beliefs. Believers' conducts are discrediting their message. And these false teachers are ruining families and destroying the church. So if you were a non-Christian and you went to Crete and you met many of the Christians there, you would say, they say they love God and he lived this holy life, but boy, they don't. Or they were saying, you know, you should really investigate what it means to be a follower of Jesus. God's come to the planet. He's forgiven your sins.
We're following him. And they say, well, you know, when we read about Jesus and when we hear about him and we look at your life, this doesn't, doesn't add up. Sounds a little bit like America. In fact, we have the highest percentage of people ever in America by the last Gallup report who say, I have no spiritual affiliation. We have a generation of people that are disillusioned with the church and organized religion say, I'm not against God. I'm not even against Jesus.
But tell you what, when I've been in church situations and I meet religious people and those who claim to profess being followers, the disconnect is so deep, I don't trust it at all. I had good parents, but they weren't Christians. I never opened this book until I was 18 years old. And so my parents did what their parents did. They went to a church like their parents took them to.
And so I went to a church like that. And by the time I was 15, what I saw was hypocrisy. People who didn't take this seriously, they didn't live it. They didn't expect me to live it.
They said one thing, live it a different way. So by the time I was about 15 or 16, I said, I'm done with God. I'm done with church.
I'm done. I mean, we didn't use the Bible much, but I thought it couldn't be any good either. All because people's lives didn't reflect what the very words of Jesus taught. And so notice his assignment. This young pastor, I mean, I do not envy him, although in some ways I think I've kind of got the same job. Straighten out the mess, teach sound doctrine, confront error and transform cities by doing good. He says, when faith is real and legitimate and people live it out, the good that they do, they solve the biggest problems in people's lives.
They love people that no one cares about. And literally the gospel and the message is validated by the purity of people's lives and the concern they have for others by doing good. And so the issue then and the issue now is kind of the same. If in fact we're completely forgiven, have a new standing with God and are saved by grace, why does it really matter if you do good or not? And since I think it's really fallen on hard times because I think in some ways, even those of us that are really seeking to walk with God, I think there's sort of an unconscious, at least this is my confession, doing good is important, but it's kind of like icing on the cake.
If you do good, you know, great job, but it's really not required. And what you're going to see is first look at the structure of this book. Chapter one is about doing good in the church. Chapter two is about doing good in relationships and he'll give five specific relationships and define what good looks like. Chapter three talks to all Christians and says when you go to work, when you go to work out, when you coach the little league team, this is what it looks like in the everyday workaday world. This is what it looks like to do good in the world. And so the entire book is about doing good and you'll see that he gives Titus three specific assignments. Let's just look at chapter one.
I just want to do an overview. Paul says he's an apostle. It's the longest introduction to any of his epistles. He says, I'm an apostle.
I'm a bond servant. This is from the commandment of God. And he's basically saying, look, all my authority is invested in this young guy and what he has to say comes from God through me.
So you better listen. And if you've been involved ever in a turnaround or a big problem in an organization, you know, a ball team, a franchise, or even a church, if things are going badly and you want to change them, where do you start? Everything rises and falls with leadership. And so chapter one is about, we've got to get good leaders in the church.
So notice in your notes, I just put a highlight. He says, I want you to appoint elders, leaders in all these different little churches. And by the way, here's what a good leader is. He's blameless in his marriage and family, blameless in character, hospitable. And then in case you missed it, lover of what is good. And then you get sort of these moral qualities.
They're self-controlled, upright, holy, disciplined, theologically sound and able to guard the truth. And if you want to fix an organization, you can't just get good leaders in place. What do you do? You got to get rid of the bad ones. So he says these false teachers, rebuke them, confront them. Look at the words. This is non-good. They're deceivers, mere talkers, ruining whole families. They're dishonest. They promote the values and the morality of Crete instead of of Christ. And this will come as a shock.
Are you ready? As we study this a little bit later, there's people actually using the name of Jesus and saying spiritual things to get rich. Is that shocking or what?
I mean, there's not even TV yet. And he says, address that. And then notice the summary after he says, you got to deal with these false teachers. He says, they profess to know God, their words, but by their deeds, their actions, they deny him. He says they're detestable. They're disobedient. And look at that last line.
They're unfit for doing any, here's our word, good thing. So all I want you to know is he's, he's going to address the issue of doing good with the leaders first. Chapter two opens up and he says, okay, Titus, it's one thing to deal with the leadership. Now here's what I want you to do. I want you to teach people what good looks like in every relationship. And so here's the start.
Start with the people that should know the most. Tell the older men, this is what good looks like in relationships. Tell the older women, this is what good looks like.
Tell the younger women, the younger men, in fact, tell the slaves. Because every relationship is a reflection of Christ and the validity of who he is and what he said, or it discredits him. And then after he gives this, right in the center, the second assignment of, of teaching what is good, we get a theology of doing good. He says, for the grace of God that appeared and that offers salvation to all people, it, this same grace that saves you, it teaches us to say no to all ungodliness and worldly passions, negative and positive, to live self-controlled upright and godly lives in this present age. And then sort of this clause that gives perspective while we are waiting for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior, Jesus Christ. And then sort of this qualifying clause, not only is Jesus called God here and our great savior, but it gives his mission who gave himself to redeem us from or out of all wickedness to becoming his very own people. And then notice what kind of people we are eager or zealous to do what is good.
And so the summary is, these are the things that you have to teach. The third area in this entire book is, so what's it look like to do good in the world? And I hope you're getting the idea that doing good is more than sort of like a little list of good little deeds.
I'm trying to be a nice little good person. It's talking about a mindset and a thought life and a relational aspect where you are literally allowing the Spirit of God to produce a life of Christ and it begins to play out in how you live, how you think, and how you relate inside the church and outside the church. And so doing good out in the world, he says, remind God's people to, here's what good looks like, submit to authorities, be ready to do whatever is good, slander no one, be peaceable and considerate, show true humility to all men.
Ooh. And then he gives the reason that we're to do good to all and we'll explore that a bit more when we get to that chapter. And then he gives a theology of not doing good but becoming good because he doesn't want them confused. He says, I want you, hey, you do not get saved by good works. But what he's going to say is it's by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Spirit, it's by God's mercies that you're saved.
And he's going to make this big point. Doing good doesn't get you right with God, but those who are right with God always end up doing good because of who lives inside of them. With that, if you still have your Bibles open, the other thing I did is I started to trace some themes through the book because I want you to get this idea that good has to do with who you are, sort of the, a godliness and a moral capacity and look at chapter one and I'll just, I'm just zooming so you don't have to follow too closely, almost lean back and listen to all these words that are repeated about. So this is what good looks like. Verse one, it's a knowledge of the truth, speaking of salvation that leads to godliness.
You might circle that word. It's about being godly or godlike. And then when he talks to the leaders, listen to these words about what it means to be good in terms of your character. Be blameless, verse five.
Skip down two lines, be blameless. Don't be overbearing, don't be quick tempered, don't be given too much wine, don't be violent, don't be pursuing dishonest gain. All those are the opposite of being good. And then the opposite of being good are these cretians, they're liars and evil brutes and lazy gluttons. Nothing is pure. By contrast, notice leaders are to love what is good and it's just the opposite at the end of chapter. False teachers are unfit for doing anything good.
All I want you to see is he is pounding this home. In chapter two, you get these same character qualities. Notice an older man is to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, sound in faith, endurance.
Those are all character issues. And then to be reverent, and then to not slander, to not be addicted to much wine when he speaks of the older women. And then character issues, teach the young woman to be self-controlled and pure and to be kind. He says then, slaves, don't talk back, don't steal, show respect, be trusted, don't be ungodly. And then as you look here, he goes all the way through and says, teach them what is good. Be an example, verse six, by doing what is good. A people, last verse in the chapter, that are eager to do what is good. And then finally we get to chapter three and he says that there to be people who are ready.
Can you imagine this? It's like right on the tip of eager and ready to do whatever is good in every circumstance, with every person, with every event. This, what he says, is what we need to teach all of God's people to do.
By contrast, they're not argumentative, they don't quarrel, they don't slander, they're obedient. Have you got the idea that maybe doing good is more than just icing on the cake and trying hard to be a little bit better moral person? It has to do with your relationship with yourself and integrity. It has to do with how you are relate to every person in your home, a roommate, your family, your kids, your neighborhood, and where you work. And it has everything to do then with your specific actions that become an agent like Christ that solve the deepest relational and hurting and needs of people around you. This book is about doing good and it describes what happens when Christians live like Christians. The transformation that happens through us and the transformation that happens deep inside of us.
Now with that, here's what I want to do. You'll notice that there's three assignments. There's one about the leaders, there's one to teach about relationships, and the third one here is about God's people. But the question, why does good really, really matter? The thesis of his argument is chapter 2 verses 11 through 14. Not uncommon in kind of ancient literature where you kind of have bookends and you talk about issues here, you talk about issues here, and often the core of what you want to say is right in the middle of the book. And so I'm going to take the remainder of our time and build the case from what he says, chapter 2, 11 through 14 of why doing good matters so much. So I'm on the back page. You ready?
If you have a pen, you might pull it out. So I'm going to give you a little work to do. And here what you're going to find is there are four specific reasons why doing good doesn't just matter.
It matters so much. Reason number one, doing good reveals God's passion for people. In fact, you might even put above passion, his grace-filled passion, his loving passion is the idea. But verse 11 says, for the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. When he says the grace of God has appeared, that word appeared, we get a word for epiphany. And the grace of God, the reference here is to His incarnation, His perfect life, His love, His resurrection, all that Jesus is and all that Jesus did.
And so what the apostle Paul is saying is, look you Cretans, are you like kidding me? The world was dark and the world was without hope. And like light burst and the light that came was the very Son of God, fully man, fully God, born of a virgin. He lived a perfect life, He offered His life, He rose from the dead, and there's hope. The grace of God, the hope of all mankind has come and He offers the forgiveness of sin and salvation in right relationship. And what he's telling them is that your good works either affirm that or deny that.
What you do, what I do, the reason that I turned away from Christianity and the Bible and all religion was what I experienced in church. Shining brightly is what God calls us to do. He says, you need and I need in order to shine the light on what is true, let your light so shine. Your actions, your good works, let it so illuminate that people could see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Chip will be back in just a minute with his application. You've been listening to the first part of his message, Why Doing Good Matters So Much from his series Doing Good, What Happens When Christians Live Like Christians. The Bible teaches that we're saved by God's grace and by our faith in Him. So where does that leave doing good works? I mean, why does it matter how we treat one another? Well, through Chip's teaching in the book of Titus, we'll learn how our decision to do good for another person is more than just a simple gesture. It's an opportunity to impact their life. Don't miss the easy ways you can practice doing good every day and how we can dramatically change our world for the better.
For more information about our resources for this series, go to livingontheedge.org or call 888-333-6003 or go to the Chip Ingram app. Well, Chip's with me here in studio now, and Chip, the title of the series Doing Good sounds a little unusual. I mean, doesn't everyone want to do good? Why don't you take a minute and explain what the series is really all about? Well, Dave, you're right.
Doing good, just two words, is a little odd for a series. But actually, it's the theme of the book of Titus. It's the apostle Paul writing to this young pastor in the midst of, I mean, the absolutely most corrupt, immoral Las Vegas on steroids of its day. And I think so much of the division and disunity and discouragement that we're living with in our day, God wants to break through that. He wants to break through the darkness.
He wants to take these seemingly impossible and challenging situations where, you know, we get cynical and, you know, it doesn't matter what you do, you know, the whole world is going bad. Doing good is God's antidote to that. The second thing is doing good does something.
I mean, this is scientifically proven. When you do good, when you're altruistic, I mean, when you meet a need, when you're kind to someone, when you take care of someone, when you're thinking of other people, what we've learned is it produces joy. The scripture says, in fact, the word for grace and the word for joy is the common root in the Greek language. But when we do good, when we're generous with our time, when we're generous in meeting a need, when we're doing good deeds, not to earn God's salvation, but as a result of our salvation to extend his love, it does something very powerful. It takes our focus off of ourselves. And then third, I think many Christians are so adamant, for a good reasons to say that we're not saved by our good works, that somehow then they must not matter that much. And the fact of the matter is, is that because we are saved, because the Spirit of God lives inside of us, because Jesus loves people and he dwells inside of us, doing good is the natural outflow and outcome of people who are genuinely born again by the Spirit of God. So I've gotten great responses to this series and I cannot wait as I picture in my mind literally hundreds of thousands of people taking small acts of doing good as we study together.
Thanks, Chip. Well, be sure to join us for this entire series. And also let me encourage you to get together with some friends or a few couples from your church and go through this small group study. It'll really transform your mind. To learn more about that, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call 888-333-6003.
App listeners tap special offers. Well, now here's Chip with some final thoughts from today's message. As we close today's program, I want to invite you to go on a very exciting journey with me.
In fact, if you have never gone to our website, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org. The title of the series is Doing Good and download the message notes. I put a picture of the whole book of Titus graphed out in the notes how it all fits together, especially for those of you that might lead a small group or really want to study this book because here's what I've seen. The book of Titus is the greatest treatment in the New Testament about the value and the importance of doing good.
I have to tell you, I was actually shocked at how much that I learned. So let me encourage you to go on this journey with us and begin thinking about when and how do you do good. How do you do good in your home? How do you do good at work? How do you do good at the coffee shop?
How do you do good where you work out? How would your neighbors say that you do good? Not to earn your salvation, but to demonstrate the reality and the power and the glory of God.
Here's what I'm going to tell you. When you do good, God is honored and the light shines on the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Assignment for today, do one specific good deed to someone.
Let's see what happens. Great encouragement, Chip. Thanks. Well, just before we close, I want to thank those of you who regularly give to the ministry of Living on the Edge. You're making a big difference in helping Christians live like Christians. If you're enjoying the benefits of Living on the Edge, but aren't yet on the team, would you do that today? You can set up a recurring donation by calling us at 888-333-6003 or by visiting us at livingontheedge.org. App listeners tap donate and thanks for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do. Well, for all of us here, this is Dave Drewy saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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