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January 10, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine . . . so that no one will malign the word of God . . . so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us . . . so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”—Titus 2:1–13 (NIV)
What does it mean to make the teaching about God our Savior attractive, to make the gospel attractive? Well, let’s consider the entirety of what Paul is saying here in the whole context of his letter to Titus.
In Titus 3:4–7, Paul lays out the gospel in all its glory. It encapsulates the entirety of God’s salvation of sinful man. But just a few verses before that in chapter two, he tells us that God’s grace offers salvation to all people, and that in His grace and by His Spirit, we can say “No” to sin and live out the gospel until He returns. So, not only is the gospel about salvation, but it’s also about sanctification. And they’re properly represented when we live “self-controlled, upright and godly lives.” Because true gospel living also enables us to be faithful witnesses and effective ambassadors of Jesus Christ to the watching world.
You see, the gospel of Jesus has a civilizing effect on all aspects of a Christian’s life. It teaches us to live like Jesus in a sinful society and produce good, healthy, vibrant fruit in the world and culture we live in! And here’s the thing about producing good fruit: Others can enjoy them!
When I was a kid, we had a mango tree in our yard. Half the tree was actually hanging into our neighbor’s yard. And when that tree starting producing mangos, my neighbor was the happiest person in the world. Why? Free mangos! Because of where our tree was positioned, our neighbors were able to enjoy the benefits of the fruits being produced. And this is the case with our lives. God has positioned us where we are in order to reach people!
In Titus 2:11 when it says “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people,” the word for appeared is epephanē, which means, “To bring light to, to make visible, to become clearly known.” Friends, God wants to use us to help others have their epiphany, that same epiphany we had when the gospel took root in our hearts.
Making the gospel attractive isn’t about dressing up the gospel or putting make-up on the message. The gospel is already the most attractive thing in all the world. It’s the message of our salvation, redemption, and adoption. And when we walk in “sound doctrine” and live “self-controlled, upright and godly lives,” our lives can be the catalyst God uses to bring the light of Jesus into the lives of the people around us, to make the love of God through Christ visible to them, and to make the power of the gospel clearly known.
PAUSE: What does it mean to make the gospel attractive? What are some ways we as Christians turn people off to the gospel?
PRACTICE: In John 15:8 (NIV), Jesus says, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” God ordained you to be an agent of transformation in our world, in our culture, in this present age. Not in isolation or seclusion away from the world, but in the places and spaces He has us. Not by fighting a war against culture, but by shining the light of Jesus into our culture! So, this season, be intentional in your workplace to let your good fruit fall onto your coworkers and your bosses. In your classrooms, let the Holy Spirit fruit drop into the hands of classmates and teachers. In your homes, in your friend circles, in your gyms, on your teams, and at the restaurants and coffee shops you frequent, let your good fruit and your good works be on display.
PRAY: Father, teach me and help me to be more like Your son, to live an upright, self-controlled, and godly life so I may draw people to You and not away from You. Present me with opportunities to walk in the fruit of the Spirit and produce good fruit so that others may come to truly understand who You are and how much You love them. Amen.