But Seriously

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May 20, 2019 

Titus 1:13b-15 (NLT)

So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth. Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted.

CONSIDER THIS

Right before I started high school I came to faith at a Petra concert (the Christian rock band of the 80s), and not long after became a staunch believer that real Christians only listened to Christian music. Some of my friends and I gathered together all of our “non-Christian” records and tapes, smashed them, and then burned them in my parent’s fireplace. 

A year later during a special youth service at our church, a guy we didn’t really know from school chose to follow Christ. He didn’t come from any church or religious background, and it was evident that his decision to follow Jesus was genuine. 

The next day he joined us at the morning prayer meeting we held before school. He showed up wearing the t-shirt of a popular “non-Christian” heavy metal band (remember, it was the 80s). After our opening prayer, the first thing I told him was that to be a real Christian he would have to quit listening to non-Christian music. He would have to get rid of that t-shirt, and any others like it, along with all of his secular albums. 

We never saw him again after that. 

It might be a crude anecdote, but it is the closest real-life analogy I can think of for today’s text. In our last Daily Text post we saw Paul make a joke, but now he gets serious. 

For some context we need to look at Galatians 2 when Paul brought Titus to Jerusalem. Titus was a Gentile convert, and apparently after they got there some of the leaders began discussing if Titus should be circumcised. But Paul wasn’t having it (and I’m sure Titus was very thankful). In verse 2:4 Paul says these false teachers were trying to take away the freedom we have in Jesus, and that is what he is reminding Titus about today. 

You see, what’s really happening is these false-folks were coming to new believers and essentially saying You are a new convert who believes Jesus’ death and resurrection forgives your sins and saves your soul, but in order for you to be a real Christian you must follow this rule on circumcision. 

This is kind of a big deal because the whole idea of “saved by grace through faith” is that our salvation is not based on what we do, but who God is. It is his actions through Jesus, not ours, that initiate and fulfill the requirements for salvation. Paul rejects anyone who teaches otherwise because to do so could lead new and early-in-the-faith believers away. 

And that’s no joke. 

To be continued.

THE PRAYER

Jesus, help me to remember you are the one doing the saving, and save me from turning away from this truth. Amen.

THE QUESTION

Where do you see this kind of “false-teaching” at work today?

For the awakening,
Omar Al-Rikabi

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Omar Rikabi is a United Methodist Pastor serving in North Texas. When not telling stories, Omar likes to watch movies with his wife Jennifer, read books with his three daughters, and work in the kitchen cooking and grilling for family and friends. You follow him on Twitter @omarrikabi or visit his blog omarrikabi.com

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