In Titus 2 Paul gives instruction for behavior in the church. At one point, he calls it “behaviour as becometh holiness.” He calls what he is teaching the church, “sound doctrine” (v. 1) and “the doctrine of God” (v. 10), that he wants Titus to “speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority” (v. 15). For what Titus says, that Paul writes to him, he commands that “no man despise thee” (v. 15). On top of all this, Paul wants all this behavior “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (v. 6). The word of God would be blasphemed by not behaving in the way that Paul teaches. How big a deal is that? All of this is so important that Paul characterizes it in a very great way and brings with it a lot of serious talk. He says, “Rebuke with all authority.” That really sounds, you know, mean – to rebuke with all authority. How about, rebuke with tremendous sympathy and sensitivity? Paul was a man. Titus was a man. It was required in the qualifications of the pastor, to be a man. Acting like a man means strength, which is necessary for maintaining the behavior God wants. People are more concerned about the style and the sympathy today, then they are the actual right behavior and, therefore, call it “toxic masculinity.” It’s not true. We need strength today and a stand on what God says.
Nothing in the Bible tells us how many hours to evangelize every week. The strong impression someone should get from the New Testament as a whole is that we are never to stop evangelizing. This is like the command from Paul, pray without ceasing. We don’t pray nonstop, but it is characteristic to the extent that it could be called, without ceasing. Jesus says, don’t hide your light or lamp under a bushel or basket. The inclination is toward preaching the gospel, at least being a Christian testimony. This might be passing out a tract. If we are going to preach the gospel to everyone and everyone hasn’t yet received the gospel, then we need to keep going until that is done. It won’t get done by not doing it. Everyone is responsible to do that. We should want to do that, because there is no greater message and no more important message, if it is true. It is true, but whether we believe it is true could be measured by how much we talk about it. I bring up the topic of how much to evangelize, because faith in Christ is different than sheer fulfillment of obligation. You get your minimal or token evangelism in, so you won’t need to do it for awhile, and you’re happy for that. That’s not belief. That’s not love. The Bible doesn’t give us a requirement, but that doesn’t mean none.
If salvation doesn’t cost anything, then where did the idea of “counting the cost” come from? They seem like a contradiction, or do they? The concept actually comes from Jesus in Luke 14:28, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” When you believe in Jesus Christ, you’ve got to really believe, and really believing means believing that Jesus is Lord. That means that He owns you as His servant, so you’re actually giving everything up to Him. The reality is that you get everything, but in a temporal way, you are giving up your own self, your own life, your soul. Are you willing to do that, because that is believing in Him? That is counting the cost, and Jesus illustrates that. If you believe in Jesus Christ, saving faith, then you believe that He is better than everything, He is good, and you trust Him, which means trusting that you are better off with Him. Do you believe that or not? That is counting the cost. Am I really giving that up or not, or am I just going through the motions here? Actual costing you something would be something of value. Your life, you assess, as Paul did, is dung, so you count it, as He said, as loss. You win Christ, who is of eternal benefit and all that goes with Him.
Very often in describing salvation, I explain that you don’t have to give up anything to be saved, except for everything. Someone might ask if you have to give up smoking to be saved. Someone doesn’t get saved by giving up smoking. However, smoking might be the reason why someone doesn’t receive Jesus Christ, believe in Him, knowing that smoking is not in accordance with faith in Christ. Repentance might require the willingness to give up smoking, since that’s what stands between someone and Christ. We don’t have to give up anything in particular to be saved, except that we can’t keep going our own way in be saved. You can’t worship Jesus Christ and everything else. It is Him or nothing. If someone has the grace of God through salvation, He can give things up that are worthless. Paul said that all things were lawful, that is, they might be permissible, but they were not necessarily expedient, that is, necessary. If something keeps you from running your race as fast as you should, then you lay it aside to run the race that is set before you. I ask myself why certain meaningless things really matter to me. Sometimes what really matters doesn’t matter and what doesn’t matter, really does matter. If we believe in Jesus Christ, then we should consider what it is we should give up for Him.