Making a profit is the goal of business and it is the goal for Christians as well.
Of course, in a business profit is financial, whereas for Christians it is spiritual. Paul says in Titus 3:8, “These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” Then in verse 9 he says certain things are “unprofitable” for the Christian. The word profitable refers to something being useful, beneficial, serviceable, or helpful. When something is profitable it helps you with something, it gives you an advantage. When something is unprofitable, as in verse 9, it means something is useless, and gives you no help with what you are doing. What are we doing? We are living holy, righteous, godly, and Spirit-filled lives that glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father in heaven. Now, what is it that Paul says helps us do that? And, what is it that Paul says will not help us?
1: Emphasize Sound Biblical Doctrine (3:8a and 2:11-3:7)
If we want to live profitable Christian lives we need to EMPHASIZE sound Biblical doctrine. Notice what Paul says in verse 8, “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things…” These things refer to the doctrines of our salvation he just described in the previous verses. We as believers have the Word of God taught faithfully, correctly, and emphatically to us. Stress these things. Emphasize these things. Put a lot of weight on these things.
It’s not enough for a church to have a sound doctrine on paper. Doctrine must be emphasized in the pulpit. When you have a church that has a good statement of faith that isn’t coming through in the preaching there is a problem. The preaching must stress sound Biblical doctrine. But, too many pulpits today emphasize self-help, feel good, therapy and social action style preaching with some Scripture sprinkled on top. Did you know the Bible says to teach the meat but today it’s treated like seasoning. When Scripture is sprinkled it is not being handled soundly. Usually it’s being manipulated.
What happens when people don’t hold to sound doctrine? What is the danger if you don’t get or don’t want sound doctrine? Your faith gets shipwrecked (1 Tim. 1:19). Your faith gets destroyed (2 Tim. 2:18). You become more and more ungodly (2 Tim. 2:23). You unwittingly become ensnared by the devil and do his will (2 Tim. 2:26). You become conceited and contentious (1 Tim. 6:1-5). You end up refusing to listen to true teaching and instead start surrounding yourself with false teachers who will tell you what you want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Application: First, don’t ever put up with unsound Biblical teaching. Be discerning. Second, Demand sound doctrine.
2: Emphasize Sound Biblical Conduct (3:8b and 2:1-10)
If we want to profit in our Christian life, secondly we need to Emphasize Sound Conduct. Notice verse 8 again, “And I want you to stress these things so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” This is seen throughout this whole letter. Chapter 2:14 says. “…” And then notice 3:14, “…”
As believers our love for each other should manifest itself in how we care for each other. Jesus said this was a powerful tool for witnessing in John 13:34-35, “Love one another. As I have loved you so you are to love one another. In this way the world will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Maybe it isn’t all the marketing techniques that make people look at the church and want to come, but, maybe when they see the love going on in here, how we look out for each other and live grace-filled lives, they will want to be a part of that.
A great picture of profiting in the Christian life is seen in 2 Peter 1:5-8. Turn with me and follow along… Making a profit in the Christian life means growing in your character, and, growing in your loving deeds towards other Christians.
3: Don’t Get Entangled in Dumb Debates (3:9)
Thirdly, in order to make a profit in your Christian life, Don’t Get Entangled in Dumb Debates. Notice verse 9, “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.”
The word to notice there is “Avoid”. The word means to shun, or to steer clear. It means to keep your distance and don’t get involved. Avoid means to turn around and get away. Both wisdom books of the OT start out with avoiding the wrong people. The imploring father of Proverbs chapter 1 tells his son, “My son, if sinners entice you and say come with us, do not set foot on their path. Do not go along with them.” Avoid them! The very first words in the very first Psalm say, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.” Clear pictures of avoiding, steering clear, not involving yourself.
I remember when Annie and I were dating and she lived in Chicago. There were several times driving to or from her apartment I turned down the wrong street only to see I had entered the blue light district. It’s like turning down the wrong street and realizing you need to turn around and get out of there quickly because only bad things can happen if you go further.
Paul made a big deal out of avoiding. Listen to other similar commands he gave. Turn to 1 Timothy 1:3-7. Then turn to chapter 2 Timothy 2 with me and lets read verses 14-18 and especially 23.
He is refering to the pseudo-intellectual theorizing. What Paul is talking about specifically here, had to do with Jews who loved to mix myth into the genealogy of the OT characters. They obsessed with it. J.B. Phillips says, “Paul may have been thinking of Philo’s allegorical interpretations of genealogies. (Philo, the father of a radical system of hermeneutics, was much admired by many Jews). Or Paul might have been thinking of the rabbis who tended to clutter genealogies with fables, or of some Jews who used genealogies to bolster pride of race and religion and feelings of superiority over the Gentiles. Titus was not to waste his time with such persuits.” It’s the pointless philosophizing that wannabe experts engage in. They chase the Devil’s rabbits and get distracted with pointless, unhelpful mythologizing. They are wasting their time.
Notice how Paul describes these activities: Foolish – which literally means moronic. Unprofitable and Useless – meaning that all the hypothesizing going on is completely worthless and offers no advantage for believers to grow spiritually. Believers who carry on in controversies and endless speculations about genealogies, and argue over the Law because they think they’re experts at it are wasting their time. These things are foolish and pointless.
How does it apply to us? We should stay focused on the word of God and not get sidetracked with speculations. Allegorizing the Bible leads to this. Magical number codes in the Bible. Date setting. Jesus had a secret family and there are physical descendents of Jesus secretly in the world today. Americans are the lost 10 tribes of Israel. The list goes on. We do not have to chase every theoretical rabbit trail. It bogs us down, slows us down, sidetracks us. The Devil uses distractions as much, if not more, than he does sin to keep Christians from staying on track.
Spurgeon: There are always plenty of thorns about, and there are certain professors who spend half their lives in fighting about nothing at all. There is no more in their contention than the difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee; but they will divide a church over it, they will go through the world as if they had found out a great secret,-it really is not of any consequence whatever,-but having made the discovery, they judge everybody by their new-found fad, and so spread a spirit that is contrary to the Spirit of Christ.
There are hundreds of questions, which are thought by some people to be very important, but which have no practical bearing whatever, either upon the glory of God, or upon the holiness of man. We are not to go into these matters; let those who have time to waste take up these questions; as for us, we have not time enough for things that are unprofitable and vain.
Make a profit by avoiding dumb debates
4: Expel Heretics (10-11)
Lastly, if you want to make a profit in your Christian life you must be willing to Expel Heretics. Notice verses 10-11, “…”
You must be willing to expel the heretics. The Greek word for “divisive person” is actually where we get our English word “heretic”. Originally the word didn’t have a sinister meaning. It was simply a word in the Greek that meant someone held a different opinion. In matters of religion it grew into meaning someone who willfully chose to believe different doctrines than were established and held to. Then it grew to mean someone who was deliberately going around and being divisive over their doctrinal opinions to try and gather a following, which meant dividing the Body of Christ. So, a heretic, here is referring to someone who disrupts the unity of the Church by spreading their false and contrary doctrines and tries to get a following.
You must be willing to expel them from your lives. In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul said that a little yeast works its way through the whole batch. It was a great metaphor meaning sin in the Church that goes undealt with will spread throughout the Church. It’s like an infection that spreads.
As a church we must deal with heretics in church discipline. I think that the 3 step process Paul outlines here fits right in with Jesus’ step by step process in Matthew 18. Paul says to warn them. That means exactly what it says, warn them to stop spreading their false doctrine and trying to rally people to themselves. They get 2 warnings and after that they are to be shunned. Yeah, I used that word. Paul says that after giving them 2 warnings if they don’t stop you are to avoid them. They don’t get to come to church anymore. They get de-friended on Facebook. They don’t get invited over for dinners or fun anymore. We have nothing to do with them. These are the characters Paul said in chapter 1 needed to be silenced, needed a sharp rebuke to make them zip it. These are the characters whose teachings will spread like gangrene in the Church and spoil people’s faith. They do not have a 1st amendment right to free speech.
I want you to see a contrast between a good church and a bad church. Turn to 2 Timothy 4:3-5…. This church was hiring and gathering all the false teachers they could. They were bringing them in from everywhere. Buying all their books, attending all their conferences, sending them money, loving them, adopting their doctrines. But the good church, back in Titus 3 is the one who avoids these people. The bad church brings them into the church, but the good church is kicking them out!
What do you need to do today to make a profit?
Do you care about your own growth?
Do you need to be more serious about getting taught God’s Word?
Do you need to be more devoted to good works in the Church?
Do you need to stop getting involved in fruitless debates and arguments?
Do you need to stop paying attention to someone who is teaching false doctrines?