Jump Start # 2839
Titus 3:8 “The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.”
As with Timothy, Paul is showing Titus what is important in his work as a preacher. Here we find, “I want you to insist on these things.” To insist, means to stress or emphasize. This is what is important. This is at the top of the list. Insisting is the opposite of the spirit that says, “I’ll get around to it sooner or later.” Most times, it is later, much later. Insist is what Paul is driving at.
Now some thoughts:
First, built within insisting is making things clear. We can hide behind the generic and overload the mind with so much information and facts, that a person doesn’t know what is most important. I have sat through many sermons which were stuffed with all kinds of facts, but the lesson was so scattered, like chasing rabbits in field, that when it was over, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with it. What was the point? Insist by making clear statements that are the skeleton of your class, sermon or conversation. You may build around and upon that skeleton, but it is the skeleton that supports and holds everything together. Paul said, “Insist on these things.”
Second, repeating comes with insisting. Our moms were great at that. We’d hear the same thing over and over. Sometimes we became weary of hearing it and we could finish her sentences before she did, but there was no mistaking what she was insisting upon. Home before ten meant BEFORE TEN. We got that. Putting on your seat belt, meant PUTTING IT ON. Our moms insisted.
The same needs to be done spiritually. We do that for the little ones in their Bible classes. We repeat and repeat and repeat. They sing the same songs. They go through the same drills. But they learn. They get it. And, as adults, we too often want only to hear new things in new ways. If the preacher announces his sermon will be on “Baptism,” some will groan. “Heard that before,” they’d say. But the repeating and the insisting go together.
Third, insisting helps us with our priorities. So many things to do in a day. So many places to go. Pick this up. Get this. Go there. Those that are organized do well. Those that aren’t waste a lot of time. Insisting upon what is important spiritually helps us get our order in order. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were pretty good at looking good, at least on the outside. Their insides were a mess. Jesus compared them to unwashed dishes, and dead bodies in a cemetery. The Pharisees didn’t have the right priorities. We can do the same. We can assemble on a Sunday, looking good, but have a miserable and sour attitude about us. We can walk into the building and immediately start complaining. It’s too hot or it’s too cold. Someone is in my seat. This isn’t right and I don’t like that. And, after an hour we can go home, bothered, unhinged, and forgetting that we have been in the presence of God Himself. We sang, but we forgot to praise. We bowed our heads, but we never prayed. He read verses, but they never touched our hearts. We can feel satisfied and even justified that we got up and went to church services, while most of the world stayed in bed. We can feel pretty good about those things. But what we’ve missed is the most obvious, the Lord. How can we complain when we are standing upon a mountain of blessings? How can we judge others when the Holy God is before us?
What is important, “going to church,” or, worshipping God? What is important, reading some verses or allowing the word of God to dwell within our hearts? Insisting upon the purpose of worship, will help us with what is really important. Distractions, commotions, a host of other things can grab our attention, but realizing what is “insisted” upon, will turn our eyes back where they belong, upon the Lord.
Just what is it that the Lord wants from you today? Mow the yard. Take the dog to the vet. Get the oil changed. Pay bills. Call mom. Clean the house. Go to work. Play with the kids. And, at the end of the day, tired, we fall into bed. Have we accomplished what was most important? Insist upon those things.
Finally, we have a tendency to remember what has been insisted upon. The Lord’s death is important. It’s very important. It’s what the Bible is all about. And, of all the things the Lord wants us to remember, every week, we are to gather and participate in His death and resurrection. The Lord’s Supper is something God insists upon. He doesn’t say remember this when you can. He doesn’t say, once in a while make this a priority. Those first Christians were remembering the Lord’s death every week. God insisted upon that. We are always only a few days away from that death. That death changed everything. That death crushed Satan. That death opened the doors of Heaven. That death forgave us. That death left footprints for us to follow. That death changed our eternity. Important? Extremely. Most important. So important, that God insists upon us remembering it.
Now, you and I may get the Minor Prophets jumbled up in our minds. I was driving with my little granddaughter the other day and she asked me what the second plague in Egypt was. I know the plagues. I know where to find them in the Bible. But which one was number two? Important stuff, but not nearly as important as why am I following Jesus? Why am I His disciple? Why did He die for me? So many important things, but insist upon the most important. Mary and Martha remind us of this. Feeding Jesus is a great thing to do. But sitting at his feet listening to Him, is even more important.
Insist on these things…