Troubled Times

January 29, 2017 | Tom Swanson | Titus 3:9-11


Getting Acquainted   

1) What are some of the things in life that make you tense up? What makes you start to weigh your options between ‘fight or flight’?   

2) If this has ever happened to you (and I’m sure it has!), tell about an experience you witnessed or were involved in when two divergent points of view came into conflict. How did that go? Did you enjoy the ‘creative tension’? Were people able to part on good terms?

 Getting into the Bible 

3) We’re told in Titus 3:8 that some things are profitable and in 3:9 that some things are unprofitable. What things belong to each category? Look at 1 Timothy 4:8, 2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Corinthians 13:3 and Luke 9:25. What are some other things that the Bible tells us are profitable or unprofitable, of benefit or not? How would you summarize the Biblical message? 

 4) Read Philippians 4:8-9. Here we find another list of things that are of value. What are they? What difference does it make in our lives when we think about such things? What difference does it make in our lives when we practice such things?  

Working it out in Life 

5) As you think back on the sermon from last Sunday, what is one thing from the sermon that you really want the group to talk about? It could be something that encouraged you, confused you, upset you or anything along those lines. 

 6) Pastor Tom asserted (from Titus 3:9) that even as believers we can major on the minor things (foolish controversies), add to the Scriptures (genealogies), get too heated in discussions (dissensions) or make our personal convictions absolute for everyone (quarrels about the law). Have you seen examples of that? As you look at your own life, do you think you have ever been guilty of any of those things?  

 7) Titus 3:9 tells us that there are some issues or discussions we should just avoid. We are also told that as God’s people we are to hold on to God’s truth and defend it (see Titus 1:9, 2:1). How do we know when to walk away and when to stand and fight? How do we decide what issues are really fundamental and which are secondary?   

 Digging Deeper  

8) Pastor Tom quoted from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in “Living Together”:

Nothing can be more cruel than that leniency which abandons others to sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than that severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.

Has someone come to you in your past and had a loving confrontation with you? Is there someone that you think God might be leading you to talk with? What is the danger in doing this? What is the danger in not doing it? What attitude do you need to have if you sense God leading you to have a serious talk? 

 Message summary: It doesn’t sound right. The idea that there are some issues followers of Jesus should avoid getting into discussions about and some people we should avoid getting into discussions with, well, it just doesn’t sound right! Isn’t the Church to uphold the truth? Isn’t the message of the gospel for all? Of course! But we need to understand that we too can make little things into big things, let our emotions get too involved and make our convictions into absolutes. The Lord of the Church pleads with the people of the Church: devote yourself to what has lasting value!


1) Issues to avoid 3:9

2) People to avoid 3:10-11