by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
In September we read Paul's letter to Titus and his very last letter, called 2 Timothy. Paul's concern is that the true gospel be preserved and proclaimed by a faithful church.
I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may ... devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone (Titus 3:8).
In the second part of verse 8, the apostle's whole concern is crammed into one sentence: Titus and all leaders in the church must place great emphasis on the gospel. "I want you to stress these things," he says. He's referring to the matters of God's grace and our renewal, just mentioned in the preceding verses.
Why must the church always emphasize the gospel? So that believers may apply themselves to doing good deeds. Good works, Paul adds, are excellent in the sight of God and "profitable for everyone."
It's a two-step program. First, everyone must be clear about the gospel. Then, once people know the gospel personally and intelligently, they can and must do good works.
The end of the gospel is good works. But you cannot start with good works. That would be like beginning the construction of a building with the second story. Only when people have grasped the gospel and been changed by its message can they be fruitful for God and profitable to the world.
The gospel is not an end in itself. A church goes wrong when it does nothing but recite and review the Scriptures; it gets into a rut of ever "nicer" meetings and ever "better" speakers. The gospel produces good works, pleasing to God and profitable for everyone. By serving others in Christ's name, we meet the goals of God.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version