Preach the gospel always; use words if necessary.
These are the famous words of St. Francis of Assisi, and good ones at that. Though not a Christian, Mahatma Gandhi said this:
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Long before both of these men, Paul said something similar to Titus:
Make sure you present yourself as a pattern of good works. Your teaching must be consistent and serious, in healthy speech that is beyond reproach. That way, our opponents will be ashamed, since they won’t have anything bad to say about us. (2:7-8)
The world needs fewer sermons and more people who live the sermons they have already heard. If Titus was ever going to be successful in fulfilling Paul’s charge to create strong churches on the sinful island of Crete, the revolution had to start in his own heart. He could ask for nothing from those Christians and offer nothing to Crete he wasn’t able to be a pattern of. He was to be the walking sermon.
So too with us. We can rage on about the moral decay of our world, but until we are the change we are advocating, things will never get better. Strong churches are composed of Christians with strong character who offer to the world by their very lifestyle an attractive alternative to sin.