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Oct 03, 2021



Speaker: Eli Laughlin

Series: Little Letters, Big Truths

Category: Sunday Sermons

Keywords: faith, discipleship, sermon, disciple, bible, righteousness, obedience, christian living, christianity, follow jesus, bible study, kind, daily christian living, glorifying god, titus, living for god, what is faith, be like jesus, how to be saved, follower of jesus, biblical teaching, truth in the bible, saved from sin, little letters big truths, what is discipleship, real truth, holy living in an unholy world, discipleship definition, living our your faith, how is discipleship done

This week, as we wrap up our sermon series called Little Letters Big Truths, we explore Titus. High School Pastor Eli breaks down some big truths around leadership and biblical teaching. Not only do we see what to be warry about wit false teachers, but we also learn how discipleship brings biblical maturity. Discipleship is the process of committing yourself to be a student of Jesus, to follow Him and continually grow towards being more like Him. As we look in Titus, we see that there is an order to this process, and it takes time to grow. As we become more Christ-like, we are to be obedient and kind, and always be thankful by remembering our old condition. When we look back, it builds gratitude, humility, and faith. Our hope comes not from our ability or decisions in life, but from Jesus’ finished work on the cross and from His righteousness.

Well, good morning. My name is Eli. I am the high school pastor here at Burnt Hickory. I'm super excited. I don't know if it's because I'm preaching or it's because I've had enough caffeine this morning to kill a small horse. I can't tell quite yet. Sorry, babe. I know she's been on me about the caffeine lately, but man, I am ecstatic. I am pumped. I am ending the series this week called Little Letters Big Truths. And so we are, in fact, going to look at that in the Bible this morning in the book of Titus. So, if you have scripture this morning. You will notice that the book of Titus has three chapters, and we're going to literally walk through all three. I could not bring myself not to do all three. I would've love to just sit in one and break it down thoroughly. But for you to understand the context of what Titus or what Paul is writing to Titus to tell the people, we needed all three chapters. But before we get into our text, I wanted to illustrate for you, because I'm big on illustration. I'm a visual guy. If I can see it or if I can listen and see it, then I can seep it and it can get into me.
And so, in college, I took some communication courses for my major one of my favorite things to do was sit in a class. And one of these classes, we had an assignment to look at the news outlets and look at anchors and segments that anchors do within a news story, because their whole goal in a news story is to tell the people or to give them or to describe to them or to show them what's happening in the ground where they're not at. And so, while I don't want to make fun of or make light of natural disasters, some of my favorite times at looking at news outlets is during natural disasters. And so, it's a little funny to me. So, I apologize if this offends you. But the best thing is when a news anchor is in a hurricane, I don't know why. It's just awesome. They're normally in there like bright, bright yellow raincoat and somebody has literally drenched them. Right. And they want you to know that they are wet. They want you to know that the wind is whipping. They want you to know that whatever is going on around them is absolute pandemonium and chaos. They want you to know that. And they're trying to describe that or give that to you. And they use some of their how do I say this properly news. I don't even know how to say it, but they may be overemphasizing what's going on in the current situation. So, when they're reporting about the hurricane, they're normally not just standing there like this. Right. They have this like posture to them where they're leaning a little bit forward. You know, they had this like stance and they're saying like there's eighty-five mile an hour winds out here and it's whipping and there's pandemonium and chaos. It's je-like forces. And then my favorite thing happens is when like the camera angle like pans out, there's always that one guy in the background that’s just like standing there waving like nothing's happening. Right. And it's like, wait a minute, that guy's lying. Like, that's not how you should stand right now.
Right. And the reason I tell you that is because in the book of Titus, there's absolute chaos going on around them in the church and there's absolute chaos going on in the island of Crete. And so literally, this whole book in Titus is to give order in the midst of chaos. And I don't know about you, but in your life, like I'm in a season right now where I feel like no matter what I do, there's absolute chaos. Does it matter how hard or a schedule or no matter what I do, it's just chaos. I've been married for five years. I got a newborn and she's about to be one. And it's nothing but chaos in our house. Like, I feel like my house is wrecked all the time. My life is wrecked all the time. And I'm like, am I even surviving at this point? Right. And the book, of Titus kind of gives us some orders that we are to put not only in the church, but in our life. And the whole reason that Paul writes to Titus is for this reason, I want you to read with me Titus one verse five. He says this the reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town as I directed you. Now, if you don't know or don't understand the context, literally, Paul and Titus did an evangelistic tour, as you say, preach the gospel in the island of Crete all throughout and saw people come to know Jesus by the hundreds and the thousands. And then when it came to time, Paul said, by the way, Titus I'm leaving bye bye, but I'm going to leave you right. And he said, listen, I need you to be the pastor search committee of one to the. Hundreds of cities and towns on that island. Now, I don't know about you or me, but I'd be like freaking out a little bit like there's new believers here on this island. I'm one guy. Like, I don't know what to do here. And I'm supposed to put a quote unquote pastor in every town like, so I'm supposed to get to know all these people and then I'm supposed to just kind of handpick. I think you'd be good. You be good.
No. Paul writes to Titus, and he gives some qualifications. And in order for us in our life to create some order in the chaos, we need order and leadership. We must put together good leadership. Why do I say that? Titus, one six through nine. Read this with me. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open of being wild, and disobedient. Verse seven through nine says this Since an overseer manages God's household, he must be blameless, not overbearing, not quick tempered, not given the drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable. One who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, wholly in discipline. Oh, man, this is so good. He must hold firm to the trustworthy messages as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Now I need you to see something in verse six and in verse seven. He addresses an elder pastor in two different forms. In verse six, he said an elder must be blameless. And in verse seven, he says an overseer must be blameless. Now, the reason that he says that because in verse six, he is extremely, extremely harsh as to the personal characteristics of what a pastor or elder is supposed to display. He says this Be blameless, faithful to his wife. See what you don't understand. The context is that it would not be uncommon for a man that has means or of wealth to have to potentially even three wives in this situation. And he gives specific instructions as to the personal qualifications before he then addresses the congregational responsibility that the pastor is supposed to add to the congregation. Now, often times when we come into a building like this of a church, it's happening that it's popping like a hickory because we are, and I love this place. 
Everybody looks to what do the pastors do for the congregation. What Paul is riding the tide is saying, you must look personal before you look congregational. Now, for many of us in here, you're not called to be an elder or pastor like I understand that. Like I get that. Maybe you are. Some of you like head nodding, like maybe one of these days, these kids. I love it, but most of us in here. But you are called to lead your family. And many times, what happens with us as we look Congregationalists into our workplace and how we treat people and people judge you based off of how you live publicly. And Paul is riding the tide, is saying, no, no, you need to look at them from a personal aspect. It's almost like this instead of going into their workplace to see how they treat their coworkers. Why don't you take the time to go into their home to see how their family is? And do they love their wife and their kids well? Now, that's something for you and for me to take a hold to. I had to do a whole checkup with my wife. Unlike Thursday night, I'm like sitting there and God is all over me and I'm sweating. You know, those times were guys just convicting you. And I told myself I'd had this conversation on Monday. I told myself, nope, I'll have it on Tuesday. And then I preach Wednesday to middle school and high school. So, I came home late. She was already asleep. Was like, score. And then Thursday, God's like all over me. Right. And I had a look at my wife in the face and say, do I love you and my daughter well enough to be qualified to even have this position to even get to Congregationalists? And fathers and mothers, can I implore you, please just listen for a moment, because I come from a I come from a broken family, a divorced family. And I understand. That when either the mother or the father isn't doing their part in loving and having a relationship with Jesus, how easy the family can break away. And that's the importance for you and for me to put order and leadership within your household. And Paul continues to write like, why is it so important for you and for me from a church and from a personal standpoint to have this leadership? He answers that to prevent false teachers. Look at verse 10 to 13 with me. For there are many rebellious people full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcised group. 
Side note, that literally means like they believe you can only have salvation if you were circumcised. Different different contexts here. We'll talk about that later. He continues to go on and says this. They must be silenced because they are disrupting whole households by teaching these things that they ought not to teach. And for that sake of dishonest gain, one of Creed's own prophets said this. Christians are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons. Wow. That's some harsh terms, right? Says this saying is true, therefore rebuked him sharply so that they will be sound in their faith. The whole reason that Paul is writing The Tide is insane. There's an order to leadership because it's easy to fall under somebody's leadership that's preaching a false gospel. Here's what I want to say to you personally. From your life, from your family. I talk to parents. I talk to kids all the time. And their parents look at me and say, I just don't understand how my kid can believe this. Why? Because you are not teaching them sound biblical doctrine. And the world has been extremely crafty and smart by throwing out a beautiful hook that's got so much bait on it and pulling our kids in, pulling some of our parents in is looking at you, is looking at me as a father and go, listen, there's an order to this. Now, I'm not saying that every single parent here is doing a false an injustice, but it has to beg the question, if your family is in utter chaos, your kids are turning to left and to the right to find their purpose in fulfillment and passions in other things. We as fathers and wives and daughters have to look and go. Am I leading my family from a biblical standpoint? Am I? It's a call to you and to me to look personally before we even look at anything else he's saying to Titus, make sure that their families in order before they can even lead a congregation, we give so many pastors the privilege of leading when their homes in disarray. What do you think the congregation then looks like? But we're blessed here to have that. So, chapter one, he literally says, in order in your life, in your personal home, there must be some order and leadership. And the reason that we have that is because it's so easy in this world is so good at literally looking at you and me and making us buy a false lie that are just not true. And he goes into chapter two, and he goes a step even further into this whole order. He says, listen, Titus, I need you to go to city to city. I need you to put a head guy in charge that gives these characteristics, personally and Congregationalists.
Then he says, I need you to give order. And discipleship, he says, is Titus to one through eight? This is a lot, but so good. Get your pencils ready, highlighters, whatever you got. You need to write this down. Titus two verses one through eight. You, however, must teach that word. Teach is also to speak, to speak what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-control, sound in faith, in love and endurance. Likewise teach you older women to be reverent in the way that they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to too much wine, but teacher speak what is good. Then it says, then you can urge the younger women to love their husbands and their children to be kind to be subject to their husbands so that no one will malign the word of God in the same way. All this is good. Write it down. Encourage a young man to be self-controlled and everything. Set them an example by doing what is good in your teaching. Show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned so that those who oppose you may be a shame because they have nothing bad to say about you. What's happening here, Paul, is riding the tide of saying put the leadership, but then teach the older men and the older women the characteristics of who God is to display those in your life. So, then the older men and the older women can teach younger men and the younger women. I'm just going to say it as a 30-year-old pastor. Older men and older women. We're begging you to teach us. We're begging men. I'm the high. I listen. I see this all the time. My number one need. I'm just going to be real is males in the church that love and that are living for Jesus to come teach our younger men how to. I'll never forget sitting in Matt's office during my marriage counseling and we come to the very end of it. And I was like, oh, that's easy, right?
Like, I don't know. I feel like there is more there. I don't know. And he asked this question. He goes, do you have any questions? And I'll never forget going, yeah, absolutely. I have no idea how to be a biblical husband or father, because I've never had that example in my life. I don't know where to turn on or go. I don't know what to do. And if it wasn't for some of these older, wiser men that have poured biblical, godly truth into my life, I would not be standing here today. Father. Are you looking at your kids? And saying you need to understand biblical foundational truths for your life and teaching those older men and older woman come in week in and week out. Do you see your life on mission to disciple the younger generation so that they can live, and they can disciple even younger generations? There's an order to this. Because discipleship always leads to biblical maturity. I think the number one thing that plagues the church in our world today is there's not enough biblical maturity, foundational truth of people knowing the word of God. When you submit yourself under somebody to be disciple, to grow, to learn, to have accountability, you have no choice but to go line by line, verse by verse in scripture and look at it and say, God, what does this mean for me and my life and how I should live? Discipleship always leads to biblical maturity. But we need to remember that biblical maturity takes time, and it isn't linear. I'll say it like this. I again, I have a little toddler. She's about to be one. I love her. I love her. But she doesn't listen, you know what I'm saying? She doesn't like and it's not like I'm trying to be like the overbearing dad. Right. But like she loves this plant by her door and like it's fine. She comes up and looks at it.
Right. But when she runs up to it, the first thing that she does is try to grab and pull it, you know, with everything. And then once she gets to leave, she then wants to eat it because we're trying new foods. And so, I'm like, no, no, don't do that. Don't do that. Don't do that. And I'm expecting her to obey me to like to listen. But I have to realize that her maturity isn't there yet. And so often the church in the reason that I'm just going to be frank, the reason that nonbelievers don't walk in here and sit in here is because when they do, believers hold those people that don't know the Lord to the standard of maturity that you might already be at. How can you hold somebody to that standard that doesn't believe the same thing that you do? Men in the same way in search. Listen, I know. Twenty-four-year-olds to have more biblical maturity, did some forty-five-year-olds, and that's not a harp on anybody. Don't take that the wrong way. But we have to realize that just because you've taken course 11 01, 11, 02 and 11 03 doesn't always lead a biblical maturity. It's only when you submit yourself to the authority and accountability of discipleship. Because biblical maturity isn't about you. It's about surrendering, you agree with me, titis to 11 through 14 and I love this again, highlight this underline this is so good for your life, says for the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. Everybody. It's appeared. It's offered. It teaches us to say no to ungodly worldly passions and in the live, self-controlled, upright, godly lives in this present age. While we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing, the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself up to redeem us of the wickedness and purify for himself, the people who are his own, too eager to do the good of the Lord. Here's what this says for you and for me about biblical discipleship. When you submit yourself to the authority of teaching from a pastor or from a life group teacher or from a mentor that has a biblical foundation, you are constantly reminded time and time again how good God is and how faithful he is, despite how bad we are. And here's the thing that leads to you surrendering more of yourself because of how good God is, not more to the world, because you can get away with it. 
But because we have this beautiful gift and redemption of salvation and Jesus and forgiveness, that's what discipleship for us in turn becomes. It's selling more of herself down, not building herself up. It's standing at the feet of Jesus and going, God, take whatever you want. There's a song that's been so evident on my heart, and I'll just be honest. I've been scared to like to pray it over my own life because it says God sent me to the fire. So, then my iniquities or my wrongdoings can come to the surface for you to scrape them off, to make me holy and pure. Because that process right there is hard. It's difficult. And that's exactly what discipleship is. Is God sending us to a flame to purify us, to scrape off our self and to add his character back to our life? It's not about you and me, it's about laying more of our self-down to the feet of Jesus. So, he gives us his order. Just look, there's got to be order and leadership. There's got to be order and discipleship for your life. And the last one, chapter three has got to be order and stewardship. No, I'm not talking about the way you give your money. Talking about the way you give your life. Titus, three versus one and two. And listen, this is the Bible speaking. Not me, not a pastor, not a man. This is the word of God let to seep into you. Titus three, one and two says this remind the people to be subjects to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceful and considerate and always gentle towards everybody. Can I make this statement today? Church? It doesn't matter if you like the president or not. Does it matter if you like a party or not? Gods commanded us to be obedient. Now, listen, it's a caveat. The Bible has never commanded us to submit to a human authority, to the point of sin, because there is a time and there is a place for the people of God to rise up against injustice, to speak our voice. But to many of us, and said when it sets a slander, nobody. You slander everybody that's against your view. And we wonder often times why people don't see us, because they are they do see us, they don't see God. There so often times where it's like the love of God on our post, the love of God in our post, slander, the government, slander of the government, and then you wonder why people don't believe what you believe. Come on, church. There's an order to this. And he said, why, why should we submit ourselves to the government, to these authorities? Because when the right opportunity comes to do every good work coming from God, you take that opportunity for people to see the love and the kindness and the compassion of Jesus Christ. That's it, and that's a hard truth for some of us this morning, because we live a disgruntled life, because we don't like what's going on. 
Do you not think God is sovereign over all? You think he's before us, he knows what tomorrow already holds, and yet he still commands us to submit to the rules and the authorities of this earth fly to show in the kindness and the love when the right opportunity presents itself. Remind them to be obedient and kind. You know, always follows up the caveat verse three reminds us of our old condition. Titus three three says this at one time, at one time, you, too, were foolish. You were disobedient. You deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. Why do we need to be reminded of our old condition? Because we when we look back, it builds gratitude. You ever taken a step back in your walk with Jesus and look at where God has brought you from till now. May thank the Lord. I'm not who I used to be. Thank God that I don't struggle with the things that I used to struggle with because of his goodness and his mercy and our surrendering to him. It builds gratitude, which leads to humility. When we humble ourselves and we look at everybody else and go, man, I used to be where you were at. But I just need you to know Jesus. It humbles us to look at others the way that we used to be. And it also builds our faith because when you look back and you see time and time and time and time again where God just showed up when he shouldn't have. And say thanks be to God that he didn't leave me already there, but he saw me through it, and it builds our faith. Remind them of their old condition. But again. Then if God reminds us of our old way, he then must remind us of our new condition verses four through eight highlight this underlined. I know this is I said it a lot, but this is so good. 
So good. God's mercy is Titus three, four and eight. But when the kindness and the love of God, our savior appears, he saved us not because of the righteous things that we've done, but because of his mercy, he's saved us through the washing. The renewing and the rebirth by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ, our savior, so that so that having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having hope of eternal life for Jesus. He says this, this is a trustworthy saying, oh, pay attention to this, and I want you talking to Titus 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 they're profitable for everyone. Here's what it's saying in this whole chapter, verse three. The world may not look like you want it to look. It may not act how you want it to act. But when we submit ourselves to the gospel truth of who he is and we're renewed by the Holy Spirit of God and the love and the kindness of God seeps through us, the rest of the world will look and go. There's a different way. Paul is riding the tide, is going in a place on this island where there's always evil doers, there's lazy gluttons. We still have a God that is good enough to save everybody. Then nobody is far away enough to where God cannot reach them. And here's what he's saying for you and for me and for all of us this morning, that we are God's a plan in the coming and making disciples of all nations. He's looking at you, he's looking at me. He's saying to the believers in Covid on this island. Listen, if you don't put your life in order, if you do not surrender to leadership and discipleship in the way you're to live your life, then nobody on this island will even see me. There's an order as to how we're supposed to live our life. For you and for me this morning, I think you fit into one of these three categories. Wherever you may, some of you may not have a church home. Some of you may be floating church to church to church. And can I beg you? To find a church that stands and preaches the word of God, and then to plug yourself into that church, to be discipled, to grow and to know the Bible so that it seeps so far inside of you that you live your life for Christ, because that is what's profitable to this world. Maybe some of you are a part of this place. 
Maybe some of you come to the 11 o'clock or the nine 30 or even the eight 15 this morning. It's early. Maybe some of you come and you sit in here and you listen to this good word of God, and you critique the preaching of that morning and then walk out of here and do nothing with it. Can I ask you this morning to submit yourself to a life group here? We have these beautiful groups where they meet every single Sunday and they open the word of God and they look at a passage and saying, what is God saying? And what does that apply to my life? That's how you grow closer with Jesus. When you're across the table from somebody or a chair and you're looking them at the face and going, man, I'm just struggling right now and I just need you, older man, older, willing to pour into me. I need you to tell me in this situation, what would God do? What has he done? Maybe this morning. You've never, ever, ever surrendered in obedience to true discipleship. Of opening scripture, letting it seep inside of you. And maybe this morning you need to get involved.
Maybe this morning that you need to check out a life group. Check them all out. One of them, and I talk to you all the time, they're like, I checked out a lifeguard this morning that clashes wasn't for me. OK, great. We've got about a billion others. What about those? Right. So maybe this morning God's looking at you, looking at your family and going in the midst of chaos. I'm trying to give you order and peace. If you just fall under these three categories, you pray with me this morning. 
Father, we thank you. In three chapters. You can just speak your goodness over to us. Got this morning. For the family. Since shambles and chaos. God, I pray that you give them the peace and order that they need God to live a life worthy of your call in Jesus. But at all times we don't become a people. That neglect the personal for the congregational. That we look internally within our own home, in our own life, and go, God, where is it, Jesus, that you're asking me to lay my life down and my family? Where is it? God, you're asking me to get with my kids. Open up the word of God and let me tell you about what Jesus has done for you and for me. And for the family to get serious about living for you, Jesus. Got what our world could look like if just the families in this room took a hold of God, we exist for you. God, will you let that be the burning passion of our hearts and in our lives? Jesus. This morning. We thank you for your word. We thank you for you so freely gave your salvation and your love. Even though we don't deserve it, God, you still died for us. We love you. The only reason that we meet is for you, Jesus, in your name, we pray.

Follow Along with the Message


Order in Leadership
Titus 1:5
The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appointed elders in every town, as I directed you.

1. Put together leadership.

Titus 1:6–9
6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

2. Prevent false .

Titus 1:10–13
10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith.

Order in Discipleship
Titus 2:1–8
1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. 6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

1. Discipleship leads to biblical .

2. Biblical maturity takes , and it isn’t .

3. Biblical maturity isn’t about you, it’s about you.

Titus 2:11–14
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

Order in Stewardship

1. Remind them to be and .

Titus 3:1–2
1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

2. Remind them of their .

Titus 3:3
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.

When We Look Back…

1. It builds .

2. It builds .

3. It builds .

3. Remind them of their .

Titus 3:4–8
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. 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.

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