We are now in Chapter 2 of Titus and will be exploring the first 10 verses of the text this morning.
So far, in summary, we have witnessed Paul’s urgent message to Titus regarding setting in order what remained.
The reason for needing to set things in order is because many of these home churches were experiencing false teachers in leadership.
So in response, Paul lets Titus know that the way to get things into order is by appointing Elders in the churches.
We then discovered that Titus is not to select just any kind of man, but rather men of character; men who are rooted in sound teaching with a high view of scripture.
He then contrasts these men of character with that of false teachers.
Paul summarizes his point in verse 15 of Chapter 1, by saying “to the pure all things are pure”.
Paul would conclude in verse 16, regarding the false teachers, that although they have a knowledge of God, their lives and actions have nothing to show for it.
Knowing that these false teacher’s motives are anti-gospel, Paul makes it clear what the behavior of believers should look like.
The single thread throughout this entire book hinges on the fact that the Gospel leads to right living.
It will be in Chapter 2 of Titus that we will see how this transformative life, by the Spirit of God, is to be applied and lived practically within the body as a whole.
Turn with me to Titus 2:1-10 as we read together.
There was this story you may have heard of…
The most lasting impact that one has on the next generation of believers and the world around them is based on how, and with whom, an individual’s time was spent.
Not only is God’s design for discipleship essential to the flourishing of the family, but it is also equally important for the flourishing of the church.
Spiritually mature men and women deeply committed to life-on-life with new and young believers helps transform generations to the glory of God.
These will be generations that will live well because they know well and they know well because they have been taught well.
My question for each of you this morning is this, who is discipling you?
Whose life are you able to observe and see that their lives are pointing you to the very person of Christ and not their own works and striving?
Deep commitment within a Gospel Community cultivates correct living in Christ.
Our lives are not changed because we changed our behaviors, but rather God has changed our hearts, by His Spirit in light of the scriptures.
And because God has changed our hearts, it is by His grace that we are to live a life worthy and reflective of the life that paid it all.
And it is in understanding the truth of what sound teaching in scripture sounds like and looks like lived out, that Paul opens up Chapter 2 by saying:
We see right out the gate the text begins with the word “but”.
Paul uses verse one of Chapter 2 to contrast with the previous verse.
Check it out in Titus 1:16, Paul says:
These false teachers have an understanding of God, but because their hearts are not of God, their lives do not exhibit true spiritual transformation.
The text reveals that we can know God on an intellectual level, but yet not be impacted by His word and therefore not live a transformed life.
True transformation comes through being effectual doers of the word you know, trust, and believe.
James, in James 1:22-24 says:
Paul brings his attention to Titus here in verse 1and I can imagine if they were face to face Paul would be holding him at the shoulders.
“Titus, you know what these men are about. These false teachers are unbelieving and the Spirit of the Lord is not in them.”
He tells Titus in a few words: live out what you preach.
I love the New Living Translation’s version of this verse. Here’s what it says:
Paul’s emphasis to Titus is very clear: practice and live out what you preach.
As Pastor Steve would always say, when you teach the bible, good things happen.
With this in mind, as we move to verses 2 to 6, Paul will explain from a practical perspective, what sound doctrine looks like in action within the body of Christ.
Here is how Paul will break down the ways in which these particular groups in the body of Christ are to live as redeemed men and women of God.
And what we will see regarding these varying age groups is, the Gospel has no respect of persons.
The Gospel demands a life response regardless of age or social status.
We pick up in verse 2 of Titus Chapter 2.
Titus is told to teach these groups sound doctrine. Notice he is not teaching them behavior, Titus is to teach them the word.
This will be important to remember as we move along throughout the text.
Paul first addresses the Older men in the church.
From the outside looking in, it could be seen from these characteristics that the older man is “untouchable” in the sense of being blameless.
Paul mentions this phrase “are to be” which presumes that there were older men in Crete who still lacked spiritual maturity in their behavior and life.
We have to keep in mind that some of these new believers still had some adjusting from their old way of life.
The text makes one thing evidently clear, we can not assume that just because someone is older in age that they are spiritually mature.
What marks the spiritual maturity of an older person is the truth that has been applied in their life over the course of their life.
Titus is to teach these older men even in their seasoned age, how to live well.
Paul states that these older men are to be:
Temperate – These older Cretan men should be restrained in their drinking. They are not taken to drunkenness like the typical Cretan men of the day.
Dignified – These older believers were to be revered or worthy to look up to.
Sensible – These men were spiritually healthy and were able to discern well and reason well based upon godly wisdom and life well-lived.
Paul then mentions that Titus should teach them to be sound in faith, in love, and in perseverance.
To put it simply, these older men in the church should be healthy in their trust of the Gospel, love towards others, and steadfast in the faith.
It is key that we hone in on the word perseverance in this passage of scripture.
The word perseverance in the Greek here is the word hupomonē. This word is patient endurance or steadfastness.
Imagine you are in a battle and you are waging war with a sword and someone takes a strike at your sword over and over again.
Your sword’s ability to sustain the blow from the attack – that is the word for endurance that Paul uses.
The Older men that are marked by maturity have endured some things in life.
Their lives have taken some hits, however, they did not waiver, they endured.
They endured because they did not abandon their faith or sound teaching.
Paul now moves to address the older women in the church.
Lets look at verses 3-5
Clearly, Paul’s expectation on the women in the church requires the same maturity level as that of the Older men.
Paul uses the word “likewise” here in the text.
This word regarding the behavior of the older woman is not to be divorced from the same weight of maturity as that of the older man.
Spiritual maturity does not have an age attached to it as if to say you need to be “this age” to be considered spiritually mature.
This maturity comes through application and living out the word of God by submitting to the Lord.
Paul then contrasts the older spiritually mature woman with the things she should NOT be doing which is not gossiping and not being drunk with wine.
It can be assumed from the text, once again, that older women in this Cretan culture were known for being gossips and drinking excessively.
One scholar records that in early comedies, women were displayed as gossips and involved in foolish talk.
With that reality being known, Paul informs Titus to teach these older believers to endure in the truth they know and not the culture they see.
If I can just pause here for a moment, I want us to recognize that this reality is not removed from our cultural dynamics today.
And as believers in Christ, we too must warrant against the temptation to acquiesce to the culture.
The Gospel must transform our hearts and it is through living out the scriptures by the power of the Spirit that is the only agent of growth.
As Paul continues in addressing the older women, I want you to notice a shift in accountability to the teaching and instructing of the younger women.
Notice I say accountability, not responsibility.
This does not mean that younger women are not to sit under the teaching of the Pastor.
This simply means that the opportunity to be taught on a more one on one level is best accomplished by the older women.
Check it out again, the end of verse 3 to verse 5.
Paul does something very interesting here in the text regarding the teaching to younger women.
He moves the discussion from public edification from the pulpit to private edification/training by means of discipleship.
The responsibility of teaching the younger women is to be accomplished by the older women.
There is an old African Proverb that says: “ The youth can walk faster, but the elder knows the road.”
Young people have the tendency to assume that we know everything.
And when it comes down to discipleship it requires that we be teachable.
I believe it is important to highlight how Paul organizes this section regarding this relationship of discipleship between older and younger women.
Paul breaks down the impact of women on a social/public aspect as well as from a domestic/private perspective.
I want us to quickly look at the seven responsibilities of the young woman that Paul describes:
He says they are to do the following:
Love their husbands
Love their children
Working at home
Submissive to their own husbands
Within Judaism and the Greco-Roman world, a woman’s virtue was considered to be based upon how they loved their husbands and raised their children.
This same virtue can be found in the book of Proverbs 31
Please hear me when I say this, these attributes for a young woman are not outdated. They are biblical and society will push back against this truth.
It is documented by some scholars that there was this idea of “A New Roman Woman” that was being practiced and promoted in the Roman World.
The characteristics of this woman would be diametrically opposed to that of a Christian woman.
If I were to put it into today's context it would look like what feminism is today.
Some of the thoughts of the day were, “If men can sleep around surely we can too.”
Philip Towner in his book “The Letters to Timothy and Titus” documents this regarding the “New Woman” ideology by saying this:
If I were to list this out to you in a chart, this would be the difference between a Christian woman versus a “New World Woman”. (See Slides)
It will take a solid woman of faith to help the younger woman know how to navigate the trials and troubles of a young marriage.
It will take the solid spiritual maturity of a woman to talk to the younger woman about how to submit to her husband, even when her husband is wrong.
It takes a solid mature woman of faith to show the value and virtue of raising kids in a counter-cultural world.
After Paul addresses the older and younger women here, he moves to address the younger men.
This is what Paul says:
We see the word “likewise” show up again in the text.
Surely, Paul is not stating that the younger men are to simply be sensible.
Remember this word likewise, is connecting to the attributes that were included for that of the older man in verse 2.
That is the younger men too, are to be:
sound in faith, in love, in perseverance
What age group could Paul be talking about here?
Clearly, there is no youth ministry occurring at this time. There is no children’s ministry that is happening either.
It could be assumed that the teenagers of this day were right alongside their parents hearing the word preached.
These expectations on right living were to be applied not only to the older men and women but to the younger men and women as well.
It is documented by some scholars that the age range here would be anywhere from mid-teens to 40 years of age for young people.
What do we see thus far here?
Cross-generational discipleship is necessary to develop and cultivate the heart and life of a believer in Christ.
My wife and I’s life was dynamically impacted by our good friends Manny and JoAnn.
Manny and JoAnn were our Small Group leaders at our previous church here in San Antonio.
It was in their small group that we were able to truly be authentic, talk about our crap, and grow in grace.
Manny and JoAnn knew that my wife and I’s heart was for ministry as we were being asked to serve in ministry in a full time capacity.
What we did not share with Manny and JoAnn was that our desire was to be debt free.
It was our desire to travel where we needed to without any financial burden.
One day after a small group, Manny and JoAnn pulled us aside and told us something that has forever changed our lives.
They said “We know that the Lord has a calling on your lives and it will require you all to not be in debt”
“We feel that the Lord wants us to open up our home to you all so that you can pay down your debt”.
My wife and I, in disbelief, look at each other and break down into tears because we had been praying for an opportunity where we could be debt-free.
We just didn't know how.
They then proceeded to tell us, do not worry about paying rent here, or trying to pay for your own food, we got you guys.
They convert their downstairs study space into a bedroom for us and convert their living room into the kid’s room.
For the next few months, we would be a group of 8 people living in 1 house.
I share this because true discipleship is accomplished when you have life on life.
You can dig into the life of the ones God has called you to and can glean from their wisdom.
And therein lies Paul’s point in it all. We must model what we want to see.
Check out the next part of the text, verse 7 and 8
Paul, here, addresses Titus specifically (short of calling him out by name).
He says in all things, show “yourself”. Meaning this is to be addressed to you as the leader and Pastor of the people in Crete.
What I find most interesting in the text is that Titus’ directive is given directly after the younger men.
It could be said that the reason being is Titus himself is a young man and his life is to not be divorced from the message he preaches.
How many times as parents have we told our children, “do as I say and not as I do”, only to find that we ourselves didn't even do as we said.
It’s this idea that because I’m the leader or in charge, that I’m not obligated to follow the messages I preach.
Paul pushes against this notion of thought because it is hypocritical and it makes us out to be a liar.
So Paul makes it clear in the text that Titus is to “be an example” of good deeds with purity in doctrine.
We see this same usage of the word example in Philippians 3:17, where Paul says to the church at Philippi:
The word for example here in the Greek is summimētēs. It means joint imitator.
This is where we get our English word symmetry from.
We also see this similar word used when Paul talks to the Corinthian church about imitating him as he imitates Christ.
The word in the Greek for imitator in this context is mimētēs
Here it is in 1 Corinthians 11:
Here is what I pray you see. You as the discipler and image bearer of Christ are not the object to imitate.
You are simply pointing the one who is imitating you, to the one in whom you are imitating and that should be Christ, Himself.
The moment that you have made discipleship about your following or how good you are, you have missed the purpose of discipleship as a whole.
If you are pointing people to be like you, you are pointing them to be an even better sinner.
Your life and my life should be a receipt of the life that was paid on the cross over 2,000 years ago.
Teenagers in the Youth ministry, if you are in here, this is for you as well.
Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12 these very words:
Teenagers, do not buy into this cultural lie of YOLO – You Only Live Once.
This lie is a trick from the enemy himself. It is a lie that says live life to the fullest without any regret and when you get older you will have lived a full life.
May I suggest to you all this morning that the only life that brings true fulfillment and joy is in Christ our Lord.
Temporary pleasures are just that, here today and gone tomorrow.
Check out verse 8 in the text. It will provide us with the answer to why we must live counter-culturally.
Here is what Paul is showing us in the text. Your life’s receipt through good living will be a testament to the transformation that has taken place in your life.
If you are a member at Costco, you know that after you purchase your items and are beginning to leave, you are met at the exit by a check-out person.
That check-out person is required to look at your receipt and validate that everything you purchased is in your basket, why?
Because if what is on your receipt is not in your basket, someone is lying.
In this same authentication process, Paul says your life well lived will leave no room for the enemy to creep in to accuse you of anything.
Remember, we talked about this word “beyond reproach” before. It means there is no room for accusation because nothing can be found against you.
Paul will then transition to the last two verses that we have time for this morning, verses 9-10.
Paul brings us to the last group within the greater church demographic: slaves.
If you were here for the teaching I did in Philemon, we discussed this issue of slavery within the 1st century.
Slavery within the 1st century was based upon several things, here are just 2 reasons:
1) You were either captured by a conquering nation from war, or
2) You owed a debt to someone and wanted to pay it off.
Understand that this passage in no way approving of slavery then, however it was a way of life.
So Paul, within the confines of what the laws and rules were during this time, wanted to urge the slave, too, to live well.
Paul tells the slaves to be subject to their own masters, not in just some things, but in everything.
He then mentions how they are to go about accomplishing that:
1) Be well-pleasing – satisfying the needs of your master
In the book of Philemon, Paul deals with Onesimus, Philemon’s slave in a similar matter.
It is quite interesting that the letter to Philemon is directly after the letter to Titus.
If we were to bring about some practical application here I would say, how you work on your job today bears witness of who you belong to.
Are you an employee that consistently comes to work late? This is not well-pleasing.
Are you an employee that always tries to prove your point in the business meeting even if you know your supervisor is dead wrong?
Are you an employee that you know you came in an hour late and left an hour early but you don't indicate it properly in your time tracker?
Do you see how these types of things can cause Christians to be a bad witness in the workplace and in society?
What is the goal in living well in all respects amongst the non-believing world?
It allows our lives to bear witness to our Lord and Savior.
It allows non-believers to see that Christians don't talk a big game, but we live in a way that pleases the Father.
If we never opened our mouths and only our lives could speak for us, would people be able to see Christ exemplified in and through your life?
Paul writes these words to young Timothy as he is pastoring in 1 Timothy 6:1:
Do you see it? The last half of verse 1… Why are we to live well and do well: because it brings glory to God when our lives reflect what we believe no matter the conditions.
Sound doctrine leads us into right living.
If there is anything we are to see in the text this morning, it is that no believer has a “get out of sanctification” free card.
Every believer in Jesus Christ, every father, mother, sister, brother, boss, employee, grandmother, and grandfather has a Gospel obligation.
We must live well to reflect the glorious work that has been done in us by the grace and goodness of God.
I believe Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it best:
“Your life as a Christian should make non-believers question their disbelief in God”