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Titus 2:1-10: Instructions for All of Us Print E-mail
Titus
Sunday, 11 September 2011

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You are in this text. Paul addresses you in the passage that we are considering this morning. Of course, we can learn from and apply to our lives every passage in the Bible. Yet, sometimes we are addressed specifically, as in this passage. Paul begins his letter to Titus by giving instructions to Titus concerning the appointment of elders (1:5-9). Then, as we saw last week, he gives instructions concerning false teachers (1:10-16). Perhaps you have thought that neither one of those passages address you specifically, and in one sense they do not (I hope none of you are false teachers). Even though they apply to you (when understood properly), they are not as explicit as the passage before us this morning. In this passage, 2:1-10, Paul gives specific instructions for each and every one of us.

You are in this text.  Paul addresses you in the passage that we are considering this morning.  Of course, we can learn from and apply to our lives every passage in the Bible.  Yet, sometimes we are addressed specifically, as in this passage.  Paul begins his letter to Titus by giving instructions to Titus concerning the appointment of elders (1:5-9).  Then, as we saw last week, he gives instructions concerning false teachers (1:10-16).  Perhaps you have thought that neither one of those passages address you specifically, and in one sense they do not (I hope none of you are false teachers).  Even though they apply to you (when understood properly), they are not as explicit as the passage before us this morning.  In this passage, 2:1-10, Paul gives specific instructions for each and every one of us.

He begins by addressing Titus in verse 1.  Look at that with me.  In contrast to the false teachers, Paul tells Titus to teach what accords with sound doctrine.  The false teachers were teaching a false gospel that allowed them to live lives that were characterized by deceit and disobedience.  But the true gospel, the gospel of Jesusí death and resurrection, the gospel of repentance and faith in Christís work, is a gospel that leads to obedience, not disobedience.  You cannot truly believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ and ignore His commands.  No, the gospel changes a man.  It causes him to live differently.  It creates a desire to obey and through the gift of the Spirit, empowers obedience.  Paul encouraged Titus to teach the gospel and all that goes with it.  And from here, Paul outlines what Titus is to teach to five different groups in the Church in verses 2-10.  So then, as we look at what he says, I want to encourage you to find the category that applies to you and pay particular attention to how Paul instructs you to live out your faith.

Instructions for older men (v. 2):

Paul begins with instructions for the older men.  Now let me just be clear, I am not going to try and identify who is younger and who is older among us.  I am old enough to know the folly of such an attempt.  If you are an older man (and I have a sneaking suspicion you know if you are) then I encourage you to consider well what Paul says in verse 2.  Look at that with me.  Paul lists six characteristics that can be broken up into two lists of three.  The first list is sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled.  Again, as with the elders, Paul is concerned about character because it is character that leads to actions.  Older men are to be sober-minded.  They are to be thoughtful and not easily led astray (by false teaching, anger, alcohol, or anything else).  They are to be dignified.  This is not necessarily a reference to how you dress, but how you act.  You are not be foolish of immature.  Older men are to be self-controlled.  In one sense, self-control is the overarching characteristic for all the various groups.  Believers are to exercise self-control.  We are not to be controlled by lust, jealousy, anger, or any other sin.  This is true for all of us.  The second list involves older men being sound in three areas: faith, love, and steadfastness.  Older men are to be sound in their faith, they are to know the true gospel and believe it.  They are to be loving to others just as Jesus taught.  And they are to be steadfast, patiently holding firm to their hope in the promise of what is to come.  These are Paulís instructions for you older men.

Instructions for older women (v. 3-4a):

Again, I will let you decide if you belong in the category of older women.  If you do, Paulís instructions for you are found in verses 3-4a.  Look at those with me.  First, older women are to be reverent in behavior.  This involves all issues relating to behavior, but Paul gives two specific examples.  Older women are not to be slanderers.  They are not to be gossips who speak ill of others.  Likewise, they are not to be slaves to much wine.  Older women are not to be given to drunkenness.  If they drink, they are to drink in moderation.  Again, these are two specific ways that older women can be reverent in their behavior.  Second, older women are to teach what is good, and so train the younger womenÖ 

There is overlap here between what the older women are to do and what the younger women are to do.  The older women are to teach.  By their actions and their instructions, they are to train the next generation of women.  Notice how Paul does not say anything about the so-called Ďgeneration gapí between the older generation and the younger.  As believers, we are called to overcome that Ďgap.í  The older generation is called to instruct the younger generation.  Sure, there will be differences, but these differences should not divide.  So then, older women how are you teaching and training younger women?  And not just the younger women of your family, but also the younger women of the Church?  Paul instructs you to be an example to them and to invest in them.  How are you doing this?  I encourage you to find a young woman and commit to teaching her.  Talk with her, make time to meet with her, and train her up to be a godly young women, which is what we will look at next.

Instructions for younger women (v. 4b-5a):

Picking back up in verse 4, look at Paulís instructions for younger women.  First, Paul tells them to love their husbands and children.  This may seem like an obvious command, but the truth is that we donít always know how to love others.  I would hope that no young woman in this Church would say that she does not love her husband or children.  Yet, she may admit that she does not always know how to love them.  Let me just be honest and say that we men can be hard to love sometimes and so instruction is needed.  Likewise, there is all kinds of advice on how to love your kids and raise them well.  Unfortunately, some of the advice may sound good but it is not good advice.  Older women need to help younger women with this.  And younger women need to listen and learn.  Younger women you need to be committed to finding an older woman that you can learn these lessons from.  And not just these, you also need to learn to be self-controlled (as we talked about earlier), pure (primarily referring to sexual purity), working at home (not necessarily being a stay at home mom, but making sure that you are taking care of your duties at home), kind (good natured towards others), and submissive to their own husbands (again, it is not always easy to know what this looks like and an older woman can help).  These are all characteristics that younger women need to display.  I encourage you, as I did with the older women, look for someone who can help you develop these characteristics in your life.

Instructions for younger men (v. 6-8):

In one sense, Paul only gives one characteristic for the younger men, namely be self-controlled.  Look at verse 6 with me.  From there, Paul returns to giving Titus instructions.  Yet, in his instructions to Titus, Paul urges him to be a model of good works.  Thus, I think we can group some of Paulís instructions for Titus with his instructions for the young men.  Look at verse 7a with me.  Granted, Titus was a leader in the Church and not every young man will necessarily be that.  Still, they are to follow the example of godly leaders like Titus.  They are to look for good things to do and they are to do them.  They are to use their strength and their youth to serve others who need it.  They are to work hard at helping others.  Besides this, Paul does give some further instructions for Titus as a leader.  Look at verses 7b-8. 

As we have seen throughout this letter, Paul wants Titus to be faithful in his teaching.  His teaching should show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned.  I believe that this instruction applies to me and anyone who would teach in our Church.  We need to have integrity.  We need to preach what we believe and believe what we preach by putting it into practice.  We need to have dignity.  We need to understand that what we are doing is weighty.  We must speak earnestly or not at all.  We need to have sound speech.  Our teaching needs to agree with the true gospel.  It needs to make sense and be faithful so that it will not be condemned.  Granted, people will condemn the Bible and condemn the gospel, but our teaching and our lives do not need to give them any solid ground for condemnation.  I know I have spoken a lot about my ministry over the last few weeks and my hope is that I have drawn that from the text.  If at any point I have not, I want to apologize for that.  I do not want to use the pulpit to simply defend my ministry.  Rather, I just want to teach the text and apply it to us all.  So then, please pray for me and for all of our teachers that we would be faithful to Paulís instructions here by being sound in our teaching.

Instructions for slaves (v. 9-10a):

Paul addresses one more group in the text.  Look at verses 9-10a.  Paul tells the slaves that they should be submissive to their masters.  They are to please them and not argue with them.  They are not to steal from them but to live out their faith in front of them.  Of course, we have to ask this question: why is Paul addressing slaves?  When Paul wrote his letter, slavery was a common practice in the culture.  Although we do not have time to deal with all of the Bibleís teaching on slavery, we regularly see the New Testament writers encouraging slaves to be faithful to their masters (see 1 Timothy 6:1-2 and 1 Peter 2:18ff).  Thus, Paulís instructions here are not surprising.  We understand the evils involved with slavery and we oppose it.  But Paul (and others) encouraged those who were slaves to be faithful to God by submitting to their masters and serving them well.  And although none of us are slaves here this morning by Godís grace, we do have relationships where we are under authority, whether it be work or family or government or something else.  And the Bible would have us submit to authorities.  We are not to be known for rebellion and a lack of submission to proper authority.  No, we are to be submissive and faithful.

Yet, why?  Why should we submit to authorities?  Why should the young men be self-controlled and faithful in good works?  Why should the young women be pure and committed to their homes?  Why should the older women be reverent in their behavior?  Why should the older men be dignified?  Why should we obey?  Paul answers by giving us three ďso thatĒ statements in this passage.  Look at 5b.  Look at 8b.  Look at 10b.  In summary, Paul wants us to obey these instructions for the sake of the gospel.  Disobedience leads to others reviling the Word of God.  Disobedience leads to others having evil things to say about us.  Disobedience makes the gospel look bad.  But not so with obedience.  Obedience will adorn the gospel.  It makes Christ look glorious.  It makes the work that He has done for us at the cross look powerful.  Slaves were the scum of society in Paulís day, but through their submission and obedience they could adorn the King.  So then, let us offer up our lives, our obedience, our fight against sin, to King Jesus.  He is worthy!  He is worthy of all we are.  May our lives make our Savior look glorious because He is glorious and worthy of our praise and obedience.  Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Saturday, 24 September 2011 )

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