Distinctive Christian Living (Pt. 2)
Hope In Christ Bible Church 7/14/19
Please join me now in your Bible in Titus 2:6-10 as we turn our hearts to God’s living Word.
Here the Spirit of God deals with distinctive Christian living on display
It’s a calling for us to be zealous for good deeds which gives witness to a watching world.
Last week in chapter 2, we looked at the first 3 groups in the churches Paul addresses: the older men (2), the older women (3) and the younger women in the church (4-5)
Now, there are two more specific groups on the Apostle Paul’s heart that he longs to be all God has called them to be: the young men (6-8) and the slaves (9-10).
Listen now to the Word of God beginning in Titus 2:6. “Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. 9 Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.
Here God through the apostle Paul defines fo us what must be the distinctive commitments of
1. Young men 6 (and with that…
2. Young Titus 7-8 and then
3. Bondslaves 9
First, he gives one crisp and compact instruction for the younger males in the churches. He tells Titus, “Likewise urge the young men to be sensible.”
You can be sure, Paul is not just putting this out there as a nice thought for the young men to ponder.
No, he’s pleading with Titus to go after the young men in the church and call them to this one paramount priority: Be sensible!
Now I told you last week, that sensibility, is the most repeated character quality in chapter 2.
The older men in verse 2 were called to be sensible. The older women in verse 4 are to encourage with sensibility (that’s implied in the verb), and the younger women in verse 5 are to be sensible.
Yet with young men, there’s a big difference.
This is the one and only command Paul in this letter gives to them to pursue- be sensible.
That’s because it is so vital and often so lacking in the life of young men.
I thank God for the younger men God has given to our church. Those from the age of 12 to their mid-40s.
And I’ve been praying that God, like never before, will cause you young men to lock into His high calling for you here – to be sensible.
“Sensible” (sophroneo) means literally to be of sound mind, to keep one’s head.
It’s thinking rightly about a situation and taking the God-pleasing course of action.
It’s remembering the deceitfulness of sin.
It’s guarding against living to gratify fleshly desires.
And it’s staying far from compromises that lead to costly consequences to your body and soul.
I read from an amazing book this week called “Over the Edge; Death in Grand Canyon.”
It described the tragic deaths of tourists who died visiting the upper rim of that massive canyon.
What hit me most was a page describing individuals who had fallen to their deaths.
It gave their name, age and poor judgment they showed which caused them to slip over the edge of the Grand Canyon.
Here are three samplings: Scott Awodey age 29, was “rock-hopping” on the edge of the rim, reportedly hamming it up for photos and fell 140 feet.
Greg Gingrich, age 38 was jumping on and then over the rock wall to the edge of the rim while goofing off to tease his daughter. He slipped and fell 400 feet.
James Hyland, age 21, was solo walking on top of a frosty guard wall, slipped [and fell] 300’.
Now all of those and the vast majority of all deadly falls come from a certain segment of people- young men!
Why? Because it’s that group that loves to take risks, live on the edge, and sometimes even leap before looking.
So Titus must sound the alarm to this group in the churches: “urge the young men to be sensible.”
They must reign in their passions, guard against impulsive living, and grow in one of the most neglected fruits of the Spirit- self-control.
Now notice the first 3 words that verse 7 begins with: “in all things.”
With the flow of Paul’s argument, that phrase best modifies what comes before it in verse 6.
So we best understand Paul to be telling Titus, “Likewise urge the young men to be sensible in all things.”
He therefore leaves no wiggle room for young men to think there are exceptions, times when they can just live for the moment and forget about the consequences.
No, young Christian men must show level-headed judgment in every situation. It’s moment-by-moment living under the mastery of Christ in your what you think, say, and do.
That includes not just always trying to be funny or entertaining but knowing when it’s time to get serious in conversation.
The Apostle Peter in his first epistle (I Peter 5:5) gives another arena where young men in the church must act sensibly.
1 Peter 5:5 “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
That’s key. For it tells us God blesses young men in particular who show respect to those who shepherd their souls.
And young men, living sensibly must be seen in your friendships with others. Because for the Christian, the goal can’t merely be to hang out
and have fun but rather to be reflecting God in your friendships.
This kind of sensible living also calls for wise judgement in how you used social media- not obsessed with profiling images of yourself that everyone likes but rather presenting Christ.
By the way, just last year, a research group called Nielsen published its findings on how American adults use media.
The conclusions were shocking:
“American adults spend over 11 hours per day listening to, watching, reading or generally interacting with media,”
And young adults (Millennials) 18-34 spend 43% of their time-consuming media on digital platforms. Almost a third of their time spent with media comes from apps on smartphone[s]—the most of any measured generation.”
Well, it’s high time to realize you can’t be enamored with social media and live sensibly before God.
For that places you under the mastery of something other than Christ.
That’s why Paul refused to live a life of indulgent compromise. He exclaims in I Cor. 6:12 “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”
As Paul in our text speaks to the great need of young men to be sensible, he thinks of Titus.
And now he speaks into that young man’s life.
So here we see the hinge point in our text.
Paul springboards from young men in general to Titus in particular. He now exhorts
2. Young Titus
He tells him: (v.7) “show yourself to be an example…”
Remember, Paul has placed on Titus’ shoulders a tough mission assignment.
There on the island of Crete. He was to (1:5) “set in order what was lacking and appoint elders” in the churches.
So, the idea is, “go after it. Teach the people what God has revealed in His Word.”
Yet here it’s clear. Titus must be an example to the rest. He not only had to preach God’s truth but also practice that truth.
It must be precept and practice, lip and life.
That’s the way Paul called Titus to model godly living to God’s people.
Now that word “example” (tupos) was used for what blacksmiths of Paul’s day loved to do.
They would take their heavy iron hammer and strike a piece of metal which would leave a deep impression on it.
That heavy blow would leave an indelible mark on that material.
Similarly, Titus’ personal example was to make that kind of impact on others.
His life was to serve as a mold into which other young men could be poured.
He was to set a pattern of godliness to be imitated by other believers.
That’s what Paul had modeled to Titus and many others- a life of Christlikeness.
Because of his personal example, he could say to the Corinthians: “Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.” 1 Corinthians 4:16
But couldn’t that be dangerous?
What would protect those believers from being disappointed and let down in patterning their lives after Paul?
He clarifies to that same group in I Cor. 11:1 “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”
It’s like this. If they imitated Paul and Paul imitated Christ, that means they would be imitating Christ!
And that’s exactly what happened in the church of Thessalonica.
So beautifully in I Thes. 1:6, Paul commends that congregation saying, “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit….”
But it didn’t stop there. He continues:
(v. 7) “so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.”
Wow! The power of imitating Christ’s example leaves and legacy of Christlikeness for others.
About 10 years later, the Apostle Paul in his letter of joy to the Philippian believers wrote:
“Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.” Phil. 3:17
And to young Timothy overseeing the church in Ephesus, he tells him, “show yourself an example of those who believe.” 1 Tim. 4:12
The apostle Peter picks up on that same emphasis of leading by example in writing to his fellow elders.
I Peter 5:2-3 “Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.”
It’s like this. Churches that God loves to bless are led by elders that are examples of godliness.
Now, we need to think specifically about how Titus was to show himself to be an example.
Paul tells Titus, “to be an example of good deeds.”
This showcases what marks the lives of those greatly used by God: their lives are spiritually productive with good deeds.
Plenty of people claim to be Christians. But they have nothing tangible in their lives to back that up. No evidence.
Like those opponents in the Cretan churches in Titus 1:16, Paul exposed their sham saying, “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him.”
And then he drives the nail into their coffin saying, “They are worthless for any good deed.”
In contrast to that, Titus, a true child of God, must exemplify a life of good deeds.
This pictures a life of action, activity, and accomplishment for Christ’s sake.
The Greeks valued a productive life of good works.
They honored individuals who showed excellence in great works of art, sculpture, trading, shipping, and construction of buildings.
And they praised those accomplishments as beautiful works.
So Paul expects Titus to lead the way as an example of spiritual productivity. He was to occupy himself with what matters eternally.
These are the good works for which we as Christians have been created:
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
Remember, those good works aren’t for salvation but come from salvation.
Our Lord Jesus Christ in His life and ministry set the perfect example of good deeds.
Acts 10:38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
You see, our Lord didn’t isolate himself from people. He didn’t live as some hermit detached from those in need. No, He lived among the people and overflowed in self-giving deeds of service to them.
And greatest of all was the work of Christ in giving His life as a ransom for lost sinners.
Now the “good deeds” Paul tells Titus to show in his life, come to us from the word kalos which has the idea of beautiful.
Christ himself uses that very word when he says, ““So every good tree bears good (beautiful) fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” Mat. 7:17
The good tree is the genuine Christian whose life produces beautiful fruit.
And that Christian is what God calls you to, to live a life that bears beautiful and abundant fruit.
That should be your passionate prayer and pursuit. God make my life spiritually productive to bear much beautiful fruit for you!
And He tells us just as He told His disciples how to get there: John 15:4–5 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Abiding in Christ. That’s a life of remaining close to Christ in intimate fellowship.
Now Paul doesn’t tell Titus, just go out and do some good things.
He pinpoints three qualities that must accompany a life of good deeds.
First, “purity in doctrine.”
That’s teaching God’s truth in a way that is untainted, undiluted, and unmixed.
Wine merchants of Paul’s day loved to rip people off by diluting their wine.
So the idea here is, “Titus, don’t dare water down your teaching, don’t mix in worldly wisdom, don’t tamper with its pure message.
Instead, teach with absolute integrity the whole truth and nothing but God’s truth!
What such purity in his teaching, secondly, Titus must be “dignified.” In a nutshell, that’s a life that honors what God honors.
When I think of that quality, “dignified” an older missionary named Jake stands out in my mind.
He was the treasurer for the mission’s group Sonya and I served with in the Philippines.
When Jake spoke, he loved to talk about what was of value, what was essential.
When Jake went about his work as treasurer, it was with excellence before the Lord.
Though dignified that doesn’t mean he came across sullen and gloomy.
In fact, at one 4th of July mission celebrations it was great to see him having a great time lighting fireworks with his kids, yet amazingly, it was still with a sense of dignity and appropriateness.
An exemplary life of good deeds, Paul says, must also be “sound in speech which is beyond reproach.”
Now that phrase, “sound in speech” literally means “healthy in speech.”
We find a fascinating example of this idea “healthy” (hugies) in the Greek translation (Septuagint) of Isa. 38:21.
Hezekiah contracted some deadly illness in the form of an awful boil. And Isaiah tells the people what to do:
“Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.” The idea is, so that Hezekiah would be healthy again.
Christian, your speech should be made up of healthy words that bring healing to people’s hearts.
You see, we need to be done with worthless words that fill the air but don’t benefit others. But it’s not just avoiding those.
It’s choosing communication that actively builds up other believers.
Ephesians 4:29 puts it to us like this: “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Take a moment to think about how you talk.
What do you gravitate towards in conversation- yourself or your Savior?
Is what you bring up refreshing and life-giving?
Does it meet the spiritual needs of those with whom you are talking?
Let’s face it. As God’s children, we must think more carefully before we talk. And we need to ask God to guard our mouths.
That’s exactly what David does when he prays in Psalm 141:3- “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
The Lord loves to hear that prayer and help us choose words that build up others in His church.
Now there’s a wonderful result of distinctively Christian words and deeds. Further in verse 8: “so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”
The opponent- those are enemies of the gospel. They are unbelievers who love to find dirt in the lives of Christians and spread it.
They did that in Paul’s day, and they do it in ours.
Well, when they can’t find anything bad, they are shut down, shamed. Yes, they are silenced by Christians who live differently before them.
The Lord answered prayer and showed us a glimpse of this yesterday at our church carwash outreach.
We had gospel conversations with many who came to get their cars and even bikes washed!
And a number of visitors remarked how amazed they were as they watched our church serving together with joy and washing their cars for free.
Now we spoke with Catholics, Muslims, Jews and many who came from churches with false teaching.
Yet what hit me was this. Because of what they saw in our people lives, it was as if they were disarmed.
They had nothing bad to say, no spirit of attacking, but instead gave us a hearing of the good news!
That’s what God delights to do. Make us as His people zealous for good deeds so we will build up each other in the church and be a credible witness to the unsaved.
We have seen the distinctive Christian commitments for young men, for young Titus, and now for
3. Bondslaves 9-10
Slaves were a typical part of the families in Crete.
Paul here has in mind Christian slaves who were under the control of unsaved masters.
Those slaves wielded almost absolute control over their slaves for life.
They called the shots and told their slaves what they could and couldn’t do.
Now, we thank God that this type of slavery doesn’t exist in our country today.
Yet the mindset to which God calls slaves has timeless application.
For it aptly reflects God’s will for Christian employees in the workplace in our day.
And that includes many of you this morning.
If you are an employee, as soon as you walk in the door at work, you are under the authority of a boss or manager.
Unlike the slave, you are there of your own free will. But while you in that place, you are called to put God’s glory on display there.
How? In 5 specific ways:
Titus must tell slaves in the churches “to be subject to their own masters in everything.”
Just as a soldier would line up under the command of a superior officer, so that slave was to submit to his master.
But what if that person in authority is unreasonable, unfair, and unqualified, and unappreciative of you?
The apostle Peter responds to that scenario saying, “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.” 1 Peter 2:18–19
If you are an employee with a boss, you need to embrace this -*mentality of submission.
You see, in God’s book, it has nothing to do with whether your boss is good or lousy.
He’s the boss, and you are to submit!
Therefore, Christian worker, don’t buck those over you, don’t challenge their requirements, and don’t make their job difficult.
Place yourself under their authority and as you do so, you
2. Show respect
Paul says, “be well-pleasing.”
The idea is, the slave is to seek to bring satisfaction to the master.
In other words, it’s looking for ways to please the boss.
It’s not doing the bare minimum but going the extra mile. That should be a practical goal for you Christian workers: how can I do more than my boss requires?
That’s a commitment to excellence, doing your very best.
That’s the spirit Paul calls slaves to in Col. 3:22 saying, “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.”
In other words, the Christian worker must work hard even when the boss isn’t looking or is out of the office.
That’s because for the Christian, it’s to be done first and foremost as unto Christ.
That’s the mindset God loves to see and reward.
With slaves still in mind, Paul adds in Col. 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”
Third and so practical, Christian slaves must 3. Stop speaking against their masters.
Paul says them must not be “argumentative.”
The idea is, “don’t’ be disagreeable with your boss, don’t contradict what he says.”
Even if you know better than your boss does about a situation, you dare not talk with him with an argumentative spirit.
And by all means, don’t join in gripe sessions against the boss or company.
The next warning to Christian slaves is:
4. Stop stealing
Paul calls it “pilfering”- taking what doesn’t belong to you.
Theft was common to slaves. They hated their masters, and when their back was turned, they stole from them.
That’s what Achan’s short-lived secret was all about- keeping for himself what wasn’t his. Joshua 7:1
Christian employee, keep far from all forms of stealing at your work.
It could be by submitting timecards or project reports that you’ve adjusted in your favor.
Or it might be in misusing company property or funds even if others do.
Or you can pilfer by not putting in the time when your boss allows you to do your work at home.
When in doubt, avoid anything that looks as if you have taken what isn’t yours at work.
5. Show loyalty
The idea of “showing all good faith” means to be reliable and trustworthy.
Christian worker, you should be the first one your boss thinks of and turns to when he’s looking for someone he can really count on.
Your track record needs to show that no matter how tough the situation, you won’t let your boss down.
And if it comes time to look for other work, you need to communicate that in an honorable and appropriate manner.
You see, the goal of the Christian slave and the goal of the Christian worker is ultimately about being a testimony for Christ.
Consistently submitting, showing respect, not arguing and stealing and showing loyalty will have an evangelistic impact on the unbelieving boss.
Paul exclaims, “that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.”
The doctrine of God our Savior- that’s the greatest news of all, the gospel.
So it is, as you live out the life of Christ in the workplace and wherever God has put you, the glorious gospel of our Lord becomes more attractive to them.
Employers see excellent, loyal and honest workers and they say to themselves, “If that’s what Christianity does in the life of my workers, how might it change my life as well?”
So it is, by God’s grace and in His time, He loves to use our distinctively Christian lives as a testimony to souls He draws into His kingdom!
Christian worker, Jim Ganther describes how God gave Him grace in his workplace to be an example to his unsaved co-workers. He writes: A certain client owed our company $19,000.00. He claimed to have sent the check a month earlier, but we had no record of it. We believed we were getting “slow walked,” but were assured the first check had been cancelled and another would be overnighted. The next day, while unpacking my bag, my hand brushed against something. I pulled it out and, to my horror, beheld the missing check! The postmark was over a month old. Apparently, I had forgotten all about the envelope. Since the check had already been cancelled, a replacement was on the way, and everyone assumed the client was at fault, it seemed best to quietly shred the check and let the matter pass.” But listen to how God caused this Christian worker to be a testimony by doing what pleased God. “At our next meeting, I pulled the check from my portfolio, and confessed I was to blame for the $19,000.00 shortage. I restored the client’s reputation and made a proper apology.” Beloved, never underestimate the power of a good example for Christ’s sake. God will use that to bless you and make you a blessing to others including those not-yet-saved! ————-
Father, we praise you that by Your grace we have all the strength we need to live in a way that pleases You, bless others, and shine Your light to those in darkness of sin. We thank you for the young men in our church and ask that you will grow their love for You. Cause them to live wisely with clear thinking that flow from aligning their thoughts, plans and desires with Your will given in Your Word. Lord, make us as your people examples of good deeds done in Your power and for Your glory. Bless and use the workers here this morning, that their attitudes and actions on the job would reflect the reality of our Lord Jesus who lives and loves to change lives. Use us as winsome witnesses who have been transformed by Your grace to show the world the greatness of our Savior.
This we ask for Your honor and glory, amen.
Distinctive Christian Living (Pt. 2)
Hope In Christ Bible Church 7/14/19
1. Young men 6 I Peter 5:5; I Cor. 6:12
2. Young Titus 7-8 I Cor. 4:16; I Cor. 11:1; I Thes. 1:6; I Tim. 4:12; I Peter 5:2-3; Ephesians 2:10; Acts 10:38; Mat. 7:17; John 15:4–5; Isa. 38:21; Eph. 4:29; Psalm 141:3
3. Bondslaves 9-10
a. Submit I Peter 2:18–19
b. Show respect
c. Stop speaking against
d. Stop stealing
e. Show loyalty
How would God call me to live distinctively as a doer of His Word?
Distinctive Christian Living (Pt. 2)