Distinctive Christian Living
Hope In Christ Bible Church 7/7/19
If you have been with us the last 3 weeks, you know we have been working our way through the wonderful book of Titus.
Remember, the big theme of this letter. God calls us as His people to be Zealous for Good Deeds- Good Deeds to be put on display for those who are in and outside the church.
Let’s briefly recall what we have learned thus far. And I will give you some memory hooks to keep in mind- 3 words that start with the letter “C.”
We saw the Context in verses 1-4 as Paul speaks of the hope of eternal life in addressing Titus.
From the context he then moves to the Correction in verses 5-9. Paul explains why he had left Titus there on Crete: “to set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city.”
In other words, lots of problems in the churches to address, and that requires affirming qualified men to give oversight as elders.
Then last week we looked at the big Contrast in verses 10-16. There are many rebellious deceivers in the churches who must be called on the carpet and refuted.
Sure, they sounded good in their talk but they had no walk with God.
Verse 16 reveals their true colors: “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”
Well, the contrast, correction and contrast bring us to chapter 2 where we now see
The Call to Zealous for Good Deeds
Titus 2:1–5 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
Here’s the big idea: For us as God’s people to be zealous for good deeds, we must exhibit distinctively godly living in our everyday relationships.
The first verse sets it all up as Paul charges Titus to the task:
“But as for you”- in other words, while the deceivers’ mouths must be stopped, Titus, you speak the things fitting for sound doctrine.
By the way, it’s not behind a pulpit but in regular conversation that Titus must declare these doctrinal truths.
Now speaking “sound” doctrine. That’s teaching God’s Word in a manner that is accurate and produces spiritual health.
For it is the uncompromising speaking forth of God’s Word that changes believers. Yes, it conforms our attitudes and actions to reflect Christ.
The church does not slick programs, clever manipulation, or pragmatic techniques. It’s God’s truth, being brought to bear on our lives that He uses to make us more like Him. That’s God’s Word we submit to in preaching and as others in the body of Christ share it with us.
And that has a reverberating effect from the church on unbelievers. For a spiritually vibrant church, living out God’s will in our daily lives will have a massive impact on the world.
Now most of the time we read of Paul or any of the apostles ministering God’s Word, it’s to the church as a whole. It’s the shotgun approach, one size fits all.
Yet every now and then in Scripture, God takes the rifle approach, with a laser like focus on needs of individual groups in the church.
And this is one of those places- God through Paul to Titus speaks to distinct groups in the churches there on Crete. And he gives each specific instructions in godliness that Titus must relay to them.
You can be sure, all of these have timeless application to us today as the Lord’s church.
Our text focuses on the following five groups in the churches:
1. Older men 2 4. Younger men 6-8
2. Older women 3 5. Slaves 9-10
3. Younger women 4-5
We will cover the first 3 this morning.
First, Paul deals in verse 2 with those he calls “older men.”
That term “older men” (presbutes) is found in only two other places in the N.T.
The first is of Zechariah who was shocked that at his age he would father a son, John the Baptist.
He tells the angel, “How will I know for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” Luke 1:18
So we would expect Zechariah as an “old man” to be more the age of a grandfather than a father.
And the Apostle Paul, in writing his brief letter to Philemon, uses the same term to describe himself.
It’s Philemon 9: “yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you—since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus.”
From the date of his writing Philemon, we know Paul would have been right around 60 when he describes himself as “aged,” an old man.
Now there’s no hard and fast number in Scripture for when one is an “older man.”
But Psalm 90 gives us a good reference point in way back in Moses’ day: Psalm 90:10 “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years….”
Now, for most of us adults, we would like to think the older group is much farther down the line than we are.
But it’s safe to say men in their 50s and up fit well into the older men group. For it’s relative in respect to others who are younger in the congregation.
It’s those who have fewer laps left then they have already run.
They are on the later chapters of life.
Now with the passing of the years, some older men become critical, callous, and cynical.
They become preoccupied with their aches and pains and in their conversations often live in the past. Consequently, others tend to view them as a burden rather than a blessing.
Yet that’s not the way God has designed it to be in the body of Christ. For older men are one of the greatest blessings God gives to His church. For from that group typically come men who have walked with God the longest. They are the
ones from whom come those who shepherd the church as elders and serve faithfully as deacons.
And it is older men in the church God loves to use to bring wisdom, spiritual depth, and stability to a local church.
They are to be the godly examples of joyful and continued growth in the Lord.
Psalm 92:12-14 describes that kind of man who shows spiritual fruit in his old age: “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Planted in the house of the LORD they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still yield fruit in old age….”
I think of an older man in the church where I grew up who lived like that. His name was Herb Clingen. He was one of the oldest and happiest elders in the church.
Herb and his wife were serving as missionaries in the Philippines when WW2 broke out. They were captured and made prisoners by the Japanese in Manila’s University of St. Thomas.
I can remember him sharing how he and his wife had to eat rice husks yet was thankful for God’s provision.
He shared how God delivered him and his wife the day before the enemy had planned to pour gasoline throughout the camp and burn them to death.
But what made the biggest impression on me is how Herb then in his 80s as an elder exuded contagious joy in the Lord!!!
Notice now the godly characteristics that are to mark older men in the church. First, he tells us they are to be “temperate.”
“Temperate” not only means “not intoxicated” and “sober” but also stresses that older men in the church must live with self-control.
That includes self-restraint in all things- time, food and money.
In no areas of life is the godly older man to show overindulgence, no area of excess where God and His kingdom are left out of the picture.
Instead, he must have clear thinking and live with a right sense of priority.
2. Older men must also be “dignified.”
This by the way is a requirement of deacons in I Tim. 3:8.
There’s to be a gravity about the older man of God.
It doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate appropriate humor or laugh. But the dignified man doesn’t make light of what is serious.
Here’s why. He knows he is called to live for what will last- God’s glory. And he knows how fast life goes and what awaits all:
Ecclesiastes 12:14 “God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”
3. Similar to being dignified, the next, is “sensible.”
Let me especially highlight this characteristic since is it the most repeated of all in this chapter (of the older women in verse 4 (verb form), younger women in verse 5 and young men in verse 12).
“Sensible” is also translated as “prudent’ referring to the elder qualification in I Tim. 3:2.
It belongs to one who has sound and collected thinking. A sensible person is not impulsive, running willy-nilly here and there jumping on every band wagon that comes along.
Instead, there’s wise thinking that voluntarily places limitations on his freedoms.
Note what goes with that older men must especially lock into at the end of verse 2:
“sound in faith- that’s a life of ever deepening trust in Christ learned through decades of joys and trials. It’s the ballast that runs deep and keeps you even keel in stormy waters of life because of confidence in God.
“Sound in love”- tells us older men must be marked by a deep love for God and love for His church. Their love must overflow as well to those not-yet saved.
All that flows from grasping the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s love for us in Christ!
You see, godly old men don’t outgrow their love for God and others. There’s a fervency and growth in love. They make time to pray for
others, to spend time with others, and to minister to those in need.
And “sound in perseverance”- that’s the older Christian man who instead of becoming irritated patiently endures tough circumstances.
That’s the way Paul lived his life. He kept his eye on godly character and kept his passions in check.
He tells the Corinthians church, “Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” I Cor. 9:26–27
Older men, now is not the time to rest. It’s time for you and me to be vigilant in running the Christian race with aim and Spirit-dependent self-control.
For as in any race, it doesn’t matter where you were at the beginning but how you finish at the end.
May our ambition be to say with Paul when we stand before Christ, , “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” II Tim. 4:7
Next, Paul in verse 4 speaks of the
2. Older women.
As with older men, we cannot be certain of their specific age. We do know that Paul tells the Corinthian church not to put a widow on a church support list if she was 60 years old. I Tim. 5:9
Depending on the congregation, you could have ladies in their 40s and 50s who are significantly older than some who have been more recently married.
Of this group Paul says they are to be
“reverent in their behavior.”
That original word from which we get reverent here pictures conduct fitting for a temple.
There’s historical evidence that young Cretan women brought votive offerings in the temple of Athena on their island. That may have been part of their religious background.
So Paul may be raising that to a whole new level of meaning for Christian women in offering their holy lives to God.
Remember ladies, God is far more concerned about your inner holiness than your outward adornment.
Paul expresses it this way: 1 Timothy 2:9–10 “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.”
Now older women whose lives are marked by holiness will avoid the next two descriptions:
First, Paul says, “not malicious gossips.” With more time on their hands, they won’t occupy it with listening to and spreading words that put down others.
That original Greek term for gossip diabolos, means slanderer, and is used 38x in the N.T. to speak of the devil.
So, Christian, the next time you are tempted to gossip, remember this- you are no longer of your father the devil and now in Christ you have power to build up others with your words!
2. Older Christian women Paul says must not be enslaved to much wine.
Now at this point, you might be thinking, “Why so much talk about alcohol?
Here’s why. God says a lot about it because He loves His children.
And here’s what Paul is speaking out against. It’s being enslaved and controlled by alcohol. That’s the issue.
Remember, we talked about a few weeks back how drunkenness was a big problem in Crete. And for older women in the church it may have been a particular struggle.
For in times of loneliness, difficulty even temptation it would have been easy for them to find an escape in the bottle rather in the Lord.
Now Paul’s expectation for the older Christian ladies in the church went beyond gossip and a dependence on alcohol.
He wants them to seize a vital ministry opportunity by “teaching what is good.”
This is not public teaching of God’s Word in the church assembly for I Tim. 2:12 clearly forbids a
woman in the church “to teach or exercise authority over a man.”
What the older women are being called to in our text is one of the most beautiful yet neglected ministries in the church.
It’s a call for the as older more spiritually mature women in the church to encourage the young women. The idea of the word “encourage” is this. It’s to help the younger women see their blind spots and “wise them up” in their responsibilities as young wives and mothers.
So many young women in the church have their views of being a wife and mother more shaped by society and peers then by godly women.
And God shows us here they desperately need clear and consistent biblical teaching in this.
How? By the ministry of exhortation and example from older to younger women.
Now before we get to what the younger women must learn, there must be the right heart attitude.
1. Younger women, God calls you to have a humble and teachable heart. You have to want to follow His plan and learn from godly women in the church. For they are a goldmine resource for you! Therefore, ask questions, seek biblical counsel from those who have by God’s grace are older godly wives and mothers.
2. Older women, be prayerful, available and encouraging to the younger women. When they approach you with questions or concerns, graciously point them to God’s Word and God’s grace for applying that.
Alright, in the ministry of older women to younger women in the church, what comes first?
Answer in v. 4: “encourage the young women to love their husbands.”
Older women, help those young moms see that as wonderful as their wonderful bundle of joy is, their first commitment must be to love their husbands. Why? Because that’s the priority God-given relationship, before, after, and even while they have children in the home.
And the best way dads and moms can show love for their children- is by creating an atmosphere of loving one another.
The point God is making to wives is this: don’t give your marriage the leftovers. Instead, put that first.
Now, the love Paul is talking about isn’t a romantic love – it’s the philos love of commitment. It’s the Christian wife’s dedication to do what’s best for her husband.
With that as it should be, the younger women then are to learn to love their children.
This love must be shown to children born to them or adopted.
It’s to be a consistent and sacrificial love for those precious lives- even when they don’t deserve it!
For that self-giving love for the children points them to the greatest love for them in Christ.
So, moms, don’t just try to teach your children life skills, don’t just try to keep occupied and out of trouble.
Love them by living out the life of Christ before them. And be faithful like Timothy’s mom Eunice who from his childhood shared God’s Word to him that lead to his salvation!
That’s a full-time call for Christian mothers that reaps God’s blessing!
The second pair of qualities fit for younger women (v. 5) is that they must learn to be “sensible and pure”
We’ve seen that “sensible” (as for the older men) speaks of a life of self-control. It’s the Christian wife who seeks to apply biblical wisdom to her daily life.
And “pure” stresses holiness, fidelity in thought and deed to her husband.
Now we come to a requirement that has been met with much debate in our compromised Christian culture: “workers at home”
Here God through Paul gives us his timeless will, His design for younger women particularly those with children.
A “worker at home” literally means one who is busy and occupied at home.
Here’s what Paul is getting at: the godly young mother must come to see that her God-given identity and place of fulfillment is not outside but inside the home.
Do you realize that in America 70 percent of mothers with children under 18 participate in the
labor force, with over 75 percent employed full-time. And it’s mothers who are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under 18 today. Now, the issue isn’t that a Christian mom can’t be enterprising and contribute to the household finances. The excellent woman of Proverbs 31 runs a home business, she even goes out and buys a field, yet she never compromises or loses sight of her primary commitment as a homemaker. For she does not take employment outside the home, and she doesn’t give over the care of her children to someone else! But here’s what must be first. The preoccupation of the godly mother must be in caring first and foremost for her husband and children. That’s her high calling, the place of greatest impact she can have- being all there for her husband and children in the home. No, it’s not a prison sentence. It’s God’s best, it’s God’s blessing that He calls the mother to find her fulfillment and know His smile on her life and investment in His kingdom as a worker at home. We all realize there are difficult situations. Husbands lose their jobs, and some die young so that there is a great burden on families. Well, that’s where God has called the church family to express His love and care and do all they can to help mothers be workers at home. Some argue, “It’s impossible for a family with children if the mom doesn’t have employment outside the home. Well, that’s where we need to go back to the Bible and back to our budgets and ask ourselves, “How committed are we to following God’s plan? For God will never give us a command in Scripture that isn’t for our blessing in Christ and that which can’t we fulfill in His strength. So it is, the older women are to help mentor the young mothers to fill out their high calling of God- not in the workforce but as workers in the home. Husbands with children in the home, for your wives to flourish and know the highest joy in giving herself to her God-given domain in the home, you need to do your part. Not only by working hard to provide but by being affirming,
appreciating, and praising your wife for all the sacrifices she makes there for God’s glory! In 1900, a man by the name of A. E. Winship studied the historical family tree of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. From his research, he tracked down 1,400 descendants from them. His results were astonishing. From the marriage of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards came . . . 300 pastors or missionaries; 120 college professors; 110 lawyers; over 60 physicians; over 60 authors; 30 judges; 14 university presidents; 80 holders of major public office; 3 mayors of large cities; 3 state governors; 3 U. S. Senators; 1 chaplain of the U. S. Senate; 1 controller of the U. S. Treasury; and 1 Vice President of the United States. At the conclusion of his study, he remarked, “Much of the capacity and talent, intensity, and character of the more than 1,400 of the Edward family is due to Mrs. Edwards.” Isn’t that tremendous? God mightily used that faithful mother at home to leave a legacy for His glory! With that domestic commitment go two important qualities of the young Christian mothers. The first is that she is to be kind (agathos). All that the Christian mother does in the home, the meal planning, preparation and clean up, the laundry, the house cleaning, buying clothes for the children, caring for them when they are sick, giving them biblical instruction and teaching day after day, and her ministry of hospitality … all that’s to be shown in a gracious spirit of kindness. King Lemuel says of the excellent mother, who labors so diligently to care for her children, “the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Prov. 31:26 How is it that day after day, the Christian mom who gives herself to building up her home can avoid the pitfalls of impatience, complaining, and frustration when her family may be ungrateful for all she does? It’s by keeping before her eyes the unending kindness of the Lord for her.
It’s on that bases that Paul exhorts believers, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
You can extend kindness as you continue to be refreshed yourself by drawing from the deep well of God’s kindness to you! The final area God gives for younger women to learn from the older in the church is so pivotal. Paul calls them to be “subject to their own husbands.” Many say Paul here is accommodating the view of his day that he knows needs to change. Not at all. His teaching rather affirms how God has built into every major relationship in life an authority and submission structure. As citizens we are called to submit to government authorities God has placed over us. The church is called to submit to the biblical leadership of elders. In the home, children must submit to their parents’ leadership by obeying and honoring (Eph. 6:1-2). And in the marriage relationship, God has called wives to place themselves under the spiritual headship of their husband. Now, some clarification about this. The women’s call “to love their husbands” shows it’s the responsibility of the wife to show this than the husband to demand it. Second, biblical submission of the wife to the husband is unqualified- it’s to be shown even to unbelieving husbands including husbands who are not walking in obedience to God’s Word.
The apostle Peter addresses this concern to married women in the church saying, “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives.” I Peter 3:1
What a world of encouragement for you married ladies. Peter is saying, “Women, the power of your showing submission to your husband even when he doesn’t deserve it is staggering.
For it’s not your words here that Peter says will win the wayward heart of a husband- it’s you choosing to graciously submit yourself to his lead!
And ladies, keep in mind, your attitude in choosing to follow your husband’s lead is everything. That’s why Peter says the husband
will be won without a word as they observe your chaste (that’s holy and pure) and respectful behavior.
Every time I have the privilege of conducting a wedding, I speak to the groom and bride of their respective God-given roles.
It’s the divine design that honors God and makes for a blessed marriage.
Paul sets the bar amazingly high for the wives in Ephesians 5:22-24: “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (in other words, first and foremost, it’s unto Christ). 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”
“In everything” means the constant default of the godly married woman must be to line up under her husband’s leadership.
For in so doing, she places herself in submission to God’s will for her.
What if the husband asks the wife to do something that dishonors Scripture and would be sin? Even then, she can’t march off and show defiant disrespect. No, she must show a submissive attitude in explaining why she can’t do what he is asking her to do and honor God.
Lest any underestimate the high calling God has placed before women in our text, Paul gives a word of warning: “that the word of God may not be dishonored.”
Dishonored means to be blasphemed, to hurt someone’s reputation.
It’s similar to Paul caution to young widows in I Tim. 5:14. He wanted them to “to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach.”
This all shows the amazing influence a godly wife and mother can be in honoring God. For as she embraces His call to love and show submission to her husband and maximizes her calling as a worker at home, her life is an exhibit A of how God blesses obedience to His Word.
In his personal autobiography Charles Spurgeon penned the following words of praise for his beloved wife Susannah:
She delights in her husband, in his person, his character, his affection; to her, he is not only the chief and foremost of mankind, but in her eyes he is all-in-all; her heart’s love belongs to him and to him only. She seeks no renown for herself; his honor is reflected upon her, and she rejoices in it. Even in her dress, she thinks of him; without constraint she consults his taste and considers nothing beautiful which is distasteful to him. The domestic circle is her kingdom; that she may there create happiness and comfort, is her life work.” (The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, 185.)
Distinctive Christian Living
Hope In Christ Bible Church 7/7/19
The Call to speak what is fitting 1
1. Older men 2
Luke 1:18; Philemon 9; Psalm 90:10; Psalm 92:12-14;
Eccles. 12:14; I Cor. 9:26–27; II Tim. 4:7
2. Older women 3
I Tim. 5:9; I Tim. 2:9–10; I Tim. 2:12
3. Younger women 4-5
Prov. 31:26; Eph. 4:32; I Peter 5:1; Eph. 5:22-24; I Tim. 5:14
How would God call me to be a faithful doer of His Word?
Distinctive Christian Living