Toward a Gospel Culture, Titus 2:1-6

Main Point: Healthy doctrine produces godly people.

We live in a day when gospel-fueled men, women, and families shine brightly and are attacked ferociously. The apostle Paul wrote in a day when gospel-fueled men, women, and families shone brightly and were attacked ferociously. Christians have always stood out for blessing or for persecution because of the healthy doctrine that men should look and act like men and women should look and act like women.

In this day, our call as a church is to be counter-cultural. But we are not to stand on the outside of our culture blowing the whistle and throwing the penalty flag. Instead, we are called to live out the implications of sound doctrine in the culture. We need sound doctrine and faithful teaching in order to shine like lights in this crooked generation. We are here because healthy doctrine produces godly people. The deeper we go into the reality of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the more winsome we should become. Sound doctrine produces sound men. Healthy doctrine produces healthy women. A robust church family produces robust biological families.

I want to take the opportunity provided by Mother’s Day to teach what accords with sound doctrine. I want us to consider the implications of the gospel for the family. We’ll take up Titus 2:1-6 as our text today. Working through the passage, we will give some attention to older men, older women, and younger men. The majority of the text is devoted to younger women, mothers in particular, and so we will give the majority of our attention in this sermon to mothers.

Together, let’s take another step in our growth as a gospel-fueled church filled with godly men and women. Let’s read Titus 2:1-6. This is what Christ has purchased and grace produces.

In verse 1, Titus is commanded to teach what accords with sound doctrine. Pastors are called to help the church work out the implications of good healthy doctrine. It is not enough to teach the truth; pastors must help the members live in step with the truth.

Let’s look at how older men, older women, young women, and young men are called to live. First, lets define those categories. We can’t be dogmatic, but it is safe to say the young would start with the teenage years and the old would start with the 40’s. Let’s start with

I. A vision for older men

Verse 2 addresses older men, “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.”

  • Older men should be godly pillars

I chose the word pillar because when I think of a pillar, I think of that strong support that holds everything up. The presence of older men should produce a sense of safety and strength in the members. He is godly, honorable, selfless, and dependable. In an ever changing world, we should look at the older men and say, “Thank God he is here.”

Women, what type of man are you looking for? Men, what type of man should we strive to be? Verse 2, older men should be sober-minded. The simplest meaning here is don’t be a drunk. A drunk old man is a great shame. But this word means more than never drunk. It is right to expand the requirement to sober-minded. Godly older men are called to be thoughtful, clear, and discerning. Add the next word, “dignified.” We are beginning to see the picture of a man who thinks clearly about what needs to happen and he carries himself in a way that is worthy of respect. He’s not a fool or a goober. He has wisdom and is worthy of honor because he is living obviously for the glory of God and the good of others.

Older men should be sober-minded, dignified, and self-controlled. Self-control is an important word in this letter to Titus. According to Titus 1:8, elders must have self-control. Older men, young women, and young men must be self-controlled. In Titus 2:12 it is God’s grace that trains all of us to live self-controlled lives. Grace trains us to turn away from selfishness for the good of others. In Titus, the emphasis on self-control is matched by the call to be devoted to good works. Doing good works is mentioned seven times in this short book (1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 5, 8, 14).

Older men should be marked by good sense. Knowing the good, and possessing control of themselves, they should pursue the good in an honorable way. So, the wisdom of the aged is displayed in men who know what is good and pay the price to attain the good.

Verse 2 goes on to call men to the standard of sound in faith, love, and steadfastness. To be sound is to be correct and accurate. Older men, we need you to master the faith. Let the world figure out how to make more money. You figure out how to follow Jesus. And instead of pulling away from relationships the older you get; we need you older men to keep loving. Keep giving, keep serving, keep sacrificing. Old men should be models of biblical conviction, sacrificial love, and enduring strength. Sure, you can’t dig postholes like a 20 year old, but you know how to endure the ups and downs of culture and suffering and loss. Older men, man up! We need you. We need godly pillars. Now,

II. A vision for older women

Verses 3-5 develop a picture of godly womanhood. Women receive more instruction here, not because more is required of them than men, but because so much of Scripture is already addressed to men. Right now, let’s honor women.

Read verse 3 with me, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women.” The expectations for older men are matched by the expectations for older women.

  • Older women should be godly priestesses

We need godly pillars and godly priestesses. I get priestesses from the word behind our English “reverent in behavior”. Her actions should be the obvious product of her religious beliefs. She should live out the pursuit of holiness. Sound doctrine must be the reason for her good works. This means a godly older woman enters every situation like a priestess entering the temple. She serves her family and her church with the understanding that she is serving her God.

It is unthinkable that there would be gossip or slander on her lips. Dirty old men are a shame and gossiping old women are a disgrace. The warning concerning alcohol is also here. Older men must be sober and older women must not be slaves to much wine. Ladies, you know your life is a waste if you are sitting around drinking wine and talking about other women. God doesn’t want you to gossip about other women, God wants you to teach younger women.

Verse 3 commands older women to teach young women what is good. Now, there are more women on this earth than ever before and there seems to be more confusion about being a woman than ever before. Why is that? Older women are not rising up to their calling. Older women, we need you to teach young women what is good. Older women, God expects you to be actively teaching young women what is good. Show them and lead them to live out the glories of womanhood. In a culture pressing men to act like women and women to act like men, we need you to shine brightly. The vision for young women creates the lessons plans for older woman.

III. A vision for young women

Older women we need you to pursue this vision, verse 4, “so train the young women to love their husbands and children.”

  • Young women should be taught

The big and broad great commission, “go and make disciples,” finds its feminine expression here. God does not want young women to figure life out on their own. We need godly older women to teach. Many young women are frustrated in life needing a godly priestess. So what verse 4 does is give young women the freedom and encouragement to ask older women for help. Verse 4 gives older women the freedom and encouragement to ask young women if they can help. God expects older women to teach young women. Now back to those lesson plans

  • Young women should be loving wives and mothers

The world has puppy love and maternal instincts. We must go beyond infatuation and nesting. The older women of the church should be actively raising up the joyful, intentional, and sacrificial love of Christ in the church. In Crete, where Titus was serving the churches, the world was telling women to love themselves and look after themselves. Abandon husband and child for self! Against this cultural pressure Titus was called to teach sound doctrine in such a way that older women took up the responsibility for teaching young women how to love. We need a solid definition of love. Here it is: love is the giving of self for the good of others. Love is the sacrifice of self for the good of others.

Warm mushy feelings come easily early on but unfortunately, they will soon fade. The requirements of marriage and parenting will soon tempt each young woman to resent husband and children. A mother of small children is exhausted by sleepless nights. A mother of grade school children is exhausted by the never-ending pile of laundry, dishes, schoolwork, and events. Constantly teaching, correcting, comforting, and refereeing can be grueling. Without the careful craft of older women, young women will become bitter taxi-drivers fantasizing about a better life with someone else or a more glorious life by herself.

So many Christian young women are suffering silently with this thought in their minds, “I don’t know how to love these people.” Older women, we need you. We need you to teach young women how to love and how to be godly.

  • Young women should be godly

Verse 5 repeats that word, “self-controlled.” Remember, it means sensible. There is a progression here in discipleship. An older woman brings a young woman to her senses, she’s being trained. She’s growing in the ability to pick the good and pursue the good. She’s learning to be pure. At a basic level this is sexual purity; it means she is chaste. The push for sexual freedom was as alive and well in Crete as it is today in our culture. The world is training our daughters, the world is awaking our daughters’ senses, are we answering with a better more joyful way?

Notice the pairs in verses 4 and 5. Love husband is paired with love children. Self-controlled is paired with pure. Working at home is paired with kind. Add verse 11 to this, “grace is training her to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live a self-controlled, upright, and godly life in the present age.” Older women, your discipleship of young women doesn’t depend on you. Older women, of course you don’t have what it takes to disciple young women. God will give you the grace you need. Training young women depends on God’s grace. The God who saved her is the God who is strengthening her to devote herself to her husband and children. God will provide what we need. We all need God’s great grace as we seek to follow Jesus.

Think about the cross. The cruciform life is a life shaped by the cross. In Ephesians 5 husbands are called to live cruciform lives, lives of loving self-sacrifice for the good of their wives. The paradigm of Christ is now laid upon young ladies. Deny yourself for the good of others. Tell yourself no so that you can say yes to others. Loving those people will require you to pay a cost that a solitary existence would never require. Love calls for the greatest of sacrifices and grace empowers joyful living.

To the world, working hard at home is anything but glamorous. Cooking meals, doing laundry, caring for sick children, and teaching children is hard work. Motherhood is a 365 day a week 24 hour a day job. Motherhood is a God-glorifying sacrifice of self for the good of others. Yes, being a mother and a wife looks like a waste. You have so much to offer in the work force out there while the kids and husband don’t seem to care. It’s just like the sacrifice of Christ for sinners like you and me. The humiliation and sacrifice of the glorious Son of God looks like waste. Jesus is so smart and resourceful. He’s such a powerful thinker and leader. Yet there he is doing nothing for 30 years and then spending himself with those 12 misfits. Then he dies! What a waste and what a love. Young mothers, work hard at home, your work is glorious. Work hard and be kind.

Kind appears so strange at first, its strange to everyone except the sacrificial and submissive young woman. That young husband is often foolish and fearful; he lacks self-control. Submitting to him is hard. Submitting to him with kindness is even harder. Those children are so demanding. The moment the laundry is folded, or the meal cleaned up, or the home tidied, it all needs to be done again. The most natural thing for a young wife and mother to become is harsh. Older women and grace are given to train her to be kind and submissive.

Look at the middle of verse 5. Train them to be “submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Her looking after their good is submission. Her following his leadership is submission. As the husband gives himself for his wife, the wife gives herself for her husband. I really don’t think our problem is with sacrifice- people sacrifice all the time for their careers, health, and hobbies. The problem is sacrificing for the good of someone who doesn’t deserve it. The problem is sacrificing career, health, and hobbies for the good of someone who doesn’t deserve it; someone like your husband and your children.

Here is teaching that accords with sound doctrine. The gospel of Jesus’ self-sacrifice must work into husbands who lay their lives down for their wives and wives who submit themselves to their husbands. Mean, selfish, resentful, bitter women cause the gospel to be mocked as a fairy tale. Foolish, selfish, weak, faithless men cause the gospel to dragged through the mud. The gospel calls us to a better way. The gospel calls young men to a better way.

IV. A vision for young men

Look at Titus 2:6, “Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.”

  • Young men should bring all of life into submission to the gospel

At first glance verse 6 sounds like a copout compared to the laundry list given to young women. But consider two points, first, we see that the vision for young men is that they will learn to master themselves for the good of others. Look at a 13 year old male and consider what it will mean for him in every area of life to sensible. In his work, in his education, in his relationships, in his soul, in his humor, in his love, in his care for others he must be sensible. Young man, master every desire and bring every thought captive to Christ. Young man grow up. Church, boys will stay boys if we don’t urge them to grow up. Titus 2:6 is an all-encompassing command.

The second reason this is not a copout is because Titus is a young man. Every command given to Titus needs to be translated and applied to his fellow young men. Young men must renounce ungodliness and worldly passions to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. Their hope must be the appearing of their great God and savior Jesus Christ. Young men must be zealous for good works.

Titus must set the example for young men and call them to a better way. Titus must preach the gospel and apply the truth in such a way that moves every age group toward a gospel culture. We must move

V. Toward a gospel culture

This passage points us in a thousand directions as we consider older men, older women, younger women, and younger men. There is so much for me to work on. For simplicity, I want to give us two broad categories that I hope can help each of us.

  • First, consider your own situation

How does this passage encourage you in your particular situation? Where do you need to make progress? Where is the disconnect in your life between sound doctrine and godly living? Get precise. In what particular area of life is the Spirit calling you to make progress? Fill in that blank

Sound doctrine is calling me to grow in _________________

What is your next step toward greater health? Is it repentance? Is it faith? Is it the pursuit of accountability or discipleship? Take that step today.

  • Finally, consider your fellow church members.

We provide a church member or family for prayer each week in the bulletin. Use the paradigms of Titus 2:1-6 to pray for those members. Is it an older man? Pray for him to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Is it an older woman? Pray for her to be reverent in behavior, not a slanderer, not a slave to much wine, and pray she makes disciples among the women of the church. Is she a young woman? Pray for her to love her husband, love her children, to be self-controlled, pure, diligent at home, kind, and submissive as a display of the glorious gospel. Is he a young man? Pray for self-control in every area of his life.

Where do you need to grow? How can you build us up? Identifying these areas will cause you to become a person who stirs us up to love and good works. As each of us grows in godliness we will shine brightly in a confused culture. May God display his glory through godly men, godly women, and godly families.

Baptism and the Marks of Conversion

Theology-Thursday

The question of when a child is ready for baptism can be difficult. What follows is a post from a class I taught parents to help them prepare their children for baptism.

How does a parent, pastor, or church know when a child is ready to be baptized? What is a credible confession of faith? Here is a short list of biblical marks of conversion. If a person gives evidence of these (or a desire for these) then baptism should be given. If a person does not give evidence of these (or a desire for these) then baptism should be withheld.

We need to start with thinking biblically about conversion. Scripture uses these terms interchangeably: conversion, born again, new heart.

I. Conversion

  • Ezekiel 36:25-27
    • I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey all my rules.
  • John 3:3
    • Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.
  • Has your child been changed? Does your child have a desire to change? A person who wants to avoid hell while continuing in disobedience needs teaching, not the waters of baptism.

II. Repentance

  • Mark 1:14-15
    • Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
  • 2 Corinthians 7:10-11
    • For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.
  • Is your child sorry about his/her sin or simply sorry to have been caught or punished? Repentance is a necessary ingredient of conversion. Only those who can give credible evidence of repentance (ask their parents) should be baptized.

III. Faith

  • Acts 20:21- Faith in Jesus
    • Paul summarized his message as “repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-5- Gospel belief
    • Now I would remind you brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
    • Faith is trusting in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Faith is not simply believing Jesus is the Son of God who died and rose.
  • Can your child explain the gospel at his/her level? If a person gives evidence of a desire to change, demonstrates the beginning of repentance, and can explain the gospel in simple terms then baptism may be the next step.

IV. Confession

  • Romans 10:9-10
    • If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
  • Is your child willing to claim or confess Jesus? Embarrassment is a warning sign.
  • Does your child show an increasing willingness to submit to Jesus? Can your child explain the importance of the resurrection of Jesus? Ask, “Why would God forgive you?” If your child can prove in simple terms that he/she is trusting in Christ crucified and raised for salvation, then move ahead.

IV. A desire to know and obey God

  • Hebrews 8:10-12
    • Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, “Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful towards their iniquities, and I will remember their sin no more.
  • Does your child give evidence of an increasing willingness or desire to know more about Jesus, be with the church, read the Bible, worship, and obey? A simple desire to be baptized is no mark of conversion. A desire to know Christ, obey Christ, and be with the body of Christ lends credibility to a child’s confession.

2019 Daily Bible Reading

daily bible reading

It is a great time to commit to daily Bible reading. Just as we eat physical food daily in order to gain strength, so also we eat spiritual food daily in order to gain strength. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Do you want to live? Do you want to experience the strength and life of the Spirit of Christ? Then commit yourself to reading, understanding, and living in light of every word from the mouth of God.

Here are two plans I recommend to you. The first plan (the M’Cheyne plan) is a shorter plan and will cover 1/2 the Old Testament and all the New Testament in 2019. The second plan (the Mill plan) is a longer plan and will cover the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in 18 months.

Here is a link to the M’Cheyne plan.

Here is a a link to a google document for the Mill plan.

Chronicles?

We have started reading 1 & 2 Chronicles in our daily Bible reading plan. Here is a great introduction video to help you understand the big picture.

Tuesday 11/13 read 1 Chronicles 1-2

Wednesday 11/14 read 1 Chronicles 3-4

Thursday 11/15 read 1 Chronicles 5-6

Friday 11/16 read 1 Chronicles 7-8

Saturday 11/17 read 1 Chronicles 9-10

Sunday 11/18 read 1 Chronicles 11-12

Care Group / Midweek Bible Study

Care-Groups

Care Group is our Wednesday Bible study that meets from 6:45-7:45 pm at a members’ house. Care Group meets every other week (9/18, 10/3, 10/17, 10/31, etc.). The time together is spent on a simple meal, praying for one another, reviewing the sermon text from the previous Sunday, then seeking to help one another apply that text to life. It is helpful to look or listen to the sermon and discussion question posted on this blog before attending Care Group.

Comment below if you need more information.

Parenting and Obedience

Every parent has expectations for his/her child. Every parent defines obedience and disobedience somewhat differently (what matters to me as a parent may not matter to you and vice versa). What I view as funny, you may see as disrespectful. What you overlook as normal childishness, I may see as disobedience which demands correction. Thinking through these issues from the perspective of discipleship can be helpful. Consider this quote from Andreas Kostenberger:

Parents who neglect to hold their children accountable for rendering obedience fail them in that they do not help them along the path of Christian discipleship, of which obedience is a central component. Hence the primary importance of obedience is not for parents to receive their children’s obedience, but for parents to help children to learn to exercise obedience ultimately in their relationship with God. The fact that proper obedience is possible, for children as well as for adults, ultimately only as a result of a faith commitment in Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, suggests that introducing the child to a personal relationship with God in Christ ought to be a burning fire in the heart of every Christian parent (primarily because of their concern for their child’s  salvation). Nevertheless, obedience should be demanded and obedience punished, even in non-Christian (not-yet) children.

Andreas Kostenberger, God, Marriage, and Family, page 106