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.