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Week 4: Titus 2:1-3 THE AGED
1. But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
1. This passage should draw us all to evaluate how we view our aged and it should draw the aged to evaluate themselves. Just how do they stack up against this list? How do we allow them to minister in our churches? Are they part of the leadership? Are they in the teaching business?
Or more to the point, do you have any aged folks in your church? Many churches have changed so much that the aged don’t feel comfortable there any more. They have left and moved on to other churches or in many cases just stopped going to church.
Many are aghast that older believers would dare stop going to church, but when they can gain more fellowship talking to their spouse than they can with other believers at church, why bother getting out and around to go to church.
The church has bent over backwards to draw in the young, to draw in the lost, to draw in all sorts, but they have done nothing to maintain the elder portion of their church. In fact most churches have alienated their older generation. Sure, it is easy to blame the elders, they are being picky etc. are the reasons given to excuse the concerns of the older folks.
A friend in the mid-west told me of their church’s methods in bringing in contemporary music. They didn’t talk about it, they just did it. They moved to a completely contemporary service with no thought to how it would be received. When some of the folks gathered to question the elders, who by the way weren’t elders in age, only in office, they were told that the music would stay and that the young people liked it.
Now, we see - the church is for the young - not sure what the Biblical basis for this thought was. The people were also told that the music policy had been changed by the elders months before the service and that the contemporary service was the outgrowth of the music policy - a policy which the older folks had never heard of nor had any input into.
No compromise was offered, it was "Here is the reality and if you don’t like it, that is too bad." The church lost all their elderly and most of their wisdom it would seem.
On the other hand we see many churches doing worship any old way. Some have informal, contemporary as well as traditional services. That is just another way to split up the congregation so that the aged can’t teach the younger.
It should shame these congregations when they read in the Old Testament about the Israelites - of ALL ages coming together to worship God. I would not want to be in some pastors shoes when they give account for the way they ran their churches.
2. Pastors and teachers I would challenge you to go over your next few sermons/lessons and see if they are filled with things that will bring about sound doctrine in your people’s lives. Are you feeding them meat that will nourish and build up or are you serving up froth that will not satisfy?
Think of the wasted time in many of our churches and Sunday schools when we have been serving up milk toast to people that have need of mature teaching to build their lives. It is no wander that many are falling away from the church. They aren’t falling away from the Lord, only the lack of teaching and the lack of worship in our churches.
I know many of all ages that have opted to refrain from church on this basis. Many sanctimonious preachers would tell those folks they ought not forsake the assembly. I would charge, make sure you have a proper assembly, one that is teaching sound doctrine, one that is promoting holy living and one that is promoting proper worship.
3. I mentioned the church I grew up in. It was also the practice for the elders to give a devotional before serving the Lord’s Supper. I didn’t listen to them, because I didn’t understand what they were talking about, but I knew that it was a very important time for the congregation. They were all very quiet and attentive to their thoughts as well as the observance.
This church gave me healthy understanding of holiness, of decorum in a church, and of the older teaching the younger. My Sunday school teacher as a child was always an older woman, my mother attended the older women’s class and even the ladies aid was run by the older women for the benefit of the younger. A church as it should have been - too bad they forgot to give me the gospel.
4. I have held the church accountable for not using the older folks, but now I must chide them for not necessarily being a ball of fire when someone asks them to take on responsibilities in the church. Many older folks feel they have given their due and that they don’t have to do any more. They are retired, and they have no thought of getting involved with those young folks that don’t respect them.
Lots of truth on both sides, I must admit, however the older are told to do certain things and they ought to get to it as soon as they are allowed to.
Years ago I was asked to teach an older adult class. I had a ball giving them a hard time about their age and one Sunday it became perfectly clear that they felt they had absolutely no ministry in the church. I, again, gave them the raspberries about what could they do, they were old and couldn’t raise a pencil to paper.
They began telling me in no uncertain terms what they could do in the church and we filled a fairly large black board with the jobs they knew they could do for the church. I later wrote the list down and gave it to the pastor and his response was a belly laugh and tossing the list on the desk in disgust. He said that he had been trying to get them to do something for years and that they wouldn’t do anything for him.
I left wondering just what leadership qualities he hadn’t picked up along the way. The old folks continued to attend but were never allowed to minister to the congregation. It was so sad, that a couple dozen people wanting to minister were not allowed to.
Indeed, the very fact that I was appointed to teach them was in gross contradiction to the Word of God, but that didn’t bother the church leaders either.
5. The "old men" and "women" is of interest. Paul was not talking of the office of elder, but was using a general term that is only used here and in two other places. Luke 1:18, "For I am an old man," and Philemon 1:9, "being such an one as Paul the aged." This is clear that Paul was speaking of people with age, not an office.
Let’s consider the old folks in our churches. What are they like? What would their qualities be?
I fear that they run along the lines of crotchety, stand offish, opinionated, and uninvolved. These qualities may have risen out of a culture in which they are worthless, abandoned and a pain in the neck. For a moment, young folks, put yourself in the place of being treated as worthless, lacking intelligence, and being isolated from your peers. How would you get as time progressed? Maybe a little isolated, maybe a little cranky, maybe a little fishing or hunting to get away from those treating you incorrectly.
What do we expect our older folks to be in our churches today? How can they come out any other way? Yes, holiness is the answer but it gets tiresome to keep yourself holy when you constantly see younger folks treating you so miserably, in an unbiblical manner and never seeing anyone chasten them for it.
Not giving the old timers a free ride here, just wandering if they were treated with proper respect if they wouldn’t become what they are supposed to be in the church.
6. I don’t think that most young folks appreciate what the older generation has gone through. I once asked a class of college kids what they remembered in the major historical event time line - in their lifetime. They listed a few major events. I then started listing the events that I had lived through. This list was much longer and they were surprised that I was so old. I then listed the major events that my father lived through. This list was major long, and I think they realized that the old folks in their churches had some major miles on them.
I challenged them as I would the reader - these are the folks that have the wisdom you need to train up the congregation in holiness. Don’t throw all that wisdom and knowledge away because you think it worthless.
Can you imagine what wisdom these folks have when assisting young folks with the problems of life? Maybe this is why the divorce rate in the church is so high - we haven’t had any of the older folks modeling what marriage is all about.
I recently heard that more Christians feel divorce is okay than lost people. That, I would guess is a direct result of our emphasis on younger people rather than allowing the older folks to teach the younger as they ought.
The church is paying greatly for the lack of respect we have shown our elder ambassadors for the Lord.
7. Keathley raises the issue that all believers are to be fully engaged with the world, rather than totally concentrating on themselves or the future. We are to live as if heaven were our home, but we are also to be fully able to work with the lost world around us.
While in Wyoming years ago I met a couple that were retired. They could have gone off in their camper and done their hunting and fishing, but they did not opt to do so. They belonged to a Christian camper group that took on building projects around the country. They all were self contained in living quarters, and self sufficient in finance so they could pull up and spend a month or two building at no expense to the host church or group.
Not only were they involved with this, they found that as they did their relaxing and traveling that they could be effective in their evangelism. They were fully engaged in their world while fully ministering for their God and raising up reward for the next life.
Many older folks in the church are set aside and totally disengaged from the world. They seldom go anywhere but to church and to buy their needs. This is a sad status for our older believers, and I would trust that you readers will see the need to change it in your churches of the future.
8. It is not specified in the text, but since the false teachers were interfering in the family life in some manner, this might be Paul’s answer to that invasion into realms where sound doctrine is the requirement. There may have been false teaching that was undermining good family structure and relationships.
Now, we can’t say that we have this today - well, I’d say we could and that we should. The world’s way of life has been accepted as the standard for Christian living. You can’t get along with the wife, get a divorce, can’t get along at work, be a sloth and quit and go on welfare or unemployment until someone forces you to go to work.
The world is now dictating the Christian life rather than the Word of God. We need some godly, holy people teaching our younger couples, our youth and our children. This is the way to a strong church not the powder puff fluffy slop of the current teaching in some churches.
To see the Vacation Bible schools advertised today you’d think they were sending the kids to a Disney land park for the week, rather than teaching them some serious Bible. Sad to say there is little Bible teaching going on, mostly just entertaining and control.
Keathley mentions a woman that used to belong to the National Association of Home Economics Teachers but the organization had changed its name to the National Association of Consumer Education. The teaching of home economics is a part of American history, not a current part of most educational systems.
9. We mentioned holiness earlier. Let’s dwell on that word for a moment. 1 Peter 1:16 tells us "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
Observation one: This isn’t an option, it is a command. It isn’t multiple choice, there is only one choice. Being holy is the only item up for consideration. Why are we to be holy? Because God is holy. He is the basis of our holiness, He is the reason for our holiness, and He is the way of our holiness. He commands that we be, and gives us the way to be, via the Holy Spirit within.
Observation two: This letter was written to believers so there must have been some that weren’t holy in life. Thus we can know that the believer has the choice of being holy or not being holy, though we are commanded to be holy. To not be holy then is breaking a command of Almighty God - realize that before you consciously step off into sin.
What is holiness? Is it something we can maintain all the time? Can we be too holy to be any good to God here on earth?
If we could be too holy, it would seem that God would have phrased the verse something like this, "Be holy but not too holy for I am holy but not overly holy." NOT!
The Greek term is "hagios" meaning holy or holy saint. The Bible dictionaries relate the word to God’s perfection of moral character, or that which makes God the perfection in moral character that He is. We, as humans, on the other hand can achieve a semblance of holiness in our outward lives and to an extent in our moral character, but we tend to fail because of our bent toward serving self and our own wants.
Our moral character may see heights of moral perfection, but it also sees the depths of the lack of moral perfection. It is between us, as individuals, and the Holy Spirit within as to just how morally pure we are. If we allow Him to have His way then we will be pure, but we seldom allow Him that much control over our lives.
The concept is identical for God and with us - it is just the perfection thing that is a difference. The same term is used of both God and man in this verse so this pictures that identical character.
Let’s reinforce this concept a little.
Leviticus 11:44 "For I [am] the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I [am] holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
Leviticus 11:45 "For I [am] the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I [am] holy."
Now, before anyone suggests that we can’t be holy, let me stop you before you embarrass yourself. Read Psa. 86:45 "For I [am] the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I [am] holy." This is David’s estimation of himself - he felt that he could be and was "holy" - remember this is in the Old Testament and he did not have the Spirit within to assist him in his quest for holiness. This ought to suggest to any reader that we believers in the New Testament day with the Holy Spirit within our beings should be able to find a state of holiness in this life.
Life Application Bible notes suggest a number of things that make us holy today when they comment on 1 Peter 1:16.
Being devoted to God
Being dedicated to God
Being set aside for His use
Being set apart from sin and the world
Being different from the crowd
Being focused on Him
Being a light house might be another way of putting it. We are to be a bright shining light amidst the total black of darkness. We are also to be the salt of the earth. We are to add the flavor of life to the death of no savor.
Holy has the definite idea of being set apart for God’s use. I might add that this has nothing to do with church attendance. A person can be holy of life without attending church. I will be quick to admit, however that attending church and having the support of Christian fellowship makes holiness a whole lot easier. It also tends to keep you evaluating your holiness from time to time, which might not occur as often if you weren’t attending church.
This set apart concept relates well to Romans 12:1-2 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
The setting apart is on our backs to do. God does not automatically do it, nor does he require it be done, it is a voluntary item of obedience that he wants of us. Voluntary in the aspect that we are told to do it in I Peter.
If you are beset with sin, then Romans 12:1-2 is for you. If you try and try and try, then 1 John 1:9 is for you. Keep confessing and seeking forgiveness, while asking for strength to stand against the temptation that draws you into sin.
That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
Sound doctrine has the thought of whole or wholesome as well as sound. This is doctrine that will bring wholesomeness to the saints, wholeness of life to those that profess Christ as the difference in their life.
I am told that Philo used this term of men over sixty, however today the man of sixty isn’t equal to the man of sixty of Philo’s day. Sixty back then was quite old and fairly rare. I’d guess in 2004 we are talking men in their 75-80 range of years. Some sixty year olds today are not even all that mature.
Aged men would relate to the older men, those mature in years and lifestyle. Indeed, the old seems to be part of the word. It is of interest that this term is somewhat related to the term translated "elder" earlier in our study "presbuteros" - this term is "presbutes." Both terms carry the thought of old or aged. Thus we might apply this to the office of elder, one that is aged or old. This is not popular in our society these days. The elders need to be young whipper snappers that will set the church on edge.
To be "sober" was to be temperate or not using alcohol to excess. It also relates to being vigilant. This makes sense in that the one drinking alcohol is not vigilant in his manner of life or his ability to function properly.
"Grave" is to be honored for your integrity, honorable in all ways of life. Again, this is not necessarily a characteristic of many of our younger men today. It ought to be, but many are far from honorable in all their ways. With the aged, you will find most have found that integrity has meaning and that they have allowed it to become a part of their life. These are qualities to look for in all your old men, but especially in your elders.
This seems to picture one that has some dignity, not something that he puts on but his way of life, he is above the "roust about" ways of the younger, he is more serious in demeanor and in thought life. He is a man that gives himself over to important matters rather than wasting time on meager items of life. He should be one that arouses respect in his younger acquaintances.
At the same time these are qualities that you should be teaching your young men - the future leaders of your church. In fact begin in the Sunday school because they are your future younger men.
"Temperate" would give the thought that one is in control of his life, he is controlling all things so that his life appears to be calm and temperate. It is controlling all of one’s senses to give a good, rounded controlled life.
The word "sound" is a verb. It is "being sound" or to "be in good health" - being sound in the faith. The aged men are to be continuing on in the faith in a manner to assure good spiritual health. This most likely won’t allow for a man that is drinking or allowing sin to creep in every day or two, this is a man that practices allowing the Spirit to control his life all the time so that he is in good spiritual health.
He is also practicing charity or love as well as patience all the time so that he is in good spiritual health. He is one that walks with God and shows forth the love of God to those he encounters.
"speak things which become sound doctrine:"
SOME POSSIBLE MEANINGS:
a. Teach things that will become sound doctrine in their minds.
b. Speak and live the way you should in light of sound doctrine.
c. Speak and live to bring about sound doctrine in the lives of others.
In the context, it is clear that Paul wants what is spoken to bring about proper living in the lives of the people mentioned. Thus, a and c relate well. Actually both principles are valid teachers. The teacher that lives what he is teaching will find that his students learn much quicker. The specific of the text probably is in the teaching things that will bring about sound doctrine in the students lives.
Now, just why does Paul single out aged men to pick on? First of all the aged or elder men in the Jewish faith and life were the ones that everyone looked up to for wisdom and guidance. They were the roll models of their day, if you will.
Paul was not picking on the old men, but was telling Titus where to start in his setting right of things. The people would look up to the elders of their community and if they saw change, then all would feel that the change was right and proper. Paul was setting forth good strategy for the young preacher Titus.
Indeed, Paul was setting a good plan for church planting in our own day to a point. President Clinton is a prime modern day example of what a roll model should not be. He was doing his own thing - wearing what he wanted - acting like he wanted - not attempting to be the right and proper person he should have been as the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world.
People look to his office for guidance in living, and just what has he been teaching those people. That it’s okay to look like a slob most of the time - that it is okay to lie - that it is okay to go back on your word - that being immoral is okay.
Paul knew that these people needed some drastic living changes, so began to work on them through Titus almost immediately. Again, we have a principle for church planting. Lead the people to the Lord - don’t condemn them for their life style - but begin helping them to change their life style. Notice should be made that the attempt to change their life style is via the teaching of the Bible unto sound doctrine. As they see sound doctrine, they will begin to conform to it.
Years ago in the hippie era two hippies were led to the Lord through the ministry of an independent Baptist church in Denver. The men came to church two Sundays before the church folk ran them off by telling them they were scrounge and that they needed to clean up their act. Yes, they looked like the bums of skid row, but they did not know their changed lives, indicated a need for changed outward appearance. They needed to be taught unto sound doctrine.
Now, Paul moves on to the aged women. You know this really hurts, he is telling people in my age group what they are supposed to be like and I’m not sure we are - that means we need to change to come into compliance.
The aged women likewise, that [they be] in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
The aged women or "presbutis" seem to relate to the old women. Paul is really stomping all over our cultural norms. He is putting the old up as being important and he is also telling them that they should be living holy lives! When we get old it is the time when we get to kick up our heels in this society, but Paul says no. They have a proper lifestyle.
They are to behave as with holiness - they are to live their outward life in a holy manner - well their inward life as well, though Paul comments on their outward behavior.
"False accuser" is the word "diablos" which is the Devil. It relates to his slanderous ways. The old women are to have none of his slander on their lips; they are to be holy and wise in the use of their speech.
The tense of not being given to wine is a perfect passive which gives the thought that she isn’t overtaken by drink on a constant basis. It doesn’t say that she can’t drink. This is not a passage many would appreciate in that many today feel that the Bible does not allow believers to drink in any manner. The thought of Scripture seems more that we are to do it in moderation if we are going to do it, but in our society I personally feel abstaining from all drink would be best for one’s testimony.
Teachers of good things, is one Greek word and simply relates to the teaching of what is good. Or it might go as far as saying teaching goodness.
The old women have a specific job to do in the church and I trust that you will allow them freedom to do it soon if they aren’t free to already.
I don’t think that many churches are giving thought to this idea of older women teaching. On a forum on the internet I recently asked how churches were seeing to the idea of the older women teaching the younger women to love their husbands. I asked how their church did this. Not one person responded. I took it that there were none of the churches represented on that forum that did anything to assure the younger women were being taught properly in this area. This is sad at best, reprehensible at worst.
The "likewise" refers back to verse one, "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine...." Again, we see the older singled out first to be taught. The next verse tells the specifics of why - that they might teach the younger.
Now, this is also the culture of the day in which the old women were the teachers of the younger. Today, however, we have another story. Just how many younger women will listen to the older women? Not many in our society.
Part of the problem is that we wait until the younger women are adults to try to teach them what they need to know. If Christian mothers and fathers would begin in childhood, to teach their daughters, they would be open to listening in later life. Even then we have a real problem trying to accomplish Paul’s admonition in our own day.
This is due, in part to the society that we live in; however it is due in more part to the society we have allowed into the church. Our families are not driven by God’s Word, but by what society is telling us.
When teaching at a Bible Institute, I was head of the committee that was to provide activities for the married student wives. I gave my wife and the other faculty member’s wife this text to teach to the student wives. The response was not all that good to the study. The young ladies found many reasons why they could not attend the studies. They were not interested in what God had to say to them. Holiness was not on their radar screen, they had other things to do - better things to do.
We need to think about this text and its implications on our modern day churches. Why don’t we have our older women teaching our younger women in Sunday school classes? Because the younger women, for the most part, won’t be told what to do, or how they should be.
American women have bought into the women’s movement and its false philosophy to the point that some of them will not even allow God to have any say in their lives. Many Christian marriages have failed in recent years because the woman would not allow anyone to have any say in their lives - including God.
Before I get into any more trouble, I must state that it is not only the young women, but the young men that have bought into societies norms. Indeed, Christians in general are living more by the world’s standard than by the Lord’s standard.
When I was growing up I attended a Christian church were an old woman in her 60’s - in the 1950’s a 60-year old was considered old! - taught the women’s class and an old man taught the men’s class. I wish churches today would follow that lead.
Some older Southern Baptist churches still follow this format and I applaud them for it.
Week 5: Titus 2:4-8 THE YOUNG
That is the young chronologically. I might mention for the sake of the younger generation, that most adults in the older age groups actually feel in their minds as though they are young. When an older person thinks of themselves, they normally think of themselves as in their teen to early twenty era. This is not vanity, that is just kind of the way it is.
One old woman commented once that she was a young lady trapped in an old woman’s body. When we look in the mirror in the morning we often wonder who that person is - that can’t be me - I’m not that old!
It is a bit of an intellectual battle that goes on. We know we are young but the old body doesn’t function the way it should. This is why old folks balk at going to the retirement centers - they aren’t old enough for that yet. I recently heard those very words from a woman that was in her 80’s.
Just an illustration of this. I am writing most of this study at a Jack in the Box over coffee. There is an elderly woman that frequents the place from time to time, well, daily - kind of like me. She stops at McDonald’s across the street to pick up some of her food then comes here to get the rest of her food and then eats it here.
The McDonald’s gave her a kid’s magazine this morning and she proceeded to read the jokes to me, which we both enjoyed. All adults, no matter the age, are kids at heart - don’t forget that as you plan your dealings with the senior segment of your congregation. They enjoy things that you might not think they would. Indeed, they enjoy most things middle-agers enjoy. In fact some seniors enjoy what the young enjoy; they just can’t do it all quite as quickly.
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
5 [To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
"Teach" is a different word than the usual one used in the New Testament. This has the thought of return one to their senses, or sober them up if drunk, or to control or curb someone. It can also relate to disciple someone. Thus we see the young women were out of control in some manner and the older women were to put them to a proper place. Since the family and home seem to be the context, you’d assume that the young women were out of control in relation to their family and home.
The term "sober" is the same Greek word translated teach. Sober the young women so that they can be sober. One must wonder what a mess these families must have been in if the older women were to teach such subjects as these.
The understanding of this word translated "teach" gives new light upon the last part of the verse. The women are to be corrected in their love of their husbands and children. They didn’t love them properly or at all. This was to be corrected and the young women were to properly love their family.
Oh, what a message for the church today. Have you talked with and/or seen the attitudes of young women in the church lately? They have little concept of proper Christian womanhood. Many are rebellious toward their husbands and lacking in care of their children. They are more interested in their own desires than in fulfilling their wifely/motherly duties. Many are more interested in amassing toys than rewards in heaven. The latest fashion is the most important, the latest in houses, cars are the most important.
They need to be brought back to reality and their families. There is a tremendous need for families in general to get back on track in the church.
"Discreet" is a related word to the one translated teach and sober in the previous verse. It relates to being discreet, sober, and sane, in one’s own senses. Again, the thought of proper control of yourself.
"Chaste" is the thought of pure, without sin, or without wrong. In the area of sexuality, she should be taught to be without wrong. In the area of her marital relationship she should be taught to be without wrong.
In this area of sexuality, I don’t think most church goers have any idea what is going on in our teen girl’s minds. This is the next generation of mothers that is going to be teaching our Sunday schools. Most teen girls today feel that oral sex is not really sex. They also feel it is about as casual a thing as kissing.
If churches don’t wake up to the way the world has warped our kids we are in for even bigger trouble than we have now. We have got to start teaching about proper marriage, about improper divorce, about the sin of remarriage, about the proper sexuality.
They are to be brought to proper knowledge of keeping the home. Again, today where are our Christian mothers? Are they at home keeping it in proper order, or are they out at the mall, out wherever it is that they go to do their thing?
Keeping a home in our society is almost a four-letter word. It is one of the most honored of places for a woman to be, yet our society has placed it down with the lowest of low positions. We need to let our young women know where God would have them be. It is not that they can’t work, nor work outside the home, but the best place is normally in the home loving and caring for their family. We will delve into this more in a moment.
And we see even further reference to the marital relationship. She is to be in submission or obedient to her husband. It is curious in my mind why Paul would have added the word "own" before the husband, but maybe the Cretan society was like ours is today. She is to submit to her own husband and not someone else’s husband. I don’t know how much more clear I need to make this, but maybe I can. Your husband is your only husband, there is no other. There is no one else’s husband that you should be submitting to.
We have seen women stray into adultery, and many of them see nothing wrong in what they have done. One husband I spoke to said it was six months after the fact before his wife could realize that what she had done was wrong and that she had sinned. THESE ARE CHRISTIAN WOMEN and they don’t know that it is wrong to sleep with another man. PASTORS WAKE UP TO WHAT HAS NOT BEEN TAUGHT IN WAY TOO MANY YEARS IN OUR CHURCHES.
I would take a side trail for a moment. I am way down on the church in generalities, I know there are many churches that are teaching the word as they ought, but too many are not and it is these churches that are producing the sin of the church today. Yes, individual responsibility is in view, but so is the lack of teaching.
If your church is preaching the word, is talking about the sin of our society, then praise God, but realize that many aren’t and you don’t want your teenagers going off to youth groups that you don’t have confidence in.
Subject to their "own" husband. What a telling command. How sad that any Christian gathering should need part of their group to be taught such things at the command of an apostle. You would think that it would be common practice to teach every class of youth these things.
Many today decry curriculum in our Sunday school, but it is needed so that when the day is over we can know that every kid that has gone through our system has been taught the basics of Christian living.
Paul desires these things be set aright so that the Word is not blasphemed. The term blasphemed relates to "speaking ill of" or speaking against. It is the same word that is used of speaking against God.
Our family life is a witness to the Word, it is a witness to our belief in that Word and it is a witness to the world around us.
All of this because Paul did not want God’s name blasphemed. Ezekiel has a chapter where God is acting to keep His name in a proper light. He is desirous to keep His name clean from blot, yet believers today could care less about how they reflect upon His name.
I think it important to read this chapter so that you can know how God feels about his GOOD name. Ezekiel 36:1-38 is somewhat similar if you want to give a read.
20:1 And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth [month], the tenth [day] of the month, [that] certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the LORD, and sat before me.
2 Then came the word of the LORD unto me, saying,
3 Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye come to enquire of me? [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you.
4 Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge [them]? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers:
5 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I [am] the LORD your God;
6 In the day [that] I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which [is] the glory of all lands:
7 Then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I [am] the LORD your God.
8 But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.
9 But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they [were], in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt.
10 Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness.
11 And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which [if] a man do, he shall even live in them.
12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the LORD that sanctify them.
13 But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which [if] a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them.
14 But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out.
15 Yet also I lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given [them], flowing with milk and honey, which [is] the glory of all lands;
16 Because they despised my judgments, and walked not in my statutes, but polluted my sabbaths: for their heart went after their idols.
17 Nevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.
18 But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols:
19 I [am] the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them;
20 And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I [am] the LORD your God.
21 Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me: they walked not in my statutes, neither kept my judgments to do them, which [if] a man do, he shall even live in them; they polluted my sabbaths: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the wilderness.
22 Nevertheless I withdrew mine hand, and wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted in the sight of the heathen, in whose sight I brought them forth.
23 I lifted up mine hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries;
24 Because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths, and their eyes were after their fathers’ idols.
25 Wherefore I gave them also statutes [that were] not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;
26 And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through [the fire] all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I [am] the LORD.
27 Therefore, son of man, speak unto the house of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, in that they have committed a trespass against me.
28 [For] when I had brought them into the land, [for] the which I lifted up mine hand to give it to them, then they saw every high hill, and all the thick trees, and they offered there their sacrifices, and there they presented the provocation of their offering: there also they made their sweet savour, and poured out there their drink offerings.
29 Then I said unto them, What [is] the high place whereunto ye go? And the name thereof is called Bamah unto this day.
30 Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom after their abominations?
31 For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you.
32 And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.
33 [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:
34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.
35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.
36 Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.
37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:
38 And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
29 Then I said unto them, What [is] the high place whereunto ye go? And the name thereof is called Bamah unto this day.
30 Wherefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are ye polluted after the manner of your fathers? and commit ye whoredom after their abominations?
31 For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you.
32 And that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will be as the heathen, as the families of the countries, to serve wood and stone.
33 [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:
34 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.
35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.
36 Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.
37 And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:
38 And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
48 And all flesh shall see that I the LORD have kindled it: it shall not be quenched.
49 Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?
I have seen people that are Christians get falling down drunk at their work place. Just how does that reflect upon God. A pastor I once knew would go into local businesses and get screaming angry with people. That WAS a bad reflection upon God as well as that local church.
God does not want Christians to reflect badly upon Him. The cure for this is the training and education of believers in the ways of the Lord.
Now, apply that to our present situation. If Christians are reflecting poorly upon their Lord, then the church has failed to train properly. Case in point - divorce/remarriage - God says that it is wrong, many Christians say it is right - even many fundamental pastors!
The educational system within the church has failed miserably. We have not been teaching what proper marriage is and have not warned against divorce, thus our divorce rate is close to that of the world.
Has it dawned on you that this passage, though centered in the home, is actually strong on proper marriage relations? Paul links the topic to defacing God’s name!
The older women are to teach the younger women to run a proper home. Now, the women’s libbers would hate this passage, but they never look at the total picture of how the Bible portrays women. The Bible elsewhere shows that women can be involved in business outside the home as well - don’t knock God’s view of women before you understand what His view is.
In a nutshell as I see this view, He would have the woman in the home raising children and caring for her husband. The Old Testament allows for business outside the home if this is desired. Indeed, in our society it is almost a necessity. The woman is free to do outside the home as long as she is caring for the children and husband properly.
The Bible is clear that she is to be in subjection to her husband, but that does not make her a second class citizen - only makes her obedient to God that rewards individuals for their response to Him.
Two further points men:
a. The woman caring for kids and husband does not forbid you husbands from helping around the house if you have time. A helping husband is a true blessing to a busy housewife, or working mom.
While in college we ran into many working wives that had husbands in seminary that were not working. The husbands were not at the books all the time, they were often in the parking lot playing football or some other sport. These wives wanted to be good wives, but felt they were being used by their slacking husbands.
b. The submission is not dictatorship. It is your responsibility to consult with your HELPMEET because she may have areas of expertise that you need help in. Talk things over with your spouse and then make the decision. Yes, it is the man’s decision, but input from the wife never hurts. Once the decision is made, it is then the wife’s place to abide by it and help him in following up.
Application of this may even run to the idea of the wife having a career which requires relocation. A mutual talking about the situation would probably come to a proper decision. Is it the husband’s decision? Yes. He is the head of the family according to the Scriptures.
If he decides NO, then he had better have clear direction from God on the matter or he may well answer for his decision before God.
If ye says yes, it does not make him a wimp, a nerd, a follower, or anything else. It makes him the head of the house making a decision based upon the facts and God’s leading.
1. Probably the most obvious application to the older women teaching the younger to love their husbands is that marital love can be a learned process. In fact it likely is all the time. That fuzzy wuzzy stuff we get married over most likely isn’t really love, but may be. Usually real love comes after a while in marriage.
The women of today set aside husbands (and the other way around) because "I don’t love him any more." Then the older women should teach that woman to love her husband instead of dumping him and going out to look for greener grass.
How does a woman learn to love? Ask a woman, I don’t know. Well, there should be some things we can jot down to give a start.
a. Learning the proper husband wife relationship. When this is done the husband will respond properly to the relationship - not that he shouldn’t even if the wife is not doing it correctly, but the point being both need to adhere to the proper relationship.
b. Learning to properly care for a husband. This means in all areas of life, physical, mental and sexual - well she probably has a hand in the spiritual as well.
c. Learning to have a proper relationship to God. Without this the first two will not be as easy. As the woman relates to God properly then the submission to the husband and the taking care of him should become much easier.
d. The above will move the two into a closer relationship where love can grow rather than wither and die.
When all of these are in proper perspective, love automatically will happen, in my mind. Ya, I know there are a million psychologists that disagree, but then many of them don’t know God’s word and the others probably ignore it.
2. Barnes says it well when he comments on the need for love in the home. "All happiness in the marriage relation is based on mutual love. When that departs, happiness departs. No wealth or splendour in a dwelling--no gorgeousness of equipage or apparel-- no magnificence of entertainment or sweetness of music--and no forms of courtesy and politeness, can be a compensation for the want of affection. Mutual love between a husband and wife will diffuse comfort through the obscurest cottage of poverty; the want of it cannot be supplied by all that can be furnished in the palaces of the great."
Love in the home will move one to work toward the best interest of the other.
Love in the home will move one to treat the other as the most important.
Love in the home will move one to speak in a loving manner to the other.
Love in the home will move one to subdue criticism of the other.
Love in the home will move one to do for the other.
Love in the home will move one to nurture the other.
Love in the home will move one to encourage the other.
Love in the home will move one to be interested in the other.
Love in the home will move one to be accepting of the other.
Love in the home will move one to -- you fill in the blank.
Remove love and you most likely will remove all of the above.
Now, all that said, I don’t think Barnes meant, and I know I do not intend to give the impression that if love is missing it is automatic divorce time. Certainly not. It is time to work on your marriage and nothing more.
3. What do you think of the thought that the younger women are to be taught to love their children? What parent doesn’t automatically love their child? I must assume from what Paul said, some don’t love their children automatically.
If you look at lost society, you will see that love for offspring is not all together natural. We see so much child abuse that we must conclude that many lost people do not automatically love their children. Indeed, I assume there may well be Christians that abuse their children. No one that loves their child could abuse that child - or at least so you would think but that is not all together true either.
We can love, but we can mistreat quite effectively - this happens between husband and wife as well.
How can we teach the younger women to love their children?
Teach them to properly understand that their child is a person.
Teach them to properly understand that this child is loved by God.
Teach them to properly understand that this child does not know all that the mother knows.
Teach them to properly respond to their child.
Teach them to properly care for their child.
Teach them to properly raise their child.
Teach them to properly nurture their child.
Teach them to properly walk with God.
Teach them to properly teach their child to also walk with God.
4. "Keepers at home" Just what is this concept of keepers at home?
Taking care of business:
The business of the husband.
The business of the children.
The business of the cleaning.
The business of the cooking.
The business of the laundry.
The business of the entire home.
The business of the finances may also be included.
Now, let’s explore that a little. She is to do so in submission to the husband. He has the oversight, but she is responsible for carrying it all out. Does this mean that the husband is exempt from any of these duties? Does this mean that he should stay out of the kitchen? Does this mean the man can’t stay at home with the kids?
It seems to me that the husband is overall responsible to see that it is all done. The wife is responsible to submit to the husbands wishes. Now, how do those two things work themselves out? In my mind - and my mind only, as I am sure some would disagree.
The husband and wife should in some manner work out how the two relationships work, and how the business of the home is going to work out. This might be done before the marriage ceremony sets the two at odds. (It should be a topic of the pre-marital counseling in my mind :-) Or it can be worked out after the two have come to disagreement, or it can be worked out over time. Indeed, it may have to be re-thought from time to time as the situations of life change.
I once talked to a woman whose husband had always been the bread winner and she the home maker. He had a major heart attack and would never be allowed to work again. Now, they had to sit down and re-think their plan of action for life.
Both sitting down and understanding the others place in life is a good place to start. The man is responsible to God for the household so the wife needs too see this, understand it and work with him on his responsibility. She is to be submissive to his plan, and he must work with her to help her accomplish this responsibility - she can’t submit if she doesn’t know the plan.
If the man works for the support of the family I feel the wife ought to do most of the "at home" duties, though the husband is not relieved of helping out in any of these duties if there is need of assistance. If there are six little ones taking a lot of time, he might need to step in and assist because the wife is not going to be able to do all that needs to be done.
At the same time, the wife needs to be tuned to the fact that a man in our society in business may only be putting in forty hours, but his mental condition may say eighty.
WORKING TOGETHER MIGHT BE THE KEY. Working toward the mutual goal of a smoothly running, loving household.
I know many men, while in college allowed their wives to work to support the family, but instead of applying their time to studies, would play catch or some other "manly" time waster. This was not proper use of their time, when their wives put in forty hours at work and then had to come home to do the household duties. This is not Biblical nor is it loving!
My wife used to ride the bus home from work and listen to the sobbing of student wives that were in this situation. They were being submissive to their husbands, but their husbands were abusing their family leadership by not doing their part.
5. Just a little more about the wife being obedient to her own husband. This idea of "own" is quite important especially in our day. The wife is to be obedient to only one - her husband - in any and all areas of life.
Her heart should be his.
Her mind should be his.
Her time should be his.
Her body should be his.
Her emotional life should be his.
Now, that puts a lot of weight on the husband - to respond properly to all of that stuff! Today we have few wives doing right, and there are too few husbands that would respond properly if they did - and I would agree the husbands not responding maybe why the wives are not doing their part - not that either is right.
She should not respond to men in the way she responds to her husband - in any area. She is his and he is for her - no other combination is correct, or acceptable.
6. There is a reality in our own age relating to the aged women teaching the younger. The aged must have some concept of what to teach the younger. The elder must have a life appropriate to be an example to the younger. The elder must know what the younger are to be like.
Many today are so far from Biblical in their lifestyle that they have nothing to teach to the younger women. Many of the older women in our churches are divorced/remarried, thus how can they teach a younger woman to properly love their husband?
Pastors and teachers, we HAVE to start teaching people what the Christian life is - it is not feeling good about ourselves, it is not fuzzy wuzzy music to get our emotions in a tizzy, it is not helping them rationalize away their sin, it is not giving them forty excuses as to why they can do a little sin without guilt, it is not getting them into a jazzercize session at the church.
Pastors and teachers are to be training the congregation to do the work of the Lord - look at Ephesians four and see if you can fit it into your church - does your church fit the Biblical pattern? Are you doing the work that God set you in the church to do?
By the way, you can’t teach the congregation how to do the work of the Lord if you are filling your church with lost people, using all sorts of gimmicks to draw them in to "gospelize" them. If you were training your congregation to do the work, they would be evangelizing in the work place and filling your church with new Christians - no cost no brain drain to figure out the new gimmicks either.
7. Last Sunday we received a very neat phone call from one of our kids. Our son said his son had something to tell us. His oldest got on the phone and told us that he had been baptized. Then the next oldest girl got on the phone and told us she had been baptized. Then the youngest (daughter) got on the phone and told us she had been baptized.
What a wonderful phone call. Gill mentions "To love their children; not with a fond, foolish, loose, and ungoverned affection; but so as to seek their real good, and not only their temporal, but spiritual and eternal welfare; to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and to use and keep proper discipline and government over them; for otherwise, amidst all the fondness of natural affection, a parent may be said to hate a child, Proverbs 13:24."
The love we hear about in the media is not true love. It isn’t even a good example of polluted love anymore. Television shows depict a couple having extramarital relations and calling it love - no - that is sin.
Love in the family is a self-giving love - doing for the good of the other person. Loving your children is not giving them everything under the sun, it is not letting them do whatever they want, and it is not letting them slide through school. Love requires a standard and love requires commitment to that standard. Love is bringing the other along to maturity. Love is the nurture that is required in the family - though it is missing in many families today.
8. Proverbs 14:1 "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." This verse backs the thought that the younger women need to know how to run and function in a Christian home or they will tear it apart. There is a dearth of this teaching today and we are suffering the consequences in the church because of it.
The building of a home must be on the foundation of Christ and nothing else, or you are building a home on the sand and it will fall. I once preached a message on building a house on the sand and the ludicrousness of the idea makes the passage seem so un-needed. It should be clear that anyone would know the principle, but yet we see people doing it all the time in their family and spiritual lives.
Either we build on a strong foundation and we build with quality products or we reap the result - catastrophe.
Keathley mentions Anthusa, a young woman that married and had two children, but lost her husband early in life. She lived from c. 330 to 374 A.D. After her husband died she devoted herself to raising her children in a Godly home. Her son John Chrysostom is clear indication that this concept works. He became a prominent church leader and preacher known to any Bible student and most Christians.
Anthusa was from a wealthy family and was raised in all those benefits, yet she chose to rear her children rather than to find fulfillment outside the home in her society.
He also raises the question whether Paul is speaking to problems and solutions that were meant only for the culture that Titus was working in. He suggests, and rightly so, that these are universal principles for all time. There is nothing to indicate that these are for his culture only.
It would be easy; indeed, many have turned away from these universal principles and taken on more "culturally appropriate" principles from the women’s movement. They may be principles, but they are far from being Biblical principles.
Just a side note, can you imagine Paul getting wound up had he lived during the feminist movement days? Can you imagine the three volume book he would have written on the subject?
9. Paul addresses some remarks to the younger men - it crossed my mind, I wonder if he was aiming some of them toward Titus, as he would have been a younger man himself most likely.
I doubt that Paul was using a round about way of telling Titus how to act, but I have to wonder if Titus didn’t take the comments to mind for serious consideration.
10. Imagine living a life where no one has anything evil to say about you. This is the life that Paul wants all of us to live. To live in such purity that there is no suspicion, no wondering, and nothing that would even hint at wrong.
Is this the life that you see when you see the television personalities that speak of their "Christianity?" Is this the life you see in the sports figure that speaks of their belief in Jesus? Is this the life that you see when you examine your pastor that speaks of purity of living? Is this the life that you see when you fellowship with one of the church members over coffee - or what they see in you?
We all ought to live our lives so that none can lay accusation. Imagine the world if they woke up one Monday morning and every Christian they knew started living that sort of life.
11. The thought of leaders living as they ought, so that the younger can have a proper example is a must. It is the only way the church will ever prosper, aside from God’s handiwork within the church. We must have leadership that sets a shining example of purity and of godliness. If they do not, then those watching their example will not turn out correctly either.
I think one area that we might use in this thought is the idea of gossip or the tongue. I have seen more than one church leader that allowed their tongue to waggle a lot more than they should.
Twice in my life I have heard from others that I have been related to Educational institutions that were less than doctrinally correct. Once in Wyoming an Independent Baptist tentmaker (a barber) started telling people in town that the school where I taught was charismatic. The school took a strong stand against the charismatic movement so the gossip was literally quite false, yet he spread the information to all that would listen. I suggested that the man that told me this should go back for another haircut and a session of truth.
Just recently someone said "I hear you are teaching at that new seminary." That new seminary is off in the area of eschatology and is far from the conservative philosophy of life that I follow. I told the man that I wouldn’t teach there if I were paid and that he should return to the gossip that told him that and straighten him out on the facts.
Leaders ought not listen to all the hot air that circulates these days, they will suck in way too much false information while missing the truth that they would get if they were reading the Word instead of listening to all that blows in the wind.
Remember, the line between prayer requests and gossip is crossed way too easily.
6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
The young men are also to be encouraged to be sober minded, or self controlled or right minded. This would relate to all areas of life, be it at work, at home or at play. I think many Christian men need to relate this aspect to their actions at sports events. They are Christian men, not maniacs and should act like Christian men, not like unsaved lunatics.
I know of more than one Christian "leader" that has no problem blowing up and getting overtly angry at sporting events. My, how Christ like.
Titus is also to address the young men concerning their lifestyle. I am not sure just what to make of the shortness of the list in relation to the men as opposed to the list for the young women, nor do I feel it safe to comment on same.
Again, there might be some culture involved. The nature of the Cretan society may have been different that our own. It may be that the young men had, by nature, a different make up and spiritual need than the young women.
I really don’t think that some of the teachings for the young women would be inappropriate in our society for young men. We might make mention that the older men should be teaching the younger men as the older women teach the younger women.
I might make note that the term translated "young men" and the term translated "young women" are the same Greek word - the context being the determinate factor as to the gender indicated. The word relates to youth or youthful or younger. One commentary says that the verse four use is a feminine form of the word (both spelled the same and both the same Strong’s word so not sure why he says that.)
The idea of loving the husband requires the first passage to relate to women, while it is broken away from verse six in that it contains "likewise" indicating another group - other than the young women.
7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine [shewing] uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
NOW, Paul gets to the hard stuff. He wants Titus to live like he should as a minister of the Lord. Live so that the lost can’t have bad things to say about you.
In Wyoming, several of the little towns have spent big money to maintain their basketball floors for their ball games. Many of them do not allow food and drinks in the Gym. This is their right and privilege to do so. I know of two pastors in small Bible churches that have thought the rule was stupid, so have taken food and drink into the gyms. In Wyoming that is stupid. The townspeople did not take kindly to the action and let the believers of the churches know so. What a testimony these men were for their churches and their Lord.
Of course the pastors had the RIGHT to disobey a rule that was in their mind "stupid," but they should have considered their church, their congregation, and their Lord before standing up for their rights.
In many small communities, not only in Wyoming, the people are tight knit and that sort of blatant disrespect is long and hard to overcome. Pastor, consider well your action beforehand, rather than after when you have found that trouble has arisen.
Okay, just what is the purpose of this passage? Paul wants Titus to be a pattern. A pattern is the plan for building something, or the plan of laying out material to sew together for a garment. Titus is to be a pattern, a plan, a layout of steps toward spiritual maturity.
While working at J. C. Penney I was asked to assemble a large computer desk armoire. It was a kit that was shipped in two or three boxes. Being a totally mechanical type guy, this was going to be a snap, this was going to be over shortly and I would be on my way home.
Yep, you know it - it took me over four hours to assemble that thing. When I carefully opened the cartons and inspected and laid out each item I was left with a huge pile of carefully laid out items - none seemed to relate to the other. After all this huge armoire should have some major pieces that would obviously relate to sides, top and back - well you’d think so. As I pondered the prolific pile, I decided the instructions might should be scanned at least. As I scanned the fairly thick instruction book I further pondered the prolific pile of parts and pieces and wondered what I had gotten into.
Did the department manager know what those cartons contained before she so sweetly asked me to assemble them? I rather think that she was wiser than I.
Well, I decided that I should ponder the pamphlet profusely before pontificating the prolific pile of parts and pieces, particularly because I probably wouldn’t part from work on time if I didn’t.
As I started at page one, I finished the first step, then the next and the next and oh my how easily that pile of parts started to take shape. The whole process went smoothly except for the couple of times I thought myself smarter than the pattern planner and got ahead of the steps a few steps and had to retrace my steps to properly place the parts in place.
I found the directions to be quite clear, concise, and very well planned. It was a very easy pamphlet to follow and it made the job go much quicker than had I started off on my own.
This ought to be the goal of every leader in the church today. They should consciously plan their day, their week, and their years as to how they can set the best pattern possible for the young people of the church.
A good pattern is one that is so very clear that you can just take a look and go to work. A good pattern is one that is clearly thought out and laid out in logical order. A good pattern moves the totally unskilled along in a process to bring a pile of unrelated parts into a grand product that is useful for the one it is built for - we are to be patterns to build workers for God in case you didn’t catch it, leaders.
We are to be living our lives so that the children and youthful can look at our lives and EASILY see how to do the Christian life. They need to be able to take all those concepts from the Word and fit them all together within themselves to make a mature adult that can minister to others in the world.
In case you didn’t get that, the church body ought to be examples unto youth that know the Christian life, so that they don’t have to spend all that money on self help books by all the big name preachers in the country. If we were discipling our youth they would have more money to give to missions so others could be discipled.
Ephesians four speaks to this in that the leaders are to be maturing the church so that the members will be able to do the work of the Lord. (Ephesians 4:11 ff)
Take a little time and wonder about what kind of pattern you are - are you a good pattern, are you an easy pattern to follow, and are you a complete pattern.
We see proper doctrine and works related - might we set that duo into action in our churches today.
"Uncoruptness" is the standard. Now, that computer desk armoire turned out to be a very nicely designed piece of furniture. However, had I added a few steps of my own, or corrupted it, it would not have turned out quite so nicely.
There is "corrupt," and there is "not corrupted" and the leader MUST be in the "non-corrupted" category. The life MUST be correct, the belief MUST be correct, and the service MUST be correct, or the pattern produced will be faulty and those watching will be hurt.
"Gravity" relates to one that lives such a life that they are respected and honored. They live a proper life, a life that is always godly.
Is there anyone in your past that you have really looked up to? This is the sort of person that has "gravity" integrated into their life. This sort of gravity is the sort of gravity that holds you down properly spiritually just like physical gravity holds you to the earth.
I had a professor in my first couple of years of Bible College that had this characteristic down. He was a man that was serious about his belief, he was a man that was serious about teaching that belief, and he was a man that was serious about living that belief.
I had a great respect for his efforts in my life and I am sure that part of my living pattern is directly from watching him for those two years. It wasn’t a matter of liking him, it wasn’t a matter of getting along with him, nor was it a matter of being close to him - it was a matter that I saw in his life something that was from God and that I needed to attempt to set that pattern into my life as well.
Sincerity has a little thought of incorruptness built into it. We are to be sincere about our incorruptibleness. We are to be serious about not being corrupted. It must be that God is too.
8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
"Speech" is the word "logos" or "word." Sound has the thought of being whole physically or complete and ready to function. Your word is to be sound and complete - correct might also be a good thought.
Just a little flash back to something we covered earlier - how can the liar be considered to be of sound speech? They can’t, thus the leader must not lie in any case or condition or he will be found to be of unsound speech.
The leader’s speech is to be correct and honest so that it can’t be condemned or found wanting. Imagine, never saying a word that could bring condemnation, having a life so godly that a lost person is ashamed to be around you - NOT UNCOMFORTABLE BECAUSE OF YOUR CAUSTICNESS BUT ASHAMED THAT HIS LIFE IS SUCH A MESS IN COMPARISON TO YOURS.
Imagine a life that is so godly that the lost can’t find anything evil to say about you!
That is the life that Titus is to live as a minister.
That is the life that your minister should live.
That is the life that you should expect from your minster.
That is also the life that your minister should be teaching you to live and after a reasonable time expect of you! Now, before you judge your minister or missionaries, remember that this is your standard of excellence as well. By the way, how are you doing today? Are you living a life that is so godly that no one can speak evil of you?
Week 6: Titus 2:9-10 THE SERVANTS
9 [Exhort] servants to be obedient unto their own masters, [and] to please [them] well in all [things]; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
Most expositors relate the thought of servants to the relationship that the believer has with their employer. This is the primary emphasis of the passage, but it has another application that we need to look at also. The believer’s relationship of servant to their master - Christ.
Employer/employee relationship: This is one of the most important relationships you will have outside your family relationships. It is where you spend most of your time in interpersonal relationships, and it is where people are watching you like a hawk to see if you are living the life you ought.
You will influence more people in this contact with people than any other except possibly your church if it is a large one. You will affect your employer, your managers and your co-workers and all combinations of the three. What an awesome responsibility we have as workers in the work place.
Believer/Christ relationship: We are bought by the Master and we should have a master servant relationship with Him. If not, you are not on the proper footing with God. He bought us, He paid the price for us, and He owns us, yet He waits on us to voluntarily take on that servant position. He could force us into servitude, but He does not, He awaits our loving submission to his position of Master.
In the New Testament time a person could place themselves into servant hood to their master. This was a voluntary decision and was a relationship of deep commitment.
"Exhort" is supplied by the translator to show the continuing series of exhortations to different classes of people. Exhort the servants. Notice first of all that Paul does not go into a three volume tirade about the ills of slavery, nor does he tell the slave owners to free the slaves. He simply beginnings laying out principles for Christian living for those that find themselves in slavery.
This is usually the case in the Bible. The Word reaches us where we are in life no matter the station and allows us the knowledge we need to live a proper Christian life no matter what or who we are in life’s grand scheme of things.
If young, live this way - if a servant, live this way - simply do as the Word directs, no matter your lot in life, be you bond or free, be you male or female, be you rich or poor, or be you sick or in health - live according to the principles from the Word.
"Obedient" is the same Greek word translated obedient in verse five where the young women are told to be obedient to their own husbands. The servant is to obey their master, they are to be submissive to their master, and they are to be subject to their master.
Now in the area of employer/employee, you need to really consider this thought of submission. Can you be submissive while arguing? Can you be submissive while ducking out of work? Can you be submissive while on strike? Can you be submissive while stealing from work? Can you be submissive when you are goofing off when no one is looking? I think not.
To their own masters - is the identical terminology used of the wives and their "own husbands" thus we need to apply the same applications - giving heed to only your own employer, submitting to your own employer - (that one really speaks to the union issue) - doing a good job only for your own employer. In other words, work and honor the man that writes the check at the end of the day, not someone that comes in from outside the relationship and is wanting your time/effort.
We are to do for them, and not only do for them; we are to do well for them. Do a good job, not just getting along. Do such a good job that they realize you are doing well. Why? I have to work for this guy cuz he owns me - why should I do extra? Well, the Lord did extra for us didn’t He? Maybe that should be the reasoning
We need to realize who it is that we are really working for. We may be a slave, or an employee, or a manager, but we are all working for God. It is His glory that we seek and it is Him that should encourage us toward doing an excellent job for those we serve.
I have included a study relating to work and the believer’s attitude toward work as an appendix. If you really want to know what God wants of us as employees/employers, you might find the study of interest.
"Not purloining" is simply DON’T STEAL. Not a tool, not a paper clip and not a chunk of time. You are not to divide your employer from anything that is his. The opposite of that is true as well employers. The word means to embezzle or divide from - or steal something that is not yours.
When working in retail, I observed many people taking thirty minute breaks rather than their fifteen minute assigned breaks. This is stealing just as much as reaching into the cash register and taking a hand full of money for yourself.
We are to show good fidelity or as the word means - good faith. All we do in the work place is to be above reproach that we might adorn the doctrine of God.
This purloining might well relate to the use of the mind as well. When employed the person is hired for all their attributes, not just their physical movements. When on the job we should concentrate on the job and on how to accomplish it in the best manner possible.
Not only this but we ought to have our attitude adjusted correctly so that we can concentrate on what we are doing.
It was mentioned earlier that we aren’t to back talk. I mentioned that I was in retail earlier and I worked under a man that had the habit of rubbing me the wrong way. This man deserved all of these benefits even though he was not the best person to work with.
His favorite habit was to tell me just prior to quitting time that I was going to undertake a long project before I went home. This always required an attitude adjustment shortly after on my part. One time in particular he announced a two-man job, only when I asked for the second man he said no. My attitude was not easily adjusted due to the danger involved in doing it alone, however - ALL our mental faculties should be concentrating on the job so attitude needs to be subservient to the job at hand. Keep the mind clear for the employer, not your self pity.
This man would not talk to me about spiritual things but I know that he knew that I was doing a good job for him because I knew HIM that I served! I trust that if he is ever given the gospel he will be reminded of my non-verbal testimony, as some popped into my mind when I heard the gospel. Several people in a little Bible church had done some inconsequential things for me that made me wander about them. When the pastor was sharing the Gospel with me and after I had accepted Christ, these people came quickly to mind - that is why they were the way they were - they serve Christ.
The overall impact of this statement of Paul’s in these two verses appears to be this: Because of what God has done for us, we ought to react in a certain way. LIVE A GODLY LIFE APART FROM THE WORLDLY SYSTEM THAT WE ARE SURROUNDED BY!
Years ago while I was being interviewed for a position of assistant pastor/school principle/teacher, I was asked how I viewed the rewards that the believer was to be given. Off the top of my head I told the board member that I really did not understand why God included information about rewards in the Bible. I said that rewards would be ice cream on the cherry pie, but that I lived my life as I did to please God not for reward. I told him that God had done so much for my life, that I felt my obligation to Him was to live my life for Him and to do anything that God asked me to do.
Reward has always been irrelevant to my life. I gain rewards, that is fine, but my life, my direction, my work is for God not reward. I lived my life this way for a number of years before I knew that there was such a thing as rewards - getting something out of living for God just wasn’t on my radar screen.
I believe this passage teaches just what I told the board member, even though I had no Biblical basis when I told him what I believed.
1. The thought of serving your own master could well relate to the fact that we are supposed to be working. Appendix one has some thoughts on welfare as well.
2. Not only are we to serve but we are to serve well. We are to do the very best job that we can. We aren’t to sluff off and goof off when they aren’t looking; we are to apply every fiber of our being to the job at hand. This includes physical and mental. Do an exceptional job, not just a good job.
I have found that this has its immediate rewards in this life. Most employers will bless those that do a good job and those that are trying to please the employer. I was hired for a ninety day, part time job over Christmas and was ultimately made supervisor and full time - only because the manager saw that I was a good worker.
Reward here is not the point of course, but the reward of God in heaven is the key - He will bless us even if the earthly master does not.
3. The Greek word translated "adorn" is a form of the word used in 1 Peter 3:3 when the women are adorning themselves. It has the idea of put in order. In the I Peter passage it is the same word that is translated world. The world order - the decorating. We are told that we adorn the word of God.
This could and does mean we are to decorate the word of God by our actions, or it could be that Paul had this thought of "order" in mind. Titus was to set things in order. He was to set the young women’s thinking on marriage right, and here I think he is asking the servants to do well that the doctrine of God, or the masters thinking about the doctrine of God be set in order.
Undoubtedly, if the Christians were mixed up on what was Christian, then lost people would have no real concept of what was Christian. If the servants are doing well, and not talking back, then the masters will see a little bit of what Christianity is all about.
Even today unregenerate employers see the value in Christian workers. I worked for two Jewish men years ago in a large television repair facility. The work force was about seventy 5 percent Christian all the time. They knew what the Christians were like in the work force and appreciated their work ethic as well as their ethics and morals. I’d guess that they would have had 100 percent believers had they been able to determine the facts before hiring.
I might add that the believers enjoyed working for these men because they knew the employers appreciated their ethics/morals and that they were blessed as employees as much as the company could afford to bless.
The very fact that we are doing right in our actions is going to improve the masters/employers view of Christianity, as would the wrong actions detracting from their view. Imagine, we, even if a lowly servant, can make or break another person’s view of God. An awesome responsibility when you consider it. In a sense, you’re stealing, or your back talk could keep someone from giving heed to the Gospel when they hear it.
4. Ephesians 6:5-8 mentions "5 Servants, be obedient to them that are [your] masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether [he be] bond or free."
Paul gives more emphasis to the subject here. "as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart" - get your minds wrapped around that phrase - this is what everyone of us that works for a living is to do - not optional - it is to be our service to God!
The next phrase clearly points out that we aren’t working for the master/employer; we are working for THE MASTER! "With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men" This is the key to the suffering, the boredom, the lackluster of the work-a-day world. We are serving God in the work place just as much as a pastor is serving God in the ministry. The product at the end of the day may be different, but God looks to you to serve him in the same manner as the pastor or missionary serves in the ministry. We ALL are in the service of the King, just in different places and surroundings.
Pastors/missionaries, you might make special note of that in your thinking over the years. And pastors/teachers don’t you ever demean anyone, of any class, in any job, for their position in life. That janitor that sweeps up after you is serving the same Lord as you and he is doing it with all the fervor that he has to offer, just as you ought to be. It isn’t us and them, it is one another.
We have tended to raise these people up on pedestals for their service to God, when we all ought to be serving in the same manner. Maybe that pedestal is because the workers haven’t been serving the way they ought.
See 1 Timothy 6:1 ff for more on servant/master relationships.
5. When reading these passages I have always pictured those slaves that make it over to the church fellowship times at someone’s home. Those that are in the work-a-day world, but Keathley points out quite properly that there may well have been slaves in the homes of Christians. These slaves may have been sitting in on the services in their masters’ homes. This is the picture in the book of Philemon.
Imagine a back talking Christian slave hearing these words in the presence of his master. Wow, that would be embarrassing. These people were singled out by Paul right along with the young men and women that were also probably hearing these things in the congregation. That is application of the Word of God!
And we, today, tend to not want to get that up and in your face with our teaching - Paul did, and I think we ought to as well. A little more "in your face" teaching in the church would assist with the holiness issue that is lacking.
6. We won’t settle the issue, but this passage may call to mind the idea of "what is our social responsibility" - Paul did not condemn slavery, Christ did not condemn slavery, Paul gave principles to live by - under - the system of slavery.
Is it our moral, social responsibility to remedy the social ills of our nations? Are we to be active in working against these ills? Are we to protest, fight against these ills?
I think the principle set forth here is to work within the social ills as best we can and allow the principles of Christ to show through and probably bring about change in the ill.
Is the abortion issue in our country not a social ill? I think all would agree. Should we be fighting against this ill? I think the Word would indicate that we work to show Christian principles. I would not be against writing letters, or against protests if peaceful, though these are tied by the media to the fringe radicals and thus it often detracts from the stand of Christians in my mind.
Adorning the Word is our cause, not detracting from it. If we can adorn the Word within the law of our land, then I think we are free to do so. The only limitation would be the relationship between our work to cure the social ills and the ability to evangelize. The later is our command; the former is allowable as long as it doesn’t interfere with the evangelization.
7. Paul tells the servant to be subject to their master. Now, they were already subject to their master legally. The master had rule over the slaves life, but Paul goes a step further - be subject to the master personally - as though you really desire to submit.
This might have application to the work force. Yes, you are under a verbal contract to work so many hours for so much money, but Paul would have you, personally, go a step further and submit yourself to that employer completely on your own.
Again, imagine the business world tomorrow if every Christian in the world went in the next day living as the Lord would have them live. Would not the lost employers of the world take new meaning to the Christianity that they now know? I believe that the world would be drastically changed, as would the church.
8. The business world loses billions of dollars every year to theft and losses due to improper employee activity. They lose even further by the inactivity of employees, when they take extended breaks, call in sick when they aren’t, and when they goof off while no one is looking. Further, retailers lose millions to shop lifting. I hate to say it, but I know parts of these losses are due to believers.
Again, I would challenge you to imagine a world in which all believers started working and living as they ought to - imagine the extra money corporations would have, imagine the witnessing opportunities we would have - and I don’t mean on company time!
I don’t mean to say that all Christians are thieves but I have witnessed many goofing off and taking long breaks and small things such as this. I hate to say it, but I would be a bit limited in intelligence to assume that no Christian ever steals. Maybe not in the big bucks area, but in the use of company paper for personal things, for making copies on company machines without paying, for sneaking a look at your personal email on company time and equipment etc.
9. There is one further item that should be covered. The servant is not to talk back. Let us consider the action needed when the master tells them to do something that the servant knows to be wrong. It could mean the servants life to say no to the master. Yet, would not the master realize this man telling him no might be a most trusted servant - one that will not do wrong.
In business it is quite hard not to do wrong when asked to, because our job is on the line, yet that is what the Lord would have us do - take a stand when needed. It is not an easy thing to do to say no to what I am told to do. Be sure you are on Biblical ground and take your stand.
There is nothing wrong in being nice when you say no, giving reason why you are saying no, and apologizing for having to say no. It may well anger the employer (since his lack of moral character has been exposed :-) so the consequences may be unpleasant.
10. "Of God our Savior" is a little different phrase than usually used. I suspect that Paul was drawing attention to the saviorhood of God to make the point that this action is for the possibility of evangelism. If the servant lives properly, then an opportunity for a witness would be the more possible.
All they do is to look forward to adorning the saviorhood of God. In essence it is an example for all believers - do all you do, in every way you can, at any time you can to further the gospel of Christ. It is Him that we serve ultimately, and it is Him that we are to share with others as we have opportunity.
Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1996
THEOLOGY OF WORK
Stanley L. Derickson
I. THEOLOGY OF WORK
II. THEOLOGY OF ETHICAL WORK
III. THEOLOGY OF ACCEPTABLE WORK
IV. THEOLOGY OF UNACCEPTABLE WORK
V. THEOLOGY OF PEACEABLE WORK
VI. THEOLOGY OF GODLY WORK
APPENDIX ONE: Deacon’s fund policy
APPENDIX TWO: Work situations calling for ethical evaluation
APPENDIX THREE: Women working outside the home
APPENDIX FOUR: Workmen of the tabernacle/temple
In recent days our community was shocked by two teenagers, one of which was on a local high school football team, tortured and beat a stray cat to death and then hid the evidence from their parents. The two boys were jailed on a ten thousand-dollar bail.
One of our churchmen, the following Sunday, related this incident to another more common occurrence that goes, basically, unnoticed by the media and the public at large. He related that it was strange that these two young men would be jailed on $10, 000 bond, while a doctor can plunge a pair of scissors into the brain of a full term baby and suck its brains out and call it a needed medical procedure.
We in America care more for the rights of animals than we do for the rights of other human beings.
I will preempt this study by saying that I am sure that I will offend some. I will also say that I probably should offend more than I will offend. I will also say that it is not I that offends, but Almighty God. He sets the standards that we are to live by, not me.
Premise: We as believers have adopted the secular mind set that tells us that we MUST have our rights.
The Bible is supposed to be our very guide for living as believers. Baptists have as one of their Baptist Distinctives the Bible as their only authority for faith and practice. However, I think that we will see that today Christians oft reject its teachings by our life style.
We live as if "no" was a dirty word. "No" is a word of control. It was designed to limit the activity. We feel that it is a word that will warp our child’s mind so we avoid it like the plague.
Might I remind you that God uses negatives? "Thou shalt not" is a negative much like the word no. God has many negatives, God has many restrictions, yet we in the church over the last few years have given ourselves permission to do all things rather than to follow the restrictions and avoid those things the Scriptures tell us to avoid.
We Christians, seldom say no to ourselves or for that matter to our children. If you spend time in retail stores, you will find that "no" is the word children use when they talk to their parents, rather than the other way around. No, I won’t wear that dress to school. No, I won’t pay for that with my own money - you buy it for me. No, I won’t be quiet. No, I don’t want to go yet. No, I won’t -------- .
Let’s consider our rights for a moment or two.
MY CHRISTIAN RIGHTS
We have been living in a generation that has wanted its rights for all to long. We have groups wanting to be viewed with equal rights. We have groups wanting to be viewed with special rights. We have groups wanting to have the same rights as others. We have groups wanting to limit the rights of some so that they can have special rights. We have groups wanting to limit the rights of some so that they can have more rights than anyone else. Everyone is worried about their rights.
In America we have many rights, and we also have lost many of our rights in recent days. Indeed, if we don’t watch our government, we will be loosing many more of our rights.
Some groups deserve to have rights enforced, while other groups want rights that they have no right to.
We have "CHALLENGED" people that want to be able to do everything that everyone else can do, yet they say don’t treat me as if I’m special. I’m sorry but you can’t have it both ways! If the society spends billions of dollars for ramps and accesses for only those few, then they are special! The ramps and accesses are not necessary for the majority nor are most of them used for the majority. It is not wrong for society to supply equal access to those that need it, but they are special no matter how much they don’t want to be.
Our public schools have been teaching young people that whatever they decide to do is okay. They have the right to make any decision that they want. Now those same young people are older and demanding the rights that no one can give them.
Some of those young people are committing crime and wondering why everyone is upset with them. The young people declare their actions all right and themselves not guilty of anything and wonder why others are upset.
THE RIGHTS WE HAVE GIVEN OURSELVES
I recently talked with a man that was very frustrated for his children. One of his kids and spouse came to him complaining of all their problems. They were both working, they were not making a lot of money, they had no savings, they had a home but it was only a very modest one - not what they wanted, they had a three-year-old car, their kids couldn’t have all the clothes they wanted, they weren’t getting ahead, and in general they were frustrated because they hadn’t achieved the American dream - whatever that is.
As the man talked, I was taken with the total self-centeredness of the family. Everything centered upon them and what they wanted and what they didn’t have.
SOUND FAMILIAR? I find that this is about where most Christians live their lives. Their concentration is acquiring material things, and acquiring more material things.
If you have been watching television news over the last few years, you know that many people in our nation have been denied the American dream. They resent this exclusion from what EVERYONE ELSE HAS. Indeed, many people in recent riots mentioned this exclusion from what was rightfully theirs as Americans. They haven’t achieved what they feel in their minds they should have achieved in the material realm.
Their thinking is very similar to the farmers I used to work within in the Midwest. When I would ask them how they had done in a certain year they would tell me that they lost 25, 000 dollars or some such figure. I was talking to them in their $150, 000 home working on their $800 television set. I had walked by their three new cars and pickups and had admired the four new snowmobiles parked in the garage.
Now, I would try to figure all this out. Just how does the expression of always loosing money relate to the facts of all I had viewed?
It was explained to me by a farmer one day. The farmer in that area would decide how much he wanted to make the coming year. Say he decided he wanted to make $60, 000 and at the end of the year he had only made $40, 000, then he has lost $20, 000.
Using this method of accounting, I must admit that my wife and I have been loosing about $35, 000 per year for the last 30 years. Do you suppose IRS would accept this as real business losses?
Now, let us consider the rights that God has given us in this area of life.
THE RIGHTS GOD GAVE US
I would like to read God’s estimation of our rights to the American dream. (By the way isn’t a dream something that you look forward to and work toward? The American dream has been something that millions have worked their lives for, not something that is given to them by the federal government because it was due them.)
Genesis 3:17 b-19 "And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 "Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
God says that we will live - eat and survive - by the sweat of our brow. He does not give 25 declarations, such as: THOU SHALT HAVE A GORGEOUS HOME. THOU SHALT HAVE A BMW. THOU SHALT HAVE A HUGE SAVINGS ACCOUNT. THOU SHALT HAVE A BULGING BILLFOLD. THOU SHALT HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION. THOU SHALT HAVE A FIVE BEDROOM HOUSE. THOU SHALT HAVE A ........ . BY THE SWEAT OF YOUR BROW, YOU ILL SURVIVE THIS LIFE, NOT BY THE SIZE OF THINE BANK ACCOUNT.
Our society has given us the self-centered/materialistic mind set that many of us function under today. It is an incorrect mind set!
Before you take what I say wrong, let me be quick to say that God has supremely blessed some of his people through the years. He has chosen to give many of his people great wealth and prosperity, but this is a blessing over and above what he has promised. He has only promised us the need to work for our NEEDS.
When struggling through the first years of Bible College we had very little income. We needed a car to replace the old one that was without a transmission for the second time. We looked at all the cars we could afford and they were in worse shape than our present car. We had bid the salesman goodbye and were leaving the lot. As we neared the edge of the lot we spotted a beautiful white Plymouth Sport Fury convertible. We stopped and commented on how great it would be to have such a car. The salesman walked up and said, "You wouldn’t be interested in that would you?" I told him we certainly would. He left for a moment and returned to tell us that his manager wanted to move the car as winter was near and they could seldom sell convertibles in the winter. They gave us the car for what we had to spend!
STRUGGLING, POOR BIBLE COLLEGE STUDENTS driving a Sports Fury convertible with bucket seats and leather interior! God truly blesses sometimes.
Scripture bears out this line of thinking. Abraham, David, Solomon for a few from the Old Testament. These men had great wealth. While these men had great wealth, there were MANY that were barely getting by financially.
We often quote Matthew 6:33 to show that we will be given all we need. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Most interpret "all these things" as everything we want.
NO! The context shows clearly that God is promising, not to provide all our wants, but to supply our NEEDS!
God promises to give to us the needs of life. Those things required to keep us alive.
DON’T TAKE ME WRONG! We as believers DO HAVE A LOT OF RIGHTS! I would like to remind you of some of these GOD GIVEN RIGHTS.
WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE A WITNESS for our Lord: Matthew 28:18-20
WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HOLY: 1 Peter 1:15-16 "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE PERSECUTED: John 15:20 a "Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;"
WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE OUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS: Ephesians 4:8 "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." The following context of this verse shows that the gifts are to be used, not laid aside in disuse!
WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE PRAYERFUL: 1 Timothy 2:8 A "I will therefore that men pray every where," (James 5:16 also)
WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO SUPPORT THOSE IN NEED: Galatians 6:2 "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."
WE HAVE A RIGHT TO ETERNAL REST: Revelation 14:12 "Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
WE HAVE A RIGHT TO FREEDOM FROM SIN: Romans 6:22 "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life."
WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER: "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."
Now that we know what our true Christian rights are, compare them to the rights that you tend to be worried about and see if your mind is running with God or the world.
Having said all this I trust that you understand that God has created us with the ability to work. Since the fall He has deemed it fitting that we make our living by the sweat of our brow, thus knowing what work is might well be very appropriate to anyone wanting his/her rights!
I. THEOLOGY OF WORK
Technically theology is a study of God or something closely relating to God. Work is an integrated part of God’s plan for man, even before the fall.
A theology of work is a loose usage of the term theology, though I think in our present society with its emphasis on government help, welfare, etc. a theology of work is needed. A study of the thought of work as God sees it. If you object to the use of the term theology substitute the word philosophy.
This will not be a long work, as the Scripture is quite clear that all mankind is to exist by the sweat of the brow. We in our technological society have a distinct advantage to poor Adam. We can sit in the air-conditioned office and put in our eight hours - if we are so blessed. Adam had to pick up his regrets the day after being kicked out of the garden and start scratching for food and shelter.
In Genesis 1:4 we see that God evaluated His own work and saw that it was good. God worked! This should require us to acknowledge that work can’t be bad!
I would like to take a slight side track and comment on evaluation of work for a moment. There is no tool of life that is more effective to help you in your work for the Lord. EVALUATION! Without evaluation, you cannot know how you are doing! That is almost as much a fact of life as is the law of gravity.
If you do not evaluate your work you will never know if you are doing a good job or a bad job. When teaching I told my students that I automatically evaluated their work - grades and tests!
As you go into life you should learn to evaluate everything that you do including your secular work. This will help you see your good points and your poor points. As you see the good you can continue to improve to do even better. As you see the bad you can find out why it is bad and make moves to correct the problems.
In Genesis 2:1-3 we find some information that may help you in your study of work. The Sabbath was GOD’S DAY OF REST FROM HIS WORK! There are four principles set forth concerning the Sabbath.
1. COMPLETION: God had finished His work and now was resting. Think of that scene! Picture God resting. Quite a unique concept, the God of the universe resting.
2. CEASING: God rested after a hard work out. Q. Does God need rest? NO! The term has the idea of repose.
3. BLESSED: Two points. a. Some say it was to be a blessing to those that observed it. Point - the text does not say this. b. He blessed it. The text doesn’t require blessing for more than one day.
4. HOLINESS: He set it apart or sanctified it.
It is of interest that these points also fit Christ and the Lord’s Day, Sunday.
1. COMPLETION: The work of Christ was complete on the first day.
2. CEASING: Christ sat down at the right hand of God after finishing His work for an extended time. Hebrews 4:10 "He also hath ceased from His own works, as God did from His."
3. BLESSEDNESS: Our joy is in Christ since He finished His work. 4. HOLINESS: We are set aside because of His work. As well as the first day.
In Genesis 2:15 we see that God had work in mind for Adam from the very beginning. We need not feel that we are worthless for God can find something for us to do! I don’t think that there was a riding lawn mower with eleven attachments; however I don’t think that this work would have been dissatisfying to Adam.
EVEN IN PARADISE THERE WAS WORK TO BE DONE! Now apply that. God created work just as He did the heaven and earth. Shouldn’t we enjoy work as much as the mountains or oceans?
II. THEOLOGY OF ETHICAL WORK
A few years ago the president of the school where I was teaching theology called me into his office and showed me a news headline. "Major Business Colleges Now Offering Courses in Ethics." My exclamation was, "IT’S ABOUT TIME!"
There is work and then there is ethical work. The crook that breaks into your home and helps himself to your belongings is working. He may even break a sweat, yet this is not ethical work. It is not work that is accepted by our society. I trust you will understand the need to take a moment to consider this topic.
Ethical work is work that is an acceptable mode of making a living according to the dictates of society. Herein is the rub.
Our society is, in part, dictated by our legislators. They have defined ethical work by the programs that they have developed to "help" the poor.
Ethical work in 1997 America is working at some job that allows you to make the level of financial status that you desire.
Now, within this thought is the fact that some won’t take a minimum wage job because it won’t bring them to their level of financial status. So, the government has developed all of the welfare programs to help these people that are disadvantaged to raise themselves up to their standards - not by working but by filling out government forms and staying at home and not engaging in work.
This study will attempt to look at ethical work, not what we have in America. This study will look at the real world, the work a day world, the world that sees a days work as the prerequisite for a days pay.
To this end I would like to introduce a passage from the New Testament. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count [him] not as an enemy, but admonish [him] as a brother."
I am not even going to give comment on this passage. It is quite clear that the writer of the epistle was moved by God to state that if you don’t work, you don’t eat. Now, before I be labeled sadistic etc. let me state that there is another teaching in the Word of God that is clear that if someone is unable to work, there should be help available.
The key is the thought of work. In our society the definition of the ability to work is stretched to the limit. We lived in an apartment complex years ago where many welfare recipients lived. The men of the house would go out into the parking lot and play football etc. with their bad backs almost daily.
Unable to work - even in a sit down office job, but they could do all those pleasurable items like fishing, hunting, sports, working on cars, etc.
It should be obvious to the Christian that those in the church that do not work are to be shunned - that is church discipline! Few are the churches today that take steps of discipline in any case much less the thought of someone on perpetual welfare.
Welfare is not wrong! Welfare is for those that need assistance until they can get back onto their feet. I doubt that there is a person in the United States that wouldn’t agree that we should help those in need, but there is growing opposition to the present system that seems to reward everything except work.
In keeping with this thought I have included as an appendix to this study a deacons fund policy that might give you ideas for your church in how to help those in need. This policy grew out of a young couple coming to our church in need of help. They said they were believers, were new to town, were unable to find work and needed gas money. The deacons gave the couple $50 and we never saw them again - even though they thought they would like to attend our church.
III. THEOLOGY OF ACCEPTABLE WORK
Romans 14:7-8 "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s."
The believer that is sold out to live his/her life for God assumes that God is the sole center of the person’s life. Romans 12:1-21 is clear that we are all to offer ourselves a living sacrifice to him. Based on these thoughts then we can understand the following philosophy of life that I would like to present.
Since we are God’s, and since we have offered ourselves to Him, then NO MATTER WHAT JOB or work we do, we do because of HIM and not ourselves. Based on this then, when we go to work, what kind of job are we to do? Christ gave his life on the cross for us - He has bought us - the only quality of work we should EVER offer is our very best.
Since we work for God our very very best abilities should be used, our very very best efforts should be given, and our very very best attitude should be present! Now, when you get mad at that coworker - you are in need of speaking to your employer - God.
Even if you are working for a very poor employer - you are serving God and actually your real employer is God. He allows you good health to work, He allows you the abilities to hold the job, and He allows the employer to give you work.
Ephesians 6:5-7 is a good basis for this thought. It speaks to slaves - isn’t that what you always complain about being at work! No, we are not slaves, but if a slave is to have the attitude of Ephesians 6:1-24 then surely all free employees should have at least the same attitude.
(Ephesians 6:5-24 "Servants, be obedient to them that are [your] masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether [he be] bond or free. 9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.")
You may have noticed I included a couple of verses for masters/employers as well - just in case the reader is not in the slave category.
The very best that you can is the type of job you should do. When living in Wyoming the only job I could find was janitor work at a printing company. It paid well and I only worked two-three hours a day and it was adequate for the time. I must admit, however, there is absolutely no way that I could have gone into that job on a daily basis without knowing it was God that I was working for. Had I been required to go into that job with nothing more to look forward to than a pay check, I don’t think I would have gone. My key thought in that job was that it was a means of living, it was a means of having time to do the work of the ministry, and that it was a means for me to honor God by doing the very best that I could.
Each and every day that I had the job, on the way to work my prayer was that I might honor God by what I did, that I might do a good job for the Lord (not the employer - though I’m sure he enjoyed my work), and that I might present Christ in my actions.
It was during this time that I developed a systematic theology. Initially when I had so much extra time I decided to set down a systematic theology for my children’s benefit. Little did I know that this effort would blossom into something as big as it has. It is on the internet being accessed by people all over the world. I have always felt that my being faithful in the janitor job allowed God to do something much bigger than sweeping floors.
IV. THEOLOGY OF UNACCEPTABLE WORK
Somewhere when teaching I ran across a quote that has stuck with me. "Christian mediocrity is still mediocrity." Doing a sloppy job as a Christian is still a sloppy job. Doing the job haphazardly as a Christian is still a haphazard job. Just because we are believers, it does not mean that we can do a poor job and expect God to make up the difference.
Little needs to be said in this section. We are to do the best that we can, thus anything less is unacceptable. If we decide to view our occupation as something less than our best, then we are thumbing our nose at the Lord. He asks for the best, and that is what we should give to Him.
V. THEOLOGY OF PEACEABLE WORK
The Scripture calls us to get along peaceably with others, be they believers or nonbelievers. Thus an application of our principle of work should be that we work peaceably with our co workers and our employers. You may say, "You’re asking an awwwwfffulll lot Lord!" There have been times when I have felt the same way.
Co workers and employers can be a pain in the neck. I had been having a very bad day when my employer came to me - five minutes before I was to go home - and told me he wanted a certain job done. I knew that the job would take a couple hours at best. I worked peaceably with him, but I must admit I didn’t get any spiritual blessing from it because I had an attitude problem for quite awhile.
AGAIN, if we are working for God - then the extra work that is laid on won’t be a problem to us.
(SEE I AIN’T PERFECT YET!) I have often thought that Paul placed the phrase "...that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." with the prayer and intercessions of the previous verse for my benefit. If I am praying for all men then I can have that peaceable life. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)
God is the one we should work for, but the man that writes that paycheck deserves all we can give him as well.
Everything we do honors God and I have seen more than one of my past employers notice the job I have done and know that it was God that brought that good job about.
VI. THEOLOGY OF GODLY WORK
I would like to look at two aspects as we close. The thought of Godly work breaks well into two divisions. First of all the thought of the ministry and secondly the thought of work, jobs and occupations that ought not to be held by Christians.
MINISTRY: For many years I have viewed the call to ministry as a special blessing to the person that receives it. They are called into a work or ministry that they truly enjoy. They can get up in the morning and know that they are going to enjoy what they do - not like some that get up in the morning knowing that they will have to clean bathrooms, or sew 3, 000 seams, or weld 4, 000 pieces, or what have you.
The minister of God that is paid for his work is the nearest thing to skirting the curse that I can think of. Actually any one that enjoys their work is flirting with overcoming the curse to me. Not that the person is trying to get around God, but they are involved in doing what they want to do in life and get paid for it.
I’m sure many there are that are in this situation that are not in a full time ministry - indeed, if we are REALLY working with that attitude of "I’m doing it for God." we will enjoy what we do.
UNGODLY WORK: In this area I trust that I will not step on toes for there is wide latitude as to what is right and wrong in our day and age even among believers.
I would naturally class any illegal work in this area. I also would class many other works here as well. There are occupations that are morally improper for the believer to be involved in as well. Then there are the areas where it may be legal, and it may be morally all right, but is it all right for a believer.
Among the illegal, we are speaking of crime, embezzlement, cheating, etc. The morally wrong would be those things that God condemns even though our society or government may not condemn. Prostitution for example is legal in some areas, yet not Biblically right.
The last area is less easy to decide. For example should a Christian sell lottery tickets? Some are probably trying to figure out what I am talking about. Many believers play the lottery, so why would selling the tickets be wrong. Many Christians view gambling of any kind wrong. It is placing something God has entrusted to them to be a good steward with. Putting it out to chance is not good stewardship.
Should a Christian sell alcoholic beverages? Should a Christian be a janitor in a pornographic printing company (NO I WASN’T)? Should a Christian work in a store or business where the employees are expected to cheat the customer.
These are some areas where believers must go to their Bibles, Godly counselors, and God for guidance and advice.
Then the person must make up their own mind.
I would encourage anyone in these areas to consider very carefully their decision in light of the thought that their testimony before the world may be hindered. If you are working in one of these areas, you may cause people to stumble, or you may cause people to not want to listen to you when you witness to them.
For example if you have friends that have high moral standards even though they are not Christians - and there are many people in this classification - and you take a job in an area where they feel you ought not, they will most likely not listen as closely when you talk of their sin and their need of Christ’s work on the cross.
Even within the okay jobs, with the okay employers, with the best of intentions, we will find ourselves faced with moral decisions. Some examples might help you watch your steps. These are found in appendix two.
I have also included an appendix relating to Christian women working outside the home. This is found in Appendix three.
There seems to be more and more controversy about Christian women working outside the home.
I trust that this has been helpful to some. It is not meant to be a complete study of work in the Bible; it is just a beginning for the person that wants to go deeper.
(This policy was formed with the Congregational form of government in mind. It would be quite easy to adapt it to other forms of church government.)
In that the Scripture is very clear that we are to be in the custom of assisting other believers in need, and in that the Scripture is very clear that we are to be in the custom of assisting widows and orphans, and in that the Scripture is clear that we are to be in the custom of assisting strangers, we hearby institute this policy to assist us in this ministry to those in need. (See footnote at end of policy for references.)
Each person seeking assistance will be interviewed by two of our deacons/elders and their concurrence will result in help. There is no need to INVESTIGATE a request for help other than to talk with the person involved to gain a sense that the need is valid. (We will trust God to guide us in our decisions and allow Him to deal with those that misuse our ministry.)
1. The fund shall be financed by an offering taken in the missions bowl after the Lord’s Table service each month.
2. The fund shall be dispersed under the guidance of the deacons.
3. The funds will be distributed by gift certificate as much as possible or by cash/check if the need is not available via certificates.
4. A grocery closet will be maintained at the church via the donations of the membership. It will contain sealed goods that can be stored for extended periods of time.
5. If the fund is depleted, and a seemingly valid case exists, the deacon and pastor may go before the church for special offering/general fund expenditure for the assistance.
6. A list of social service agencies will be maintained and a copy of that list shall be given to each person requesting assistance. (It is assumed by this policy that much of our tax money goes to support social services, so we should make use of those services for the assistance of those in need.)
7. A total value for each assistance shall not exceed $50. (Groceries need only be approximated.)
8. The above is not to say that every person that requests assistance is to be helped. It shall be at the discretion of those talking with the person that may or may not determine to extend help from the church family.
9. If there is a choice between church family members and those outside the church, then the church families’ needs should be met first.
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. 1 Timothy 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed. 4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world. Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty , and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed [thee]? or thirsty , and gave [thee] drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.
Nave’s topical Bible references for further study: De 15:7-18; Leviticus 25:35-43; Psalms 41:1; Psalms 112:9; Proverbs 3:27-28; Proverbs 11:25; Proverbs 22:9; Proverbs 25:21-22; Proverbs 28:27; Isaiah 58:6-7; Isaiah 58:10-11; Ezekiel 18:5; Ezekiel 18:7-9; Matthew 5:42; Matthew 19:21; Matthew 25:35-45; Mr 9:41, 10:21; Lu 3:11, 11:41; Acts 6:1-4; Acts 11:29-30; Romans 15:25-27; 1 Corinthians 13:3; 1 Corinthians 16:1-3; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 2 Corinthians 8:24; 2 Corinthians 9:1-15; Galatians 2:10; Philippians 4:10-18; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:16; 1 Timothy 6:18; Hebrews 6:10; Hebrews 13:16; James 2:15-16; 1 John 3:17.
1. While working as a television technician a customer asked me to alter a circuit in their little color television. I looked the set over and found that I could do the requested work and proceeded. I plugged the set in and saw a bright flash in the neck of the picture tube which indicated that I had damaged the tube. Correct I was. I had blown the picture tube. It would cost over $100. to replace the part.
I took my job in hand and told my employer what I had done. He thought for awhile and told me to call the customer and tell them that we had to orders some parts and that we would call when they got in. This required two things: A lie to the customer, and a listing of parts on the work order, neither of which are morally acceptable to me.
I knew that I could not do as my employer - a man of usually high moral character - had requested. I asked him if it wouldn’t be better to just be up front with the customer and apologize and tell them what was going on. My employer thought for a moment and agreed with my estimation of the situation. I called the customer and told him of the problem and he was quite understanding and even felt bad that he had requested we do the work.
2. You are being given free health insurance by your employer. The agent comes in and requests your signature on a health form. You sign the form and as you finish you notice that the form is already dated - three weeks prior to your signature.
What do you do? Do you chance not being covered with the FREE insurance? Do you upset your employer’s agent? Do you upset your employer? I trust you will do what is right.
3. Your employer tells you to tell a customer that a refund will be mailed out in two weeks. You know, however that the company policy is that you don’t mail out the refund. Only when the customer calls and asks why they haven’t received the refund do they send it out. Do you lie to the customer? Even though you know the company does this because they know that crooks don’t usually call back? Even though you feel that this customer is really a crook?
4. You take a job at a Christian book store and on the first day you find out that they sell books that disagree with your beliefs. Do you quit? Do you sell books that you really don’t agree with?
5. You take a job at a television repair shop. On the third day, over lunch you hear the other two employees talking of the employer as if he is the dumbest person on earth. You hear them indicate that they have cheated him. You find out that one of the men is not legally licensed in the state to work on television sets. Do you continue your job - it’s their problem not yours - right? Do you quite? Do you tell your former employer why you have just quit?
6. As an older person with a lot of education you find that you cannot find employment. Many tell you it is due to your age or that you have too much education. Someone tells you to just fill out applications and don’t mention the education. Do you do such a thing knowing that the applications state that you are swearing the information is true when you sign the application?
These are just a few examples of ruff spots I’ve run into over the years. There are all sorts of ways that the Devil will twist truth and squeeze right living to see if you will do wrong. I trust you will be on your toes in the work place as well as at home.
The moral of this section is watch where you are headed and ask questions before you move forward. Think about the ramifications of your actions. I have found myself in situations where I knew what was right, but wanted to go the easy route. Being Godly EVERY day is the only way to live your life.
The work world has some slippery corners to turn, and I trust that it is the Holy Spirit that is holding you up, not the Devil that is helping you fall down!
There have been preachers that have taught and preached that the woman is to be in the home. Because of this many women in our churches have had feelings of guilt because they either wanted to, or had to work outside the home.
I stayed in the home of a couple overnight in Kansas and had a real good time of fellowship. When I went up for breakfast, the husband was not out to the kitchen yet. The wife turned to me and ask, "Stan, do you think that it is all right for women to work outside the home?" I told her that I did and shared some thoughts with her.
She was almost in tears when I was finished. She had been under great pressure from her Christian community concerning her going to work. She said that she felt that the mothers place was in the home. I agreed with her, but within the Scripture I had shared.
She told me that she had been raised that it was wrong for the wife to work. Her husband had been in the hospital for heart problems and had been told not to work anymore. She had no choice but to go to work.
She was quite relieved that there was someone that saw that she had no choice. I ask her if she had talked with her pastor. She said yes, and that he had told her about what I had told her. She was not even confident in what her pastor had said due to her strong upbringing in the church and the pressure from others in the church.
A working mother being a possibility is based on a couple of Scriptural observations.
1. Proverbs 31:10-31. This passage makes mention of the wife purchasing property, caring for a household, planting a vineyard, selling fine linen that she has made and in all this finds time to be a good wife.
Notice should be made of verse 28, "Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."
Verse 30 also gives the key to this type of woman, "Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."
2. The book of Acts mentions two ladies that were involved in working. Acts 16:14 mentions Lydia, "... a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira...." Acts 18:2 ff mentions Priscilla and her husband. "...for by their occupation they were tentmakers."
It is always best if the mother can remain at home at least while the children are at home, but this is not possible in all situations (The children benefit greatly by having their mother present all the time.). We as believers should understand the Biblical record and not just our own personal preference.
I would prefer that all women remain in the home if they desired to, yet that is not realistic in some cases.
We won’t take time to consider the following, but you might do some study in the area of the workmen of the tabernacle and the temple. These workmen were involved in God’s work and they did a good work.
Week 7: Titus 2:11-14 THE BASIS
11. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
He wanted a peculiar people, not weird but a people sold out to Him! Not sure this sounds like the church today. With all the preachers decrying legalism, and all rationalizing all sorts of sin into the okay column, it is hard to find someone that thinks sin is sin any longer.
Hard to believe that the plain teaching of the Word about sin can be glossed over as it is. There is plenty of negative teaching against sin in the Scripture, but we can’t be negative these days - we must be positive to draw people to church. Not in my Bible, not sure which Bible some of these people are using these days.
Let’s take another read on that first section. "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously,"
With this passage firmly in place, a Christian can do most anything they want these days. Not sure where they hide the passage, but they certainly do. Just read on a board where Christian elderly are opting to live together rather than get married and lose a social security check. Ten years ago, this was the way of the lost world, but today Christians are adopting the world’s ways because they do not have a good sense of holiness and purity. They even are "getting married" but not registering the marriage with the state and calling it okay. That is illegal folks, it is against the laws of the land, it is against the principles of the Word of God, yet "Christians" are involved in this.
How do you relate breaking the law to "live soberly, righteously?" How do you relate this to denying ungodliness? How do you figure that is denying worldly lusts?
And this is just one small area where Christians are throwing out all Biblical norms in the sake of "Christian living."
Now, let us look at the detail of this passage.
11. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
"Grace" is the normal word for grace, as "God" is the normal word for God. It is the unmerited gift of God to man. The thought of appeared seems to picture Christ living and walking on the earth and giving Himself for man. This had not appeared to every man woman and child at the time of the cross, but to normal people it certainly has appeared. The known world was most likely touched by the Gospel in the apostles’ time. This is a general statement that salvation has been provided for - that all the person needs to do is accept.
Does every man woman and child know of this salvation? No. However, the work of Christ has appeared to all men - when they are confronted with the Gospel it is theirs for the asking.
The term "all" is of interest. All means all, or every, or the whole, however the lexicon makes it quite clear that it doesn’t mean all. The lexicon suggests some illustrations, one of which was that all Judea went out to be baptized by John the Baptist, but not all, really went.
I think that the context here is somewhat different. It does not say that all accepted, it only says that it hath appeared to all men. Romans makes it clear that there is revelation to all mankind, does it now mean that it was only manifest to a few - not so. The work of the cross has not appeared to "all" as in everyone, but it has appeared to all that have responded to the natural revelation of Romans one.
This passage is one of the many which show that salvation is for every man, woman, and child in the world of all time since creation. God’s grace has been shown to everyone by the free gift of salvation. It is there for the acceptance by anyone that desires it.
Then comes the question about the pagan’s that have never heard. I have hinted at this above, but for clarity, Romans one verse eighteen and following show clearly that no man is without excuse. It states that there is revelation given to all mankind within them and I would suggest that a response to that revelation would bring the Gospel to them in some way. I don’t think that the Bible anywhere indicates that someone that responds to God in an honest way will ever be left without the Gospel.
2 Timothy 1:10 gives us a little more information about the appearing if you want to think more along that line. "But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:"
1. We are told to "deny" ungodliness. This is a one time act according to the tense of the verb. We are to decide in our spiritual life to DENY ungodliness. This is a total and final denial, not a denial that will hold only until the next time we are confronted with a temptation.
It is a conscious choice of lifestyle, your life will not allow ungodliness into its sphere of influence. God desires holy and pure vessels to work through. He cannot work through vessels that are tainted with sin and lust.
This relates to listening to those off shade jokes that you sit through at times without asking someone to stop telling them. Once is all it takes for most people. Most of the time you will have their respect and they will not tell off color jokes in front of you again. However, allow it once and what are you going to do the next time - tell them you don’t like to listen to them -- they already know you do.
This relates to every part of your life, every nook and cranny, you will have no place in your life where you allow ungodliness to creep in. I fear that this relates to every part of your life, even when no one is watching. You will not watch those off color television shows when you are home alone, you will not dwell on those scantily clad models in the newspaper when no one is watching. I think the point is clear - as your conscience should be.
2. Picture for me, if you will, the average church today - meet for Sunday School, maybe, many do not anymore, meet for "worship" where they sing some feel good songs and greet one another and hear the gospel (because the preacher hopes there are lost in the congregation to give the service value, because there is little feeding going on for the saints), and maybe meet on Sunday evening, though that is also going by the wayside, and maybe if there are some that are really committed they meet for prayer during the week. Now, we are to the group that might be zealous of good works, but most are probably too old to do all that many good works, bless their old aged hearts.
Do the above describe what you could honestly call a peculiar people zealous of good works? I really doubt it. They may well be doing some good works during the week, but that is not the church I see pictured in the New Testament.
I envision from the New Testament a group of people that can’t wait to get together for fellowship, for prayer, and for some serious Bible study. The only "serious" Bible study I get while attending church services today is that study that I do on my own while listening to the milk that the pastor is usually spewing forth to a hungry, meat desiring people.
When I go to church I carry a pocket computer with a good Bible program on it and take the text that is being covered and listen, and select what I can from the speaker and add to it all that I can from a brief study of my own. Normally I can cover the text fairly carefully while the speaker is glossing over the top.
Sure, all believers like to hear the gospel, but not every Sunday and every Sunday night. Most believers want to be taught the Word, not just the gospel - they know it - they have accepted it - they have listened to it hundreds of times. They don’t need to hear the gospel twisted into the final verse of a passage that has nothing to do with the Gospel either. Some speakers tack the Gospel onto most anything, just so they can say they did it.
Preaching isn’t a jumping off verse, a long list of illustrations and a gospel invitation.
Others think that they have to explain the Gospel fifteen different ways so that everyone will understand - no the Holy Spirit must convict the heart before the person can respond so let the Spirit do His work and you do yours - preach the meat of the Word.
As to the specific "good works" this peculiar people is to be doing. I would think that we would be hearing of some of these good works if they were being done. If half the United States is evangelical Christian as the polls say it is, then why aren’t we seeing more good works in the newspapers? When someone does good works, it is held high as something special, not as something normal for the everyday life of a town/city.
How are we taking care of our own congregations? When a couple is in need are they assisted or criticized for not doing life the proper way? We are a body, a family - don’t know about you but when my head hurts my hands and feet see to it that the head gets some aspirin. When my feet hurt the rest of my body finds a nice soft place to sit down and rest the feet. We ought to be caring for one another much more than we do.
I was in a church and spoke to a young woman that had been attending for a short time. She told me that they were without work, were losing their home (rented) because they couldn’t pay the rent. Now, in my polluted thinking I felt very bad for them, I could almost feel how down they must have been. This moved me to go to the pastor and inform him of their situation thinking that the church might want to get involved. His reply when asked if he knew they were loosing their house was something along the line, Ya, I heard that, he needs a job. That was the total of concern, compassion and callousness offered by the church.
Yes, the couple survived, he moved in with his mother and the wife and children went home to her mother and they were separated for a few weeks while things turned for the better. Yes, they lived through the experience, but how much more the church could have gotten involved in those folks lives - what an example it would have set for not only the young couple, but for their children, and for the congregation as well.
No, don’t help the dead beat by pouring money on them; help them by giving them training and assistance of life. No, don’t pour money on problems like the welfare system, but try to help the people correct the deficiencies in their lives.
I trust you have a better picture of a peculiar people zealous of good works than most churches do, and not only that, I trust that you go to your churches and give the congregations that better picture.
3. It is of no small fact that "grace" and "teaching" are directly tied together in verses eleven and twelve, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that...." The grace, or as one commentary puts it "God’s gratuitous favor" (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown) has appeared to teach us - teaching involving chastisement as we saw earlier. We tend to see God’s "GRACE" as something wonderful and glorious, which it is, but we also see it as something totally pleasant, which it is not - it can contain chastisement if we walk against what is best for us.
The prisons are full of people that have felt God’s grace touch them through the Gospel, but most of them fully realize that the chastisement that resulted from their sin is only their just recompense. The child that is disciplined for wrong, knows that the parent loves them and that all they have is due to the parent - so we know all we have is from the Father, He is loving, He is generous, and He is a chastiser when needed. Grace may be all fun and games, or it can be a serious pain if we aren’t careful.
4. The thought of the grace appearing to all men has two lines of thought. One, that the grace appeared to all mankind so that all could receive, while secondly, it can read that grace appeared to all classes of human beings. This later is most specific to the context which speaks of young, old and servants. I believe that this is the specific interpretation, though the first application seems valid also.
The fact that Christianity is available to all mankind, wither rich or poor, whether male or female, or whether bond or free is so very clear from the Word. The problem is that we, the believers tend to division off some that it may not apply to. We do this in the way that we witness, the way that we do church and the way we live our lives.
Look around your church Sunday if you are an Anglo pastor. How many black people do you have in your membership? If you are Anglo, how many Spanish do you have in your congregation? If you are black, how many whites do you have in your church? Ah, segregation is well and alive in the American church - I will be quick to say there are many reasons for the above, and racism and bigotry are not the reasons most likely, but the differences do exist.
I can count on one hand and I could cut off my fingers and still do it, the number of churches where I felt there was a real, racial mix. It was an inner city (small city) church where many had to walk to church, and it was not a church that was of mixed races but a church. The people didn’t operate as a group of whites, or as a group of blacks or a group of Spanish - they were all believers and they functioned as a group of believers. They were of mixed race, but that made no difference whatsoever to them - all were equal, all were accepted. Now, I never was able to attend a pot luck at that church but I’d guess the nationality issue might have cropped up in a most wonderful way there.
I don’t condemn the church for these differences - they are due to economic, neighborhood areas, travel difficulties and many other reasons, but do we not, in the back of our minds tend not to feel comfortable witnessing to people different than we?
Grace appears to all classes, and all classes need the gospel. The doctor’s and lawyers need the gospel just as much as the dock workers and waiters. I trust we will be open to sharing the Gospel to anyone that God might bring our way.
Some actually seek ways to witness to some of the "groups" that exist in our society. There are churches that start Spanish ministries, there are churches that start deaf ministries, there are churches that do exceptionally well at kids work, and yet others do well with senior citizens.
I read of a man in Southern California that was a television repairman - he was burdened for rich people. He put his ability and burden together, bought a large limo and used it for a service vehicle. He would go into a rich persons home and lay out velvet pads around and on the equipment to be serviced, he wore a business suit and he acted like a professional (Not that other repairmen don’t act professionally, but some don’t :-). This man did all he could to make his rich clients feel comfortable around him while he was in their home. He never left a house without attempting to share the Grace of God with the occupants.
We don’t need to target any group or people, but we need to speak to all that God brings our way.
5. Barnes goes into a lot of detail relating to God being Christ. He agrees with the Greek construction but goes even further in proving the fact. I include it in case anyone needs further information to quiet a detractor of the Deity of our lord. Barnes weighs heavy on the fact that God might be appearing. I suspect he may have been fighting an error of his own day that taught this.
"(1.) that no plain reader of the New Testament, accustomed to the common language there, would have any doubt that the apostle referred here to the coming of the Lord Jesus.
"(2.) That the "coming" of God, as such, is not spoken of in this manner in the New Testament.
"(3.) That the expectation of Christians was directed to the advent of the ascended Saviour, not to the appearing of God as such.
"(4.) That this is just such language as one would use who believed that the Lord Jesus is Divine, or that the name God might properly be applied to him.
"(5.) That it would naturally and obviously convey the idea that he was Divine, to one who had no theory to defend.
"(6.) That if the apostle did not mean this, he used such language as was fitted to lead men into error. And
"(7.) that the fair construction of the Greek here, according to the application of the most rigid rules, abundantly sustains the interpretation which the plain reader of the New Testament would affix to it. The names above referred to are abundant proof that no violation is done to the rules of the Greek language by this interpretation, but rather that the fair construction of the original demands it. If this be so, then this furnishes an important proof of the divinity of Christ."
6. We have mentioned the peculiar people previously, but I would like to take a look at 1 Peter 2:9 before we move on, it adds more to the thought of what God wants to do with the believers that He is drawing to Himself through the ages. "But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:"
This is the same term used in both places. Note some of the words used in this passage, chosen, royal, priesthood, praises, called, and light. This is quite a contrast that God is drawing for us, from the ungodliness and iniquity that we were born in, to the wonderful light of God and being in His priesthood. We are in a very special place before God and we ought to be acting like it. We are to show his praises to the world, and we are to be showing the world the difference between God’s people and the lost world.
The question - is the church today that much different than the world. We are only a step behind the world for the most part. We have Christian action figures, we have Christian romance novels, we have Christian dating services, we have Christian debt counselors, we have Christian every kind of music the world has, we have more divorce, we have Christian everything the world has so how are we showing the world we are different than they?
Our passage says that we are a "holy nation" and we have the dubious claim of having a higher divorce rate than the world, we have alcoholism, we have immorality, we have drug addicts, we have the whole world in our church and that is what we are presenting the world as a "HOLY NATION." Personally, I would think God would be embarrassed at his people today.
7. Gill’s take on the grace that appears is of interest to the five point Calvinist. He sees this grace as different from salvation, and different from the provision for salvation. He takes it to be a separate entity that would be that which draws and enables the elect to respond to the Gospel and God. It has certainly not appeared to all men, because all men have not accepted the Gospel. This seems to be backward thinking. A result didn’t occur so this must mean something else rather than the simple reading.
It would seem to me that grace is an attribute of God which causes Him to extend to man that which he does not deserve, meaning salvation, rather than something out there that is independent of God, but sent by Him, that is only sent to the elect and when it hits them in the face they will automatically, unintentionally and involuntarily respond to the Gospel given independently of the grace. In fact I think most Calvinists would say that grace is that renewing, that rebirth, that regeneration, which allows one to respond to the gospel when it is given. In short, John the Baptist, when he jumped in his mother’s womb was responding to grace that regenerated him. Only thing that comes to my mind is, where does the passage say that - well one more thought comes to mind - why don’t all elect jump when they are regenerated? Never heard of anyone jumping and all of a sudden being interested in spiritual things. (A little tongue in cheekness there :-)
8. Gill goes on to make an interesting comment, that since grace is now appearing, that previously it was hidden. Now if it was hidden, how did the Old Testament saints come to God? How could The Baptist be regenerated in the womb if grace was hidden? How can anyone in the Old Testament economy be regenerated?
It seems to me that either God was operating covertly in the Old Testament, and if hidden, they must not have known it; else someone else would have noticed this grace that is hidden. (Yes, a little more tongue in cheekness but these are the implications of what they are teaching :-) If grace was hidden before, then how could Old Testament saints know of salvation? That is a real problem.
I know that the crux of their doctrine hinges on regeneration being separate from salvation itself, it is only a precursor to salvation - it quickens the lost, depraved soul enough to allow him to respond to God, though that response being involuntary, and arbitrary to the lost person’s wishes.
The joy of their system is that the elect end up on God’s side the same as other systems; the sadness of their system is that they are the elect and we are the false teachers on our way to hell. We are not regenerated; we only think we have salvation because only the elect that are regenerated before they are given salvation are the true elect.
Me thinks one of us is going to have quite a shock when we show up for judgment :-)
9. I might mention that Gill makes a serious point that not all that profess to be believers are actually children of God. He would have included me in that group but aside from that slight disagreement, he is right to suggest that many that claim Christianity for their life are not really saved. He points out, much as I have, in this section, that the believer is to be holy and full of piety rather than living in iniquity. In short, if a person is living in sin, then they may not really know God even though they profess Him. The true believer WILL live a holy life.
This may well be the problem we perceive in the church today - the easy believism propagated over recent years is permeating the church today and is populating the pews with polluted practitioners showing the perpetuated fraud to be poppycock.
I would like to end this thought with an extended quote from Gill - mind you I broke into the middle of the sentence to get this quote. He would never have gotten his writing through my grammar checker without turning off the long sentence warning option! "...we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; not, only "temperately", but wisely and prudently, as children of the light, on whom, and into whom the Gospel has shined; and "righteously" among men, giving to every man his due, and dealing with all according to the rules of equity and justice; as being made new men, created unto righteousness and true holiness; and as being dead to sin, through the death of Christ, and so living unto righteousness, or in a righteous manner; and as being justified by the righteousness of Christ, revealed in the Gospel: and "godly"; in a godly manner, according to the Word of God, and agreeably to the will of God; and in all godly exercises, both public and private, and to the glory of God: and that as long as in this present world: which lies in wickedness, and in which there are so many strong temptations to a contrary way of living. The Gospel then is no licentious doctrine; it is according to godliness, and teaches and promotes it; it is an holy faith, yea, a most holy faith; wherefore it is a vile slander to charge it with leading to looseness of life and conversation."
To close this section, I think Gill put it well when speaking of the desired end of this passage: "Now these people, for whom Christ has given himself, and whom he has redeemed and purifies, are a "peculiar people"; for whom Christ has a peculiar love, in whom he takes a peculiar delight, and to whom he grants peculiar nearness to himself, and bestows peculiar blessings on them, and makes peculiar provisions for them, both for time and eternity; these are Christ’s own, his possession, his substance, what he has a special right to by his Father’s gift, his own purchase, and the conquest of his grace; and they are a distinct and separate people from all others, in election, redemption, effectual calling, and in Christ’s intercession, and will be in the resurrection morn, at the day of judgment, and to all eternity; and they are, as the word also signifies, an excellent and valuable people; they are Christ’s portion and inheritance; they are his peculiar treasure, his jewels, whom, as such, he values and takes care of. The Syriac version renders it, "a new people". And they who are redeemed and purified by Christ, through the power of his grace upon them, become a people "zealous of good works"; not in order to their justification and salvation, but in obedience to the will of God, and to testify their subjection and gratitude to him, and for his honour and glory, and for the credit of religion, and the good of men, These not only perform them, but perform them from principles of truth and love, and with a zeal for the glory of God, and the honour of his Gospel; and with an holy emulation of one another, striving to go before, and excel each other in the performance of them."
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Oh, what a terrible text to have included in the Bible. Wouldn’t many today love to take a black marker and black out that entire passage? What an affront to many Christians in our day that live as if they are a part of the world.
Teaching is not the normal word for teaching. This word has the thought of chastise, or train, as in training children. It is teaching with physical illustrations if you will. It is teaching that incurs chastisement for the lack of learning. This is a related word to the word used of chastening in Hebrews 12:5 where is speaks to the chastening of the believer by the Lord.
What a contrast of action! DENY ungodliness and worldly lusts - LIVE soberly righteously and godly - IN THIS PRESENT WORLD.
Oft times these days, believers feel that the "deny" and "live" relate to the next life - in eternity. Paul says - now - today - deny all that is evil and live godly lives.
That means give up all the movies that display worldly lusts so graphically. Fill your mind with godly or at least neutral movies and interests.
That means give up all the materialistic dreams you have and live within what God has given you. That means give up that off color language that you like to use at work and fill your mouth with godly or at least neutral vocabulary. That means slang as well. I heard a man take great lengths to encourage students to rid themselves of the slang that is only shortened or nicer forms of swearing. I noticed in later days that he must have meant only the older slang, because he had picked up on some of the new - teen slang that was just short for swearing. We need to be careful what terms we use.
Be careful the slang and puns that you use, for you may not understand what they really mean to others that might hear you using them. A pastor once used a very nasty slang twice from the pulpit. I explained to him after the service what it was slang for. His reply was, I’ve never heard that, it means thus and so, and he walked off. Several times later he continued to use the word even though he knew it to mean something nasty - he just refused to be instructed and thought himself more wise than others.
That means giving up those stories and jokes that you like to tell, and tell only of true - sociably acceptable stories and only clean jokes.
DENY UNGODLINESS AND LIVE GODLY! Some relate this to the great conflict going on within believers that leaves their good side pitted against their bad side. The battle rages and all too often the bad side fails. Some call this a war between our old and our new natures.
That is the glory of the teaching that we are a new creation, not just an old nature invaded by a new one - a whole new creation. If we are truly a new creation - all things old are passed away - then the term deny has its usual plain meaning of a conscious decision and act of the will to turn away from the evil. "Live" then has its plain and usual meaning of going about your daily life in a godly manner.
Those that view saved man as having two natures would have to view this as the near life and death struggle between the old and new natures, and "live" would then become some struggle conquered after intense activity. If that is your view of the spiritual life then you are a most miserable person spiritually, you are never on top of things, and you are always in a struggle to do right.
NO! When we are faced with life in the morning, we only have to act godly in everything we do. No struggle - just decide to follow God and not Satan. Sin is not a struggle; it is a choice of the mind. We have the control to follow the Spirit of God or we have the choice to follow our own private desires.
"Worldly lusts" seems to relate to those lusts that the world generates. It can relate to the lust of the flesh, but also of any lust that comes into your life.
1 John 2:16 mentions "For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." The verse mentions three things, the lust of the flesh, those fleshly desires of the body, the lust of the eyes, or anything that the eye can see that is wrong to dwell on, and the pride of life, or the pride of who we are.
These three items encompass all of life’s situations. There is no sin that can’t be fit into one of these three areas. ALL OF THESE ARE TO be avoided. Now when I use the word "all" I use it in the meaning of "all" or "the whole" or "every single one of them" rather than only those that you want to consider sin and follow all the others.
Sin is sin and we need to understand this in our spiritual lives. All sin is to be avoided, not just those select ones that we don’t want to get involved with. You know - oh I would never get involved in adultery, but I might want to dwell long at the newspaper ads of the retailers that expose the overabundance of skin of models. Oh, now I would never get involved in uncontrollable use of alcohol, but I might want to be a little uncontrollable at the dinner table.
All sin is to be avoided!
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
"Looking" is a good translation of the word; it also can mean "waiting for" which has the thought of looking forward to or looking, waiting. We are to continually be looking or waiting according to the tense of the word. Not just on Sunday when we get all fired up for the Lord, but all the time. When a girl waits for her boyfriend to get home from the army, she isn’t looking for him one day, then kind of forgetting about his coming the next, then somewhat looking forward to his return the following day - no - she is constantly, every day looking for his return.
"Hope" can mean hope, faith, and expectation. Within these there is a touch of anticipation in my mind. Waiting for that blessed anticipation. Waiting for that glorious thing in the future, to which every believer should be looking forward to.
We are looking for the "glorious" appearing - glorious is the term doxa from which we gain "Doxology" and simply means something glorious - something to be honored - something magnificent, and exceptional in nature.
"Epiphaneia" is the Greek word translated appearing. It is used of magnificent appearances of other gods to their worshipers. A glorious and bright appearance. It is translated "brightness" in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:" (1 Timothy 6:14 translates it appearing in relation to Christ’s coming; 2 Timothy 1:10 uses it of Christ’s first appearance; 2 Timothy 4:1 uses it as His appearance in the end to judge; 2 Timothy 4:8 mentions it in relation to the rewards to be given that love His appearing.) Note that the only usages are in Paul’s epistles and all but one in the pastorals.
One must wonder if Paul might have come to a greater appreciation of the coming of Christ in his later years. Personally, and I repeat personally, I think Paul was looking for a quick return in his own lifetime, but possibly later in his ministry realized that it might not come that quickly. Many of his comments on the coming relate to this return in his lifetime line of thought even though they carry with them a definite prophetic component.
Might we consider how someone that is looking for His glorious appearing would be living their life?
Trying to climb the corporate ladder.
Saving every cent they can get their hands on.
Buying every toy that comes down the retail pike.
Buying a house, a summer home and a beach cottage.
None of the above.
It seems to me if one is looking and anticipating that return of the Lord, that they would be living as if it could happen any time rather than in thirty years after the mortgage is paid and the 401K is filled to the brim. Working for God to further the kingdom would seem a little more appropriate. Giving to missions would be a better investment. Living a GODLY life in order to please the soon coming King would seem the wiser lifestyle.
It must be made clear that the reference to "God" and "Savior Jesus Christ" is reference to the same person. There seems to some to be the appearance of both God the Father and the Son both, but the Greek does not allow for this. The Granville Sharp rule applies here which requires that both be the same person.
This is a strong proof of the deity of Christ as well. He is very God, and very man. The term translated "God" is "theos" which is normally translated God. The clear understanding is that Jesus was God in a most total and glorious way.
I really question the American Church’s looking for that blessed hope - the appearing of Christ.
Most live their lives as though He were never coming. Most collect material things as though they were always going to be here on earth. Few are entering into the missionary effort today. Even fewer are supporting that effort of the few that respond to His call.
DO WE REALLY BELIEVE THAT CHRIST COULD RETURN TODAY, TOMORROW, OR EVEN THIS CENTURY, MUCH LESS LOOK FOR THAT RETURN?
If we really believed that He could come today, would we be living the way we do? Would we not clean up our spiritual lives, would we not clean up our physical lives, would we not clean up our emotional lives? I truly believe that American believers need a heavy dose of 2nd comingism.
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
The clear concise Gospel. Christ gave himself for us that he might redeem us. "Redeem" means to buy back or pay the ransom for release. (See also Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.") Christ did all that was necessary for all to come to him. He bought all on the cross. I don’t hold to the thought that He gave Himself only for the elect. What an accounting nightmare that would have been at the cross. He died for all that all might live. The fact that some thumb their ungodly noses at His kind work is their fault, not His. He did all that needed to be done to return mankind to God.
"Gave" has the thought of "put" "place" or "grant" all having the thought of the one giving, initiating the gift. His life was not taken; it was given for the redemption of mankind. Yes, the Jews took Him, yes, the Romans placed Him on the cross, but anytime during the arrest, trial and crucifixion He could have stopped the process. He gave Himself up to the authorities and freely, willingly laid down His life for us.
Now, who or what were we redeemed from? We were redeemed from iniquity. Iniquity had us hostage, but now we are bought back from its clutches by Christ’s work on the cross. Consider. If this be true and that is the clear teaching of the passage, then why do we go to iniquity and say, take me back I love you, I want you, and I want to be in bondage to you. WHAT? NOT SO, we should flee the iniquity that held us hostage. It is ludicrous for the believer, bought back from sins hold, to place ourselves back under that same terrible condition.
Not only is this ludicrous but it is just as, if not more ludicrous to believe that this redemption of Christ is only good as long as we can fight and scratch and claw our way up and over our old nature to get to Godliness. This is such a sick and debilitating doctrine. Christ redeemed us, Christ bought us, and Christ freed us from iniquity - so says the passage. To hold to this thought of our fighting an old nature would require the verse to say, Christ redeemed us from iniquity, but He wasn’t able to do a good enough job to keep iniquity from grabbing us from His loving clutches. Not a plausible interpretation, nor translation of the passage.
It is of note, that "purify" as well as "redeem" are aorist tenses - meaning they were one time occurrences. He redeemed us - once, he isn’t going to do it again, there is no need for Him to do it again AND He purified us at a point in time. Does that sound like the battle between the old nature and the new nature that many teach today - not in my mind. It seems that he bought and purified us once and for all at a point in time.
Purify has the thought of cleaning out and making clean - washing dishes, cleaning a wound, or removing dead flesh might be the thought.
Now, I would like to get theological for a moment or two. In the fall, several things happened and in salvation those things had to be corrected. Adam died spiritually. Adam would die physically. Adam turned away from God and God turned away from Adam.
In salvation we are given spiritual life; we are made a new creation. In salvation we are made to live eternally with Him. In salvation all was done that would turn God back to man, man has only to turn back to God.
This passage is one of the clearest that pictures this regeneration, this recreation, this purifying process that makes us right with God spiritually. It also is one of the best pictures of Christ’s buying us or purchasing us, and as such is one of the best pictures of His ownership of us, and our need to voluntarily submit to Him as master of our lives, proclaiming our servanthood and commitment to Him.
He was interested in a "peculiar people," not a weird people but a special, select people. I have read that this Greek word translated peculiar was used of a niche in the wall where a person could hide expensive or prized possessions. A safe place to protect one’s things. God wanted a special people, one that He could prize and protect from all that would try to steal.
This people were to be zealous of good works.
I once undertook a study on the idea of zealots. My premise was that the zealots of the New Testament were not the dread plague of that day, but rather men that were properly motivated to do as they should, but misdirected. Paul himself was a zealot in his pursuit of the early Christians, but he was misdirected. After his conversion, he was a zealot for the Lord in the proper direction.
Many through the ages were zealots. Zealot is not a derogatory term; it is a term to describe the zeal with which they do their job. I feel that through the years that I have been a zealot. I have pushed to do what God has directed all my born again life. I believe that many pastors and missionaries are true zealots today.
This verse tells me that I have a Biblical basis for that thinking. Zealous of good works! Many believers today never do any good works much less be zealous to do good works.
Zealous of good works demands a few things:
a. Determination to do good. (Decision of the will.)
b. Motivation to do good. (Proper view of Christ’s sacrifice for us.)
c. Basis to do good. (The dictates of Scripture.)
d. Act to do good. (The act of the will to do.)
ZEALOUS OF GOOD WORKS. No, zealous is not a curse word as many would have us think today, it is a word that pictures clearly one that is properly viewing his relationship to Christ. To not be zealous is a negative in the Christian life, to not be zealous is the unspiritual thing to do, to not be zealous is a slap in the face of the one that died on the cross for your worthless hide!
Week 8: Titus 2:15; Titus 3:1-3 THE PAST
15. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
What a trilogy! SPEAK IT - EXHORT IT - REBUKE and do it with authority - not like a namby pamby wimp, but with the authority of the Word and your God.
"Speak it" would seem to be the thought of, teaching what we have just gone through. Teaching in a practical way the things of the Lord so that the student understands. Exhort, I assume is the thought that after you have taught it, then exhort the people to do what they now know to be true.
It is of interest that the lexicon adds the thought of "articulate speech" or putting words together to communicate to others. The thought of "articulate speech" amuses me, as some of the preaching I’ve been subjected to over the years could not be fit into that category. As we communicate, we need to do it in a manner which allows others to understand what we are saying. It also requires that there be something to be communicated. Many today have nothing to say, so they are unable to communicate.
I might say that all three of these are in the present tense, not a one time act, but a continuing manner of communication. They are also all three imperative, or commands. Something that IS to be done.
Exhort is a word that is related to a word used of the Holy Spirit - someone that is called along side for assistance. Normally we understand exhorting as really blasting someone when they do wrong, but it has more the thought of coming alongside someone that is doing wrong to assist them back to right.
There may be a possibility of exhortation of those that know the truth and don’t act upon it.
"Rebuke" relates to communicating with one that knows the truth and is acting against the truth. It is more the thought of what we think of for exhorting. It is giving them a rebuke or attempting to bring them up short to realize their position and need of changing that position. It relates to conviction. Bringing one to conviction with words.
The word translated "all" is that word we looked at earlier. It means generally all or every, but not necessarily each and every of all possibilities. Use the authority, that you have been given, use all of the authority you have been given, but don’t necessarily use ALL authority, because some of it might not be yours.
Paul had almost all authority that was to be had in the church at the time, but he extended some of that authority to Titus and Titus was to use every whit of that authority, however I’m sure Paul did not mean for him to take authority not given for use. Paul had given a mandate, a command and Titus was to follow it.
"With all authority" relates to two things:
a. Having the authority in the first place. Titus had authority, given him by an apostle, to do the work that he had before him. Paul was simply reminding him that he had the authority and that he should act like he had the authority. Not that he was to walk around telling people off, but that He was dealing with the Word of God - TRUTH and that Paul had told him what to do. He was the man to do the work and he was to go about doing the work as if he were the man to do it.
b. Having the attitude that you have the authority and right to speak, exhort, and rebuke. A person with authority cannot do what he needs to do, unless he projects the authority. A police officer that says meekly, please get down on the ground with your hands on the back of your head will not live long. One that speaks with authority will have much better chances.
Paul tells Titus not to allow anyone to despise him. I don’t think that he was telling Titus to go around making sure no one despised him, but rather to teach and speak as one with authority so that no one would despise him.
There is nothing worse than a person that has no authority, acting like he does, unless it is a person that has authority and does not use it properly.
There are multitudes of pastors in our country that feel that they have all authority in their local church. This is not true Biblically nor is it sensible logically.
God set up a proper system of church authorities, and we have seen what grows out of improper systems of authority. We have the denominational structures that tell local churches what to do, and we have the Roman Catholic hierarchy which has evolved over the years to the point that the priest is the only true representative of the people to God. If the priest says you are going to hell then that is what will happen. People have no opportunity to salvation except through their local priest.
I fear that the fundamental movement is going the same slow road to the same improper activity as the Roman church centuries ago. I see it in fundamental groups even today. A church group I know of began quite fundamental, but in thirty years, the group has a strong hand in picking a local church’s pastor. The area pastors get together to interview prospects, and if the prospect fails the interview, they cannot even candidate. WRONG!
There are other groups where pastors move in and seize all authority, eliminating any church government that is there and sets himself up as dictator, only he calls himself pastor - the Bible nowhere allows for a dictatorship, no matter what these men say. They run their churches as if there is no one else in the congregation that can do anything. I saw a post on an internet board that a woman could not send get well cards, or "missed you Sunday" cards without the pastor’s permission and okay as to what was going to be sent - including any message.
Getting back to Titus and being despised. Paul tells Titus to allow no man to despise him. Evidently Paul figured someone was present that would give Titus trouble when he started doing his duty. Paul seems to have been quite insightful when it came to people he was working with - not a bad quality to have in the ministry.
One translation suggests the thought that Titus wasn’t to allow others to look down upon him. This seems to be a good line of thought relating to the word despise. This is the only place in the New Testament that this word is used. It is a little different from our normal thought of despise, to think terribly of another. This word has the thought of examining closely and coming to the conclusion that you are above the other person. This if allowed to continue could lead on into the bad feelings toward the other person.
The Life Application Bible relates this to the possibility of fear, fear of wealth, age, influence etc. on the part of church people. Don’t allow people to stand in your way of proper ministry.
I was asked to fill the pulpit at a church one time. After saying yes, I remembered that the church was full of rich people as well as quite a number of professors from a Bible college - in fact the president of the college attended that church.
As I rose to speak, I was very nervous, but it came to mind that God had brought this situation into being and that He was the power behind the Word that I was preaching - what is there to be concerned with? Nothing!
Just a little freebie, when I aged considerably and had done a lot of speaking, a ton of study and finally teaching in a Bible college, I realized that I was just like everyone else - I needed to be fed as well as the new believer. All college professors, presidents, missionaries, evangelists - all need to be fed so if God puts you in that position, imagine them the same as anyone else - they are nothing special. Indeed, there have been many times that the simple preaching of the Word has blessed me beyond measure.
Usually if you are using your authority properly, you will not be despised, but if you are not using the authority properly or if you are abusing the authority, you will bring about improper feelings with people.
Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Titus 2". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany