Scripture: Titus 2:1-4
v. 1 Teach or instruct in sound doctrine. Paul returns to the importance of sound doctrine. As I mentioned in chapter one, the word “sound” refers to wholeness, purity, or healthiness. The church must teach sound doctrine and be able to defend it. The church must hold to a sound faith- making the true Gospel clear. And now in chapter two, we find commands again to teach sound doctrine, for older men to be sound and for older women to be examples of sound communication. Anything repeated this much in Scripture is important, so we want to pay attention.
Older men in the church should be characterized as sober-minded or temperate. To carefully consider or think deeply about things of the church and ministry without jumping to conclusions or wildly swinging from one extreme to another. He is discerning in judgment and his priorities are in the right order. He uses his time, gifts, talents, and finances appropriately honor God first.
Men should be dignified. This means he is worthy of honor and someone to be looked up to. He is not superficial, trivial, or frivolous. He is appropriately compassionate. He doesn’t laugh at immorality or things that are vulgar and ungodly. He doesn’t laugh at the expense of others or make light of tragedies.
Men should be self-controlled or disciplined in all aspects of life. Because he has known and walked with God he should have discernment, discretion and wise judgment. He rejects worldly standards and the lusts of the flesh; instead seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit and fulfilled by God’s spiritual treasures.
Here are the desired character traits of the older women.
- 3 Likewise to be reverent in behavior. Character counts and your actions matter! The Greek word here for reverent is also used to describe the priests’ conduct in holiness.
In 1 Tim 2:9-10 Paul described godliness for women in church in terms of focusing on internal beauty and holiness instead of fancy clothing and expensive jewelry. They are to dress modestly and respectably again with a focus on the heart instead of only on outward appearances.
Women, live holy, respectable lives before God, before the church, before the world.
- 3 not slanderers. The Greek word here is diabolos which means slanderer or false accuser. What name would you associate with diabolos? Yes, the devil’s name, Satan, is the same word. Jesus called him the father of lies in John 8:44. Other places in the NT, women are warned to not be malicious gossips who go from house to house spreading rumors and discouraging stories about others. In Ephesians 4:29, we are to “let no corrupting or humiliating talk come out of your mouths, but only what is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Is that descriptive of your typical communication? This instruction is meant for men too. They can be just as prone to gossip and stories that make others look bad and often themselves look better.
In chapter 3, James says “the same mouth that blesses God on Sundays turns around and curses people made in God’s very image Mondays through Saturday. These things should not be!” This was my paraphrase by the way.
Women of the church – don’t be known as a gossip or liar. Use your words wisely and speak the truth in love.
- 3 not slaves to much wine. This phrase is often used in Scripture to refer to drunkenness or being captured and controlled by alcohol. The older people of Crete and many other places sometimes turned to drink as a way of relaxing or dealing with the pains, frustrations, and loneliness of old age. This is not only a way of finding satisfaction and fulfillment outside of God, but becoming a slave means you are controlled by something else. Your decisions and actions may be compromised by poor judgment. Your testimony to unbelievers and believers alike may be shameful. In Ephesians 5, Paul says “do not be drunk or be controlled with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” Is God controlling your life or is alcohol or something else?
Women – these are warnings from God’s Word. Be filled with the Spirit and be known for the fruit that comes from that – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.
Whether you are an older man, an older woman, a younger man or a younger woman you are called to live a holy life that is pleasing and acceptable to God.
We saw the character traits expected of older mature believers and how they should be intentionally teaching and training others to follow them in example and in God’s Word.
Is your character worthy? Paul called us to walk worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ who saved you.
Do you have a younger person or persons in your life that you are discipling? That you are invested in? That you are spending time with on a regular basis? If you are not doing this, will you pray and ask God to show you one or two younger people you can connect with?
You are expected to watch and learn from the older people in the church. And also from your parents and teachers. Are you doing this? Are you making the most of opportunities to get to know the older people in our church? Are you looking to model your own behavior, ministry and service after them? Will you pray and ask God to provide a mentor for you to meet with, to serve alongside him or her, to ask you to be accountable and faithful to God?
If we are going to be a healthy church, we need to be a discipling church. According to Paul in Ephesians 4:12, my role as pastor is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. And that together as a church we would building up the body of Christ, so that as a church we are in unity, we are learning to know and worship God, to serve Him, to share the Gospel and our gifts with others and maturing to become like Jesus Christ.
This is our mission. This is our calling. Together, each doing our part, let’s Worship God, Grow spiritually and Share our faith and gifts with each other, the community and the world!