What Christ's Sanctifying Grace works in your Daily Relationships
Dear Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Of these last letters of Paul, the letters to an older more established but more deeply pprblematic ministry in Ephesus , Asia Minor, to Timothy that is more shaped by its church and doctirne problem. The letter to Crete and its newly appointed leader Titus, is to new cognrgetaion s just getting established. We saw in Chatpter one that there was false teaching, from three sources, a hyper spirituality and ritualism of false teachers within the church, those that were outside of the church, and also from the establsihed Jewish community, some of which had convereted to Christ on the day of Pentecost. And Paul says from the inseption of planting churchs evein the apostlic age, you got to ensure you have the sound doctrine, pure teaching, not spectulations, not myths, but rember
Truth wich accords with godliness. About the hope of eternal life in the promsies of Scritpure, manifest in the comgins of Christ, and it comes look at in
and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;
through preaching Words entrusted. Paul says leadership in preaching this word essential to gospel minstiry, expalins how elders are to respond to false teachers. He said those elders job is to hold to the trustworthy word. But do you remeber what his most scathing attack on these false teachers who had religious truths, but didn’t have the gospel of Jesus at the cetnre was? live in accord with sound doctrine! That came in the last verse of
But, live in accord with sound doctrine!
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Crete this isalnd of 20 r 40 towns, centre of Minoan culture centuries before, but now as becoming ROman province, as a kind of 1st century Wild West, ‘a semi-anarchist society (really didn’t care for the ‘law’) without much social savvy—full of independent spirits and do-it-yourself lone rangers. Strange not so Greek dialect,
The island of Crete, folks, has been described One could just imagine the people there—those Titus was called to work with—as a combination of Yukon gold-rusher, Texas cowboy, and Montana militia man! These people—these Cretans—are the context into which Paul sowed the seeds of the Gospel … and Titus was called to cultivate and then harvest those seeds planted in these lives there on Crete…A poet of Crete—Epimendes of Cnossus, a religious teacher of the 6th century B.C., confirmed this ‘Wild West reputation’ when he said (1:12): “Cretans are always liars, pernicious beasts, idle bellies.” And, their behavior was so well-known in the ancient world that the verb ‘to Cretize’ (Gk. Kretizein) was a slang word for lying or cheating!
ell, the island of Crete, folks, has been described One could just imagine the people there—those Titus was called to work with—as a combination of Yukon gold-rusher, Texas cowboy, and Montana militia man! These people—these Cretans—are the context into which Paul sowed the seeds of the Gospel … and Titus was called to cultivate and then harvest those seeds planted in these lives there on Crete…A poet of Crete—Epimendes of Cnossus, a religious teacher of the 6th century B.C., confirmed this ‘Wild West reputation’ when he said (1:12): “Cretans are always liars, pernicious beasts, idle bellies.” And, their behavior was so well-known in the ancient world that the verb ‘to Cretize’ (Gk. Kretizein) was a slang word for lying or cheating!
Paul didn’t hestitate in saying that what the false teaching resulted in society, but here is the scary part - even worse in the church. It is one thing to be a Cretan in your living it is a compeltely other, to be a Crhstian and still have that Cretan character and lifestyle. YOu know it as well as I do, that thee biggest handicap of the church in reaching the world, is what? Why would I join a church, the church is full of hypocrites. Now of course we are a hopstial not a sociail club here, buthe valid part of the criticism is that - our lives are to be a letter to the watching world of God’s grace. Our lives, attitudes, actions are to adorn the gospel and Paul moves from chatper one about the doctrine and word’s place in our church’s minstry, to the something that is supposed to be what? In accod, in harmony, in tandem with the truth:
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.
Paul begins with an emphatic - Look those false teachers with the worst of Ctretan behaviour are doing that but YOU. YOu not only need sound teaching as coutnermeasure to that rot, you doh’t only need ound teaching, tbut the life of godliness that the gospel produces. Doctrine AND LIFE. Doctrine ALONE is not to preoccupy us. Remember 1 Timtohy is about Protecting the Gospel. 2 Timohty will be about Proclaiming it. But Titus is about PRACTISING THE GOSPEL. Manifesting the Grace of God! And this chapter shows that the gospel has to be practiced in a psiritual community, your specific relationships. And look at the last verse of our text:
not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
The Bible says spiritually without Christ, our garments are covered with works, and even the best of our works, are like filthy rags inthe sight of a holy God, don’t match up to his intentions not only for holiness, but for how love is to be worked out among us all. Not the gospel is that you can be clothed in Christ’s righeouness, garments of salvation. But Paul says, when you’ve got hat forgivenss, that new status and relitinship with God and Christ, you’ve got to put clothes on that good teaching, that good doctrine - and the clothes are real spiritual works that arise not out of yourself, but out of Christ alive in you. That’s what the end of ch 1 and end of ch 2 make an envelope how those good works are produced by grace. Now Paul unpacks what those good works are as they arise in our daily relationships.. And Paul’s big concern is that the way you do your relationships with the gospel of Jesus - shows God’s grace to the world, rather than defling HIs name. Let me ask you quite pointedly is the way you are doing relatinshisp, porclaim the gospel or disgrace it? Young old, male female, upper class lower classs - you have an opprtouhntiy to adorn the gospel! As you live as a Christian, as you identify as a Christian
Key Truth: Make the gospel message attractive by your godly behaviour and attitude!
Paul is saying the task of sharing the gospel isn’t just about elders defending against false teachers, its about all you and me living out the gopsel in a psirtual community. Now in this day and age of living through our smart phones and computer facebook pages, in this pandamic of not touching other,s of speaking through plexiglass shields, of meeting online, there is a danger of your religion, your pspirituallity just going private. Church becoming a consumer item of meeting your needs, but Paul is saying being church is being in a vital commynity in relatkionship. Being church isn’t gathering for more inofrmation and rituals. It isn’t putting on a show, and shoving all the nasty sin and wekaness and need and conflict that exists in us underground. It’s a community doing its duty to each other, loving each other, in the mistakes, sin, struggle and conflict to show the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. DOn’t you want your relationships to be like, that friends, home, our church family? This message is not about 4 priciniples you can do better at relationg, this is about the sanctificying grace, not saving grace, not the fnishing grace, but hte making you holy grace that Jesus Christ workins in you in an onigon way that enagbles you to love those around you better. And Paul in saying old, youn, men, women, slaves, he is syaing this is for each and every Christian, you are on the front lines of the mission of God in your relationships lived in grace. We know that unloving, hypercritical , mean spirited relating will make others skeptical of the power of the gospel. What about grace filled relationships?
Let’s look at the first place on the front lines. It is in our relationship as and with those older in the faith in our community. Both men and women.
A. Older Men as those Stationed to MENTOR
Here we need to udnerstand ancient culture and most of the cultures of this world. Unlike our homes, the elderly often lived in a multigenerational household. That’s happening now as some out of .. Sandwich genreation know what it takes to keep contact and relitishiop goign with elderly parents. THis church quite a nunmber of young quite a number of seniors. Well how does the gospel shpae the prsence of young and old together. NOw remember Paul is writing this as a roughly 60 or 708year old man who knows his life’s wrk kinnd of done. Last tour before being arrested again and beheaded by Nero. Not the nicest last hurrah retirement trip, but he is speakig as one of the old men. He is pspeaking like JI Packer, my Anglican heor - going blind in hi 90’s book in kindle, or in our liberary Agign with Grace. .. tendencyin reetirment to reatreat from calling in life!
And Paul sees it around him he knwos the temptation, in old age to become cynicial , to be full of regtret -should have would have could have. Paul mayybe not in hopsital but had recovery had stress, had imporsonnments - knows the temptation in old age when life seems to be passing, freinds passing, all alone, the temptation to despair, to get self-absorbed. And also to relax moral standards. But look at the command, Titus teach older men: a
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.
Older men, be sober-minded - not given to drunkenness - but moderate in all your tastes and habits. Moderation in all things, accept your moderation. Why because your life isn’t just about the little things. No you are to be dignified. The word means worthy of respect - we do like Proverbs says, rise before the hoary head the grey beard, respect elders - because see they live for what is most important, experrience in tdoing that. Go into nursing home see htose who are living dingity, finishing life holding on to the most important things. Listen to how Paul says he’s ending his life: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
A poet of Crete—Epimendes of Cnossus, a religious teacher of the 6th century B.C., confirmed this ‘Wild West reputation’ when he said (1:12): “Cretans are always liars, pernicious beasts, idle bellies.” (It reads a little different in the NLT version that we’ll read today, but you get the idea…) And, their behavior was so well-known in the ancient world that the verb ‘to Cretize’ (Gk. Kretizein) was a slang word for lying or cheating!
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
But then comes the chief attirube of Christain living for all these groups. Self-control mentioned directly or indirectly for all. It was key term in the cluture of their day - what philosphers , especially the Stoic’s taught. But Paul infuses it with new meaning - ariases in a person born again, made new in faith in Christ - they are not contorled by STUFF or othe PEOPLE< or their SINFUL PASSIONs and EMOTIONS. The Sotic by self-effort and dettachment, reetreat posssess themselves in peace - kind of an escape. But in Christ, we possess our new self in him and Paul saying old men, old women, young men, young men, slaves - all must have this essential characteristic - it is the distinguishing feasture of Chrstian character to lkive with this knd of grace empowered self-control - I am not mastered by lust, hate, pride, greed, gluttony - fight against it shall no domion over me. Why Saw last week what empowers holy living - It is the reason of the Incarnation, why God cam ein our human nature, why he raises us and unites to His living: The Grace of God appeared, bringing salvation for ALL people, why? training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
Those are three characteristics an older Christian man is to exhibit. But then Paul gives the how to?
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.
What is the trinity of Christian living? Faith, hope and love. Faith is daily realting by trust and wroship and obeidence to God. Love is our relationship to others. And what’s emphasized is this differnt word for hope, that Paul says is especially important for how to make ripples of grace in the lives of others - only thing that lasts are relatinsho owith God with other believers - So live with that hope, means you will be steadfast, perserving in faith and love. Older men we are to see that for the sake of the relatinoships in your lives - you remain steadfast! By way of application do you have older men in your life were this kind of relatinohsp has started can grow? Lot of absent dads - literally, but emotionally, time wise checked, out, young men and mwomen longing for that kind of influence, but sacary to dwaw near to knwoeach other acrss ogenerations. If you are that older man, don’t give up on those relatinosips and stay true.
But the second area Paul says your good works will dress up the gospel for the watching world to see, is on the front lines of Gospel mission. Is with Women.
But the second area Paul says
B. Older Women as those stationed to Be Mentors
Now unlike the more detailed systematic teaching in Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Peter Paul is not giving instruction on how households should be structred and fucntion here. His concern here is how when we live like Cretans to each other, the gtopsel wintess and misson of God is tripped up among us and in this world. If we were to take a survey of what was going on under the sruface of nice people dressed up for worship, according to these verse this is what we would find:
beginning with older men instead of absentmindedness - frivolousness and immaturity in life and doctrine. But continuing through the other groups: anger, immorality, lack of reverence, slander, meanness, substance abuse, idleness, family breakdown, crudity, dishonesty, frivolity, disobedience, back talk, and theft. Now if that was in the early church, don’t you thyink 2000 years later it exists in our lives and our relationships today, to one degree or another.
And now Paul says if we live in spiritual commuinty - older women, those in the church in Crete, who have raised their kdis, and their kids are movoing on in life. Empty-nesters we would call them. They are to have a vital place in our comjunity here. Sad testimony that this often when there is a spike in divorces - because understandably lack of purpose, loss of one thig that was holding a household together, find no commoon bond , it’ dissolved. Hard stage. And Paul says, those women in our community are to be revernent in behaviour.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,
Here is the first of the three most interesting words in our text. OUr word for reverent means serious giving honour to God, But this Gk word is actually a compound word with the word for temple/ heiro and appropriateness. These older wmoen are to be like priestess’ serving in God’s temple.
Older Parents, parituclarly empty-nesters, you know how when the kids are gone, all of a sudden you feel like wheh now I can put my feeet on the coffee table, Now we can eat dinner in fron to f the TV. And you feel a little guilty, like was everyting we were doing just a show for the kids but didn’t really live in me. Well on a spiritual plane … Pual is sayin ghtose older women are to maintein an idea that theyare spiritual influences on other s- wherther had children or not - exert spritual influence on adults in this congregation. Keep attiude of serving.
Don’t be Slanderous - actually the Grk word Diabolys. Sound like someone’s name> Title given to Satan, the Slandereer of God’s people. Easy to not control your tongue , to speak lies, false accusation, malicious gossip - instead of serving - ctiritucal bystanders lobbing verbal bombs and attiude smake screens that keep us from entering into younger adult lives. We are doing Satan’s work then. But positively what is the how to here? And here is that mentoring model They are to teach what is good and so train…
The diea is not formal teachign and trainign, but informal advice, encouragement, in words and in example. YOung mon’s it wasn’t that long ago, felt terror of bringing a baby into this world - and what a comfort to call another mom, or your own mom. We had moved away from all family n ew spot. Nellie Hoogenndoorn - incrdbie volunteer at school taguht, but also nurse. What a comfort to have someone lie that to get second opnioin to ask. Well , as young dad, as parent to teenagers - like anote to younger self - you here have gvien advice encouragement, senstive, truth with love. So helpful, that’s the claling of older women to younger women in a community. How thankful coffee break day time and evening one, wmoen all different stage os flife - diggin inand investing in each tohers lives.
But what is it that they are to teach and train in?
Here Paul says, not pastor or elders job, but one to another respecting differences in gender - older wmone with younger women.
C. Younger Women in Their Relationships with Husband and Children
Here again I must remind you that Paul is not at this point spelling out social roles, family structure. Elsewhere we see how the gospel transforms life as singles, life in marriage, parent child relationships But here, Paul is saying that the gospel is being damaged in Crete, the Word of God reviled, and one of the reasons is because the home-life, the family relationhships are just like the worst stero-types of Cretans.
In the ancient world of arranged marriage and marriage of women at very young ages. It was like C.S. Lewis’ book the horse and His Body, when Aravice is being forced to marry an older, fatter, snivelling poltician - many marriages were not based on love. And so it is quite noteworthy that Paul’s first instruction here is not on the controversy over submission. But look at this first instruction. You should hear this married men and women, as if right now I was readinng your wedding vows to you again:
and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,
Those are the other two most interesting wrods of our text. Young women, married inCrete are to be HUSBAND LOVERS. Husband wife - one of the greatest testinonies to what life and the gospel abre about, on eo fthe greeatest things you can give your children, show your neighbours, is what mature self-givign, sacrficial love - two becomong one, companions - co-heirs of the grace of life - That is a duty and a calling of Christain marriage - have donin pride and Harmony - doctrine and life, in spritiaul community so that ripples of grace in and out in relationshps! This is first an order and importance in your homes. Not a child -centered home, but the most imoprtant huan relationship in a home is husband-wife oneflesh mystery - to be proetedctin gand investing - completenting, taken from side, ewuality yet in function a compoleteingint . Love is not sentientalty, not letting our LOVE to RUN COld. Burn like Christ’s for us His Church.
Interesting times when husbands and wives spedning way more time togethe - good time to ask how am I really loving. But second there is Philtenia, Children-Lover. I will never forget being arrested by Martin Luther simple statement - Whoever doens’t love children is an ignoramus. I dind’t grow up with cousin babies, and by time nieces and nephews came I was quite old. So I rember feeling strange around babies. Same with the elderly. But just beingning my job as a teacher, having been a camp counsellor, I dn’t just spend time with kids because it was my job. There is soething so full of poetnatial and hepfilled about children - and we are to value them. As a parent I confess that in my selfishness, desire for my peace and ease, I have often parented for convience and ease - Holy Spirit shaken me up againa and again - do I really love them. And when someone sees us a Christains not just in a bad exasperated moment, but a neighbour sees a Christain mother - persistently nagging, or lviign thei life through their kid, idolizing that kid, not freeing and loving that child. When they see us not investing guiding directing, causeing children to flourish - it shames the gospoel message.
Paul is n oth ere tlaking about what work men and mewomen do, nor here about leadership is to work. Those other passages deal with reciprolcal relationship of husband eife, parent child, slave master, buit none of that here. And that is how we must here the rest of the instruction for young women:
to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Those come in pairs. Self-control directed to purity, especially sexually. We allk now old stories of wife of sailor gon out to see, both the sialor and the wife real tempation. Well when a spouse gone not physically, but checked out a relationship - when spouse begin to wander - Paul is saying faihtulness, loyralty and taking care of eachoher neeeds, not to be a hint oof that knd of immraoltiy. Look at the next pair - working at home & kind. Those two go together, of course up utnil the industrial revolution , msot people work men and women, was the household - that what household mean sin Greek - Econmia. The empahsis here is a work at home, not necessarily saying cooking washing and dusting, but an investment in the home and in that at age at home - but it is the manner in which it is done that is so important - kind, good means USEFUL, FITTING. Some of us have read Roaria Butterfields book, the gospel comes with a house key. Remarkable calling to have a home a household, with kndness to not only each other but to neighbours. Their is so much irritablity that comes with work of our households - whetaher business, chores, childcare - Called to the tone of kindness. What is the tone of your household - that’s a witness to the gospel, and a lasting one,.
And then comes the cotnroversial one - submissive to their husbands. As elsewhere Paul who has abtteld fro the equality of men and wmoen, slave and free, Jew and Gentile in terms of savlation, in terms of dignity and worth of being in Christ, as welsewhere Paul is saying equal doesn’t mean the sae. IN creation the competlmaratian structure of marriage and home life is such that equal partener in dignity have different roles. An independent individualis that - in fierce selfish spirit rbebels against the sttructure the interest and the leadership of the household - . Of course Paul is saying the creation design, the fall, and Christ redeeming even marriage chagne how marriage works, Not a domineeirng, not a door mat, . Be submssive in the passive is not the same as obey. Voluntary comong alongside a servant leadershi pand innitative -with view of the whole. It’s team approach as husband wife. It is done with a real sense of order and authroity, and yet it seldom needs to resort to that as live in Christian love and cooperation. This doesn’t say weomen submit to men. do you see it a wife to her own huband, that is both refhreshing that it is not a chauviinismn. But it is challengeing that with a partiuclar hubsaband with strengtehn sna wekeness es need to work this leading ininative and serving sacrifceally, and supporting that husband out.
But then Paul deals with Younger Men.
C. Young Men are to Begin Living as Examples of the Gospel
Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.
In addition to the clarion call to self-control. Adressing each group like this. Paul is saying there are some forms of Christianity that throw control out the window. We are not saved by our works, but works are noentheless a necessary result of really believeing sound doctrine of embracing grace in Christ Jesus. And those good works that result, as we saw last week - are done our of faith, conforming to God’sl aw and motivated for his glory onot our own. YOung meen are not ohnly to grow in sound mindedeness and doctrine. But they are to have a sound control that results in sensible behaviour . Move from childish wildness and tantrums diriven by sinful passions, to a mature judgment and proper restraingt - so way you speak, serve,your attiude and actions are a model to others. Teens do you know how 12 eyars old look up to you. Young adults teens are watching. Paul says:
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,
SOme youth spead sin and spiritual death, a spirit of complaining and grubmlging. Godly youth are to halth imparting, moral and spiritual health spreading influence. You know the saying “more is caught than taught applies here. But the big deal here is the result that brings: Your actions even in this stage of life, can silence those who make fun of and oppose the Chrstian faith,. Wwe have a saying that the poroof of the pudding is in the eating. Example in our words talking soundness, and integrity,.
and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
E. Actual Slaves as Well-Positioned to Testify of Transforming Grace
Unlike those household codes where we can say slaves and masters some what like employers and employees, here we must not rush past this instruction to actual slaves. Here again just like with the instruction to younger women, Paul's teaching is not about the structure and institution of slavery or work. There is nothing here about masters like there is in Ephesians . The seed in the letter to Philemon that eventually overthrew the sinful institution of slavery is not being addressed here. What is being addressed is that up to half of the population where slaves at and lots of the church too. And as the Church goes about testifying to the transformation power of the gospel, the slaves were not to be despised as having less opportunity for gospel work. Not Paul says above all, the manner in which you do your work, the atitude the trsutworhines,s the respect for authority slaves had opproutnity second to knoe to show what it measn that the gopsel transforms in attidue and behabviour. Gibe them an exampel of dealing in good fatih.
Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,
Unlike those household codes where we can say slaves and masters some what like employerrs and empolyees, here we must not rush past this instruction to actual slaves. Here again just like with the instruction to younger women, Puaul’s teaching is not about the structure and institution of slavery or work. There i is nothing here about masters like there is in EPhesians . The seed in the letter to Philemon that eventually overthrew the sinful instituion of slvaery is not being addressed here. What is being addressed is that up to half of hte population where slaves at and lots of the church too. And as the Church goes about testitfieying to the transformain gpower of the gospel, the slves were not to dbe despised as having less opportunity for gospel work. Not Paul says above all, the manner in which you do your work, the atitude the trsutworhines,s the respect for authority slaves had opproutnity second to knoe to show what it measn that the gopsel transforms in attidue and behabviour. Gibe them an exampel of dealing in good fatih.
You need to understand not all slavery were terrible conditions, not every slavery was about menial labour, of people with no talents. Slavery back then various forms, often very talented and trust people, but the big deal was ownership, dominion, control of that life - authority was to master - do it as unto Lord give an example, Why could say behavior and attitude and words showing am I a slave to sin, Satan, - I struggle with temptations and fall into sin, but No even as a slave in in my social position, lowly worker, still , now I belong to Christ, - he is my Master, I am slave to Christ, a slave to Righteousness, what governs me isn’t a bunch of laws that keep me in servitude, what governs me is the law of love of faith, and that free me to work faithfully -
Conclusion: You know and I know it - the practice of the gospel in relationships, that is the most powerful testimony to a watching world of the power of the gospel And so our instruction in this time of self-isolating with our families, of intentional calling, emailing with friends and family - it is ADORN THE THE DOCTRINE OF OUR GOD AND SAVIOUR in everything. May our living with each other by in harmony, in accord with the sound doctrine we believe!
You have thrown a rock in to a clear pool, and watched the ripples spread. The gopsel is that rock, and your Christian living is riple that is flow into peoles lives around you amen,. Don’t let church and your faiht just be accessing a service, but a persona investment in regular fellowhsip, discipleied worship ife, lving part of church community . Lets invest in each other fo the gospel. Amen.
Gospel power is to flow through a spiritual community - not consumer mentality… vs. persoanl invested in regular fellowship, disciplined worship life, church community … = mature participation!
What’s below the surface that makes this hard!
Problem: includes anger, immorality, immaturity in life and doctrine, lack of reverence, slander, meanness, substance abuse, idleness, family breakdown, crudity, dishonesty, frivolity, disobedience, back talk, and theft (vv. 2-9). Titus 2:1
Douglas Mangum and E. Tod Twist, Titus, ed. Douglas Mangum and Derek R. Brown, Lexham Research Commentaries (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013), .Hedomion. Why not?