Community Group Study Notes
- Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching.
- Out of all of the exhortations that Paul gave to Titus, which one(s) did you readily embrace? Why? Which one(s) did you have more difficulty receiving? Why?
- How would sound doctrine inform our obedience to the instruction given in Titus 2?
- Interact with this statement: the “so what” of sound doctrine is “so that” we show Jesus to the world. How can you give a more clear picture of Jesus to the world around you?
- What is one action step you can take in response to what you heard on Sunday?
So for those of you who were with us last week, we started a new series called, Learn To Discern. And we talked about how serious Paul was about the idea of sound doctrine. He was so serious that he took one of his sons in the faith, Timothy, and when Timothy was in Ephesus, he wrote to him and he basically said this, he said, "I want to make sure that you are kind of stewarding sound doctrine in the place that you are, because it's super important."
And we defined that, when you hear the word doctrine, you kind of go, "Man, what does that mean?" Well, it just means teaching. The word doctrine means teaching. And so what we define sound doctrine is, is the teaching that is about God, is from God, and it directs us to the glory of God. That's what we talked about when we talked about the idea of sound teaching.
Now, what we also learned last week is that discerning sound teaching is not enough, that's a beginning. And so we gave you some lenses to look through to be able to do that. But after we do that, what we said is this, is that sound teaching really can't be understood until it's lived. That's ultimately how we understand sound teaching, is when we start playing that out and obeying that and working that out in our life.
So Paul was serious when he was talking to Timothy. But Paul was also serious when he was talking to his other son in the faith named Titus. Now, some of you may not know who Titus is. You're kind of saying, "Man, I've heard of him. I know there's a book that has his name that Paul wrote to Titus." That's true, and Titus isn't named a whole lot in the scripture itself. But there are a handful of occasions.
We first meet him in Paul's writing to the church of Galatia. He says, "After fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem and this time with Barnabas. And I took Titus along also." So what was happening there was this, is that there was a little bit of a problem in the church because some of the apostles who were ministering predominately to people who were Jewish in background, who had received the message of Messiah and received the Gospel, that's predominately what the apostles were doing.
But now you've got Paul, who is called as an apostle as well, who's ministering to those who are not Jewish, even though he's Jewish himself, right? And he's ministering to what are called Gentiles. Titus is one of those who came to faith in Jesus Christ and so what Paul did is he took Titus along as a trophy of grace to this meeting he was having with the apostles at Jerusalem. And that they extended their right hand of fellowship to both Paul and Titus, and they said, "You know what? Get after it. Preach the Gospel to the Gentiles."
And so, Titus was a part of this from a very early time. Paul obviously trusted Titus because he sent him out to different places for different reasons. Twice he sent him to Corinth. One was to help with a problem that was going in the church in Corinth. And by the way, there wasn't only one problem in the church at Corinth, there were a lot of problems in the church at Corinth. And so, Titus was going to help there.
But Titus also went to Corinth because he was there to help collect an offering that was given to those who were in Jerusalem, kind of the persecuted body of believers in Jerusalem that were poor and were struggling. And so, they had taken up an offering to be able to help them out. And that was entrusted to Titus.
So, Paul obviously trusted him a lot and sent him out to different places. You could almost look at this way, Titus was kind of like Paul's Secretary of State. He would send him into other places to be able to do his work, where he couldn't be there, and so that he could represent his country, the kingdom of God, in that place and establish a kingdom agenda in some of those places. So that's what Titus did.
And now what we see in the book of Titus, where we're going to be looking today, which is about two thirds of the way through your Bible, if you want to find a spot there in Titus, it's small, it's right after First and Second Timothy, that's where you'll find it.
Titus was actually sent to an island called Crete and Paul sent him into a mess. Like, Crete was chaos. It was a mess. I mean, the way that Crete is described by the writer is that Cretans are always liars and brutes and lazy gluttons. And is like, "Okay, Titus, if you could go help us out there, that'd be great." I mean, I'm a pastor, like if somebody called and said, "Hey, we'd like for you to come be our pastor. We're a bunch of liars and evil brutes and lazy gluttons. Would you like to come?" And I would be like, "Uh, no. Maybe. It sounds like ... okay, I'll come." Right? Maybe I would do that. Certainly, if God called, then I would argue and then go. Right? That's probably what I would do.
Well, Titus ended up in this place, Crete, right? It seemed like a little bit of a difficult spot to be in. And so, what did he say? What did Paul actually say to Titus? Well, here's what it says in Titus 1:1, notice what he said. "Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness." Isn't that interesting that when we left off last week talking about this idea of sound doctrine, what we said is this, is that discerning sound doctrine is just the beginning. But you actually have to live it before you're going to fully understand it, right? That ultimately sound doctrine leads to godly living.
That's exactly what Paul just said in the opening verses to Titus. I mean, watch his progression. He begins by talking about faith, right? That we all begin in that space, by believing in Jesus Christ. By the way, just as a reminder, maybe you're new here, the scripture tells us this, there's no name under heaven by which people can be saved except the name of Jesus. That at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. That Jesus is the way and the truth and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through him. That Jesus was born under the law, born of a woman under the law, born of a virgin. And he lived a sinless life, preached about the coming of the kingdom of God that is among us.
He went to a cross, even though he was perfect and we were sinful. He did it on our behalf so that he would die in our place, sacrificing his perfect substitutionary self for our very sinful selves, so that the just wrath of God could be poured out on sin and Jesus died in our place, satisfying the justice of God. Rose from the grave on the third day, so that now, those who put their faith in what Jesus has done on our behalf, instead of what we try to do to earn God's favor, can now be reconciled to God and saved. This is where it all begins by faith in Jesus. Right? That's how it begins. That's where we start.
So, Paul says, but this faith leads to a knowledge of the truth. That's what he opens up by telling us, right? In other words, sound doctrine, teaching that is healthy, right? Faith leads to a knowledge of the truth, which leads to what? Godliness. That's what he says in the opening verse. That this knowledge of the truth leads to godliness. In other words, when we believe right things about God, it starts to form us and shape us into right living before God that looks like him.
So, this is what he tells us. And so he tells Titus, he says, "Titus, I want you to teach sound doctrine. This is really, really important." In fact, he says it in really clear words in chapter two, verse one. "You, Titus, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine." Whatever is appropriate to sound doctrine, that's what I want you to teach.
Now, interestingly enough, why would he say teach sound doctrine? Because he wanted to see people living godly lives and that's where that comes from, right? Sound doctrine leads to godly living. Or, it should, right?
So, what would that look like? What would it actually look for Titus, in his ministry to the people there in Crete, who come from a wild background, right? When you start talking about liars and evil brutes and lazy gluttons, which is what it says actually in chapter one, verse twelve, what about that group of people? What does it look like to ministry? And that's the culture at large, not necessarily the church, but the church has been affected by that. What would it look like to see godly living that's appropriate to sound doctrine?
Well, what Paul does is he says to Titus, "Hey, Titus, I want you to teach every single group of people some things about what that would look like. I want you to tell everybody. I'm talking about older men, older women, young women, young men. I want you to tell them all what this is going to look like. And these are things, Titus, that you are to teach them, that are appropriate to sound doctrine." And he starts to unpack those, right?
And he begins by talking to older men. Here's what he says, notice what it says in verse two, "Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self controlled and sound in faith, in love, and in endurance." Now, when we're talking about older men, listen carefully because every person under the sound of my voice is going to be talked to directly today. You don't have an option, right? Older men, older women, younger men, younger women. Everybody's getting a little something, something today from Paul, who's telling Titus, this is how we should be living.
Now, what is an older man? Well, an older man here, in the description that he gives, in the ancient world was understood as someone who's old enough to have already, if they were married, have had kids of their own, who now have families of their own. That would be considered someone who is an older man, who is in that age range.
So, if you are in the age range where you could be a grandfather, then basically that's what it's talking about. Now, those of you who are in that age range, who could probably be a grandfather by age, here's what I want you to do for a second. I didn't do this earlier, I want to do this now. In this room at each worship center, I want you to stand up, men, older men. You're old enough to be a grandfather, don't be ashamed, just get up, right? You've got the gray hair, you've got the no hair, you've got the whatever, right? It doesn't matter. Just do it. Just do it.
I want you to stay standing for a second, because I want you to listen to the exhortation that Paul, by the Holy Spirit, gives to Titus and says, "Titus, I want you to teach these older men these things." In fact, I'm going to give you a few of them. You'll go back, if your wife's here or if you've got a child with you or something, they'll take notes for you real quick. I want you to listen. I want you to listen.
Here's what he first says, he says be temperate. You know what that means? It means to be sober minded. That means every older man needs to be sober minded. That means you should not be controlled by anything other than the Spirit of God. That means you are not controlled by alcohol, you're not controlled by anger, sir. You're not controlled by greed, or money, or lust. You are controlled by the Spirit of God. You are temperate. You are sober minded, and you have a perspective on the world that reeks of godliness. That's what he's asking.
He also says you are to be worthy of respect. That's not, by the way, sir, that is not based upon how much money you have in your bank account. That is not how much worldly success and awards that you've gotten. People respect you because you are a man of God. You are a godly man, who is living a life that is worthy of the respect of people, particularly the younger men that are looking at you. Particularly to them.
Then he also says you are to be self-controlled. That means that you, listen, you take responsibility for your actions. You take responsibility for what your choices are. You take responsibility for your emotions. You are self-controlled. That doesn't mean you just have great will power, it means you are filled with the Spirit because the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. You are a man who is filled with the Spirit of God and you are worthy of respect. There is a dignity of life about you because you are walking with God.
And then he says this, you are to be sound in faith, in love, and in endurance. Isn't it interesting sometimes, sometimes, and I've seen this in the church and outside of the church, sometimes as older men get older, instead of maturing in the faith and in love and in endurance, they do the opposite of those things. They start to get fearful, and cold hearted, and hopeless. Not us. That's what Paul is saying to tell Titus to tell Crete, not us. We are going to be men who are going to mature in our faith, who are going to mature in our love. We're going to be more loving the older we get, not less loving. We're going to trust God more in our old age than we did in our younger age. We're going to be enduring more in the faith because we believe in the future that God has for us.
This is what we're being told, you see, sir, I say this respectfully, as a sort of also older man. I'm right in between older and younger man, I'll figure it out. But I'm just taking it all and saying I better obey it all. But listen, I say this respectfully, you cannot mature without aging, so get over that. But you can age without maturing. And what Paul is saying here to Titus is, he's saying, "I want these men to be men of God that are worthy of emulation."
Thank you, men, you can have a seat. He also says, and by the way, all of you older men that have been walking with God and you continue to walk with God, I honor you.
Older women, older women, some of you are going, "Be careful, Jerry, I want you to be careful right now." Hmm. I'm going to let you self-select, all right? And I'm not going to stand you, okay? You know why? Because I'm not stupid. That's why. Because I'm not a stupid idiot, contrary to public opinion.
But listen to what Paul writes to Titus, he says, "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good."
So the very first thing that he calls the older women, again, same time of life, right? Old enough to have had kids who have their own families now, right? What does he say to these older women? He says, first of all, to be reverent. Now, that's an interesting word, by the way, in the Greek language. It's a compound word, that when you put it together, it actually comes from a word that talks about temple priestesses working in the service of God in the temple.
And so when he talks about the idea of reverence, it doesn't mean stuffiness. It means this, that older women, you should focused, not on selfish indulgence, but on service to God. That's what you should be focused on, service to God. Right? And of course, understand that he's also talking to a number of women who would have been widowed at this point as well. Not all of them, but some of them would have been widows. And as a result, he's saying, serve God. You've go the band width to do it, just serve him. Right?
Be reverent. That's kind of the idea of the word. But he also says this, kind of a correction, "Tell the older women not to be slanderers or addicted to wine." Now, a little bit of the problem historically in Crete is similar to a little bit of the problem that was going on in Ephesus, and it did have to do, at times, with some of them women, mostly the younger women, and that had to do with some of the background in Pagan worship and what that involved with women and those kinds of things. So, some of that crept into the church and as a result, there's some problems that emerged in Crete and certainly in Ephesus as well.
One of the issues, however, was apparently over consumption of alcohol in Crete. And so, Paul says, "I want to make sure that you're not a slanderer who is addicted to much wine." Think about that, here's what Paul is saying to Titus, "Older women who are loaded and have a forked tongue is not a good look."
Now, you're saying, "Jerry, you might have gone overboard with the forked tongue comment." I didn't. The reason I didn't is because the word slanderer in the Greek language is diabolos, which is where we get our word devil. Slander is the language of the enemy. It is willfully telling things to people that are not true. And by the way, gossip is its close hell-born cousin. And what gossip is is the opportunity to pass along information that may or may not be true, but is unhelpful and of no use and not edifying to anybody.
He's basically saying this, "I want you to tell the older women, they're going to have enough problems trying to control that tongue, they certainly don't need to get drunk and do it." You've got drunk ladies running around, that tongue's hanging out, they're tripping over it, telling everybody everything. He's like, "That's not a good look for the church." He said, "This actually brings a bad testimony to the people of God." Instead, these women ought to be reverent. They ought to be ones who are serving the Lord, not serving their selfish interests by trying to either slander or gossip and then just chugging. Got to be careful.
This is an exhortation to older women. Some of you are going, "Well, this doesn't apply to me." Check your tongue. Check your tongue, it very well might apply to you. Now, you might be going, "Well, I don't drink too much." That's good. But tongues are really difficult sometimes to control. Right? James actually refers to them as being set on fire by hell. And that's true sometimes when I hear language that people are using. It doesn't even have to be what we would call filthy language, it's just unedifying to the people that are being talked about. And it's doing nothing to build them up, it's nothing to bring any good to anybody. Sometimes it's just language that tries to make us look good and someone else look bad.
And he says, "Listen, older women, you've got to set an example in this." You can't be those older women that we all know, we all know them, right? Put a few suds in them and dude, the tongue is wagging. And they will say whatever to whoever about whatever. He's basically saying this, this is not a good look for Jesus. Don't do that.
So, I exhort you, older women, in Jesus' name, to be reverent. To control your tongue by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is what will control our tongues, right? Self-control, that's basically what he's saying again. And for all of you women of God who are older and who have been walking with God for a long time, I honor you.
Now, he goes on to talk to young women. Now, this is still fitting together with the older women, because he gives instruction to them about how the older women are to teach the younger women certain things. Because he says teaching good things. Notice what it says in verse four and five, it says, "Then they," meaning the older women, "can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands."
Now, there's actually a number of different things that he talks about with the younger women here, because younger women were a part of, not the whole, but a part of the problems that he was dealing with in Crete. Younger women, I'll let you also self-select as to who you are and I'll leave you in your seats as well.
But notice some of the things that he says. He wants the older women to teach the younger women to love their husbands and children. And you say, "Well, that's kind of weird, isn't that normal? Isn't that what you're supposed to be doing?" Well, sure. That phrase, love husbands and children, was something that was common in the ancient world and it was actually looked as the glory of young womanhood. It was what every young woman hoped was said about her, that she would love her husband and children. In fact, some of them actually put that on their funeral markers, on their grave markers when they died back in the ancient world, loved their husband and their children.
I think this is a really good, even relevant, reminder for all of us because in the culture that we live in, it seems as if young women are being pressed upon in a lot of different ways. Sometimes young women who are married and young women who are moms are pressed upon in a million different ways. And some of the ways that our culture presses upon them is, "You know what? Children are kind of a burden for a while, you just kind of have to deal with it and then you'll really get to fly after that." It's kind of that that they press on you. And I think to myself, how upside down is this? How upside down is this kind of thinking, right?
And then, loving husbands, well, in many places in the narrative of the world, that's not something that really is looked upon real great. It's almost like, "It's my baby daddy, he gave me a little something. Right now I got my kids, but I don't really need him." And by the way, there's a narrative in the world that's almost flipped from this time. In this time, it was almost like the narrative was women were being, at times, oppressed in that culture. And now with this great freedom in Jesus Christ, they were trying to figure out, like what do we do as a result of that.
But now in our culture, it's completely the opposite. It's like, "Hey, we're women and we rule the world." Right? Ariana Grande can sing that God is a woman. We're taking over everything. We're doing everything, we don't even need men any more. Now, I'll be honest with you, the narrative that men are just dumb animals, they're not good for much except for changing light bulbs and giving you some children, right? That's a narrative that's being foisted upon us. Sometimes men feed into that narrative, wrongly so, they should. But sometimes that happens.
But ladies, don't buy into that. So when he says, "Love your husband and your children," you are doing something counter cultural to the narrative of the world. You're demonstrating what you should be demonstrating, that is consistent with sound doctrine because it's godly living that results from it.
He also says to be self-controlled and pure, young women, be self-controlled and pure. So, to those young women that are married, he's basically saying this, that you need to demonstrate self-control and purity in marital faithfulness. Your willingness to be flirtatious or any of those kinds of things, no. Your desire to be connected emotionally to somebody else other than your spouse, in ways that should be only reserved for your spouse, no. You are to be self-controlled because you are filled with the Spirit of God. And you are to be pure in your desires. You are to be pure in the relationships that you have.
Young women, please listen. You cannot have every need in your life emotionally met by your husband. It's impossible for them, and it's impossible for you. Only Jesus can satisfy all of those spaces and places. And once we get that in our heads, we begin to appreciate that all of us have some deficits in our lives emotionally. All of us have some deficits in our lives relationally. And we can find those places that feel sometimes empty met in Jesus Christ.
Now, that's not an excuse for a husband or a wife to be emotionally unavailable. I'm not talking about all of that. What I'm saying is, if you create this wrong expectation in your mind, that my spouse can meet every one of my needs. I mean, listen, the narrative of the world that we live in, this is what it's telling us. Because all of the music that you listen to, almost every love song that you hear is almost, listen, is almost deified. We're singing songs about other people, another man or another man, in ways that we should only be singing about God. "You're the only one that can save me." Really? Is that really true? No, it's not. "I can only find my satisfaction in you." That's not true either!
We've got to be able to pierce through some of these wrong thinking narratives that are foisted upon us, young women, and be able to see the truth. That we love our husbands and children and that we're self-controlled and pure. By the way, those young women who are not married, this applies to you as well. Because he's talking about purity, about relationships that actually honor God prior to actually being married, if God would so open that door for you. We all have these responsibilities because we are all trying to put Jesus on display, young women.
Now, he also says this, to be busy at home and to be kind. This is obviously referring to those young women who were married, which most young women were at that time. They didn't have the options that women have today. It was a part and parcel for what they did in the ancient world. That phrase simply means to fulfill household duties well. It's a combination phrase that basically says, "Hey, don't punch out in making sure that you're doing well by the management of your home."
And then the last statement that he has in there for young women is be subject to your husband. Some hear that and they freak out, but it's not uncommon language in the New Testament. When you read Ephesians 5 you see it, when you read Colossians 3 you see it, when you read 1 Peter 3 you see it. It's not talking, listen to this, it's not talking about this kind of relationship in any way. What it's saying to young women is this, stop trying to domineer your husband. Stop trying to domineer them. But instead, particularly, listen, but instead willingly follow their loving, what should be, their loving sacrificial leadership. Willingly. Because in so doing, you are demonstrating to the world something about God.
I'll leave that one there. Let me go to the next one, young men. If you are not of grandparenting age, men, stand up. Okay. We've got some young men in the house. I am speaking to you as one who is on the cusp of, I'm both older and younger at the same time. I'm right there in that mix. Right? I've got a 22 year old son and almost 19 year old son. Right? My wife's still younger, she's staying there for a while as a younger woman. I'm creeping up on this older deal.
I want you to listen carefully to what he says to those of you who are younger men. "Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything, set them an example by doing what is good, in your teaching show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned." You know what's interesting about this? It's that Paul loops Titus into this group of people. He not only talks to young men at large, saying, "Titus teach the young men these things," but he also says, "Hey, Titus, you do this too, because you're a young man." Just like Timothy was a young man, Titus is a reasonably young man. I don't know his exact age, but he's on the younger side.
So what does he first say? He says, first, that you are to be self-controlled. Now, young men, men that I'm talking to right now, this self-control manta actually shows up in every one of the exhortations that Paul tells Titus to teach to people. So whether that's older men, older women, younger women, younger men. But it's especially noteworthy for younger men, self-control. Why? Because what happens is, is the youthful energy that we have in our younger years, right? Some of you are now on the cusp and you're going, "It ain't what it used to be, Jerry. Feel the cracks in the moves, right?" And some of you are like, "I don't know what you're talking about. I can do anything right now." You're young.
There's a beauty in that, there's a glory in that, right? In our youthfulness, in our energy, in our ability and all of those things. But do not let that get out of the control of the Spirit. Because what happens is, young men, is we start chasing all of our lusts and we start chasing all of our energies and we start chasing all of these highs and we start chasing all of this pornography and we start chasing all of this sex, because we are now unbridled in our self-control. And instead of being controlled by the Spirit, we're controlled by our lustful energy. And this should not be, my brothers, this should not be. Because this doesn't look like Jesus.
It is inconsistent with the way in which God has revealed himself to us. By the way, there are sometimes where we can invert that energy that we're pouring into all of these other things, because maybe we get bummed out, or maybe we get depressed, or maybe something happens in our lives, or maybe we feel less than for some reason. And here's the interesting thing, what we do is we go ... what most people would look at as super lazy, but it's actually a ton of energy, just in the wrong direction. It's artificial and it's superficial.
It's like you're a young man, you're married, you're newly married, but you still play video games for seven hours a day. Here's a recommendation, get a job, bro. Like, do something responsible that's not a waste of your life and your time. By the way, not against that you play video games. It's not, like I'm not a legalist, right? But there's a time where the boy has to sit down and the man has to stand up. We should be done, listen, in the church, we've got to be done with just boys with beards. We've need men who are growing in the likeness of Jesus. Who know how to treat the women in their life. Who know how to act in the places where they are in their workspaces, or in their schools, or whatever. We need that.
And this is what God desires, because when we believe right things about God, it causes us, when we really believe them, we will start living like it's so and we will start showing the world who Jesus is and what he looks like. You can sit down, young men, thank you.
Interestingly, there's a last group of people that are talked about, and it's slaves. Notice what he says, what Paul says to Titus, he says in verse nine, "Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted."
Now, when you and I initially hear the phrase slaves, our minds can't help but run to what was a reprehensible era in our country's history. The time in the centuries leading up to, the couple of centuries leading up to and through the Civil War, where we all look back with a broken heart on that. Here's what I would encourage you to do, first of all, is to be reminded that it's not exactly an apples to apples comparison from what was going on here in the ancient world.
What was happening here in the ancient world was somewhat different. Now, here's what was the same, that there were people who did not have their full freedom. That's what was true, right? But, in the ancient world, what Paul is writing about right here, it had nothing to do with their race. That was actually irrelevant. This slavery, we can't run from the fact that slavery in the United States context had everything to do with race. It was predominantly African slavery, there's no getting around that. But this was not that. And I'll tell you why. Because the people that were enslaved, mostly were enslaved because they lost a war to Rome. And therefore, they are being enslaved.
Or, they had an economic indebtedness that they were trying to pay off. By the way, in the ancient world, sometimes what a slave could do, is they could actually buy their own freedom. Not somebody purchasing it for them, but they would be able to buy their own freedom, either early or eventually in their time.
I would also remind you of this, most of, not all, but most of the slavery in that context, they were paid and treated reasonably, which was not the case when we think of slavery in our context. And then lastly, they weren't, generally speaking, these slaves weren't dehumanized like it was in the Civil War slavery time frame, right? They weren't dehumanized. They weren't treated even by law as if they were half a person. They were actually treated as full people. You know why? Because many times the slaves were actually far more educated than the masters, and sometimes came from higher social classes. They just happened to lose the war against Rome. And now they're in these places, right?
So, I would just remind you, when you read that, that these aren't exactly the same thing. But I do want to point out, because it's in our text, what he said to those people that were in that position, who had now come to faith in Jesus, right? Some, that were in that position, they had been conquered in the war, and they are now indentured servants, so to speak.
And so what is Paul saying to Titus to teach them? They're believers in Jesus, how should they respond to these people that they are working for? Here's what he says, "They should be subject to and pleasing to their masters." In other words, willingly serve them, it's the place that you're in. Paul, by the way, Paul is not affirming slavery. He's just talking to something that was happening and saying, "How do we deal with this? How do we operate as believers when we find ourselves in this position?" And, oh, by the way, the Gospel that Paul preached, once it started to get lived out among the believers, would actually be so subversive that it wouldn't even give thought to the idea of slavery, because it was so subversive.
But notice what else he says, "Don't talk back or steal, but be trustworthy." Do you know what Paul is conjuring up here? This is much more a reminder of Joseph in the book of Genesis, or Daniel in the book of Daniel. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, he didn't do it himself, right? And then he finds himself enslaved in all these contexts, but what did he do? He was faithful to God in the midst of it and God exalted him.
What did Daniel do? Daniel was conquered, right? His nation was conquered by a ruling nation and now Babylon's in charge. And so, what does Daniel do? He remains faithful to God and he willingly does, he was schooled in Babylon, he was doing all of those things because that was the responsibility. But he kept faithful to God. And what did God do? God exalted him.
So, he's basically saying the same things here. Now, you say, "How do I apply that in our modern context?" I don't know exactly. Maybe the closest you could get is a really bad employer/employee relationship. That's not fair though to the text, because you're not in a place where you lack your freedom, right? You can quit and you can leave and you can go find another job. But you could take some of these principles and say, "How can I show Jesus to those that I am maybe working with." Or maybe you're a business owner and there's some people that you contract with or whatever, and they're difficult to deal with. And maybe you can think about what does it look like to show them Christ in the midst of this.
So, these are all kind of practical things, right? And you kind of think to yourself, "Okay, so what do I do with that? What's the so what here? What is the so what here?" Write this down, the so what of sound doctrine is so that we show Jesus to the world. The so what of sound doctrine is so that we show Jesus to the world. In fact, that's exactly what Titus is told by Paul. I'm not even, this isn't even like cool phrase that I made up.
As I've told you many times over, my primary job is plagiarizing the Bible. That's what I do. This isn't about "Fun Facts With Jerry," this is about what did God say by his Holy Spirit to us. And I want you to think about this, the so what of sound doctrine is so that Jesus can be put on display.
Notice how it says this, watch this, we've already read these passages, but watch what they do. "Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands. So that no one will malign the word of God." Notice what it says now in verse seven and eight, "In everything set them an example by doing what is good, in your teaching show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you maybe be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us."
And then notice what it says in verse nine and ten, "Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, not to steal from them, but to show them that they can be fully trusted so that in every way, they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive."
Are you seeing it? That the so what of sound doctrine is so that we can show Jesus to the world. Because when we are living out the reality of sound doctrine, here's what Paul says to Titus, he says, "Then they aren't able to malign the word of God on account of us." Then they can't say anything bad about us, they might say something bad about the content of the Gospel, but they can't something bad about us, because we're just trying to live in concert with the Gospel.
And, oh by the way, you're going to give an attractive witness to who Jesus is. This is why this is so important. This is why the so what of sound doctrine is so that we show Jesus to the world. And do you know what Paul does? He grounds all of this teaching, as practical as it is, he grounds all of it in the Gospel. All of it. In fact, right after he gives us this teaching, to older men, to older women, to younger women, to younger men, to slaves, right after he gives us all this practical teaching, notice what he says. Verse 11, "For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness, and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."
He gives a summary Gospel statement. And do you notice what he says? Listen to this, he doesn't just simply say ... he says the grace of God has appeared to us, who is that? It's Jesus, right? It's Jesus. He doesn't say, a scroll of theology appeared to us. He says, "No, no, the grace of God has appeared to us." And then he makes clear that he's talking about Jesus. Why is that important for us? Because what Paul is trying to get Titus to teach is that the life of Jesus in us testifies to the truth of Jesus before us. The life of Jesus in us testifies to the truth of Jesus before us.
That's what he's trying to get them to understand. See, ladies and gentlemen, listen carefully, godliness is not about rule following. Rules don't change hearts. Jesus does. Godliness is about being shaped over time into the image of who Jesus is, such that the only rule that you need is the law of Christ, which is the law of love. That's where we're headed, that's where we're headed.
Now, we need some stuff in our lives to give us some boundaries, to help us understand the truth. And I'm going to talk a little bit about that next week when we talk about how you make big decisions in your life. But, this is about the life of Jesus in us living out through us.
So, let me ask you a question, let me challenge you, all of us. I want you to ask the Lord what behaviors in our life, we've covered a lot of ground today, if anybody walks out of here going, "Eh, there wasn't really nothing for me." Then you're just sleeping, like some of you are right now. Some of you think that I don't see you, that's so funny. I'm kidding, I'm just kidding. I really can't see most people anyways.
Here's what I want you to do, ask the Lord what behaviors in your life aren't like Jesus. And then, see, for some of you, those are going to go, "boop, boop, boop, boop," real fast. For others of you, you're going to be kind of having to think a moment. And you're going to let the Spirit of God search your heart.
But once he begins to show you some areas in your life and in my life that aren't like Jesus, I want you then to ask some questions to yourself. Maybe you could ask, does this behavior come from not knowing the truth? Does it come from not knowing it? And if that's the case, then what you have, listen, you have a knowledge problem. You have a knowledge problem, right?
Because ultimately what Paul was doing, was Paul was trying to get us in a place at the very beginning of the letter when he said, "Faith that leads to knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness," and he said, "You know what that godliness does?" Can you pull that one back up for me? It's faith, I bet you they can, faith that leads to a knowledge of the truth, that leads to godliness, that leads to an impact on people without Christ. You see, this is why godliness has such a missional edge to it. It's why it's so important for the mission of God, right? This is where this goes.
But some of us, listen, some of us may have a problem because where we are right now, we've put our faith in Jesus, but maybe some of the things that are happening in our lives, that are inconsistent with God, are because we don't know the truth. You know, that's happened a lot in the lives of new believers. You'll have conversations with them and they'll come back and they'll be like, "I had no idea. I did not know this was the case." And I'll say, "Well, what does that means to you?" "This will change everything." "Yep, it does, it changes a lot of stuff." "Man, is there more stuff like this that I didn't know?" "There is."
And it's Jesus just shaping us more into his image, right? So maybe for you, when the Spirit of God identifies some of these things in our hearts, it may be that you just don't know and it may require you to spend more time with the Lord, right? Or, it could be that you've been believing the wrong story and acting like it's truth, when it's a lie. And maybe you need to take that narrative that's leading to those behaviors and you need to press that up against the word of God and say, "Is this true or is this a lie?"
Or, maybe some of those behaviors is a result of this, you actually know the truth, but you're ignoring it. Now notice what I said, you know the truth, I didn't say you believed it. If you believed it, you'd do it. You know the truth, but you're ignoring it. I don't know which one of those areas it could be, but it's likely one of those. If there are behaviors in our lives that are inconsistent with sound doctrine, they're inconsistent with Jesus, they don't look like Christ, then that means either we've got a knowledge problem, we just don't know the truth and haven't been able to implement it. Or, we've believed a lie and we've told ourselves it's the truth. Or, we know the truth, but we're ignoring it.
Whatever it is, God wants to help you in each of those areas. So, could I ask you for a moment, just to bow your head and be reflective along that line. And ask these things of the Lord so that he can begin to point them out and then in just a moment I'll close us in prayer and we'll be dismissed in just a moment.
Let's pray together. Father, we ask you now by your Holy Spirit to search our hearts. To point out those places that may be secret spaces or protected places in our hearts, that don't look like Jesus, they sound, act like Jesus. Lord, this is a part of us being willing to surrender ourselves to you and allow you to do this kind of work in our hearts. Because, Holy Spirit, we know that you're not doing that to punish us, but you're doing it for our good. To conform us more into the image of Christ.
Because Lord, we know that sound doctrine, healthy belief about who you are and what you do, is so important to the mission of God. Because it grows us in godliness and it puts Jesus on display in our lives for the world around us to see. So, Lord, whether our need is actually growing in a daily knowledge of you by spending time in your word, listening to your voice, whether it's sorting through the things in our lives that we've believed to be true, that are actually not true because the world has foisted them upon us and we've bought them. Or maybe it's that we do know the truth, but we've been ignoring it because we've enjoyed just fulfilling the lusts of our own flesh.
God, would you remind us that you know better? And that the reason that we want to believe healthy things about you, God, is because you have come to give life and give it the full. The thief comes to steal and to kill and to destroy. But you, Jesus, have come to give life, life abundantly. Would you help us to believe you, that your way is better. That you are our satisfaction, that you're our treasure and our joy and our hope. And that we desire nothing more than you, because you are where our hope is fixed.
And may you help us to see how our living out the truth affects the world around us, because wrong believing leads to wrong living, which leads to not being used by God to impact the world around us. But when our faith begins to reveal to us a knowledge of the truth and we begin acting in godliness, that impacts the world for the glory of God. So may you do that in our hearts for your glory. We pray in Jesus' name, amen.
But before you're dismissed, if you are somebody who's saying, "You know what? I've heard you talking about Jesus, this is all kind of new to me, but I'd like to know what it's like to be changed by him, forgiven by him, transformed by him." We'd love to talk to you about that and in the Fireside Room out in the atrium, we'd love for you to come by and we'd love to speak to you about what that looks like.
Know that you're loved, everybody. God bless you, have a great week.