This sermon was based on Titus 1 & 2.
Qualifications for Elders
Teach Sound Doctrine
1But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Go and Make Disciples of All Nations
- The original disciples had experienced Jesus making them into disciples and understood that to do so meant forming them into a community on mission together that demonstrated a different lifestyle and purpose to the world around.
- There are 3 essential words here: “Church” – a community. “Disciples” – those learning to follow Jesus. “Mission” – not just to other nations but also to all those around where the community was formed.
So, a church is not a place or a service to which you go but a community of disciples on mission. This is the background to understanding the story of Titus
The Story of Titus
- Titus was a key member of Paul’s Apostolic Team. After Paul’s house arrest in Rome he had travelled with his team, including Titus, to various places.
- They visited Crete where the gospel had not been preached before. There were converts in several of the towns there, but Paul had to leave, and left Titus behind to form these new believers into missional communities of disciples. Paul then wrote Titus a letter, confirming his instructions to him when he left.
- Paul had some concerns he knew Titus would have to address.
- These were new believers from a totally non–Christian culture. They had to learn to live differently but in a way that commended themselves to the pagans around and did not offend them unnecessarily.
- People in Crete had not seen followers of this new religion before. They would be thought of as strange because, they refused to join in with the sacrifices to the gods, they had stopped going to the drunken orgies and they were rumoured to refuse to give the oath of allegiance to the Roman emperor.
The Letter to Titus
- So, Paul wrote to Titus telling him to teach the believers there to live such lives as true disciples that commend the gospel to those around.
- Older men were to live lives that would earn them respect. This was culturally important and needs to be restored today.
- Oder Women were not to gossip or drink too much. These were both issues in the culture. They were also to disciple and teach the younger women.
- Younger women were to be taught how to love their husbands and children. This can sound paternalistic and politically incorrect in today’s society. At the time Titus was writing however, wives would have worked in family business as well as supporting their husbands and children. Here the point is conducting yourselves for the sake of people outside the church – “that no-one will malign the Word of God”.
- Titus was to motivate younger men by the way he behaved himself. Best way of discipling younger men. So self-controlled – not sexual excess, not drunkenness. Christian young men should be an example in self control, in doing good for society, and good speech – i.e. not talking like culture around in humour etc – why? “So that those who oppose us may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us”.
- Slaves were to be taught to be subject to their masters and demonstrate a different attitude than others around them. Paul is not saying slavery is a good thing but teaching if we can’t change it then work within it, in a different spirit. This is a lesson to how we approach things even today in a secular age where the church as a whole no longer has the place in the establishment that it once did.
- All of this is done to bring the church and those within it into a good standing in the society and to cause people to find the gospel attractive. It can only be done through demonstrating to the world the same kind of Grace God has shown to us.