Week Five: Lives That Adorn Sound Doctrine, Titus 2:1-10

Hi Everyone!  We had the privilege to hear from our dear (gifted!) sister, Whitney W. today!  Following are her teaching notes.  

Turn to today’s passage Titus 2:1-10. Read it.

Intro:

People are watching all the time. People watch celebrities and politicians and figures within the community waiting to see if their day-to-day lives line up with their professed convictions. People are always watching to see if others’ actions and convictions line up. This is true in all spheres of life, but I think it is especially true when it comes to religious convictions, specifically Christian convictions.

If you are a Christian, people are watching you. People are watching every move you make, every word you speak, every emotion that spills out of you to see if it lines up with who you say you are. People are watching you to see if the faith you profess is also the faith you live out. Do you realize that?

And this is true in every aspect of your life. It makes no difference where you are—maybe you’re home and you have “little people” watching everything you say and do (familiar? “don’t do that” but “YOU” do it) OR you are at work and co-workers are watching everything you say and do OR you’re a student and your fellow students watch everything you say or do. Regardless of where you are, if you are a Christ-follower, people will always be watching you, waiting to see if your life is in alignment with your faith.

And they aren’t simply watching as if they’re detached viewers, they’re actually responding to your witness and making judgments about God and his gospel message accordingly. The truth is, the way you live your life before the watching world has the power to draw people towards the gospel but it also has the ability to push people away from the gospel.

It’s a serious reality and it’s this reality that Titus 2:1-10 addresses. It’s specifically going to address the witness to the world that believers are to have as they live out the ordered integrity of family life. Paul says we’re to witness to the world through the way we live in our household structures.

Here’s the “big idea” or the “telos” of this text—

Sound doctrine rightly taught produces godly living within Christian households that serves as a witness of the gospel to the watching world.

Homiletic Outline:

Sound doctrine rightly taught (2:1)…

…Produces godly living within Christian households (2:2-10)…

…that serves as a witness of the gospel to the watching world (2:5, 8, 10).

  • Sound doctrine rightly taught (2:1)
    • Paul says, “But as for you”, that is, “You” specifically in contrast to the teaching and lifestyles of the false teachers in 1:10-16. “Teach what accords with sound doctrine.”
    • There are really two components or two strands of what appears to be a single command. There is the “sound doctrine” to which he refers. This is the identifiable body of apostolic teaching he refers to throughout the letter, known to us as the gospel. Doctrine tends to be a word that feels quite intimidating, especially among women. “Sound doctrine” feels a bit reserved for scholars and theologians and Bible teachers, thus it is often neglected by what we would deem “ordinary Christians”. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Paul regularly labels the gospel in different terms. Here he calls it “sound doctrine”, or for instance in Romans 6 he calls it “the standard of teaching to which you were committed.” These are all just different ways to refer to the gospel, the body of apostolic teaching that was delivered to these local churches. So Titus is to teach sound doctrine, that is, he is to teach the true gospel of Jesus Christ. This would entail the nature of God, creation of mankind, the fall, the redemption that ensued throughout the Old Covenant, the coming of Christ in the incarnation, the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and the outpouring of the Spirit.
    • Don’t ever forget that it’s “Sound doctrine, the approved teaching of the Christian faith, which produces spiritual health.” The historical temptation when teaching this section has been to focus on all the things that should characterize each group to the neglect of recognizing the gospel foundation. However, it’s clear that sound or healthy doctrine is the immovable foundation of the Christian life.” Therefore Paul tells Titus that what he teaches about Christian living or ethical living must be in accord with or correspond to this sound doctrine, this firm foundation.
    • That being said there is another component-He was to teach those things that accord with or which fit sound doctrine, namely the ethical living that such a precious doctrine demands. Sound doctrine is not to please our ears, it’s to transform our lives! There is an inseparable connection between Christian doctrine and Christian duty; between theology and ethics. This is really the great message of Titus; it’s the melodic line that courses through this entire book. Paul’s commanding Titus to teach good doctrine, to teach gospel truth and he’s also commanding him to teach the ethical living that should characterize the lives of those who have been captured by the gospel. Christian living should always flow from our Christian doctrine. What you believe and what you do are connected in an indissoluble manner. Don’t fall prey to thinking that you can change your behavior without first changing your beliefs or change your beliefs without having your behavior affected by it. These two are connected! And so Paul charges Titus to rightly teach sound or healthy doctrine and those things which accord with it.
  • …Produces godly living within Christian households (2:2-10)…
    • Paul proceeds in verses 2-10 to tell Titus what it is exactly that accords with sound doctrine and he does so by addressing six different groups. He divides the church according to customary social categories and employs the common household code form of teaching to emphasize that Christians must practice a renewed or reformed kind of behavior in those categories.
    • Here’s what I find so interesting—Paul is going to point to the HOME as the place where the transforming power of the gospel is to be MOST evident. I find that it’s much easier to live a life that accords with sound doctrine when I’m at women’s Bible study or at Western Seminary or at small group at the pastor’s house. I’ve VERY aware and conscientious of living a life that corresponds to what I profess when I’m in these settings. I find it’s much more difficult to live a life that corresponds to the gospel in familial structures. It’s in the home when we are most vulnerable to falling into old patterns—to being a little bit cutting towards our spouses, to be chippy with our children, to drink a little too much or eat a little too much or surf the web a little too much. It’s in the home where we get a bit casual with our attitudes and our words. And yet, Paul chooses to address how the gospel should affect the way we live IN OUR HOMES AND WITHIN OUR FAMILIES as the means by which influence the world.
    • I don’t plan to detail each command given to every group in great detail because it is quite plain what should characterize the lives of each category. Hopefully you were able to spend some devotional time on this in your study time this week and in your group discussion today. I will sum each up as such:
      1. Older men=should be models of dignity, respectability, and wisdom.
      2. Older women=much in the same way as men, set off by the term “likewise” in verse 3 must also be models of dignity, respectability, and wisdom. Dignity and respectability in that they are reverent and not slaves to much wine or gossip and in wisdom in that they are to teach and train the women younger than them.
  • Younger women=are to be models of self-control, purity and kindness as they work in the home, submitting to their husbands and serving their children.
    1. Side note-many question if this prohibits women from working outside of the home. That’s a good question. As a useful tool for future study remember to always interpret difficult passages of Scripture with the Bible. The principle is to interpret Bible with Bible! I don’t think that Paul could be saying that a women couldn’t work outside the home in light of women working such as seen in Proverbs 31 or Lydia in Acts 16 who was a seller of purple goods and likely made a pretty penny off of her work. The Bible seems to commend women who work hard outside of the home to provide for their families or for Jesus’ ministry or for the local church so this text surely doesn’t prohibit women from working outside the home.
    2. At the same time I don’t want to be so influenced by our feministic culture which is clearly obsessed with finding “freedom” in shirking off any responsibility that we might have within the home that we lose sight of a fairly clear biblical principle-women are responsible for much of the day-to-day care of their homes which includes their children if they have any. I think this will look quite differently in different homes. Certainly we all go through various stages that demand different things for each season. There isn’t a one size fits all here. But I do think there is a timeless truth or a principle and it’s this-women should be highly involved in the day-to-day household responsibilities. If you choose to work outside the home and many of you will, you will simply have to find systems to make it all work.
    3. Before we move on, I do want to touch on this one on one discipleship relationship that was brought up in the homework. We need to be intentional in our discipleship with other women. It doesn’t have to be fancy and it doesn’t have to be a program. I think in many ways discipleship is simply “Intentionally doing life together in such a way that you both grow to love and serve Jesus more.” This can be lived out in a variety of ways!
    4. I’ve always had younger girls in my life with whom I’m opening the word together and growing in our love for Jesus together.
    5. I’ve also always sought out relationships with more mature and wise women whom I can learn from. Realize the DEEP value that older, wise women offer!
  1. Younger men=are to be self-controlled.
    1. Realize that self-control is mentioned the same amount of times as the positive mention of good works (“good works” is used once more to signify that the false teachers are unfit for good works). But self-control shows up five times and the positive exhortation to good works shows up five times. Key terms are like red flashing lights that say “look at me!”
    2. As I reflected on this it would seem to be that the Paul is trying to tell us that if we want to be vessels of good works we will have to learn to be self-controlled. If you want to be a believer who is transformed by the gospel and characterized by godly living and good works at some point you are going to have to employ some self-control. This is so convicting to me. I’m full of good ideas to love on people but I somehow manage to let it slip, thus often missing my opportunity to do a good work. Oftentimes we lack self-control and diligence in the way we manage our schedules and time and we miss many a good opportunity to encourage a sister or witness to an unbeliever all because we’ve let our personal schedules get out of control.
    3. I’ll also say this, women tend to be control freaks. Some of you are just LOVING this command to self-control. But there is a difference between being self-controlled and being a control freak. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit at work in your life and being a control freak is a fruit of your old man Adam still at work in your life.
  2. Titus=is to be a man of the highest standard of integrity in ALL of life…in his teaching, in his life, in his words.
  3. Slaves=they are to be obedient and well pleasing in all they do.
    1. This was briefly brought up in your notes. Many struggle with the fact that slavery is included the Bible and that the authors give specific commands about it. There was a link in your workbooks that I hope many of you checked out addressing this. If not, please do so in the future. Very briefly there are a couple of things to point out:
      1. Slavery was part of the Hellenistic household so it would make sense for Paul to include this in this section.
      2. In the first century was incredibly different from early American slavery. Many slaves actually sold themselves into slavery as a means by which to provide for their families and themselves if they were in a debt too deep to repay. Although it surely wasn’t first choice, it was actually a legitimate option for those who were encumbered by deep debt. Slavery in this case was self-surrender for financial help.
      3. On top of that, many slaves were treated with respect and dignity by their masters (MUCH UNLIKE early American slavery). They were well-educated, often the teachers of the children of their masters. They could marry, obtain wealth, eventually buy their freedom, sometimes as soon as in seven years time!
      4. At the time of this writing, as much as 2/3 of the Roman population was slaves! It was a common practice that served as a legitimate way to take care of your family.
      5. Recognize the differences in culture first. But, still, recognize that the biblical authors, much like ourselves, are operating in a fallen world system. No type of slavery, even the better situations in the first century, was God’s original design. The biblical writers are not advocating for slavery but they are giving biblical principles for life within a fallen world. During that time, one of the realities Paul was dealing with was slavery. So he addresses how the gospel comes to bear upon people’s situations where they were in various stages of life, including slavery.
      6. He doesn’t seek to overthrow the societal structures from without, he seeks to transform it from within. Imagine a young man, a slave, hearing and responding to the gospel and then allowing it to affect his entire life. There would have surely been converted slaves who became burdened for their masters, seeking to see them come to Christ. Can you imagine how powerful the witness would have been? Slaves serving in such a dignified manner, seeking to please their master in everything, so that the gospel could be made attractive to the very busy they were enslaved to?

 

  • …that serves as a witness of the gospel to the watching world (2:5, 8, 10).
    • The discussion on slavery leads naturally to the final point—Sound doctrine rightly taught…produces godly living within Christian households….THAT SERVES AS A WITNESS TO THE GOSPEL TO THE WATCHING WORLD.
    • Look at v. 5, 8, 10. In each one of these verses there is a purpose statement (that or so that) that tells the reader why each of these things is important.
    • THIS IS PROFOUND and often missed when we dissect this passage out into groups and categories of Christian living within taking it within it’s whole context. The entire thrust behind this whole passage isn’t first and foremost about becoming a Titus 2 woman, it’s about living in such a way that the gospel is made attractive to the watching world! This passage is quite missional in its thrust. True Christian faith necessitates full engagement in the world.
    • The verb in verse 10 kosmeo translated “adorn” is used of the arrangement of jewels in a manner to set off their full beauty.” Paul is saying that our lives are to be so transformed by the gospel that our behavior sets of the full beauty of the gospel. We are to make the gospel beautiful and attractive to those who are watching us!
    • Responsible Christian living within society, specifically as it is displayed in the household, promotes God’s mission of reaching the lost. The way you live your life within your household on a day-to-day basis either gives credibility to the gospel to those watching your life or it discredits the gospel to those watching your life. In the smallest of ways, the way you speak about your husband to a non-Christian friend, the way you parent among secular parents in the school system, the way you work for others in the workplace, the way you control your speech and your body…ALL of this either credits or discredits the gospel of Jesus Chris!
    • We don’t like to think about this but our lives matter deeply to the spread of the gospel. Think about the Cretan context, the world in Crete had never seen Christians before. They are experiencing a brand new era in redemptive history. This is a new community, organizing itself in a new way. Yes, they identified with the God of the Jews who had been well established by that time in history, yet they refused to offer sacrifices any longer saying that the Messiah had come and offered himself as the final sacrifice. They refused to identify circumcision as the sign of entering into covenant. They no longer observed the festivals. So not only were they different from the Jews but they were different from the local pagans in that they also refused the way of pantheism, choosing not to serve the local gods and goddesses. All eyes would have been on this brand new sect of religion, which would have been considered a cult in some sense, watching and waiting to see if their lives and message would have lined up.

CONCLUSION:

The gospel should so transform our lives that we behave in such a way as to validate Christianity in front of our skeptical viewers

OUR. LIVES. MATTER. The way you live at home, at school, at work matters. The words you speak, the decisions you give into, the things you pursue all matter. The world is watching you, they’re waiting to see if your life lines up with your faith. They are waiting to see if the gospel is valid or not. And so the way you speak to your husband and the way you parent your children and the way you train other women and the things you look at on the internet and the things you say behind closed doors it all MATTERS. In a world filled with cheap knockouts and temporary pleasures and false gratification, people are desperate to see lives of purpose and passion and fulfillment. And even the most RESISTANT person to the gospel is watching YOUR life waiting to see if there is anything legitimate to this Jesus stuff. I plead with you to allow the teaching of sound doctrine to so inebriate your life that you would be transformed in such a way that those watching you would want to know MORE ABOUT JESUS.

Does your life, specifically as it is lived out in the home, make the people around you want to know more about Jesus?

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