Titus 2:2 (NIV)
Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
Our Verse of the Day seems especially applicable to someone like me … an older man. I have this mental image of the elder Paul speaking to the much younger Titus in a mentoring conversation – Paul encouraging Titus in his responsibilities as a young church leader, overseer, and preacher. And we can see this “conversation” unfold within the full chapter:
Titus 2 (NIV)
1 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 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. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 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. 6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. 9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. 11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 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. 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
There is a lot of teaching presented here; and I see the following points for our consideration:
- Paul begins with contrasting the work of Titus with that of the false teachers (See Titus 1); admonishing him to preach “sound doctrine.”
- Sound doctrine will direct righteous conduct of all believers, regardless of age, sex, or position, so that our actions help rather than hinder the spread of the Gospel.
- Older men, as leaders, are to be moral and spiritual examples through reverence, faith, self-control, temperance, patience, and love. Think about the fruit of the Spirit as a guide.
- Likewise, older women are expected to adhere to the same standards of conduct – to be reverent in their behavior as becomes holiness.
- Note that older men are to be mentors of the younger men, and older women are charged to be mentors to the younger women with regard to conduct that pleases God.
- Those who are bondservants should be submitted to their owners in everything. Again, their conduct is to be respectful as well. Slavery was a basic element in Roman culture during that period of history. I think in Paul’s mind, slaves who were Christian could give a unique and powerful testimony to the gospel by demonstrating their willing faithfulness and obedience to their masters. Paul considered himself a “slave” to Christ….
- In our generation, the same type of conduct would be applicable to the employer-employee relationship. As employees, we are expected to exhibit the type of conduct as would become a Christian who follows the patterns of sound doctrine … the teachings of Christ.
- Regardless of whether we are Jew or Gentile; male or female; free or slave; Paul is concerned that our conduct aligns with our confession of faith in Jesus. As he stipulated in Verses 11 and 12: “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.
- Paul reminds us in Verse 14 that Christ Jesus gave Himself for us … He was crucified to redeem us from all sin and wickedness … to purify for Himself a people that are His very own … a people eager to do what is good.
- These, then, are the things Titus was admonished to teach … the sound doctrines that lead people to holiness … with preparation for His Second Coming in mind … in expectation of the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior. Yes, these are the things Christians are to learn and teach … to pursue, live, and share with others with eagerness.
So, in light of this teaching, I think there is a question we should ask ourselves: “Am I eager to do what is good?” Per the NKJV: “Am I zealous for good works?” Paul urged: “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Cf. Romans 12:11) I believe if we want to spread the Gospel message as we have been commissioned to do, then we need to be mindful of our conduct so that the Word of God may not be maligned or blasphemed. Christian hypocrisy must end if we are to be effective and productive to win souls to the Kingdom of God. People will judge the sincerity of our faith (and its message) more by our conduct than our words. We should be eager to walk in holiness and love … for these are the outcomes of the sound doctrine we have been taught by Jesus and His Apostles. As the Apostle John admonished: “Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.” (Cf. 1 John 2:6)