how faith dignifies us

Slide2

In this series, we have been looking at Paul’s letter to Titus.  We have seen that Paul is writing from the standpoint of a veteran missionary, giving some instruction to Titus, who is now on the field in Crete, managing the new church plants there.

In what we know as chapter 2, Paul gave specific instructions to Titus relating to what kinds of things he should be teaching, what his chief activity should be as a missionary, and the focus of his ministry toward others.  Here is my translation of that chapter:

1 But you should say what fits in with healthy teaching.  2 Teach older men to be balanced, dignified, self-controlled, healthy in the faith, in the love, and in the perseverance.  3 In the same way, teach older women to be reverent in how they act, not slanderers or slaves to a lot of wine. They should be good teachers, 4 so that they can train the young women to show love to their husbands and show love to their children, 5 to be self-controlled, devout, hard workers for their families, good, and submissive to their own husbands, so that the word of God may not be accused of being useless.  6 In the same way, encourage the younger men to be self-controlled.  7 Offer yourself to be a model of these good works in every way, demonstrating in your teaching integrity, dignity, 8 and a healthy message which is beyond criticism, so that anyone wanting to oppose you may be put to shame, finding nothing worthless to say about us.  9 Teach bondservants to be submissive to their own employers in all matters; they should be satisfactory, not argumentative, 10 not embezzling, but demonstrating that they can be trusted to do all kinds of good, so that in everything they make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive.  11 Because the grace of God has appeared, announcing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly lusting, and to live self-controlled, fair, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the glorious appearance of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a remnant people who are enthusiastic about doing good works.  15 You should say these kinds of things; encourage and reprimand because you have every right to do so. Do not let anyone wonder about your right to teach them.”  Tit 2:1-15, JDV

Slide3

It is very important to see that there has been no change to the core gospel message.  The basic teaching about who Jesus is, what he did, and what our hope is has not been altered.  The gospel in summary is that Jesus is the Son of God who was sent to die in our place on the cross, and because he has done that, we who believe in him are now redeemed from sin’s penalty, and look for the day when we can live eternally with him when he returns.  That was Titus’ faith.

how faith dignifies us

The beautiful thing about Titus chapter 2 is that Paul uses that gospel truth as an overlay, and proceeds to give Titus his job description as it relates to all the various people in the church he will teach.

  • Teach older men to be balanced, dignified, self-controlled, healthy in the faith, in the love, and in the perseverance (2).
  • Teach older women to be reverent in how they act, not slanderers or slaves to a lot of wine. (3a) These older women should be good teachers, (3b) so that they (not Titus) can train the young women to show love to their husbands and show love to their children, 5 to be self-controlled, devout, hard workers for their families, good, and submissive to their own husbands (4-5).
  • Teach younger men to be self-controlled (6).
  • Teach bondservants to be submissive to their own employers in all matters; they should be satisfactory, not argumentative, not embezzling, but demonstrating that they can be trusted to do all kinds of good (9-10).

Showing integrity and dignity in all our relationships is how Christians back up what we believe about Christ.

Slide5

Titus himself had to be the model of that lifestyle, as well as its proponent.

  • “Offer yourself to be a model of these good works in every way, demonstrating in your teaching integrity, dignity, and a healthy message which is beyond criticism, so that anyone wanting to oppose you may be put to shame, finding nothing worthless to say about us” (7-8).
  • “You should say these kinds of things; encourage and reprimand because you have every right to do so. Do not let anyone wonder about your right to teach them” (15).

He had to encourage those who were getting it right, and reprimand those who were getting it wrong.  Otherwise, nobody would want to believe the gospel.

Here is the point I am trying to make:  The gospel is not about being good; it is the story of God’s grace given to us who dare to believe it.  But Christians are encouraged to live good lives of integrity and dignity because otherwise those who are looking at us are going to miss the gospel.  Our goodness cannot save us.  But our goodness can attract others to Christ – who is the world’s only Saviour.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ today, and there is anything wrong with your relationship with someone else, I urge you to make it right, because the devil is using that problem to keep others out of the kingdom.

But, if you are not a believer in Jesus Christ today, I have only one message for you.  Believe the gospel.  Don’t wait around until you find a group of perfect Christians, because you are not going to find them.  We came to Christ because we knew we were not perfect, so we are trusting in him.  And that’s the only way into the coming kingdom.  Believe the gospel.  Then, the Holy Spirit can make you into a better person.  Your faith in Christ can give you a life of integrity and dignity.

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