Thursday, September 14, 2023

2023.09.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Titus 2:1–2

Read Titus 2:1–2

Questions from the Scripture text: In contrast to the unordained idle-talkers and deceivers of Titus 1:10, what sort of doctrine is Titus to speak, and what kind of conduct is he to speak in relation to that doctrine? Whose conduct is he to address first (Titus 2:2)? What is the first thing they must be (cf. 1 Timothy 3:2, 1 Timothy 3:11, where NKJ translates it “temperate)? The second (cf. 1 Timothy 3:81 Timothy 3:11)? The third (cf.1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8, where it is translated “sober-minded” )? In what three things are they to be “sound” (cf. Titus 1:9, Titus 1:13)?  

What should a minister speak? Titus 2:1–2 looks forward to the second serial reading of in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that ministers should speak not just sound doctrine, but application appropriate to the people, beginning with the elderly men. 

The church was plagued with many “insubordinate” (Titus 1:10)—many who did not follow Christ’s order in the church, and though not ordained, spouted their theological opinions to others. Their speech was characterized as “idle talk and deceptive” (Titus 1:10)— “things which ought not” be taught (Titus 1:11).

Speaking sound doctrine. Just being a correct talker doesn’t automatically mean that man is doing correct talking. First, his doctrine must be sound (Titus 2:1). We remember back to Titus 1:9 that this means that it comes from the Scripture. The Word must be in charge of our teaching. It is a faithful Word. And it must be clung to. This means holding fast to it as it was taught. Bible study is not a place for innovation. Theology is not a place for creative thinking. 

Speaking application of that doctrine. In Titus 2:1, the sound doctrine is actually behind the sort of talking that is being commanded. What is being commanded is specifically the application of that doctrine to life. The things which are “becoming” unto sound doctrine, or as in our version “proper” for sound doctrine. Not only must Titus teach them good theology; he must instruct them in how to live consistently with that theology. 

Starting with the older men. The word used is similar to the one for the office back in Titus 1:5, but not exact. It would be like saying “elderly.” And the primary applications to them, that Titus must make, sure are elder-ish! In a culture obsessed with youth, and a church culture obsessed with young people and young families, it is a needful correction to see where Paul starts and where Titus must start: the elderly men. Just as the elders and deacons do by their office, the elderly men also must be an example of godliness to the rest of the congregation. What a difference it would make if, in the churches, rather than the church generally dressing down to the casual immaturity of youth, imitated the sober, reverent, temperate, sound elderly whom the Lord had placed among them. What is the character that these elderly must display to be such an example?

Sober. When this word appears in 1 Timothy 3:21 Timothy 3:11, our version translates it “temperate.” The word describes a man who does not indulge his senses in his tastes and habits. He doesn’t live for pleasures of the body. He lives for the deeper, lasting, steady joy of the Lord. He is a serious (not the same as “somber”) person. Earnest not superficial, and steady not always coming with something new.

Reverent. This is another word that comes from the qualifications of an elder (cf. Titus 1:8). It has to do with dignity and nobility, seriousness and majesty of manner—worthiness of respect. Not only is his behavior is respectable, but the dignity and nobility of his behavior is what best summarizes him as a person: both inwardly by the Spirit and outwardly in serious, worthy living.

Sound in faith. This corresponds to the “sound doctrine” of Titus 2:1, except that this is on the receiving end. Their conviction about the true teaching of the church is stable and steady. There are no holes and weaknesses in their holding fast to the Word (cp. the elder in Titus 1:9a). 

Sound in love. There are no gaps or instabilities in their love for God, brother, and neighbor. The love is healthy and strong. It isn’t mere feelings or heartless actions. Mind, affections, and will are set first and foremost upon the Lord. Their worship is according to Scripture and a sincere expression of their heart. Likewise, their interaction with others is full of heartfelt service. What a blessing they are to a congregation who can see, in their elderly, that true doctrine produces “love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith” (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3–5)!

Sound in patience. They are not impatient. But neither are they fatalistic or stubborn. Their endurance is healthy and stable. Cheerful hope in the Lord persists through their trials. With their age, indeed, trials are likely to have multiplied. But their patience holds up to the strain. And thus they are an example to the whole congregation that the grace of Christ will get us through. 

What should the relationship of your doctrine and your behavior be? What elderly men in your congregation are an example of this? Which of the characteristics in Titus 2:2 do you need most to work on?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for giving us true doctrine that You use to produce godly character in us. Forgive us for when we are not urgent enough about sound doctrine. Forgive us for when we idolize youth and immaturity rather than imitating the godly and serious elderly who are examples of grace. Forgive us for our tendency to go after new things. Forgive us for when we live in an unserious and unworthy manner. Forgive us when our faith, or our love, or our patience are superficial, unhealthy, or out of proportion. Forgive us, and help us, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

No comments:

Post a Comment