It is arguably among the most uncomfortable discussions born again believers have who want to be considered cool by unconverted friends. It’s possible the internet makes this battle even more complicated. Have you taken inventory of who likes and comments on your social media posts? Have you taken recent inventory of what stories you “like” or “share” or comment on? Have you inventoried the amount of time you’re spending in “conversation” with people in passing that you rarely have to see face to face?
I thought I would take a moment and consider what kind of influence Scripture is having on me in this respect.
Titus chapter two is my starting point. I took the statements by the apostle Paul to heart and weighed them in the balance. So, with the lamp of Scripture on, I take the beam of light from Titus chapter two and let it do an examining work on myself and may it do an influencing work on the reader too.
First the apostle tells Titus that he must tell the Lord’s people what sort of character he should expect to come from sound teaching. There is an expected result upon the follower of the Lord that should be present. It is not a cloning effect, it is a transforming work.
After Paul told Titus to expect a transformation he starts with the old men.
“Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance (Titus 2:2).”
- Temperate: This interesting word means that a person, in relationship to matters of this world, is not marked with passion for or of this world. Meaning further that if we are more known for our passions of temporal matters than eternal matters then Paul wants the men in the church to not be so marked.
- Dignified: This character marking of an older man is that he will invest, with honor. This man of God understands order and realizes that he gives leadership in the church by how he talks about the Lord. He knows that what he says about pastoral leadership to others has influence, he must not misuse this influence.
- Sensible: This is a character slipping quickly away from the older men. Sound teaching should reintroduce this quality for the Lord’s people. This character trait of the Holy Spirit influences the older men to know how to respond when around others. The Holy Spirit will inform the man of God what is considered appropriate. This man of God speaks and acts with awareness of his speech and actions. This man is not know for his silliness or childish demeanor. He understands that he is not a boy and that boys become men, putting away their childish ways.
- Sound in Faith: This man of God walks in soundness of faith. He is not silly nor does he require God to do what God does not promise to do. He acts on the revealed word of God in soundness. He boldly believes what God has promised. He courageously waits on God to move. This man is spiritually healthy.
- Sound in Love: This man of God is an extender of grace and is graceful toward the Lord’s people. He loves the church and defends her. He provides and protects the bride of Christ, the church. The effect of sound teaching on this man causes him to love loveless people without morphing truth to fit the age.
- Sound in Perseverance: This man of God that Paul is telling Titus of perseveres with his face to the Lord as directed from Holy Scripture. He waits on the Lord even when the tide of public opinion of God is declining because of false teaching and teachers of the age. He is soundly in Love with God. So much so, that he submits all thoughts, ideas, emotions and feelings to God and asks God to help him interpret them correctly so he can remain steadfast.
- Why? because there are young men in the congregation. There are young men watching you in the weekly gatherings. You, older men, urge the younger men to take life seriously, letting your own life stand as a pattern of good living. You are more influential than the most effective marketing agenda in the day. You stand against a beast, now show the younger men what it looks like to be a godly man.
- Young men, it may be a good moment to turn off your computer and look your wife in the eyes once again. look at her and give her confidence that you have her best interest in mind. She wants to see you looking at her to know you do. It’s time to put aside your childish days and be a man. Are there men in your congregation you can look to? Put your video game down this week and spend a few hours with a godly man who can help you put your family first.
Similarly, like the older men, the older women should be noticeably set apart by their conduct and behavior than the unconverted women of the day.
- Reverent in their Behavior: The effect of sound teaching on the Lord’s women should be noted in respect to their behavior.
- Should not Make Unfounded Complaints: The key here is the word “unfounded”. This means that there are actually times to complain, but she only speaks harshly with founded reason.
- Should not be Driven by Intoxication: Listen to this women. There is an intoxication of this world that apparently causes you to lose sight of how dangerous it is to be carried away with romance or self flattery. This woman of God that is the product of sound teaching is aware of the danger of fancy and fantasy. She must know that she has the capacity to be distracted easily here.
- They should be examples of the good life: This is an amazing statement. What an enormous responsibility. Woman of God you are commissioned with standing up against the empty promise of the advertisement world. You, woman of God, are positioned uniquely by God, to be an example of the Good life. WOW. That doesn’t mean you are the example of what the world says is the good life, you are to know the word of God in such a way as to be an example of what God declares to be the good life. Aim your sights higher than you have been. Open up your bible and invite the Holy Spirit to instruct you in this good life, then be an example of it.
- In doing this you help the younger women. Help them learn to “love their husbands and their children, to be sensible and chaste, home-lovers, kind-hearted and willing to adapt themselves to their husbands.” You are a better advertisement than any movie, book or commercial for the Christian faith. Make sure that the social media engagement you make doesn’t promote a kinship with what the world calls the “good life”.
- Young women, remember that God made you a helper for your husband. How can you help him if you are more interested in fulfilling the dream the marketing world keeps lying to you about? Look at that husband of yours when you make him dinner and make sure he knows how much you enjoyed ministering to him by obeying God. There is a promise of a good life… it’s just not where the haters of God are telling you it is at. The next time an older woman in the church ask you to come help them with something godly (not silliness) join them and taste this good life.
Paul concludes this teaching to Titus by telling him that his teaching must show the strictest regard for truth, and show that you appreciate the seriousness of the matters you are dealing with. Show this seriousness because the enemy is making a mockery of manhood and womanhood. Make sure that when you speak that you use language that doesn’t show partiality to the spirit of the age, be influenced by the Holy Spirit so that the enemy has nothing in which to pick holes.