Saturday, September 9, 2017, 4:56 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Lord, Move Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Titus 2:1-14 (ESV).
Sound in Doctrine (v. 1)
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.
Not all of us are teachers, in a formal sense of the word, but we all teach something each day by our lifestyles, words, attitudes and actions, for good or for bad. For, we ought to all have people whose lives we influence, because we should, if possible, have some human contact each day. Also, for us who are followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be the light of Christ to a dark world, the salt of the earth, and to proclaim the excellencies of HIM who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. As well, we are to go and make disciples of people of all nations, baptizing, and teaching them to obey all things Jesus commanded (Matt. 5:13-16; 28:18-20; 1 Pet. 2:9).
Since we are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, to proclaim the excellencies of Christ, and to make disciples of people of all nations, we need to make certain that what we are proclaiming is sound in doctrine, i.e. that it is the truth, and not twisted truth or half-truths designed to make people feel good in their sin. So, what is doctrine? “Doctrine, then, is scriptural teaching on theological truths” (1), i.e. scriptural (biblical) truths. “According to one definition, doctrine is teaching from God about God that directs us to the glory of God (2). I like that one!
Sound doctrine, essentially, is the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). It makes no compromise with the world in order to make nice with the world, but it presents the truths of scripture according to the context in which they were written, for the purpose for which they were written. In other words, it does not pull scriptures out of context to support a particular chosen belief while ignoring the bulk of teaching in the Bible on that same subject (or subjects).
Too many people stubbornly hold on to particular beliefs, even though the bulk of scripture speaks the opposite, or even if, in comparing scripture with scripture, we are able to see that a particular held belief is not fully supported in scripture, and thus we must form our beliefs based upon all teachings on that subject, and not just the ones that support our beliefs. It would behoove all of us to be good students of the Word of God, not to support preconceived beliefs, but to find truth, and then to live the truth.
Sound in Faith (vv. 2-6)
Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.
What does it mean to be “sound” in faith? It means to be complete, thorough, unblemished, unadulterated (unmixed) and firm (secure), without wavering. It means we are no longer like children being tossed here and there by every wave of teaching, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (See: Eph. 4:11-24). It means we first know the truth, are certain that what we believe is truth, and then we stand on what we believe, but not just in theology or doctrine, but in practice, day in and day out, no matter the circumstances, and no matter who we are with at the time. We don’t blend in with the world to be accepted, and we don’t compromise our faith to not be rejected or persecuted. And, it means we walk (in lifestyle) no longer after the flesh, but according to the Holy Spirit.
Although this section of scripture deals with particular groups of people, for the most part what is instructed to these specific groups applies to all who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ. We should all be serious-minded about our walks of faith in Jesus Christ. Too many people take God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and God’s Word all too lightly, and do not take them to heart, to make God and His Word a reality in their daily lives. This doesn’t mean we go around with frowns on our faces all day long or that we never laugh or smile. Serious-minded is not to be equated with grumpy and downcast. We can have the joy of the Lord in our hearts and smile and laugh (appropriately) and still be serious about God and His Word.
We are all to be steadfast (unwavering, constant) in our faith, reverent (respectful) in our behavior, not slanderers, and not addicted to strong drink, drugs, or anything else which might cause us to lose self-control. Self-control has as its basis Holy Spirit control, for self-control is one of the characteristic traits of the fruit of the Spirit, which is to be seen (exercised) in our lives, as followers of Christ. We, too, are all to teach what is good, i.e. what is spiritually healthy and what is God’s best for us, not the junk that is being passed off as the gospel today which is intended to appease the flesh and gain customers for big businesses called “church.” And, all of us are to be submissive to God and, in reverence for God, also to one another, which includes wives being in submission to their husbands. But, not one of us should ever submit ourselves to sinning against God.
Be a Model (vv. 7-10)
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
Too many professing Christians today make excuses for willful and continuous sin against God, claiming “I’m not perfect,” but that is a lame excuse, and God doesn’t accept it. Certainly none of us lives in sinless perfection, though I know some people claim they do, but all of us should be walking (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God, and not according to our sinful flesh, if we are truly in Christ by faith in Him. So, in reality, if this is true, we should all be good examples of what it means to be a believer in Christ and to walk with integrity (truthfulness, honor, uprightness), which includes admitting wrong and repenting of sin when one does sin.
Grace of God (vv. 11-14)
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Too many professing Christians and non-Christians, alike, are also confusing God’s grace with libertinism, i.e. the freedom to be “unrestrained by morality and indulging a variety of amorous impulses” (M-W). They see God’s grace as carte blanche (free rein) to continue in sinful practices, as though thinking that God’s grace just covers it all, and that God just looks down on them and smiles when they choose to keep sinning against him. But, that is not true.
Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His grace instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await his return. Jesus did not die just to forgive us our sins, but he died to transform us! When we come to faith in him, we die with him to sin so that we might live with him to his holiness and righteousness, for this is why he died! So, give your lives to him today, and let him have HIS way now in your lives.
Lord, Move Me / An Original Work / October 16, 2011
Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.
Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.
Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.
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