Titus 2:1 “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:”
When considering whether a church has the qualities necessary for individual growth, whether it is grounded in sound doctrine, and reliable in how they practice truth, one need only seek the originator of Truth—the Word of God.
Doctrine is the teaching of a church, specifically as it extends into application in life. If a church teaches sound doctrine and yet practices something entirely different, the doctrine is a front for something else.
The leadership within a church is representative of the principles and tenets by which a church is founded and operated. If the leadership is good, it is reflective of the goodness of God. The Spirit of God is active and moving within the ministry of such people and likewise the Spirit of God draws people into this relationship as well.
I heard a pastor teach last year on the tenets of good leadership. The book of Titus was the reference and it struck me how these elements of godly leadership needed to be exhibited in my own life. When I mentioned to this pastor the conviction I felt in needing to grow and develop these principles his response troubled me. He basically acted like they were irrelevant if I wasn’t planning on going into leadership.
How does Jesus view His church?
Revelation 5:9-10 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”
When I look into the Word of God, I don’t see a distinction between anyone in the church in regards to the qualities of godliness and the need to exemplify them. What is evident is the scrutiny placed upon leaders and the requirement for someone to be in that position. When it comes to our relationship before God, those qualities of godliness are encouraged and commanded to all.
Titus 2:1-2 “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;”
- Sober–some will interpret this as sober-minded which is to be clear headed, not influenced by substances that will cloud your thinking or dominate your life. Temperance is a word often used in this setting which indicates an avoidance of extremes. Alcohol certainly fits this criteria and everything else that is prevalent in society that inhibits a man’s ability to think clearly. With the advent of medical marijuana and subsequent recreational usage at an all time high in our society, this charge is more relevant now than ever before. A little alcohol doesn’t impair, nor does certain drugs that have a beneficial effect, where people drop the ball is when they can’t moderate the usage.
- Reverent–to be reverent is to show deep or solemn respect. 1 Timothy 3:8 “Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,” What a man of God reveres is holiness. If the walk doesn’t match up with the talk, the talk is not believable. I am continually challenged by this charge against me and a majority of my prayer life is in listening and responding to the Spirit directing me in this course. If I can’t live out my conviction then it becomes nothing more than that, a continual reprimand that never corrects. No one is expected to be perfect in life, the striving is toward a perfection and that requires humility.
- Temperate–self control is an attribute that is highly revered in society. Everyone knows how difficult this is and to those who have mastered it, there is a high level of respect. This quality extends to every reach of life, from the tongue to the mind, self-control is not easily achieved, it requires a concerted effort and determination that must be tamed with a view to neglecting the flesh. The flesh continually cries out to be satisfied and for those who have learned to master this element of life, it is these we look up to.
A final charge…
- Sound in Faith–an uncorrupted view of God’s Word is to understand the principles of God’s Word without human interference. I don’t think the expectation is that a man understands all the mysteries of the depth of the knowledge of God. The principles of God are manifold and yet the core principle of salvation, sanctification, and truth have not been hidden but are made obvious to all who seek them.
- Sound in Love–love that is pure looks like Jesus. Jesus embodied every aspect of sound love that we might exemplify it in our lives.
“Pure and undefiled religion before the God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their tribulation; to keep oneself unstained from the world.”James 1:27
A consideration for those who lack power or prestige is to bring oneself into a position where they are now. This is what Jesus did when He came down from His position of glory and honor and took upon Himself our position in the flesh. Whether it is an orphan who needs protection or a widow that is grieving, we learn to identify with others in their need. To remain unstained is to not partake of the sin this world continually wallows in on a daily basis. The prodigal son understood this staining when he found himself in a pig sty fighting for food.
You will not find godly honor, respect, or spiritual nourishment from this world, it has none to give. The world honors its own.
The question is: who do you want to be honored by? The world now, or the Lord later?
- Sound in patience–an uncorrupted understanding of God’s Word entails a knowledge of patience. Patient in trials comes through a faith that has been refined by the fires of trial. Patient with others is an attribute of love. Patient in your walk is found in knowing the Lord has always led that man in life and will continue to do so until the end. Patient in knowing that God is Sovereign and regardless of what is happening all around us, this world will be subjected to His authority and pattern of completion set forth since the beginning of time.
1 Timothy 3:4-7 “An overseer must manage his own household well and keep his children under control, with complete dignity. For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for the church of God? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same condemnation as the devil. Furthermore, he must have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the snare of the devil.”
We must break out of the mindset that since we aren’t in a particular position or “calling”, we don’t need to concern ourselves with such matters.
We are all called as Kings and Priests within the Kingdom of God. We all have the same responsibility before a Just and Holy God.
It is only for those who have risen above and successfully received and embraced these principles is the position of honor in representing God as a Shepherd before the people, will the task be given.
There is much more in the charge given to Titus, for older women and younger people as well, but I’ll save that for later…
Remember old men, you were mentioned first for a reason. Your place and position within the church is valuable and brings stability within the congregation of the righteous. Step up, live honorably and know your not done until the Lord says your done.
If your young(er), strive to be a man like this in the twilight of your life. Move on to maturity and be the pillar in your church and family you were called to be.
You may be retired from a career but your position within the church lives on.