Passing down Faith

Titus 2:4-6 “that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded”

There has been a troubling trend among the youth of America and abroad for several years now. When kids leave High School and begin to attend college, statistics have shown that nearly 66% leave the church. Competing worldviews in colleges has demonstrated an aggressive and violent position against anyone purporting to adhere to a faith that resembles anything christian.

In a 2017 Lifeway research report the reasons are as follows:

For those who moved to college, their responses varied:

*Church members seemed judgmental or hypocritical

*I didn’t feel connected to people in my church

*I disagree with the church’s stance on political/social issues

*My work responsibilities prevented me from attending.

According to a 2022 statista report in America, nearly 70% of Americans claim to rarely or almost never attend church.

With the Covid-19 crisis still looming in recent memory the difficulty for people to connect in a meaningful way has been slowly reviving. Even those who want to go to church have found a reduction in church attendance since returning. Wearing masks caused a regression in social interactions and people have to almost re-establish the pattern of regular church attendance.

Being the Church

For people to understand the implication of what it means to be “the church”, they have to first understand why it is so important.

What compromises the church? Is it a group of people meeting in a building, singing songs, listening to a pastor or priest give a message?

Go to any modern day concert and you’ll get the same treatment. The artists speak their minds on subjects relevant today, the music and message resonates among its people and the audience joins in the celebration by dancing and singing along.

What makes the church so different? For those institutions who have become seeker friendly, the laser shows, dry ice effects, and digital forms of connecting is an attempt to compete with the worldly equivalent today.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

What is the Church?

*Those who bear the name of Christ.

*Those who walk in humility before a Just and Holy God.

*Those who walk in the Spirit and communicate with God regularly.

*Those who seek His face and desire to be in His presence will draw near with a contrite heart.

*Those who desire Christ will walk in righteousness.

The attributes of a people who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength are those who God calls His people but this still doesn’t describe why it’s important to show up to church on Sunday’s.

Colossians 3:12-17 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Paul describes the work of believers as being a critical part of what being a member of God’s church looks like. The attributes of those who are lead by the Spirit is demonstrated in the fruit they bear. Walking in these attributes is critical for not only maintaining a fellowship in the Spirit but also in demonstrating Christ to the world.

To those who have learned to walk effectively in the pattern of righteousness, they are admonished to teach these to those who have yet to walk in them—typically reflected in the young.

The illustration in Titus of what this teaching entails is first directed toward marriages.

Titus 2:4-8 “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. 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.”

*Young women are encouraged to love their husbands.

This seems like something that doesn’t need to be reiterated but n Paul’s day women were treated terribly, they were considered as second class citizens on multiple levels and I would assume this same mentality carried into the home. Loving someone who treats you as inferior is a love that exceeds human nature and carries with it a strength that goes beyond the expectations that marriage carries with it. Even today, for those who are married they understand the challenges it brings and know that consistency in love is a personal decision that honors the Lord and transforms those who walk in it.

*Showing love to children carries great responsibility.

Our children are our future, if we don’t teach them how to love, they won’t understand it when they are older. The love of family is only one aspect of love, loving others with agape love is the type that demonstrates the love that God has shown us. The more we help our children and others see godly love in us, the closer we usher them into a knowledge of God that hopefully will become personal to them one day.

*The admonishment to be discreet in all things shows wisdom.

To be discreet in conduct or language is a character quality that takes a determination to learn. To be discreet is to be careful and circumspect in one’s speech or actions, in order to avoid causing offense or to gain an advantage. Quiet strength can be far more appealing than a braggadocious display of opinion ever carries with it.

*To be chaste in conduct demonstrates purity.

The idea of being chaste is a practice that seems foreign to many millenials today. If you suggest to young people that waiting for sex until you’re married is good practice, they might look at you as if your crazy. This form of encouragement requires a biblically moral foundation from which to proceed, if you encourage someone who doesn’t have a desire to follow God’s Word, your only impressing upon them a morality they have not received.

*Being a homemaker is honorable.

What are the attributes of woman who has made her home a sanctuary? When you step into a homemakers world, you are subjecting yourself to her rules and if those rules are godly in nature then you will see godliness demonstrated in her family. The love that is shown, and the light that emanates to neighbors and friends becomes a source of strength and stability.

*Goodness exemplifies Godly character.

If we show goodness, we reveal the manifest presence of God through our lives. When I see a woman or man that is good, I see someone who understands how to submit to God’s leading.

*Learning Obedience shows an understanding of God ordained position.

When obedience is demonstrated toward a spouse it’s not done by lowering oneself but rather reveals an understanding of marital and parental roles within a home. When husbands and wives live by the roles God has ordained, children will flourish. There are distinct responsibilities for a man and woman in a marriage relationship, walking within the guidelines of a biblical mandate allows for growth and as children grow they begin to see why marriage is sacred.

Walking in Honor

When people live by the principles of God’s Word, they live in a way that honors the Lord. Whether it is in a quietness of spirit, maintaining standards of holiness, or in showing love, these all demonstrate God’s goodness to a world that hungers for truth.

The church bears the name of the Lord.

The 3rd commandment is “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”.

To take God’s name in vain is to blaspheme His name before the world. There are many ways to do this but the exhortation here is for God’s people to honor the Lord in how they live. If a “christian” claims to be a follower of Christ and yet lives like the world, he demonstrates God’s love in a way that mischaracterizes the nature of God. True christians are God’s ambassadors to the world, they carry His message and exemplify His attributes through His love.

Christians are called to a greater purpose, this is what they committed to when they chose to respond to the call of the Spirit in their lives.

The final admonishment is given toward young men—be sober minded.

Sober-minded men are characterized through by taking their faith serious and showing a lack of living in excess. What godly young men live for, how they live, and what direction they want to go requires spiritual understanding. Spiritual maturity comes through obedience to the Spirit of God and begins by drawing near to God.

Walking in the fellowship of God is a daily practice that requires discipline. Disciplining our bodies, our schedules, and our time is one that takes a concerted effort with an eternal goal in mind. The ultimate goal of a man of God is reflected in the greatest commandments:

Mark 12:29-31 “Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

When people live in the fullness of this directive, everything in life changes. To change from the world into godliness takes a humble and contrite spirit.

Do you need to change?

If you sense this need, it is because the Spirit of God is calling you to repentance. Turning your life around isn’t easy, it never has been and never will, so don’t expect it to be. Know what you want in life and then pursue it and the God of all glory will move mountains to see that it happens—because that path is the one He has directed.

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