What we believe and how we live is not something to be dismissed or thought lightly of: God commands us to think very deeply on both.
If we are unsaved our beliefs will be erratic or just sinful. They will dictate how we act and what we think, usually to the detriment of everyone else around us. When this sinfulness is multiplied in many souls, it will affect whole nations.
The saved can be just as erratic in their beliefs and actions, if they are not committed to God truly and continue to live in sinfulness. What we do can affect how we believe, but what we believe is more dramatic, because it will guide us towards a perceived goal. And if that goal is ungodly (whether we are saved or not) we will be lost in sin, deserving of, and getting, God’s wrath.
In this study I speak of some who reject what I say, not because what I say is wrong, but because it is perceived to be so by unruly and unbelieving ‘Christians’ who prefer their own answers to God’s word. Over the past few decades the majority of these defaulters have been charismatic: they love the idea of having gifts that give them an edge over everyone else! They muse about it and enter into silly deceptions, so as to gain, hopefully, some spiritual insight or power. This will not happen – the only thing they will get is Satan’s attention. He watches for just such people, because their willingness to adopt ungodly beliefs and to twist God’s word, is just what he needs to deceive many. And he has done this with a vengeance, through the charismatic movement, which is an heinous ungodly movement. (Notably, many charismatics have rocky or failed marriages, because of spiritual sin… this being Satan’s wish).
In this chapter we see just a glimpse of what it means to be truly Christian. God does not put up with nonsense and silly beliefs. Both He and Paul call us to repentance and holy living. Totally, not just in part or when we feel like it. Listen and learn, or reject and become Satan-fodder… it is up to you.
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
In the last chapter Paul speaks against reprobates, who “profess that they know God”, but deny God in the things they say and do. I solemnly repeat my charge, that the majority in our churches are reprobate. They have a temporary easing of their consciences by pretending to be saved and attending meetings, but they go off at a doctrinal tangent to satisfy their sinful desires.
Today the major enemy of this kind is charismaticism, ‘the spawn of Pentecostalism’, with all its many false claims and pretences. It is the single most damaging movement in the world of spirituality today, growing alongside Romanism and ecumenism, both of which are cousins.
Paul begins this chapter with an opposite (a usual practice). ‘But, YOU,’ he says, ‘must speak only what is true doctrine!’ Do you only speak what is true? In everything? In particular, sound doctrine? If you do not have sound doctrine as your foundation, then you are a spiritual liar, a fraud, an enemy of Christ.
What is ‘sound doctrine’? The word starting this chapter is ‘but’, a conjunction. Thus, it links what was said previously with the following argument, that all Christians MUST speak truth that “becometh sound doctrine”.
‘Doctrine’, didaskalia, means teaching or precepts; in this text it refers to God’s word. There is a special word just for ‘false doctrine’, thus proving that there can be lies and there are truths, truths only coming from God, the rest coming from Satan. You would be surprised by how many beliefs taught in our churches are from the latter. Some of them are not ‘big’ failures, but when you add one small error to another, it soon begins to get larger in total, crushing truth!
Didaskalia infers a didaskalos, a teacher, who teaches the truth we are to imbibe. He is fitted to teach and only teaches what God says. Sadly, the same word can also be used to refer to false teachers, so beware. The doctrine a true teacher teaches must be ‘sound’. Indeed, it will always be ‘sound’ if he is righteous, thus placing him in a position of trust and truth, always striving to retain his righteousness through faith and action. Such a man is approved by God, and led by Him.
To be sound, hygiaino, is to ‘be well’, or, ’in good health’. In Christian terms it means to be free of error, something rarely found today in most churches. It also implies that the teacher is himself strong in his faith and displays the ‘graces’ of God in his life.
Many Christians think teachers and pastors etc., must be foppish, with limp handshakes! (It makes me shudder). They must be compliant to the wishes of the congregation and easily swayed to always say what is ‘nice’. Oh dear! That makes me a very bad pastor on each and every count! No – the true pastor and teacher will ONLY teach what God says. Then, and only then, will you have ‘sound doctrine’. I would repeat that many churches now teach false doctrine, or a mixture of both good and bad… charismatics being the ‘front runners’ in this at the moment.
The teaching of ‘sound doctrine’ will have countless good effects. Verse 2, for example, says it will cause “aged men (to) be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, patience.” The words ‘aged men’ are one in Greek – presbytes. From this comes the word for ‘elder’ or ‘pastor’. This is because older saved men should become pastors, not younger men. The reason is obvious: older men have life experience and are mature in their faith and understanding. This is why another possible meaning for the word is ‘ambassador’.
The older saved men will be ‘sober’. In this text it literally refers to wine drinking. The older men must drink wisely or not at all. In scripture there is no ban on drinking alcohol, only on drinking excessively, meaning drinking enough for the wine to alter one’s sensibilities. Many drink so that they ‘feel relaxed’ or ‘feel good’, but this shows that the wine has already taken over the person’s self-control and ability to think straight. At all times the Christian MUST be in control of his faculties, otherwise Satan will bring havoc and wrong thoughts.
The older man must be ‘grave’, semnos, meaning reverend (no, it does NOT mean a man may be titled ‘reverend’ – this title is for God alone). It means to be honourable and venerable in character, thought, speech and actions. He must, then, be very noticeable by how he carries himself in society, including church meetings. His stature must reflect the goodness and holiness of God.
He must also be ‘temperate’. This is a serious matter, for it means he must have a sound mind, free of insanity and other mental problems. Part of this is that he does not allow himself to be ruled by his desires, but is self-controlled in all things. It is a modern error for such men to be allowed mental afflictions, as if they were ‘illnesses’. They are not; they are self-induced and self-fed by sin. (I would remind readers that I once worked in psychiatry). Thus, a pastor may not have a mental or emotional imbalance. If he does, then he forfeits his pastorate (because he is sinfully influenced by his emotions, which warp thought and responses).
The man must also be ‘sound in faith’. Faith, pistis, is an interesting phenomenon, for a man cannot give himself faith; it is a gift of God. It means a man has complete trust in God and whatever He says. It includes belief in God as Creator (which itself includes six-day literal creation), and means the believer is himself faithful to God and to others, being completely reliable. How many men you know can fit this description of an elder/pastor or older Christian? (There is a lot more to this).
He must display ‘charity’, or love. As I have said before, most Christians only know of agape and overuse the word in almost every situation. In reality there are at least 22 different forms of ‘love’ in scripture. Agape is the most basic and so Paul is saying that every older male Christian and pastor must at least show this most basic love.
It is not a love based on emotion, as in, say, the love of a man for his wife, or a mother for her children. It simply means we have respect and affection for other believers. It includes the idea of being a good host when visited by fellow believers, who we may ‘love dearly’. I see very little of this in general local church life. Yet, the older Christian must be ‘sound’ in this love.
And he must also be sound in patience, meaning he will be firm in his faith and constant in his beliefs. He will never be turned away from truth and his general aim in life to be holy and true. How many pastors are turned away by their love of money, or even their ‘job’ as pastor, and avoid talking about anything that might be deemed controversial? I know personally how many do this! Thus, they do not teach truth, but half-baked lies and confusion; they are, then, unworthy before God.
May the Lord help them or remove them from their offices. Or, let them prove their claimed faith by being steadfast in belief and action, no matter how roughly society treats them. It is fact that most pastors refuse to speak out against sin and governmental evils, for fear of offending some! This makes them useless.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Not only men must excel in God’s eyes. So must the older women. Women may not be pastors, but they do have particular objectives to achieve. They must act properly, “as becometh holiness”, unlike those foul women who run around half-naked on Saturday nights, drunk, filled with drugs, cursing and fighting. It seems many young Christian women, also, like to attend the very same places, proving their faith to be fake or badly corrupted. ‘Holiness’ means the same as for men – to act reverently and honourably. How can they do this in a pub or club?
They must not babble on and spread malicious rumours, being “false accusers”. Interestingly, this word, diabolos, is allied to one that refers to the name of Satan. It means to slander others and to accuse them of things they have not done. By doing this they side with the devil, who is our chief accuser.
Unsubstantiated accusations can have a devastating effect on others. In the past I knew an older woman who was vicious-tongued. She loved to spread lies and accusations in the church. But, the pastor allowed it to continue, saying it was “Just her way”. This is a foul thing to say, for her sin was vile and was unacceptable in a local church, as well as wicked before the Lord.
The older women should not drink too much wine, not just because of the bad effects (which all who drink too much believe are not there!), but because women who are drunk, or even ‘affected’, are a bad witness to others, especially the young and their own children. These women must be “teachers of good things”, a refreshing antidote to modern practices and ways, preferring what is godly to what is not. Woman… are YOU a “teacher of good things, a kalodidaskalos?
The older saved woman must be a role model for younger women and girls, teaching them to be ‘sober’. In this text the word has a meaning different from the previous one. Here it means to be in possession of one’s senses, to be self-controlled, to regard duty as vital, and to teach others what is right and wrong. This is the true woman of God! Of course she may have a sense of humour and enjoy this life. All of us can do that… but we must also remember that others, and God, watch us.
Such a woman must teach the younger women to love their husbands and their children. Here we have another word for ‘love’, philandros. Yet another word for love is reserved just for the love of a mother towards her children – philoteknos. These are not mere words, but necessities that must be displayed at all times. This love will also make sure that husbands and children are not sent on a bad path, but are taught what God requires.
The older women (and therefore younger women) must be “discreet”, or of sound mind and self-controlled, etc. Many, including Christians, fall to emotional disturbances or neuroses. They obtain medication from doctors for it, and use it as an excuse for their many failings, whether it is anxiety, depression, inability to go out of the house, and so on… the variety of emotional ‘illnesses’ is huge! And it is all sin, an excuse to be rid of responsibility and accountability. Another aspect of this sin is losing one’s temper easily, using inappropriate language, throwing things around the home, and so on. All of these behaviours are sin.
Christian women must be “keepers at home”. To keep the home is a grave responsibility given by God, not to be scorned or rejected! The woman must care for the home and keep it in good order. This domestic idea is laughed at today by modern women, which proves their sin in this, too. It is true that modern governments make it almost impossible for most women to stay at home, and this is the sin of leaders, not of women, who are forced to work outside the home.
Even then, if this is essential to live a reasonable life, the woman must ALWAYS care for her home properly. Better still, it might be possible for her to stay at home despite very low income. Few will do this because they want so many things, and this hidden ‘love of money’ must be addressed. Better to love God and obey.
Women must obey their husbands. This is another thing many modern women fight against, yet it is a command of God. To be obedient is to be subordinate and subject to the just requirements of the husband. How hated this command is! The wife must listen to the husband’s advice and teaching. She is his helper not his head. This is the created order and must be obeyed. Of interest: women who actually obeyed in this way after doing whatever they wished, reported that they felt at peace and more balanced and blessed as a result.
Those who do not obey their husbands are committing blasphemy against God and His word. That is, by rejecting or ignoring God’s demand for women to obey their husbands, women blaspheme or treat God with disdain, causing His word to be badly thought of. Feminism, then, is an evil sin, and no woman should follow its path. Scripture has plenty to tell us about treatment of men and women, and none of it is bad or to be ignored. Women – do not be misguided by modern lies!
Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Young people are often treated as something special when it comes to obedience! It is commonly taught that they must be set apart and allowances made for their indiscretions. Not so! They have the same responsibilities as older people… unlike some in a young people’s fellowship I know who, after their meetings, walk across the road to the nearest pub! Other times they attend clubs and sleep with others!
Young people are usually ‘given their head’, because they are ‘only young once’. Whilst we must not dampen youngsters down so much as to make them miserable, and we must allow for their zeal, we may NOT allow for sin. So, young men, (in Jewish society it means from age 13), too, must be “sober minded”.
Again, this means to be self-controlled and sane, acting wisely, and to make sure passions that arise are not followed through, but kept in check. In particular today this refers to sexual morality, but also to keeping ones’ self in order. There is no excuse for the often wild ways of young men, who indulge in sin. Any enjoyment they have must be in what is wholesome. This means teaching them from babies not to ‘follow the herd’, or to act like everyone else – now a curse on modern youth, who ‘must’ be like everyone else in their age group.
I know Christian youngsters who have given up this foolish following of sinful peers. In doing so they have become socially lonely but morally and spiritually secure. It is vital to be this way, even if they have no friends (because genuine Christians are few). God will repay! He will give them what they need if only they obey His commands. Modern music and sinful social activities are anathema, a sin before God, and young men MUST make sure they understand this.
Young men (and, obviously, older men, too) must be a “pattern of good works”. Good works are the result of salvation, and must be shown in one’s life, as a typos or type of what is expected by God. Everything we do and say must conform to God and His teachings. And others must mimic these good ways, because they are good in themselves.
Those who are saved must teach the unsaved the same things, so that thy may live morally and ethically. It does not always mean that others will listen, but it is what we must try to bring about, as a witness to truth and true life.
They must be firm and holy in doctrine, not corrupted by bad teaching. This bad teaching is found in the majority of churches today. What is worse is that pastors who are responsible for guiding the flock actually drive them away from God by teaching heresy and error.
Young men must also show ‘gravity’, or purity in their lives, so that others look upon them with favour and respect. Fellow youngsters, of course, filled with the sin of modern life, will scoff – but so what? They blaspheme God and are bound for hell unless God saves them! So, why follow them and their ways?
They must also show ‘sincerity’, or an incorrupt mind and heart, pure and holy. How many Christian youngsters do you know who live like this? How many, rather, like to have a ‘bit of both worlds’? There are young Christians who think it is acceptable to have sex with close friends; some say it is ‘okay’ if they are engaged to be married! This is not so – it is still fornication and sin.
Some think it is okay to go to clubs at weekends so long as they attend church meetings at other times. They think it is okay to drink alcohol in pubs and clubs with sinners. They think it is okay to listen to modern music, most of which is unseemly, sinful, degrading and godless. They think it is okay to mix with sinners who drink until drunk, or take drugs… the list is endless. It is all sin. Being young is no excuse to lose the spiritual plot and to get away with sin!
Youngsters must speak with “Sound speech that cannot be condemned”. Their unsaved peers will, of course, condemn anything godly in them. But, they will NOT condemn them if they do what they do – sin. The condemnation in this text is by God, not by sinful peers. There is also the condemnation of Christian elders and others.
To be ‘sound’ in this context is to think and do what is holy. Those who do not live according to this godly command have no idea what trouble they are in if they reject it. They also have no idea that to live holy lives is cleansing and refreshing to the soul and mind, which will always then be balanced and critical with a good conscience.
The reason why youngsters who turn to homosexuality commit suicide is nothing to do with condemnation by others – it is because they condemn themselves in heir hearts and minds, because they KNOW they are sinning grossly. They are living an unbalanced and sinful life, so they are not of ‘sound mind and speech’. So, even the unsaved know the crushing guilt of sin.
Everything about a youngster, then, must be holy and true, so that no-one can place blame on them or say they are unholy. Otherwise, he or she can be ashamed, and rightly so. Youngster – live a pure life, so no-one, whether within our outside the churches, can point a finger at you!
All of this might seem a tall order for youngsters. You will think this because of the propaganda of modern times which makes you disobedient to parents and God. God is good and knows what is best for us. Ignore it at your peril.
Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;
Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
Servants, too, must live properly. Right up to modern times, many people had servants. Another word we can use is ‘employees’, so what applies to the servants of old also apply to employees of today. They must be obedient to their masters. That is, they must work according to the terms of contract, not trying to always ‘skive off’, but giving a fair service for their wage, whether that wage is small or great.
More than that, Christian employees must try to please their employers. Not just by doing whatever is necessary, but by going beyond that. My last employer actually told me I was a fool to do so, but I insisted on it because I had to obey my own conscience. As some know, this did not do me any good, because I was hounded out of my job… but at least I knew inwardly I had done not just a good job, but a superlative one. Which is why the reason given for my dismissal was nothing to do with my job, but with my Christian witness.
Employees should not keep answering back and continually complaining. If they took on a job, then they also took on the task of acting properly, regardless of circumstances. Either keep quiet or find another job. If you cannot, then see the employer and voice your concerns - once only.
And never steal from the employer. It does not matter if it is one sheet of paper, a paper-clip, or a whole warehouse full of goods. It all belongs to the employer. The fact that he “will not miss it” or that he drives a Porsche, makes no difference. It matters to God!
So, there must be no “purloining” (theft or fraud), but only “good fidelity” or acting in a trustworthy way. Can you imagine the shame of a Christian being found stealing? God forbid! Rather the Christian must “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things”. No matter what we do or say, everything must point towards God and His salvation and not be let down badly by our resort to sin and theft.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
The things Paul has been talking about are commonly expected of ALL men, whether saved or not. God’s grace is shown to ALL men, even though He does not give salvation to many. It is obvious to men that God is good… this is why fake Christians and those who do not even pretend, are very happy to follow the earthly ways of Christ, but not His commands to salvation.
This show of God’s word denies any worth in living a godless life, following our worldly lusts. These ‘worldly lists’ included everything in excess and to do with human sin, which was a prevalent philosophy of the day. Rather, Paul says, we must live soberly (definitions already given), righteously (as God demands, in purity) and therefore ‘godly’ in this present world. There is no excuse, not even for the unsaved, to live ungodly lives, and we ought not give them such allowances!
Rather, we must, as saved men and women, live holy lives “looking for that blessed hope” (eternal salvation), and looking forward to the Second Coming of the Lord. He has already appeared to give us salvation – now we must ‘work out’ our salvation on this earth, meaning, live holy lives. After all, He gave Himself for us so that He could buy our souls back from sin. He also came to purify those who are elect (‘a peculiar people’), so that they – we – should live a life of good works. Do YOU?
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
Titus (and so all who are pastors and all Christians) was told to speak out these words boldly, to teach others. He was also to rebuke (tell off) all who refused to listen. In this text Paul was referring to those who were saved. We are to rebuke those who sin or who fall short of proper Christian behaviour. We can do this with “all authority”, because it is what God demands of us. And for this “Let no man despise thee”
I have lost count of the number of times people have rejected what I say out of hand. In particular this happens with charismatics. Instead, they throw out their home-spun beliefs as if they were scripture. In reality they have no right whatever to reject what I say, or to despise me for saying it, because whatever I say is from God, not my own finite mind. They MUST obey, not because I say it, but because God says it. It does not matter what you or I think. What matters is what God says and expects. I can only say that those who reject what comes from God are extremely foolish, and will earn God’s wrath if they continue in their falsity.
© November 2010