Template For Discipleship
Pastor Steve Ellison
Titus 2 is a marvelous passage. If a church is ignoring Titus 2, it is missing significant instruction regarding its fundamental mission. This passage gives a detailed template for discipleship in the church. Paul laid it out very clearly for Titus and for us. First, he told Titus to stick with sound teaching. Then, he divided the church into five groups: older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves. This last group was very important. The island of Crete had a very large number of slaves. Many people find it odd that the Bible taught slaves to obey their masters, instead of advocating for their freedom. Servanthood is a major theme of the Bible. Christ came to serve. We are called to serve God and one another. We ought to keep in mind that the goal is not the happiness or comfort of the slave but rather the conversion of the master and/or anyone else who was around to observe the behavior of the obedient and faithful slave who was doing his best to please his master. This idea ought to impact all of our relationships. We might not be slaves but many of us are employees, and every one of us answers to someone. We ought to be honest, faithful, and pleasant. More people might just be won to Christ.
Paul gave a brief and certainly not comprehensive list of things for Titus to teach. Surely Paul addressed issues that were especially dangerous for the respective groups but surely these specific instructions apply in a general way to each of the groups. Paul told Titus to teach older men to be self-controlled. Self-control pops up over and over again throughout this book and all of the New Testament. Older men are to train themselves to live sensible lives, worthy of respect. Older men are to do all things in moderation, thus leading balanced lives. They are to be sound in all their teaching. Older women are to be reverent in their behavior, not abusing alcohol. I once heard a wise man say that many women are addicted to alcohol because of mistreatment by men. I am afraid that he was right. Older women are to be cautioned against being malicious gossips. Whatever your age or your gender, if your tongue is under control you can be sure that something supernatural is at work in your life.
When it came time to dole out instruction for the younger women, Paul took a different approach and for good reason. He told Titus to instruct the older women so they could teach the younger women. That is very sound advice for all men. It seems that many if not most church leaders, who fail morally, do so after extended contact with younger women in the congregation. Sound Biblical advice for the church leader is: don’t do it. Instead, church leaders are instructed to train older women who will in turn train younger women. Paul went on to list some of the most important things older women should teach younger women. At the top of the list is to love their husbands. The best thing a mother or father can do for their children is to make sure that their children know that they love each other. Children need the security that comes from knowing that their parents are totally committed to each other. Next on the list was to love their children. These ideas are counter-cultural in modern America. We are bombarded with the message that we are to cater to our own wants and that everyone else comes in second. Our homes and families are in terrible condition because we have not heeded these commands. ……..…..firstname.lastname@example.org