Sunday, July 20, 2008

Matt's Messages "Applying the Gospel"

“Applying the Gospel”
Applying the Gospel: The Message of Titus
July 20, 2008
Titus 2:1-10

The title for our series is also the title of today’s message: “Applying the Gospel.”

The apostle Paul had left behind his friend and ministry partner Titus on the island of Crete to straighten out that which was left unfinished. He was “left behind to do what was left.”

And it appears that most of what hadn’t been done yet for the new and fledgling church on Crete was the establishing of leaders and the training of believers in the implications and applications of the gospel.

Last week, we learned about the qualifications for True Elders who would lead the church in faithfulness and about why True Elders are needed: the presence of false teachers who desire to lead the church astray.

Crete was known as an untrustworthy place to live, and Titus was charged with finding trustworthy elders to lead the church and instructing the new disciples in living their lives differently, changed by the gospel–applying the gospel.

And in our text for this morning, Paul gets specific. He names six different groups of people whom Titus is called to teach the application of the gospel: Older Men, Older Women, Younger Women, Young Men, Titus Himself, and Slaves.

Verse 1 is the key verse.

Titus, listen up! There false teachers everywhere you look. Crete is overrun with liars, evil brutes, and lazy gluttons.

But not you. That can’t be you. And it can’t be the church on Crete. Instead (v.1):

“You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”

Notice that Paul does not say that he must teach sound doctrine. He does need to teach sound doctrine, and Paul will be telling him in next week’s passage and in chapter 3 what sound doctrine he needs to teach–the gospel, the good news of grace in Jesus Christ.

But that’s not what he says here in verse 1. He says that Titus needs to teach “what is in accord” with sound doctrine.

Or the KJV, “the things which become sound doctrine,” and that doesn’t mean the things that didn’t used to be and then became sound doctrine. It means the things that “become,” that go with, that accentuate, that affirm, that correlate, that accord with sound doctrine.

He means what we call “applications” or “implications”–the practical outworkings that go with the doctrine.

Titus needed to teach the believers, not just what was sound (or healthy) doctrine (or teachings), but he needed to teach them how to apply those truths to their lives so that their lives and their teaching were congruent, coordinated, compatible.

Their lives needed to match the gospel.

Let me put it this way: the church on Crete needed to be taught in specific, practical ways, that their lives needed to demonstrate that the gospel was true.

Their lives needed to match the gospel.

“You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”

Applying the Gospel.

#1. TO OLDER MEN. Look at verse 2.

“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.”

The first group that Paul lists are the older men perhaps because he’s already been talking about older men when he talked about elders in chapter 1.

Older men, are you listening?

You’re probably wondering who is an older man according to the Bible.

Well, I’ll let you figure that out, but this is what all men as they grow older should be aspiring to.

The King James Version says, “aged men,” but I don’t think you have to be elderly to aspire to these things.

There are four marks of a godly older man that Paul gives Titus in chapter 2. They are not everything that a godly older man should be, but they are each important.

1. “Temperate” which means clear minded and sober in judgment. A good, wise head on his shoulders.

2. “Worthy of Respect” which means dignified, the KJV has “grave” which means having some “gravitas” or being noble. Not that you can’t be humorous, but there is some decorum to your life, you are serious about the right things. You are not a fool and others can look up to you.

3. “Self-Controlled” which is Paul’s favorite word in this book. We’ll see it again and again and again. Being out of control is still a real temptation for older men–not just for younger ones.

4. And “Sound in Faith, Love, and Endurance.” An older man who is trusting, loving, and hoping, persevering in hope.

Older men, does this verse describe you (us?)?

Is this what you aspire to?

There is nothing said here about amassing wealth, or being feared in the corporate world, or having stuff that others want, or being free to golf all day long, or anything else that the world says should characterize an older man.

Instead, respectability and wisdom are what’s truly important. Being an example, someone that others can look up to. I see men like this all around this auditorium.

But if these verses don’t describe you, what needs to change? And how are you going to do it? We need to take this seriously. Our lives must match the gospel.

Older people are often overlooked in our society. But they are very important for the gospel in our culture, especially those who have believed the gospel for many years.

Because people are watching and need to see if gospel is true because of how it has changed people’s lives.

Older men, are your lives changed by the gospel? Or are you no different than the other men of our community?


“Likewise [like the older men, Titus], teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.”

You can see how we could easily have a sermon (or series of sermons) on each of these groups, each verse.

Here the older women are to be taught these four sets of behaviors:

#1. Reverent in the Way They Live. I call that “living a worshipful life.” This is the only place where this Greek word is used in the entire New Testament, but in the other places it’s used to describe priestesses–holy women. Gospel women are full of worship.

#2. Not Slanderers. This is not passing on negative gossip about people or talking people down. As I understand it, this is a major temptation for older women. And they don’t even know that they’re doing it, it’s so ingrained in the their nature and prized in the world. Can you keep your lips closed about someone?

#3. Not Addicted to Much Wine. Not given over to addictive substances. Not out of control (this one goes with self-control).

#4. Teaching What Is Good. Notice that older women have a job to do! They are called to be teachers. Not necessarily class-room teachers, but life-teachers. Mentors. Ones called to come alongside the younger women and teach them what is true.

Older ladies (and all of you ladies are older than someone!), does verse 3 describe you?

I’m glad that our church is full of women like this–older women that younger women can look up to and learn from.

The Lanse Ladies are awesome!

Of course, there’s always room for improvement. I think that that last one could be really expanded at our church. Where the older ladies take responsibility for teaching the younger ones.

That’s whose supposed to do it. Notice in verse 4 that Titus isn’t supposed to teach the younger ladies–not directly anyhow. He was probably a younger man, anyway, and that could have created some problems.

But Paul wisely tells him to teach the older women how to behave and what to teach and then they are to turn around and teach the younger women. V.4

“Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

Ladies, do you have at least one younger lady in your life that you are doing this for?

I’m doing what Titus was supposed to do. I’m teaching you ladies right now that you are supposed to be investing in the next generation.


And older ladies, this is your job! V.4 again.

“Then they can train the younger women to [#1] love their husbands and children, [#2] to be self-controlled and [#3] pure, [#4] to be busy at home, [#5] to be kind, and [#6] to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”

Notice the emphasis on relationships and reputations.

Younger women are to be trained in their relationships so that their reputations match their gospel.

#1. Love Their Husbands and Children. This is something that doesn’t necessarily happen naturally! It’s not talking about having affection for husband and children, though that’s wonderful. It’s talking about truly loving them–even when they are unlovable–and sometimes we husbands can be very unlovable!

#2. Be Self-Controlled. There it is again! Young ladies can be impulsive. Older ladies have to try to train them to not be.

#3. Be Pure. Young ladies, this would include what you take into your minds–what movies you watch, what internet sites you go to, what magazines you read, what songs you listen to on the radio. A lot of that of that stuff today is polluted, and you are called to be pure!

#4. Be Busy at Home. This doesn’t rule out work outside of the home, but it does reflect the biblical call upon a wife and mother to be home-centered. To make the house a home–full of love and care. To rule over the home and make it an effective and joy-filled place for husband and children.

#5. Be Kind. Younger ladies are not always kind.

#6. Be Subject To Their Husbands. Not to be subjected by their husbands, but to gladly submit to their Christ-like headship in the home.

These things don’t come naturally, but they are all implications and applications of the sound doctrine. So we need to teach them to the younger Christian ladies to makes sure that the gospel cannot be badmouthed.

Did you see the purpose statement at the end of verse 5?

Why is it important to teach these things to younger ladies? V.5

“ that no one will malign the word of God.”

Our lives either confirm or deny the gospel that we proclaim.

Which will it be?

Younger ladies, do you have some older Christian women in your life that you are keying off of? That you are learning from how to be a godly gospel girl?

If not, seek one out today. An older ladies, seek them out, too.

This would be a perfect time for me to mention that we need some older ladies to participate in the Youth Girls Class on Wednesday nights this Fall. Some ladies that would come and invest in the next generation. If you are willing and interested, talk to me, Pastor Titus, after the service today...“so that no one will malign the word of God.”


In v.6, Paul turns from younger women to young men. He had 6 things for ladies to work on, and just one for the guys. V.6

“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.”

I don’t think he only mentioned one thing because the guys have all the rest mastered. I think he picked out the one that guys struggle with the most and said, “Work on this!”

“Encourage the young men to be self-controlled.”

To get a grip on yourself.

To control the temper.
To control the tongue.
To control the sexual appetite.
To control the ambition.
To control the greed.

To gain mastery over one’s own self–that’s the major project for young men.

Guys, how are we doing on this one?

Are you in control or out of it?

I said last week, and we’re going to see it again next week:

The gospel empowers us to be self-controlled.

You can have victory. You are not determined by your genes or your past behavior or by those around you.

You can get a grip on your self.

Jesus Christ died to not only pay for your sins but to give you the power to say “No” to those temptations when they come back around again.


Here it’s to Titus himself and by implication to those of us who lead in the local church. V.7

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”

#1.To be an example by doing what is good.

Church leaders have to set the tone.

We are not thermometers of spiritual health in the church. We are supposed to be thermostats.

If people are watching the believers, how much more are they watching the leaders?

#2. To teach with integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech.

Notice that the most important thing for church leaders (beyond living out the gospel) is teaching the gospel well.

And seriously. That doesn’t mean that we church leaders can’t have fun. But it does mean that we take that which is serious, seriously!

Or are we going to give the enemies of the gospel ammunition?

The enemies of the gospel are growing in number and force.

Atheism is on the rise again.
Radical Islam aims to conquer the entire world.
And every other false teaching wants a piece of the pie.

Church leaders must live out the gospel and soundly and seriously teach the gospel (v.8) “so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”

Not that they won’t say anything bad, but there won’t be anything to it.

This one applies doubly to me, and I hear the importance of walking the walk and practicing what I preach. I know that’s it’s important and I’m sorry for the ways that I have fallen short of this and desire to do better.


For Titus, it was slaves. But don’t think black-skinned men and women in the deep South before the Civil War.

This kind of slavery was a very different institution, not necessarily built on the back of man-stealing.

In many ways it was more like our employee-employer relationship. And that’s where I think the application is for us. V.9

“Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”

Titus was supposed to teach these folks to be model employees.

To be subject to their masters (their bosses).

To try to please them. To try to make your boss happy.

To not talk back to them. To treat employers with respect.

To not steal from them. Neither money nor time.

To show that they can be fully trusted. That servants impacted by the gospel are changed–and are trustworthy.

Christ-followers should be the best employees!

Employers should be excited to find out that their employees are believers in Christ.

Does that always happen? Do we always live up to verses 9-10?

How was your last week at work? Did you give them your all? Even if you don’t think they deserve it?

Is it important how we do our work?

You bet it is! Look at what’s at stake? The end of verse 10.

We need to be this kind of gospel people...”so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”

What is the teaching about God our Savior?

It’s the gospel!

It’s the good news of Jesus Christ’s life and death and resurrection, paying the full penalty for my sins and rising from the dead to give me new life and new power to live a changed life!

But I’ve got to live that life so that the teaching is attractive!

Is this gospel true?

We know it is by the lives that are changed.

If you are currently investigating the gospel, then I invite you to look at the lives of the people in this room.

None of us are perfect. In fact, each of us is a wretched sinner.

But many of us have been rescued from that sin.

Not just from the penalty of that sin, but increasingly from its power.

Older men, older women, younger women, young men, leaders, and workers.

And our lives tell the story that this gospel is true.

It’s attractive. It matches.

Our lives match our teaching. We are living in accord with sound doctrine.

Applying the gospel.

And we invite you to join us.