Truth, Godliness, Christian Maturity, & The Gospel: Titus 2:6-15

Mens Styles NY Tailor 1914 Young Men
Soon after I started Entrusted With the Gospel, I wrote a small series of articles on Titus.  Particularly, I wrote an article on Titus 2 called the The NormalChristian Life, Rooted in the Gospel.  In the article I outlined chapter 2 of Titus and considered some of the major themes that develop within the chapter.  Recently, at Risen Life Church, I had the opportunity to preach through one of the key sections of Titus in our ongoing series on the epistle.  I would encourage you to listen to my sermon HERE.  What follows is a brief summary of my sermon and its major considerations.

Throughout the book of Titus, the main point we see Paul developing is that the whole household of God should grow up into maturity in Christ, letting their knowledge of the truth of the Gospel drive the way they live while they wait for Jesus to come back.  Paul’s purposes come through right in Titus 1:1 where he says he has written the book “for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life.”  Paul then lays out his case as he calls Titus to “put what remain[s] in order” (Titus 2:5).  First Paul calls Titus to set elders in every town.  The elders are to be men whose lives reflect what they believe.  In fact most of the attributes of elders listed in Titus 1:5-9 can be measured from the outside.  Paul moves on in the second half of Titus 1 (Titus 1:10-16) to give a counter example of wrong belief driving wrong behavior in the circumcision party and the Cretans.  After the counter example Paul sets out a positive case for how the household of God should act in Titus chapter 2.  He starts the chapter by urging Titus to “teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1) or in other words, teach the household of God how to act in regard to what they believe.  Paul then sets out to teach each demographic in the church how they should reflect what God has done in their life through their actions and so, “adorn the doctrine of God our savior” (Titus 2:10).

My particularly sermon came from Titus 2:6-15.  My task was to round out the list of instruction with what is given to young men, slaves, and finally to expound the Gospel grounding that Paul gives for all the commands he has set before the people of God.

In Titus 2:6 Paul urges Titus to teach the young men to be “self-controlled.”  This seems like small and insignificant instruction to young men however this instruction really summarizes the whole of what Paul is saying.  Paul’s instruction to the young men is connected to the whole of Paul’s teaching in Titus through the use of the word likewise. Paul is urging young men to make decisions measured against what they believe.  I would encourage you to do a word study on the Greek word being used here for self-control. It is a different word for self-control than what is used in Galatians 5:23 and really brings in the nuance of sensible living.  More than just self-control in the sense of denial, there is a positive aspect to this word, in which believers are called to do righteous works through decisions based on what they believe.  The question for all of us that develops through the instruction to young men and all the previous instruction in Titus is, “Does your life reflect what you believe?” As a Christian it must.  In the same breath Paul in Titus 2:7-8 addresses the primary young man of the text, Titus, and urges him to be an example in good works that display what he believes.

Titus’ example also serves to show us that you do not have to wait to become old physically to be spiritually mature.  The whole idea of Titus 2 is that the household of God would grow into maturity, connecting more and more what they believe with what they do.  Titus is a missionary pastor and this should serve as a motivation to all young men to strive for spiritual maturity.  Spiritual maturity is the goal of the Christian life and will be ultimately realized in the new heavens and the new earth. God has called us to begin the growth process now.

Paul rounds out his instruction for the household of God in Titus 2:9-10 giving instruction to bondservants.  From his instruction we can draw modern day application to our own workplace.  We are called to be submissive to those who are in charge of us at the workplace, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, and showing good faith.  This is rooted in the second half of Titus 2:10 in the doctrine of God our Savior being adorned by our good works.  Paul is telling us we reflect what we believe and witness to what God has done in our hearts when we work hard at work.  Let me encourage you to strive to make all the time you spend at work speak positively for the Gospel through the way you faithfully engage and serve the company you have contracted to give your time.  You may say, “Well you haven’t worked for my boss…” Colossians 3:23 says our boss is Jesus, work for him.  He is telling you to work hard for your earthly boss and as you do that you bring glory to your real boss, Christ.

Up to this point Paul has given a lot of instruction on how believers are to act and if he did not ground his instruction in the Gospel in Titus 2:11-14 all we would have would be moralistic imperatives.  Titus 2:11-14 is the heart and soul of Titus.  Paul begins Titus 2:11 with the word “For.” With this word he is signaling that all of the previous instruction finds its root here in what he is about to say.  In these verses Paul is saying, ‘if you are a Christian, then what you believe to be true about God and the Gospel of Christ must be reflected in how you act, and you will only be able to do that if you have been thoroughly transformed by the Gospel!’  Here is part of the mystery of the Gospel; not only is the Gospel the truth we are called to believe that transforms us, but it is also becomes the ongoing motivation to do good works, plus it is the power to actually do good works, and it is our hope for the future!

In my sermon I explore four facets of the Gospel and how those facets actually transform us.  In this passage we see that the Gospel saves us, it motivates and trains us, it empowers us, and it gives us hope.  It does this by appearing to us and capturing our hearts through the experience of real grace, love, and mercy.  Then it motivates and trains us as we begin to compare the things of this world with what God has said.  We are empowered to actually live in accordance with the Gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).  And finally, we have hope for the future and develop perseverance because God has given us a glimpse of where we are going.

I hope you enjoy the sermon and God speaks to you as I present His word out of Titus 2:6-15.  I hope you see Paul’s call to Christian maturity where our actions more and more reflect what we believe about the Gospel.  Be careful to see that Titus is not just an empty set of religious rules.  Rather, it is a call to respond to the Gospel. Paul wants us to strive for Godly living and it is the Gospel that actually empowers, motivates, and trains us to carry out what God has commanded.  If you read everything Paul has urged Titus to teach the household of God and think, “I can’t live up to any of that!”, that is the point.  No one can.  Jesus came to save us from our sins has promised to transform our lives and our hearts.  All we have to do is confess and believe He is Lord.  Keep your eyes on the Gospel, let it save you, motivate and train you, empower you, and give you hope.


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