June 17, 2001

We Are Family

Preacher: Randy Smith Series: Distinctives of a New Testament Church Scripture: Titus 2:1–10


We Are Family

Titus 2:1-10
Sunday, June 17, 2001
Pastor Randy Smith

Before we study the second distinctive of a NT church, let's review our lesson from last week. As we considered the topic of joy, we came to the conclusion that there is to be much rejoicing for the Christian because of our relationship with God. He has not only saved us, but even promises to work all things together for our good. He has personally taken up residence in our hearts whereby our lives have become instruments to further His divine agenda. We can concur with our Savior that His joy is in us and our joy is full (Jn. 15:11).

Naturally, if we rejoice in the Lord (Phil. 4:4), we will rejoice in the things He rejoices in. Aspects of the Christian life are no longer miserable or burdensome, but a now delight. Though we once despised them, now we delight in prayer, the gospel, righteousness, Christian fellowship, ministry and giving. These disciplines bring joy to our heart. They are never an end to themselves, but rather a means to individually and corporately increasing our joy in God.

God wants you to rejoice. He created you with that ability and desire; He is not some celestial killjoy. Yet imagine how His heart is grieved when His children who call upon His Name find their joy in pursuits that don't reveal a heart recreated in His image. We want joy, but too often we are seeking it in the wrong places.

Take for example this anonymous composition, entitled "Funny Isn't It?" I think it summarizes my point well.

Funny how a $100 "looks" so big when you take it to church,

but so small when you take it to the mall.

Funny how long it takes to serve God for an hour,

but how quickly a team plays 60 minutes of basketball.

Funny how long a couple of hours spent at church are,

but how short they are when watching a movie.

Funny how we can't think of anything to say when we pray, but

don't have difficulty thinking of things to talk about to a friend.

Funny how we get thrilled when a baseball game goes into extra innings,

but we complain when a sermon is longer than the regular time.

Funny how hard it is to read a chapter in the Bible,

but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a best selling novel.

Funny how people want to get a front seat at any game or concert,

but scramble to get a back seat at church services.

Funny how we need 2 or 3 weeks advance notice to fit a church event into our schedule, but can adjust our schedule for other events at the last moment.

Funny how hard it is for people to learn a simple gospel well enough to tell others,

but how simple it is for the same people to understand and repeat gossip.

Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven

provided they do not have to believe, or to think, or to say, or do anything.

Funny how you can send a thousand 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

FUNNY, ISN'T IT? Are you laughing? Are you thinking?

Moving forward, allow us now to continue our series with part 2 on distinctives of a New Testament church. Today, people around the world are celebrating Father's Day; a particular day set aside to honor and appreciate our dads. We appreciate them so much, the largest number of collect calls (according to the "Almanac for Farmers & City Folk"), are made on Father's Day! Though fathers on this day are often gifted with ties, personalized golf tees and after-shave cologne, the greatest gift any father could receive is a child who obeys his instructions with a willing and joyful heart. The apostle John said something similar regarding his spiritual children, "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth" (3 Jn. 4).

As believers we are all spiritual children, brothers and sisters in Christ. Romans 8:14-16 says, "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ' Abba! Father! ' The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." If we are children of God, naturally, our spiritual Father is God.

As so as many on this day are creatively seeking ways to honor their earthly fathers, let's ask ourselves as God's spiritual children, are we finding ways to honor our heavenly Father? How can we as a spiritual body, honor our heavenly Father this day and forever more? We honor God the same way our earthly children are to honor us. We must realize our roles and responsibilities within God's spiritual family and then obediently seek to fulfill them with joy and respect for our heavenly Father. Paul outlined such roles in Titus 2:1-8.

Paul left his young child in the faith, Titus, on the island of Crete to (Tit. 1:5) "set in order what remains." Though the Cretan reputation was notorious for untruthfulness and immorality, Titus was called to plant a church in these hostile confines. Paul wrote this letter to Titus with instructions for that purpose. Specifically, Titus was called to appoint leadership, refute false teachers and encourage the flock to replace immoral deeds with good deeds. The word "good deeds" occurs 6 times in the short 3-chapter epistle, no doubt acting as a signpost as to the theme of the letter. And as we know from other teachings in the Scriptures, the motivation for "good deeds" is always the person and work of God and His benevolence on our behalf. For example, why is it necessary to perform "good deeds" when it is my faith that saves? Titus 2:11-14 answers that question. "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." Therefore, we should not find it surprising that our section under study this morning (Tit. 2:1-8) immediately precedes this doctrinal exhortation and provides the motivation to implement Paul's instruction.

Let's dive into our text beginning in verse 1, "But as for you." (Who? Titus). As we remember from grammar class, the conjunction "but" commonly functions as an adversative, setting up a point of contrast. Look at the contrast with me in 1:10-11, "For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families , teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain." Titus, Paul might say, it is your responsibility to silence every false teacher, anyone teaching improper doctrine, because they are upsetting whole families. That is the negative. The positive is found in the remainder of 2:1, "speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine." Stop their teaching of heresy and replace it with your teaching of the truth. Specifically Paul uses the term "sound doctrine" (healthy teaching, teaching of the apostles doctrine). Why? Healthy doctrine produces healthy behavior; the behavior is always the goal of sound doctrine. The Bible never divorces doctrine from duty. Furthermore, just as the false teacher's doctrine was upsetting whole families, sound doctrine is needed to build up God's spiritual family. Paul now goes on to show in the next 7 verses the benefit of sound doctrine on the roles and responsibilities of four specific groups with God's spiritual family: older men, older women, younger women, and younger men.


According to 2:2, Paul begins with older men. The natural question is when does a man become an older man? (Don't laugh ladies; the text deals with you next!) Ancient Greek sources identify an older man from 50-60 onward. Some commentators believe it to be a relative term of reference rather than a specific time in life. Others have given a more practical guide to determine an older man. "Everything hurts and what doesn't hurt, doesn't work; your knees buckle and your belt won't; you burn the midnight oil by 9 p.m.; you get winded playing checkers; you sink your teeth into a nice juicy steak and they stay there; and your back goes out more often than you do." Yet I believe Paul's point is that even though old age brings certain unwanted physical infirmities, old age also brings with it wisdom , patience , maturity and stability.

As a church, us younger pups need to realize that the older folks are a valuable commodity to this spiritual family because of their experience. They deserve not only our respect and honor, but also our allegiance as we follow their behavior. Paul begins this section by giving 4 qualities that should characterize these "older men".

First of all, an older man must be temperate. The root of this Greek word literally means, "Free from intoxication." A temperate man is clear-minded, sober, and moderate. He is controlled by the Spirit and free from excess or life dominating sinful patterns. He has his priorities in order and demonstrates it by his use of time, money and energy.

Second, an older man is to be dignified. The man is to be honorable and respectful. The dignified man is not caught up in frivolous, trivial or superficial pursuits. One commentator said this trait is "that which lifts the mind from the cheap and showy to that which is noble and good and of moral worth."

Third, the older man is to be sensible. The word refers to a prudent, thoughtful aspect of self-control. A sensible individual displays discernment, discretion and proper judgment, often as by-products of years of walking with God. This is a common trait that is to characterize other groups in God's spiritual family (young women-verse 5; young men-verse 6).

Finally, the older man is to be sound. This is the same Greek word used in verse 1 for "sound doctrine." Specifically here it refers to the need for older men to be sound in the three characteristics of faith, love and perseverance. Older men should be marked by great faith in God. They've walked with Him for many years and know He can be trusted. Older men should be marked by great love for God and His children. Older men should be marked by great perseverance in enduring hardship and accepting disappointment or failure. Older men should not lose heart when situations don't go their way.


Older women too were a rich spiritual resource in the early church. History tells us they taught and encouraged the younger women in the things of the Lord. They ministered to specific needs within the church, visited the sick and incarcerated and showed hospitality to Christian travelers. The Christian women would go through the streets and marketplaces of pagan towns searching for abandoned newborns who were unwanted and left to die by their parents. Unwanted babies were common because abortion was dangerous and birth control was yet to be invented. Abandoned male babies were raised to be slaves or gladiators, and some of the girls were trained for prostitution. The Christian women who rescued these infants would give them to church families for adoption. Paul in verses 3-5 gives some character traits and responsibilities that are to mark both older and younger women in the family of God.

Let's first examine the older women. As we mentioned before, it is difficult to determine a specific age that would define an older woman. Many women address old age similar to Bernard Baruch, it's always 15 years older than I am. But since the text calls for these older women to train the younger women in domestic affairs which were being undermined by the false teachers, it is safe to say that these women must have been through the responsibilities of childbearing and childrearing.

Paul begins verse 3 saying older women "likewise." Likewise is one of Paul's favorite words to connect what was previously said. As older men are to function within the spiritual family, older women likewise have four distinctive traits that should mark their character.

First of all, they are to be reverent in their behavior. The Greek word "reverent" originally referred to a conduct appropriate in the temple. Literally it means, "befitting that which is sacred to God." Since behavior pertains to one's inner character, Paul is speaking of a disposition that typifies holiness.

Second, these older women are not to be malicious gossips. The Greek word for malicious is diabolos which means slanderer or false accuser. That word is used 35 times in the Bible in reference to Satan, "the father of lies." Older women are to avoid gossip, words that are intentionally malicious in tearing others down behind their back. Since older women often have too much time on their hands, they fall easy prey to the sin of gossip. Unfortunately, gossip also often begins with an innocent concern for another within the spiritual family.

Third, they are not to be enslaved to much wine. Epitaphs discovered in Crete reveal heavy drinking was viewed as a virtue. And there is no doubt alcoholism was a problem in the first century since it is mentioned in every listing that appoints individuals for church leadership. The Greek word for "enslaved" is douloo, which means, "to be controlled against one's will." The common word for slave was doulos. Older women must not be given over to drunkenness or enslaved to alcoholic beverages.

Finally, older women are to be teaching what is good. Instead of being marked by the prior negatives mentioned, older women should be marked by teaching what is good. In the Greek it is one word, literally, "good-teaching." Their teaching is to be holy and excellent, based on God's Word. We know from Paul's other pastoral letter to Timothy that this cannot refer to a public teaching ministry where men were included. Rather in the context it refers to an informal ministry with younger women within the Christian community. Verses 4 and 5 outline the purpose of an older woman's "good teaching." "That they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored."

Moving to the young women…


Few sections in the Bible have drawn more controversy than this one, which outlines the biblical role for younger women. From the beginning of time, Satan has attacked God's perfect standard for the family. We saw it in the garden and now experience it more than ever with today's radical feminists. Many will outright say that the Bible is outdated, sexist and oppressive to women. Others will soften the blow and claim that these standards are either cultural or uninspired. But under what authority does one have to dismiss the Word of God without a personal in-depth study of the Book? Furthermore, how can anyone logically dismiss some points as cultural and accept others as eternal truth? That perspective is the slippery slope that opens the door to picking and choosing what we want to believe in the Word of God or worse, letting the culture determine right from wrong.

Our perspective must simply be one that views the Bible as the inerrant, infallible and inspired Word of God. And if we do believe the Bible is God's Word, we are in no position to judge it. Rather, the Bible functions as an absolute standard to judge us. Likewise, young women this morning in reading this text in Titus need to ask themselves two very important questions: Do I really believe the Bible is God's standard for my life? And if so, am I willing to place myself under its ultimate authority, yielding in full submission…despite what myself, my family or my world thinks is best?

Rightly understanding these foundational issues is imperative. This is exactly where older women come in. The text says in verse 4, "that (purpose clause) they may encourage (Literally- restore one to her senses-make sound-minded) the young women." The older women must train these younger women who are bombarded with worldly philosophy by the media, the educational system and even the family to reject anything that brainwashes them to oppose biblical standards. And after pointing out what is wrong, the older women must then instruct them with sound biblical teaching. The older women are especially called to this training because they are enabled to speak from experience.

Specifically, according to Titus, these older women are to instruct the younger women in seven distinct areas. And is it any wonder that 4 of the 7 activities relate to marriage and home life? These distinctives were timely for the Christian community back then, possibly even more so today. One author rightly said, "There was a time in this country when it was taken for granted that a dignified and competent wife and mother, devoted to her family and home, was a highly desirable constant in American culture… but this is no longer the case." Let's look at these 7 necessary distinctives for the younger women together:

Two traits in this list address main concerns within the home.

First of all, younger women are called to love their husbands. Though this should be a natural instinct, witness from our society reveals that most women do not love their husbands. Divorce is at an all-time high and many of the women currently married are co-habitating with their spouses solely for the purposes of religion, children or finances. According to our society, marriage is a convenience or preference of following one's own heart to love whenever or whomever you choose.

God's word speaks to the contrary. Women according to this text are to love their husbands. The Scriptures here are not speaking of a romantic or emotional love. We all know feelings come and go. Rather the thought is a committed love, literally a "friendship love." It is a love that is not based on the husband's worth, but rather a love that continually extends even to the uncaring, ungrateful, unfaithful and unlovable. Her love to her husband is to mirror God's love to her. A wife is to love her husband the same way God loves uncaring, ungrateful, unfaithful and unlovable sinners like you and I. Ruth Graham, the wife of Billy Graham, once wisely commented, "It was a great day in my life when I realized it was not my job to change my husband." She said, "It was my job to love Billy and God's job to change him." A right relationship between a husband and wife based on unconditional love is the first priority in building a godly home.

Likewise, young women are also to love their children at all times. As in her actions with the husband, this love is to be an ongoing, committed friendship love, demonstrated in care and nurture. And lets remember, two of the greatest demonstrations of biblical love for our children are: the presentation of the gospel in word and deed, and corrective discipline.

Two traits focus on moral piety.

A younger woman is to be sensible. We already covered this trait in our discussion of older men.

Additionally, the younger woman is to be pure. The word carries the idea of "chaste." She is to be pure in the aspect of moral behavior. She should have sexual purity and martial faithfulness demonstrated by thoughts, words and actions.

The final 3 traits deal with activities and attitudes dealing with those around her.

Paul says these younger women are to be workers at home. Pastor, are you saying that a woman cannot work outside the home? No I am not, nor does the Bible. We all know Lydia was a seller of purple fabrics (Ac. 16:14) and the excellent wife mentioned in Proverbs 31 sold linen garments (Pr. 31:24). Today many women without children or those who have children attending school often find employment without any violation of this principle mentioned in Titus 2, as long as it does not violate their conscience. Additionally, single moms often find themselves with no other option than to work in order to provide an income for both she and the children.

So Pastor, why would Paul state this principle if there seems to be no restrictions? I'm not done! A woman is to be a "worker at home" in the sense that the house (context-her husband and children and the management of the home) is her number one priority. In other words, a woman who neglects these priorities at the expense of serving and charity, without ever earning a penny, likewise violates this principle. The supreme violation would be a woman's pursuit of her career for the purposes of self-esteem and luxurious living at the expense of her young children who are assigned to a day-care center throughout the majority of the week.

In dealing with sensitive issues such as these, we must remember biblical roles do not determine one's personal essence! Men and women are both created in God's image, both receiving equal love and equal worth. But contrary to the teaching of the world, women are not a failure if they choose to make their husbands, children and church a priority. One author said, "Too often today young Christian women are almost ashamed to admit that their primary goal in life is to be a godly wife and godly mother with any idea of a career outside the home as secondary." There are things much more important than money! Christian women need to realize that their greatest contribution to society and the kingdom of God is raising children who know right from wrong. "They say that man is mighty, He governs land and sea, He wields a might scepter on lower parts than He. But mightier power and stronger, Man from his throne is hurled, for the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world!" Realize moms, God in His sovereignty gave you that child, to raise and train in His ways. If He wanted someone else to do it He wouldn't have given the kid to you!

In a "Talk Magazine" interview, movie star Nicole Kidman, recently divorced from superstar Tom Cruise, spoke about the sacrifices a mother and wife must make. "It's tough being a woman and having kids and working, definitely. I see people who say, 'Oh yeah, I'm doing it all,' forget it. Something is going to give - usually when you are just really, really tired. I only work now if I really feel it's worth it. And I have to say no to things I really love because it's just not the right time. Sure, you could try to do it all and try to take all the roles you want, but you wouldn't know your kids and you wouldn't know your marriage. I think that's a big thing." Along with the secular comments, secular studies also show there is no substitute for a mother's quality and quantity time with her children.

Younger woman are also to be kind. Basically this means they are to be gentle, sympathetic and considerate.

Finally, younger women are to be subject to their own husbands. A woman's primary submission second to God is to her husband, in the unique and special relationship of matrimony. The grammar implies a continual voluntary submitting of oneself to another's authority. In this case, the authority established by God, is not based on the husband's merit, worth or compliance. Submission is not an ugly term, but a beautiful system orchestrated by God to establish roles for the betterment of the family, church and society. Ephesians 5 makes it clear that our submission manifests the lordship of Christ and His supreme authority. Before you get a big head, husbands, Ephesians 5 also makes it clear that you are to love your wives with the same sacrificial and sanctifying love that Christ does the church, His bride. The Bible never calls for husbands to demand submission, but rather for the wife to freely give it.

I plan to return to the final phrase in verse 5 shortly.


Since personal counsel to the young women would be unwise for the purposes of purity, Titus in verse 6 is specifically exhorted to "likewise" instruct the young men. Just as the older women are to instruct the younger woman, Titus is to instruct the younger men. Naturally, as in the example with the older and younger women, the older men are to also share in his responsibility.

First of all, the younger men are to be sensible. Again, this is the third time this trait of "sound-mindedness" comes into consideration.

Now, in verse 7, Paul kills two birds with one stone as he directly instructs Titus with specific attributes that are to characterize him as a young man, but also indirectly instructs others as they learn through the example of Titus. Read with me, "In all things show yourself an example of good deeds."

Titus is simply called to practice what he preaches. Many teachers fall into the trap of hypocrisy which indirectly exclaims, "Do as I say, not as I do." Advice must never be divorced from personal example. The logical conclusion is naturally if you believe your instruction that strongly, you'll practice it! If we want people to follow us to righteousness, they must witness the changes in our own lives first!

Specifically, Titus was to be an example of "good deeds". He is to be unlike the false teachers in 1:16 who "profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed." Literally, Titus is to be the mold or impression of good deeds in which the younger men specifically and the church generally can emulate.

First of all, for the purpose of personal instruction, Titus is to exemplify pure doctrine. He is basically called to teach God's word without heresy. His doctrine should be sound and without corruption. Remember pure doctrine is never an end to itself, but rather the means and motivation for godly living.

Titus is to be dignified. As we mentioned earlier, this trait is an ability to distinguish between the trivial and important.

Finally, Titus' preaching or everyday speech should be sound (hugies-where we get the English word hygiene). His speech is to be well, healthy and whole. This reminds me of the opening verse 1, "But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine." The words of Titus should never bring reproach to his message.

In summary, we've studied the character traits and intergenerational relationships of older men, older women, younger women, and younger men.

Now I ask you, why does the apostle Paul give this instruction? What is the purpose of Titus 2:1-8? Obviously it provides practical application for relationships and godly living and discipleship within the church. However, Paul's goal is much deeper.

The key for determining God's ultimate purpose in this text is indicated by the word " that." Follow with me. Titus 2:5, "to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored." Titus 2:8, "Sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us." Titus 2:9-10, "Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect."

The ultimate purpose of our relational roles as God's children is to bring glory to God our Father in the circumstances in which life is lived. Specifically we are to honor the Word of God in our instruction (verse 5), put the opponent to shame in our doctrine (verse 8) and adorn the gospel in our lifestyle (verse 10).

Naturally any message that stands in judgment of sin will be condemned by a sinful world. But Paul's point is that an examining outside world will see something special in us that attracts them to the gospel. They will see something in us that is appealing which they cannot deny nor reject. Rather than our behavior making a mockery of the Christian faith, our behavior will adorn the Gospel, lead others to Christ and glorify God. Martin Luther once said, "Because the heathen cannot see our faith, they ought to see our works, hear our doctrine, and then be converted."

Are we adorning the gospel by our Titus 2 lifestyles? Interestingly, that word "adorn" is the Greek word kosmeo, where we derive our English word "cosmetics." Are we making the gospel more cosmetic? Last night while walking on the beach, I observed the numerous young adults who did everything to adorn themselves. Their make-up, jewelry, clothing, language, posture and automobiles sought to make themselves, their treasure, more attractive. Are we, by our lifestyle, doing everything to make our treasure, the gospel, more attractive? We have that awesome responsibility of making the truth about Christ attractive by lives that truly reflect the saving power of the message.

During the Spanish conquest of Mexico under Hernando Cortez in the early 1500s, a resistance leader named Hatney was captured after a fierce battle and sentenced to be burned alive. After tying him to the stake, his captors urged him to become a Christian so that at his death his soul might be given an entrance into heaven. He asked his tormentors if they expected to go to this place. On being told that they did, he cried out, "Then I will not be a Christian, for I would not again go to a place where I would find men so cruel!"

May we this Father's day bring glory and not reproach to our heavenly Father as we honor His Word and show our relational roles attractive as His ambassadors in this fallen world.

other sermons in this series

Aug 26


Driven By God

Preacher: Randy Smith Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:1–10 Series: Distinctives of a New Testament Church

Aug 19


One Small Problem?

Preacher: Randy Smith Scripture: Revelation 2:1–5 Series: Distinctives of a New Testament Church