Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: First of two series on life change and the value of learning Godly teaching and living as God would have us live.

Titus 2:1-13 Sermon 22/09/09 It is wise for us to learn and grasp onto Godly teaching

As a society Crete was a dog’s breakfast, morality was poor, examples being culturally sanctioned and promoted same sex relationships as a form of population control and piracy, woman drank and gossiped, boys were grouped together to train for warfare and protection. The church in Crete was a going concern but somewhere down the track the Christian people had not realised that salvation was not just a one off event but was something that effected every day living.

Paul’s letter to Titus was written as a Pastoral letter, written to help Titus in his leadership role as to how he should instruct and lead the people he was dealing with in the church on Crete. The part of the letter I am focusing on today is Chapter 2: verses 1-13.

What follows is an exert that I have taken from an online article on the influence of culture.

In Paul’s letter to Titus, we learn that Cretan culture was very bad. In Titus 1:12, Paul wrote: “One of them, a prophet of their own, said, ’Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.” We can be sure that Paul was not just being uncouth. Neither was he addressing the integrity of every single Cretan. He was, instead, reminding Titus of the persuasive influence of culture. In Cretan society, there was a general lack of integrity among the people. By and large, they were a cruel and savage people who would selfishly push everyone out of their way in order to gain an advantage for themselves. In addition, they were pleasure-loving (viz., they loved to eat) and lazy. “Cretinism” or “Cretan behavior,” in the ancient world meant “lying.” According to the ancient writers, the Cretans were experts at lying, cheating, and stealing……Their forte, according to Titus 1:11, was “dishonest gain.” Consequently, it should not surprise us that the Philistines, who are still listed in our modern dictionaries as a rude, crude, vulgar, and barbaric people, were, according to (the prophet) Amos 9:7, descendants of …Crete.

This is why Paul cautions Titus to warn the Cretan {Christians] of the terrible influence of their culture (Titus 1:13). If they were going to be “sound in the faith,” they were going to have to be “rebuked sharply.” We can almost be certain that some were more than willing to misunderstand Titus’ “sharpness” (cf. II Corinthians 13:10). Nevertheless, we are sure Paul did not prescribe this remedy for the destruction of the Cretan brethren. Instead, he imposed it for their edification. For the Christians at Crete, as it is for Christians everywhere, the New Testament, not their culture, was to be the benchmark of their behavior

Well it appears that Titus had his hands well and truly full and it was going to be a real effort to complete the work that Paul had started on Crete.

A bit about Titus, Titus was a Greek convert to Christianity, Titus had previously been sent by Paul to Corinth to participate in a collection for the Judean believers, and also to help straighten out the church in Corinth (when I refer to church I am referring to the body of believers in that place not a building). It was after these events that Titus was at work on Crete. Titus was a well travelled and sound teacher in the early church.

Now that I have looked at the background, let’s look at the second chapter of Titus verses 1-13.

Firstly Titus is told by Paul that he must teach what is in accordance with sound doctrine. Here’s a question what is doctrine? We hear of cults indoctrinating people, mind washing them, until they come under their control.

Doctrine and doctrines are mentioned using these words, only seven times in the bible. Doctrine means information, instructions, matters taught and precepts. What Paul is instructing Titus to teach is only, sound information.

Groups are addressed in The Apostle Paul’s letter and how these various groups should be taught.

Many of these situations relate directly to the world we live in. They are as relevant in 21st century Christchurch, as they were in 1st century Crete. The people were to be taught these things as Paul in his travels realised that they were not living lives that were in line with sound Christian principles.

Let’s look at them; verse two, teach older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self controlled, and sound in faith, in love and endurance.

These older blokes must have been living lives that were well short of where Christian men should be living. What Paul wants Titus to instruct these older men to do is live lives that are not lives of drunkenness, that they should be worthy of respect not just demanding it as they could often do in their culture, or as sometimes people with a bit of status do, they needed to be self controlled not just controlled by external factors, such as laws or agreements, what the court or how other authorities instructed them to live, but to have control of themselves. How often men do we need to be controlled by an external factor? I know that I check my speed every time I pass a cop car parked beside the road.

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