Summary: Over a month ago, we began to talk about Striving For Church Health. If SCC is going to be a healthy church, the senior saints must lead the way in example and conduct and we, the congregation, must know how to react and respond to their lives and walk am
Review: Over a month ago, we began to talk about Striving For Church Health. If SCC is going to be a healthy church, the senior saints must lead the way in example and conduct and we, the congregation, must know how to react and respond to their lives and walk among us. Young women must also lead by making their home and family a priority. Younger men must lead exemplary lives. And, finally, we come to the employed. In our culture today, of course, we do not have to deal with this master--slave syndrome, yet Paul’s words can be applied to our own lives, especially in the area of employer--employee relationships.
Text: Titus 2:1-10
Background: The apostle left Titus on the island of Crete to ’’set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city (Titus 1:5).’’ They have need for spiritual maturity in the congregation. And so Titus has been given the assignment to work to that end. To establish order in the church Paul gave Titus instructions concerning the behavior of various groups of Christians. Titus was instructed to approach every group in the church and challenge them to a holy lifestyle. “I want them to be godly men and women so that they will be salt and light on that island.” He did not only want them to live holy lives but to preserve a powerful Christian testimony in their community. He wanted them to be a healthy, well-balanced group of believers that clearly and attractively presented the gospel in their island community.
Title: Striving for Church Health – Healthy Employed Saints
Miniseries Theme: Equipping Them In All Stages of Life!
Key Word: There are 5 SPECIFIC GROUPS that are addressed: senior adult men, senior adult women, younger women, younger men, and employees. Today, we focus on employees in particular.
Healthy Employed Saints
Opening Statement: They came from every nation, every tribe, every social level, and many of them were becoming Christians. We’re all very aware of the fact that the Roman Empire basically depended upon slaves for all of its labor. We know from history that there were more than 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire. They were a very essential part of life in ancient times.
It is true that many slaves were mistreated, many of them were cheated out of what was rightfully theirs, they were abused, they were beaten, some of them were killed. They were brutalized and regarded as a living tool. If a slave was rebellious in any way he could be executed. If he ran away and was later captured, he was branded with a hot iron and called a fugitive. He lived his whole life at the mercy of his master. What comes to mind is the TV series Roots, Kunta Kentae, and the whole slave family. On one hand, slavery was similar to the Americanized form of slavery in the 1800’s.
But on the other hand, slavery was a means of gainful employement. They were loved, cared for, and as a result they voluntarily served even after they were given the opportunity for freedom because they so loved their families that they had come to be a part of. They chose this as a vocation in other words. A slave was allowed, of course, to marry and have his own family and very often a landowner would give him his own little house and his own piece of land. So, they were treated as employees, given fringe benefits, and taken care of.
Allow me to clarify something. The issue in this passage is not addressing the condition of slavery. It is not discussing what kind of situation the slaves might have been in. It simply says that if you are employed, especially in this manner, you have an obligation to so live your life as to draw attention to the saving power of God demonstrated through you. When a slave came into a relationship with Christ he regained his humanity, so that he too became a candidate for the ’’sound doctrine" that Paul is speaking about. When an employee encounters Christ and endeavors to live for Christ, he or she begins to work for a new boss – Jesus. They have the opportunity of clearly and attractively living out the Christian message before their bosses and fellow employees on a weekly basis. There’s no concern here in this text about revolution or rebellion or equal rights or equal freedoms. There’s a place for this, but not here. Rather, now that you’re in employee and you are a Christian, how can you best live out the Christian message?
Exposition: Titus 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. [This is my job –to communicate what a healthy church should look like. This was Titus’ job.] 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. 9 Urge bond slaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.