Sermons

Summary: Exposition of Appearance

Text: Titus 2:1-10, Title: Supermodel, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/16/12, AM

Opening illustration: Erika’s cousin Nikki

Background to passage: in this letter to Titus, the young pastor at Crete, Paul includes a list known to commentators as a “household code.” These codes are usually lists of character traits and qualities that reflect behavior for Christians to observe. There are others in Ephesians and Colossians, the most famous of which contains the instructions to husband and wives in Ephesians 5. It is interesting that he tells Titus to teach things that are consistent with sound or healthy doctrine, then gives behaviors and marks of character. Correct teaching is that we live as believers should live, not just believe as believers should believe. There is a lot of language in this text about the reasons for these instructions on behavior other than their intrinsic righteousness before God; and most of them related to the perception of others inside the community and outside the community.

Main thought: So the next message in the Job Descriptions: Marks of Growing Disciples is that growing disciples should be models of Christian behavior—morals, ethics, finances, and relationships.This is important because of our belief that the Christian life is the fullest, best life that anyone could live. So believers must be a model for the sake of evangelism, and discipleship.

Examination of Text and Truth

Paul speaks of being “reverent” which means to be dignified or honorable in the community (inside and outside). He also makes a purpose statement at the end of v. 5 to say that these instructions are to keep the word of God (which is a substitute for the name or reputation of God) from being blasphemed. Then he says that we should display a pattern of good works (so that) opponents will have nothing evil to say of you. Then after he addresses slaves and their conduct, he says that with this behavior they (others, particularly masters or bosses) will adorn (kosmeo), beautify, or decorate the teaching of Christ.

Older men: level-headed, well-respected, self-controlled, sound in the faith (again this word relates to behavior, see Titus 1:13 contrasted with the Cretans who are liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons), accurate faith, and in patience—interesting.

Older women: act in ways displaying holiness (like the priestesses in the temple), they are not to slanders or malicious gossips (diabolos, the devil), not drinkers, and teachers (urging or encouraging good things to the younger women. This doesn’t mean they teach the young women’s class, it means they walk with them pouring into them. Women on Mission vs. Baptist Young Women. The generation gap is severe and very unhealthy to the church.

Younger women: love your husbands and children, self-controlled and moderate, pure, chaste, undefiled, and holy, workers at home, obedient (submissive) to their husbands, so that…

Young men: sound mind, reasonable, serious, again good teaching equals integrity, holiness, firm in faith and practice, healthy and helpful speech…so that nothing evil to be said of you

Rom 6:19-22, 8:29, 1 Peter 1:2, Heb 12:1

Illustration: “A heavy heart this a.m.: hurting with grieving friends, broken over spiritual condition of Christians”

These are often minimized character traits, or relegated to the super Christians or breezed over. But the life of a growing disciple should be characterized by behavior that is becoming of a believer, biblical, and winsome. We are promised to be conformed in the image of Christ. This process that happens between the inception of our faith and its culmination called sanctification, which means to make holy. It is two-fold, discarding sinful actions and attitudes as well as adding godly behaviors. It should be happening in all believers. The more mature (not referring to chronological age) should be advanced in sanctification, although no one reaches perfection. But because of this truth, don’t despair or give up.

A Good Start

Evaluation is tricky. Cultural factors influence behavior, decreasing but still influential. Certain appearances are expected in the public eye. Some of these behaviors are not simply external but internal as well. There are also dangers related to evaluation of how good you are. Self-righteousness and pride can follow from an amount of success and comparison with less sanctified believers. Inaccurate assessments of other believers (we cannot see the heart of others, can’t always accurately assess their progress). Becoming pharisees in the way that we look down on others and exalt in our own goodness, or keeping the traditions of men rather than the law of God. Sometimes we can feel as though we are doing this on our own and not through faith (willpower religion). Making our goal to be a “good Christian” rather than to glorify Christ. Feeling like we are earning favor or acceptance by God because of our good deeds.

That having been said, a good place to start in evaluation is the bible. There are many wise and biblical writers that teach about these things. The book What Jesus Demands of the World demonstrates from the teachings of Christ what is expected of us. Another good place to make assessment is the church covenant. It is very specific about the kinds of behavior you agreed to as a member of New River. Specific areas that need to be looked at are: morals, ethics, finances, relationships.

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