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Summary: Workers show the Godly value of work, when their labors are: 1) Submissive (Titus 2:9a), 2) Selfless (Titus 2:9b), not 3) Subjective (Titus 9c) or 4) Stealing (Titus 2:10a) but 5) Steady (Titus 2:10b)

The only scheme the New Testament knows for evangelization is personal, apart from the proclamation of God-called and anointed and gifted preachers. Approximately ninety percent of all people surveyed as to how it was that they came to know Jesus Christ pointed to a personal witness, a friend, relative or co-worker, whose life impacted their life. Less than ten percent of the people who come to Christ come because of something other than a personal witness. All the mass media, television, radio; all the mass evangelistic methods; all the crusades; all the musical concerts intended with evangelistic emphasis that move across this country; all of the meetings in civic centers and city auditoriums and convention centers - all of that kind of thing that's going on…(with the millions of dollars, and hundreds of hours spent, don’t come close to the life changing effect that a godly transformed life has. A transformed life points back to the transformer). (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/56-17/gods-plan-for-employees)

For many Christians today, as throughout church history, the most important and fertile field for evangelism is the place where they work. That is their mission field. As in almost no other place, unbelievers have the opportunity to observe believers in day by day situations and activities. They see whether the believer is patient or impatient, kind or uncaring, selfless or selfish, honest or dishonest, clean or vulgar in speech. They have the opportunity to see how well the Christian lives up to the faith professed and the principles of the Scripture claimed to be held dear. Inviting unsaved friends to church certainly has a place in witnessing for Christ, but it will be useless and even counterproductive if one’s attitude, reliability, and honesty on the job are questionable. An employee-employer relationship is one which we voluntarily enter into and which an employee may terminate when desired. Nevertheless, the principles of conduct laid down here by Paul do apply to us. Titus is to teach the workers of his day how they are to conduct themselves as workers. And we may learn from what is said here how to conduct ourselves as workers in our own day (Campbell, D. (2007). Opening up Titus (p. 68). Leominster: Day One Publications.)

According to the three of the purpose clauses in Titus 2 found in v5, 8, 10 a defective testimony will blaspheme or defame God. Specifically, in regards to the workplace, Paul points out the primary purpose for working hard and for respecting our employer, even more than leading someone to faith, is to bring honor to Christ. And our most important compensation is not the possible praise or increase in pay we may receive from our employer but the assured reward that we will receive from our Lord. He is the One who determines and assures what the eternal compensation will be (cf. Rev. 20:12–13). In Titus 2:9–10 Paul gives five character qualities that should distinguish Bondservants/bond-slaves and every other believer who is employed by someone else. These characteristics are to be genuine and from the heart, and are to be without reservation, not superficial or hypocritical. In other words, workers show the Godly value of work, when their labors are: 1) Submissive (Titus 2:9a), 2) Selfless (Titus 2:9b), not 3) Subjective (Titus 9c) or 4) Stealing (Titus 2:10a) but 5) Steady (Titus 2:10b)

First, workers show the Godly value of work, when their labors are:

1) Submissive (Titus 2:9a)

Titus 2:9-10 9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters (in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative. (ESV)

First, Christian workers are to be submissive, subject to their own masters, their own employers. Bondservants/bond-slaves (Douloi) refers to slaves, those who were owned and controlled by their own masters. The Roman Empire depended on bond-slaves for most of its labor, and they were an essential part of society and the economy. Many, if not most, slaves were abused and often brutalized. For even minor infractions, or simply for displeasing their owners in some way, they could be severely beaten or killed. Many of them, however, were given great responsibility and authority in running a household and sometimes a family farm or other business. Some of them—frequently those who were captured in war—were highly educated and cultured, in many cases having superior education to that of their owners. Slaves were allowed to marry and raise their own families, their children becoming slaves like their parents. A slave sometimes was given a small parcel of land on which to grow crops to feed his family and perhaps earn a small income. No hard and fast line can be drawn between the congregation and the household, so long as the congregations met in houses (Marshall, I. H., & Towner, P. H. (2004). A critical and exegetical commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (p. 257). London; New York: T&T Clark International.).

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John Watson

commented on Sep 29, 2018

Excellent message. Your passage of Scripture was well researched, clearly understood and appropriately applicable. Thank you and may God this sermon.

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