Study 4 THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IN ACTION
THE LETTERS TO TITUS AND PHILEMON
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Titus 2: 1 – 10)
In Titus 2:1-10 Paul guides Titus as to the instruction he is to give to five classes of people – older men, older women, younger women, young men and slaves. The purpose is to enable these people to live consistent Christian lives, harmonising their behaviour with their belief. These instructions were necessary for the early Christians, and today’s Church. If we ask, ‘What should Christians be like in the home, the church and the world?’ the answer is in Titus 2:1-10, where we have an outline of the Christian life in action.
1. THE OLDER MEN (verse 2)
- They must be ‘temperate’ – sober, vigilant and moderate in their habits.
- They must be ‘worthy of respect’ – serious and respectable. It means to live in the light of eternity and to have about them a spiritual dignity.
- They must be ‘self-controlled’ – sensible and restrained. An older Christian must be controlled by the Holy Spirit, which is the real meaning of Ephesians 5:18. The older men must be of mature judgment and proper restraint.
- They must be ‘sound in faith’ – the word means healthy (compare verse 1); and faith is the first of three Christian virtues mentioned here.
- They must be ‘sound in love’ – healthy in their love. Their love for the Lord and His people should be robust and should be the badge worn by the older men.
- They must be ‘sound in endurance’ – in patience. This has special reference to the times of testing that come upon us in our earthly life. Paul was an example of one who showed great patience in the midst of tremendous testings.
Here, then, is God’s pattern for the older men.
2. THE OLDER WOMEN (verse 3)
- They must be reverent. This is beautiful, but very challenging! If you come within this category ask yourself: Does my behaviour mark me out as a Christian? The older women must treat the whole of life as sacred.
- They must not be ‘slanderers’ – must not spread slanderous reports. What power there is in the tongue for good or for evil! – look up James 3:5-6.
- They must not be ‘addicted to much wine’ – but temperate, especially where wine is used, and it was used extensively in AD 65.
- They must ‘teach what is good’ – ‘examples of the good life’, that is, the Christian life – look up 1 Peter 3:1-2. An older sister in the church should by her life and words be a true example of Christ-likeness!
- They must ‘teach the younger women’. What a blessing it would be in our churches if the older women would train the younger women!
Here is God’s pattern, so if you come into this category please take note!
3. THE YOUNGER WOMEN (verses 4-5)
- They are to ‘love their husbands’ (verse 4). Their whole attitude towards their husbands is to be one of love, and this applies even if their husbands are not Christians.
- They are to ‘love their children’ (verse 4). It is easy for zealous Christian women to be so busy that they neglect their children, but parents are to care for their children, give time to them and teach them the Word of God.
- They are ‘to be self-controlled’ (verse 5). This means sensible and restrained, as for the older men.
- They are to be ‘pure’ (verse 5). They are to be pure in thought, word and deed, which is not always easy. Everything tends to influence us the other way; besides, ‘it is not the done thing’ to be pure! It is – for the Christian!
- They are ‘to be busy at home’ (verse 5). It is good to be an “out-and-out” Christian, but this does not mean being out at meetings all the time.
- They are ‘to be kind’ (verse 5).
- They are ‘to be subject to their husbands’ (verse 5). The husband is the head of the house and the head of the wife, and here the younger women are told to be subject to their husbands. When the husband also is a Christian this is not a burden; when he is not a Christian the Lord will give grace – look up Ephesians 5:22-24 and 1 Peter 3:1-2.
Why are the younger women to live in this way? – ‘so that no-one will malign the word of God’ (verse 5).
4. THE YOUNG MEN (verses 6-8)
- They are to be ‘self-controlled’ (verse 6). Do take the Christian life seriously!
- They are to be characterised by ‘doing what is good’ (verse 7). Verses 7 and 8 are an exhortation to Titus himself: he is to be an example to the young men around him. From Paul’s words we see the Lord’s requirements of young men.
- They are to be sound in doctrine (verse 7) – that is, to be without error, and this involves hard study – look up 2 Timothy 2:15.
- They are to be serious (verse 7) – they are to mean business for the Lord.
- They are to be characterised by ‘soundness of speech’ (verse 8) – this refers to the kind of speech with which no-one can find fault. Be careful about the words and expressions you use!
Young men, this is God’s pattern for you: seek to fit your life into it!
5. EMPLOYEES (OR SLAVES) (verses 9-10)
Five specific and important things are mentioned here:-
- They are to be ‘subject to their masters’ (verse 9). The word means submissive. A great deal of trouble would be avoided if this injunction were heeded in the work-place today!
- They are to please their masters (verse 9). They are to give satisfactory service in every way, gladly and willingly.
- They are not to talk back to them (verse 9). There must be no rebellion, strife, vindictiveness or resistance.
- They are not to steal (verse 10). Do you use the company’s notepaper, stamps or time? To purloin is to embezzle.
- They are to be fully trusted (verse 10). They are to show loyalty, faithfulness and honesty. Employers want utterly reliable employees!
In conclusion, link up verse 1 and the second part of verse 10.