Titus Chapter 2 John Karmelich

 

 

 

1.                   Let me start with my lesson title, which I'll guarantee will open a big can of worms: How should we Christians act around each other? Is there a certain way we're supposed to act when we come together as opposed to act at home? If Christians are saved by God's grace alone, who cares how we act around each other? Are young Christian women supposed to be "barefoot and pregnant"? (No, just to set record straight on that one.) Can Christians ever drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes and be considered good Christians? I recall a famous line from a generation or two back that goes like this, "Christians don't drink, smoke or chew, and don't hang out with those that do!" While I am at it, who cares about how we behave anyway, since we are only saved our belief that Jesus is God and died for every sin we'll ever commit? Why does our behavior matter?

a)                   Like I said, I'm getting myself in hot water and I've only written one paragraph so far. In the 15 verses of this short chapter, most of them are commands about how people (broken into young and old men, young and women, and servants (slaves) should act. Then in the last few verses we get the "why" question answered. My point is if Paul spends that much space focusing on our behavior, it must be important enough to find out why we believers are to act a certain way in life. The short answer is God wants us to be a good witness for Him and that means not acting like everyone else around us.

b)                  The longer answer is that this chapter explains how we're to act with other believers both in our community and in general. To state the obvious some more, it's not about us being perfect, but this chapter gives things to "strive for". It's not to earn His love, but just to be a good witness for Him. Remember that He doesn't want us to be a witness for Him as to earn His love, but out of gratitude for what He's done for us. We are to act a certain way because we are grateful for Him paying the price for our sins.

2.                   With that thought in mind, let me give an overview of how does Paul (speaking on Jesus' behalf) expect us to behave especially around other Christians. To state the obvious again, if this list was all we need to know about being a Christian, the bible would be a lot smaller. What I'm saying is this list doesn't state the 10 Commandments or even list any of the topics Jesus stated as He gave on the Sermon on the Mount. What it does say is Paul's saying if we believe Jesus is God, here is how we should "act like it". Paul breaks that list down into five categories: Older men, younger men, older women and younger women and finally slaves, as much of that world were slaves.

a)                   Realize just separating expectations into those categories alone implies that God does not expect men to act like women and vice-versa. Paul expects older men and older women to be more mature as an example to younger people on the issue of how believers should act in life. While it's popular today to try to break down barriers between both sexes, and our unique roles in society as a member of one sex or the other, the bible tells us that we're are men and women, so go deal with it and be a witness for Jesus.

b)                  My point is let nonbelievers debate over what's acceptable for their lives and their society as we Christians should live as God calls us and not conform to their beliefs.

c)                   Like I said, this lesson opens a big can of controversial worms (so to speak) and I've yet to discuss any of the attributes of how Paul expects us to live. Therefore, let me break down and actually focus on what how God expects us to live as a witness for him.

3.                   Let's start with older men: The basic idea is since we've lived longer in life and seen a lot of about how life works, we should act like it. It is much more than being a good witness to others around us and avoiding sin, although that's a good start. Paul doesn't specify ages, but the general idea I suspect refers to those who've already raised children and "been there, done that" through all the phases of raising children. Paul's concept of older men are the ones who've seen enough of life to realize how we should act in society as to be respectable in life.

a)                   The short version is older men should be respected among younger men in the church. It is not an example of being perfect or older men going with young guys out drinking or to a concert. The idea is older men should be seen as respected. They should be someone to look up to in life.

b)                  This chapter also teaches us that Titus's mission wasn't just to pick elders for the churches he was setting up on the island of Crete. (See lesson one if you don't know the who, what, when and how's of this short book.) It was also to set up how Christians should act when we get together and how we act in life in general. Yes he was to lead by example, but I do suspect that as he visited churches he encouraged older men to partner with younger men to teach them how Christians should act as to be a good witness for Jesus, period!

c)                   We also get verses on how older women and younger women are to act. I doubt Titus was holding women's bible studies. More likely it was just asking older Christian women who are no longer dealing with the daily aspects of raising young children to help women still at that phase of life. They are to offer their help to younger women and be good witnesses to them to show them how Jesus expects us to act as a living witnesses for Him.

d)                  To state the obvious, there's a lot more to this than I'm giving in the introduction, but my goal here is simply to give you a flavor of how this lesson roles, with the details given in my verse by verse commentary coming up.

e)                   Let me pause to state the obvious again here: Not all women are called to be moms. Not all women were to function that way in society. However, the majority of young women in that culture were raising children, so it'd be natural for older women to help others on not only the practical aspects of making decisions regarding children, but also to help the young women be good witnesses for Jesus while doing all of that.

f)                   The final category to discuss was slaves and masters. In that Roman world, about 2/3 of the population were slaves if memory is correct. In a Christian church setting, those who are masters and those who are slaves can sit together. A slave could be an elder over his master. That was unheard of in the Roman culture. I'm sure that if Paul or Titus had the power to wave a magic wand and end slavery, they would. However, they have "bigger fish to fry" and had to accept that aspect of culture and work to help Christians to grow in their faith despite slavery being a part of that culture. The similar model today would be of employees and employers so this section is worth paying attention to.

4.                   Bottom line time: Titus not only had the authority to pick the Christian church elders, but also he had the authority to set up "structures" within the church, as to have each of them help each other grow in their faith in Jesus. That's what God called us to do as we study books like Titus, to learn how God wants us to function among other believers.

a)                   With that said, time to start my verse-by-verse commentary to explain the details.

5.                   Chapter 2, Verse 1: You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.

a)                   You might recall that Chapter 1 was all about choosing who will be the leaders of each of the individual home churches at that location and how such leaders are to be picked. My only point here is simply that Paul the writer of this letter is switching topics. It's kind of like asking the logical question, "Now that we've established how to choose church elders what do they do there?" That's the key issue of Chapter 2. Paul instructs Titus in Verse 1 to teach sound doctrine. My job is to explain what that is.

b)                  Let me also remind you the size of the territory that Titus was to work at. It was on a large island off of Greece called Crete. It is 120 miles long and 37 miles wide at its widest point. All I'm saying is that this island has a good size population. The year was about 64AD. It shows how fast the Gospel spread. It's been a little over 30 years since Jesus died, and we have a large island on the Mediterranean Sea that was full of Christian churches. All I am saying is this model isn't just for Crete, but it's to be studied as to how it is that God wants us to act in our church settings. The important thing is to learn what it tells us about how we as Christians are supposed to act when we get together.

c)                   Keep in mind that Titus, the recipient of this letter was assigned to travel from one church to another (churches were small groups of people who met in people's homes). Titus was further instructed here in Chapter 2 that once the leaders are set up, then Titus himself is to instruct each church on how they are to lead others. That's the issue here.

d)                  That little background lecture, leads me back to Verse 1. Titus was told in Verse 1 to teach sound doctrine. Paul doesn't define it, but it obviously refers to biblical teaching on Jesus as well as how God wants us to be a witness for Him. Since Titus was told to go from one place to another on this large island, I don't think it was so much about Titus lecturing by himself as much as it was about how he was to instruct the leaders he choose in the home churches he set up.

i)                    To put it simply, Titus was told to teach the teachers so they could teach others.

ii)                  Verse 1 explains what Titus was to teach: "sound doctrine".

a)                   Does that mean Titus taught the Gospel? Of course.

b)                  Does that mean Titus taught prophesy? Of course.

c)                   I suspect it means Titus explained what it is God expects of us.

iii)                Realize that in Titus's day, there were no bible books, only scrolls of bible "books" as well as some of the early New Testament writings that were in circulations even at this time. I doubt there was a manual to "teach this or teach that". We don't get any references to any manual. I think it was simply a case of Paul training Titus to pass on what Paul taught him about Jesus and the Old Testament and now Titus is to pass on what Paul taught to others.

iv)                That's the "sound doctrine" of Verse 1.

e)                   Let me quickly address false teaching and how it's best to avoid it. There's an illustration I have loved for years that works well here. If one gets a job working as a teller in a bank, one spends a lot of time physically "playing" with money. One has to constantly count it, hold it and give it to others. My point is if one spends a lot of time working with the "real thing", one naturally becomes good at recognizing what is counterfeit. The point is I have learned that the best way to spot counterfeit Christianity is to spend a lot of time working with the real thing. The better one knows one's bible, the easier it is to spot "counterfeits".

i)                    That's relevant here because one reason Titus is instructed to teach sound doctrine is so people can recognize counterfeits simply by all the time we spend with what is the "real thing".

6.                   Verse 2: Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

a)                   As I said in the introduction, Chapter 2 is partially divided into instructions for older men then older women, then younger men and younger women. I pondered is there a specific age where one changes from a younger man or women to an older one? In other words, is this for "me", or someone older or younger than me? How do I know if this applies to me in the first place? Since Paul doesn't specify an age, the issue is maturity.

b)                  I remember hearing a wonderful little lecture from a good friend who said, "You can tell if you are getting older when the policemen are younger than you and your pastor or priest is now younger than you." That's one way to tell. Another is if you, or your close friends are at a point in life where your children are grown up and now have a life of their own, it is a sign that one is an older man. My view on this is if one gets to the point in life where we have seen lots of things and already lived a good time length, we'd be in this category.

c)                   The bottom line is there is no specific age, just a recognition by those around us that we're now in that category. The joke is if one is not sure whether one is an "older person", ask a few younger people if they think your age is ancient. If the answer is yes, then it's time to pay attention, because Paul's talking to us here as well as to Titus.

d)                  Next, remember that the goal here is not about being perfect. It is about what we should be shooting for, and how God expects us to act our age if we want to admit our age or not.

e)                   Now that I've beaten to death who is an "older man", how is he expected to act? That's the rest of Verse 2: The first thing to shoot for is we are to be "temperate". Other translations say "serious" or "sober minded". The idea is not about never having a sense of humor. It's just that when it comes to teaching God's word, "One doesn't mess around"

i)                    A rule I set up for myself in teaching many years ago was, "I'm to treat God with a very serious tone and everyone else is fair game for humor." What I mean by that is I consider God to be perfect and people to be imperfect. While I tell jokes a lot in my studies, I don't mess with God or with the "seriousness" that the bible is to be taught "as is" and taken seriously.

ii)                  That reminds me of a related rule about bible teaching: We are to take it seriously, not literally. For example, there are places in the bible that are obviously meant as metaphors and not literal interpretations. The classic example is God is described in one place as a bird protecting her young under her wings. (Loosely taken from Psalm 17:8). My simple point here is when the text is being literal, one is to take it literally. When one is describing a metaphor, treat it as such. When we're not sure if we're to take it literally or not, my rule of thumb is I'd rather argue on the side of being too literal than not literal enough. I figure God can't fault me for taking one passage to literal versus not literal enough. My point is it is safer to be in the zone of being too literal than in the "not literal enough" zone, which is why I usually do side on that issue. If it turns out I was too literal on some passages, I figure God's going to be nicer to me on that issue than if I was not literal enough.

iii)                OK John, that's all well and good if you're going to be a teacher. Why should any of us care about that if we are not called to be teachers? Because the issue is being "sober" or "serious" if we fall in the "older" category. Again, it's not about us never having a sense of humor, just taking our duties seriously in whatever role we are called to do as a witness for Jesus, period.

f)                   The next phrase is "worthy of respect". As most of us know, respect is never a given, it is a earned aspect of life. We may instantly give someone respect someone based on their title or their background or if we desire something from them. When we gather in our church settings, respect has to be earned for people to do as we say. Again, I'm not claiming to be perfect by any means. I want to be respected here strictly based on doing my best to teach God's word accurately. The problem with being a bible teacher is we're judged by tougher standards than non teachers as God expects us to teach His word accurately.

i)                    So how do we earn respect? Based on how we act. If we're actively using our life to make a difference for Jesus, word just "spreads". My point is if we act like what we say we believe, that brings respect to those we may be leading at the moment.

g)                  From here, it gets easier. My point is if older men take God's word seriously and they are "worthy of respect" based on how they act, then the rest of the verse falls into place fairly easily. The rest says, "Self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance".

i)                    My point is if we're willing to put our "money where our mouth is", a "senior" in a church setting would be willing to be self controlled, trust in God, wiling to show love to others in the church and endure through good and rough times. Again I'm not saying older men are to be perfect, but they should have lived long enough by this point to "know better". For example, one should learn by a certain point in life that getting angry doesn't usually fix things. Showing love and working to solve a problem is much better than to just get angry about something.

ii)                  As another example, if we've lived a while and desire to be a good witness to God, then we would just naturally want to show love to others by putting their needs as a priority over our own in any given situation. We'd also be willing to endure in a tough situation as we've "been there, done that", and can at the least help others as they go through what we've been through before.

h)                  Finally let me just state again, that God never expects perfection, but He definitely expects an effort on our part to act our age. Again, it doesn't mean be serious all the time. It means we've seen enough of life to take things in stride, and do what we can to offer up our help in any given situation. It means we show love to others, not to earn points with God, but just because that's what He called us to do as a witness for Him!

i)                    OK, now that I've beaten us my fellow "older men" to death, time to pick on the women!

7.                   Verse 3: Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

a)                   First a warning. Paul spends three verses on older women and only one on older men. If I go on further about older women, it's only because Paul's got more to say to you here. I hold the view that "Christians are Christians" in the sense that any person can be saved no matter the sex, race, background or based on how they've lived their life to date.

b)                  Paul breaks down the roles in church to men and women, and from there, into those who are older men and older women, because each have different roles in society.

c)                   Whether one likes it or not, God called men to lead. The joke is if you don't like it, take it up with God and not me. Just as Jesus is "subservient" to God the Father in rank, so God's expecting women to submit to their husbands, not because they're inferior to men but just because God holds men to a higher standard as a leader in the home. If anything, it makes it harder on men, because God holds them accountable to lead so we're held to that higher standard. It's a little like children, as God holds their parents to a higher standard to raise them to teach them right and wrong. As part of God's order for society, He calls men to be the leader over women. Are there exceptions? Of course. What about a female president? That's a separate issue from church leadership. My point here is God expects men to take the role of leadership in the church and we have to accept. As I said, if you got a problem with this? Take it up with God. I'm just explaining the rules.

d)                  As I said earlier, this applies to teachers too. He holds bible teachers to a higher standard than other Christians because He expects us to teach His word as accurately as we can. All I'm saying is the idea of being a servant applies to all of us in different ways.

e)                   Meanwhile, now that I'm in hot water, let's see what the specifics are on the issue of how older women are to act in church gatherings. The first thing Paul says is that such women are to be "reverent" in their actions. Like Paul's reference to older men, the issue is about a woman having a good reputation in town. The question is are you a women respected in your town as someone who fears God and cares about her reputation before God?

i)                    Let me quickly address those who've come to know Jesus late in life and must deal with their past that wasn't what God expects of us. First, know that God wants to have a relationship with each of us so much that He's willing to forgive all our sins no matter what they are. The next issue is, "If God's forgiven us, why can't we also forgive ourselves?" Then there is our reputation. We can't change our past, but we can learn from it. The issue is never about being perfect, just perfectly forgiven. If we accept that fact and then ask God to help us to be a good witness for Him with our lives, He will lead us down the path He desires. I've met many women whose life is a living witness for Jesus simply because people see them and think, "I don't know why she's changed, but she's definitely not like she used to be."

ii)                  To state the obvious, men can learn much from these concepts as well.

f)                   The next issue is slanderers. I'm not sure I know of a sin that's done more damage within the Christian church than gossip. My wife has always impressed me in this area as I have watched her avoid slander and avoiding people who gossip. I myself have learned a lot from her in this area. To put it simply, if it is not your business, stay out of it.

i)                    This reminds me of the definition of a secret: Something you only tell one person at a time. My point here is we don't realize how much spreading of rumors about another person hurts them. If we know that person well enough that we can talk to them directly and gently about that issue, we should. If not, it's not our place to spread rumors to others.

ii)                  Again remember that the over-riding issue is being a good witness for Jesus. If we are spreading rumors about others, we are doing more harm than good.

g)                  The third issue is "not addicted to much wine". Speaking of controversial issues within the Christian church, alcohol as always been near the top of the list. My view on this issue is simply, "I'm free as a Christian to drink all the alcohol I want. The question is how much do I want to drink?" Sometimes my wife and I have a glass of wine at dinner. However, I never want it to be a source of stumbling for anyone, so if I sense it is a situation where it's to be avoided, I will simply as a witness for Jesus, period.

i)                    Notice Paul doesn't say, "avoid alcohol like the plague". Instead he says we're not to be addicted to much wine. I could go into more details, but you get the idea.

ii)                  Finally, let me say a few words to those who argue that Jesus never drank wine. If you know anything about grapes, they are harvested in the middle of the summer. The Jewish holiday of Passover is in the spring. My point is fresh grape juice was not available for that holiday so Jesus drank wine. Could one argue it was mixed with water? Probably. Still the key point is we want to be a good witness for Jesus which is about controlling our behavior, not to earn His love, but simply so we can be a good witness for Him.

h)                  The next issue is teaching. I doubt that Paul or Titus held women's bible studies. I think it is just an issue of saying that older women should pass on good values to younger girls about how it is we can be a good witness for Jesus.

i)                    Without insulting anyone here, let's define what Paul meant by "older women". I suspect it just refers to women whose children are no longer living at home. That means they have the time to volunteer to go help younger women.

i)                    So what doe they help them with? Yes it can be as simple as watching the children so "mom can go to the market". It can be simple bible lessons or good advice about how life works. It's the classic, "Been there, done that, so let me show you the best way to get through this situation."

ii)                  If you wondering what else the older women taught the younger ones, let's look at Verses 4 and 5 again. It reads, "Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

iii)                Let me put it this way, once one's children are older, women who are not working have more time on their hands. A good way to help the growth of the church is if such older women helped younger women. I've seen a lot of wonderful ministries based on that concept in many Christian churches.

j)                    OK, time to talk reality for a second. What if you are a single mom trying to raise kids by yourself? My simple advice is get involved in a church that has ministries to help one in a difficult situation like that. Many churches do and many people love to help those who're in need. What about families where both parents work? I live in one of the highest taxed areas of the country, and let's just say it's common and necessary for a lot of couples as to make end's meet. I'm not saying Paul's model here is ideal for every situation. I'm saying the best way for communities to survive is to work together where more experienced men and women can be helpful to younger people.

i)                    That's why I believe the most important time in any church service the 10 minutes before or after, when we can help each other. That and volunteer to help at church.

8.                   Verse 6: Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

a)                   The really good news for the women reading this, is we're done with that issue and we're now focusing on how young men are to act as Christians.

b)                  Like "young women", I doubt think Titus went from house church to house church telling the young men how to act. I'm positive it's more of a lecture to the church leaders how to deal with the younger men in their midst. The line "in your teaching" in Verse 7 proves it.

c)                   OK onto the important question of the moment, how does one teach young men to be self-controlled? How does one "bottle" the energy of younger men to teach them to avoid the great mistakes many young men make.

i)                    To answer, I'd like to quote my favorite Jewish "theologian" Dennis Prager: If you were walking in a bad neighborhood late at night and a bunch of young men were walking toward you, would you rather they be coming from a bar or from a bible study meeting? The "kicker" of that question is he was lecturing Jewish people on the pro's and con's of Christianity and our culture.

ii)                  My point of that illustration is the way to channel the energy of younger men is we have to teach them to "fear God" more than trouble. I remember the other day as I was shopping for a new phone I was talking to a young single girl about marriage. What I said was "Find a man who fears God more than he cares about you." That'll discourage him from wanting to cheat or do the wrong thing. It doesn't mean he'll be perfect, but having a healthy fear of God will discourage a man to want to act in a way displeasing to Him.

iii)                Many men go through a time when they're in their early 20's that I call, "the stupid years". I look back at the mistakes I made in life and most of them occurred in my late teens and early 20's. Yes, I made plenty and if I met people today I knew from that era, I would say hello and apologize for my behavior back then. For parents of kids at that age, if you've raised your children in the Gospel, they'll usually return once they contemplate and realize the danger of bad choices.

iv)                These little lectures about the dangers of male youth all come back to Paul's point that young men need to learn to be self-controlled. Grant it most young men don't listen to anyone but their friends at that age. Sometimes it's a matter of getting one or more to be willing to listen and often the change in that person will get others to join them. I tend to find younger men who have a basic interest in God are usually willing to go to a prophecy study, if for no other reason than to hear what the bible says about the future. My point is that is often a good door to use to teach the men of that age how to be more self-controlled.

d)                  From there Paul indirectly returns to the older men as to say, "If you desire young men to listen to what you have to say, then you have to be someone they respect." The point is if a young men is willing to listen to a lecture on say, "bible prophecy", they'll be more likely to respect the source if the person teaching it has had a good history.

i)                    I remember going to a big bible prophecy conference many years ago. One of the main speakers cheated on his wife a year or two earlier. As opposed to hiding that information, he announced it from the stage. I still remember what he said to this day: "If God can use a donkey to communicate his message to someone, then God can also use me to communicate His message despite the mistakes I've made." (If you don't know the "talking donkey story" is from Numbers Chapter 22.)

ii)                  I recently saw him (it's been about 20 years) and he's still married to his wife after all of that and he went through a lot of counseling on the issue of forgiveness. All I'm saying is all sin is forgivable and if God forgives us, we can forgive others.

e)                   The reason I got into all of that is because older men are to teach younger men how to act "respectable" in society and in church. If we've messed up when we were young, instead of hiding it, discuss our mistakes and what we learned from them and how to avoid them for the future. As I implied earlier, wisdom begins with the "Fear of God". That does not mean we can lose our salvation, but it does mean when we do something stupid, we will pay the consequences for that action and our witness for Him will suffer because of it. It's a job for older men in the church to do their best to pass on God's wisdom to young men. I have a good friend who's been leading boy scouts for decades. That's a great example of how to lead younger men in life.

f)                   Just read the verse again to make sure I haven't missed anything, and I'm pretty positive I covered the essential idea behind the relationships between older and younger men in the church and how one group can be helpful to others.

g)                  A final thought of course is we can't help people who don't want to be helped. The way to encourage young men is to offer help. Offer "seminars". Offer counseling and when they have seen the fruitlessness of those bad decisions in life, that's when older men can offer a "helping hand" to encourage the next generation. The point is there is a deep down desire in all people to want to do the right thing, and using these starting points to encourage the younger men to act dignified is a good place to start. Of course some people have a better gift for this than others, but all Christians should have the attitude of wanting to do what is right and that means being willing to offer help someone who we can see needs to learn how to be more respected in society let alone among church members.

h)                  OK enough on how to help young men and women in church, onto a different topic.

9.                   Verse 9: Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

a)                   To discuss the issue of slavery, first I need to talk a little about life when the Romans ruled most of the known world at that time. Realize about two thirds of the "Roman" population were slaves. Such slaves were treated as property and had few rights as compared to the non-slave population. The positive aspect of slavery back then is that their master had to be willing to provide them a place to sleep and food to eat in exchange for that slavery.

b)                  Yes they must do as they were told, but it was "part of life". As I love to say, if Paul could jus wave a magic wand and bring slavery to an end I'm positive he would have. Speaking of slavery, why doesn't God "wave His magic wand" and end it? It's because He gives us free will and allows us to sin to see the problems of those bad choices. As to Paul and the Christian church for that matter, I believe Paul had "bigger fish to fry" as his focus was on spreading the Gospel message and not trying to fix the world. I'm grateful for Christians through the millenniums who have worked to end the evil of slavery and have done a lot to bring that practice to an end.

c)                   What was amazing in that culture, is other than Christian churches, it was unthinkable for a slave to have power over a master. Yet in those early Christian churches, many who did live as slaves were elders in churches.

d)                  Be grateful that we don't have "slave status" today. The way we can relate to this passage is to think about "employers and employees". The same principals as taught in these two verses do apply today in those situations.

i)                    Let me give an illustration that may be helpful here. Someone I know owns a good number of hamburger franchises. He said the biggest problem he has to deal with in that business is employee's stealing from him. Cameras in those restaurants are mostly to watch the employee's, not customers who may be thieves. I bring that up here as Paul's point is that Christian employees should be one's that should be the type of people that others can trust.

ii)                  That lead to a related point that all of us should learn about:

iii)                There is a term in the business world called a "fiduciary". For example, it refers to an attorney who does what's best for his or her client and not for themselves. This is another example of putting the interest of others before themselves. To return to my restaurant example, if we care about our boss more than ourselves, to steal any items from that boss would be a bad witness to them let alone God. It'd be as if we started thinking, the boss is rich and won't notice that I've taken this. The point is we'd be a bad witness for God, let alone our boss in that situation.

iv)                Just as an attorney has a fiduciary responsibility to put their clients interest ahead of their own, so we have a fiduciary responsibility to God to be a good witness for Him in all situations, even and especially when we're not in "church settings".

v)                  For what it's worth I've hired many people in my lifetime. I've never hire someone just because they say they're a Christian. Being one doesn't give us an excuse to act differently in our work settings or "holier than though". What it does do is require us to be a witness for Jesus by not stealing at work and just do what we're required to do. That's how we're to be a "fiduciary" for our company and effectively a good witness for Jesus.

10.               Verse 11: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

a)                   Now we come to the tough verse. Why did Paul mean when he says here that God brings grace to all men? Obviously, it doesn't mean every person is automatically saved. That'd be a contradiction to a lot of Paul's other writings.

b)                  The way I describe the concept of "God's grace bringing salvation to all men" is the idea of anyone can be saved by believing in Jesus as God and paying for our sins. The other idea is for example, people aren't struck dead by God say the moment they steal something or if they kill someone. Obviously we'd most likely suffer in this lifetime for sins we've done but God desires all people to repent and believe the Gospel.

c)                   Let me ask another tough question here: If God is God, and knows all things, why did He create people who He knew would rebel against Him? I don't understand why He did it, but I accept the fact that God created us with free will. That means all people are free to choose God or not choose God to rule over their lives.

d)                  To give some related examples, I don't know exactly how electricity works, but I know if I click a light switch, most likely the lights will go on. I don't understand how a computer can generate a random number, but I accept that it can. In summary, I don't know how or why God created people who willfully choose to rebel against Him, as "that information is above my pay grade". I just accept He's God, I'm not and all I'm called to accept is that He did pay the price for My sins by Himself and out of gratitude for that fact I'm called to be a good witness for Him.

e)                   I gave that cute little speech there as I want us to understand that even though we can not understand certain things, we know from observing life that God brings "salvation" in the sense that anyone can learn of that salvation and we're not instantly struck dead when we sin. To quote a famous 19th century Gospel preacher, I wish all the saved had a big mark on their body so I know who to preach to and who I shouldn't be wasting my time on." A loose translation of a quote by Charles Spurgeon. Since we don't have any "saved" marks on us, therefore God calls us to go be a witness to all people. The point as it relates to this verse is He gives all people that opportunity to accept His existence based on the evidence around us and if we accept His rule over our life, learning about Him and finally living as He desires we live.

f)                   What about the classic illustration of the truly nave? What about children who die before an age of accountability? I suspect many will be in heaven for such reasons. I just figure if God is truly fair, that's His problem to sort out. Our job is to be a good witness for Him to those around me or those He's called me to preach to. We're all called to go into the world and preach of Him, and reach the "nave" the best we can.

11.               Verse 12: It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

a)                   One thing I've learned from studying Paul's letters, is he loves long run-on sentences. The verses we see here are a perfect example, as three of them are all one sentence.

b)                  My first question about these three verses is what's the "it" Paul is talking about to start up this long sentence? The "it" is God's grace to the world. Which reminds me, I can't explain the rest of the verse without giving a quick lecture on what is God's grace anyway.

i)                    To explain, first I need to explain the difference between forgiveness and grace. If we are guilty of a sin or a crime and God says, "no punishment will be given", that is God forgiving us of our sins. If He puts millions of dollars in our lap for no good reason, that would be an example of God's grace. Grace is the idea of getting some thing we "don't deserve" for no apparent reason other than it's His desire to do so, while forgiveness is about not getting what we do deserve.

ii)                  That leads me back to the previous verse about the idea that "God's grace has been shown to all people". Again, I think of it as God not destroying the world as He is waiting for "x" number of people to believe in Him and trust in Him before Jesus returns to "run the show". If you struggle with this concept, just remember that if the world had a beginning, then it must have an ending one-day as well. What we don't know is how many people will become believers before Jesus returns. What we are called to do as Christians is spread the word about Him, let the Holy Spirit lead people to Him and become good witnesses for Him so others see how we are different based on how we live.

c)                   Let me put it this way, the reason we as Christians are to "live differently" is not because our salvation depends upon it. It is based on our gratitude for what God's done for us. If the purpose of this world (from God's perspective) is for Him to call a specific number of people to Himself, and we're to be the "instruments" that draw people to Him, that means we're to live differently enough from the world as to stand out as a witness for Him.

i)                    The point is people are both the "pawns and the prizes" in life, as we figure out in life that God's "working behind the scenes" in our world and in our lives to draw us and others closer to Him. That's how we're the pawns. We're also the prizes as God desires through His grace to eternally bless those of us who choose to turn to Him and draw close to Him with our lives. That's what living the Christian life is about, using our lives as a witness for Him so we can be used as His "pawns" that help others be the prizes that get the privilege of spending eternity with Him.

d)                  That speech leads us perfectly back to these verses. My point is once we understand that we're saved solely by His grace, we're now free to use our lives as a witness for Him and draw upon His power to be that witness. With that said, let me give the rest of Verse 12 here again, "ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age". That just means is we as Christians are to rely upon His power to live self-controlled and turn from what nonbelievers desire. Does all that mean we're to be perfect? Of course not. It just means as we draw close to Him, He takes away our desire for things that don't please Him. Let me explain it another way: It goes without saying there are many things in life that would be pleasurable or else people wouldn't go do them in the first place. Let me use sex as an example. If there were no consequences to have sex with anyone any time we want, it would bring us pleasure to live that way. The consequences of such actions is what prevents us from living for just that act. My point is simply that we restrain ourselves from every desire that pops in our head, as we know it's not a good witness to God to live that way.

e)                   What I'm getting at here is the idea is we choose to live differently enough from the world around us because we care about our relationship with God and want to please Him with our lives. Does that mean we're perfect? Of course not, only perfectly forgiven. Out of a sense of gratitude because we realize we're forgiven and can receive His grace in this life as well as the next one, we choose to live differently enough as to be a witness for Him. It is the main point Paul's making in Verse 12.

f)                   With that understood, let's read Verses 13-14 again: " while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

i)                    I admit it's a strange idea to realize that Jesus can return at any moment and those of us who believe in Jesus have lived that way for 2,000 years. Isn't it logical to say that "It's been 2,000 years, Jesus is not coming back folks" as many have preached. If we're not going to live for God, then we might as well go enjoy this life as much as we can. That's how many choose to live. When it comes to "why 2,000 years", I like to think of it as "great eras of human time". For example, it was roughly 2,000 years from Adam to Noah. It was roughly 2,000 years from the time Abraham was to be "the first Jew" until the time Jesus came on the scene. All I'm saying is I'm not surprised it's been 2,000 years now since He came on the scene.

ii)                  To explain it another way, when Jesus returns is His business, not ours. Our job is to be a good witness for Him as we live for that day to come. My point is we wait for that day to occur as that's what Verse 13 is discussion. Verse 14 reminds us of what it is we are "redeemed from". The wickedness of this world.

iii)                I've been saying for years that we don't keep "guillotine's" in church. The point is we don't say, "You're saved, now go die as you're saved." The moment we first do accept Jesus as God is the beginning of a relationship, not the end. A reason why Christian salvation is nicknamed being "born again" is because it's the beginning of a new relationship, not the end of it. The point as it relates to Verse 14 is because whether we realize it or not, He's separated us from the world so we can choose to live a life pleasing to Him as to be His witnesses to the world around us. Again it doesn't mean we're perfect, but as saved people we should choose to live in a way as a witness for Him. In other words, we don't do good things to earn being with Him, we do good works out of gratitude for what He's already done for us.

iv)                That's why we're "eager to do what is good" based on Verse 14.

v)                  So what are the specific's we're supposed to do? That's the topic of Chapter 3 and we get a preview of that topic in Verse 15. Speaking of which:

12.               Verse 15: These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

a)                   To explain this verse, first we need to ask who is the "you" being addressed here. The first answer of course is Titus, the recipient of this letter. Remember that Paul's well known in the Christian world at that time as the one who's giving the authority for Titus to go teach others how we're to act as Christians in church and in the world. My point is Titus is told to preach how we're to live. That is as those who are forgiven, those who live under God's grace and willfully choose to live differently enough as a witness for Jesus.

b)                  The point of this last verse is Paul's giving Titus the authority to teach this message and be accepted in all the churches there as an authority on this topic. Titus was called to instruct the churches on this large island how God wants us to be a witness for Him and Titus was to explain that to all the leaders of those home churches.

c)                   Finally we get the message of "don't let anyone despise you". That's like saying, "you have the authority, because I say so, now go deal it and don't let anyone despite your teaching".

d)                  Let's be honest, if a stranger came to town, and told us how to live, our natural reaction is to reject that message. It's like, "Who are you to tell me how to live?" That's why Paul says to Titus here at the end of this section in effect, "I've been called by God to be an apostle". "I Paul have called you to teach these concepts of how we're to be a good witness for Jesus to these people here, so everyone there has to deal with it".

e)                   OK John, that may be fine and well for Paul and Titus, but what about in our church? The answer is the same. It's not about a stranger ordering you what to do. It's about following the model that Paul lays out for us here. We're to live for Jesus and encourage each other to do the same.

f)                   Let me explain it another way: What's the purpose of church? Why can't we just believe in Jesus and go about our lives? Why do we have to gather as a community of believers? Of course, one answer is to take the opportunity to worship God for what He did for us as a collective group. Another reason is to encourage each other to keep on trusting in Him for our salvation. Another reason is to learn more about Him as we grow in our love. What I have learned is to consider church as a sanctuary from how the world around us is living. It's a chance to gather with others who also believe what I do about Jesus. That He did die for my sins, He desires to guide my life for His glory and He is going to return one day to rule over this world. The proper way to view the world is, "God created it, so He's free to do with it as He pleases and as painful as life can be at times, we're to accept the idea that He's in charge and our job is to do His will for His glory!" The trick of course is to figure out what is His will. That's why we pray for His guidance. What I've learned is if we take the time to study His word, take the time to seek Him daily, God will lead us as we make the best decisions we can given the information and situation in front of us.

g)                  That's how we live the Christian life. That's what Paul's been communicating within the verses of this letter. Obviously Paul's letter to Titus is not everything we need to know of how to live the Christian life, or else the bible would be a lot smaller. However this letter is a tightly written summary of how we as Christians are supposed to act as believers.

h)                  I hope this lesson has taught you a few things about how to grow closer to Him. With all that said, time to close in prayer.

13.               Let's pray: Heavenly Father, help us as believers not only to trust in You, but to work together as a collection of believers to make a difference for You. Help us work as a community to encourage each other to grow in Your love and use our lives together and separately for Your glory. May all of us believers, realize the joy we can get just from trusting in Your grace, no matter what it is we have to deal with at this time. Guide us so we can make that difference for you. We ask this in Jesus name, Amen.