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with Rick Henson
We recently examined biblical requirements for Deacons and Elders. Other texts were addressed to Timothy, a young
pastor. Many will say these texts do not apply to me, since I am neither a pastor nor a deacon. This week, however, is for you.
This passage applies to all adult believers: older men, older women, younger men, younger women, and employees. The instructions
challenge each age group or segment to live with integrity as a believer.
To older men, Titus was to teach them to be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience (Titus 2:2, all
Scriptures New King James). The Greek word translated sober also means self-controlled, as in not controlled by liquor or drugs.
Reverent means honorable or dignified. Temperate means sensible. Older men must also be sound in faith, love, and patience. The word for
sound also means in good health. So we older men must have a healthy love and faith. The word patience also means endurance. Therefore,
Paul told Titus to teach the older men to have a healthy faith, not a sick one; a correct love, and to keep on keeping on. Good advice
for us older men.
The older women, which is very few of you reading this, were taught to “be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much
wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet,
chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed,” Titus 2:3-5. Notice that Titus
was not to instruct the young women, but the older women were to teach them. Good advice.
The older women were taught to be reverent in behavior, or have a holy demeanor. They were prohibited from speaking evil of others,
which seems to be a temptation older women fight. This word for slanderers also means accusers. The Devil also has this title, so women
are warned about this action with strong words. They were taught not to be given to much wine. The word actually means made a slave.
They also were encouraged to teach good things. So their influence must be good.
The younger women were to be taught by the older women to love their husbands and children. That means the younger women do not
already know how and that this is learned behavior. They were taught to be discreet, which also means self-controlled. The word
translated chaste also means pure and holy. They are to be good homemakers, the Scripture reads. Then few women worked outside the home
as they do today. Young women who work are still instructed to do well in the home.
Young women were taught to become subject to their husbands so that God’s word is not defamed. That means that people judge the
validity of God’s word by how believers act. Jesus said this previously in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are My
disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Young men had the most commands. They were taught to be self-controlled as the young women, the same Greek word used for both. They
were to offer themselves as a pattern of good works, a model for others. They were to have integrity in their doctrine, live with
dignity and be moral men. They also were to use healthy words that shame those who oppose the gospel. What wife would not want to be
subject to such a godly man?
Since we do not have slavery in America, no matter how you feel about your work, let’s apply these commands to how we behave at work.
Workers are to obey the boss. The verb literally means to be subject. Employees must strive to do well in all things, this Scripture
teaches. It also teaches that we watch what we say to the boss. Good advice. Workers were then told to be responsible with what is given
to us that we may wear the teachings of God (See Ephesians 4:21-24).
Whatever your position in the church, whether young or old, male or female, we are all called to live with integrity and represent
Christ at work, at home, and at play. May we each bring honor to His name.
Henson is pastor of Oakdale Church, Brandon.