Local Church Models, Titus 2:1

The other day I saw a billboard saying that a Christian modeling agency was searching for Christian models.  Do you know what models are for?  They are presented as the ideal for attractiveness.  They are the people that everyone else wants to look like – where the same clothes, same hair styles, same make-up, the same figures and so on.

 

For us as Christians, the real models aren’t on billboards or in magazines.  They are in our local church.  The people we should look up to, learn from, become like and admire are the people we fellowship with at 17737 W Spring Lake Road.  Rather than idealize sports or music figures, we ought to lead our younger generations to see godly people in the church as heroes and role models.  There is no way a person on ESPN or a CD cover can influence someone as much as a mature believer in the next pew who is engaged in a younger person’s life.  That’s what Paul taught and that’s what we see here in Titus 2.

 

If you are older than 25 how does it make you feel to think of someone else in this church taking special notice of your walk with Christ?  How would you feel, men, to realize that younger men and boys are taking their cues from how you live your life?

 

Let’s look at this from another angle:  If you knew you were going to die today, would you be confident you lived for Christ?  Or would you regret decisions you made, directions you took, priorities that shouldn’t have been priorities?  People talk today about how they want to leave their mark on the world.  For Chrsitians the question is similar but with a different focus:  What mark will you leave on the Church after you’re gone?

 

Paul Transitions from a local church’s leadership in chapter 1 to its membership in chapter 2.  Just like chapter one focused on character you will see that chapter 2 focuses here as well.  The leaders must be of high Christian character and so too must the membership.  Paul breaks up the membership into 5 groups:  older men, older women, younger women, younger men and slaves.  I am going to read chapter 2 verses 1-8 and I want you to watch for which category is speaking to you.  [Read].

 

We will take a detailed look at these groups next week, but, this week I want to focus on verse 1 and its relationship to the whole chapter.

 

Pastors are to Teach.

First, notice pastors are to teach.  Paul says, “You”.  Whose the “you”?  Who is Paul addressing?  Titus – Titus was tasked with teaching.  Notice too the next word, “must”.  You must teach.  It is not an option, a choice, an elective.  It is a requirement of Titus.

 

Not only was Titus supposed to teach, but so were the elders appointed by Titus, as seen in 1:9.  Furthermore, teaching is the responsibility of all pastors everywhere since then.  We must all “teach what is in accord with sound doctrine”.  When Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:2 that pastors must “be able to teach” it is because teaching is their number one responsibility.  When the Apostles were confronted in Acts 6 with the problem of food distribution to the Church they delegated the responsibility to others and their reason is found in verse 2, “it would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God to wait on tables.”  Jesus Christ gives some to be pastors and teachers as gifts to the Church to build up the Church.  Only when he teaches the word of God is his value as a gift realized.  Teaching the word of God is a priority that comes first; and a faithful pastor will know how to say “No” to good things so he can stay focused on his God-given priority.

 

Teach!

Again, what is a pastor to do?  Teach!  “teach”  Not entertain, not sell, but teach.  Teach is a Greek word here that refers to ordinary conversation, not so much classroom or pulpit teaching.  It’s the idea of talking together.

 

What is the pastor to teach?  Nothing less than the word of God.  We can see 3 points about how God’s word is to be taught in the local church:

 

#1:  The pastor teaches sound doctrine.  That is obvious in this verse.  Sound doctrine would be the teachings of truth, the statement of faith and so on.  But Paul is not talking about sound doctrine in this verse or the ones after.  He is talking about “WHAT” conforms to sound doctrine.  Notice what he says, “you must teach WHAT is according to sound doctrine.  In other words, Titus, and the elders he appointed were to teach something other than sound doctrine but, which was in harmony with it.  What is Paul talking about?  This brings us to number 2.

 

#2:  The pastor teaches character that is in line with sound doctrine.  Character is the focus of the membership.  And you know how you can know this?  Because the previous verses described the bad character of false teachers, and the next verses explain the kind of Christian character that is in harmony with Christian truths.

 

Verse 9 says, “…”  Our character and conduct as Christians is supposed to make our teachings attractive.  Our Savior has transformed us from something old to something new (2 Cor. 5:17).  We no longer are dead in trespasses and sins, no longer slaves to sin, but we are alive to God in Christ Jesus, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, having the knowledge of God and His power at work in us.  Therefore these truths are to distinguish us in the way we live – which is contrary to the ways of the dark and ignorant world around us.

 

Nothing makes our teachings more unattractive than when our lifestyles are in contradiction to what we preach.  Nothing says “Knowing Jesus Christ has made no difference to me” more than professing His name but living against Him.  Paul said in Philippians 3, “Many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, their glory is in their shame

 

#3:  The pastor teaches older believers to teach younger believers proper Christian living.  Notice here the burden for mentoring the younger membership is shared by the older Christians with the Pastor.  Psalm 71:18 says, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”

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