Sunday, July 24, 2016, 7:35 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Broken and Contrite.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Titus 2 (ESV). With Sound Doctrine (v. 1) But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Not all of us are called of God to be teachers of the Word, in the sense that we are the ones responsible to conduct a Bible study with a group of people at a specific time and day, and in a particular location. But, if we are Christ’s followers, we teach every day of our lives by how we live, by our attitudes, by our words and by our actions. Yet, we are all called of God to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and to declare the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light (See: Matt. 5:13-16; 1 Pet. 2:9). We are to be Christ’s witnesses throughout the earth and to make followers of Christ of people of all nations (See: Ac. 1:8; Matt. 28:18-20). So, in this sense we are all teachers. So, as Christ’s followers - as his servants and witnesses – what can we learn from this passage of scripture with regard to our own attitudes, thinking, speaking, teaching and actions? Where do we fit into all of this? And, what needs to be changed in our lives? When we share the Word of God with others, whether formally or informally, and whether in teaching a class to a group of students or in witnessing or in fellowship with other believers, our teaching needs to be in accord (agreement) with sound doctrine. So, whose doctrine? - The Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Charismatics, Lutherans, or Presbyterians, etc.? The answer is “None of the above.” In other words, we don’t get our doctrine from church denominations, but we get it straight from God’s Word through the witness of the Holy Spirit within us, who was given to us by Jesus Christ to teach us all things. We examine the scriptures ourselves, and we read them in context, and we compare scripture with scripture on similar topics, and we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to teach us what is truth. Sound in Faith (vv. 2-6) Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. I am now 66 ½ years of age, with a few gray hairs on my head, so I fit into the category of an “older woman,” yet I don’t think you have to be old (or older) to do most of what is being taught here. These are qualities taught in scripture which we all should emulate. We must all demonstrate seriousness about God and his Word. All of us ought to exercise self-control, and we should not be out-of-control. Each one of us must be sound (unblemished and firm) in our faith, and we ought not to be like those who are being tossed back and forth by every wind of doctrine, “by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Eph. 4:14). Every one of us ought to show reverence (respect and honor) by how we live our lives. And, none of us should slander another person, i.e. willfully tell what is untrue about someone in order to damage that person’s reputation. The lot of us are to first of all be in submission to God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and then we are to be submissive to those in authority over us, providing those authorities do not ask us to disobey God and his Word. God and his word are always to be followed above the demands or requests of human authority, especially when human authority commands or invites us to disobey God (See: Ac. 5:17-29; cf. Daniel 3; Daniel 6). As well, scripture teaches mutual submission, one to another, i.e. that we should defer (yield) to the wishes or requests of others, at times, when it is appropriate, or out of love for one another when compromise of truth is not involved (See: Eph. 5:21). For example, just because you have a position of authority does not mean, for instance, that you can’t learn from or listen to or yield to someone under your authority. For example, woman was taken from man’s side to be his helper and companion. He should not stomp on her. And, those in authority over the church should not rule with an iron fist, but should set the example for the believers in how to live, not domineering over them (1 Pet. 5:1-3). A Model (vv. 7-8) Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Each and every one of us, who are followers of Jesus Christ, are to lead others by our example, whether or not we have any position of authority over anyone. We are to walk the talk and not just talk the walk. We must not compromise with the world around us or adopt worldly thinking and philosophies and attitudes into our lives. Instead, we are to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God. We must walk in purity and no longer conduct our lives according to the passions and desires of our sinful flesh. In every aspect of our lives we ought to set a godly example to other believers and to non-believers. This is not saying we will live in sinless perfection, but we must never use lack of perfection as an excuse for continued willful sin against God, but instead we must conduct our lives according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14). We are all going to face opposition when we truly commit ourselves to following Jesus Christ with our lives, so we must be strong in our faith. We should be students of the Word and be ones who commune with God throughout the day. We have to know the Word of God so that we can use the Sword of the Spirit (the Word) accurately when Satan throws his evil darts against us (See: Eph. 6:10-20). Submission to Authority (vv. 9-10) Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. In America, in the year 2016, slavery is not prevalent, at least not now. So, what can we learn from this? For one, when we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives, he becomes our master and we become his willing bondservants, so we should live our lives like we believe this. We should treat our Lord as though “Lord” is not just a title for Jesus Christ, but as though he truly has lordship over our lives, and as though we honestly see ourselves as his willing bondservants and slaves to righteousness. As well, when we work in the employment of someone, we agree to follow the rules and the instructions given to us by our superiors, unless, of course, we are being asked to disobey (sin against) God. The attitudes here describing bondservants toward their masters is not unlike what our attitudes and actions should be like toward those we serve as employees. We are to be honest in all our dealings, and never lie to or cheat our employer. Instead, we should live such godly lives before our employers that if any of them do not know Christ that they will want to come to know Christ, too. The Grace of God (vv. 11-15) For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Basically, Jesus didn’t die for our sins just so we could escape hell and just so we could go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but who conduct our lives according to the Spirit. And, he died for us in order to redeem us (buy us back for God) from all lawlessness (wickedness) “and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” He died, not just to save us from hell, but he died to transform us and to conform us to his likeness. His grace, thus, is not just forgiveness of sins and removal of punishment and the promise of eternal life with God. The purpose of his grace is to deliver us out of slavery to sin and to make us slaves of his righteousness. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. May that never be! The purpose of God’s grace is to change us from living our lives according to the flesh and to transform us to living our lives according to the Spirit. A saved life is a changed life; a life transformed of the Spirit of God away from sin and to God and to his holiness. To be holy means to be set apart from (different, unlike) the world because we are being conformed into the image of Christ. So, if you have been convinced that you are a child of God, and a believer in Jesus Christ, but you have not been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and been resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24), then submit yourself to the cross of Christ today, and surrender your life to Jesus, and truly make him Lord (owner-master) and Savior of your life while you still have today. Broken and Contrite / An Original Work / May 13, 2012 I come before You, Lord, my Savior, With humble heart and crushed in spirit. I bow before You, I implore You, Heal my broken heart, I pray. Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master, You are the King of my heart. Lord, purify my heart within me; Sanctify me, whole within. Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit. I pray You give me grace and mercy, Strength and wisdom to obey. Father God, my heart’s desire, Won’t You set my heart on fire? Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders My walk with You, now I pray. Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy, My heart cries out for understanding. I want to follow You in all ways, Never straying from Your truth. Holy Spirit, come in power, Fill me with Your love today. Lord, mold and make me; Your hands formed me; Live Your life through me, I pray.