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It is that time of year again in which we are filled with amazement at the sight of our neighbor’s yards.
Some of those yards belong in the Hall of Fame—the landscaping is tastefully done, the lawn well groomed—it looks amazing!
Other yards are filled with trash, rusty cars and other “collectibles.”
Landscaping (if you can call it that) is poorly done, hedges are overgrown, trees need trimming and the grass needs cutting.
It is amazing!
Such yards belong in the Hall of Shame!
According to Paul in Titus 2, the Christian life is like this.
Our lives have the potential of bring shame or fame to the gospel.
Let’s turn to our text and hear from the Word of God.
The first thing I want you to notice from our text is this:
Our Actions Adorn the Gospel with Shame or Fame
Fame is another way of speaking of glory.
John Piper reminds us of this in his book, “The Pleasures of God.”
What does that mean—that God has pleasure in his name?
We have seen that, even though it might not mean anything different than God’s pleasure in his own intrinsic glory, it often means something slightly different, namely, the glory of God gone public.
In other words, the name of God often refers to his reputation, his fame, his renown.
In Paul’s instructions to bondservants, Paul writes this:
In other words, Paul is telling bondservants to serve their masters in such a way that they make “the doctrine of God our Savior” look good.
You see, our lives can either make God and good or bad.
In verse 5, we are reminded by Paul that it is possible for us to live in such a way that the Word of God could be “reviled.”
In other words, we can make both God and His Word look bad by our actions.
It is a sad thing when the name of God is blasphemed and cursed, but it is especially heartbreaking when God’s Name is cursed and his Word reviled because of our actions.
Remember—Actions Speak Louder Than Words!
Every action is a sermon.
In other words, there is a message our actions should speak.
The Message Our Actions Should Speak
We ended our earlier reading at verse 10, turn your attention to your Bibles as I read verses 11-14
Verse 11 begins with the word “for”.
Paul uses this word to signal to us that he is about to begin explaining why we should be concerned to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”
What he tells us that we should strive to adorn the gospel so that people will believe and be transformed by the gospel.
We often think of evangelism solely in terms of verbal presentations, but the message of the Gospel is also heard without words by our actions and as is often the case—Actions Speak Louder Than Words!
Therefore, we need a plan, not just for a verbal Gospel presentation, but for a non-verbal message of a godly life!
This is why Paul gave Titus...
An Action Plan for Every Age and Station
In verses 1-10 Paul gives instructions to five categories of people: to older men, older women, younger men and finally, bond-servants.
To modern readers such list appear like laundry lists of do’s and don’ts.
This passage is more than a simple laundry list of do’s and don’ts—it is a carefully crafted literary work.
Paul following a standard literary format used in the Greco-Roman world called “household instructions.”
You will find similar lists in other letters Paul wrote, such as the letter to the Ephesian church and his letter to Timothy.
At first glance it seem like a random list of instructions, but upon a more careful observation it is seen that Paul is using parallelism to say the same thing but in different ways.
Not only is Paul crafting each list for his targeted audience, but what he says to one category of believer reinforces what he say to the other four.
For example he instructs old men to be sober-minded or temperate, older women to not be slaves to much wine, younger women to be pure and slaves not to pilfer.
All of these are examples of sober-mindedness leading to temperate behavior.
Such a person does not allow their desires and appetites to control them.
We all have God-given desires and appetites for food, drink, relaxation, sleep, affection, sex, excitement, and the list could go on and on.
God is a very good God to give us desires to enjoy so many good things!
However, sin has perverted our desires and appetites so that they are not enjoyed in moderation, but rather we become slaves to them.
Being sober minded means controlling our passions with the a mind that we control our desires, they don’t control us.
We have already read from verses 11-14, but I am going to read from them again.
This time note that is God’s grace that allows us to be sober-minded.
The second broad category we find in this “household list” is reverence leading to dignified behavior.
Such a person realizes they live all of life before the face of God and act appropriately.
We all need to take Psalm 139 to heart.
To be reverent is to act appropriately before a watching God.
To be dignified is to act appropriately before a watching world.
Being reverent and dignified is often associated with being cold and emotionally unattached, but this is not the case.
Because we are attached to a watching God by love we care about what he beholds.
Because we love our neighbor, we care what they behold.
Talk is cheap—it is easy to say the words “I love you,” but Actions Speak Louder than Words!
The third broad category is sensibleness leading to self-controlled behavior.
Such a person is led by their mind, not their emotions.
We have become a society led by our emotions.
There was once a time in our society when people would say, “I think this is what we should do.”
Today people say, “I feel this is what we should do.”
“If it feels good do it” is the mantra of our society and sadly many Christians.
The Bible very much affirms the importance of emotion.
A Christian is not to be a brain on a stick!
However, the Bible also insists that our emotions are informed and guided by our mind.
There is a priority here.
Sound doctrine leads to sound behavior and emotion.
Not the other way around!
This brings us to the last broad category in Paul’s action plan.
We are to holding onto and teaching sound doctrine.
Let’s be clear what this means: not all Christians are called to the offices of pastor and teacher.
However, every Christian needs to understand that all of us is teaching by the example of our actions.
What a powerful message this is, because Actions Speak Louder the Words!
We can clearly see this in Paul’s instruct to older women.
In verse 4 of our text, the Greek word translated “train” in the ESV means to “advise or encourage someone.”
To help you picture in your mind what this word means, think about how Rocky Balboa’s trainer Mickey taught him in the Rocky movies.
His trainer first tells Rocky what he wants him to do, then he demonstrates to Rocky what he wants Rocky to do.
As Rocky is practicing his newly learned skill his coach urges him on by yelling encouragement or corrections.
That is exactly what Paul had in mind for older women to do with younger women.
Paul was telling older women to teach others this way, because this is how Paul taught others:
Once again we learn—Actions Do Speak Louder Than Words!
Chapter 2 is a wonderful reminder of the power of actions.
By our actions we can bring fame or shame to God and His Word.
What is your life teaching?
Does your life adorn the gospel in a way that God can use it to draw people to himself or does your life just one more reason people reject God?
May God give us the grace to adorn the gospel with praise, glory and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ.
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