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Author Archives: Dr. Larry Dixon

About Dr. Larry Dixon

Seminary professor, teaching systematic theology and other topics. Grandfather, wicked tennis & table tennis player, love playing chess on letsplaychess.com. Please check out the six books I've written. "The heart cannot rejoiced in what the mind rejects as false!"

How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus – Part 10)

PreviewScreenSnapz065The GLUTE MACHINE works on your, uh, glutes.  When I mentioned this machine in an earlier post, I misspelled it GLUT.  A glut machine would be something quite different!

This machine teaches you how to kick backwards against a great weight.  You have to balance with one knee on a little padded step, hold onto the handles, then kick backwards like a donkey against a weighted part of the machine while not losing your balance or hurting anyone else in the process.  Then you switch knees and kick with the other leg.

Just getting ready to do the GLUTE machine gets me tired.

"Your glutes have too much glut."

“Your glutes have too much glut.”

The reason I’m doing all these exercises is to please my wife.  And to get healthier.  And to use words like “reps” and “glut” and “pain.”  But really these are a metaphor for SPIRITUAL HEALTHINESS, kind of.  Which brings us to today’s study.

We were looking at several questions from Titus 2.  Those verses read:

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. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 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.

Here are my preliminary responses to those questions –

1.  Who in his right mind would ever call any woman an “older” woman?  This is FirefoxScreenSnapz760dangerous territory, but Paul is speaking, perhaps, to those women who are mature in the Christian faith.  Titus is charged to teach them as well.  Put into your own words what his lesson plan is to be with these “older” women:  Paul’s “lesson plan” is that they disciple younger women in godly living.

2.  I’ve heard some preachers say that husbands are commanded to love their wives, but wives are never commanded to love their husbands (but to submit to them).  How do these verses challenge that view?  Older women are to teach younger women to “love their husbands and children” (v. 4).

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.57.28 PM3.  Do you see older women in the Christian community mentoring, discipling, teaching the younger women these qualities listed in verses 4-5?  Often not.  And the problem is on both sides: older women not seeking out those they can mentor and younger women not letting older women know they wish to be so helped.  (same with men, by the way).

4. What is the danger of a younger woman not following the advice of the older women in verse 5?  What does it mean for the word of God to be “maligned”?   The danger is that these women will not be marked by self-control, will not live pure lives, will not be busy at home, will not be kind, will not subject themselves to their husbands, and the word of God will be maligned.  I looked up the word “malign” and it means: “to speak about (someone) in a spitefully critical manner, to defame, slander, libel, smear, vilify, denigrate, disparage, abuse, or revile.”  Wow.  That’s how important it is for this group, these “older women,” to follow God’s Word!

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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What animals are thinking #17 (scroll down)

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Posted by on August 19, 2014 in funny animals

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus – Part 9)

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.35.33 AMA third machine that I use is called the “SEATED LEG CURL” machine.  At my age I’m always looking for somewhere to sit down (I think standing is greatly overrated).  So this PreviewScreenSnapz064machine sounds like it would be a piece of cake (ummm, cake).

This machine allows you to push down with your legs and works your thigh muscles.  I can push down 120 pounds (I’m not sure, but that could be a world record).  If one does not sit in this machine carefully, it will fold you up like an accordion.  I think a certain level of life-threatening danger is implicit in “working out” and doing “reps.”

Are we working out our spiritual muscles?  Let’s look at our next section of Titus 2:

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. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 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.

Here are a few questions –

1.  Who in his right mind would ever call any woman an “older” woman?  This is FirefoxScreenSnapz760dangerous territory, but Paul is speaking, perhaps, to those women who are mature in the Christian faith.  Titus is charged to teach them as well.  Put into your own words what his lesson plan is to be with these “older” women:

2.  I’ve heard some preachers say that husbands are commanded to love their wives, but wives are never commanded to love their husbands (but to submit to them).  How do these verses challenge that view?

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.57.28 PM3.  Do you see older women in the Christian community mentoring, discipling, teaching the younger women these qualities listed in verses 4-5?

4. What is the danger of a younger woman not following the advice of the older women in verse 5?  What does it mean for the word of God to be “maligned”?

 

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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What Are Animals Thinking? #22 (scroll down)

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Posted by on August 17, 2014 in funny animals

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus – Part 8)

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.35.33 AMA second machine that I use is called the “LEG EXTENSION” machine.  Now, I thought this meant that if one of my legs was shorter than the other one, this machine would make the necessary adjustments.  That’s not how it works.  With this one a padded bar rests on your feet and you lift that bar with both your legs at the same time.

I’m careful to read the instructions printed on these machines.  I don’t PreviewScreenSnapz063need to lose a limb while losing weight (although that would be about 30 pounds, wouldn’t it?).

You see that little red handle-thing?  That’s where you choose the weight your two legs lift.  I have been setting that handle-thing at about 90 pounds.  It seems to be just enough so that after ten “reps,” I start to feel “the burn.”

FirefoxScreenSnapz483How am I when it comes to SPIRITUAL EXERCISE?  Do I ever feel “the burn” of the Holy Spirit saying to me, “Hey, get off your duff and start working out your own salvation.  And do it with fear and trembling!”

We’re looking at the little epistle of Paul to Titus and noticed some questions on the first section of chapter two.  Here are those verses again and my response to the questions I raised.

Chapter 2 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Here are a few questions — and my responses:

1.  How is teaching minimized in our culture?  How is teaching seen by Paul as he advises TItus (v. 1)?  May I suggest that our culture minimizes teaching in acting as if no one knows any more than anyone else.  I guess it’s a pride thing.  Paul sees teaching as a key to combating false ideas which lead God’s people astray.

2.  How do we know if we are teaching what is “appropriate” to sound doctrine?   How do we test ourselves and others?  Obviously, we take a systematic theology class from someone like myself.  Just kidding.  We take the whole of Scripture to test an idea or a set of ideas or a system.  We test ourselves by God’s revealed Word — and we use the same instrument to evaluate others.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.57.28 PM3.  Paul then gives specific instructions to different age groups.  What seems to be his primary burden with the older men (v. 2)?  It seems Paul’s primary point with the “older men” is that they would be models worth following.

4. We’ve lost the impact of the word “temperance,” Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 12.58.53 PMdon’t you think?  One dictionary defines temperance as “moderation or self-restraint, especially in eating and drinking.”  Why is TEMPERANCE such a vital quality of godly men (v. 2)?  Godly men can lose their reputation and respectability by bad choices, immoderate lifestyles, indulging in “the flesh,” as Paul puts it elsewhere.

5.  How does a man make himself someone who is “worthy of respect,” do you think (v. 2)?  I can’t make people respect me, but I can seek to remove any barriers that might cause them to disrespect me.  I can positively live in a way that pleases God — who is the object of my attention.

6.  Do a brief word study of the expression “self-control” in the Scriptures.  What do you learn about that virtue?

We learn much about self-control from the following seven texts:
Proverbs 16:32
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.
Self-control is esteemed higher by God than a conquering warrior!

Proverbs 25:28
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.
The person who lacks self-control is like a defenseless city.

Acts 24:25
As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”
The message of the gospel is not just salvation, but the practical matters of righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come.

1 Corinthians 7:5
“Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
The Bible gets very blunt about the marital relationship between husband and wife.  Satan waits to tempt the too-long-abstaining couple who reach the end of their self-control.

Galatians 5:23
“gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law . . .”
One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control which seems linked here with gentleness.

2 Timothy 3:3
“without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good . . .”
False teachers in the end times will be marked by a lack of godly qualities, including that of self-control.

2 Peter 1:6
“and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness . . .”
The believer is to add to his/her faith certain virtues, among which is self-control.

7.  The third use of our term “sound” occurs here in 2:2.  These older men are to be sound/healthy in FAITH, LOVE, and ENDURANCE.  If you are a man, perhaps admit to being an “older” man, which of these three is the most challenging for you?

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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What animals are thinking #14 (scroll down)

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Posted by on August 15, 2014 in funny animals

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus – Part 7)

I thought I would take the next few posts to tell you about some of the torture, Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 12.38.01 PMI mean exercise, machines that I’ve been repping on (technical language for doing sets of “repetitions”).

This first machine is called “Low Back” and, I think, strengthens one’s lower back muscles.  Ever since my seven years’ working at UPS while going to graduate school I have had some lower back problems.

I think this one is going to help me.  I can lift with my legs what the machine says is 120 pounds!  What I haven’t told you is that the red thing at the bottom is the weight adjustment and it is usually set on 200 or more pounds — and I have to change it to 120 pounds.  But, hey, I’m doing the “Low Back” machine!

Our topic, of course, is SPIRITUAL EXERCISE, and we’ve been looking at the little epistle of Titus.  Let’s notice our next section, the beginning of chapter two:

Chapter 2 You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Here are a few questions that occur to me from these verses:

1.  How is teaching minimized in our culture?  How is teaching seen by Paul as he advises TItus (v. 1)?

2.  How do we know if we are teaching what is “appropriate” to sound doctrine?   How do we test ourselves and others?

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.57.28 PM3.  Paul then gives specific instructions to different age groups.  What seems to be his primary burden with the older men (v. 2)?

4. We’ve lost the impact of the word “temperance,” Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 12.58.53 PMdon’t you think?  One dictionary defines temperance as “moderation or self-restraint, especially in eating and drinking.”  Why is TEMPERANCE such a vital quality of godly men (v. 2)?

5.  How does a man make himself someone who is “worthy of respect,” do you think (v. 2)?

6.  Do a brief word study of the expression “self-control” in the Scriptures.  What do you learn about that virtue?

7.  The third use of our term “sound” occurs here in 2:2.  These older men are to be sound/healthy in FAITH, LOVE, and ENDURANCE.  If you are a man, perhaps admit to being an “older” man, which of these three is the most challenging for you?

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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What animals are thinking #16 (scroll down)

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Posted by on August 13, 2014 in friendship

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy? (a study of Titus – Part 6)

"Do you have what it takes, punk?"

“Working my MACHINE!”

As we mentioned in our previous post, I went SPINNING with my wife the other day and almost died.  I had visions of a young Jane Fonda in a throaty, Coca-Cola voice, say, “Come toward the light.”  So I hit the showers (more accurately, stumbled into the showers) and went about my day.  Amazed that these women could ride their stationary bikes bolted to the gym floor going nowhere for years!  And we men struggle with the concept of taking out the garbage.

But my exercise is going well otherwise.  I’m dropping a few of those “thirty pounds that I’m not legally married to” (to paraphrase my wife).  And then I saw a friend the other day who has lost 63 pounds in several months.

I kind of winked at him (in a guy sort of way) and said, “Yeah.  I’ve been working out too.  Our university gym has all these great exercise machines that I’ve been repping (doing sets of “repetitions”) on.  He looked at me and said, “What’s repping?”  I explained the new word I had just coined and then he said, “Well, my BODY is my machine!  Cross-Fit, man, Cross-Fit is the way to go!”

Hmmm.  If my BODY is my machine, I think it got stuck somewhere Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 7.03.40 AMbetween the Edsel automobile and the pet rock.  Today I may just have to grease my MACHINE with a Krispy Kreme donut or two (just kidding).

But I digest, I mean, digress.  We’re talking about SPIRITUAL EXERCISE, and we’ve been looking at the little epistle of Titus.  We listed six questions last post on 1:10-15.  Let’s notice our text again, and then I’ll give my reflections on those questions.

10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

The questions and my reflections:

1.  Truth always has its opposition.  The opposition here seems to be from a Judaizing group who insist on making people Jews before they can become Jesus-followers.  How are they “rebellious,” do you think (v. 10)?  It seems to be that their rebellion is shown by their not putting themselves under the God-given authority of spiritual leaders whose job it is to guard the truth and to refute error.  Lone Ranger (“Hi, Yo!  Holy Spirit!  Away!”) Christians easily stray from sound doctrine.

2.  Silencing these false teachers obviously does not involve violent means.  Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.57.28 PMHow are these to be silenced (v. 13)?  They are to be REBUKED, which none of us like.

3.  Aren’t you glad you don’t come from the island of Crete?  What do we learn about Paul’s use of extra (outside)-biblical sources in verse 12?  Yes, it would be tough to be a Cretan these days.  Paul does not hesitate to use extra-biblical sources to press home his point (note his use of pagan poets and dramatists in Acts 17).

4.  The second use of our term sound occurs in verse 13. What seems to be the point there?  The point of rebuking rebellious teachers is their restoration to spiritual health, to godly soundness.

5.  What are the differences between a corrupted mind and a corrupted conscience, do you think (v. 15)?  It might be that a corrupted mind loses the ability to discern truth from error whereas a corrupted conscience loses that God-given sense of internal conviction (brought about by the Holy Spirit working on the inside).

6.  How are verbal claims and visible actions related in verse 16?  Simply claiming something doesn’t make it true.  We don’t name it and claim it.  The reality of our inner, spiritual relationship to God is shown by our outward, visible behavior.

 

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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What animals are thinking #9 (scroll down)

 

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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in assumptions

 

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