I’m working hard at getting fitter in my late 60’s. But how much effort am I spending on getting spiritually healthy? A major theme of the little epistle of Titus deals with soundness of soul. Let’s look at our next section of this incredible letter:
Here in Chapter three we see our “B.C.” condition (before Christ). Eight awful adjectives are used to describe us in our unsaved reality. We were foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
But God didn’t leave us that way! In His kindness and love (v. 4) our Savior appeared and saved us! He didn’t save us because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (v. 5). The Holy Spirit washed and renewed us and was “poured out generously” on us (v. 6). We have now been “justified by his grace” (v. 7) and have become “heirs having the hope of eternal life” (v. 7).
That is what has happened to us! That’s the truth about what we were and what we are now in Christ. And that kind of healthy good news ought to sink into our spiritual bones and cause us to rejoice!
Stress is a major factor in negatively impacting the health of many people. But “stress” can also be a verb. And Paul challenges Titus to “stress these things” (v. 8). We are to focus upon and emphasize these truths so that those who have made this transition out of darkness into His light “may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good” (v. 8). Realization and practical response are required of the healthy believer who enjoys soundness of soul! (to be continued)
“It just dawned on me that there are 70 pounds of you that I’m not legally married to!” These words could be said by my wife Linda, but she wouldn’t. But she could. Physically, I need to lose “a few pounds” — and I’m working on it.
Diet and exercise — that’s what I’m doing. And it’s working! My problem (among the many that I have) is that I sometimes try to do too much exercise. Like yesterday when I played two sets of singles tennis and then had a doubles match last night! My legs are speaking to me this morning and saying things that Christian legs ought not to say.
But I want to get “in shape”, to “be fit.” And that’s going take some work.
So it is in the Christian life. We’ve been looking at the little epistle of Titus and seeing Paul’s concern for the spiritual health of this young Christian leader. We move into chapter three of this letter:
Paul’s admonitions to Titus in this section relate to how we treat others. Specifically, believers have an obligation to “be subject to rulers and authorities.” A rebellious, anti-government attitude is not to characterize the follower of Jesus. Obedience to God-appointed authority is a sign of spiritual health.
We are “to be ready to do whatever is good” (v. 1). The spiritually healthy believer is an active believer, one who looks for opportunities to show by his or her works that the God of the Bible is real and wants a relationship with His creation.
Our speech (“to slander no one”) and our heart attitudes (“to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone”) are healthy conditions towards which we ought to strive. The grouchy Christian is a contradiction in terms. The harsh believer needs to drop down and do twenty push-ups, realizing that His Savior is gentle in heart.
The Lord Jesus — God manifest in the flesh — was subject to authorities, obedient, ready to do whatever is good, slandered no one, was peaceable and considerate and always gentle towards everyone. And I want to be like Him. You? (to be continued)
“My heart is sometimes heavy, but He comes with sweet relief;
He folds me to His bosom when I droop with blighting grief.”
I don’t know if you’ve been drooping recently, but it’s the privilege of the believer in Jesus to take his or her heavy heart to the Lord Jesus — and seek from Him that “sweet relief” that only He can give. Don’t let your heart be overcome with permanent, blighting grief! Ask Him today to embrace You in His arms and comfort you in your situation.
How’s your health? I mean your spiritual health? And how do you measure your fitness before the Lord? We’ve been looking at the little epistle to Titus which uses the word “sound” (or healthy) several times as Paul instructs Titus in the Christian life.
Now. You need to know that this section is one of my most favorite passages in all the Bible! In fact, I have posted on this text in a series entitled “Back to the Basics” which began on July 20, 2015! I also covered this section of Titus 2 in a post called “What’s So Amazing about Grace? A Free Sermon Outline” on August 16, 2018.
If I want to get and stay spiritually healthy, I need to deeply appreciate God’s saving, teaching, waiting, purifying, and encouraging GRACE! And so do you.
It might help to think about what spiritual sickness looks like. If I’ve somehow lost the joy of my salvation, I’m suffering from an illness. A spiritual illness. And I need God’s saving grace. If I seem to be wandering aimlessly in my life (not allowing God’s teaching grace to guide me), I’m suffering from a malady which only His grace can cure. If I’m impatient for the coming of the Lord, I’m missing out on His waiting grace and I need healing. If I find my life is becoming conformed to the morally pathetic world around me, I need to recover the purifying grace which God gives. If I walk around like I’ve been baptized in lemon juice and seem discouraged all the time, I need a fresh dose of His encouraging grace.
I’ve wanted to do a study of the little epistle of Titus for a long time. And now is my chance! We are looking at the question, how do we attain spiritual health? How should spiritual health be defined? What practices or disciplines contribute to our spiritual fitness?
This morning we move into chapter two. Let’s notice what the Apostle Paul says there:
Here we have Paul’s third use of the term “sound” in 2:1 – “you must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.” We are all in need of good teaching! The fourth use of that term “sound” is in 2:2 where “the older men” are encouraged to be “sound in faith.” In 2:8 “the young men” are challenged to be marked by soundness of speech.
Paul gets very specific in his suggested lesson plans for various groups.
Notice that he deals with “the older men” (v. 2), “the older women” (vv. 3-5), “the younger women” (vv. 4-5), “the young men” (vv. 6-8), and “slaves” (vv. 9-10). Here’s a preliminary chart I’ve put together of Paul’s advice to these five groups:
Several observations occur to me as I look at this chart:
1. Paul focuses on five specific groups, encouraging Titus to “teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine” (v. 1).
2. It seems that the group (“the young women”) is a sub-category of the group (“the older women”).
3. Three out of five groups are encouraged to be self-controlled.
4. There are reasons given why certain groups should behave in certain ways: regarding the young women (“so that no one will malign the word of God”), regarding the young men (“so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us”), and slaves (“so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive”).
How do I stay spiritually fit and healthy until I’m dead? I listen to and obey Paul’s admonitions in this section of Titus! (to be continued)