|Vol. 16 No. 6 June 2014||
The apostle Paul left the young evangelist, Titus, on the exceedingly wicked island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. Paul’s plan for Titus was essentially three-fold. Titus was to focus on (1) Scriptural Leaders, (2) he was to focus on Sound Lessons, (3) and he was to focus on Spiritual Life. These three themes centered on good men, good teaching and good living. Since sin was so easily found on Crete, Titus was to make certain that Christians, and even those in the world, could ascertain the difference between sound doctrine and sinful deviance (Titus 2:1). Above all things, the pure doctrine of Christ was to shine through. Paul declared that God’s children were to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10). The idea of “adorn” means to “to beautify, to extol.” How were the Cretan Christians to adorn the doctrine? How can we today adorn the doctrine of Christ in this sinful world?
Firstly, adorning the doctrine involves imitation. “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works…” (Titus 2:7a). This “pattern” refers to a stamp, a model for imitation. Christians, following the example of Jesus (1 Peter 2:21), certainly will adorn the doctrine by doing good works. It was said that our Lord and Master “…went about doing good…” (Acts 10:38b). Good works cause the world to notice God (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:15).
Secondly, adorning the doctrine relates to our education. “…in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity” (Titus 2:7b). Today, religion is often looked down on due to scandals seen in many denominations, as well as sundry teachings. Group A teaches one thing while group B teaches the very opposite. These things do anything but adorn the doctrine of Christ. Thus, Paul emphasized the need for the doctrine (teaching) to be spotless (“uncorruptness”), serious (“gravity”) and sincere (“sincerity”). When religious teaching is corrupt, insignificant and/or insincere, the doctrine is perceived as a joke, and few people will learn, heed or obey.
Thirdly, adorning the doctrine involves our conversation. “Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Titus 2:8). “Sound speech” has reference to our words, phrases and idioms. How many people in the world have been “turned off” by someone who claimed to be religious, yet used bad language? Our words must match our beliefs. Words can make us or break us (James 3). Does your speech betray you (Matthew 26:73)?
Lastly, adorning the doctrine includes our reputation. “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:9-10). Servants were to have a Submissive Attitude; “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters…” Our attitude toward authority will often prove how deep our Christianity runs. These same servants were also to be Sincerely Authentic, “…and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity…” An authentic Christian can be trusted and is reliable, both of which beautify and decorate the doctrine of God! Without such, the teachings of Deity have little effect on those “looking in” from the outside.
Like our world today, the Island of Crete was in need of a serious dose of authentic Christianity. It is up to the few faithful soldiers to make Christianity shine brightly. Is your faith lived in such a way to attract people to it, or does your lifestyle detract from the beauty of the faith? “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ…” (Philippians 1:27). What does your conversation show?
Attitudes toward Truth
Jesus, the Son of God, came to this celestial ball called earth to seek and save lost humanity (Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10). “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15)! Interestingly, even though Jesus’ mission was a mission of love and rescue, some still rejected Him. Possibly sadder still is the fact that far too many still reject Him. Of course, rejecting Jesus today is manifested by rejecting His Word (John 12:48; 14:6; 2 John 9-11). The accepting or rejecting of Jesus is based upon the attitude (heart) of the hearer. Consider…
Firstly, there is the stubborn heart. Of eternal sadness is the fact that this type of attitude (heart) is often the most seen in society today (especially in America)! This attitude does not use the law of rationality, which states we must justify our conclusions with adequate evidence. Even in the face of irrefutable evidence (John 20:30-31; 1 John 5:13; Hebrews 11:1; et al.), this type attitude will not submit. This type of heart is based more on feelings than on facts. One can see the biblical example of such an attitude as is recorded in Acts 6:8ff.
Secondly, there is the suitable heart. This attitude acknowledges truth, but fails to obey it. Usually the “time is just not right” to submit to the Gospel. Of course, no greater example of the suitable heart exists than that of Governor Felix (Acts 24). In fact, Felix was so convinced and sobered by truth that he “trembled” (Acts 24:25). Although convinced that what Paul spoke was truth, Felix was not convicted to obey. Sadly, far too many are awaiting the perfect time to obey Jesus, while they must understand, “…behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2b).
Lastly, there is the submissive heart. Thank God there have always been and still remain those who, when they hear truth, submit themselves to the facts of the Gospel, quickly obey the commands, so that they can lay hold of the eternal promises. Peter’s hearers are certainly a case study in such a heart (Acts 2:14ff). Paul is also a case study in the area of the submissive heart (Acts 9; 26:19).
Sad indeed is the fact that not everyone who hears the Gospel will obey it. Jesus came to give the abundant life (John 10:9-10) to everyone who will simply heed His truth. Have you accepted the truth, or are you rejecting it? How’s your heart?