Living with Integrity

                                                      Titus 2:1-15

                                                    August 18, 2019

 

 

 

                                    Counsels to Young Women (vs. 4-5)

 

Here there are what may be termed “instructions” to the aged women as to

the counsels to be given by them to the young women. Such authority does

the gospel give to age; such reverence and respect for age does it expect

from young women. Nations deteriorate in character whenever youth

becomes INSOLENT IN ITS OWN INDEPENDENCE, and RESENTFUL

OF AUTHORITY!

 

·         SOBRIETY, or wisdom; that calm quietude of heart and mind which is

not intoxicated by vanity, or carried away with the sensationalism of

pleasure.

 

·         CHASTITY. Alike in thought, in speech, and in manner and conduct.

Purity makes QUEENLY WOMEN!  One stain spoils the most exquisite

sculpture. The beauty of marble is its purity, and the beauty of womanhood

is chastity.

 

·         HOME-KEEPERS. Making home first of all a center of attraction by

its order and cleanliness and comfort; then by its harmonies of peace and

love, so that no discordant notes may mar the music of its joy; and then by

avoiding gossiping visits, and the excitements of habitual restlessness, and

a too great love of shopping, securing the safety of economy and the honor

of a wife who “weaves” all into beauty and order at home.

 

·         OBEDIENCE. Not slavish submission to man; for woman is his equal,

and “was not,” as an old divine says, “taken from his feet, to be beneath

him, or his head, to be above him; but from his side, to be equal with him.”

Still, there is the obedience which consists in consulting him, judging and

conforming — where conscience is not offended — to his judgment and his

wishes.

 

All this that “the Word of God be not blasphemed,” or its fame injured,

which is the true meaning of blaspheme, viz. to blast the fame of it.

 

Last night (August 14, 2019) marked my 53rd year in Hopkinsville and Christian County.

Once upon a time, before coming here, in the living room of our old farm house,

which is no more, the Somerset-Pulaski County, Kentucky Airport occupies its space,

I once saw in a section of the Progressive Farmer Magazine, the following:

 

For sale.  A bargain basement woman.

Slightly soiled and greatly reduced in price.

 

[Verse 1]      (Merle Haggard – Mama’s Hungry Eyes)
A canvas covered cabin in a crowded labor camp
Stand out in this memory I revived
Because my daddy raised a family there, with two hard working hands
And tried to feed my mama's hungry eyes
He dreamed of something better, and my mama's faith was strong
And us kids were just too young to realize
That another class of people put us somewhere just below
One more reason for my mama's hungry eyes

[Chorus]
Mama never had the luxuries she wanted
But it wasn't cause my daddy didn't try
She only wanted things she really needed
One more reason for my mama's hungry eyes

[Verse 2]
I remember daddy praying for a better way of life
But I don't recall a change of any size
Just a little loss of courage, as their age began to show
And more sadness in my mama's hungry eyes

[Chorus]
Mama never had the luxuries she wanted
But it wasn't cause my daddy didn't try
She only wanted things she really needed
One more reason for my mama's hungry eyes
Oh, I still recall my mama's hungry eyes

 

           

 

 

 

                                   

                        Genuine Morality (vs. 1-10)

 

“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine,” etc. Paul,

having given Titus directions as to the organization of a Christian Church

in Crete, and charged him to contend against those who, in the name of

Christianity, propagated doctrines at variance both with the truths and the

spirit of the gospel, here urges that genuine morality which should be the

grand aim and tendency of all gospel preaching. The grand subject

presented in this passage is genuine morality. There have been, and still

are, those who regard morality and religion as two distinct subjects or lines

of conduct. But they are essentially one; one cannot exist without the

other. The essence of both consists in supreme regard to THE DIVINE WILL

as the only standard of character and rule of life. From these verses we may

draw three general truths in relation to this subject.

 

·         GENUINE MORALITY LEGISLATES ALIKE FOR ALL

MANKIND. It speaks to man authoritatively, whatever his personal

pecularities, adventitious distinctions, social relations, secular

circumstances, official position, the number of his years, or the

characteristics of his country. Moral law meets him everywhere; he can no

more escape it than he can the atmosphere he breathes. In these words

persons are mentioned distinguished by three fundamental facts.

 

Ø      The fact of age. Amongst the millions of the race, not many in any

generation can be found that came into existence exactly at the same

minute. Hence there are those differing in age from one year to a hundred

or more. Hence Paul speaks here of “aged men” and “aged women,”

young men” and “young women.” At the first dawn of moral

consciousness, up to the last breath of earthly existence, the voice of duty

speaks — “Thus saith the Lord.” No one has strength enough to extricate

himself from the ties of moral obligation. Not even that mighty spirit who

leads the “world captive at his will” (II Timothy 2:26) can break the

shackles of moral responsibility.

 

Ø      The fact of sex. Here are “men” and “women,” both the aged and the

young. However closely identified in affection and interest, moral duty

treats each as a distinct personality. In human legislation the obligation of

the woman, in some cases, is absorbed in that of the man. Not so with the

moral legislation of Heaven. Each must bear its own burden. Inasmuch as

the woman is as bound to follow the will of God as the man, no man has a

right to interfere with the freedom of her thought, the dictates of her

conscience, or the independency of her devotions. For long ages men have

not recognized this fact, and they have treated women as their toys of

pleasure and instruments of gratification. Women are beginning to wake up

to their rights, and the day of man’s tyranny is drawing to a close.  (This

written a couple hundred years back.  CY – 2019)

 

Ø      The fact of relationship. Paul says, “Exhort servants to be obedient unto

their own masters.” Why the duty of servants should be here referred to

and not that of masters, is not because masters have not their duty, but

perhaps at this time in Crete there were slaves who were disloyal and

rebellious. Whilst the duty of servants is here referred to, the fact must not

be overlooked that MORALITY is binding on men in every social relationship:

 

o        on the rulers as well as the ruled,

o        the judges as well as the criminals,

o        the parents as well as the children,

o        the employers as well as the employees.

 

What is wrong for one is wrong for all, and the reverse!

 

·         GENUINE MORALITY REACHES TO THE SPRINGS OF THE

HEART. It does not concern itself with the external conduct. Bodily

exercise profiteth but little” (I Timothy 4:8).  But as it regards external

conduct as the evolutions of the states of the heart, it legislates for those

states. It says, “Keep the heart with all diligence, for out of it are the

issues of life.”  (Proverbs 4:23)  Glance at the virtues here inculcated:

 

Ø      “That the aged men be sober [sober-minded], grave, temperate.”

Ø      The exhortation to sobriety is also addressed to aged women:

      “That they be not given to much wine.”

Ø      Also to the young women: “Teach the young women to be sober.”

Ø      And to the young men: “Exhort to be sober-minded.”

 

Although physical sobriety is undoubtedly referred to, moral sobriety, serious

thoughtfulness, and self-restraint are evidently included and regarded as

fundamental. Moral sober-mindedness is the effective preventative and cure of

all physical intemperance. No argument, either for total abstinence or against it,

can be sustained by the phrase,

 

Ø      “Not given to much wine.” All the words  convey is — Do not get

      drunk.

 

Ø      Sound in faith, in charity [love], in patience.” This means — Have

a healthy faith, a faith well founded; a healthy love, a love fastened

on the supremely lovable; a healthy patience, a patience that shall

bear up with fortitude and magnanimity under all the trials of life.

 

Ø      “As becometh holiness  reverent in demeanor. Let the whole

      life be full of that “holiness without which no man can see the Lord.”

(Hebrews 12:14)

 

Ø      “Not false accusers” — not slanderers. It has been observed that

old women are specially tempted to garrulity (excessive talkativeness,

especially on trivial matters) and querulousness complaining in a

childish or whinny manner); hence the exhortation here.

 

Ø      “Teachers of good things” — of that which is good. Things good in

      themselves as well as in their tendencies and issues; teachers,

not merely by words, but by example.

 

Ø      “That they may teach [train] the young women to be sober.” The

expression, “to be sober,” should be omitted.

 

Ø      “To love their husbands.” The duty implies that the husband is love-

      worthy; there are some men who are called husbands so morally

abhorrent and disgusting, that to love them would be impossible.

The ideal husband must be loved.

 

Ø      “To love their children.” A mother’s love, of a certain kind, is proverbial.

      Maternal love, wrongly directed, has been one of the chief curses of the

      race.  (There can be no motherly love in abortion – just self-love.  CY –

2019)

 

Ø      “To be discreet” — sober-minded. A proper cheerfulness in mothers

      is a precious virtue, but volatile frivolousness is a serious evil.

 

Ø      Chaste purity of the body, freedom from obscenity in language

      and life. Nothing in society is more beautiful than a thoroughly

      chaste woman:

 

o       chaste in language,

o       chaste in dress,

o       chaste in movement;

 

and nothing is more disgusting than the reverse a woman unclean in:

 

o       appearance,

o       costume,

o       language, and in

o       manners.

 

Ø      “Keepers [workers] at home.” Wives must work as well as

husbands. Work is a condition of health and of true enjoyment. An idle

wife is a bane both to herself and her family. “At home.” This may not

mean entirely in her own house, but in her own sphere, it may be in the

garden, the field, the schoolroom, the Church, etc.

 

Ø      “Good” — kind, amiable, sympathetic, generous, free from all that

      is malign, envious, and jealous.

 

Ø      “Obedient [being in subjection] to their own husbands.” This

implies, of course, that the husband’s commands are wise, right, and

useful.

 

“That the Word of God be not blasphemed.” This refers, perhaps, to all the

previous exhortations, and expresses a grand reason for the cultivation of all

virtues. Our conduct in all things should be such as to bring honor rather

than dishonor on our Lord and Master. “Let your light also so shine before

men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which

is in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

 

“Young men likewise exhort to be sober-minded. Youth, in the swelling streams

of its passions, the wild play of its fancy, and its craving for the romantic, is fearfully

exposed to mental insobriety. Hence; no duty for the young is more urgent than that

of obtaining a self-masterhood. Titus, whom Paul commands to exhort young

men to this duty, was himself a comparatively young man. He could

scarcely have been more than forty years of age. “Brought up in a pagan

home, not improbably in the luxurious and wicked Syrian Antioch, drawn

to the Master’s side in the fresh dawn of manhood, tried in many a difficult

task and found faithful, the words of Titus exhorting the youth of Crete to

be sober-minded or self-restrained would be likely to have great weight.”

In all things showing thyself a pattern [ensample] of good works, in

doctrine showing incorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 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 [us].” In order that the exhortations of

Titus might have full force, Paul here addresses an admonition to him. He

is to show himself a “pattern of good works” in all things; he is to be a

model of excellence in all his relations to the men and women of Crete,

both the aged and the young. He must be:

 

Ø      pure,

Ø      grave, and

Ø      sincere.

 

His preaching, too, should be such that could not be “condemned” — sound,

healthy, practical, not fanciful, sentimental, and morbid. Ah! how many

sermons preached every Sunday men of reason, thoughtfulness,

conscience, recoil from and condemn! “Exhort servants to be obedient [in

subjection] to their own masters, and to please them well [to be well

pleasing to them] in all things; not answering again [not gainsaying]; not

purloining, but showing all good fidelity.”

 

Herein is enjoined on servants:

 

Ø      obedience,

Ø      acquiescence,

Ø      honesty,

Ø      faithfulness.

 

All this implies, of course:

 

Ø      that the master is what he ought to be,

Ø      that his commands are righteous,

Ø      that his words are truthful, and

Ø      that the work he enjoins is lawful and right.

 

“That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” From

this it would seem that even slaves, in righteously serving their masters,

may even honor God in their humble service. Thus from this passage we

]earn that genuine morality reaches the very springs of the heart, the

fountain of all actions. He is not a moral man who only acts in strictest

conformity to the conventional rules of society, nor is he even a moral man

who merely fulfills the letter of the Divine commands. “All these

commandments have I kept from my youth up... Yet one thing thou

lackest,” etc. (Luke 18:18-23)  He only is the true man whose governing

sympathies flow in the channels of ETERNAL RIGHT,  and whose activities

are ever engaged IN ENDEAVORS TO PLEASE THE MIGHTY MAKER

of his being! THE WILL OF GOD, and that only, is the datum base of

true ethics.

 

·         GENUINE MORALITY IS THE GRAND PURPOSE OF GOSPEL

TEACHING. “But speak thou the things which become [befit] sound

doctrine, that the aged men,” etc. His teaching is to be in contrast with that

of the false teachers mentioned in the previous verses, and which led to

immorality of conduct. This verse and the seventh, urging Titus, as a

preacher, to be a pattern in all things, both in his teaching and his conduct,

justifies the inference that the grand end of gospel teaching is the

promotion of genuine morality. In the eighth verse of the next chapter,

Paul distinctly states that Titus was so to teach that his hearers might be

careful to maintain good works.” This is a point which what is called the

Church” has, in its teachings, practically ignored. The gospel has been

preached to sustain theologies, to establish sects, and to maintain certain

institutions, ecclesiastical and political, instead of making men morally

good, honest, faithful, and heroically loyal to the “truth as it is in Jesus.”

Here, then, we have the only infallible test of pulpit usefulness. In what

does the real utility of the pulpit consist? In gathering large audiences? Any

charlatan can do this; and, frequently, the greater the charlatan the most

successful. In generating in the congregation the largest amount of

superficial religious sentiment? This often emasculates the reason, diseases

the conscience, enervates the will, and renders the whole atmosphere of the

soul unhealthy and depressing. No; but in making men moral, the living

agents evermore of good works. I estimate a true Church, not by the

number of its members, the apparent earnestness of its devotions, or the

amount of its contributions, but by the number of its professors who are

too truthful to lie, too honest to defraud, too morally noble to do or to

countenance a mean or a dishonorable act — to whom, in short, all worldly

wealth and power, and life itself, are held cheap as dirt compared with the

right. When Churches are made up of such members, then, and not until

then, they will command the confidence, the sympathy, the trade, and the

influence of the world. Well does Emerson say, “There is no morality

without religion, and there is no religion without morality. ‘This is the love

of God, that we keep His commandments.’ He who loves God keeps the

commandment, loves God in action. Love is obedience in the heart,

obedience is love in the life. Morality is religion in practice, religion is

            morality in principle.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                     Cultivation of Respect (v. 15)

 

“Let no man despise thee.” For through the personal influence even the first apostles

and teachers had to win their way.

 

·         RELIGIOUS TEACHERS NEED ESPECIALLY TO REMEMBER

THAT EVEN WORLDLY MEN DESPISE HYPOCRITES. If men

recommend a medicine they do not take, or exhort to obedience of a law

which they do not themselves obey, or seek to inspire admiration for a

virtue which they only wear as a cloak, or affect a love to the Savior which

ends in no self-denial or sacrifice, they are hypocrites, and men despise

them.

 

·         RELIGIOUS TEACHERS NEED ESPECIALLY TO REMEMBER

THAT MEN WHO ARE DESPISED HAVE NO REAL POWER. That is,

of course, rightly despised; for they may be wrongly despised, it is written

of our Lord, “He was despised and rejected of men.” (Isaiah 53:3)  So that

we must keep in remembrance the fact that what Paul means is “deservedly

despised.”  No rhetoric, no argument, no brilliancy of thought, no ability

of application or illustration can make any minister of Christ really useful

and effective if his character and reputation are justly despised.

 

                        “Character is higher than intellect and

                        a great soul will be strong to live as well as think!”

                                                            (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

 

 

 

 

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