Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Exemptions

Titus 2:1-15 (Click here to read from blueletterbible.com)

When I was teaching PE at Heritage Christian Academy a phenomenon occurred that I had never witnessed in life. Children were coming to me with notes from doctors and notes from home excusing them from participating in PE. Some suffered from asthma and various other ailments, some were so overweight that simply running from one end of a basketball court to the other would leave them so winded that they would have to stop and catch their breath.

This was foreign to me, because at their age, you would have had to have to carry me away on a stretcher before I would have missed PE. It was the highlight of my day. I didn't want to be exempt, I wanted to participate.

Today in some of our churches, there are people who wish to be exempt from participating in the life of the church, and even exempt from living a life pleasing to God. In the text today in Titus, the apostle Paul makes sure that no one is left out. He makes sure that everyone knows, there are none exempt from living a holy life.

Older men are to be:
1) Temperate
2) Worthy of respect (Whoa, this one is a doozy)
3) Self-controlled (But I'm old, I've earned the right to speak my mind whenever I want!)
4) Sound in faith, love, and endurance (don't even get me started on this one!)

Older women are to be:
1) Reverent in the way they live
2) Not slanderers (read "gossipers" here)
3) Not addicted to much wine (I wonder why the older men don't have this requirement? ;o))
4) Teachers of what is good
5) Trainers of younger women

Younger women are to learn from Older women these traits:
1) How to love their husbands (this involves showing them respect)
2) How to love their children
3) To be self-controlled
4) To be pure
5) To be busy at home
6) To be kind
7) To be subject to their husbands

Young men are to:
1) Be self-controlled
2) Full of integrity
3) Serious and soundness of speech

And then, Paul does something that to our 21st century mind is a little bazaar. He addresses slaves.
And we may expect him to tell the slaves to be free. That they should no longer be slaves and that they should call Jessie Jackson and march on Jerusalem. But he doesn't say that. Instead, recognizing their position in the culture, Paul encourages them to live a holy life as a slave. In other words. Since you are a slave, be the best, most-holy slave you can be.

Slaves are to:
1) Be subject to their masters
2) Try to please their masters
3) Don't talk back to their masters
4) Don't steal from the masters
5) Be trustworthy

In all of these "rules for holy living" Paul gives reasons as to why they are important. We are to live godly lives no matter who we are or what situation in life we find ourselves because:
1) Vs. 5-- so that no one will malign the word of God
2) Vs. 8-- So that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us
3) Vs. 10-- So that in every way they will the teaching about God our Savior more attractive.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "NO" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

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