1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: Day 18

Sound Teaching

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Today's Text: Titus 2:1-15, Malachi 3:17-18, 1 John 3:2-3

Scripture Reading: Titus 2:1-15, Malachi 3:17-18, 1 John 3:2-3

When my husband and I went to graduate school, we found a darling old home to rent on a popular street in St. Louis. It had antique door knobs, stained glass windows, and an old-fashioned brass post box that the mailman would slip our mail through each day. I swooned when we moved in, enchanted by all the architectural elements and the original hardwoods and the stunning, old stone fireplace.

I loved that house, until I didn’t. Until we found a mouse, until the emerald green tile in the shower collapsed on my visiting brother-in-law, until our gas bill was more than $400 in the wintertime, the foundation literally started crumbling into the basement, and the water that ran from the taps turned brown inexplicably and then stayed that way. The house was beautiful and charming, but it wasn’t sound.

When Paul writes to Titus, the church in Crete was experiencing a similar sort of story. Many people were teaching a Christianity that looked appealing, but was antithetical to the gospel. Titus 1 explains this in detail as Paul tells Titus that the false teachers are “ruining entire households” (v. 11). Theirs was an unsound gospel, and Paul knew the church in Crete was not safe on such a weak foundation.

In Titus 2, Paul exhorts each member of the household to carry their own weight toward sound teaching. Everyone had a task: older men and older women, young women and young men, slaves and their masters. From “teach what is good” to “be sound beyond reproach,” Paul’s instructions were serious, so that “God’s word would not be slandered” (vv. 1–9).

Paul probably could have stopped there. He was respected by Titus, who would take his words to heart. Paul could trust Titus to put the gospel first. But Paul continues on. In Titus 2:11–14, he recounts the glorious gift of the gospel. Paul’s ballast is Scripture; he is stabilized by grace. Paul is hardly one to say “just do this,” but instead illustrates why someone ought to. He writes:

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (vv. 11–13).

I can’t help but think of my toddler, who adores Laura Numeroff’s picture book, If You Give A Mouse a Cookie. The rest of that sentence is, “he’ll ask for a glass of milk.” The theme goes on and on, a series of if-thens that build throughout the book.

Paul’s closing statements in chapter 2 are a cosmically important “if-then,” telling Christians how to act: If Jesus really brought salvation, then you have to deny worldly lusts and live in a godly way.

The false teachers in Crete were not living out a gospel that matched the work of Christ. Sound theology mattered to Paul; integrity to the gospel should matter to all of us. May we continue to rely on the unfettered grace that God gives to us to live out our lives in a way that honors him. May we rest soundly on the gospel, our foundation in faith.

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Melanie Rainer is a bookworm from birth who makes her days writing, editing and reading in Nashville, where she also joyfully serves as the editor of Kids Read Truth. She has an M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary, spends as much time as she can in the kitchen, and can’t wait until her two daughters are old enough to read Anne of Green Gables.

  • Denise Powers Fabian

    Have Thine own way Lord
    Have Thine own way
    Thou art the potter I am the clay
    Mold me and make me after Thy will
    While I am waiting yielded and still

  • Funny…the same thing happened to me and my current apartment as to the author and her house. Gorgeous, charming, old, “character”… until it literally falls apart and the first gas bill arrives. LOL.

  • Reminds me of the withered fig tree. It looked just fine on the outside but Jesus clearly knew it was not ever going to produce fruit. (Mark 11:12-25) And shortly afterwards he is upsetting tables in the temple. Clearly the temple looked fine on the outside but not so much if you looked deeper. May our actions speak for us and may our beauty on the inside light up this world.

  • Prayers are appreciated today for my children God knows it details.

    • Churchmouse

      Lord, you know exactly what Mari’s children need. Be that for them and give her peace. Amen

    • KimN

      Praying for you and your children.

  • Churchmouse

    This passage once again reminds me to keep the main thing the main thing. IF I understand the cross, THEN my life will reflect its significance and my gratitude. That makes me ‘holy, ‘ set apart. All because of Him.

  • What a wonderful reflection. I think of the word integrity. The house you rented lacked integrity and what looked really good turned out to be anything but. I do not want to lack integrity in my own life. What good is the appearance of stability when my foundation is crumbling.

  • Caralee Lilly

    URGENT PRAYER NEED: I have learned that my daughter has either had or is going for an abortion. I have not been able to reach her to confirm or counsel. God knows the situation. My sweet precious girl….what has happened to you?

  • Rachel Anne

    Marlaena, do you happen to know what date her Titus 2 teaching aired? Thank you!

    • Sheryl

      Go to “Series”tab, under letter “G”, Gods’s Beautiful Design for Women: Living Out Titus 2:1-5

  • Marlaena Guenther

    Ladies! Check out Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth’s teaching on Titus 2 on her podcast called “Revive our hearts”. She takes an in depth look at what our role as ladies are and it is GOOD teaching.

  • Sarah Presley

    I noticed that Titus 2:13 says, “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God . . .” It does NOT say that our hope is streets of gold, no more pain, riches beyond measure, etc. These physical blessings of heaven are not our great hope. Those are just added blessings. Our great hope is God Himself, to see Him glorified in all the earth, and to be in His presence. Lord, help me yearn for You today, not for the blessings You give me.

    • Veronica

      Yes and amen!

    • Jen Blackwood

      Yes so good! He is our reward, God Himself! From the Lent study I had wrote down the comment that Moses understood the true promised land was God himself. So thankful we can experience His presence daily in our lives, but oh how amazing it will be to be with Him in His presence for eternity. Yes Lord may we yearn for you & fix our gaze upon you!

  • Kelly Chataine

    Titus 2 ~ Timely wisdom indeed. The Holy Spirit is pressing upon me to speak to a younger woman who is my friend, sister in Christ, and attends my church. Prayers appreciated! May my message be sound, above reproach, and may she feel the deep love that I have for her!

  • My Commentary said Crete had two problems- licentiousness and legalism. The gospel teaches us something more beautiful than our addictions and good works that we do to make ourselves look good…”Our great God and Savior Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Jesus makes us pure, not our good works. We live joyfully, in response to him, wherever he has planted us!

  • Tricia Cavanaugh

    I remember memorizing the KJV version of Titus 2:11-13 when I was younger. It all came back to me.
    It can be so difficult to live godly in this evil world. I pray today Lord, please fill me with Your Spirit, helping me to be more like You in all I say and do. I sure can’t do it on my own.
    Have a blessed day Sisters.

    • Susan McConnell

      Thank you for your comment. I remember my beautiful grandmothers Godly example to all who had the privilege of knowing her. Today’s teaching has inspired me to work at becoming beyond reproach.

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