Actor Brad Pitt, now 55 years old, recently commented that acting has become a younger man’s game. Increasingly, so is much about our culture in America. Where does that leave those who are older? Retirement homes? Are you only worthwhile if you are young?
For a number of years now, America has been in a phase where youth and youth culture are prominent, and thus older people want to be seen as younger than they are. Look younger, dress younger, act younger. Work out like crazy, diet, and get surgery. How should we think about this focus on youthfulness?
One of the things I love about Faith Church is that our church family is multi-generational. We have young and old and everyone in between, as families normally do. We’re not a young church, and we’re not an old church either. We are a church comprised of all ages.
We believe that people, no matter what age they are, are equally loved and important in God’s eyes. Today we return to Paul’s letter to Titus, and we see how deeply Paul felt about the various generations within the church family. If you’d like, feel free to pause reading this post and open a Bible to Titus chapter 2.
Before we study this section, we need to remember the context. Who is Paul writing to? Paul is writing to Titus, his younger ministry associate who Paul has sent to go back to the island of Crete, which is right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Paul and Titus had been there previously on a mission trip, and they had preached the good news of Jesus, and people responded by placing their faith in Jesus. Then Paul and Titus grouped these new followers of Jesus in house churches located in some of the towns across the island. Now months later, Paul has sent Titus back to Crete with a very specific job. We learned this in chapter one: Titus is in Crete to appoint godly leaders in the house churches. We also heard Paul say that the Cretans had a reputation for being wild and unruly. Further, there were people already in the churches who were behaving poorly.
Look at the very last verse of chapter 1, verse 16. This is a crucial verse for understanding Paul’s concern in the letter to Titus. There in 1:16 Paul says that there are people who claim to know God, but by their actions they show that they deny God. They don’t really know God.
So let’s summarize the context: people from Crete have a reputation for being out of control, and already in the churches, there are people who are showing by their behavior that they deny God. In chapter one Paul tells Titus to select leaders who are blameless, and then gives Titus and those leaders the job of confronting the ungodly people in the church. But what about the rest of the church? What about those who are not causing trouble? How should they live? That’s who Paul addresses next, by generation, gender and social status. Now go ahead and read Titus 2:1-10.
Right away in 2:1 he says “you must teach.”
“Teach” is a word that relates to discipleship. Paul is teaching Titus in this letter, as he had already taught Titus when they were together. Now Titus is to teach others. Do you see the multiplication happening? From Paul to Titus to various groups in the church to even more people.
So I want to ask, who taught you the faith? Who is your example? Titus 2:1-10 is grounded in the task of communicating with others how to follow Jesus. How could you do this in your family? This is a question that I’ve mentioned before, but one I sense that we Christians should perpetually be asking and answering: who is your Titus? Who is the person you are investing in? Who is the person or persons that you are seeking to help live like Jesus lived?
We had a wonderful discipleship training last month at Faith Church, and our trainer presented a very clear, biblical, approach to discipleship: meet weekly with a few other people, to study and apply the Scriptures, for the purpose of multiplication. Who will you meet weekly with for the purpose of discipleship?
Check back in to the next post, as we see who the first group of people Paul says Titus should teach, and we’ll learn what he is to teach them.