Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:6-8)
This morning’s passage was the most personal for Titus. Since he was a young man of faith, he was to “set them an example by doing what is good”… “in everything.”
Do you see it? Paul didn’t tell Titus the “older men” were to be an example to “younger men.” They certainly had an influence similar to that of “older women” on “younger women.” However, Paul doesn’t focus on this perspective.
Instead, Paul says, in “your” teaching show integrity, etc. The implication is that Titus is probably the best model men in Crete had of a godly man. Talk about pressure!
Here is a brief sketch of the characteristics Titus was to embrace:
Integrity – He was to walk the talk. There were to be no glaring problems in his life that undermined his message or the name of Jesus.
Seriousness – He was to be a diligent student of pure doctrine and realize his words could impact people’s souls.
Soundness of speech – His moral integrity and careful attention to doctrine were to translate into a bold proclamation of the truth.
All of these would insure the enemies of the cross on Crete could not use Titus and others as negative examples. Examples are funny this way.
Like it or not, it is human nature to use “cause and effect” to typify a people group. If we see people behaving badly, we can point to their associations as the cause. On the other hand, if we see people behaving well, we think better of their associations, or at least find nothing bad to say.
I will be honest and say I personally find great satisfaction when a scientific study reveals that the bad things I don’t think people should be doing have an adverse affect on their lives. I say, “See there! That’s what I’m talking about!”
The better part of me knows these judgments are not always fair, just as it isn’t fair for enemies of the cross to malign Jesus or the church when a Christian does something unchristian.
But this is what happens. It is human nature.
So to the degree Titus was able to set a good example, and draw other young men into a life of integrity, the message of Jesus would benefit.
And nothing has changed.
Dear God, help me help, not hurt Your cause. In Jesus’ name, Amen.