Leaders lead the community of Christ in practical realities in the growing process of maturity as a community of Christ. The family members of Christ are to be sober in the purposes of God, reverent to the presence of God, and temperate with personal opinions, exhibiting a willing and teachable spirit in all things. Those in the community of Christ are growing in maturity in being sound in faith to the internal voice of God, sound to the testimony with the obvious love of God, and sound to the patience of God in the process of Christ in all. Those who lead must seek these things and lesser things must not distract them. They must teach those they lead to do the same through their personal examples and through a clear presentation of the principles, patterns, and values found within the heart of God the Father of His family in the earth.
Titus 2:1-5 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things — that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
Older men were to be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, sound in love, and sound in patience. Paul’s words to Titus are as true today as they were in his instruction to Titus. These are not instructions for religious living. They are common sense instructions for good character. God’s children should be sober in the purposes of God and not distracted by selfish ventures for personal opinions or personal gain. They should be reverent to the presence of God. They should seek God’s presence in all things and be aware of Him in all situations. A child of God should be temperate with personal opinions, exhibiting a willing and teachable spirit in all things. These are all marks of maturity in Christ. Christ-like character and faith are testimonies of members of the community of Christ and older men are to set an example that maturing members can follow. Paul’s instructions were not given to control what a person can do or cannot do. They were instructions for good character. Leaders are called to exhort, encourage, and challenge older men in the community of God to walk in this character in the community of Christ and in the world as a member of God’s family.
This is also true for women. They too were, and are, to live their lives with a testimony of good character. Their lifestyles were, and are, to be godly and honorable. Their behavior is not to be religious but practically real in demonstrating the character of Christ. The fruit of the Spirit should be a manifest attribute of the character of a woman of God. The character of the flesh is to be self-gratifying in behavior and to seek to take advantage of others through false accusations. This is not fitting for the community of God.
Desires of the world are not the focus or the motivation of the heart of a daughter or a son of God. Even as Paul instructed Titus, leaders must help men and women live for God and for the life of others. This is the testimony of the family of God. Leaders teach those they lead to live life in a godly and honorable way. Even the practical everyday things of life are spiritual. The love of a wife for her husband and a mother’s love for her children are a spiritual reality of life. No one is to live self-seeking lives or exhibit self-seeking behavior. These things are not meant to be a law of order, but the testimony of life-giving actions and attitudes that make for healthy family relationships in the body of Christ. These things reveal a good witness of Christ to the world in which we live.
Leaders don’t just lead Christian activities or services of ministry. They lead people in becoming a testimony of a godly lifestyle in Christ in the midst of an everyday world. Teaching people and families to be real to the character and nature of Christ is real church stuff! This includes the young. They were to have integrity in their way of life.
Titus 2:6-8 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober- minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
A culture of honor is indicative of a community of Christ. Honesty and integrity are normal expectations for members of the family of God. The expressions of our words must be life giving and honorable to God and one another. These are the real issues emulated and led by leaders in the body of Christ. It is part of the every day environment of the community of God that causes children to grow in the knowledge of God. These are not things we put upon those who live in the world, but they are attributes of those who are children of God. These instructions were not given to condemn those in the world who do not embrace them, but to encourage those in the church to be a community of Christ as a light to the communities of the world. People with the kingdom of God in their hearts are internally empowered to look different to those in the world. Not to condemn them, but to show them how practical and real a relationship with God is in life.
Titus 2:9-10 Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
These things were true in Paul’s day and they are true in every season of men. Leaders must encourage and lead those in their care to be testimonies of Christ in an everyday world. Employees are to serve their employers and employers are to treat their employees righteously. Teaching people to have good work ethics, good attitudes, good morals, and overall godly lifestyles is part of the responsibility of God-sent and God-appointed leaders. Every member of the community of Christ should set an example in these things that others can follow. The Holy Spirit’s demonstration of grace in the lives of those who believe is very real and very practical. Christ in us causes people to become godly in their character not religious in their activities.
Titus 2:11-14 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Leaders are to speak things that teach and inspire living godly lives. They must speak them, exhort those they lead to embrace them, and even rebuke those who oppose them with the authority given to them by God to lead. Titus was to not let anyone despise him in his role as a leader among and before those God had given him responsibility to lead. Rebuking those who oppose instruction for godly living should be far outweighed by the momentum of those who embrace them. Leading people to become an expression of Christ in everyday life should be a thing that is willingly embraced by all. It should not be the exception, but rather the expected desire for members of any community of Christ.
Titus 2:15 Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
For a leader to challenge those they lead to walk in the character of Christ is not a thing of control. It is an aspect of being a responsible leader. A leader must know that outward actions are not the goal, but an embracing of the inward change that is only found in Christ. Christ in the heart of each man and each woman is the key to living with godly character in the everyday realities of life. This is more important than the activities of religious life. Christ-like character is more important than good songs, good programs, or good Christian activities.
Ted J. Hanson