Dr. S. Lewis Johnson comments on Paul's standards for the Christian's image.
[Audio begins] I was thinking if we had such good response from our prayer on Wednesday night, Cowboy fans might want to meet afterwards for a few minutes and have a quick time together about this afternoon.
In connection with the Pine Cove Conference, we are sorry that there are no more accommodations for overnight as Dr. Hall has indicated, but it is possible for you to come down on Saturday and participate in the meetings that will be held that day, as well as enjoy the recreation at the conference grounds.
And as I have been saying, the morning is going to begin with Dr. Waltke giving us an exposition of one of the most important prophetic passages of the entire Bible. He is going to expound for us Daniel chapter 9, verses 24 through 27. And there is no more important Old Testament section on prophecy than that one. And so we are looking forward very much to that exposition.
Then following that, we are going to have a time of fellowship and a cup of coffee, and at 11:00, that meeting will begin, by the way, at 9:30. And then at 11:00, we are going to have our panel on the general subject “Where are we heading in the light of the prophetic word?” And we’re going to take up such things as the moral and spiritual condition of our country, the political situation in the world, the economic situation in the world and other aspects of the teaching in the Scriptures concerning the prophetic word as they are reflected in the trends that are taking place in our society.
And Dr. Waltke is going to participate. His subject will be the political situation in the light of the prophetic word. Dr. Bloom, Dr. Edward Bloom, one of the New Testament professors at the seminary is going to participate, and his will be moral and spiritual conditions in the light of the prophetic word. Mr. Prier is going to participate, and his topic will be the scientific revolution in the light of the prophetic word. And I’m going to participate. They were looking for someone who was wealthy and well-instructed in economic trends, so naturally I was the one selected. I am also the selector, too, by the way. [Laughter] And so I am going to be speaking for a few moments on the subject of the economic trends in our society in the light of the prophetic word.
And this will be an opportunity for each of the men to express their views for about five minutes to center our attention on the things that we want to discuss. And then in the panel, we hope to have a good discussion of all of these aspects of our society in the light of the prophetic word. And you will be given an opportunity to ask Dr. Waltke and Dr. Bloom and Bill McCrae, who will be speaking, by the way, on the religious situation in the light of the prophetic word. You’ll be able to ask these experts the questions that have been troubling you. And I will be the intermediary and pass your questions on. So we hope to have a real good time in that panel, which will take us up to lunch time.
And then, at Saturday night, Bill McCrae is going to be speaking on a general panorama of the end of the age. And this will be particularly fruitful because it will be a way by which you can get a general picture of things that are going to happen in the future. And then on Sunday morning, Dr. Edward Bloom is going to be speaking twice from important prophetic sections of the New Testament. And as I understand, at this point, he was going to speak on the subject of the rapture of the church in the Book of Revelation, that would be most interesting, and also on another section of Paul’s writings in which the prophetic situation is dealt with. So, I think it’s going to be a wonderful time.
You will be able to come on Saturday, but you must make reservations for attendance on Saturday. That, of course, is in order that they may have at the conference grounds an opportunity to take care of you. And the cost is $6.50, which I believe is for the meals of that day.
Now, you should make reservations by calling Jack Patton. And I don’t have his number here, but everybody knows Jack Patton. And if you don’t, see one of the deacons. They’ll be glad to give you his number.
Room assignments, I should have made this announcement at the first meeting and forgot. Room assignments for those whose reservations have been accepted, room assignments will be posted on dining hall doors at the conference grounds. So when you arrive, go there first to learn your room assignments.
Now if you applied, made reservation, but did not receive confirmation, please let the Pattons know: Mr. and Mrs. Jack Patton, Jack and Glenda Patton, because they’re making arrangements.
Now, we have a little announcement. Somebody is sitting in this audience today happy because you’ve been able to park your car in the parking lot. And you’re not crowded, and everything is nice. But unfortunately, your blue and white Pontiac, the lights are on. And it is locked. And so, the deacons were unable to turn off the lights. And so if you have a blue and white Pontiac, I think it was raining so hard they didn’t have time to get the license number, but if you have a blue and white Pontiac, and I think this says Ellen W. on the (that’s the license plate), oh the license plate is Ellen W. So if your license plate is Ellen W., I’m sure that must be some boy. [Laughter] Your lights are on.
Well, when you get old, you get unused to customs of the present time, living in the past and all that, you know.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the reading of the word, Titus chapter 2. And we’re going to read verses 1 through 10. Now you may remember that in the first chapter of Titus, Paul has addressed him with instructions for the appointment of elders. He has given him qualifications for the eldership. And then in the latter part of chapter 1, Paul warned Titus about false teachers who were disturbing the churches in the cities of Crete. And so now, in contrast to the teaching of the false teachers, he exhorts Titus to preach the things that are truth. And so he begins,
“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home (The Greek word keepers at home is found in some of the manuscripts, but in most of the more ancient manuscripts, the term is workers at home. The two Greek words are very close together. And workers at home is the better rendering. Now, it is possible for you to be a stay-at-home, but not a work at home. And Paul did not want you to escape the force of the injunction. And so, ladies, you are not only to stay at home, but to work while you’re at home. [Laughter] That’s my emphasis, not necessarily his.), obedient, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity (That word is not found in the most ancient manuscripts, and so, I have in my Bible put little brackets around it to indicate that it’s not in our text. Most modern versions would not have It.), Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again (That is, not talking back.); Not purloining (That is, not pilfering), but showing all good fidelity (trustworthiness); that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”
May God bless this reading of his word. Let’s bow together in prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for the privilege of the study of the Scriptures. We thank Thee for these very practical sections of the Bible, often overlooked because they perhaps do not seem as scintillating as some of the other passages. But nevertheless, Lord, we know that they are important for us and necessary in order that we may be those that truly adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. So direct us as we study them in a few moments. May the Holy Spirit teach us and guide us. And we pray, Lord, for each individual in this auditorium at the present time and pray that this ministry may be used by the Holy Spirit to enlighten and to instruct and to edify, to comfort and to console. Wilt Thou particularly, Lord, at the present time, minister to those who are unable to be with us because of sickness or other problems? And we know that Thou art the God of all comfort and Thou art able to do just that. And so, Lord, we pray that Thou wilt minister to them. We pray, Lord, for our country and for its leadership and ask that Thou wilt bless our president with wisdom and guidance in the decisions that face him. And in these days in which we live, enable us, Lord, to, through the Scriptures, understand the things that are happening in our society. And may we be prepared to meet them. We rejoice that we have the assurance of Thy presence through Jesus Christ in our lives, that we have believed in him. And may, Lord, in the days in which we live, the Spirit use us to glorify Thy name. Help us, Lord, as Paul exhorted Timothy to say to the servants, to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Bless the young people who are here. Minister to them. Give them vision. Give them understanding. And give them, Lord, an insight into the world about them as they prepare to become a vital part of it. We commit this meeting to Thee. We pray Thy blessing upon us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] Our subject for today, the fourth in our series of studies in Titus, is “Christian Cosmetology.” In our age, the concept of image is extremely important. Politicians propose, or denounce, actions on the basis of the effect that these actions will have upon our image as a country. Companies upgrade their image by involving themselves in ecology, pollution or drugs. Individuals, too, try to improve their personal image by hair care, skin care, hair styling in the emporiums of those who have been taught in our schools of cosmetology.
I heard of two men who hadn’t seen each other for fifteen years who met and began reminiscing. And one of them said to the other, Is your wife as pretty as she used to be? And the other replied, Oh, yes, but it takes her quite a bit longer. She is able to improve her image by cosmetology.
Now, God also has his school of cosmetology. And its curriculum is the Bible, and particularly, those sections of the word of God in which he addresses believers in the epistles. And Titus is an epistle, and so, it is addressed primarily to believers. Our image, too, is important. For what others think of us affects their response to Christianity.
And it is evident that it is important to God because three times the apostle in this brief section that we have read uses a purpose clause to express this very fact. He says in verse 5 that the women are to be taught to be “discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” In other words, God is interested in the image that he has because of the activities of those who name his name, supposedly belong to him.
In the 8th verse, “Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” And in the 10th verse, “Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” So, God is interested in his image. And what we do, and what we say, and the kind of life that we live affects his image. And so, he is very much interested in that.
One of our great Danish theologians was led into disillusionment as a boy because he discovered that as he attended church, he saw people who seemed to be particularly interested in God, at least on the first day of the week. But they did not seem to take God very seriously throughout the balance of the week. And in one of his writings, discussing this fact, he asks himself a very penetrating question in the light of the problem that faced him. He said, How do you make Christians out of people who are already Christian? He was trying to express the fact that we have not succeeded very well in creating the kind of image that we should.
How do you make real Christians out of people who say that they are already Christian? You see, it is possible for us to have a confession or profession of faith which is not very real.
Now, I’m not suggesting that everybody who makes a profession is lost. And I’m not suggesting that you in this audience are illustrations of this. But I think we all would grant that it is possible to have a loud profession of faith in Jesus Christ on Sunday and give every indication of being a genuine interested Christian, but on the remainder of the week, not really convince anyone that our profession is very sincere.
Now the image that Paul is concerned with, especially in Titus chapter 2, is the Christian family life image, training ground of the life to come. And its significance is extremely important. In fact, it is ultimate for our society.
Paul Popenoe, founder of the American Institute of Family Relations said not too long ago, “No society has ever survived after its family life deteriorated.” And we know that social critics of our particular decade have had a field day speculating about the family. If you were, for example, to get a book like “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler, an entire chapter is devoted to the disintegration of American family life. The family, someone has said, is near the point of complete extinction. And then someone else has said, one of our psychoanalysts of note, the family is dead except for the first year or two of child-raising. This will be its only function.
Many suggestions are being made. Shall we not have commune life, in which we all gather together and we have that type of life rather than family life? Why not divide our society up into two parts, those who will have the children and the others who will bring them up, because often those who have them don’t know how to bring them up. And so we will gather together the people who can have children, and then we will have the children, and we’ll turn them over to those who have demonstrated that they are able to bring them up.
Many other types of suggestions are being made today. But I think the statement by Dr. Popenoe is of great importance because it is, so far as I can tell, a historical fact that whenever disintegration of family life is come, that society is on the way out. Even Russian communism was forced to acknowledge the importance of the family. And they in their own society have laid a great deal of stress upon it.
Now, Paul is interested in the family life image of the Christians. And that’s what we’re going to be dealing with for the few moments that we have for the exposition of the Scriptures. And he divides his subject up into three essential parts. In the first 5 verses we have Titus and the aged men and women. And then in verses 6 through 8, we have Titus and the younger men. And finally in verses 9 and 10, we have Titus and the slaves. And in between there are the younger women who are to be taught by the aged women in the way that Paul mentions.
Now, the general theme of chapter 2 is verse 1. He says, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine.” He had just exhorted Titus and told him that he must appoint elders who are able to instruct in the doctrine which is after godliness because, he says, there are many unruly men in the churches who are seeking to destroy the life of the local church. And Titus, in contrast to the ministry of the heretics, you speak the things which become or which are fitting for sound doctrine. I want you in effect, Titus, to tell the members of your congregations to whom you speak, I want you to instruct them in the kinds of life that are in harmony with the doctrine that they are professing and which you are preaching. So, speak thou in contrast to the false teachers who give us sick doctrine, doctrine that makes us diseased, speak thou the things which become sound doctrine. I want you to build them up in a healthy character and conduct that is consistent with the doctrine that they have professed.
Now then, having given that general theme statement in verse 1, he launches into a discussion of each individual group. And he first takes up the aged men. He says, “That the aged men be sober.”
Now, I’m always interested when I turn to the Bible and see any reference to age because we all must put ourselves in the particular category referred to. Aged men. In ancient times, men such as Hippocrates, for example, divided men up into seven categories by age. And a word was used to describe the sixth category of age which is the very word that Paul uses here. It is the word presbutes from which we get elder. It is the word from which we get the Presbyterian Church or the presbytery. “That the aged men.”
Now in Hippocrates’ list of the ages of men, this was sixth and it represented the gray beards of Hippocrates’ day. He does not tell us the precise age level, but it appears to be those who are over sixty. They are the gray beards of the flock of God. And Paul had some words for them because even though they may have reached the age of sixty, their spiritual maturity is not necessarily that which God desires. They correspond to the presbutes, the word that he uses for the aged women, what would be called in the Old Testament the mothers in Israel.
Now, I understand that some wit has also suggested that there are seven ages of women. There is first the infant, then the little girl, then the miss, then the young woman, the young woman, the young woman, and the young woman. [Laughter]
Now the apostle says, “That the aged men be sober.” Isn’t it startling that he should address this to Christian old men, that they should be sober, no over indulgence in wine. Perhaps also we can broaden this word and just say no over indulgence in anything. But primarily, no over indulgence in wine is referred to for the simple reason that elderly men who do take a drink are inclined to over do drinking. Generally speaking, it is the older men who are inclined to drunkenness and extreme. And so the apostle with a knowledge of human nature given him by the Holy Spirit first of all says that the aged men, the gray beards of the flock, must be sober.
Second, he says, they must be “grave.” Now this does not mean that they should be a killjoy, but rather they should be men who are characterized by solemnity. They should live their lives in the light of the presence of God. They should live their lives as someone has said, in the sense of Thou God seest me. They should be grave.
Then third, he says, they should be “temperate.” They should have control of themselves. Sound mind is the essential meaning of the word. But it came to refer to self-mastery. And so the aged man should be a man who has control of himself.
And then he says, he should be “sound in faith.” Now, he does not say sound in the faith, that is, in theology. That is presumed, of course. No man can be any of these other things if he is not sound in theology, for what we think is reflected in what we do. And if we think right, there is much more likelihood that we shall do right.
Now, it’s possible to think right and do wrong. But so far as I can tell, if we think wrong, it’s rarely if ever that we do right. And even when we do right, we’ll do it usually from wrong motives. But Paul is not interested in theology. He is interested in the practical expression of faith, that is, personal trust, trust in the affairs of life. And so the elderly man is to be sound in faith, that is, in his faith-life. It’s to be characterized by trust. When you look at that elderly man, you should see a man of faith. And you should say that man is a man of faith. He’s a man who trusts God. You can see it in his life.
So he should be sound in faith. Not only sound in faith, but he is to be sound in love, and then he is to be sound in endurance. And I think that Paul wrote that last statement not only to indicate endurance itself, but to indicate that undergirding both of the other two qualifies is this sense of stability. For you see, in our day we have wrong attitudes toward faith. We have wrong attitudes toward love. Often love in the twentieth century degenerates into a sentimental weakness, a namby-pamby-ness. And we all have seen it on every hand, because we have lost the sense of the holiness and justice of God. And so, not only are we to be sound in the subjective exercise of trust in God, and not only are we to be sound in love, but it’s to be the biblical kind of love, the love that recognizes evil for what it is, the love that recognizes the holiness of God, the love that often must rebuke and judge because of the holiness of God. And of course, sound in endurance.
Now, sound in patience or endurance, I think, must be related to the second coming of Christ because you remember that the apostle in other parts of the New Testament, for example, in Thessalonians commends the Thessalonians for their work of faith, their labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. And he defines that patience of hope in a few verses on as patient waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ. And so the elderly men are to be men who are working and exercising faith in their work. They are to be serving. And they are to be serving in the spirit of biblical love. And they are to be waiting for the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Sound in endurance.” In spite of the things that are happening in our daily lives, the hope is bright and pure. For you see, often the experiences of life are such that it is only hope that enables us to survive.
G. Campbell Morgan, who was one of the great Bible teachers of a couple of generations ago, has said, “To me the second coming is the perpetual light on the path which makes the present bearable. I never lay my head on my pillow without thinking that maybe before morning breaks, the final morning may have dawned. I never begin my work without thinking that perhaps he may interrupt my work and begin his own.” And so, we are to carry on our work in endurance, we old men.
Now, Paul turns to the aged women. I always like to turn from the men to the women. I have a great deal more freedom when I talk to the women than I do when I talk to the men. So I, with great happiness, turn to verse 3, “The aged women likewise.” But unfortunately, my wife is not here. She is a long ways from home. And I cannot get in any personal remarks through my exposition. So you’re sure this morning that it will be entirely without any personal bias at all. “The aged women likewise.” In fact, I’m sure she would not accept that text as belonging to her anyway. “The aged women likewise, that they may be in behaviour as becometh holiness.”
By the way, I feel that one of the things that we need in any congregation of believers is a few grandmothers, because you know, grandmothers have a great deal to contribute to congregational life. Someone has said that grandmothers are the only natural advisors of the young of both sexes. And it is good to have women who through years of long experience are able to really contribute something to us. And so I am delighted to have a few grandmothers in the congregation of Believers Chapel and in the life of our church because they are a help to us.
And here are some words for them, Paul says. “The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness.”
Now the word holiness here is not the ordinary word for holiness. It is the word that refers to priestly activity. It was the word that was used in ancient times of the women who served as priestesses in the heathen temples, those who were engaged in religious activity. And so, when he says the women are to “be in behaviour as becometh holiness,” he is in effect saying that the women who are old in the congregation are to be like women who consider all of their daily activity as a religious service. They are to be like priestesses in the temple in the affairs of their daily life.
“Behaviour as becometh holiness.” I would think that this means that grandmothers, generally speaking, should not wear minis. As much as we men might like minis, they don’t look as well on aged women. On the other hand, I think that this means that they should not be nuns with all due respect to many people, lovely people who may be nuns. That, as far as I can tell, is far, far cry from the spirit and tenor of the New Testament. They are to be in their demeanor as becometh those who are engaged in religious work from morning till night, not just on Sunday.
Now, let’s go on. It gets better as you go along. They should not be “false accusers,” that is, they should not be slanderers. In our language, it means they should not be gossips. As my friend in Houston says, They should not be those who have Alexander Graham Bell-itis who get on the telephone and rip the saints up and down and then have the nerve to call it Christian fellowship. Calvin said that talkativeness is a disease among women and old age usually makes it worse.
I heard of a judge who was addressing a man whose wife was divorcing him in court on charges of extreme mental cruelty. Your wife, said the judge, says you haven’t spoken to her in ten years. What do you have to say for yourself? He said, Well, your honor, I didn’t want to interrupt her.
So, they are not to be slanderers or gossips, but rather, he says in verse 4, they are to be teachers of good things, “that they may teach the young women to be sober.” And here the young women are mentioned. And so those of you who did not think aged women referred to you, well, here you are. And you are to be taught by these aged women.
Now, by the way, this does not mean Bible classes. It means taught by experience, taught by life, by example. “That they may teach the young women to be sober.” Women in the ancient Greek world did not have a great deal of freedom. As a matter of fact, they had a room to themselves and not even their children often entered the rooms. Only their husbands could. They were not able to walk on the streets alone. They always had to have somebody with them. Further, there was no possibility, almost no possibility, of ever earning a living in an honest way. They must become prostitutes if they are to earn their way in ancient days. And that illustrates the fact that this is example teaching.
And they are to “teach the young women,” first of all, “to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.” It is evident from what Paul says that he thinks there is positive spiritual value in marriage and in child bearing. For the aged women are to teach the younger women to love their husbands and to love their children. And notice, it is to love their own husbands and to love their own children. He will say in a moment, “obedient to their own husbands.” There is to be no hanky-panky.
We are living in a day in which there is little self-control in the sex life, sad to say. There is little self-control exhibited often among Christians. I wish in some way that some of you could sit in my living room and hear some of the stories that I hear, because it is obvious that the standards of Christian society are often not very high. And Paul’s words are becoming more and more relevant as the days go by.
Younger women, love your own husbands. Love your children. These are Paul’s words. It is sin to be unfaithful. And my dear Christian friend, you are not really disputing with Paul. You are disputing with God when you flaunt the teaching of the word. So, “love their own husbands, love their children.”
Fifth verse, “To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home (or workers at home).” Now in the twentieth century that is difficult, isn’t it? What wife does not want to have her own car so she can gad about? And what wife is not doing it? But Paul has some words to say in 1 Timothy about this too.
“But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; having judgment, because they have cast off their first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.”
I’m not suggesting that the gossips are only women. Please do not misunderstand me. Usually it is a piece of information that the husband has given that the wife tends to circulate. But Paul says the women are to keep at home. And they are to be obedient to their own husbands. To resist this is to resist God. It is part of his order of things in our universe. It has been called a chain of command. It is part of God’s order.
And that order is expressed in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 in verse 3. That’s a very important text, by the way. I think I’ll just read it. 1 Corinthians chapter 11 in verse 3, Paul says, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”
Now, it is often thought that Paul believed that women were inferior to men. I do not believe that. Women are not inferior to men. Well that should be obvious to us. And to most of us men, it is obvious. We don’t often like to face the facts, but nevertheless, it’s true. Women are not inferior, but they are subordinate to men. The head of the woman is the man, just as the head of the man is Jesus Christ, and just as the head of Christ is God.
Now, we do not believe that there is any inferiority in Jesus Christ when measured with God, for he is just as much God as the Father is God. But when he was carrying out his redemptive work as the Son, he was subordinate to the Father. He did the Father’s will. He was equal with the Father in all of the possession of the divine attributes. He is very God of very God, the Christian church has traditionally said. But he was under the Father, subordinated to him, carrying out his tasks.
And likewise, the women are subordinated to the husband. It is not that she is inferior. This is her subordinate place. And she is happiest when she is subordinate because she has been made to be subordinate. And she is unhappy when she is not. And the husband is unhappy when he is not the one who has a wife who is subordinate to him.
You’ll notice, by the way men, that there is nothing said here about the duties of the young men toward the women, undoubtedly because they do not need exhortations like women. For a minute I think a few of you were going to believe that I meant what I said. I was just trying to see if you’re awake. You see, Paul does not say anything about that here, but he does say a great deal about it elsewhere. And, of course, we all know that it is summed up in the exhortation, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church.” And that means in plain language, love your wife enough to be crucified for her. But he is speaking about the women here.
Now today we are living in the day of the women’s lib movement. And I do believe, I believe this with all my heart that if Christians had been able to fulfill their God-given place, and if in our society in the United States the men had been able to fulfill their place in our society, there would be no cause for the rise of the women’s lib movement. I believe that probably the real reason that the women’s lib movement has arisen is because there are so many effeminate men about today. And consequently, the women are unhappy because they’re looking for a real man. And what do they see? Surrogate mamas who are trying to be pals of their children. Pals this, pals that, using the vacuum cleaner, shopping for the wife, washing the dishes with aprons about them and things like this. And the men are no longer men.
Now, I read an amusing thing written by Taylor Caldwell. She happens to be a very wonderful writer, female too. She says, The problem is that it is easier for a man to become a woman than to be a man. He doesn’t have to fight any longer.
By the way, psychologists in our society have demonstrated that men are becoming more and more feminine as the years go by. Ooh. [Laughter]
Now this man, he calls his wife “Mom” and helps her emasculate his son, she says. And then he wonders why his wife develops a cruel and furious tongue, why she detests him and shows open disdain for him, treats him like a female servant in the house, and jeers at his bashful opinions. Well, I don’t have time to expound on this, but I sure would like to.
“Obedient to their own husbands.” And husbands, for goodness sakes, be the kind of man that your wife can respect. Be a man.
Now, I’m not going to say anything about long hair because I don’t know enough about it, really. But I must say, men, sometimes you try my patience. You really do. Not that that means anything. But you really do try my patience. And were it not for the fact that Robert E. Lee had long hair, [Laughter] I would be thoroughly disturbed.
Now, let’s go on to something more edifying. Titus and the younger men, verses 6 through 8. “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.” Did you notice that there is only one, but comprehensive, duty laid upon the young men. They are to be sober minded. This simple comprehensive duty of self-mastery, for that’s the essential meaning of sober mindedness, is laid upon the young men, because, of course, if they are sober minded, if they really do have control of themselves, then the chances are that they will be able to fulfill the things that are said in the word concerning his other responsibilities. “He that ruleth his spirit,” the proverb says, “is greater than he that taketh a city.”
Why should the young men be sober minded? Well, in the first place, in youth the temptations are stronger, the passions are deeper, the blood runs hotter, and those passions speak more commandingly. Further, there are more opportunities for young people to go wrong. And in addition, in youth there is often that confidence that comes from lack of experience. Put an elderly man behind the wheel of an automobile. Most of the time, unless he’s a preacher, he will drive fairly carefully. But put a young man behind the wheel, and he drives exceedingly more rapid. Evidence of that is the increased insurance premiums that parents must pay. This is the experience, not always. I’ve seen young people are far better drivers than elderly people, but they do drive fast. They have not had time yet to have a serious accident. They don’t understand what may happen. “Sober minded.”
And further, Paul says to the young men and to Titus, give them an example. Verse 7, “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness.” Show, Titus, that when you preach you do not preach for money’s sake. “Gravity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned.” Titus is to be vital in his doctrine and in his method of teaching in the dignity of his delivery and also in the dignity of his discourse.
Finally, Paul comes to the slaves in verses 9 and 10. He says exhort the servants. Now adherents to Paul would have saved us a number of blood baths in human history and would have eliminated one great blood bath in American history in the last century. But men have never been followers of Paul. And so it would be expecting too much for them to believe and accept all that Paul writes. But he does say, “Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters.” The slaves are to be obedient.
Now, the slaves might be suspected of being social revolutionaries if they were not obedient, for you see, if their Christian masters gave them freedoms, then others in the society about them who were anxious to keep them as slaves might have been disturbed about Brother Haanabys over here who have a slave who has a great deal of freedom. And they might have suspected them of attempts to undermine the society of that time. And so Paul addresses these words to the slaves for one of those reasons. Exhort servants to be obedient to their own masters.
Three qualities are stressed. This is the first, in their deportment, they are to be obedient. Second, in their disposition, they are “to please them well,” and “to please them well in all things.” That is, they are to be obedient and cheerfully obedient. They’re not to be grousing and grumbling and complaining all the time because they have to obey Mr. Haanabys, the brother in the Lord. Or it may be Mr. Haanabys who is not a brother in the Lord.
And the third disposition or quality that is stressed is dependability. He says, “And to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but showing all good trustworthiness.”
Slaves had two temptations, one was to talk back to their master. They couldn’t do anything else. They were chattels. So they could talk back and they could steal. And in ancient days, the term slave was synonymous for a thief. And so Paul, with a great knowledge of the society of his day says, I don’t want you to answer back. I don’t want you to talk back to your master. And I don’t want you to steal. But show trustworthiness “that you may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
Nothing accredits Christianity more than the kinds of characters it produces. And young people, younger women, younger men, aged men, aged women, the greatest testimony to the faith that you will ever be able to give is the testimony of your Christian character. Not your words, though that’s important, but your Christian character, nothing is greater.
Now, we do not have slaves in the twentieth century. When I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, my friends spoke often of their background, for as I’ve said to you often, in Charleston people eat rice and worship their ancestors. And they love to speak about their grandfathers and their great-grandfathers and how prominent and influential they were in the pre-civil war society. And the distinction that marked out one man as more important than another was the number of slaves that he had. I had a good friend who is now a judge in Charleston, South Carolina. And he loved to say, My grandfather had more slaves than anybody in South Carolina in the year such-and-such. That meant he was very prominent. And I can still remember some of the types of things in the society over there that reflected this precise situation.
But we don’t have this today. To what do Paul’s words apply? Well, I think they would apply to our business relationships, our employer-employee relationships. If you’re a Christian, and you are an employee of another man, and for money you are working for him, it would seem to me that the meaning of this text is that you should give him one dollar’s worth of activity work for one dollar’s worth of pay. That means that on the boss’ time, you should not engage in witnessing to your friends. You are not to be a lazy worker but an industrious worker, a person who commends, adorns the doctrine which you hold.
This word adorn, by the way, comes from the Greek word kosmeo from which we get cosmetics. And that’s why I said that my subject today is “Christian Cosmetology.” And one of the renderings of the versions of verse 10 is “Not purloining, but showing all good trustworthiness; that they may beautify the teaching of God our Saviour in all things.”
May I say this in conclusion? It should be obvious to us that one of the great teachings of these verses is that our life must conform to our beliefs. It is the teaching or doctrine which is after godliness, as Paul said in the very first verse of Titus. And may I ask you as I close this question, what is your image? A man cannot really control his influence. He’s like an iceberg. One-seventh of him appears, but there is six-sevenths of him in his inner man. No man can control his image. But if you’re a Christian, God has, through the work of Jesus Christ, given you the gift of the Holy Spirit. And thus you don’t have to control your image. So quit trying to be what you cannot be. Or quit trying to do what you cannot do. But since the Holy Spirit is within you, he is able to produce within you an image that is real, the image of God in Christ. And as our Lord said, “He that abideth in me, it is he that brings forth fruit. Without me, ye can do nothing.” And so, Christians, to have a biblical image is to be rightly related to the Holy Spirit and allow him to produce Jesus Christ within us.
If you’re here this morning, and you have never yet believed in Jesus Christ, well, you need to find him as your Saviour. He is available. He has died for sin. And if you’re a sinner and know it, you may come and receive the gift of everlasting life on the basis of simple trust in him. It’s not joining the church. It’s not praying through. It’s not doing good works. It’s not observing the ordinances. It is trust in him personally that saves. So why don’t you in your own heart come to him and receive him as your Saviour. Let’s stand for the benediction.
[Prayer] Father, we are thankful for these exhortations which have come to us from Thy word concerning the way in which we should embellish, add luster, to the teaching of God our Saviour. And, Lord, enable us to do it to Thy glory. May grace, mercy and peace rest upon us till Jesus comes. We pray in his name. Amen.