Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Holiness: A Purified and Peculiar People II

Friday, November 2, 2007

Holiness: A Purified and Peculiar People II

“1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 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. 9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:1-15).

The word “peculiar” in Titus 2:14 is the word that defines the objective of this text. All the instructive commands of verses 1-13 are intent upon producing this spiritual entity referred to as a “peculiar” person “zealous of good works.” The word “peculiar” is from the Greek word periousios (per-ee-oo'-see-os), meaning being beyond usual, i.e. special (one’s own). The idea is a person who lives in such a unique way that it is publicly evident he/she is a servant of God and is dedicated to living to please God. Each of the commands details how this peculiarity is defined and achieved. However, we MUST emphasize that the focus of the peculiarity is God ward, not man ward. Holiness and peculiarity are synonymous and synchronous.

Modern day Christians want an identity with the world and an identity with God. They have come to think they can have both. However, these two identities are incongruous (not harmonious in character). Thinking of peculiarity in musical terms is an apt way of viewing this distinctiveness. Peculiarity is what is necessary in our lifestyles that keep our lives in harmony with God and is what defines spirituality.

This is not merely an external application of Biblical principles. Their must be a true yielding of the body, soul and spirit to the indwelling Christ because we love Him and desire to please Him more than anything else in this world. The issue of peculiarity is not that we wish to identify ourselves as Christians to the world, it is that we want the world to immediately identify us as Christians by the peculiar way in which we live our lives. This is why identity (what we choose to identify ourselves with by the way we live, dress, entertain ourselves and provide for our daily needs) is critical to peculiarity. Modern day Christians look at these issues and merely seek to justify lifestyles according to the Word of God. The peculiar Christian looks at these issues thinking, how will the world view my Christianity and how will I maintain my spirituality, peculiarity, distinctiveness, or holiness if I identify my life with the practices of worldly people?

This epistle to Titus is one of the Pastoral Epistles. It instructs regarding the role of Pastors in the local churches that God has called them to shepherd. Uniquely, the text before us tells us that it is not primarily the role of the pastor to teach women. That role is delegated to the woman’s husband (if she has one) and to the older, more spiritual women in the congregation.

“34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (I Corinthians 14:34-35).

This context of this particular text refers to speaking in tongues. The word “silence” in I Corinthians 14:34 is from the Greek word sigao (see-gah'-o), which means to keep your mouth closed. Women were not allowed to speak in tongues. In I Timothy chapter 2 (another Pastoral Epistle), Paul gives further instruction regarding the role of women in the local assembly.

“11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (I Timothy 2:11-12).

In this text, the word “silence” is translated from the Greek word hesuchia (hay-soo-khee'-ah). It means quietness. The intent is that women are to exhibit a meek and quiet spirit within the local church assembly. They should not be allowed to publicly challenge the teaching of a man or “usurp” his authority.

This is not popular teaching today, but I did not write the book. I am just God’s messenger boy and my responsibility is just to get the message accurately conveyed. The important thing here is that women recognize that this is God’s instruction and defines their peculiarity.

The word “likewise” of Titus 2:3 lays down three behavioral commands for women. The first is that they are not to be “false accusers.” These two words are translated from the Greek word diabolos (dee-ab'-ol-os). This word is frequently translated “devil” in the Bible. In the metaphorical sense, it refers to a person who becomes a partner in Satan’s work of accusing the brethren through gossip, slander and the dissemination of half-truths. In doing so, they oppose the cause of God.

It is not that men are not guilty of this kind of behavior. However, Satan seems to get a lot of mileage out of both men and women in this area and I agree that it is directly related to idle time.

Secondly, women were not to be “given to much wine.” The word “given” is the key word here. It is from the Greek word douloo (doo-lo'-o), which refers to becoming the slave of “wine” (grape juice) as a beverage. This command does not give permission to drink alcoholic wine in moderation. The word for “wine” is the Greek word oinos (oy'-nos). It can refer to either fermented grape juice or freshly squeezed grape juice. Since alcohol content could not be determined during this time in history, the drinking of grape juice was strictly restricted and even then it was watered down as much as five parts to one. To avoid any possibility of drunkenness, the Jewish priests were not allowed to drink any wine. Today, all believers are priests before God.

The drinking of “wine” was usually connected to idle time, much like the coffee clutch of our time. The link between the admonition against being “false accusers” and “much wine” is most probably related to the gossip that tends to be produced from idle time. Leisure time can be easily used of Satan if it is not guarded and protected against the carnal tendencies of the flesh to discuss the problems of our friends and neighbors. Have you heard is a dangerous way to begin a discussion.

Thirdly, spiritually mature Christian women should be “teachers of good things.” These words are all translated from the Greek word kalodidaskalos (kal-od-id-as'-kal-os). It is constructed from two Greek words: kalos (kal-os') meaning beautiful or excellent and didaskalos (did-as'-kal-os) meaning teacher. Together they mean a beautiful example of right living. The direction of their influence is defined by Titus 2:4, “That they may teach the young women . . .”

The intent of God’s instruction in this text is the creation of a positive peer pressure among women within the local church. The older, more spiritual women are to generate positive spiritual peer pressure upon the younger, less spiritual women by consistently doing what is right. Through the beautiful example (modeling) of the older, spiritually mature women in the church, the younger Christian women are to learn eight practical truths for holy living and peculiarity.

1. “To be sober” (sophronizo, so-fron-id'-zo), meaning to teach others to have self control
2. “To love their husbands” (philandros, fil'-an-dros). A woman loves her husband by being a godly woman, obedient to the plan and purposes of God for her life.
3. “To love their children” (philoteknos, fil-ot'-ek-nos). A woman loves her children when her goal is to raise them in the nurture and admonition of Christ and to be servants of the Lord.
4. “To be discreet” (sophron, so'-frone) referring to the curbing of her carnal desires
5. To be “chaste” (hagnos, hag-nos'), can refer to being clean, but probably refers more to personal purity that causes others to think highly of her for her moral values.
6. To be “keepers at home” (oikouros, oy-koo-ros'). The word in is purest sense means to be a guardian of all the matters pertaining to the household. It refers to the wife staying at home and taking care of the household affairs. During Bible times, it was the wife’s responsibility to care for the children and educate them, to shop for food, make clothing, prepare the meals, wash the clothes and keep the house clean. You can hire someone to do those things, but you cannot call that being a mother or a wife. Being a wife and a mother is a Biblical responsibility that cannot righteously be transferred to a surrogate.
7. To be “good” (agathos, ag-ath-os'), meaning to be good in the sense of being pleasant, agreeable, joyful and happy. In general, it means to be a good-natured person.
8. To be “obedient to their own husbands” (hupotasso, hoop-ot-as'-so). This is a Greek military term used to denote submission to the order of command. In non-military use, it was a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden. In the simplest terms, it means to submit voluntarily to another person.

“21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Ephesians 5:21-24).

We are rapidly losing this model of Biblical femininity in the American culture, as we rapidly become a matriarchal society. Due to the failure of Christian women and the advancement of the Woman’s Liberation Movement, we are rapidly seeing the demise of the typical family. Most families today are dysfunctional where a single or divorced woman is raising children born from one or more men who no longer live in the home or support the family. This is to what the Sexual Revolution and the Woman’s Liberation Movement has liberated women. Women are treated more like a piece of meat today then ever before in the history of our country.

The motivation for the spiritually mature woman to be the godly example to the younger women is “that the Word of God be not blasphemed.” One of the reasons young women do not develop into the kind of women God wants them to be is because the older women of the church are not being the examples they ought to be. If you are an older (more spiritually mature) lady in the church, when was the last time you sat down with a younger woman in the church and showed her what God expected of her regarding the way she dressed, the things she talked about, the way she should treat her husband and her responsibilities regarding raising her children and being a “keeper at home”?

“Young men likewise” are to be exhorted “to be soberminded” (Titus 2:6). “Exhort” is from the Greek word parakaleo (par-ak-al-eh'-o), which means to summon to one’s side for instruction. “Sober minded” is from the Greek word sophroneo (so-fron-eh'-o) meaning right thinking or right minded.

The teaching ministry of a local church is not relegated just to the pulpit or to the Sunday School classroom. Teaching is the responsibility of all mature Christians each moment of the day and through any vehicle of opportunity that might arise. The idea being conveyed in this text is that the spiritually mature believers in a local church are supposed to spiritually parent the younger, less spiritually mature believers. In most cases, this teaching role is being relegated almost completely to pastors.

When God reveals an inconsistency with His Word in the life of another believer, He does so because He expects mature believers to lovingly confront that inconsistency with the truth. That is what mature believers do when they see inconsistencies in the life of another believer.

“1 LORD, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. 2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. 3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. 4 Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties. 5 Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities” (Psalm 141:1-5).

Every believer should be open to loving confrontation because of a desire to be a good testimony to the lost and a good example to other believers and wants the world to identify him/her as peculiarly Christian. It would be inconsistent with a hunger and thirst after righteousness in one’s life to be offended at another believer lovingly confronting any inconsistency in our lives with what defines peculiarity. The person that is offended by someone confronting an inconsistency in his life is really revealing himself as a “scorner” (mocker of truth) who lacks a desire for righteousness in his life.

“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee” (Proverbs 9:8).

No one wants to be seen as peculiar. Peculiar is not a word most people like to have used to describe them. The fact is, how we live should appear peculiar to people living contrary to God’s instruction book. Peculiarity is normal Christianity. The lack of peculiarity is abnormal Christianity.

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