But As For You | Part 2

Titus 2:1, 7-8, 15 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine…

 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.



In case you weren’t with us last week (or in case you need a bit of a refresher), this morning’s sermon is part two of a two part series focusing on Paul’s direct addresses to Titus. Before picking up where I left off last week, I want to restate a few things from last week’s sermon in order to help you all get the most out of this one.

First, we all need to hear these addresses, even though most of us aren’t pastors and won’t ever be pastors, 1) because loving God means loving His Word, all of it, 2) because we will always, Lord willing, have pastors, which means we need to know how to pray for them and what to expect of them, and also 3) because commands to pastors always have corresponding implications for congregation members.

The second thing I want to restate from last week is the fact that when we place all nine of Paul’s direct addresses next to one another (1:5; 1:13; 2:1; 2:7-8; 2:15; 3:1; 3:8; 3:9; 3:10), we see a few themes that we might miss if we only looked at them individually. Specifically, by looking at them altogether we see that 1) these are serious charges, 2) that Titus has real authority under God to fulfill these charges, 3) that these charges are the effects of the gospel, and 4) that all of these charges are directed ultimately at the glory of Jesus.

And the last thing I want to remind you of is that in these sermons I’m focusing (not on all nine, but just) on the three direct addresses from chapter two. Last week, after considering the various themes, we looked specifically at the first of these three (the need for Titus to teach sound—rather than soundish—doctrine).

This week, then, we’re going to look at the second and third of Paul’s direct addresses to Titus found in chapter two. I want to help you see Paul’s meaning in these charges and then I want to close with a series of implications from them for us today.

Please pray with me that God would be willing to help us understand and then apply His Word to our lives in a way that reflects the glory of God, the goodness of his ways, our eager submission to his reign, and our role as instruments of grace.


Model good works

Consider with me Paul’s second direct address to Titus in chapter two.

Titus 2: 7-8, Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us…

Let’s briefly look at each phrase.


Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works…

This means what you think it means: Titus was supposed to be a living example of Christian maturity in action. And he was to do so in the midst of people who were still trying to figure out what it meant to be Christian (individually and corporately) in a hostile world.  Imagine how hard it would have been for the early church to know what it meant to honor God when Jesus had just flip-turned everything upside down. Paul charged Titus to be an example of what all of this was to look like in real life.

Notice three things here. First, Paul commanded Titus to be a model of good works “in all respects”. There were not to be pockets of exemplary life. Titus was not to be an exemplary representative of Jesus as a teacher and pastor, but a poor one as a husband and farmer. Rather, in all respects, in every aspect of his life, Titus was to demonstrate the effects of the gospel on his life.

The second thing to notice is that Titus was commanded in 2:1 (remember last week) to teach that which accords with sound doctrine and here, in 2:7, to offer his life as an example of what it looks like to do just that. In other words, Paul charged Titus to teach and show the Church what Christian maturity looks like in practice.

And third, notice that Titus was to model “good works”. The key here is that Paul meant for Titus to do that which is really good. Paul was not charging Titus to “be a little better than the world” or to “go with his heart” or to “be true to his own moral code”. Good works were not up to Titus to define. When Paul commanded Titus to model “good works” he was commanding Titus to do the objective, revealed will of God.

That leads us to the second clause.

and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned…

In addition to being a good example of good works in general, Titus was also charged by Paul to be a good example of good works as a teacher in particular.

Again, last week (from 1:9 and 2:1) we saw that Titus’s teaching was to be sound—consistent with the will and Word of God. That’s the same sense in which Paul commands Titus here; that’s what being of “sound speech” means. Once again, Grace, unsound teaching will never work for God’s people. As we noted last week, unsound (or soundish) teaching always robs God of his glory and people of their joy. And when it’s unsound enough it even robs people of a chance to be saved. We see this again in this address. Titus was to be an example to others in speaking soundly—getting his doctrine right.

But notice that the other two ways in which Titus was to model good, teaching works are not about the content of Titus’s teaching, but about his character as a teacher. In these we see that Titus is to demonstrate the soundness of his teaching with the soundness of his life. He is not just to teach true things. In addition he is to teach true (sound) things with integrity and dignity.

To teach with integrity is to teach right things with right motives. And to teach with dignity is to teach right things in an appropriate manner. It’s not enough to have sound doctrine. God’s leaders must also have right hearts and dispositions. Why and how elders say things matters right along with what we say.

And that leads to the final clause of this passage.

…so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

One reason for all of this (vs.7-8) is made clear at the end of v. 8. Titus is to be an example of good works in all of his life, and in his teaching in particular, so that he would stand out from among the false teachers who (instead of good works) were marked by insubordination, empty talk, deception, disobedience, and all kinds of evil (1:10-16). That is, in standing out because of his love and courage and integrity and dignity and sound speech, Titus would put to shame his opponents.

If Titus were to live in holiness and submission to God’s will, as a model of good works, any slanderous accusations made by his opponents would clearly be false. This would put them to shame in the sense that the untruthfulness of their accusations would be readily apparent.   Of course, Titus’s opponents might not feel shame, but Titus’s life would make easy for all observers to see that they should.

Probably the clearest example I have of experiencing this in effect occurred quite a few years ago. In one of the harder seasons of my pastoral life we were in the midst of trying to handle a number of different complaints (and complainers). The complaints, for the most part, were disconnected, but the complainers were united in the fact that they had complaints. The entire time we were trying to deal with this in a loving and exemplary way. It felt, though, like any slip up would easily be used to discredit everything else that we might say or do. We were charged to speak soundly, with dignity and integrity, and in so doing, give no traction to the false accusations of others. It felt like we were constantly on the edge of this.

Titus was directly charged by Paul, as a leader (pastor/elder), to be an example of good works in all things (particularly the content, motivations, and manner in which he taught) in order that the gospel’s transforming power would be evident to him, the Church, and even the enemies of God.


Let No one disregard you

The third and final direct address in chapter two is found in v.15.

Titus 2:15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

More literally this reads, “These things…speak and exhort and reprove with all authority…”. In other words, Titus, take all of these things that I’ve told you (2:2-14), and declare them to the Church, exhort the Church with them, and rebuke those in the Church who would disregard them.

Each of these imperatives/commands builds on the next. It’s easy to feel Paul’s rising expectations.

Again, then, Paul begins by simply commanding Titus to teach or declare these things. Take what I have told you, Titus, and share it with the Church. This is how the Church must order Herself. These things are right and pleasing to God. Therefore, tell them to the Church.

But Paul doesn’t stop there. He goes on…don’t just speak or teach or declare these things, Titus, urge and admonish and exhort the Church with them. They are not just meant to be spoken and heard, they are also meant to be done. Plead with the people to obey these things. Urge them to put them into action. Care about whether or not they do what you say. This is the way in which they are to glorify God and find satisfaction for their souls. Therefore, exhort them to do what you say.

Paul doesn’t stop there, however, either. Titus, don’t just declare these things to the church, and don’t even just declare and exhort them. More still, rebuke those who refuse to put them into practice. Draw attention to any disobedience. And make your rebuke as public as their disobedience. The glory of Christ is at stake.

But again, Titus, go one step further still. Don’t just declare these things, exhort the Church to obey them, and rebuke those who refuse—do those things, but also insist on them. Do not let anyone disregard you. In this battle of wills, Titus, for the glory of Christ, you must win. Allowing sinful disobedience to remain in the church is not an option.

What’s more, Titus, you are to do all of this (declare, exhort, rebuke, and refuse to be disregarded) with all authority. My words are true, Titus, because they are from the Holy Spirit. They are the very words of God. Therefore, don’t act as if their veracity is in doubt. Don’t be hesitant or timid. Like the prophets of old, find confidence and boldness in the knowledge that all of this is from God himself.

In fact, the word Paul uses for “authority” (epitage) in this passage is a word usually reserved by Paul for God’s authority (i.e. 1 Corinthians 7:25). Paul’s authority to command Titus and Titus’s authority to command the church is the authority of God himself.

This third, and final, direct address in chapter two highlights Titus’s authority, the seriousness of his charge as a leader, and the significant responsibility he has to make sure that the Church knows the will of God, knows what it looks like to do the will of God, and actually does the will of God.


Implications of these addresses

In short, these two charges from Paul to Titus (in 2:7-8 and 2:15) are summed up rather easily. Titus, the gospel demands and empowers you to teach what is true, to be an example of what is true, and to not tolerate rebellion from people who claim to be Christians.

I want to close by offering six very brief implications of these addresses for your life and mine. The first four come from Paul’s second charge to Titus (2:7-8) and the last two come from Paul’s third charge (2:15).

First, we need examples (models). Knowing the will of God for a particular situation can be hard. Knowing how to apply it in that situation once we get it can be even more difficult. God means us to have many exemplary Christians in our lives to serve as models for us.

For most of my Christian life I’ve been at the tip of the spear. I was the first person I knew to come to faith in Jesus. I was the first of my Christian friends to get engaged. I was the first to graduate from college and take my faith into the real world. I was the first to get married. I was to first to go into Christian ministry. I was the first to plug into a local church. I was the first to become a pastor. I was the first to have kids. I was the first to have to begin wrestling with the tough questions of life and faith that can only come once you’ve had a decent amount of life and faith.

Of course, all around me and for centuries before, others had gone through all of these things just like me. The problem was, I didn’t know any of them. I had books, and books are great, but books are not people. I’ve felt the (at times) overwhelming weight of not knowing what to do and not having anyone to look to who had walked before me in whatever area I was stuck in.

Certainly, we’re to look, above all, at the example of Christ. But knowing how Christ’s principles and practices ought to play out in our lives in any given situation takes help. God means you and me to have help in the way of godly examples, models of Christian conduct.

Second, after Christ, God expects leaders in local churches to primarily fill this role. I spoke on this at great length in the elder section (1:5-10) so I won’t rehash all of that here. For now I simply want to draw your attention to the fact that one of the defining characteristics of one called by God into leadership is an exemplary life. You are meant to be able to look to your leaders to be taught sound doctrine and for an example of what sound doctrine looks like in real life.

Do you want to know what it ought to look like to be a Christian employee in a secular job? Look to your elders.

Do you want to know what it ought to look like to have a quiet time? Look to your leaders.

Do you want to know what it ought to look like to love your wife as Christ loves the church; to raise your kids in the discipline and instruction of the Lord; to handle an obnoxious neighbor; to share the gospel with non-Christians; to watch TV? You ought to be able to look to your leaders to see what these things look like.

Again, this does not mean that we are sinless. But it does mean that we’re not still figuring out the basics of the Christian faith in practice. It does mean that we’re marked by obedience. It does mean that in large measure we know what we don’t know, that we’re quick to acknowledge it, and that we are in a restless pursuit of finding it. And, perhaps above all, it means that we consistently demonstrate godly apologies and repentance when we do fall into sin.

Therefore, let us pray for and expect such exemplary leadership. It’s no small curse when one of God’s shepherds goes astray. And it’s no small blessing when they exemplify Christ-like faithfulness.

The third implication that I want to draw your attention to is the simple fact leaders are to lead by modeling where everyone else is to go. As I mentioned when we were looking at the passage on elder qualifications, God’s leaders are not called to a different kind of holiness than the rest of God’s people. Rather, they are simply called to be a bit further along in the process.

Grace, fight the temptation to think that any exemplary Christ-like action in godly leadership is beyond your grasp. Instead, be encouraged that if God can do that in broken vessels like us, he can do it in anyone. Where you find genuine godliness in others, do not become discouraged, thinking that you will never be like that. Instead, be encouraged that the same grace of God is available to you too.

We are called to have examples of Christlikeness in our leaders, but we are also called to be examples of Christlikeness to others by the very nature of our Christian faith. As a Christian you represent Christ. You are meant to represent him accurately and well and in all aspects of your life. Others need to be able to look to you and see the gospel’s effects as you become more and more like Jesus.

Fourth, we are not meant to replicate ourselves. We are meant to replicate Christ. Too often when we do seek to apply these things and serve as examples, we call others to become like us rather than like Christ. Of course, the more we become like Christ, the more we’re able to borrow Paul’s language in 1 Corinthians 11:1 when he writes, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” But we must never, ever leave off the second half of that verse. Again, it is not up to us to determine what to exemplify. It has already been given to us in Jesus.

All of this means that although God is sovereign over all things he has sovereignly chosen to use his people as a means of helping his people grow in Christian maturity. You and I really do make a difference in the salvation and sanctification of others. Calvinism and fatalism are not the same thing. God has chosen to use our examples as means of grace. We must, therefore, choose to be an example of Christ and expect that others will be blessed by it.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this section, those implications come from 2:7-8. These last two come from 2:15.

Fifth, sin is serious and must not be tolerated among God’s people. It needs to be dealt with swiftly and directly and decisively and with somber earnestness. We have not always done a great job at Grace. We’ve, at times, been too tolerant of unrepentant “respectable” sins. We’ve been too casual about the sinfulness of sin. This is not to say that we need to start being angry and mean-spirited at sinners, but it is to say that genuinely loving someone means fighting to help them see the destructive power of sin in their lives and with them to put it to death. That is a serious charge and not one most of us are particularly good at. Let’s determine together to take our own sin, and our responsibility to help others in their sin, more seriously.

Sixth, fear God and not man. Lastly, and perhaps most simply, all of this along with all of the Christian life, to be done in a manner pleasing to God, must be done in fear of God and not man. Fear of man (which is ultimately a form of pride) is one of the greatest killers of godliness that I know. The things Christ calls us to be and do will look foolish and unloving and even evil to some. If we fear the opinion of man, we’ll never be able to stay the course. Who would talk like Paul talks in 2:15 if they were afraid of the people they were talking to?



Grace, let us look to Christ above all things. His glory alone is infinite and eternal. He alone can satisfy and he alone sets the path of joy. Wherever else you look and whatever other path you might follow, you must know that they offer counterfeit joy at best. It will feel good and seem right at first, but in the end it always leads to misery and death. Look to Christ.

And Grace, as strange as it may sound, we look to Christ primarily through the words of a book. His glory and his way are made clear on the pages of a thousands-year-old document. God has chosen to put power in these words. Power to bring life and light and rescue to wandering sinners from every age and language and tribe and nation.

And Grace, as strange as it may sound, the clearest teaching of the entire bible is that the path of joy in the glory of Christ, is paved with the blood of a Lamb. All that God has for us, has been won through the death of Jesus on the cross. All of God’s wrath has been absorbed by Jesus for all of the sins of all who would trust in Christ alone. What’s more, all who would trust in Christ alone have been granted all of God’s pleasure and all of God’s blessings as we are all adopted as his children for all time. Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.