Consistency                       Titus 2

Have you ever known someone who seems like the nicest person, then you hear stories about what they are really like? A bit like the surfer who rips their local break with amazing style but when you take them away from that place their surfing looks average, clunky and mistimed. Constancy is the key to winning on the tour. Being consistently good, surfing to a high level across a wide variety of waves. It could be argued that this same consistency is needed in the athletes life apart from the waves; having a good level consistent character and approach to life, pays dividends in every area. This is why I invest so much of my time and effort as a chaplain to help athletes see the whole person they are not just the surfer.

Titus 2 is developing the same theme good teaching & good living its also about consistency. Here in Ch 2 it is particularly applied to the area of home life. Young and old men, young and old women then slaves are all mentioned. Slaves mentioned separately as their living circumstances were markedly different. Slavery made up over 40 % of the roman empire and varied in the conditions faced.

To each of these groups a lifestyle representing the gospel is presented. How do we live changed lives, lives transformed inwardly not just disciplined outwardly. Words like love, loving, kind, self controlled, pure, reverent, integrity and dignity are applied. Warnings about sound doctrine, right speech, right actions are coupled with right, sound or good teaching. Here is the great connection; we and all aught to make…. the gospel should change our lives so our thoughts, actions and behaviour are a reflection of it and God, rather than ourselves. So much and I would say too much is made of self;- self desire, self assurance, selfishness and ones self strength and ability today. The Gospel should compel and teach us that it is Gods’ strength, Gods’ message, Gods’ changing power in our lives that we should seek; not a better self.

There are only two kinds of men: the righteous who think they are sinners and the sinners who think they are righteous. Blaise Pascal

Paul outlines this here with the story of two epiphanies (appearances)

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. 
15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

We live in the landscape between the two epiphanies. 1. the appearance of the grace of God in human form Jesus the coming of the Christ. This is what is referenced in vs 11.  2. his second coming at the completion and summation of this world, this is what we wait and hope for in vs 13. We live in-between these two events these two visitations of God.

Gods grace, evidenced in the person of Jesus, His gospel of salvation through Him alone by grace and faith alone should influence and …12  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 

We are called to control self- not indulge it, to renounce such things not excuse them.

It is by this method a good true message and a good true life that God is glorified.

This radical, redeemed, renewed lifestyle accords (to grant or give power) with the sound teaching. It gives it power context actualisation & meaning.

1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.
15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

These bookends of Chapter 2 interact us to teach and live in a sound way to declare it in our words and our actions and to exhort others as well as rebuke.

Wow must however do these out of a sense of Grace and a full knowledge of the gracious nature of God who has redeemed us it is here in pious righteous speech and living that the religion of the Pharisees lurks…. beware fellow pilgrims.

*Does your life match your message? We are all sinners I’m not talking about that… but are you complacent in sin, compliant to the world and callused to the conviction of the spirit?

* Can you instruct others by your words and your life?

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Jesus Christ

When the Christian faith becomes defined by who we are and what we do and not by who Christ is and what he did for us, we miss the gospel – and we, ironically, become more disobedient.   Tullian Tchividjian

The gospel frees us to confess our sins without fear of condemnation. Michael Horton

Grace is the celebration of life, relentlessly hounding all the non-celebrants in the world. It is a floating, cosmic bash shouting its way through the streets of the universe, flinging the sweetness of its cassations to every window, pounding at every door in a hilarity beyond all liking and happening, until the prodigals come out at last and dance, and the elder brothers finally take their fingers out of their ears. Robert Farrar Capon

When the Christian faith becomes defined by who we are and what we do and not by who Christ is and what he did for us, we miss the gospel - and we, ironically, become more disobedient. Tullian Tchividjian

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