Radical Religion :: By Sean Gooding

Titus 2: 1-8

1 “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things– 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. 6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”

So often today, we hear that people want to make an ‘impact.’ Some genuinely do; others want to make an impact for themselves. Sadly, too many of the Lord’s churches are looking more and more like the world in practice, and they do a dis-service to our Lord and King. A lot of people, yes, even the Lord’s people, are looking for the emotional rollercoaster of life. They want the next thrill, and as such, they tend to move from church to church searching for the next high.

This is seen even in the work situation; very few young people choose a career and stick with it for a very long time. It is not weird to see resumes for many 30-year-olds; they have had several jobs, all lasting about 2 or 3 years, and then they move on. Now, to be fair, in some cases, they realize they could not do the job, but in many cases, the job loses its shine, and on to the next new shiny object they go.

In the book of Titus, we meet a young pastor who is being mentored by the apostle Paul. When we open the book, Paul is encouraging the young man to stay in Crete and help set things in order in the local church there. In this particular passage, Titus is instructed by Paul to lay out clear roles for the genders and clear roles for men and women based on their ages as well. The whole purpose of this ordering is so that “one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”

We are surrounded by an evil culture that is defying God. This month in North America is pride month; this is when the sexual deviants of the world try to tell us in every way possible that sex between same-sex persons is normal. That a man who identifies as a woman and the reverse is a normal thing. Increasingly, they want us to accept that sex between adults and minor children is normal. It is in this atmosphere that we are called to live radical lives for the Lord.

What we are about to explore will seem normal, but in our climate, normal is revolutionary. God calls us to seemingly mundane lives at times. There is no rush to the next high, just consistent and obedient living in submission to God’s clearly stated will. What revolutionary instruction did Paul leave with the young Titus that will turn us into radical Christians? Notice also, in Titus 2:1, that what we are about to explore is ‘sound doctrine.’ As we approach with some haste, the last days will require that the Lord’s churches be more and more radical. What God considers radical is not what we think; come and see with me.

  • Radical Older Men in Our Churches, verses 1-2

Older men are to be sober and right-minded; this is not just about alcohol and other things that may alter the way we think. But in a phrase a few words down, older men are called to be ‘sound in the faith’; this means that one reads, studies, and is able to teach the scriptures. Older men are to be physically sober and spiritually sober, to think right about life. They are also called to be reverent, to hold the Lord in high regard; temperate, to be self-controlled, and this naturally leads to patience. These are radical traits in our men today. Godly men should have or at least be cultivating these traits under the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit.

  • Radial Older Women, verse 3

These older women are called to be reverent like the men, and sober as well. There is a word here as well: not to be ‘slanderers’; don’t be gossiping about other women to each other. This kind of character assassination has sadly been the downfall of many churches over the years. All too often, people do not know the whole story, do not know what is truly going on, or what people are truly enduring behind closed doors. Too many are afraid to talk about the hurt and pain for fear that they will be even more downtrodden by their church family rather than be lifted up and loved. These older women are to be teachers to the young women in the Lord’s churches as well. That means young women need to be teachable; there are some things Google does not know.

  • Radical Young Women, verses 4-5

Young women should love their husbands. This is a radical move today that young women, and young men for that matter, should be married. Don’t just sleep around and engage in sex outside of marriage. Get married and have a lot of fun exploring your sexuality with your spouse. To love children, thus to have them young. They should be homemakers (this is almost a swear word to many young Christian women, but it is a command of God for sound doctrine in the Lord’s churches). Young ladies, be chaste (keep sex for marriage and with your husband) and discreet; stop trying to draw attention to yourself. That is the complete opposite of many people, young and older, even in the Lord’s churches today.

Do you want to be famous? Be famous with God; love your husband, have kids, teach them about Jesus, serve your husband, and you will be famous with God. One of the commands is very radical, and we tend to shy away from this in our churches today. Young women, the Bible teaches you to be ‘obedient’ to your husbands. This is almost like blasphemy to a lot of young women, but I will remind you that God is not a feminist. Men and women are different, have different roles and responsibilities, and will face different judgments before the Lord. Find a godly man who loves God first, and obedience will not be an issue.

  • Radical Young Men, verses 6-8

Sober-minded: we explained this earlier. To do good work, don’t waste your youth on frivolous living. Too many young men use their youth as an excuse to live ungodly; that should not happen in the Lord’s churches. Live with integrity (how you live when you think no one is watching), be incorruptible (not easily bought with fame or fortune), and have proper speech. Is your language colorful, and when you speak, is it the truth?

This kind of radical living is completely opposite to the culture around us. But the Lord’s churches have been called to be living like this from the very first century. There is nothing new; rather, we need to obey the Lord and, by doing so, glorify His name.

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding

Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

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