In the corporate world, it is said that a clear red flag during an job interview when any of the employee of the company tells you, “We are like family around here.” When you hear that, you run for the hills and don’t look back.
During the 1950s and 60s, when the ideal nuclear family unit was being promoted to America as the ultimate way of life (mostly by Evangelicals because of the design by God)–then with the social upheaval of the late 60s and 70s, that ideal fell apart. Mostly because post-Genesis 3 life and the world has a way of hitting you square in teeth and waking us up to a good dose of reality.
Sadly, for some people, the term and thought, “family”, is not at all a safe word. Because of that reality, I wish I had a better subtitle. But just because sin and world broke God’s designs does not mean it has to be that way.
That is what God has set out to do: redeem the broken. Single parents, orphans, divorce, widow, lost and stranded–God doesn’t just see, his heart is especially tender to the widow, orphan, and the lost.
It does not always mean that the single mom gets the loving, kind, gentle, God-fearing man of God. But God sending his Son to live and die for us, his children are given a family to help, bless, encourage, uplift, and support.
In that provision, God gives some commands and guidance on how this right-side up family should look like.
Titus 2:1–5 (CSB)
1 But you are to proclaim things consistent with sound teaching.
2 Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.
3 In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good,
4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children,
5 to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered.
When I dwell on this passage in Titus, I wonder of the parallel to the first epistle by John:
1 John 2:12–14 (CSB)
12 I am writing to you, little children, since your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you have come to know the one who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have conquered the evil one.
14 I have written to you, children, because you have come to know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have come to know the one who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, God’s word remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one.
In this exposition, I want to pull from 1 John as well.
Teach like this: Those older in the faith, act the part
2 Older men are to be self-controlled, worthy of respect, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance.
This does not give young believers (age of faith) a free pass to continue on sinning (Romans 6:1-2). God gives us grace not only in giving his heart and his Spirit, but the righteousness to do his will. That comes from the moment He saves you. But as we grow in maturity in Christ, we get to act the part.
Self-control is an important but oft glossed over fruit and characterization of the Spirit:
Galatians 5:22-23 (CSB) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.
2 Timothy 1:7 (CSB) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
Again, can we be perfect? Absolutely not. (I do not care what those in Holiness movements claim.) But do we have self-control? Absolutely. And as time and grace goes by, you will grow because the promise of God that his children–the brothers and sisters of Christ–are going to be conformed to the image of Christ:
Romans 8:29 (CSB) For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
And we know that all the promises of God are yes and amen.
worthy of respect - I hate to be the bearer of bad news but respect is always earned and not assumed because of your age, experience, or stature. The Bible makes it clear: Christians are to live their lives “worthy of respect”–not, “Give me the respect first and let us see if I can hold on to it.” With respect for one other comes with trust for one another. There is a base level decency that is respect for another. That is not what Paul is mentioning here. Living our lives as though we are worthy of trust and honor–whether you get it or not.
sensible - I speak only for the day and age that we live in. Face to face, we can seem sensible all day long. What about our online presence? Listen, I am not here to judge your content. I can’t tell you how many times I have deleted my social media accounts because of the content I put out. And that deletion doesn’t delete it from the mind of Christ or any of the people who read it. I regret many things I have said over the years. I pray that what I write now is sensible and not illogical or trollish.
sound in faith, love, and endurance - That is it. That is the endgame. Paul echoes this at the end of 1 Corinthians 13:
1 Corinthians 13:13 (CSB) Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love — but the greatest of these is love.
Let me put it this way: coram Deo. In other words, we are to live as though we are living before the face of God because in fact, we do. But then we will stand before the King of kings to be judged by God in the face of God for the glory of God. For those who disbelieve and never repentant, they subject themselves to the wrath of the King forever. To those who believe and trust, they stand in the face of the God who love them and gave Himself up for them forever.
3 In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered.
Teach like this: what is good
I am not here in the Bible to swap out male for female. Like I said previously, when the Bible is explicit to the older man, the younger man is not exempt. Likewise, commands to the older women do not let younger women off the hook. Furthermore, these commands of be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking is not just for the women but for men as well.I know that might go without say but in these times, you cannot always assume.
But the call to Christians–espcially to women–is to teach what is good. What is good? For young women to love their husbands and to love their children if God so chooses to bless us with spouses and children.
Like men, Christian women are marked by self-controlled – which I will say is an oft forgotten fruit of the Spirit for some inane reason. As God called us holy because he is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16), we are to be pure in the sight of God. That purity is not what we do but what Christ did for us:
2 Corinthians 5:21 (CSB) He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
But now that we are righteous before God, we get to be pure and holy.
workers at home - To those who have been blessed by God to work at home to care for the home, praise be to God. Some women, I am thinking of Lydia from Acts, who have been blessed to have a rich and fulfilling career, praise be to God. I know that many people, including myself, will try to succeed at all things, both at work and at home with family. If you choose to do this, I implore you to keep your eyes peeled for what you are giving up. I speak mostly about self-care like fitness, diet, and sleep. Speaking from my life, “burning the candle at both ends” is not sustainable and quickly leads to burn out. May the Lord bless you and keep you in what you do with your hands.
kind - Just like self-control has been mentioned so many times, how many times do you think we are called to be kind?
1 Corinthians 13:4 (CSB)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant,
Ephesians 4:32 (CSB)
32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
Luke 6:35 (CSB)
35 But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.
Colossians 3:12–13 (CSB)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
13 bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.
Proverbs 31:26 (CSB)
26 Her mouth speaks wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.
Proverbs 19:17 (CSB)
17 Kindness to the poor is a loan to the LORD, and he will give a reward to the lender.
Galatians 6:10 (CSB)
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith.
1 John 3:18 (CSB)
18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth.
1 Peter 3:8–9 (CSB)
8 Finally, all of you be like-minded and sympathetic, love one another, and be compassionate and humble,
9 not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you may inherit a blessing.
Being kind is its own reward. If that is not enough, it is a clear command from God.
I say this because in my own broken nature, I am not known to be kind. Praise be to God that He has given me a new heart, with his Spirit and a new nature that I get to be kind and generous to others.
and in submission to their husbands - Let me speak about this from a pastoral perspective. Submission does not mean what you think it means–that goes to the wife and to the husband. The wife is not blindly to a husband who is unrepentant, abusive, evil, and unkind. Full stop.
There are those who read this might buck against what I am saying and start hitting me with verses to support their position that the women has to submit no matter what the husband does or does not do. First, that is evil. Second, you are so focused on what others need to do instead of concentrating on what you need to do, brother. Look at the commands of God upon the man who is blessed to be a husband. You might be quick to mention “headship”, and I am telling you that unless you do right in the sight of God, you will quickly relinquish that “headship” when you step out of line before the face of God.
The hard complementarian argument wears me down because every time I am engaged with it, I keep meeting husbands who want to look at porn and treat their wives like trash and back up their wicked ways by twisting the Scriptures like the sons of Satan they are actually are. It wears me down and I don’t have the strength to assume the best of out a man whom God calls, “worthless”.
so that God’s word will not be slandered
Teach like this: we are witness to the world
John expounds on this:
John 15:12-17 (CSB) This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.
“This is what I command you: Love one another.
1 John 4:7-8 (CSB) Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
And if the Parable of the Samaritan is any indication, that means we don’t get to pick and choose who we show love to. We are love all for John goes on to say:
1 John 4:9-11 (CSB) God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.
The ESV rightly calls this atoning sacrifice, “the propitiation for our sins.” If Christ died on the cross to save His people from their sins–if Christ loved us while we were yet sinners–then we must love one another.
1. Who can define self-control and kindness and gentleness?
2. Who can define how to love one another?
3. Where does love come from?
4. What is greatest example of everything that God command us to do?
Help us to love one another. Amen.