Helping you grow closer to God
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About this series
I have had people, I’m sure it’s unintentional, but they’ve asked my wife, “So what do you do?” And she said, “Well, I’m actually a homemaker,” and she has worked at different times but she goes, “You know, during this season, when our kids were small and then on up through when we sent them out, I just felt like that was my greatest priority.”
And I’ve just had people look at her like, “Oh, so you don’t really have a real job? So you must not really be an important person.” And instead we have had an entire world, for the last twenty years, bombard women and tell them that, “You don’t really matter if you don’t work outside the home. In fact, beyond working outside the home, I mean, really, really make it happen.”
And all that liberation has done is most women I know have two jobs. They have the job where they work and I know all the theory about all the things that are going to be shared at home. It really doesn’t work that way, does it?
Who feels the moral weight of nurturing? Who feels the moral weight of what happens with the kids? Who feels the moral weight? And I just, I think women have really been pulled apart.
Does it mean you can’t work? I don’t think so. But I think what it does mean is your priorities in a season of life, you can only work or get needed income after you know you’re taking care of what no one else can do.
And I look at my wife and I look at the time that she spent investing in our kids and I think of our greatest joys. And what is happening, our kids are impacting far more people than I ever will in all my life.
Your investment is a long-haul investment, very painful, and very difficult with not a lot of reward during the journey. But the payoff is deeper and greater.
And so you have to have a long fuse, you’ve got to really believe. This may feel kind of hard, but you’re really talking maybe, what, fifteen years? Ten, twelve that are super, super critical and then you launch the kind of people that change the world.
And so now he says, “Older men, this is what a Christian looks like, who lives like a Christian. Older women and younger women,” and then notice he says, here’s why, “So that God’s Word will not be discredited.”
That’s the idea. People won’t speak evil of it. In other words, God’s Word, wow! This must be true! Why? Because of how older men and older women and young women actually live.
Summary here is that our character and relationships at home – are you ready for this? should cause our children to want to be like us and cause our neighbors and our friends to admire our marriages and our parenting, not question our faith.
I remember talking to a guy that was very “famous” in a very technical field and a friend of a friend conversation, and it was relayed to me as we were talking about this, he had a young man, he was, like, eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old.
And in the interviewing process he says, “Well, what do you really want to be when you grow up?” And he goes, “I want to be like my dad.” “Oh, you want to be a famous engineer like your dad?” He goes, “Oh, no. I want to be a Christian like my dad. My dad is the greatest person I have ever met.” You know what? That’s what I want.
But that means whether I’m an older man or an older woman or a young woman… Can you see, what would it take for our kids to grow up in environments where they would say, “I want to be like you. I don’t want to do what you did, I might have different gifts and different passions, but the kind of person, the kind of Christian, the kind of friend, the kind of mom, the kind of dad, I want to be like you.”? See, that’s how the revolution of Jesus Christ turned the world upside down.
He now goes to the young men in the home. And he says, “You younger men,” he says, “you need to be self-controlled,” and interestingly, the word changes. As you go through like I did in my Bible, the word teach, teach, teach, teach, teach, train, encourage, exhort, teach, teach, what you realize is, people don’t know how to do this. If people already know something, you don’t have to teach them.
Go through your Bible, if you would, or if you have a Kindle, and highlight, “teach”, “teach”, and what you’ll see is all of chapter 2, except for the second half, which we already covered, it’s all about people have to learn, your kids have to learn, your friends have to learn, the people you disciple, that we have to teach them.
And the culture in Crete, just like the culture today, is the opposite of Christians living like Christians. In fact, the tragedy is, in most churches, the culture is different than Christians living like Christians. And so, our work is cut out for us.
And so now it gets a little stronger. He says, “I want you to exhort, I want you to admonish the young men.” And it’s interesting, there’s only one thing you’re supposed to tell them: Be self-controlled. You make your own conclusions on that one.
The word “self-control” has showed up in every single one of the relationships and it simply means “to master one’s self; to be disciplined,” and I would say to young men here to be disciplined or controlled over your passions for success, for wealth, for sex, for power, and for fame.
And when young men are disciplined and aligned, by the power of God, with their time, their priorities with their family, their own spiritual development, in prayer, in God’s Word, and they don’t allow their work or their hobbies to dominate their lives, they step up and they change the world.
They have the energy, they have focus, they have dreams. Those are the kind of Christians that change the world.
And then he says to Timothy, you know, “Well, how do you do that? How are you going to teach them to be self-controlled?” And he says to Titus, excuse me, very similar comments to the other young pastor, Timothy. He says, “You set them an example. You tell them, ‘Be self-controlled,’ and then tell them, ‘Just look at me, guys.’” Boy, how would you like to be that pastor? You model self-control, you model godliness, you model loving relationships, you model faith, you model how to treat women, you model how to treat your kids. And then demonstrate it, he says, in the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.
The word “integrity” has to do with motives. Notice the false teachers, they did it for money. He says, “Titus, you teach in a way where people will know you’re not into their wallet, you’re not into fame, you’re not into impressing people, you’re just living it out.”
And then, now, also it needs to be serious. Don’t come halfhearted and give half-baked messages. You need to give messages that are well researched and you need to do it with dignity, and you need to do it with a sobriety, and you need to do it before the living God.
And notice why. I mean, the reason here. So that the critics may have no basis for their accusations about the Church! Literally, it’s about us! When young men are self-controlled and don’t lust on the job and don’t log onto porn sites and don’t tell dirty jokes and love their wives and take time and don’t get addicted to work and are good dads, not perfect dads, good dads – tell you what – that’s a rare breed. You meet a man like that, pretty soon, all that criticism about Christians, and the Church, and intolerant, and hypocritical, and nya, nya, nya, nya, nya, nya, nya. I’ll tell you what, that’s, you just you start exporting more and more of those kind of people,
“Man, you don’t have it all together but you don’t live like I live. You live a lot like Jesus.” And when you don’t, you don’t fake it. You own it. You’re real. You’re authentic.
That’s like spiritual honey drawing the bees who long for life and they are all around us, where we work and our neighborhoods.
He shifts it now and says, “Christians need to live like Christians for the credibility of God’s Word and for the credibility of His Church. But not just, not just in our homes and our relationships but he shifts gears now and talks about work.
Now, obviously, it’s a different world so we have to make a little transition here. He’s going to talk to slaves because the great majority of the Christians were slaves.
And, by the way, what he’s going to say to slaves make your calling in your job really easy compared to what he’s going to ask them to do. Because you need to understand, the view of slavery and slavery in the world… Aristotle said this, Aristotle said, “You can’t misuse or abuse a slave because it’s a piece of property, not unlike a washbasin or a woman.”
How would you like to live in a world where you are a piece of property and therefore if you were beaten, you know what? It’s like my car. If I want to wreck it, I can wreck my car. If I want to beat it up, I can beat up my car.
Now, to be fair, many people were very kind to their slaves. But no rights, and by the way, if it’s not going real well, this was not one of the options, “You know, Master, I, um, I know I’ve been here for quite a while but I’m, um, I’ve asked for a transfer. I’m going to be quitting.” You know? There is no plan B.
So listen. This is why the Church changed the world. What he’s going to tell them is impossible. And yet they did it. But they didn’t do it in their own strength, they did it by the power of the Holy Spirit working in the power of God’s Word, in the context of authentic community where they would meet and hear the teaching of the Scripture.
They were all illiterate and so these scrolls would be read and they would memorize them out loud together and go over them, over them, over them, over them in their mind and then they would meet in homes and they would share a meal and they would talk about “That letter we got that was passed around. That one to Ephesians and that other little one to the Colossians and that one to the Thessalonians.”
And then they got up and they went into horrendous working situations and they responded, by and large, by His power, the way Jesus would have responded if He was actually living inside their body, which He was. And so, he says to them, “Slave, whether you have a Christian or non-Christian master, be subject to your masters.” That’s the overarching… the idea is you’ve got to submit to them, you have to obey what they say. “Try to please or satisfy them.” The idea here is just, “Do a good job.”
I was in New York City and I heard Tim Keller speak and he was talking about impact in the marketplace and he said, “You know, we have a generation, both young and old, that we really want our work to have such meaning and we want it to change the world and,” he said, “you know, that’s great, but part of serving God, sometimes it’s just doing a great job.”
You know, if you’re a dentist and drilling teeth, I mean, this bicuspid is going to, ZzzZzzZzz, change the world? No, but it will really be important to that person that you’re putting that crown on.
Or if you’re an airplane pilot it’s like, “All I do is fly from here to Beijing, all I do is fly from here to the Southwest, back and forth.” When you land correctly, we love you! Do things with excellence! Create software with excellence, come on time, do a great job, please your masters.
Then it says not to talk back to them. So there is a respect, there’s an attitude.
Those of you that are supervisors or employees, you know that people show to work but you know sometimes it’s like this, “I got attitude. I’m here. But I don’t like you. And I’m going to do it as little as possible to make as much as possible. And I’m just going to sort of poison things.” He goes, “When you find employees with a good attitude…”
And then petty thievery was just common. So the slaves would steal. He says, “Don’t steal from them,” and then show that you can be trusted. I mean, can you imagine a master who realized, “I don’t know what this Christian stuff is and this Jesus and all this talk of resurrection and this is wild and crazy but all I know is, if I had another ten slaves like that, I’d change the world. If I had a hundred, our company would be…” That’s what God wants us to be where we’re at.
I was picking up my laundry yesterday, and the fellow is a guy I’ve gotten to know, and he’s come to church some, but his wife works at another church so he doesn’t go here, but I know he’s a believer.
And I was behind the guy in front of me and the guy in front of me said, “Oh, is this my shirt? Did you get that stain out?” And he goes, “Well, I really tried,” he said, “but it was blood so it didn’t come out.” He said, “Well, I want the stain to come out.” He goes, “Well, I can do it more but I’m afraid it’ll go right through the fabric.” And he said, “Well, man, if you can’t get the stain out, I don’t want to pay for that.”
And I’m sitting there thinking, “Let’s see now, who got the stain in the shirt? You brought the shirt. He cleaned the shirt. He tried to get the stain out of the shirt.” And he goes, “No, I don’t want to pay for that.” And this guy’s response, I saw, you know how you can see his eyes flash like…
But then, the guy didn’t even catch it. He goes, “Absolutely, sir, that’ll be okay. I’ll take that right off your bill.” And he took care of him and I got my stuff and I walked out and, you know, I had one of those little promptings.
I thought, “You know what? Man, now, that’s a Christian living like a Christian.” I went back in there and it had cleared out, I said, “Hey, can I tell you something?” He said, “What?” I said, “Man, way to go. Way to go. That was such a great attitude. That was such a great response. You could have talked back, you could have argued. And you know something? You just handled that with class.”
Colossians 3:23 and 24 says, “Do your work, not as unto man, not for eye service, not for their reward. Do your work as unto the Lord, as an act of worship.”
I’m going to create this for God, I’m going to build this for God, I’m going to fix this for God, I’m going to write this software for God, I’m going to lead this team meeting for God. And His inspection is what I care about.
Why? So that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. Attractive. It’s a really amazing New Testament word. It’s the picture like taking a very special gem and dropping it into a setting, but then around the setting you put all these other very, very precious gems and with a background in gold, so it just adorns it. So it just makes it awesome looking.
And God says, “When we do our work that way, it makes people scratch their head and go, “So everyone else left early and you didn’t? Why? You didn’t really have to turn that in on your expense report but you did. And you knew we had a problem that wasn’t even in your area but you covered for another guy? And you… What’s this about?”
And I would recommend, this is not the exact, “It’s Jesus…” But it’s Jesus. And in the right way in the right time, you can verbalize and share as you earn that kind of respect.
Well, turn to the back page if you will, because I’d like to wrap it up as we think about being the kind of older men, older women, younger women, and younger women, and slaves, workers that really are Christians that live like Christian at home and at work. But we live in a day where our reputation as Christians has taken a hit. Our influence is marginalized, and our children are abandoning the faith.
So let me ask you, what has the power to convince an unbelieving world that God’s Word is true? Second, what has the power to restore credibility and influence to the Church? And third, what has the power to make people want to explore a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
And the answer to all three is: Doing good where you live and where you work. Doing good. Not talking about it. Doing good in the power of the Holy Spirit, as a person who understands you can’t do it apart from time in God’s Word. And it is impossible unless you can do life with people that give you the strength and the encouragement and the accountability to become who God has saved you to become.
You don’t need any more of God. He needs more of you. And when He gets more of you, and can allow His life to flow through you, you will be an older man that we’ll admire and respect. You’ll be an older woman who realizes that the greatest beauty that you have to share is beauty that is on the inside and not the outside.
And you’ll be a young woman who has clean and clear and wise priorities. And you’re going to invest in the thing that matters most and use your gifts to help other people.
And you’ll be a young man who says, “You know something? I got a lot of passions and there’s a lot of ditches and a lot of potholes out there, but I’m going to set my face like a flint and I’m going to be a man of God and a great father and a godly husband, and I’m going to go to work and work will not own me. But I’m going to work in a way, unto You, and I’m going to ask You for the opportunity with the energy and the dreams you put in me, to change the world. But it starts with doing good.