Pattern of Godliness in the Church
i in all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works.” “Exhort servants to be obedient in all things.” “Adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:7,9,10). Those words, “in all things” are both challenging and compelling. No part of the life or ministry of Titus was to be lived on the basis of personal opinion or selfish desire. His hearers also were not to partially or selectively apply the word in their lifestyle. The “sound doctrine” which Titus preached must permeate and influence the character and actions of Titus, the preacher himself, and all his hearers “in all things.” Preachers never go on vacation, they are always preaching. A few hours’ preachers preach from the pulpit, the rest of the time we demonstrate our message, making our lives shed light on the meaning of what we have been preaching – now preaching by the way we live in the public. This life-pattern or life-preaching, carries more weight and takes more time than one-hour or two-hour messages. The pattern of our lives will either drive home or drive out the preaching of our lips. How often have we heard, ‘your life speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.’
“In all things.” Those words occur so often in the Scripture that we cannot overlook them. “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear IN ALL THINGS whatsoever he shall say unto you.” “But IN ALL THINGS approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses.” “Speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him IN ALL THINGS, which is the head, even Christ.” “But watch thou IN ALL THINGS, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” “IN ALL THINGS shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity.” “We trust we have a good conscience, IN ALL THINGS willing to live honestly.” “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God give: that God IN ALL THINGS may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Acts 3:22; 2 Corinthians 6:4; Ephesians 4:15; 2 Timothy 4:5; Titus 2:7; Hebrews 13:18; 1 Peter 4:11).
- CONSTANT COMMITMENT TO EXEMPLARY PATTERN IN ALL THINGS
Titus 2:7,8; 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12; 1 Corinthians 4:16,17; Philippians 3:14-17;
1 Peter 5:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:12-16; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 1:12; Colossians 4:5,6.
Titus was to teach all the brethren under his pastoral care. Here, the Apostle also taught him that he was to conform his life to the message of sound doctrine in all things. Titus was to always remember and we are to always remember that the most compelling and powerful words will fall on deaf ears if the one speaking those words fails to live by them. Titus was willing to be taught. A teacher must be willing to be taught and a leader must be willing to be led. If the preacher is not able to pattern his life after the message he preaches, if he cannot obtain grace from God to demonstrate the holiness he emphasises, he will be rightly labelled a hypocrite. If the preacher who proclaims scriptural standard on the unity and permanence of the family does not have the love, wisdom and commitment to cleave to his wife for life, how can he expect his hearers to have the grace he does not possess? If the one who teaches his congregation to be free from covetousness is himself known to be controlled by the love of money or insatiable desire for material things, can he ever hope to see the fruit of his preaching in his congregation? If I am irresponsible and undisciplined, I cannot raise a responsible, disciplined congregation only by preaching. To lead others to heaven, they must see that the leader is headed in that same direction too.
The pattern, example and model of Titus’ life were to conform to sound doctrine in all things so he could be a good example in everything to all members and ministers in the church. In doctrine and the manner of communicating divine truth, he was to demonstrate “uncorruptness” – everything in his teaching was to be such as to make men better and purer. “Gravity” was to be evident in his presentation and “sincerity” of motive and affection was to be observable in all he said and did. He was to so minister at all times and in all places that he would not be ashamed before God or before men – in the present day and on the final day. The same challenge is placed before each and everyone of us.
- CLEAR CONSCIENCE AND EMPLOYEES’ PERFORMANCE AT ALL TIMES
Titus 2:9,10; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-25; 4:1; 1 Timothy 6:1,2; 1 Peter 2:18-21; Ecclesiastes 9:10; 1 Timothy 6:6-12; Romans 2:14-16; Acts 24:16; 1 Timothy 1:4,19; 3:7-9.
The servants, the employees in various places of employment and under different kinds of masters or employers were to allow Christ to shine forth through them. The masters or employers in New Testament times were mostly unbelievers. A great number of them were inconsiderate and unkind but their unchristian character did not excuse or permit Christian employees to dishonour those masters or be dishonest in their duty. The servants, that is, the employees, were to be obedient, hardworking and faithful “not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” In their hearts, they were to “count their own masters worthy of all honour.” The few servants who were employed by “believing masters” were “not to despise them, because they are brethren” but rather to do them service. All this they were to do so that “the name of God and his doctrine” will not be blasphemed. Pastors and preachers are to teach Christian men and women that they must let their gospel light shine in their communities and in their places of employment.
Titus was to instruct and impress it on all Christian employees that they were to be “obedient unto their own masters” at all times as long as they were in their employment. They were not to riot or be governed by an aggressive union but to please their own masters well in all things, and at all times. Their greatest desire should not be higher pay but “the adorning of the doctrine of God our Saviour.” “Not purloining” – Christian employees would not be deliberately producing less than they are capable of, for that would be considered unfaithful and unchristlike on their part. In all things, at all times, under all conditions, with good and froward masters, Christian employees are to so live and work that they will draw employers and co-workers to Christ through righteous attitude, behaviour and dedication to their work.
- CONSUMING CONCERN FOR EXCELLENT PURPOSE IN ALL THINGS
Titus 2:8b,10b,5b; 1 Timothy 6:1; 1 Peter 2:12-15; 4:11,14-16; Matthew 5:16; Ephesians 4:1, 17-21; Philippians 2:14-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:11,12; 1 Peter 2:9.
Goals, motives and purposes or reasons for our action are very important to God. Our actions are evaluated on the basis of the purpose behind those actions. For all the children of God and the ambassadors of Christ, our consuming purpose and passion should be to glorify God and to influence and inspire others to also glorify Him. Our relationships, behaviour, activities, manner of life and mode of working should make all around us to desire Christ and His salvation. At home, we should so live “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:5). In the community, our conduct should show such a model of righteousness “that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you”, of us (Titus 2:8). With our employers and among our fellow-workers, in the midst of other employers, our lifestyle and dedication in service, our faithfulness and loyalty, our honesty and integrity, our attitude and industry, our skilfulness, selflessness and resourcefulness will go a long way to make us “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:10).