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Sound Doctrine, Sound In Faith

by David Johnon

IMG_0666(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

It is good to be together again as we look into the Word of God and make personal application. The title for the lesson is, “Sound Doctrine, Sound In Faith,” and the text is in the New Testament, the book of Titus chapter two and the first five verses. Please listen to the Word of God.

You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.  Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self controlled and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.   Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way that they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled and pure and to be busy at home, to be kind and to be subject to their husbands so that no one will malign the Word of God. This is the Word of God. May he add his blessing to the public reading of his Word.

Perhaps you have heard that in America and also in the affluent, advanced nations of the world, we are supposedly now in the so-called post Christian era. That is, Christianity ha had a diminished influence and impact on societies, particularly in affluent, advanced nations, including America.  For example, in North America, according to statistics, the Church at large is dead last in the world regarding new converts with almost zero or flat true growth.  Instead, we are just swapping sheep. Christian folk moving from one congregation to another, especially in America with the rise of the mega church with a CEO, chief executive officer, type pastor personalities, which often is closing doors or greatly shrinking the size of many smaller congregations across the country.

In America today, according to many trend indicators, incredibly, we are now the number two leading nation in receiving missionaries to help evangelize us, that is, non native Americans who have become, that is, naturalized American citizens that are non native to America, not born in America are now spreading the gospel not only to the world, but primarily headquartered in America and speaking and teaching and preaching the Word to Americans.

For example, a very fine gospel preacher, Michael Usef is an Egyptian American, a Christian who is a prominent pastor of Christian television and Christian radio evangelizing Americans in the world. Another example is Ravi Zacharias, a very excellent Indian American apologist, that is, defender of the Christian fait, apologist meaning defender of the Christian faith. And he is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, evangelizing Americans and the world.  Another example is Ken Ham, an Australian American. And there are many other that are missionaries, so to speak, evangelists, great teachers like Ken Ham, manners of creationism that are headquartered now in America. America today is radically different socially and spiritually than our grandfather’s generation or even our father’s generation.
For example, I remember one of our missionaries in the past would take furloughs back to America every few years. And he would comment on the obvious slide downward of our society in general and even the Church in America and its downward slide. And he had a penetrating perspective having been away many years and then coming back to America.

The moral, ethical, downward slide is obvious just even in the last 50 years. For example, we now have abortion on demand as legal, prayer and God taken out of the public square everywhere practically, alternate lifestyles touted as tolerance is over Scripture, safe sex over Scriptural sex, choice over Judeo Christian standards in Scripture versus the choices of men and of society. And on and on it goes in a downward spiral.

So it is no wonder that the spiritual fiber, the moral, ethical fiber of our nation is unraveling and it is adversely affecting the Church in America also.  So what are we American Christians to do? What are Christians to do anywhere in the world? Well, there is a three fold imperative. The first is certainly to begin with fervent prayer and to continue in fervent prayer of souls in America or wherever you live, where are our children, our grandchildren will probably grow up with their families as he Lord tarries in his return.

Jesus Christ stated in the gospel of Matthew chapter nine verses 37 and 38:  The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. We are talking about a harvest of souls here, not corn. Millions in America are perishing without Christ including in our own families and friendships. Full time, even part time workers for God’s kingdom are becoming fewer and fewer. So what is he answer? What is the antidote? Verse 38. Ask the Lord. Pray, petition with supplications. This task of winning of souls is not in our power. It takes God’s power.  It is not our harvest. It is the Lord’s harvest. It is his harvest field.

But doesn’t the Lord want souls to be saved? Well, yes, of course. But the Lord gives accountable human beings a choice to either receive or reject him, to ignore him. And there is more.  God has the power, but the Lord chooses to work in large part through his workers, today his Church. God instructs us to ask the Lord to send out, to raise up his workers. And we do need more workers, evangelizing, witnessing, testifying regarding Jesus, the gospel, the good news of eternal life with God and which is only found in Christ Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life, eternal life with God. Perhaps you have seen signs all over town that often refer to needing more workers. Business signs all over town that read: Help needed. Hiring now. Managers needed.
Well, God’s kingdom needs workers, too, especially in America, whether they be from aboard or native born. It really doesn’t matter. We need workers, God’s choice of his workers to go out into the harvest field.

Only the Lord sends out workers that are truly his effective, committed Christians, disciples, missionaries, mentors. And that is why we need to continue to ask and to pray and seek the Lord of the harvest.

Secondly, all Christians should have a part in sharing Jesus. It is not just about preachers or evangelists or missionaries. Just as all Christians can pray, which includes you and me, all Christians can witness. Well, how doe God’s flock primarily grow?   With just the efforts of one or two pastors or one or two preachers or with all of God’s people involved in personal evangelism?  Do pastors reproduce the flock? Well, no. Pastors primarily lead, protect and provide. It is the sheep that reproduce themselves.

In Colossians chapter one and verse 23 it says, in part:  The gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed, we all need to proclaim, to be proclaimers of the good news, of the glad tidings of Jesus Christ, of his death, his atoning sacrifice on the cross and being raised on the third day, the empty tomb. Jesus is alive. Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us even now as our great high priest. And Jesus Christ is returning and we need to share all of the good news concerning the kingdom, God’s kingdom, concerning Jesus, the Christ, the anointed one of God, concerning grace that Jesus paid it all in full once and for all and that we need to receive him personally though faith. And a faith that saves is a faith that obeys.  Sharing the good news with gentleness and patience and concern and not giving up, not in a naggingly way, but in a lovingly way.

Thirdly, not only do we need to pray fervently, not only do we all need to proclaim and share and testify and witness to the good news of Jesus Christ, thirdly, which is so very important, especially in today’s church, is that we Christians need to live out the character of Christ before those that are not yet in Christ.  What we say must be backed up. What we proclaim must be backed up by who we are, what we are that we are committed missionary minded mentors in our own families and our own circles of influence with friends, but in the character of Christ seeking to have the personal conduct that others can see Christ in us.

Let’s consider our study text in Titus chapter two and verses one through five, which is a good template to pattern ourselves after being sound in doctrine—doctrine meaning the teachings of Scripture—and sound in faith, which includes our Christ like character, because our belief and our behavior must match in Christ. Eyes and ears see and hear us. And people don’t really care what we know, if we don’t really show that we care about them and have the character to back up our caring, our concern for their souls.

In Titus chapter two and verse two it says, in part: Teach the older men. Well, why is that? Well, usually older men are leaders in the family, in business, in the Church, in the nation.   Godly leadership in sound doctrine, sound in the fait, greatly impacts he followership in all ages. Both genders need to be taught according to Scripture which impacts our society that we live in.  Sound in the original Greek here means healthy.  The context means healthy in the sense that God’s truth, that is, doctrine and faith, produces spiritual well being.  Not only to please God, which is certainly important, but also as an effective witness to unbelievers to be sound, to be healthy spiritually, morally, ethically in the character of Christ along with the doctrine of Christ.

In Titus chapter two and verse three it says, in part: Teach the older women. Well, older women probably influence and impact the heart of the family, the heart of the Church, the heart of the nation more than others.   Certainly women at home usually shape and sharpen the next generation in our society more usually than others. Women teach from the heart, not just from the head, usually better than men.  Women can be very effective witnesses for the cause of Christ both in the family and in society at large, in the work place.

 

In Titus chapter two and verse four it says, in part: They, that is, the older women, can train the younger women. Here we have a most important concept, principle, precept from the Word of God. Older, that is, those who are more experienced, because they have lived longer, can teach the younger. And usually female to female and male to male can be even more effective, because of shared physical, emotional and even spiritual compatibilities. And so also to mentor, to teach, to train the next, the younger generation, to continue the torch of sound in doctrine and sound in faith.

In Titus chapter two and verse five it reveals a most important goal of all of this. So that no one will malign or blaspheme the Word of God. An important part of a Christian’s witness is to live it out.  Live out what we believe within to share with others. If these do not match, it brings ridicule to God’s Word, which can fracture families, cause conflict in the Church and cause more moral laxness in our nation, in society.

So to summarize, we Christians need to pray. We need to proclaim and we need to be proven. I will illustrate it this way.  Hugh Latimer was called the preacher of the Reformation in England. But his mentor was a man that probably very few have ever heard of. His name was Thomas Bilney. Latimer at first ridiculed the Reformation efforts of Martin Luther. And so Bilney prayed: Oh, God, give me the soul of Hugh Latimer. And what wonders he shall do in thy most holy name.

Bilney didn’t give up on Latimer.  He showed him in Scripture that salvation is only for sinners through faith by the grace of God and God convicted Latimer and sent him out as a worker into his harvest field. And through Hugh Latimer and others, the English Reformation spread.  And many were saved. And it began with fervent prayer, asking the Lord of the harvest to raise up workers. And America needs workers of God’s choosing to bring great revival and spiritual awakening. So we must pray. We must all proclaim Jesus and we need to be proven in Christ Jesus by our character.

 

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4