sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.Titus 2:8(NASB)
There are lessons on godly living for men and women of all ages in Paul's letter to Titus, and we would all be well-advised to take to heart his guidelines for those in positions of authority, within the church, "encourage the young men to be self-controlled in everything," he advises. "Make yourself an example of good works with integrity in doctrine. Be dignified in your teaching. Your message is to be sound in speech and beyond reproach so that the opponent will be ashamed, having nothing bad to say about us."
Pastoral oversight, in every Christian fellowship, is of great importance. The conduct and integrity displayed by Church leaders, in word and in action, can speak volumes to those under their guidance, including young men, who are sitting under their tutelage. They will react more favourably to a teaching of 'do as I do', rather than 'do as I say'.
Indeed, young people in general, are more likely to respect and respond to a pastor who lives out his Christian life with probity at home, and in the wider community, rather than the one whose daily actions do not correspond with his Sunday teachings! Paul is encouraging Titus to be a living example to all under his care. He is reminding him to demonstrate appropriate Christian behaviour in his own life, so that the instruction he offers to every group of believers, both young and older, will inspire them all towards a sanctified life that honours the Lord Jesus.
Every area of life should be impacted by the purifying effect of a leader's life that is established on the gospel of Christ. Just as Paul told the Corinthians, "you people should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ," he is encouraging Titus to be a living example of Christlike behaviour to the believers in his charge.
Titus is being encouraged to, "be sound in speech, and grounded in doctrine... which should be beyond reproach." He should so conduct himself, "that any opponent would be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us." Speech that is honest and true does not simply refer to the words we say, but to the doctrine that is taught, and Titus was being encouraged to preach the pure Word of truth, and translate it into everyday life, for the God-breathed Scriptures are living and powerful. They are profitable for teaching the truth, for rebuking wrongdoing, for correcting error, and for providing instruction in godly living.
Paul reminded Titus that pure words spoken, and sound doctrine taught, "is beyond reproach." Just as there is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, so also there is nothing to reproach those who teach sound doctrine. Titus is being instructed to present himself as a prototype for Christian conduct - presenting a pattern of behaviour that others will be encouraged to applaud and replicate.
When instructing Titus on the importance of teaching young men self-control in every area of life, Paul used a two-pronged approach - sound doctrine combined with a godly example. It is not sufficient to be doctrinally sound while living an unsanctified life. Similarly, it is not enough to demonstrate godly living, while neglecting the structured delivery of the pure milk and meat of the Word of God.
Paul may have been instructing Titus on his pastoral role and the importance of sound teaching and a sanctified life, but his wise words need to resonate in the ears of all of God's people, and be translated into daily action, if we are to be used in His service and bring praise to His name.
Whether young or old, male or female, baby Christians or mature believers, we should all take to heart Paul's important teaching on godly living. May we be temperate, dignified, sensible, and sound in faith, while demonstrating love and perseverance - like the elders and older men in Paul's letter to Titus. May we also be reverent in our behaviour, circumspect, sober, and sensible, like the mature ladies in his congregation.
May we give encouragement to those that are younger than we are, while imitating the godly traits of those that are mature in the faith. Let us pray that in everything we show ourselves to be approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of truth and standing firm on godly principles.
May we become an example to others, in our day to day living. May we carry out righteous deeds for God's glory and remain pure in doctrine, dignified in sound speech, and beyond reproach in actions and attitude - so that those who oppose us will be shamed into silence and have nothing bad to say about us.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the valuable teachings we have in the little book of Titus and the many instructions on righteous living and sound speech. I pray that I may live godly in Christ Jesus, and remain sound in doctrine. I ask that You would guide me into all truth and correct me from any error. For Your greater glory, I pray that I might become a living testimony of Your goodness and grace, and be used by You to live a life that is beyond reproach, only saying and doing those things that honour Your holy name. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.