Saturday, June 30

Our first concern

Scripture: Amos 7-9, Psalm 104, Titus 2

Titus 2:5 (encourage the young women)…to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered.

Titus 2:8 Your message is to be sound beyond reproach, so that any opponent will be ashamed, because he doesn’t have anything bad to say about us.

Titus 2:10 (slaves submit to your masters)…so that they may adorn the teaching of God our Savior in everything.  (The NIV says “so that they may make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”)

Observation

To each of these groups (young women, young men, slaves), Paul gives different instructions, but with the same goal: to protect the reputation of the gospel.  His first concern was the gospel.

He tells young wives to submit to their husbands.  They had new freedom and dignity in Christ.  They were their husbands’ equals before God.  So why submit?  Paul’s first concern is the gospel.  If Christian women flaunt their freedom, it may give Jesus a bad reputation, keeping others from Christ, (including their husbands—see 1 Peter 3:1-6).  

He tells young men, including Titus, to be sound in both actions and words.  Why?  Again, Paul’s first concern is the gospel.  If Christian men don’t have a sound faith and live it with integrity, others will have bad things to say about us, keeping people from Christ.

He tells slaves to submit to their masters.  They were free in Christ and were their masters’ equals before God.  So why submit?  Once again, Paul’s first concern is the gospel.  If slaves use their Christian faith as a reason to rebel, it would give the gospel a bad reputation and keep others from Christ.  

This is a common theme for Paul.  He is willing to sacrifice personal freedom for the sake of the gospel—see Romans 14-15, and 1 Corinthians 8-10.  

Application

First, we must be willing to sacrifice personal freedoms for the sake of the gospel.  I may be free to do something, but if it keeps others from Jesus, I choose not to do it.

Second, we must evaluate our behaviors based on how it reflects upon Jesus and the gospel.  If we believe that doing something would cause others to reject Jesus, don’t do it.  (This is not as simple as it seems!)

Third, and most important, above all we must desire the honor of Jesus and the spread of the gospel.  This is the lens through which we make every decision.  Does this advance the gospel?  Does this honor Jesus?

Prayer: Lord, help me to have Your values.  Make my first concern the gospel.  Help me to live in such a way that Jesus is honored and the gospel advanced and “made attractive.”