Living with Integrity - Titus 2:1-15

1.      How would you define “integrity”? (The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”)

2.      Is it always easy to do the “right thing”? (No! Sometimes we are asked and sometimes even commanded to do the wrong thing in a given work situation. But regardless of the cost, it is never wrong to do the “right thing!” It may be costly in some ways, but to do the right thing is always right. That is integrity!)

3.      From a Christian standpoint what does it mean to live a life of “integrity”? (Living a life filled with actions matching the truths we proclaim.)

There is a famous story of St. Francis: One day, he said to one of the young monks: ‘Let us go down to the village and preach to the people.’ So they went. Every so often, they stopped to talk to someone. They begged something to eat at one house. Francis stopped to play with the children, and exchanged a greeting with the passers-by. Then they turned to go home. ‘But Father,’ said the novice, ‘when do we preach?’ ‘Preach?’ smiled Francis. ‘Every step we took, every word we spoke, every action we did, has been a sermon.’

4.      What do repeated actions and attitudes reveal about an individual? (What is really inside and what one believes—the heart!)

 

Listen to what Paul says about the false teachers in Titus 1:16.

Now listen as someone reads the next line in Paul’s letter to Titus.

Spoken! Read Titus 2:1

 

Titus faced a communication task that was decisively at odds with the false teachers who manipulated truth and twisted Scripture for their own advantage. Therefore, the spoken Word of God wields the power to change lives, and changed lives can revolutionize entire cultures in every tribe and nation around the world.

 

Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him (Eph. 2:8-10)

This is the way the world is transformed—one life at a time!

1.      Paul challenged Titus to “say the things that are consistent with sound teaching.” What is the danger of failing to verbally present the truth of the gospel, relying on actions alone to speak? (Speaking is the “what” of the gospel. Actions are the “how” of the gospel! We must have both for the world to both hear and see the truth of the gospel.)

2.      What might keep a person from speaking for the truth? (Fear. Lack of confidence in knowing what to say. Sometimes you may be the only one to speak truth but we must speak truth.)

 

[Form five columns on the board or poster paper. Label them as follows: Older men; Older women; Younger women: Younger men; and Slaves.]

Acted! Read Titus 2:2-10

 

1.      What did Paul say was to characterize the life of older men? (Self-control; worthy of respect; sensible; sound in-faith-love-endurance.)

2.      What did Paul say was to characterize the life of older women? (Reverent, not slanders; not to drink excessively; teach what is good to encourage the younger women.)

3.      What did Paul say was to characterize the life of younger women? (Love their husbands; love their children; self-controlled; pure; homemakers; kind; submissive to husbands.)

4.      What did Paul say was to characterize the life of young men? (Self-controlled in everything. Odd that there is only this one action listed here. However, without self-control it is difficult to have the other eight fruit of the Spirit growing in our lives. The Holy Spirit works to grow the fruit of self-control so that we can restrain our natural instincts—lashing out in anger or yielding to temptation. Self-control helps us, human as we are and provoked as we can be, to act in a Christlike manner.)

Peter wrote that we should add “to knowledge, self-control”. 2 Peter 1:6. That’s our defense against temptation.

In our next list, Paul is not condoning slavery he is simply addressing an existing cultural issue of his day.

5.      What did Paul say was to characterize the life of slaves? (Submissive to the master; well pleasing; do not talk back to the master; do not steal; faithful to the master.)

6.      Should Paul’s challenge to slaves be applied today to employees? (Certainly, in every way!)

7.      What are the connections between what the older and younger generations were to do? (The older generation was to set a good example for the younger and teach them. Although it isn’t specifically stated for the older men to teach the younger it is certainly implied.)

8.      What role do generations have in church leadership? (The older generation should lead and set godly examples for the younger generations to follow and emulate.)

In these verses there are three “so that” phrases. This is called a purpose clause, which basically means he’s just given a command and he says why you’re supposed to do this, what is the purpose of following this command.

9.      What is the “so that” clause in verse 5? (“so that God’s message will not be slandered.”)

10.  What is the “so that” clause in verse 8? (“so that the opponent will be ashamed, having nothing bad to say about us.”)

11.  What is the “so that” clause in verse 10? (“so that they may adorn the teaching of God our Savior in everything.”)

God will invade our lives to the degree that we open our hearts and say, “Lord, take control!” Jesus said that no person can serve two masters. When we seek to be masters of our own lives, living according to the dictates of our emotions and calling on God only when we are in deep trouble, the world isn’t much impressed. They do the same thing!

 

Empowered! Read Titus 2:11-14

 

1.      What is the source of power for living righteously? (God’s grace and the great expectation of His appearing.)

Paul explained that the gospel acts as the motivation for integrity. The gospel that transforms a life is demonstrated by how the individual begins to say “no” to those things that are ungodly. Finally, the gospel encourages us in our time of waiting for Jesus’ return to pursue integrity.

2.      How do you see evidence of Christ’s power in you for godly living? (The encouragement to do right when presented with the opportunity as well as the conviction of the Holy Spirit to do what is right when tempted.)

 

Authority! Read Titus 2:15

 

1.      Paul stated three commands in this verse [say, encourage, and rebuke] that were to encourage behaviors and attitudes that sought integrity. Why would it have been important for Paul to remind Titus of acting in God’s authority? (Titus had some hard commands to relay to the people and he needed to be assured he was speaking authority based on the truth of God’s Word.)

2.      If our message is going to be received, what must we do to be taken seriously? (If our speech and actions match up with the message, we’ll appear to be authentic, and our message can’t be discounted.)

We can speak God’s message with confidence both when we encourage and correct because we have the authority as a follower of Jesus Christ.

3.      Do you live with the spiritual integrity required to share the gospel message and be heard?

Living up to the gospel requires us to embrace a personal set of ethics that are carefully outlined in the Scriptures and impressed upon us by the Holy Spirit in collaboration with our own consciences.

 

Summarize and Challenge!

 

To illustrate the importance of our actions I’m going to share this account about Mahatma Gandhi:

 

While Gandhi was a practicing Hindu, Christianity intrigued him. In his reading of the Gospels, Gandhi was impressed by Jesus whom Christians worshipped and followed. He wanted to know more about this Jesus that Christians referred to as “the Christ, the Messiah.”

The Rev. Pattison tells the following story: One Sunday morning Gandhi decided that he would visit one of the Christian churches in Calcutta. Upon seeking entrance to the church sanctuary, he was stopped at the door by the ushers.

He was told he was not welcome, nor would he be permitted to attend this particular church as it was for high-caste Indians and whites only. He was neither high caste, nor was he white. Because of the rejection, the Mahatma turned his back on Christianity.

With this act, Gandhi rejected the Christian faith, never again to consider the claims of Christ. He was turned off by the sin of segregation that was practiced by the church. It was due to this experience that Gandhi later declared. “I’d be a Christian if it were not for the Christians.”

https://www.kansascity.com/living/religion/article18756585.html

 

Close in prayer, thanking God for the power to live godly lives through the truth and power of the gospel. May we never be found turning anyone away from our Savior!