Adorning the Doctrine of God
[2:1] But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.  Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.  Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,  and so train the young women to love their husbands and children,  to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.  Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.  Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,  and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.  Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,  not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,  waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
[3:1] Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,  to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.  For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.
(Titus 2-3:8 ESV)
In looking at Ephesians last week, we saw that when we turn away from sins and put our faith in Christ, we are re-created in Him. We are unified with Christ by being re-made in Him and by Him. Not only that, but at the end of the passage we looked at we’re told that we are re-created in Christ to do the good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Now, this week we’ll look at one of the ways our good works affect the outside world, and we’ll talk about a few practical examples of those good works. So, here’s the entire sermon today; I’m going to pack it into a single sentence for you: Adorn the doctrine of God by being eager to do good so that people will see the beauty of what Christ has done.
—Adorn – to make beautiful. A woman adorns herself with jewelry. We adorn a Christmas tree with lights. Now, I want to point out the fact that we don’t have to do anything to the gospel to make it beautiful. It already is beautiful, and we are simply showing it for what it is.
—Doctrine – teaching; beliefs; basic teachings of a faith system. Christian doctrine says that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.
So we adorn the doctrine of God. We show the world the beauty of Christ in the way we live our lives.
Illustration: Now, to give you a clearer idea of what I mean, let me give you two examples of people acting OPPOSITE to what I’m saying. “Burn a Qu’ran day” & Westboro Baptist.
The way Paul encourages us to show the gospel to be beautiful in this passage is to encourage us to abound in good works. We are to eagerly make the most of every opportunity to do good both to our family of faith and to the world outside the church. And what this does is highlight what Christ has done for us! So let’s read these passages where Paul talks about what Christ has done. These are the doctrines that we help the world see to be beautiful.
REFER TO Titus 2:11-14, 3:3-8
–It is only by God’s saving grace that we can say no to the worldly passions that enslave the world. Look at the sort of things that enslave those who do not know Christ: malice, envy, hatred, foolishness, deception. The very fact that we can act contrary to these worldly characteristics sets us apart. Moreover, it’s not like we’re neutral. We are not simply coming to the middle of the road between good and evil, we are going from one side to the other side. Instead of being enslaved to passions and pleasures, Christ gives us the strength to have self-control. Instead of hating others, this love that Christ has shown us spills over onto everyone we meet.
And it is all because Christ has re-created us, and graciously saved us. How? Titus 2:14 – He gave Himself for us. He took the punishment for the sins of every person who would believe in Him. And through that, through Christ taking the beating for our wickedness, God creates in us the purity of Christ. So we have put off worldly things, and purity has been put in us, and so now we are eager to show it by our good works.
One last thing to point out, or else we’ll end up spending all day on these glorious passages: look at the idea of hope that Paul writes so forcefully into this passage. We hope in the day Christ will bring us home. We hope in the promise of eternal life. Brothers and sisters, this is such a powerful testimony to the world. There is so much hopelessness in the world. People feel as though their lives won’t matter. They feel like they have failed those they love. They have no hope that anyone will ever love them. They are beat down by the world and have nothing to hope for in death. But in Christ we have an unshakeable, eternal, sure hope! Let us show the world just how glorious our Savior is!
So, in the first part of chapter 2, Paul gives us some practical wisdom in how we can adorn the doctrine of God. He gives us practical examples of things we can do to glorify God to the world. He breaks his advice down into several groups, so let’s look at these.
Older men: Be LEADERS…by EXAMPLE.
–There is such a deep need for Godly older men to pour their lives into the church, and particularly into the lives of younger men. I haven’t looked at stats recently, but for some time the participation of my generation in church was heavily lopsided with more girls. Young men are not growing up. They don’t know how to love wives and raise families. Part of this is because the divorce rate is so high that MANY young men grow up without any consistent male role model. They desperately need you older men to train them up in how to be a man. So live your life to earn their respect, and as those younger than you give you their respect, be sound/proficient/abundant in faith, love, and endurance. Teach young men how to endure.
Older women: Be REVERENT. TEACH younger women.
–Ladies, much of what is true for the men is true for you also. We live in a culture that is brutal to women. I don’t mean physically…that happens, yes…but I’m talking about how we train girls to live their lives. Our society teaches young women that their worth is in their body. Oh how many girls’ lives have I seen ruined because they destroy themselves trying to look like the cover of Cosmo or People Magazine!? So many women have zero self-esteem, because they tie their well-being to whether or not a man desires them. If only they knew the hope in Christ! Older ladies, it is your glorious privilege to teach younger women things like:
1 Peter 3:2-4 — “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Proverbs 31:30 —“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Now, specifically what Paul encourages older women to teach younger women centers around the family.
Young women: LOVE and SERVE your families.
–Now, let’s just be honest and admit that this passage would make the vast majority of women in our society very uncomfortable. It talks about working in the home, being submissive to your husband. Whew, there are some places where if I read that I might get run out of town. So, let’s talk about this for just a moment. Why does Paul point this out? Why does he make a wife’s submission to her husband central to this section where he talks about adorning the doctrine of God? I’ll tell you why, and this is good stuff…it may be the most powerful adornment of the doctrine of God. Now, when God created the relationship between men and women, and when he instituted marriage, he had a very specific purpose in mind.
[Wives and Husbands]
 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  because we are members of his body.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
(Ephesians 5:22-33 ESV)
Whoa! Did you catch that? Paul is saying that marriage is a visual parable for Christ’s relationship with the church. That means that all along, from the very beginning, God’s purpose in marriage is to show the world how sacrificially Christ loves the church, and how joyfully the church submits to Christ’s leadership. So, women, the reason you are called to submit to your husbands is because God has ordained that your submission to your husband would reflect the submission of the church to Christ. And this does not mean that you become a slave, or you become some sort of maid that just takes orders and gets walked on. No, look at how Paul says husbands should act. A husband should love his wife like Christ loved the church. Men, do you hear the weight of that statement? Do you remember how Christ loved the church? Christ DIED for the church! Christ loved His church so powerfully that He forgave her infinite sins. Christ was broken for the church. He gave EVERYTHING for the church. So, husbands, are you adorning the doctrine of God by giving everything to your wife? And wives are you adorning the doctrine of God by joyfully and completely submitting to your husbands?
***What if I don’t have a husband? What if I don’t have a wife? That’s easy: love the church as if it was your family. The time you might have spent with a family, spend ministering to the church. Serve other families in the church. Pour your love into the church.
Young men: Be SELF-CONTROLLED. Be a MAN.
–Young men, be honest: you know why Paul’s first statement is about our self control. As young men, we have the tendency to be wild. We do ridiculous stuff. “Hey, I’mma climb on top of this building!” “Hey, watch me peel out around this corner.” “Hey, I bet I can eat 3 large pizzas faster than you.” Whether it’s some contest, or struggles to be pure in our thoughts and actions, or just acting crazy for the sake of acting crazy, we OFTEN could use more self-control. And brothers, this will never happen unless we let God teach us discipline in our lives. But let us submit to Christ! Let us learn self-control. Let us train ourselves for Godliness. Let us live disciplined lives so that we might be warriors in the kingdom of God. In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul says, “I beat my body to make it my slave, so that after preaching I might not be disqualified…” Young brothers, are we willing to do what it takes to adorn the doctrine of God? Are we willing to live so uprightly, and so disciplined as to be an example to the rest of the believers? As Paul says, we do this so that no one will look at our lives and have something bad to say about Christ. Is that true for us? I pray that it will be.
Slaves (employees): Work hard. Be trustworthy.
–Brothers and sisters, realize that your behavior where you work will affect how people view Christ. It has been my experience that employers are almost taken aback by someone who works hard. Perhaps we can think of it this way. The world goes to a job and works for money. However, as Christians we go to work for the glory of God. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of Jesus…” Colossians 3. Work is included in there. So as we go to work, we go in the name of Jesus. And if we are working for Jesus and for His glory, shouldn’t we be far more willing to give our all than people who are working for something as fragile as money? We work for the eternal God! The world works for something that doesn’t even last through their lifetime. Do we adorn the doctrine of God in how faithfully we work?
General: All of these are empowered by our trust in God
–We can live joyfully under any government because we know that ultimately we serve the Creator and King of the Universe.
–We slander no one because we see that every human is made in the image of God; that God loves every person and desires their salvation (no matter how much we dislike them.)
–We can be humble to all b/c our King was humble, and we know that He will lift us up in due time. If we are humiliated during this brief life, we can be content…b/c we will be exalted in eternity.
So, brothers and sisters, let us live in these ways. Let us always be looking for opportunities to show the beauty of Christ to the world with how we live. So often the world sees what a few people calling themselves Christians do, and they reject the beautiful message of Christ. How far are we willing to go to help the world realize that our news really is good?! How much of our lives are we willing to lay down so that even 1 person might see and believe that Christ loved them and died for them on the cross?
Let us be ready to do good. Let us devote ourselves to doing good. Let us eagerly look for opportunities to do good, so that we might show the world the beauty of what Christ has done.