Our passage today is the result of following through with the qualifications of elders (1:5-9) and avoiding of false teachings, shown in 1:10-16. If the church, and we all have a part in this, pastors and laymen, will hold leadership accountable to what the Bible commands – no more, no less – then the church will see the reality shown in this passage.
Paul commands Titus to “teach what accords with sound doctrine.” What does Paul mean by this statement? Titus was to teach only sound doctrine. What is sound doctrine? Succinctly put, sound doctrine is doctrine that is in accordance with the Scriptures alone. If we believe that the Scriptures are inerrant and infallible, and “breathed out by God, profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” then the Scriptures themselves must be sound. They must be sound. These Scriptures are sound in the very definition of what it means to be sound: “solid, firm, or stable.” Paul is saying that sound theology is the basis of what leaders must be preaching at all times. Another word for sound is “healthy.” “Teach healthy doctrine.” We must be churches that teach only the Bible, so as to build up the body of Christ.
Paul gave Titus some practical ways that must happen within the church. Paul called the older generation to teach and be an example for the younger generation. This would require a genuine love for the younger generation. We can’t miss that. Older generations in the church need to be setting the example for younger generations to follow. If older generations are only grumbling and complaining, resting in their traditions rather than the gospel of grace, and not submitting to pastoral authority, then we can expect younger generations to do the same. Older generations must set the example within the church, both in word and deed.
Paul then turned his attention to the younger men. Young men in the church are to be self-controlled. One evidence, or portion of the fruit of the Spirit is to be self-controlled. A young man who is gripped by the gospel of grace will be self-controlled. He will know discernment and will model self-control as an example for those around him to follow.
A church that has these amazing relationships based on the gospel of Jesus Christ will flourish, both in doctrine and influence. If the older generations are setting a godly and gospel-centered example for the younger generations, the pastors are living a holy life based on the qualifications of elders we’ve already seen, and the Bible is being taught correctly and consistently, God will bless the church. It may not be the largest church in town. It may not be the most attractive to the world. But it will be a church that is biblical and brings glory to God and edifies the people within. And that really is the purpose of the church. The church is not called to be a theme park for Jesus. The church is not called to look like the world. The church IS called to make disciples, teach sound doctrine, worship God, and build up the people within. When a church follows the example laid out by the Apostle Paul in this letter, God will be glorified.
I pray that you are involved with a church that follows this beautiful picture of discipleship. I pray that your church is teaching what is in accordance with sound doctrine, which is found ONLY in the Word of God. If not, find one as soon as possible. Covenant together with a group of imperfect people who are seeking to bring glory and honor to a perfect God in a way that is biblical.
Soli Deo Gloria