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Gospel-Driven Godliness and Church Membership, Part 7

September 15, 2013 Pastor: John Fonville Series: Titus

Scripture: Titus 2:2–2:10

Gospel-Driven Godliness and Church Membership

Part 7

 

September 15, 2013

 

Text: Titus 2:2-10

 

Introduction/Review:

 

A.         Older men are to live in a way that accords with sound doctrine. v. 2

B.         Older women are to live in a way that accords with sound doctrine. v. 3 

C.         Young women are to live in a way that accords with sound doctrine. vv. 4-5

D.         Younger men are to live in a way that accords with sound doctrine. vv. 6-8

 

Lesson:

 

E.         Bondservants are to live in a way that accords with sound doctrine. vv. 9-10

 

1.         Slavery in any form is a denial of human personhood.

2.         It is important to distinguish between the 1st century Roman institution           of slavery and the American institution of slavery.

 a.         American slaves were denied basic rights and privileges.

 b.         American slaves were not allowed membership in the church because they were deemed to not have a soul.

 c.          Unlike the American institution of slavery, there was a system of manumission in place for slaves in Roman culture.

 d.         1st century Roman slaves were not considered less than human.

 e.          One cannot justify institutional slavery with passages like Titus 2:9-10 (cf. Gen. 17:13, 23, 27; Ex. 20:17; Eph. 6:5-6; Col. 3:22-23; 1 Tim. 6:1-2).

3.         The gospel and its implications ultimately led to the abolition of slavery.

 

Reflection:

 

1.     First, the church should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist.

 “To proclaim and demonstrate the whole gospel, then, necessarily involves willingness to confront all that is bad news in this fallen world. The list of what constitutes that bad news would be too long to detail here. But it certainly includes the evils of poverty and injustice, political oppression and violence, brutality and war, human trafficking and slavery, ethnic and gender discrimination and violence, and the destruction of God’s creation through rampant consumerism. The gospel stands against these things as an integral part of its standing for the blessings of eternal salvation and the hope of God’s new creation. “The message of salvation implies also a message of judgment upon every form of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist (emphasis added).” The Lausanne Movement, The Whole Church Taking The Whole Gospel To The Whole World

 

2.     The gospel is first and foremost about heart change rather than social change.

 “Some would argue that it would do little good to begin in Crete, of all places, with the tiniest bits of behavior and try to reshape the world toward godliness from the ground up. It might seem at first that the pastoral effort was too microscopic, inordinately micromanaged, and that systemic, institutional, or political evils might better have been first addressed. Yet this is just the point most misunderstood by “systemic” reformers who have not adequately grasped the Apostle’s way of transformation: only by descending to reshape social existence beginning with the smallest, least conspicuous matters of daily social conduct is the society changed. This has longer, surer consequences than legislative or ideological posturing.” Thomas Oden

 

…the kingdom of God centers on the delivery of Christ, clothed in his gospel, to the ends of the earth through the ministry of Word and sacrament. The kingdom does not emerge within us, nor does it evolve through our moral and cultural programs. It descends from heaven, breaking into this present age in the power of the Spirit, beginning the renovation of creation that will only be consummated at Christ’s return. In this phase, the kingdom of God is the forgiveness of sins, the new birth, and living in this new-creation reality together with all the saints as we grow up into Christ, who is the head of the body. The kingdom’s effects will be evident in the good works of the saints as well as their witness. Nevertheless, the kingdom is identified with the delivery of Christ in the gospel…

This kingdom comes to us from outside of ourselves, but it brings inner transformation and harbingers of the age to come that transform our relationships in the world. So far from ignoring these crucial aspects of the new creation, I am arguing that true transformation of anyone or anything in this present evil age can only come about through the forgiveness of sins that is regularly announced and ratified in the ministry of the gospel. Recipients of this ministry will be transformed inwardly and in their relationships with others as they live and work in the world. Michael Horton, The Gospel Commission

 

© John Fonville

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