But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
Note a few things that combine to make up what we call our everyday life.
I. Conversation is a large element of everyday life. The power of speech is one of the grand distinctions of man, and of his life upon the earth. It is thus that he clothes invisible thoughts with form, and confers upon the subtle intangible reality an immortality of earthly recognition. Our daily conversation determines all the tone of our mind: it stamps and it stereotypes our temper. It reveals whether charity and virtue, manly or womanly grace dignify our character, or whether we are frivolous, vain, heartless, and worldly. Who can measure the unkindness that may be crowded into a single word, or the thoughtlessness, the selfishness, the pride, the vanity, the cruelty, the crime, that may be condensed into a syllable? Everyday life means everyday talk.
II. Wish is an equally extended department of everyday life. It is in our nature to be conscious of desires after a great many things, and these desires are not in themselves sinful; they are even necessary to the maintenance of life, to the onward progress of mankind, to the subduing and replenishing of the earth which God has lent to us, and in which He has given us a life-interest. These desires of all kinds are the spring of nearly all we do in life. Everyday life means everyday wish.
III. Work is another main element in life. The business of life, the daily toil and drudgery of a man—these help to constitute his everyday life: not simply what he talks of or wishes for, but what he actually does in this world. Everyday life includes all the things that are done by us, either as duty or necessity, under the inspiration of the lowest as well as the highest motives. It must be possible to bring all this under the empire of religion, to supply a set of motives that can dignify the commonest occupation, consecrate the humblest toil, and make daily drudgery Divine.
IV. But there is another large department of everyday life—I mean recreation. That which is recreation to one man would be a complete penance to another; that which some think a most enjoyable relaxation is to others an intolerable weariness. That religion which does not enter into these four regions of a man's life—his talk, his wishes, his work and his recreation—is as yet utterly inoperative. "We should live," says the Apostle, "soberly, righteously and godly in this present world." In other words, in our conversation, our desires, our occupation and our pleasures, we should do three things—(1) Gain the victory over our passions, "live soberly." (2) Respect the claims of our neighbours, "live righteously." (3) Derive all our motives from the highest source, "live godly." Sobriety means the chastisement of all our passions, the resolute endeavour to gain and keep the control of all our desires, the determination to repress all angry feelings, as well as impure fancies, to subdue inordinate affections quite as much as depraved taste. Righteousness is clearly something more than a refusal to commit an act of cruelty or dishonesty. In our talks, in our wishes, in our work, and our pleasures, we are to do the just and righteous thing.
V. Godliness. We must date and draw our motives from the highest source. The government of all our passions, the recognition of every just claim upon us, must spring from no mere vague notion that it is right to do this; but from the discovery of the ground of our nature, our relation to the living God, our obligation to the suffering Saviour, and our responsibility to the Spirit of Grace.
H. R. Reynolds, Notes of the Christian Life, p. 262.
References: Titus 2:11-15.—Church of England Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 145; Homilist, 2nd series, vol. iii., p. 101.
Titus 2:13We have here for our consideration three points embodied in these words. The grace of God has appeared, the glory of God is to appear; the appearance of the glory is a blessed hope; the disciplining of the grace prepares us for the expectation of the glory.
I. First, then, take that thought, The appearance of the grace leads to the appearance of the glory. The identity of the form of expression in the two clauses is intended to suggest the likeness of and the connection between the two appearances. In both there is a visible manifestation of God, and the latter rests upon the former and completes and crowns it. But the difference between the two is as strongly marked as the analogy; and it is not difficult to grasp distinctly the differences which the Apostle intends. While both are manifestations of the Divine character in exercise, the specific phase (so to speak) of that character which appears is in one case "grace," and in the other "glory." If one might venture on any illustration in regard to such a subject, it is as when the pure white light is sent through glass of different colours, and at one moment beams mild through refreshing green, and in the next flames in fiery red that warns of danger.
II. The second thought which is involved in these words is that the appearing of the glory is a blessed hope. The hope is blessed; or, as we have already remarked, the word "happy" may, perhaps, be substituted with advantage because it will be full of blessedness when it is a reality, therefore it is full of joy while it is but a hope.
III. Finally one word about the last consideration here, viz., the grace disciplines us to hope for the glory. The very idea of discipline involves the notion that it is a preparatory stage, a transient process for a permanent result. It carries with it the idea of immaturity, of apprenticeship, so to speak. If it is discipline, it is discipline for some condition which is not yet reached. And so if the grace of God comes "disciplining" then there must be something beyond the epoch and era within which the discipline is confined. Yield to the discipline and the hope will be strengthened.
A. Maclaren, Sermons in Manchester, p. 149.
Titus 2:13The Return of our Lord.
I. Note first the hope mentioned in our text. It is the manifestation of Christ in glory. It is the pre-eminent hope of Scripture. Just as, during the old dispensation, the coming of our Lord in the flesh was the hope of the faithful, so in the new dispensation, the coming again of the Lord occupies the same position from the time of Adam, and especially from the days of Abraham, right down to the incarnation of our Lord, what was the action of the faithful? Waiting and looking for the fulfilment of the promise. Over and over again, we find the Messiah spoken of as the hope of Israel, and all the faithful were waiting for the redemption. As the days predicted by Daniel drew on, there came a general feeling abroad that the time was coming near when the hope of Israel should appear; and at last it was consummated when old Simeon took the infant Christ in his arms and said, "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation." The coming of Christ in the flesh was the consummation of the hope of the old dispensation. The first dispensation waited for a Christ who should bring redemption for the soul; we wait for a Christ who shall bring redemption for the body. Notice one or two particulars of the hope. What is included? (1) The hope of seeing Him. Where real love is, there is a desire to see the face of the loved one. (2) We shall see Him in His beauty. The gabardine of Nazareth effectually hid the glory of Deity from the eyes of men, for the eyes of the people were blind with prejudice; but when He comes the second time there will be glory in His person.
II. This hope is a blessed one. The Lord Jesus is the Hope and we know that He is blessed. It is a blessed hope (1) because of its influence and (2) because of its surroundings. It is blessed because of the blessings that come with it. (3) It is blessed to those of us who have precious dust sleeping in the sepulchre. (4) It is most blessed because it is the consummation of Christ's glory. His glory is not complete until that day. He is waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. Where Christ is surrounded with glorified bodies as well as with glorified spirits, there will His glory be complete.
III. What is the looking for this blessed hope? It is the attitude of the believer, the quiet expectancy of his heart towards this appearing. "Of that day and that hour knoweth no man—no, not the angels of God." But it is possible for God's children, and it is incumbent upon them to be on the lookout for the signs of His coming. And what are to be the signs of the last days? A general profession of godliness without any power. We have only to read the Second Epistle to Timothy, to find almost the photograph of the present days. Let us seek to combine the watching and the doing—never to get into a mere visionary gazing-up into heaven and doing nothing for God; and on the other hand, never to be a hard, practical, machine-like Christian, knowing nothing of fellowship with the risen, and the living, and the returning Christ. Blessed are they who watch and work. Blessed are they who watch as they work.
A. G. Brown, Penny Pulpit, new series, No. 1103.
References: Titus 2:13.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. v., p. 273. Titus 2:13, Titus 2:14.—Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times" vol. vi., p. 261.
I. It is not a quality of nature, but an acquirement of grace, of which the Apostle speaks; for he describes, not what is peculiar to this or that man, but what is common to all converted men. What, then, is zeal for good works? Zeal is intense earnestness in the accomplishment of an object, passionate ardour in the pursuit of it. It is not, therefore, mere excitement of feeling, mere demonstrative warmth of expression, mere quickness of emotion, but something far more deep and enduring. It is a working, practical energy. It is a power which may be directed to things indifferent, to things good, or to things bad. Zeal is force—moral force; for it is the great moving power of the world. Force can only arise from an adequate motive, just as the great river is not fed by the scanty summer showers, but gathers its strength from the rains that fall upon a thousand hills.
II. The ultimate spring is love—purest, holiest, sweetest, most abiding of all motives, the very essence of true religion, the Alpha and Omega of its power, the one thing which of all earthly things approaches most nearly towards omnipotence, for it is itself the reflection and choicest prerogative of God.
III. Christian zeal must be a steady, permanent force, not transient, not occasional, not flickering up into a vehement flame now and then and dying away again, but like the sun in the midst of the heavens, or like the constant laws of nature that hold sun, moon and stars ever circling round their central God. It measures everything, not by itself, but by the majesty of Him for whom it is done, and who sanctions with His own eternal recompense, even a cup of water given for His sake.
E. Garbett, Experiences of the Inner Life, p. 138.
References: Titus 2:14.—C. Garrett, Loving Councils, p. 104; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. ii., No. 70; A. Maclaren, A Year's Ministry, vol. i., p. 221; E. Garbett, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 209; H. W. Beecher, Ibid., vol. xi., p. 37; Preacher's Monthly, vol. i., p. 223. Titus 2:15.—J. Thain Davidson, Sure to Succeed, p. 222. Titus 3—Expositor, 1st series, vol. viii., p. 215. Titus 3:1-4.—J. Oswald Dykes, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xvii., p. 113. Titus 3:1-8.—J. W. Lance, Ibid., vol. xxxi., p. 41.
That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again;
Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.