“Teaching them to observe all that I [Jesus] have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
A.W. Tozer wrote an article entitled, “An Unchanging Book in an Ever-changing World”. He was speaking of the Bible’s relevance in a rapidly changing culture. Having died in 1963, he was ahead of his time in warning the American Church of coming pressure. Here is a quote from his article, “Are we going to allow society to tell us that the Bible is outmoded and largely irrelevant and must therefore be reassessed in light of modern advancements? Has God changed? Are we going to accept it? Is there a change in the purpose of God? Have the changes in human society startled or shocked God?”
The answer, of course, is a resounding “No!”. God has not changed, He is never surprised, and the Bible is not outdated; and yet, we should think seriously about these questions. It is becoming clear that our corner of the world will no longer be passive about truth claims. With that tension comes the temptation for us to compromise.
God has not changed, He is never surprised, and the Bible is not outdated.
Will you hold tight to God’s written Word even when everyone around you is shouting that it’s obsolete…or hateful? Though society itself seems to “progress”, do you firmly believe that the Christian never progresses away from the pure teachings of the Bible (2 John 1:7-9)?
Here’s some of what God has to say:
Malachi 3:6, “For I the Lord do not change…”
Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Luke 21:33, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Acts 5:29, “But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men’.”
1 Peter 1:23-25, “Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding Word of God…the grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
The book of Titus was written in order to instruct the church in Crete (and the continuing, wider Church) on how to be healthy. They were under similar pressure. Influential teachers in Crete were introducing the church to ideas that they thought would make the Bible easier to digest. Paul warns Titus in verse 2:1 - “...as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine”.
The meaning of “sound” here is “to be well, to be in good health”. Paul was telling Titus to teach the church what is free from impurity or error. Then Paul gets more practical with the various groups that make up the church. Look at what Titus 2:4-5 says about what older women are to teach the younger:
How to love their husbands
How to love their children
How to be self-controlled
How to be pure
How to be workers at home
How to be kind
How to be submissive to their own husband
This blog won’t go into the specifics of what these commands mean (Lord-willing we will in the future) but rather, to simply point out how unpopular these teachings are in our culture today. I would even go as far as to say that this portion of Scripture is one of the most controversial - gender ideology, womanhood, marriage, parenting. God is calling us to a weighty task. To live out, model, and teach sound doctrine in an increasingly hostile environment.
So how do we teach what is good with courage, humility, and love? God has been very honest with us about what it was going to be like for His disciples on earth. Frankly, we don’t talk about this enough. Jesus said we would be reviled and persecuted on His account (Matthew 5:10-12), we would be hated because of His name’s sake (Matthew 10:22), we ought to deny ourselves and carry our cross (Matthew 16:24). For centuries, America has not been the norm for Christians.
God has given His children so much grace on this earth - Christ’s righteousness, the Church, prayer, the Word, the certain hope of a face to face eternity with our Savior - just to name a few; but, I want to leave you with one of the greatest comforts. Jesus knew we can do nothing apart from God (John 15:5). Before His Crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth…You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you…But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid…” (John 14:16-31). God has given us the constant presence of the risen, triumphant Christ in the Holy Spirit.
God has given us the constant presence of the risen, triumphant Christ in the Holy Spirit.
Again, Jesus gathered His disciples together before His ascension to the Father. His last earthly words to them was a tender, loving reminder - “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). “Our church is going to go the way of the gospel…we believe that God Almighty has not changed and that Jesus Christ is the same. He is victorious, and we do not have to apologize for Him. We do not have to modify, adjust, edit, or amend. He stands as the glorious Lord and nobody needs to apologize for Him” ~ A.W. Tozer. You are not alone in discipleship, so go and boldly teach what is good.