Through the years, I have been asked regarding the “soundness” of a specific church, Christian, or a preacher. “Are they sound?” the question is raised.
Usually the definition of “soundness” was based on specific brotherhood issues regarding the work, worship, and organization of the church.
Some would say a “sound” church spends their money in a certain way. A “sound” Christian would not attend a church that engages in “unsound” practices. And a “sound” preacher condemns all of the above, plus teaches the truth on baptism, music, and salvation. And does not read the books of certain authors who are “unsound.” This definition seriously limits the meaning of “sound.”
This morning I was struck by Paul’s usage of the word “sound” in Titus 2. To this young preacher, he exhorts to speak the things pertaining to “sound doctrine.” To use “sound speech” that is beyond reproach. And to admonish older men to be “sound in the faith.” Three times in 8 verses the word “sound” is used and not once is money mentioned.
In fact, the application of being “sound” in this text relates to the behavior of Believers. It has to do with their spiritual health and well being. Titus is to be aware of several groups of people and encourage them to be “sound in the faith” as he preaches “sound doctrine.” Older men. Younger men. Older women. Younger women. Bondservants. And Titus himself.
The older men and women who exhibit the characteristics of a sound life are to equip younger men and women to live a life that is “sound in the faith.” These qualities speak to the development of character and integrity. Living a life that is dignified, respected and temperate.
As the wise man expressed “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness” (Prov. 16:31). As we get older, not only chronologically, but in spiritual maturity, we should be able to offer wisdom, insight and sound counsel to younger men and women.
This text addresses issues of Christian conduct and attitudes that evidence a pure heart and a holy life. He specifically speaks to the domestic role of wives and mothers in the home. Teach them to “love their husbands” and to “love their children.” What does this mean? How is it applied?
Too often even ladies classes in the church are just another Bible class like Sunday or Wednesday with no application to their unique, God-given role. And more often than not, they are scheduled at a time when the majority of the young women who need them cannot attend. Sound teaching in the church addresses these needs. Older women by virtue of their years of experience can gently guide today’s modern mother and offer advice far superior than she’s receiving from secular sources.
Just the understanding of love and femininity has been perverted by the world. The virtues of purity, chastity, modesty and respectable behavior should be modeled by older women and taught to younger women.
Men need leadership training. How to be God’s man, which is so much different than the world portrays. How do you lead a home and love your wife? And understand her needs? What qualities must be developed to Shepherd God’s spiritual flock? A successful life is more than making money and providing for the family. It delves deeply into one’s inner being. His soul. His heart. His character.
It’s not too soon to begin in High School with separate classes for boys and girls with Biblical instruction relating to their lifestyles, future relationships, and spiritual growth. We are serious about preparing them for college and a career, what about equipping them to be “sound in the faith” when they leave home?
There is so much to be considered in the text that goes beyond our normal definition of “soundness.”
It’s possible to attend a “sound church,” refrain from engaging in unscriptural practices, yet never developing a sound and healthy spiritual life.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman