Obedience is a command of God, and a character trait we do our utmost to instill in our children while they are young. Growing up, going to church, most children will have sung the children’s song “Obedience:”
the very best way,
To show that you believe.
what the Lord commands,
Doing it happily.
Action is the key
do it immediately,
Joy you will receive.
the very best way
to show that you believe.
the very best way
to show that you believe!
As with all commands of God, He does not leave us to blindly determine how to obey. As we are servant now to our Master in Heaven, through salvation, and as in every aspect of life we are servant or subordinate to someone, we can glean from Paul’s teaching in Titus 2 on how a servant is to obey his master.
“Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”
Many, including born again believers, are not humble enough to accept that God said, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh” and to remember in doing this that “ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:22-24). But, by applying what is learned in this devotional, will learn to better serve God with a testimony that will draw men to the salvation that we have in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Let me give a personal testimony of a poor testimony. This is how a “Christian” employer treated employees. I had the opportunity to witness to a man near our home and he knew our church and the former pastor’s family. This man will not get saved because of specific treatments the employer did to his unsaved employees, treatment that has spread through town to many that I have witnessed to. This man I witnessed to had a stroke and as a result he became more open to the Gospel and we are close friends now. He still will not get saved. Anytime I bring the topic up he falls back to the treatment of this employer. However, as times has gone on, I have been a friend and waited on him, and he has come to me with many questions about the Gospel, God and the Bible. There is hope as I see the Spirit working in his life, and I am trusting all the seeds that I planted and watered will become an increase soon. Point is, though, the hardness of this man’s heart was a direct result of a poor testimony in a present day servant/master, employee/employer relationship that is witnessed by many people. I trust this devotion will help us all to be our utmost as biblical Christians before a lost world, and we will see this exact thought concluded by Paul to Titus.
1) The PRIORITY of O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E
“Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters…” (Titus 2:9a)
As servants we are commanded to be obedient.
- “obedient” means “to submit” (I Peter 2:13).
- “obedient” means “to be subordinate” (I Peter 5:5-6).
As a prisoner Paul had a passion for slaves and regularly taught them the importance of honoring Christ in their daily lives. Their submissive and subordinate ways were to be a testimony for Christ as they sought to please their masters. As servants we are to be in submission to authority, showing all respect to our superiors.
The PRIORITY of O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E is that it is not an option.
2) The PERFORMANCE of O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E
“…and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity…” (Titus 2:9b-10a)
How often are we told to be obedient, but never given instructions on how. Paul teaches 3 important points on how to be obedient, tht we can “please them well in all things.”
FIRST, to be obedient we are to be “not answering“
I have heard this point taught as being humbly quiet, but that is not the precise meaning here. “answering” means “to speak against or contradict.” It is translated as both “spake against” and “contradicting” in Acts 13:45.
“But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against [answering] those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting [answering] and blaspheming.”
Paul defines answering to Titus as gainsayers in the previous chapter, Titus 1:9-11.
“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers [answering]. 10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.”
How does Paul define answering, gainsayers, here:
- unruly = disobedient, not submissive
- vain talkers = utter senseless things
- deceivers = seducer
- mouths must be stopped = bridle or stop up the mouth
- who subvert = overthrow and destroy
- teaching things which they ought not
Paul makes it clear what obedient is not. answering is refusing or denying, which in context means to be flat out disobedient.
SECOND, to be obedient we are to be “not purloining“
“purloining” means “to embezzle, withdraw covertly and appropriate to one’s own use.” Slaves were to be taken care of, yet they had no wage. So to gain materially they often stole from their masters. Here, Paul was preaching against this temptation
purloining is used only one other passage, but the importance is defined there. In Acts 5:1-5 it is translated “kept back” and “keep back.” No explanation is needed, just read the clear context:
“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back [purloining] part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [purloining] part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost…”
THIRD, to be obedient we are to be “shewing all good fidelity“
“shewing” means “to demonstrate” and “fidelity” means “faithfulness, dependability, or ethical conduct.” fidelity is clearly defined for us in Hebrews 11
“Now faith [fidelity] is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. […] 6 But without faith [fidelity] it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Every place faith is found in Hebrews 11 it is fidelity. By definition, we are obedient when we demonstrate ALL faithfulness, dependability, and ethical conduct towards those in a position of authority or superiority over us (God, employer, professor, teacher, spouse in both directions, parent, etc.).
The PERFORMANCE of O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E is 3-fold:
- Not contradicting or speaking against an authority
- Not embezzling or stealing from an authority
- Rather, demonstrating faithfulness, dependability, and ethical conduct towards an authority
3) The PURPOSE of O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E
“…that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. 11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”
Paul implores the higher motive and purpose for why we are to be obedient is that we may adorn the doctrine of God. “adorn” means “to make beautiful, attractive” while “the doctrine of God” is undoubtedly the Word of God! Thus, by definition, our obedient servitude makes the Bible beautiful and attractive to the lost world that we are living and serving in.
Why adorn the Word of God? “For the grace of God,” which is undoubtedly the Gospel! Thus, by definition, our obedient servitude specifically makes the Gospel attractive and believable to the lost world that we are living and serving in.
The purpose directly connects obedient to our testimony, which is our conduct, our character, our integrity. As in the illustration I gave in the beginning, when our integrity is compromised, it will have a ripple effect that goes out further then we ever thought or intended, and as a result, souls may not be saved!
The PURPOSE of O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E is to make the Gospel beautiful
I trust by this simple devotion, the word “obedient” has a new and deeper meaning in your life. In conclusion, there are a couple of ways we can tell if our obedience has had a positive impact on those around us.
#1) When was the last time your conduct or character compelled an unbeliever to ask you about our Gospel?
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
(I Peter 3:15)
#2) When was the last time your conduct or character compelled an unbeliever to glorify God?
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Paul instructs us to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering” (Hebrews 10:23). If we lose our profession, we will turn the lost away from Christ instead of towards Him. Therefore, our obedience could be all the difference between Heaven and Hell for those around us. Our obedience could be the only Gospel message our friends, parents, schoolmates, employers, workmates, etc. will ever see as we are to be obedient:
“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.”
(II Corinthians 3:2)
The 2nd verse to that children’s song says exactly what Paul taught Titus:
We want to live pure,
we want to live clean,
we want to do our best.
leaving to God the rest.
Walking in the light,
keep our attitude right,
on the narrow way.
For if we believe
the Word we receive,
we always will obey.
the very best way
to show that you believe!