Radical Religion :: By Sean Gooding

Titus 2: 1-8

1 “But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; 3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things– 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. 6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”

So often today, we hear that people want to make an ‘impact.’ Some genuinely do; others want to make an impact for themselves. Sadly, too many of the Lord’s churches are looking more and more like the world in practice, and they do a dis-service to our Lord and King. A lot of people, yes, even the Lord’s people, are looking for the emotional rollercoaster of life. They want the next thrill, and as such, they tend to move from church to church searching for the next high.

This is seen even in the work situation; very few young people choose a career and stick with it for a very long time. It is not weird to see resumes for many 30-year-olds; they have had several jobs, all lasting about 2 or 3 years, and then they move on. Now, to be fair, in some cases, they realize they could not do the job, but in many cases, the job loses its shine, and on to the next new shiny object they go.

In the book of Titus, we meet a young pastor who is being mentored by the apostle Paul. When we open the book, Paul is encouraging the young man to stay in Crete and help set things in order in the local church there. In this particular passage, Titus is instructed by Paul to lay out clear roles for the genders and clear roles for men and women based on their ages as well. The whole purpose of this ordering is so that “one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”

We are surrounded by an evil culture that is defying God. This month in North America is pride month; this is when the sexual deviants of the world try to tell us in every way possible that sex between same-sex persons is normal. That a man who identifies as a woman and the reverse is a normal thing. Increasingly, they want us to accept that sex between adults and minor children is normal. It is in this atmosphere that we are called to live radical lives for the Lord.

What we are about to explore will seem normal, but in our climate, normal is revolutionary. God calls us to seemingly mundane lives at times. There is no rush to the next high, just consistent and obedient living in submission to God’s clearly stated will. What revolutionary instruction did Paul leave with the young Titus that will turn us into radical Christians? Notice also, in Titus 2:1, that what we are about to explore is ‘sound doctrine.’ As we approach with some haste, the last days will require that the Lord’s churches be more and more radical. What God considers radical is not what we think; come and see with me.

  • Radical Older Men in Our Churches, verses 1-2

Older men are to be sober and right-minded; this is not just about alcohol and other things that may alter the way we think. But in a phrase a few words down, older men are called to be ‘sound in the faith’; this means that one reads, studies, and is able to teach the scriptures. Older men are to be physically sober and spiritually sober, to think right about life. They are also called to be reverent, to hold the Lord in high regard; temperate, to be self-controlled, and this naturally leads to patience. These are radical traits in our men today. Godly men should have or at least be cultivating these traits under the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit.

  • Radial Older Women, verse 3

These older women are called to be reverent like the men, and sober as well. There is a word here as well: not to be ‘slanderers’; don’t be gossiping about other women to each other. This kind of character assassination has sadly been the downfall of many churches over the years. All too often, people do not know the whole story, do not know what is truly going on, or what people are truly enduring behind closed doors. Too many are afraid to talk about the hurt and pain for fear that they will be even more downtrodden by their church family rather than be lifted up and loved. These older women are to be teachers to the young women in the Lord’s churches as well. That means young women need to be teachable; there are some things Google does not know.

  • Radical Young Women, verses 4-5

Young women should love their husbands. This is a radical move today that young women, and young men for that matter, should be married. Don’t just sleep around and engage in sex outside of marriage. Get married and have a lot of fun exploring your sexuality with your spouse. To love children, thus to have them young. They should be homemakers (this is almost a swear word to many young Christian women, but it is a command of God for sound doctrine in the Lord’s churches). Young ladies, be chaste (keep sex for marriage and with your husband) and discreet; stop trying to draw attention to yourself. That is the complete opposite of many people, young and older, even in the Lord’s churches today.

Do you want to be famous? Be famous with God; love your husband, have kids, teach them about Jesus, serve your husband, and you will be famous with God. One of the commands is very radical, and we tend to shy away from this in our churches today. Young women, the Bible teaches you to be ‘obedient’ to your husbands. This is almost like blasphemy to a lot of young women, but I will remind you that God is not a feminist. Men and women are different, have different roles and responsibilities, and will face different judgments before the Lord. Find a godly man who loves God first, and obedience will not be an issue.

  • Radical Young Men, verses 6-8

Sober-minded: we explained this earlier. To do good work, don’t waste your youth on frivolous living. Too many young men use their youth as an excuse to live ungodly; that should not happen in the Lord’s churches. Live with integrity (how you live when you think no one is watching), be incorruptible (not easily bought with fame or fortune), and have proper speech. Is your language colorful, and when you speak, is it the truth?

This kind of radical living is completely opposite to the culture around us. But the Lord’s churches have been called to be living like this from the very first century. There is nothing new; rather, we need to obey the Lord and, by doing so, glorify His name.

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding

Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

How to Connect with Us

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Stand Up for Our Freedoms :: By Sean Gooding

Acts 16:16-24, 35-40

“Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, ‘These men are the servants of the Highest God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.’ 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.

19 “But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. 20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, ‘These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.’ 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks….

“And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, ‘The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.’ 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.” 38 And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans. 39 Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

Most of us are familiar with the Acts 16 text – the salvation of the Philippian jailer and his whole family. We have countless songs about singing in prison and rejoicing in the storms of life. We love to talk about the way those doors magically open and the supernatural transformation of the jailer from enemy to brother.

I have heard many sermons about the salvation of the man and his family and heard many references to the singing in troubled times, and I have enjoyed them. But if we truly believe that God wrote the Bible, using mere men and women to do the physical writing, but He superintended the writing of the text, then we must learn to pay attention to the little parts that seem insignificant; they are not. Twice in the book of Acts, Paul affirms his Roman citizenship. He demands that his rights as a citizen of Rome be met, and we will look at these two examples today.

Our church helps a missionary pastor in Pakistan. He and his family are Christians in a predominantly Muslim nation. They have mentioned to me that they, even as citizens, have no right because they are Christian and preach about Jesus. Just a week or so ago, they sent pictures of Christians that had been attacked and injured, their homes burnt, and their belongings pilfered, all because they were Christians. This could happen here in North America unless we stand up for our rights.

  • Freedoms and Rights

God led Luke to write about Paul standing up for his rights as a Roman citizen twice, not once, and in different cities and situations. A Roman citizen was considered innocent until proven guilty in a court; he could not be punished until he had been proven guilty, and he had the right to appeal to Caesar, the Roman equivalent of the Supreme Court if he knew he was innocent. If we look at Paul, he was under house arrest in Rome for about 2 years where he was allowed to see his friends and have fellowship with them. We find this in Acts 28:11-16, 30-31 (NKJV).

“After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the 3 Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island. And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days. From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli, where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so, we went toward Rome. And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns.

“When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage. Now when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was permitted to dwell by himself with the soldier who guarded him. Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”

He had these rights as a Roman, and he used them openly, and God made sure that these events were recorded for our benefit and learning. Paul was a humble man, and he submitted to God, he submitted to the Jerusalem church leaders, and he led many local churches as well as established many of them. But he was a Roman citizen, and he asked, and as a matter of fact, demanded that his rights be honored and met.

If we do not stand for the freedoms and rights we have here in North America, we will lose them, and our children will suffer beyond all we can imagine. If we lose our rights in a fight and they are taken from us, that is different than just surrendering them.

  • Let Them Apologize, Acts 16: 35-40

In the early part of Acts 16, Paul casts out the demon or demons from a young slave girl, and her master immediately turns the whole city against him and Silas. They are arrested and beaten quite badly. Then they are thrown into the deepest parts of the prison and held in stock. They had not killed, robbed, or even hurt anyone. They cast out a demon and made some rich people lose their source of income. And for this, they were beaten and imprisoned.

They spend a large part of the night in prison, and at midnight, they begin to sing songs and praise God. The gates are opened, and not one prisoner escapes. The jailer is saved along with his household; they are baptized, and then they tend to the wounds of Paul and Silas. In the morning, the magistrates send to simply release them, and then Paul drops a truth on them that makes them shake in their boots: I am a Roman citizen.

He reminded them of their actual crimes; they had beaten and imprisoned an innocent Roman citizen, and he demanded that they come and apologize to him openly as they had beaten him openly. They did. These magistrates had committed the real crimes and had done so against a citizen of Rome. They were in big trouble; they were afraid.

There was a time when the elected officials in our respective countries had regard for the people and even feared the people. They understood that they served at the behest of the people who elected them and not the other way around. But somewhere in the last 10-15 years, we have allowed the central control of power to be gathered to the elected superclass, and we, the non-elected masses, have surrendered our rights and powers to them.

Paul refused to allow his rights as a citizen to be abused and taken away without him saying something. He demanded that these magistrates come and apologize for treating an uncondemned man like a common criminal. Sadly, the injuries and damage to his body had been inflicted already, and that could not be taken back.

What we learn from this is that it is okay to be a Christian and still demand your rights as a citizen. If you refuse to ask for your rights, do not be surprised when the Government takes them. When we keep electing arrogant and elitist leaders, do not be surprised when we get treated as the dross of society and not as the gold that we are.

It is okay as a child of God to ask that our rights as parents, as citizens, and as free people be observed and meted out to us. If we give up our rights, what have we done to our kids, and what have we taken from them?

Benjamin Franklin said this a long time ago, and it is still good today: “Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  • I was born as a Citizen, Acts 22: 28

Once again, we see Paul, this time in Jerusalem, not in Philippi, standing for his citizenship. He is about to be beaten as a way of getting at the truth, and he makes those about to beat him aware that he is a citizen of Rome. The commander is also a citizen, but he paid for his. Paul’s citizenship was by birth. He demanded his rights, and what happened was that the same soldiers who were supposed to beat him became his protectors.

I am an immigrant here in Canada; I was born in Barbados. Nonetheless, I am a citizen; I took an oath to become a citizen. Like this soldier, I became a citizen of my own free choice, but my citizenship is not less powerful nor relevant than if I was born here.

We have certain inalienable rights as citizens of Heaven. We have a Father who will never abandon us and always makes sure we have what we need. We have an Advocate in Jesus who defends us continually, and we have eternal promises that come with the citizenship that we are born into through Jesus; no one can buy their way in.

There are a lot of great lessons to be learned in the book of Acts. The preeminence of Missions and local churches, the importance of church associational work to expand and export the Gospel, and the importance of having a good ministry team and people who love you. But no less important is the need to defend our rights as citizens. If the government takes our rights by force, that is one thing, but we should not just lay down and surrender them without a fight or at least a stand.

There is a famous quote that says, “All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.” We need to make sure that we do not lay down and let them take our rights, thus leaving our children in a horrible world in what used to be the bastions of freedom. Christians make for good citizens, and we should never stop letting them diminish our value to society.

In every place where Christianity has flourished in history, the lives of the people have gotten better. Stop cowering; go and see how we changed history, education, science, and on we can go. But if they kill our voices and thwart our freedoms, what then?

God bless you,

Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church

How to Connect with Us

On Facebook (live broadcast of Sunday’s Message at 11 am): https://www.facebook.com/MississaugaMissionaryBaptistChurch

Join us on Zoom every Sunday (10:30 am) for Sunday Service AND every Tuesday at 8:00 pm for Bible Study: Meeting ID: 700 794 460 Passcode: 032661; https://us02web.zoom.us/j/700794460?pwd=M3NFRG91ZW5Sa2Z3amVyWkFnYXd6QT09

Online: https://www.mmbchurch.ca

Email: support@mmbchurch.ca

Sign Up To Be A Part of Our Bible Study Community: www.mmbchurch.ca/drawclosertogod