You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Titus 2:1, 7-8 (NIV)
Read: Titus 2
Consider: Paul wrote to Titus in Crete because the church there was having problems with false teaching. The leaders were not teaching the gospel correctly and were not setting a good example for the believers. Paul encourages Titus to appoint elders in the church who are spiritual and whose lives are above reproach (Titus 1:6-9). Titus, himself, is encouraged to set a good example in ‘everything’, including his teaching which is to be based on sound doctrine.
You should note that in Titus 2 Paul mentions the ‘older men’, ‘older women’, ‘younger men’ and ‘younger women’, so no-one is excluded from this encouragement to follow and set a good example to others.
In Philippians 1:9 Paul says:
Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do.
The Philippian believers were not being asked to follow Paul’s example slavishly, as he was not interested in them becoming clones of Paul. What he was interested in was them following a good example and thereby becoming a good example themselves.
Today, as then, there is pressure for the church to conform to the standards of the world. When we take society as the model or example that we decide to follow, then we are rejecting what we are told in the Bible about following the example set for us by those who believe the gospel and put it into practice in their lives.
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13).
Pray: Father, we thank you that we have the faithful witness of those mentioned in the Bible as examples or models to follow. We also thank you for those believers who have been faithful to you over the ages. May we be true to you in our day, setting an example for others to follow. Amen