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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
June 18, 2017
Introduction – Titus 2:1
If the church of is to be effective in fulfilling its great commission to “Go therefore into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that [Jesus] commanded,” then the people of the church must live in a godly manner. This is the underlying thrust of the Apostle Paul’s letter to Titus, his representative to Crete.
One of the responsibilities that Paul entrusted to Titus was to appoint men as Elders in the churches in the various cities of Crete. They would be battling false teachers and so needed to be prepared by demonstrating particular characteristics of spiritual maturity and ability.
Paul begins chapter 2 with personal direction given to Titus about what he was to do concerning these false teachers saying, “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.” Titus was to be a contrast to the false teachers described in Titus 1:10-16. They payed attention to “Jewish myths,” but Titus was to proclaim sound doctrine. His interest – and ours – is to be the Word of God and not the vain speculations and pondering of men. Only the Scriptures are a sure and true guide to life. He was not to give any consideration to the “commandments of men who turn away from the truth.” Again, his interest and ours should be the doctrines of God and not the teachings of men. What was true of Jesus in His battles with the scribes and Pharisees was also true of Titus in establishing and strengthening the churches in Crete, and it is still true today as we deal not only with those entrapped in false religions, but also professing Christians who have been lead astray to follow “precepts of men” (Matt. 15:8) instead of what God has revealed in the Scriptures. Heresy and doctrinal aberration abound even among those who claim to be evangelicals.
We must be diligent to know, follow and proclaim sound doctrine. Doctrine (didaskaliva/ / didaskalia) refers to “teaching” and “instruction.” The word sound here (uJgiainouvsh/ / hygianious ) has a root meaning of “being healthy.” Our word “hygiene” traces back to this word. Sound doctrine is healthy doctrine. It is teaching that is good for your soul because it aligns you with God’s will. And remember that sound doctrine, what God has said, applies to every area of life. Do not make the mistake of allowing for a dichotomy between what is secular and sacred. For the Christian, everything is sacred for everything we do is to be done or the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31; Colossians 3:17). Sound doctrine is to be the controlling influence on your mind that should express itself in all your daily activities and conversations. Sound doctrine is to form your worldview – your philosophy of understanding the world and living.
Paul instructed Titus to speak the things which are fitting to sound doctrine. He then continued on through verse 9 to specifically list out character qualities that should exist in the people of the church – older men, older women, younger women, younger men and all those in the work force. Spiritual maturity in living a godly life is an issue for everyone in the church and not just the elders if the church is to be effective in bringing the message of salvation to its community. That is as true today as it was the day Paul penned this letter. Jesus Christ came to “redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (2:14). Everyone in the church is to “deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (2:12-13).
On Mothers’ Day I explained what Paul said about the ladies. Since today is Fathers’ Day, it is a good time to address what Paul says about the men.
Older Men – Titus 2:2
Our text says “Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.” Whom is Paul talking about and what are these character qualities?
Oliver Wendel Holmes, Jr. said, “A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called an old man for the first time.” While I don’t care to be the one to do that to anyone this morning, if I am, please keep in mind that while “getting old is a most unpleasant phenomenon, the alternative is much worse” (Anonymous). The Greek word here (presbuvtaV / presbutas) means an elderly man. How old is that? Paul used it of himself in Philemon 9 when he was in his sixties. Zacharias used it in Luke 1:18 in describing himself and his wife as past the child bearing years. In ancient Greek literature the word could be used of men as young as 50.
Now before anyone gets offended at being called old, remember that age is always relative. Teens think your ancient at 30 while those in their 30’s consider those in their 50’s as old, and those in their 50’s think you have to be at least in your 70’s to be old, and those in their 80’s start bragging about it. There is fear about getting older because of the aches, pains and loss of physical ability that come with an aging body. Malcolm Cowley humorously commented about another fear, “They tell you that you’ll lose your mind when you grow older. What they don’t tell you is that you won’t miss it very much.”
Whatever valid concerns there are about aging, of greater consideration should be your spiritual and moral character. Job 12:12 states that “wisdom is with aged men, and with long life is understanding,” but that is only true for those that seek to be wise throughout life. There is no fool like an old fool and all of us have met such people. Their minds are as stiff as their joints and the sourness of their disposition speaks of bitterness rather than a life lived in the joy of the Lord. That should never be the state of the godly older saint.
Older people in the church should provide wisdom and stability to the church. Psalm 92:14 states that the godly “will still yield fruit in old age.” That will be true of those who use their retirement years in serving the Lord and mentoring those who are younger in the wisdom of godliness. The church should cherish its older saints. Older men should add much to the church and society. It is significant that the word for “older men” here and the word for “elder” in Titus 1:5 have the same root. The leaders of the church are to have the character that should exist in older, mature saints. What are the marks of that maturity?
Temperate – Titus 2:2
The word for “temperate” (nhfalivouV / n phalious) is also translated as “sober” and “vigilant” in the KJV which arise from its literal meaning which is the opposite of intoxication with wine. It gained this positive connotation because those not intoxicated would have self-control and clarity of mind. Older men should be marked by being of steady mind and free from all excesses so that life is lived in a sane manner and well balanced spiritually, mentally and physically.
Godly maturity brings balance to life because of the greater wisdom and discernment to know what is important and what is not. Living by proper priorities for many years results in better use of time, money and energy. The idealism and rashness of youth have been properly tempered with careful planning and restrained reactions. The strong faith of a godly man in what God directs him to think and pray before responding so that godly wisdom is applied.
Dignified – Titus 2:2
The next characteristic is dignified (semnovV / semnos ) which refers to both the outward decorum and propriety of good manners and conduct and to the inward thought life and attitudes that should mark a spiritually mature man. It pertains to a seriousness of mind and character. The KJV translates the word as “grave.” This does not mean they cannot laugh, smile or have a good sense of humor, but it does mean that they are not flippant jokesters or those who laugh at what is unseemly such as immorality, vulgarity, tragedy, sin or anything ungodly. Older men should have the wisdom to understand the real meaning of life which directs their actions so that they avoid being trivial or frivolous for they understand the seriousness of life.
Older men have experienced both the tragedies and triumphs of life, and the godly ones have learned through both their own experiences and that of others. They understand the suffering of physical pain, debilitating diseases, the death of loved ones, financial tragedies, loss of employment, and injustice. The utopian dreams of youth have given way to the realism that man cannot do it alone. They have known the euphoria of success and the tragedy of defeat learning that emotions quickly change and that life has to be built on more than that. They are reminded of their own mortality as the years pass quickly which should result in the conclusion that living for eternity is much better than living for the present moment. All these things temper the older man and make him dignified if he is seeking after God. If he is not, then he may become more set in his foolish ways being anxious to complete his vain goals, or fearful of the future, or controlled by cynicism and bitterness. There is no fool like an old one, but the godly man will continue to learn and grow in wisdom and spiritual maturity so that he is dignified.
Sensible – Titus 2:2
The older man is also to be sensible. The word here (swvfrwn / s phr n) is difficult to translate since no English word fully conveys its meaning. It literally means “soundness of mind.” Aristotle used this word to described a man who was “level headed” and “desires the right thing in the right way at the right time.” It is someone who has common sense, or more properly, disciplined sense since common sense is not very common any more. “Prudent” and “sensible” are decent English translations for they bring out some of this idea of being balanced, discreet and self-controlled because of sound judgment and sensible thinking.
This is a quality that should be expected of an older godly man for the same reasons we would expect him to be dignified. He would have already handled many problems and should have learned the importance of being in command of his mind with the discipline of his thinking controlling his actions. This is the quality that keeps you from being distracted by circumstances or foolishness of others.
Sound in Faith – Titus 2:2
Older men should also be found sound in faith. The word “sound” here (uJgiainouvsh/ / hygianious ) is the same as in verse 1- “sound” doctrine. So again, it refers to that which is healthy, proper, whole. It is that which rightly should be. This adjective applies to the next three nouns. The older man should be sound in faith, sound in love and sound in perseverance.
Those who are sound in faith have learned to walk with God in a personal way of intimate trust. The older godly man should have many years of Bible study behind him so that he knows what God has said about Himself and the various subjects of life and proper behavior. For such a man being able to trust God in all the circumstances of life is a living reality and not just a theological construct. Certainly there are those that seem to be able to quickly do this even without a lot of life experience, but the older man having walked with Christ for 40, 50, 60, years or more has much to look back on in his own life to see the hand of God at work. His faith will have an element of firmness simply because he has experienced God’s faithfulness first hand.
Sound in Love – Titus 2:2
Older godly men should also be sound in love. The first and great commandment of loving the Lord with all his heart, soul and mind as well as the second commandment of loving his neighbor as himself should be living realities in his life (Matthew 22:37-39). Many years of practice in loving God and others should make them good at it.
Sound in Perseverance – Titus 2:2
Finally, older godly men should be sound in perseverance. Again, the years of life should have taught them the ability to endure the tough times and life’s disappointments. They, like Paul in Philippians 4:11-13, should know how to “be content in whatever circumstances” they find themselves and know how to get along with humble means or in prosperity, being filled or going hungry, of having abundance or suffering needs. They will be able to persevere because they have learned they can live and respond in godliness regardless of any circumstance. For such men Romans 8:28 is a wonderful truth and not a Christian cliche – “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
What a wonderful blessing such older godly men are to the cause of Christ, and they can make a major impact upon the community. The lives of such godly men proclaim the power of Christ for people do not naturally become more temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, love and perseverance as they get older. It would seem that the opposite traits are often true to one degree or another – indulgent, foul, foolish, pessimistic, self-centered and impatient. Such godly older men become a point of attraction to understanding Christ and Christianity to those that want to become more mature as they age. That brings us to the younger men. Skip down to verse 6. Pick up a copy of the sermon from Mothers’ Day to know about the characteristics that should mark older and younger women.
Younger Men – Titus 2:6-8
Paul writes, 6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, [with] purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound [in] speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
The “likewise” in verse 6 ties the young men to the other categories. In the same way the older men and women and the younger women are to demonstrate godly characteristics, so too the younger men. Comparing this to the “younger women,” these would be men who might have children at home, so this is from marriageable age to 50 or 60.
Sensible Young Men – Titus 2:6-7a
Paul wants Titus to “urge” the younger men to be “sensible in all things.” To “urge” is to “strongly entreat someone,” or “exhort” as in the NKJV. Titus was to make a strong appeal to the young men to be sensible in all things.
The word “sensible” here (swvfrwn / s phr n) is the same as for older men in verse 2 and younger women in verse 5. Young men have a tendency to be impulsive, often lacking sense and discipline due to youthful idealism, ignorance and arrogance. They are to learn to be level headed, have soundness of mind, and do the right thing in the right way at the right time. Sound judgment and disciplined thinking result in being balanced, discreet and self-controlled.
The phrase “in all things” better fits with verse 6 than verse 7 because it encompasses all the areas a young man is to be sensible – thinking, morals, doctrine, behavior. (Remember that verse divisions are not part of Scripture and were not added until the invention of the printing press as an aid to making references). A sensible man will become aware of his passions and weaknesses and will heed the Paul’s advice to Timothy to “flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). It covers his relationships with older people, peers, younger people, employers, and his family. A sensible young man will follow Peter’s command in 1 Peter 5:5 to “be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” A godly man and a godly woman make not only good companions for each other, but are the foundation to a strong family which will impact their community for Christ.
Titus’ Example – Titus 2:7-8
Paul directs his admonition in verses 7-8 directly to Titus, who as a younger man, was to be an example of godliness to all. The verb here is actually a participle, so a good translation would be, “showing yourself to be an example of good deeds” . . . etc. Titus was not to be like so many professors today who teach one thing but do something else themselves. Titus was to be a living example of all that he was proclaiming to the churches of Crete. Since Titus was a younger man at this point, his example would have a special impact on the other younger men of what they should be. They should follow Titus’ example.
Good Deeds – Titus 2:7
Good works should be a normal mark of a Christian’s life though they are not the basis of our salvation. As Paul states Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy . . .”. Our righteous deeds are as filthy rags before God anyway (Isaiah 64:6). Ephesians 2:8-9 make it clear that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no one should boast,” but Ephesians 2:10 goes on to add, “For we are His workmanship, created n Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
These good deeds are not to be superficial acts of kindness and charity. These deeds are good in the sense of genuine, righteous, noble and excellent. Such deeds require commitment and sacrifice and are to become a normal way of life in seeking to bring glory to Christ.
Purity in Doctrine – Titus 2:7
Purity in doctrine in next. The term “pure” here (ajfqorivan / aphthorian) means, “without corruption.” False teachers would promise “freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19), but Titus was to be pure in what he taught. He was to teach the unadulterated word of God. He was not to add to it. He was not to take away from it. He was to use it to promote holiness in the lives of his listeners.
It can be difficult to gain purity in doctrine because it can be hard work to carefully study the Bible properly in its historical and grammatical context and gain the correct interpretation. However, such work is worth it to know truth and avoid corrupt doctrine which inevitably results in aberrations, heresy and contaminated lives.
Wrong beliefs about true spirituality have left many on an emotional roller-coaster that continually questions whether they are Spirit filled or not or even saved. Doctrinal error concerning worship leaves many people thinking they have pleased God when all they have done is entertain themselves. False teaching about physical health and financial prosperity have resulted in many being defrauded out of their finances and left feeling guilty and spiritually impoverished whenever they get sick. If the gospel message itself is perverted, and it is greatly perverted by many groups, it brings an anathema – an eternal curse.
Titus was to be an example of pure doctrine in what he believed, in what he taught, and his demonstration of that in how he lived. We are to do the same.
Dignified – Titus 2:7
Titus was also to be an example of dignity. This is the same characteristic we saw for the older men in verse 2. It refers to both the outward decorum and propriety of good manners and conduct, and to the inward thought life and attitudes that should mark a spiritually mature man. A dignified man can have a good sense of humor, but there is also a seriousness that keeps him from being flippant, trivial, frivolous and laughing at what is improper.
Sound in Speech – Titus 2:8
The last characteristic listed is being “sound speech which is beyond reproach. The word “sound” here is the same as in verse 1 and it means that which is healthy, whole, of well being. The word “speech” here (logovV / logos) is often translated as “word,” and depending on the context can refer to the written word of God, the Bible and to Christ Himself, the living word. It also can be used of language and talking in general as in Ephesians 4:29 which is a good reference verse to explain sound speech. Sound speech is healthy speech that is wholesome. Ephesians 4:29 commands, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such [a word] as is good for edification according to the need [of the moment,] that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Sound communication does not lie or deceive but instead will express the truth in love (Ephesians 4:25) with a mindset to build up those who will hear. It takes into account the situation and seeks to bring God’s grace to bear so that others may be encouraged. Titus was to be an example of godliness in the common course of conversations he would have in daily life, not just when he was formally teaching doctrine. He was to speak in such as way that no reproach could be brought against him or God. No one would be able to justly rebuke him for the things he would say.
Such speech is the mark of a mature individual. James 3:2 tells us “If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.” James goes on to describe the power and danger of the tongue. How can you tell an individual is really spiritually mature? It is not going to be at church when the masks of spirituality are up. It will be demonstrated in his or her common conversations of life. What are the subjects you talk about with your friends? Are they things that you should be thinking about as described in Philippians 4:8 as whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, praise worthy? What comes out of your mouth when you are frustrated such as in any of the following situations: A driver cuts you off and you miss your exit; things at work are going from bad to worse; you just got harshly blamed for someone else’s mistake; your working hard, but no one notices or appreciates what you have done for them; you are put down for doing what you know is right before God; you just got defriended on facebook, your girlfriend just dumped you.
“If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.” We will not reach perfection in this life, but as a Christian, you should be maturing so that your speech is sound and beyond reproach. How are you doing in that area?
Putting the Opponent to Shame – Titus 2:8
The reason for concern about character and godly living is so that our opponents will be put to shame. If the conduct of the older men and women and the younger men and women are what they are supposed to be, those who are critics of Christ, His church and His people will be put to shame. Titus was certainly dealing with such critics for Paul said back in 1:10 that there were “many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers.”
When someone who is hostile to a Christian makes a rash, unfounded accusation against that believer, the conduct of that Christian’s life should be such that the obvious and public testimony of their character should put the accuser to shame. The sense here is that the person to whom you are being slandered responds, “I know the fellow you are talking about, but what you are saying does not match his character.” The opponent will be put to shame by your godly character. As your godly character becomes more well known, they will not even be able to say anything bad about you personally or other Christians in general.
Your reputation is important not only for yourself, but also for the glory of God. If your walk with the Holy Spirit does not match your talk about Jesus, then no one is going to believe your message and the name of God will be blasphemed. But if your conduct is godly, as it should be, then God will be glorified and your message will gain a hearing.
The comments of the apostle in 1 Peter 2:11-12 give further instruction about the importance of living a godly life and the results it will have. “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe [them,] glorify God in the day of visitation.”
Sinful living wages war against your soul, but godly living will even cause those who slander you to eventually be forced to give glory to God – even if it is only on the day of His judgment against them.
Older men, older women, younger women, younger men – what is your conduct? What attributes characterize your life? Men this responsibility begins with you, but ladies, it belongs to you too. How you live, what you say, and what you do are serious business. Does your walk in holiness match your talk about Christ breaking the power of sin in your life? If people cannot see the power of the gospel working in your life, they will not believe your words about it. Does your life glorify God or give excuse for the ungodly to blaspheme Him? If it is the later, then it is time to make the needed changes. Talk with myself or any of our church leaders. We would be more than happy to help you become what God desires you to be.
For the church to be effective in ministry, its people must live in a ____________ manner
Titus was to appoint Elder who met specific qualifications of ___________in churches of the cities of Crete
Jesus had to battle _____________teachers, so did these Elders, and we must still do so today
_____________doctrine is teaching that is good for your soul because it aligns you with God’s will
Titus was to also encourage the people of the church to develop the qualities of spiritual ______________
Older Men – Titus 2:2
It can refer to those as young as _______, but it is generally those who are past the years of raising children
Temperate – Titus 2:2 nhfalivouV / n phalious = temperate, sober, vigilant – the opposite of intoxication
Of ____________mind and living in a sane manner and well balanced spiritually, mentally and physically
The wisdom of godly maturity gives the _____________needed to live a life with proper priorities
Dignified – Titus 2:2 semnovV / semnos = a seriousness of mind and character
_______can be present, but it is never flippant, vulgar or improper, and the trivial and frivolous are avoided
Experience, whether personal or through others, brings ______________of the triumphs and tragedies of life
Godly aging men become more dignified while the ungodly become old __________
Sensible – Titus 2:2 swvfrwn / s phr n = soundness of mind,
Balance, discretion and self-control that result in doing the ________ thing in the right way at right time
Wisdom from experience brings disciplined _________that control actions avoiding foolishness distractions
Sound in Faith – Titus 2:2
Sound (uJgiainouvsh/ / hygianious ) refers to that which is ____________ , proper, whole
Sound in faith refers to a man that has learned to __________ God in all the circumstances of life
Sound in Love – Titus 2:2
Loving God with all his heart, soul and mind and his neighbor as himself are living ____________of his life
Sound in Perseverance – Titus 2:2 – patiently endure and continue despite tough times and disappointments
Have learned to be ____________and respond in godliness in all circumstances – Philippians 4:11-13
Godly older men are a _____________to the cause of Christ and a positive influence upon those around them
Younger Men – Titus 2:6-8
Those marriageable age to 50 / 60 are to _____________ develop godly characteristics
Sensible Young Men – Titus 2:6-7a
Sensible (swvfrwn / s phr n) – same as in Titus 2:2 above
“In all things” – to be sensible in ______________of life: thinking, morals, doctrine, behavior
A sensible young man becomes aware of his passions and weaknesses and learns to ____________ them
Titus’ Example – Titus 2:7-8
These verses are specifically addressed to Titus, a young man who was to be an ________of godliness to all
Good Deeds – Titus 2:7
Good deeds are a __________characteristic of the redeemed, but not a basis for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10)
These are not superficial acts of charity, but deeds that are ____________and seek to bring glory to Christ
Purity in Doctrine – Titus 2:7 Pure (ajfqorivan / aphthorian) = “without corruption”
Pure doctrine comes from the unadulterated word of God – it promotes _____________ in life
Pure doctrine requires diligence in Bible study to understand it in its historical & grammatical ___________
_____________ teaching results in false spirituality, tragic lives, and even eternal damnation
Healthy speech is wholesome – described well in __________________
Sound communication does not lie or deceive but instead will express the ________in love (Ephesians 4:25)
Control of the _______________ is a mark of maturity – James 3:2-12
Putting the Opponent to Shame – Titus 2:8
Godly _______________ puts our opponents to shame in their criticism of us
Your reputation is important not only for yourself, but also for the ___________ of God
1 Peter 2:11-12 __________________________________________________________________________
If people cannot see the power of the _______working in your life, they will not believe your words about it
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times a reference is made to men. 2) Discuss with your parents the characteristics God wants in both older and younger men.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Whom is Paul writing to and why? What does Paul want him to do according to Titus 1:5-11? What dangers are being faced (Titus 1:12-16)? What is “sound doctrine” and why is it so important? Who are “older men”? What value does the Bible place on age? Define each of the following terms / phrases from Titus 2:2 and explain how they can be practically demonstrated in daily life: Temperate; Dignified; Sensible, Sound in Faith, Sound in Love, Sound in Perseverance. Who are the younger men? What does it mean to be sensible in all things? Why is that so important for younger men? Why does Paul address Titus specifically in 2:7-8 and what application does that then have for you personally? Define each of the following terms / phrases from Titus 2:7-8 and explain how they can be practically demonstrated in daily life: Good Deeds; Purity in Doctrine; Dignified; Sound in Speech. How do these things put your opponent to shame? Which of these characteristics do you need to develop in your life? What is your plan to develop them?
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