If we gathered every young man in the church to give them the most important Biblical lesson they would ever get—what would that lesson be?
These are the types of questions that Sunday School teachers, youth workers, and pastors often ponder.
The good news today is, that God already thought of those questions. He actually moved upon Paul the Apostle’s heart and poured out the Holy Spirit through Paul’s mind into a letter. God has a wonderful plan for Christ’s Church.
As we open to Titus 2, we see what He wrote down 2,000 years ago. This is the plan God has energized men and women to accomplish as His work, in every part of this world, against every obstacle, for every generation. The Lord wants us:
Godly Men Today
God’s plan is all about personal, face-to-face training.
Just as a baby needs nurturing, feeding, protection, and care—so every person born into God’s family is to be nurtured, fed, trained, and cared for by matured believers until they grow enough to care for another.
Just as a baby that never grows and matures is considered sick, so any believer that doesn’t grow and mature is also sick.
But in the church often people are physically well and mature, yet if we could see them spiritually they are stunted, weak, under-developed, and sick.
What was God’s plan for this need of spiritual nurture? He called the plan “making disciples”, and He made that the one goal for everyone in His family.
If you understand the Titus 2 model, you understand that this was the simple discipleship curriculum of the early church. Early missionary pioneers used this method. They took only the Scriptures and trained the believers from God’s Word in what God expected. They defined, explained, and then applied these simple lessons from Titus 2.
This is a letter, written to a local church-planting, missionary pastor named Titus, Paul wrote down the plan God had for every person that claimed Christ as Lord and Savior. There was one quality that is commanded as a characteristic of every believer in Christ’s church.. Because God asks for these qualities it means that He will enable us by His grace to master every area of our life to make our lives pleasing in His sight.
Is Every Area of My Life
Mastered by Christ?
In our passage today, God shines the spotlight on the next generation of leaders for Christ’s church. Young men, who will grow up as the godly and mature servants of God, must begin to cultivate these six qualities. Let’s read them again in Titus 2:6-7.
Here is God’s plan for each young man in the church, and the questions that each young man needs to be asked:
v. 6 “Likewise exhort the young men”:
What God Wants in
This is the only universal character quality of this list. In the space of just six verses in Titus Paul declares this quality God desires is stated as part of the life of faith in Christ’s church.
Titus 2:4 that they admonish (4994 sophronidzo verb 1x) theyoung women to love their husbands, to love their children, NKJV
Titus 2:5 [younger women] to be discreet (4998), chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. NKJV
Titus 2:6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded[4993 sophroneo], NKJV; the key to survival in a wild and distracting world.
Titus 1:8 [an elder] but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded (4998), just, holy, self-controlled, NKJV
I Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded (4998), of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; NKJV
Godly Young Man
They were to be taught to restrain their appetites, their minds, their bodies, their words, their habits. In everything they were to be living a restrained life in the midst of an un-restrained world.
When Paul addressed the younger men in the church of the first century, he was talking to a world so much like our own.
Young men of Paul’s day were immersed in a self-seeking, lust-feeding culture.
When they came to Christ they had to go on living in that world. To make it through life without getting neutralized, defeated, and sidelined, Paul starts with the key to godly living.
For a believing husband, this quality of self-restraint learned as a young man, leads to a mutual submission that characterizes a godly, love prompted marriage and home. Each building block of a godly husband and father, including a self-sacrificing spirit, a loving and tender tongue, and a compassionate heart—all flow from self-restraint. As Thomas Brooks used to say, “Example is the most powerful rhetoric” and so godly men discover in their marriages and homes energized by God’s grace.
Restrained living was the single character quality God wanted in every level of His Church. This is the only lesson all four groups, that make up everyone in the church, must be taught. This is the only common denominator that describes what God expects from everyone.
Titus 2:12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly [4995 sophron], righteously, and godly in the present age, NKJV Grace teaches this serious spiritual life.
His grace teaches us how to live a disciplined life: which means self-controlled and not addicted to anything;
Believers energized by God’s grace are in control of their choices, seeking out God’s priorities;
God wants us serious about life, temperate, and avoiding excesses;
God’s grace gives us a clarity of thought that leads to an orderly life;
His grace leads us to thinking through the Philippians 4:8 grid.
So, in God’s plan, the first and most vital lesson every man needs to get started in a life of self-restraint. This first element was the way the leaders of tomorrow prepared for godly living today.
But before we analyze the complete portrait of this character quality God seeks, look at the way it was to be communicated. The method of communicating this self-restrained, grace-energized, self-controlled life style is amazing.
Of all the words of this verse, the most amazing word is the description of how to train young men. Paul says God wants us to “exhort” the young men.
We All Need to Learn
How to Encourage Others
Look at the tone of discipleship classes for young men. Paul says not to force self-restraint, not to drive them into sensible behavior—no, he says Titus “encourage” them.
The word encourage (found in 2:6, 15 as parakaleo) is a form of the word used as the Name of the Holy Spirit, when He is shown as our “Comforter”. This form of encouragement in the church is to be through a close relationship of personal exhortation that encourages another believer to lead a godly life.
It would be proper to translate this word as “I beg you, please, and urge you to…” and that tone of discipleship towards godliness is the manner Titus was taught to train up leaders in the church. Men and women, boys and girls were to be ministered to with love in God’s plan. A tender, humble, and kind urging to lead a Christ-like life was the plan.
Never was the Lord asking His people to be domineering or demanding. God is the source of authority and He can chasten at will, but we His servants are to train godliness in kind exhortations. God knows that believers would respond to loving guidance, but resist the opposite.
If you are a youth worker, a Sunday School teacher, a parent, grandparent or just love to be around young people—always remember that God wants us to act like the Holy Spirit and be characterized as comforters, encouragers, those who always point others in the right direction and help them along.
Because of the tendency of young men to be impulsive and volatile God points to the priority of self-control. When God can give His agenda, here it is–this quality is of first importance for young men. Probably this is the hardest quality for young men, and the greatest struggle.
As God said in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, the benefits of surrendering to the Lord’s control last a lifetime! Young men who never learn this godly restraint grow into selfish husbands, and abusive dads. Unrestrained flesh drives emotions into a frenzy, enflames anger, and spreads dissatisfaction to every corner of a man’s life. A life under control is very secure.
Paul warned his young friend 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 Tim. 2:22).
Peter commanded all young men 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” (1 Pet. 5:5).
That is exactly what Peter said when he used the very same word Paul used in Titus 2:2 when he called for grace-energized men of temperance. We are looking at the first word used by God to described the grace-energized older men of the faith in Titus 2:2—temperate.
Peter, writing near the end of his earthly ministry explained that we as God’s people, are called to be separate in mind from those who are not God’s, holy-minded in an unholy thinking world, living in each generation of Christ’s Church–according to the standards of our High and only King Jesus.
A Balanced Man
The balanced man of Titus 2 would be someone if you saw them around at work or church would be one of those ‘cool, calm, and collected’ types. They have a solid Biblical orientation that keeps them on even keel emotionally and spiritually. They know God is ruling all things from the galaxies down to their little world.
Just briefly, listen to what I found by searching dozens of books on this word, and finding what many have said about this word through the centuries:
This young man is learning how to exercise appropriate emphasis upon the priorities he has concluded are his before God.
This young man is learning to not give in to overindulgence, knowing what God’s Word that the pleasures gleaned from self-indulgence cost far more than they are worth.
This young man is learning mental sobriety exhibited in self-restraint, a freedom from the debilitations of rash decisions, words and behavior, as well as being stable, circumspect, and clear-thinking.
This young man is learning to be in charge of his priorities, is steadfast, morally decisive, and not under the sway of the various allurements of the world, his flesh, and the devil.
This young man is learning to not be controlled by outside circumstances but directed by inward convictions. In English we would say he is level-headed, clear-minded, well-balanced, and unwavering.
In short, this young man is learning to live what Paul calls for ten times in the pastoral epistles, he is sober-minded just as we also see in the qualifications for a pastor in (1 Tim. 3:2). Titus 2:2’s grace-energized well-balanced men are spiritually mature members of the church.
New Testament Pictures of
This Greek word for “sober-minded” in v.6 is used 6x in the Bible. Join me in a quick survey of all six times this word is used in God’s Word and the context for each.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly [4993 sophroneo], as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. NKJV
To capture the sense of this verse it helps to put in the word ‘estimate’ then it would say: “Don’t overestimate yourself (huperphroneo ‘super-think’) beyond a true estimate, but estimate yourself with a proper estimate”.
We need to have a proper view of our self that is honest and accurate. We should realistically and Biblically view our strengths, weaknesses, God-given talents and all of our human deficiencies. After we come to an accurate appraisal of who we are and how God made us, we should see our place and purpose in God’s program. The problem we face is either we think we are better (pride and conceit) or worst (self-depreciation and self-critical).
2 Corinthians 5:13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind [4993 sophroneo], it is for you. NKJV
Titus 2:6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded[4993 sophroneo], NKJV
1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious [4993 sophroneo] and watchful in your prayers. NKJV
Peter says, especially as we who know what the end of the world will be like—we must exhibit godly restraint from any excessive behavior. Some believers go overboard with prophecy, they get unbalanced and build a bunker to hide in, or set dates, or other wild claims that make people actually turn away from the Lord. If you could see the books I have in my library, written by earnest believers that make claims that obviously were not accurate, to their embarrassment and ours.
The Greek word for a person who is not sober minded is the word “mania” and describes a ‘frenzied madness’. Believers are to be the most level headed, calm thinking, careful behaving people in the world because we have the grace of God empowering our lives and guarding our minds.
Peter’s call to sober minded behavior is in addition to the ten other times Paul call for this quality just in the Pastoral Epistles of I & II Timothy and Titus. The wonderful emphasis Peter makes is for all of us. Because we know what is coming, and how terrible life will become on this world, we are to be “watchful in our prayers”. The lesson is that a confused mind leads to confused prayers. A grace-restrained life leads to grace-energized prayers. The wonderful Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest translated this verse as: “Be calm and collected in spirit with a view to giving yourself to prayer.”
God Wants Us
Regaining a Confident Mind
This verse was Paul’s strong encouragement to him in his struggle.
Note that Paul does not harshly rebuke him, but gently reminds him of many things. He tells Timothy he has nothing to be ashamed of. He had a great upbringing though his father didn’t help, his mother and grandmother were godly (II Timothy 1:5; 3:14-15). Paul reminds Timothy of his special position as a choice servant of the Lord, personally trained (Acts 16:3) with a special gifting (II Timothy 1:6). In short Paul says there is no reason that Timothy should be timid and fearful—yet he was!
Timothy appears to have a life-long need for encouragement to be bold and go on serving the Lord. It is very possible that the stomach problems he struggled with (I Timothy 5:23) were directly tied to his emotional problems of a fearful and timid personality.
If you are a person that feels uncomfortable around people, if you draw back from people who reach out to you, if you feel inferior to others, and you are afraid of always saying the wrong thing so that people dislike you—then welcome to the club.
One of the greatest pastors and servants of the Lord of all time was so much like you. Timothy, son-in-the-faith to Paul, servant-of-the-Lord to the largest church of the New Testament world was just like you. Paul does not chastise him, scold him, rebuke him harshly, or say that he was unspiritual. Rather, Paul says give your mind back to Christ’s control each time you start to fear.
The fear, the discomfort, the feelings of inferiority and shame that Timothy felt were just part of living inside a fallen body, with flesh-influenced minds and emotions. The solution was to make a conscious choice by faith to keep surrendering his mind back under Christ’s control. Paul way saying–
Timothy, His grace teaches your mind to live a disciplined life: which means self-controlled and not addicted to anything including fear and timidity.
Timothy, believers energized by God’s grace are in control of their choices, seeking out God’s priorities which include fearing not;
The battle is for our minds. Satan is seeking to steal the minds of God’s children.
Your mind is the key to knowing God. Only a mind stayed on the Lord can have perfect peace. A mind devoted to Christ is the road to God’s plan for your life!
God has a will for your mind and that is for your mind to be given to the pursuit of God, His Kingdom, His Word, and His Christ!
How do we fix our eyes on Jesus?
How do we discipline our minds for godliness?
Paul told Timothy to stir up the gift given to him. We aren’t sure what exactly it was, it might have been faith, or the teaching gifts of a pastor. But it was miraculous and came by the laying on of Paul’s hands, from God.
But this evening we will learn about a miraculous gift we must stir. That gift also came the instant that God laid His Hands upon us. And that gift is our salvation.
The best way to get your mind back under God’s control is to think the truth. The helmet that we are to wear as believers is the helmet of what? Salvation. Pull on the straps and fasten tight your helmet of salvation. Surrender again your mind to God’s control. Energized by grace, allow God’s truth to saturate your mind and see what He can do with you.
4997 sophrosune (noun/fem. 3x) soundness of mind; self-control, sobriety; the mark of a godly woman.
1 Timothy 2:9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation[4997 sophrosune, noun/fem. 3x], not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, NKJV DRESS IN A GOD-CONTROLLED WAY
1 Timothy 2:15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control [4997sophrosune, noun/fem. 3x]. NKJV LIVE IN A GOD-CONTROLLED WAY
A Balanced View
Another strength of a grace-energized man is his emotional stability. God’s Word makes it clear that every believer will go through times in life marked by distorted thought, blurred thinking, and temporary confusion. Part of the fall is living in a fallen body with a mind that needs to be often renewed. Usually these confusing times of blurred thoughts come when our lives get piled high with problems, troubles, unexpected crises or just plain exhaustion.
When ever you face confusing times of blurred thinking remember Elijah. Confusion reigned in his life and God recorded two amazing details in the New Testament that should always strengthen us in similar times:
Elijah was just like us New Testament saints. Yes, in James 5:17,the pastor of the first New Testament church in Jerusalem, our Lord’s own brother James, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit said that Elijah was a man with “a nature like ours”.
In I Kings 19:4 Elijah the mighty man of God (just like David the man after God’s own heart)—came to a point where he couldn’t cope with life. He got overwhelmed to the point that he felt like life was not worth living, he wanted to die and end all the pressures he couldn’t stand any more. He felt all alone in standing for God, while God knew there were 7,000 others (v.18) who also were resisting the false worship of Baal. What can we see from the Elijah equation?
First we see that Elijah’s bottoming out was a predictable outcome of the times he faced. For over three years Elijah had lived under the constant stress of Jezebel’s evil campaign to rid the land of true believers. Then came the “mountain top” experience of Mt. Carmel and the dramatic victory God gave over the false prophets, answering from Heaven with fire. But after all that Elijah fell apart. He became totally unable to go on physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He actually says that he “had enough” in v. 4. Elijah was depressed and frozen.
So what did God do with him? This time of depression was temporary because God prescribed proper rest, proper nutrition, and quality time with God. As soon as those three areas were dealt with Elijah returns as the clear-minded, obedient servant of the Lord he had been before. It is very important to note that God brought a faithful friend who was loyal and close into Elijah’s life also at this time, named Elisha (v. 21).
The lesson is that even the best of us will go through dark times of life, confusing times when we get “down” emotionally. In fact with certain circumstances such times can almost be predicted. But they are always momentary compared to the direction and focus of our lives which grace-energized balanced thinking reigns.
Anchored in the
Storms of Life
So, Paul compares our spiritual lives to living in the midst of gale-force winds and powerful waves that beat against us each day–waves of materialistic desires, waves of sensual desires, waves of doubt, waves of fear, waves of discouragement. Each wave and the powerful winds are testing how well we are tied to God’s promises. How well tied are you today?
One of the most moving moments of our recent journey to the Land of the Book was standing at the tomb of Herod the Great (hidden for 19 centuries and only found this past summer)–it was such sobering sight.
Built near Bethlehem into the side of a man-made mountain called the Herodian, Herod’s Tomb and Palace are visible for miles around Jerusalem. Today all that can be seen from below is a monumental 30 foot wide staircase that led up to the tomb. We stood there and remembered one powerful truth—death takes away from each of us everything but the promises of God to which we cling by faith.
Herod was wealthy, powerful, possessing the largest palace ever built in the ancient world—and he took nothing with him out of this world when he died? Why? Because death takes everything away from us except the promises of God!
What promises of God are you holding onto today? If everything you have on earth was suddenly snatched from you—family, house, money, job, health, friends, and possessions, what would you have left? Take it a step further, because that is what death does. So think for just a moment about the instant of your death.
At the instant of death EVERYTHING is stripped away from us, including our body—except for one thing. We still have one thing we can hold onto at death and that is God’s promises. They can never be taken away from us.
Knowing God’s promises give us what the author of Hebrews calls an “anchor for our souls” (Hebrews 6:19). That is what keeps us from being blown around, dashed upon the rocks by every storm of life or confused by every new teaching we hear.
Lives anchored in the Word of God are stable, balanced and usable for God.
With that in mind, how many of His promises are you holding onto today?
Promises like “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb. 13:5), or “I go to prepare a place for you…I will come back and take you to be with me” (John 14:2-3), or how about this one “your sins and iniquities I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:11), “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all sin” (I John 1:7).
The Bible is full of promises, made by God to us, through his Son—and a grace-energized man is holding onto enough of them that his life becomes visibly stable. Why not bow your heart before God, look inside and do a promise inventory. Quietly repeat to the Lord in your mind what you find that you are holding onto from His Word.
Those promises can never be taken from you.
Those promises are the anchor for you soul.
Those promises help you maintain balance in an increasingly unstable world.
Long Term Sermon Preparation
|But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: v.2 that the older men be:
2. reverent, (4586 semnos)
3. temperate (4998 sophron)
4. sound (5198 hugaino) in faith,
5. [sound in] love (26 agape),
6. [sound in] patience (5281 hupomone);
2. not slanderers (1228),
3. not given (1402) to much (4183) wine (3631),
4. teachers of good things (2567)—
5. v. 4 that they admonish (4994)
2. to love their children, v.5
3. to be discreet,
7. obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
2. in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works;
3. in doctrine showing integrity,
6. sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
|You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2 Teach theolder men:
2. worthy of respect,
3. self-controlled, and
4. sound in faith,
5. [sound in] love and
6. [sound in] endurance.
2. not to be slanderers
3. or addicted to much wine,
4. but to teach what is good. v.4
5. Then they can train the
2. and children, 5
3. to be self-controlled and
5. to be busy at home,
6. to be kind, and
7. to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
2. In everything set them an example by doing what is good.
3. In your teaching show integrity,
4. seriousness 8 and
5. 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.
|But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.2 Older men are
4. sound in faith,
5. [sound in] love,
6. [sound in] perseverance.
2. not malicious gossips,
3. nor enslaved to much wine,
4. teaching what is good,4
5. that they may encourage the
2. to love their children,5
3. to be sensible,
5. workers at home,
7. being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.
2. in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds,
3. with purity in doctrine,
5. sound in speech which is beyond reproach, in order that the opponent may be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
|v.1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine, v.2a that theolder men be:|
|v. 3 the older women likewise, that they be:|
|v. 4b the young women:|
|v. 6 Likewise exhort the young men:|