Aged Men Top Saturday, June 24, 2017
AGED MEN: (KJV)
By James L. Thornton
II. Older Men Are To Be Sober
III. Older Men Are To Be Grave
IV. Older Men Are To Be Temperate
V. Older Men Are To Be Sound In Faith
VI. Older Men Are To Be Sound In Charity
VII. Older Men Are To Be Sound In Patience
The passage of scripture we are going to study today was written by the apostle Paul to the young preacher & missionary Titus who was serving the Lord on the island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea. Like the books of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus is a book written to encourage and instruct a young pastor during the early years of the Church age.
There is instruction as to his responsibilities, and also the responsibilities of various groups of people in the church there in Crete. Paul used this book to outline the various ways that different age groups of people are to serve one another and the Lord in the local church setting.
These truths were not just for Titus’ time but are also just as important today. Let’s look at what the Word of God says in Titus 2 and let’s prayerfully approach the subject so that the Holy Spirit of God can have his way in each of our hearts and lives.
Titus 2:1. "But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
2. That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience."
It is obvious that many of you have already raised your children and are now watching your grandchildren and maybe even great-grandchildren grow up. In a time when so many families have purposely or ignorantly forgotten their aging parents and grandparents, I believe with all my heart that as believers age they also need to know that they still have a very special and vital role to play in the family, and that family needs to allow them the privilege of having a part.
We live in a time when families are scattered all over the country and the world. The opportunity for many grandparents to relate with their grandchildren and adult children is not the same as it once used to be, but with God’s help aging believers can still have a powerful impact upon their family, their church and the society they live in.
I want to direct my thoughts toward the aged men in our congregations. I will let you decide who I am speaking about, for medical science tells us that our bodies start their inevitable downward progression at the age of 35 or there about, so you see this could take in many of the men who ordinarily would not expect it. Next, I will direct my thoughts to the aged women that this text also speaks of.
The truths we are going to examine in the next two studies are clearly associated with the church body of believers, but that is family as well, so the truths can also be transferred to the blood family.
My aged brothers and sisters in Christ never ever feel or believe that your age in earth years makes you not as valuable to the Lord, the church, and especially to your family. Those years of experience are what the Lord can use in a wonderful and mighty way.
I. OLDER MEN ARE TO BE SOBER:
This word is used in two ways.
First, it is used of men who are sober in contrast to being drunk with wine. When alcohol or drug is ingested, the body will respond accordingly. Paul was clear on what happens when men allow alcoholic drinks to enter their body. Titus was to remind these aged, gray-haired men that they were Christian men now and had a responsibility before Christ, the younger men, their wife, the children, and the church, to not allow themselves to act in uncontrolled ways.
It certainly is a sad situation when an older man who knows the Lord as his Savior, feels constrained because of the circumstances of life, a habit, or whatever to turn to the bottle to drown his problems. I do believe we all understand that this is not God’s way to deal with the hard times of life. Rather, he should take it to the Lord in prayer.
Second, it is used by analogy of those who are sober-minded about life in general. Essentially, they are clearheaded, they have a balanced perspective on matters of life, they view things as they really are - not better than they are or worse than they are. The older Christian man recognizes both his God-given strengths and his areas of weakness in which to improve with God’s help. Some translations of the scriptures have rendered this word "sober" as temperate which brings out the idea of a person who is balanced and under control at all times.
Older men, by this time in your life you have seen many things happen, you have many years to grow close to your Lord, and simply many years to know what life is all about. Let the closing years of your life be known by God and all those around you as being well balanced and sound. Since it is to the elderly men that many turn to for advice in regard to all matters, it is imperative that these men remain strong and sure in their daily walk with the Lord and not allow themselves to slip as they enter the waning years of their life.
II. OLDER MEN ARE TO BE GRAVE:
This term does not imply that it is wrong to have an appropriate sense of humor when we get older. An older man who can still laugh and help others to laugh at the trials of life is certainly going to look at life through eyes and heart that enjoys what God is doing.
But rather, this term "grave" means one who is valuable, one who is venerated because of their character. This is a man who is worthy of respect because of his bearing of character. The older Christian man should not be frivolous in his actions but one who is respectable.
This respect towards one’s character simply does not come with age, though those who are younger ought to show respect toward those who are older than themselves and who love the Lord. No, this respect comes because this older man has walked with His Lord faithfully for many years and has taken on many of the traits of His Lord through the years of spiritual grow and maturity.
When this is true, this man deserves the respect and honor due to him by other believers. He ought to be venerated for what he brings to his family and to his church. These are the spiritual giants who help their local church through difficult times for they have been there before and learned how to go through that time. They have the experience of years behind them and have proven true to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Such men deserve high esteem for what the Lord has done in their life.
Sadly, many men go through their whole life and arrive at their silver and golden years with a tarnished reputation and not much to offer their family or their church. What started so well is not finishing well. Praise God these sins can be forgiven but the locusts have already eaten up the years of opportunity to walk with the Lord faithfully. Those years cannot be brought back; they are gone forever.
Young men, take heed to this passage of scripture for if God tarries His coming, and blesses us with long life, we too, and very soon, will be counted among the aged men and what kind of experience will we bring with us when those days arrive? Will we be just as weak and inexperienced spiritually then, as we were when we first were saved? Will there be many experiences which could have been avoided had we only obeyed the scriptures faithfully?
Note what Acts 6:5 says about Stephen, one of the first deacons and the first martyrs of the church "Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost..." A man who expects to be esteemed in his old age need to be a man who walks in his faith, and who is not only indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, but also filled with the Holy Spirit of God for service. That man’s life will stand forth as a glorious testimony of the grace of God.
Let us show respect and veneration for those men in the Body of Christ and in our local church who have faithfully walked with their Lord and exhibit the sure signs of spiritual maturity in the fact that they are "grave".
III. OLDER MEN ARE TO BE TEMPERATE:
This word is a close cousin to the word "sober" which we examined first. This word carries the meaning of being "of sound mind," "self-controlled," "self-disciplined." He is a man who trained himself with God’s help to temper his natural desires and instincts to sin and not allow the flesh to have its way.
In Luke 8:35 from the story of the Demoniac of the Gadarenes we have this statement after Jesus cast the demons out and the man was healed spiritually, "Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devil (demons) were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid."
The words "in his right mind" is a translation of this same Greek word that is translated "temperate" here in Titus 2:2. This man was in "his right mind" for the demons had been cast out and he had been renewed by the Word of God. Every person who has been saved by the power of God can rightfully be said to be in "their right mind" for before salvation a wrong and depraved mind was all that existed.
Now, after we become a Christian, the "mind of Christ" is to have full sway in our hearts and lives. Is it not interesting to see the opposites this verse gives to us. When the man was unclothed, he was considered out of his mind, but when he was clothed (because he had been transformed) he is in his "right mind." The world would have us believe that wearing less clothing is ok and normal, but God’s Word says just the opposite.
Ages men, are you looking upon all things with the values and priorities of God Himself? The temperate man will not need others to help him remain disciplined, he will have learned to self-discipline himself. This should be a clear sign of age and one which our families need, and which our church family needs.
IV. OLDER MEN ARE TO BE SOUND IN THE FAITH:
We have here an interesting usage of words to explain another aspect of the older man’s relationship to his family and his church family.
First, the text says "sound" in faith. The word "sound" means healthy. Just as we say that somebody’s body is sound, that it is healthy, so too here we use the word sound to describe a healthy Christian. As we age physically, we begin to find out that we are not as healthy as we once were. We begin to feel the aches and pains of age, but when it comes to spiritual matters there is no such thing as spiritual arthritis coming on naturally.
It is true that some Christian men appear to be afflicted with this unnatural malady for they have not been growing in the Lord through the years. Men, how sound are you in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you spiritually healthy or unhealthy? If you are not feeding yourself daily, and exercising yourself in spiritual service, chances are you have grown weak and flabby in the spiritual sense. From what the text says here in Titus 2:2, this is not the Lord’s will for older Christian men.
Consider the next generation of believers in your family and in your church that need a "sound" example of Godliness lived out before them. Do your grandchildren consider you a Godly grandfather, or do they have no idea at all where you stand spiritually? Sadly, a lack of spiritual health in old age is often a sign of a lack of spiritual health while one’s children were growing up, so there is also a lacking in their families as well because Dad, in earlier years, did not faithfully walk with the Lord.
Second, older Christian men are to be "sound in faith." In the Greek text an article is placed before the word "faith" thus rendering it "the faith. " This helps to define what Paul was referring to as he wrote to Titus. He is referring to the whole body of doctrine that had been taught to them. His instruction to Titus was to teach the older men to be healthy in all that they had been taught doctrinally.
It was absolutely vital that these older men who knew the Lord remain rock solid in their commitment and defense of the doctrines of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice these other verses which commend and teach the same truth:
1 Corinthians 16:13 "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
Jude 3 "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
If ever there was a time for Christian men and women, young or old to be sound in the faith it is today. There is so much compromising taking place in some denominations that it sickens the heart to see it happening and to know that more and more people are accepting these falsehoods every day. Even among those who claim to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior there is a strong tendency to defend others who are good people but do not believe the truth that is taught in the Holy Scriptures.
There is a strong tendency to water down what one has been taught, or to totally reject it as out of hand and unreasonable. I see this as a problem among older saints as well as younger ones. That unwillingness to stand firm in what the Word of God says has led many a believer to make decisions of great error in their life and to try to rationalize it away as acceptable.
I warn you, if the truth is not believed and adamantly held to, error will reign in your life and your light will go out.
Older men, do not come to the place of thinking that because you are older and retired, that you can retire from the faith and defending the faith. There is no retirement from doing what is right in God’s Word. We are to do right until we die or the Lord returns. God is not pleased nor honored when older men in the Lord who are to know better, stop serving the Lord and defending the faith.
V. OLDER MEN ARE TO BE SOUND IN CHARITY:
Again, the article "the" is found before the word love or charity. Paul is obviously referring to God’s love which is also the first fruit of the Spirit in the list found in Galatians 5:22, 23. In Ephesians 5:1, 2 we have this same kind of love spelled out for us so that no one is left with any doubts as to what God means. Let us take a look at those verses and the four characteristics of "agape" love.
Ephesians 5:1. "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour."
1. Agape love is a choice of the will, "and walk in love." This is a command that ought to be followed, but it is still an act of the will to obey God’s Word.
2. Agape love is unconditional, "as Christ also hath loved us."
3. Agape love is demonstrative, "and hath given himself for us."
4. Agape love is sacrificial, "an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour."
This is the kind of love that ought to be demonstrated by the elder men of the faith. Often younger people turn away from older people because they have fallen into a state of ugliness, and hatefulness and often bitterness. Rather than building up younger men in the faith, these older Christians find fault with everything that they do, are unchangeable in practical matters, and discourage growth, etc.
Though there are changes that take place in our bodies as we grow older, it is pretty well established that an older person who is unloving was also a younger person who was unloving. Just because one is older doesn’t mean they are predisposed to being unloving.
Some of the most loving and beautiful saints are the senior saints who have grown in the Lord for years and are totally sure of their place in Christ and serving others. Thank the Lord, with His help; changes can be made to one’s character for the good of Christ and the Church.
VI. OLDER MEN ARE TO BE SOUND IN PATIENCE:
This word "patience" is a combination of two words that mean "to abide" and "under." It speaks of the ability to remain faithful to a given task or lifestyle even under difficult circumstances.
We normally think of patience as having a calm attitude under difficult circumstances and that is true. That thought is here as well, but that calmness and clarity of thought causes these saints to hold their ground while others fall away during difficult times.
Another word that we could use here is the word "endurance." Aged men, I have already said some things in this message about this issue, but this word brings it out again, God’s Word instructs you, and especially you, to endure faithfully for your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ even when other, weaker saints are calling it quits. No one who loves the Lord ought to be "signing out" on the cause of Christ when things do not work out the way we thought they should.
Aged men, your testimony before the whole body of Christ when death comes into your family, when sickness strikes, when financial distresses arise, when church disputes arise, is going to be what others are going to look at and often copy in their own lives.
You have a very important and vital part to play in your family’s spiritual well-being, and especially that of your spiritual family at church. These are badges of honor that God gives to those who remain faithful to Him and serve Him for many years.
Aged men of God - lift up your heads and stand firm for your Savior in obeying the Word of God and being faithful unto Him. Your family needs this, your grandchildren and great grandchildren need this, and your church family needs this. Don’t retire from God’s Work.
Let the rest of us encourage the aged men of the church to obey the Word of God and uphold them in prayer. Amen.
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By, James L. Thornton