Prescription For A Healthy Church
Prescription for Older Men
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered June 11, 2006
There are all all sorts of persons, of every age,
sex; and condition, in a local church. In this chapter, Paul gives
Titus some insights and instructions as to how and what to teach the
different age groups and classes in the church. Paul gives his
counsel to Titus on dealing with – 1. Older Men 2. Older Women 3.
Younger Women 4. Younger Men and 5. Servants/Employees. I have
titled the next several messages – The Prescription For A Healthy
"But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:" Verse 1 gives the general view of what Titus is to teach – Sound Doctrine. The word sound is a translation of the Greek word ugiainw hugiaino hoog-ee-ah’-ee-no, from where we get our English word hygiene which means being healthy. Teaching healthy doctrine produces healthy spiritual living. When a church is solidly grounded in healthy doctrine and protected from spiritual falsehood is much more likely to produce spiritually healthy people, if the members of that congregation are both hearers and doers of what they have been taught. I would urge you to follow James 1:22 "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
My Christian friends, the pastoral staff spends a lot of time preparing and presenting sound doctrinal fare for you. We work hard to protect you from the falsehoods that are so prevalent today as well. But if you do NOT apply what you are taught here you are putting yourselves in spiritual jeopardy. My earnest plea to you this morning is to implement Romans 12:1-2 in your lives -- "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Beloved, do not forget that we are in a war, a spiritual war! And we have a powerful adversary that wants to destroy our testimonies and our lives. Peter warned – "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." 1 Peter 5:8-9
What I am saying is simply this. You dare not separate doctrine from behavior. Why, because what you really believe influences how you behave! If we teach you sound doctrine, but you do not assimilate that healthy doctrine into your lives, your behavior will not be changed. Instead of being holy, you will be worldly.
Now, lets move on the Paul’s prescription for a
"That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience." Titus 2:2
What age do you have to be, to be considered "aged men?" That is an interesting question. The Greek word is presbuthv presbutes pres-boo’-tace. Paul used it to describe himself in Philemon 1:9 "Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ." Bible scholars think he would have been in his 60’s. The only other time the Greek word is used is in Luke 1:18, describing Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. "And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years."
It is clear in the Bible that older men and women are to be treated with respect by those that are younger. Consider what we read in Leviticus 19:32 "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD." Next, turn to 1 Timothy 5:1 "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;" Finally, Proverbs 23:22 "Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old." We are to show respect to older people.
There can be some good things that come, as you grow older such as wisdom and understanding. Consider Job 12:12 "With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding." Wisdom is gained by experience. You learn many valuable things as you go through live. Sometimes you learn them from the school of hard knocks. The word understanding means insight. As you go through life you pick up insight or skills. You learn as it were, "the tricks of the trade" in various areas.
However, with age also come aches, pains, health problems, diminished energy and sometimes depression and cynicism. So, young people, get busy and live for the Lord NOW while you can. Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;"
Older Christians can be and should be valuable to the local church if…. You no doubt are thinking, IF WHAT preacher? Turn in your Bible to Proverbs 16:31 "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness."
Old age does not make a believer more godly, or
more faithful for more effective for the cause of Christ. They must
continue to grow in grace and holiness too; thats why Paul urges
Titus to admonish the older men and women in the churches of Crete.
The older men are cautioned to be…
The Greek word translated here is nhfaliov nephalios nay-fal’ee-os, which literally means to be free from intoxication. Alcohol has not place in the life of a believer young or old. We must all remember the admonition of Proverbs 20:1 "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Addiction to alcohol is responsible for so much sorrow. We need men who will be an example to young people by the lives and their lips, that alcohol is an enemy and not a friend.
While it is indeed true that sober literally means to be free from intoxication, it is also true that the word is commonly used in the New Testament as a metaphor, identifying someone who is sober-minded or thinks clearly. I like the way one pastor characterized it – The sober-minded "older man is able to discern more clearly which things are of the greatest importance and value. He uses his time, his money, and his energy more carefully and selectively than when he was younger and less mature. His priorities are in the right order, and he is satisfied with fewer and simpler things."
We need older Christian men who can teach the younger men by example to set godly priorities. They need to model and teach how you discern what is most important in life and how you can live out Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Next, the older men are cautioned to be…
The Greek word translated grave is semnov semnos sem-nos’ which here means to be serious. The word grave carries with it the sense of gravity and dignity combined. The word points to seriousness of purpose and to self-respect in conduct.
Older people have lived long enough to learn the value of time. They have experience hard times, suffering, and heartache and have seen other experience it too. They have come to grips with their own mortality and realize that "only one life twill soon be passed and only what’s done for Christ will last." Therefore they should have a seriousness about them that is often lacking in the younger crowd. They don’t want to spend time wasting their time because they know life is like a vapor that appears briefly and then is gone (James 4:14). That does not mean that they never laugh and that they do not enjoy life. Perhaps they enjoy life more because they value each day realizing God has given them another opportunity to live the day for Him. Older men need to encourage the younger folks by behavior and word to realize that it is important to make the best use of their time and to take life seriously. Paul challenges Timothy on seriously living his Christian life in 1 Timothy 6:8-14 "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; 14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:"
The Greek translated temperate in our English Bible is swfrwn sophron so’-frone. It means to be self-controlled and to curb one’s desires and impulses. Temperance is the opposite of frivolity, thoughtlessness and carelessness.
When you have walked with the Lord for many years discernment and discretion should be a part of your life. It is important to control physical passions, reject worldliness and resist worldly passions. I must tell you that I am amazed at how many older people get themselves into trouble because they are not self-controlled. I read an article about how many older people are addicted to gambling. I saw a news report about STD (sexually transmitted diseases) running rampant in many senior citizen housing complexes. Paul exhorts the older men to be temperate; to be self-controlled and to curb their desires and impulses. One preacher put it this way - "Seriousness of life and purpose are important in the Christian life, and especially to older saints who cannot afford to waste time, for their time is short."
Older Saints need to know the Word of God. They need to know what they believe and why they believe it. They need to have solid Biblical convictions. When you live your life, being sound in the faith, you can say with the old Apostle Paul "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:7-8
The Greek word here is agaph agape (ag-ah’-pay). The word means affection, good will, love, benevolence. It is the love that a Christian should have for God, for Christ and the love that Christians should have towards Christians. It is to be a real love, a caring love, and a sincere love.
The English word translated patience is from the Greek word upomonh hupomone (hoop-om-on-ay’). It means patient enduring, perseverance, steadfastness. It the New Testament it characterizes a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.
God is looking for men who will model genuine
Christianity to the on looking world. He is looking for those who
are sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith,
sound in charity and sound in patience. Will
you step up to the plate and fill the gap?