by Paul Tautges | June 20, 2017 1:07 pm
Our church’s mission is to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is not merely to lead people to “make a decision for Christ,” but to bring people to Jesus and help one another grow in Christ, toward maturity and obedience—together as a family. This requires ongoing instruction in sound doctrine and living the life together, which is biblical fellowship.
Mature believers understand the significance of the community of the local church as the primary place where spiritual reproduction and growth take place (Eph. 4:12-13). They value its relationships and invest in the spiritual growth of others. Kent Hughes, who pastored the well-known College Church of Wheaton for many years, spoke out against the growing, self-centered consumer mentality that he witnessed in churches when he wrote,“Undoubtedly a large percentage of people in the modern church are driven by a consumer mentality. They value only what is beneficial to them and partake only of what pleases them at the times that are not disruptive to their schedules, at costs not significant enough to burden their lifestyles. Such persons will pick the church activities that are attractive to them but never think of the impact of their actions on others. Only the most mature have a sense of personal investment in regular fellowship, disciplined worship, and church community life.”
Healthy growth for the Christian includes maintaining a vital connection to their local church, which is the primary place we find the godly examples we need to follow. In light of this, we understand why Paul told Titus to be a pastor who challenges the older men and women to be wise, godly examples to those who are younger; and the younger men and women to humbly receive instruction. Last month, we examined this instruction in relation to the female gender. In Titus 2:3 the older women are called to be reverent in their behavior, exemplary in their speech and self-control so that they could train the younger women in Christian living.
Today, we take a look at what the apostle says to the male gender in the church. Here we see a picture of mature Christian manhood. Titus 2:2 is a continuation of the apostle’s instruction to Titus in verse 1; that is, this is the content of the teaching that he was to give to the church—the community of Christ. “But” announces a contrast to the self-serving false teachers already warned against (Titus 1:16). Now, Paul instructs Titus to compel the men and women of the church to maintain the natural link between healthy doctrine and healthy living. When doctrine is unhealthy then it will show up in poor Christian living, but sound teaching leads to sound living. If faith is genuine then doctrine and life will harmonize. But when examples fail to lead in wisdom then those who follow after them will suffer. To make this point, Paul begins with those who are the natural leaders in the community of the church—the older men.
FOUR QUALITIES OF MATURE MANHOOD (Titus 2:2)
The word “older” literally refers to “an old man.” It is a different word than the one used in 1:5 to refer to “elder” as a leader, an office in the church. However, though different in function, the godly character of all the men should be the same. It is the same word Paul uses to describe himself in the book of Philemon, translated “the aged.” It is believed he was about 60 years old when he wrote that letter. Most commentators believe the “older men” referred to here are at least in their 50’s or 60’s. They are probably old enough to have raised a family and now see their children beginning to raise families of their own.
Paul mentions 4 qualities of this kind of mature manhood. Note these are specifically Christian virtues; that is, “they presuppose the dynamic of God’s grace working in the heart.” (Kistemaker, p. 326).
Scripture calls older men in the church to be sensible, examples of wisdom and Christ-likeness. If you are in this group, you need to see yourself as an essential link in God’s chain of discipleship in the community of the church. God wants you to be actively involved in discipling younger men in the church. So, men in your 50’s and older, who is one younger man you are intentionally discipling for Christ? Remember, there is no retirement for the task of making disciples. If God has done a work of grace in your life then you now have an eternal investment to make in the lives of younger men in your church.
[This post is adapted from last Sunday’s sermon at Cornerstone Community Church.]
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