Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

When Old Men are Christians

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

If you would please remain standing and let's hear God's word from Titus Verses One and two, titus versus, Chapter Two, verses one and two. If you're using one of these church Pew Bibles and you'll find it on page nine hundred and ninety eight, you'll have to find nine ninety nine because it's actually not on the written on the page. That's titus two, verses one and two. Let's give our attention to God's word. But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober minded, dignified, self controlled, sound in faith, in love and in steadfastness. Ay God bless us in his word and grant these things to us. You may be seated. Let me begin by giving you, reminding you perhaps a little bit of the context of where we're at in this letter are and also give you a little bit of a preview of what lies ahead. In terms of context, Paul has been instructing titus, titus, a fellow servant of his, a worker of Christ, how to work among the churches, to continue the work of church planting, of establishing these churches in the name of and in the grace of Jesus, and he's just been giving several reasons why...

...it's very important that there be elders in the church, elders that meet certain qualities and have certain qualities, meet certain qualifications. As we considered last time, this is important because they are doing the work of God and a context that is very difficult. You see that back in chapter one, versus ten, through the end of that chapter, just to read a little bit from there, for there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. There are several other concerns that Paul has there, that God has there for the church, expressing the difficulty of ministry in this context. And so these elders are called to meet these qualifications, to be a certain kind of people because they have a job to do. They need to be able to rebuke, as we considered last time, they also need to be able to teach. That's how he gives the instructions and chapter one, verse nine, so that he may be able to give sound give instruction in sound draw doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. Well, contrary to those who are teeping, teaching empty ideas, false doctrine on things for shameful gain. Paul now turns away from that as those people as his target and he turns to Titus in chapter two and he says, but as for you, as for you, titus, you do something different. You don't act according to these ways, but you teach what accords with sound doctrine. He's going to return to that in other places in this short letter and in other ways he is going to talk about what the content of that sound doctrine is. We've been introduced to it a little bit already and we'll hear a little bit of it more this evening. But as he teaches what accords to sound doctrine, there...

...are certain expectations that titus is to have for the church, things that he needs to be aiming at, certain qualities in certain people. Later Paul will say in chapter three that the saying is trustworthy. This is verse eight and I the saying is trustworthy and I want you to insist on these things. That is the sound doctrine introduced earlier. In chapter three, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. You hear the connection there between doctrine and life. A lot of times people want to disconnect these things, but they're never disconnected. Paul connects them in this way. He says, insist on these doctrinal points, things essentially about our Lord and our Savior, about what God has done for us in this world. Why? So that the fruit of the Gospel would be produced in the lives of God's people. Well, coming back to our verse for this evening and the verses that are coming up, Paul Narrows in and focuses on for particular categories of people. There's, of course, all kinds of ways you can divide up people. Paul does it in other places. Male, female, Jew, Greek. Here, he he, he divides a people up into categories of age. I'm first of all, and then later he'll talk to slaves in particular in chat. In verse two he talks to older men. That's our discussion for this evening, the message for this evening. In verse three and four he talks to women, older and younger, and then, finally, in verse and five, as well, and then in verse six he talks to young men in particular, and so far our next for sermons we're going to be addressing, as Paul does, each of these...

...groups, older men, then older women, than younger women, and then younger men and considering what does it mean to be an old man? What does it mean, in particular to be a Christian old man? Those we think about that, let's start by defining our terms. What do we mean by old man? It's not a phrase we really use a lot today, and I think that's because we're afraid of this. Youth Culture is a very important and prominent theme in American Society and, I'm often to our detriment, we feel uncomfortable talking about old age. But the scripture does not. The scripture talks about as a category that not only exists but is indeed even important and to be considered in a particular way. Way, and here the Scripture addresses old men, or older men in particular. I'm this word, or this this little group phrase here refers to in a very dictionary kind of way, all put it, an adult male of advanced years. To put it more concretely, we're talking about men with gray hair. Some of you can identify yourselves easily in this way. This is a true not just because I think this is what older men are identified with, but the scripture puts it this way. When the Old Testament is translated in Greek. This a term old men is applied in Deuteronomy three thousand two hundred and twenty five to those with gray hairs or, using an older English word, hoary hairs, if you've ever wondered what that means, when it pops up in our hymnoll, that's what it's referring to. I think we may sing that at this evening a little later on. But gray hairs. Zachariah in Luke one hundred and eighteen is described as an old man, along with his wife, an old woman, and they were beyond childbearing age, so that they were surprised when...

Gabriel came and told them you're going to have a son and his name will be John. He was an old man and was surprised. He says, how can this, how can this be? I'm another old man that we see in scripture on specifically identified in this way as Eli, who had adult sons at that time. So you see what kind of man we're talking about here, not a young man, but an old man, an adult male, advanced and yours. So moving on, what should he be like? Paul lists six things. The Holy Spirit. This six things. Older men are to be sober minded, dignified, self controlled, sound in faith, in love and in steadfastness. Let's consider each of these briefly. First, he is to be sober minded. This is a term that we're familiar with, that we're accustomed to using. Means restrained and moderate. That means I'm not being easily, not giving in easily to outlandish are foolish ideas. A person who's sober minded approaches things in a level headed way, as we another way we put this, if you want to think about this in more concrete terms, you could perhaps think of an it's Antonym, which doesn't really exist, but will make it up for the moment. Drunk minded. What it mean? What would it mean to be drunk minded? Well, it would mean to be stumbling and foolish, easily fooled and sloppy in the way that you think, in the way that you process things and the way that you make judgments. Even that term level headed makes sense here. When you're drunk, you're not level, the world is a little crazy, you can't perceive the things correctly, you can't judge things correctly. But an older man is...

...not to be drunk minded, but sober minded, level headed, moderate, careful, perceiving things rightly and then moving in a correct way forward. I'm moving in a way that is appropriate with the given situation and the information that he has. In addition to being sober minded, he is to be dignified. This is another word that has perhaps gone out of vogue. In doing work on this sermon, I found very quickly that when the word dignity pops up all in culture, and our culture, it usually is pops up in in medical scenarios, case, cases involving bioethics and things like that. How do we give dignity, in other words, to the dying, to the sick, those kinds of things? Often Times you'll see a kind of confusion over this word. There's really a couple ways that we use dignified, and the scripture is using it here in the second way. One way we use the word dignity refers to something that we all possess, something that we all possess, and that is a certain dignity for just being made in the image of God. Whether you're poor or you're rich, your sinful or you're righteous, no matter what you are as a creature that is made in the image of God and is above the beasts and has been given a certain calling, we all possess a certain dignity. That's a first kind of dignity. The second kind of dignity is not one that we all possess, but it's one that we gain. The first kind of dignity is one that's recognized. The second kind of dignity is one that's awarded. The first kind of dignity you can't have any more or less of. The second one, however, can be measured in a certain sense. It can go up and down. In the first sense, a man has dignity simply by being a man, Ma, being made in God's image, valued by God, being treated differently than...

...the animals and giving certain tasks as a human in the according to the second kind of dignity, the kind that Paul refers to here, he it is when that man who has this dignity as being made in the image of God, then acts according to that image. According to the humanity that he's been given and flourishes in it. The second kind of dignity is distinctive in this in this way, it can go up and down. We can talk about someone being degraded, for example, as it's opposite. So what do we do when we are dignified? Well, it means that we act in a very human way in according to the best of our humanness. It means that we trust and we love God in our neighbors in a way that is honorable. It means that a dignified man as one who doesn't care for himself only, but cares for others, who lives his life not in according to fear but according to joy. A dignified man is one that knows how to endure sorrow and pain and loss in a way that is marked by godliness. Everything he does is marked by this way, with a kind of honesty and righteousness. On top of having this kind of moral dignity and this inward character of dignified character, often a dignified man is one who excels in his use and understanding of creation. Perhaps he plays an instrument well or knows how to read a book, knows how to look at nature and study the things in the world. Perhaps he has an ability to see situations or work through legal cases or any number of things. This is people that we respect, right, people that know how to take God's creation, understand it and use it to...

...do amazing things. People that build skyscrapers or people that build bridges, or are able to prove things mathematically or discover stars or all the rest. These things bring a certain honor, don't they? And rightly so, because it is a way in which we are exercising our humanity in according to that, according to our our humanness. A dignified man, therefore, is one who does these kinds of things, he sees himself in relation to God and then acts in a way that is in accordance with God's law, in accordance with God's laws in nature. He is dignified. It's not dependent all this. Conclude dignity with this by saying his dignity is not dependent, then, on his echo. GNOMICS has success. necessarily. It's not dependent on his on his health. We might see a very poor man on who loves his wife and takes care of his children. This man has a lot more dignity than a very rich man who abuses his wife and cares nothing for others. We want to define these things by not according to sin but according to righteousness. So he is a man who is sober minded, he has a man who is dignified, and he is a man who has self control. This is the third of the six. A man who has no self control, proverbs two hundred and twenty eight says, is like a city whose wall is broken down. And you know what a city with a wall who's broken down is like if you read the story of Jericho. That was the whole point, right to break down the wall so that what the city could be overthrown. A man who lacks self control, therefore, is a man who is going to be overthrown, or perhaps already is under siege. And we are given...

...a vivid picture of this, of what God desires in self control, in First Corinthians nine, twenty five through twenty seven, Paul writes every athlete exercises self control in all things, and you know this right when you see athletes, the way they work diligently their bodies to exercise and to execute certain things over and over and over again. Basketball player might go out every day and through throw a two hundred free throws just so he can get that shot. Perfect self control over his wrist, over his eye, over the spacing of his feet, over his breathing. He exercises. Every athlete exercises self control in all things, and they do it to receive a perishable wreath. But we and imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one boxing the air, but I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest, after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified. And so you see, here are the an older man is to be one who is not only knows how to assess things properly and not only lives his life generally in this kind of immoral and dignified way, but he has control over himself. He knows his limits, he knows how to fight temptation, he knows how to live not according to the lusts and passions of his heart, but according to the things of God. Well, these are the first three things that should characterize older men. The second half is grouped together with this word sound. Paul says that older men should be sounded in faith, in love and insteadfastness. In many ways this corresponds to that other threefold set...

...of virtues faith, love and hope. You see in other portions of scripture. Faith, love and steadfastness. To be sound means to be strong, to be healthy without error or defect, and it often implies that a thing that is sound is able to do the thing that it was designed to do. For example, a ship that is sound is one that is going to carry you and not sink. A spending plan that is sound means that one is one that's reasonable and is going to going to guide you in your expenses, and a bridge that is sound is one that you can stand on and rely trust in. Paul says the older men should be sound in faith, love and insteadfastness. These above abilities, sober minded, self control and dignified, are carried then, I'm not by public pressure, egoism or ambition, but these things are pretty to be done and carried in faith, in love and insteadfastness. Indeed, a man can be, and often men often are, self controlled because of the public eye that's on them or the next job that they want to have, all kinds of things. But God gives us another motivation, the motivation that should be true in older men faith. They should have a faith that is sound, which means that it should be his faith should be without error, should be trusting in things that are true. His love should be sound, which means that it should be rooted in faith. His love should be an outgrowth of the love that his God is given to him in Christ. His hope should be sound. And then that let us looking something sure, not to looking for something sure, not just the next honor on the horizon, not just another house or another grandchild, but is looking for something that is lasting and forever, great treasures of God that...

...come to us in Jesus. Together, these things create a man, or describe a man whose foot doesn't slip, who treats others in love rather than seeking glory only for himself, and who is dignified in these things as he experiences and grows in his knowledge of God and God's world. Now I want you to take a moment and think through your life. If you are a younger man, ask yourself, are the things that I'm doing now taking me on a path, on a trajectory that is going to make me into this kind of man? And if you are an older man, of course, consider the obvious. Does this describe you? Are you sober, minded, dignified, self controlled? Are you sound in faith, in love and insteadfastness? As you look around, ladies, at your world, do you see men like this? Are you praying for them? Are you encouraging them? Are you training your sons? Are you encouraging your husband's to be I'm like the man described here. If we consider this truly, we are likely to see more, more that is not in accordant with these things than is. And this description that we have here is, of course, a great desirable one. Right this is the picture that we all want, the the man that we all meet, our want to meet, the mentor that we want to have, this guy right here. But in our society we often have many men that are not like this, so much so that we haven't have words, by words, to describe the men that are not old fox,...

...dirty, old man. These phrases immediately described to us the reality that there are many men that are not like this, men that see personal freedom as the highest end and did deny things like public service and love for their own passions and desires. They see the world is something that is meant for them than whatever honors they might have achieved. It is for them and because of their old age, their sins are now excusable, the ways in which they sin against God and their neighbors. As we see these men, or perhaps young men, if we look at ourselves and we see ourselves becoming these men, we are right, I'm, to go before God and to repent, even if we repudiate these things as old men. I'm you, no doubt. I'm have regrets, and young men to who may see the path they're on and see that it's not as trade as they should be. And thus, as we consider these character qualities that must be an older men, in older Christian men, it's right that we begin to look beyond our own personal growth projects, as desirous as we may be to fulfill this description, to be this kind of man. I'm to pray for this kind of man. We're never going to get there if we szumped, if we simply buckle down and try harder, because godliness in old age, in old age, doesn't come from completing a list of life hacks, but from growing according to a...

...life giving spirit. This kind of man comes about only when God is working in us, when God is applying the work of the spirit in our lives. The steps towards strength of the soul begin by seeing the weakness in ourselves and the power in God. What kind of power might we be talking about? Well, surprise, surprise, Paul Directs us to it and tells us exactly what he means. Look down just a little bit of these after these descriptions, at verses eleven through fourteen. I won't read it, but I'll list through it and if you're if you're looking at it, you can follow along with me. Notice what he says. He says we should be these kinds of things because of what happens and what has happened in verse eleven, Number One. The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, even old men. This has got to be such a huge hope in your lie, a huge hope in your life if you are an old man and you look on your life with regret for time wasted and errors fallen into and pits and traps that you come into again and again and again, to know that salvation has come into the world for all people, even for old men. Old Dogs can be taught new tricks by the grace of God. They can. You see that in the example of Zechariah, a holy man and a good man, but a man who made a mistake, all the old, all the nevertheless, when an angel of God appears to him and says this is what's going to happen and he doesn't believe it, talk about having trouble with faith. He doesn't believe it and the angel shuts his mouth, but he opens it again and gives praise to God. It is a...

...wonderful sound. Hope, it is your hope as an older man, that the grace of God has appeared and Britt has brought salvation for all people. He does this, of course, through Jesus Christ, who knows our sins, who took takes on our sins and redeems us from them. He takes them away from us, he cleanses us from them so that we might see our regrets in the Cross and know that Jesus Christ, our Savior, has redeemed has redeemed us from them. So that's verse a, Love and Verse Twelve. God goes on to say that he is training us. This grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, and is now training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self controlled, upright and Godly lives in the present age. Remember that analogy that Paul gave about boxing the air. Here he says why? You don't have to have a false hope that you will be boxing the air. Why? Because God is your personal trainer and he is successful. He is training you to renounce ungodliness worldly passions and to live exactly in the way that he wants you to live. You see how God is help. God is telling us in his word here that this work, this kind of man that he wants you to be, is a kind of man that he is making you to be. It is ultimately his work. It's not your work alone just to gather up your strength to please him. It is ultimately his work in and through you to please himself and, as Paul points out in another place, even to shame the world, to show his glory and how he can take dirty old men and...

...rotten old foxes and turn them into men of God. He continues on in verse thirteen by reminding us of the soundness of our hope, the soundness of our steadfastness, he says, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the certainty of our salvation, that God, our personal trainer, isn't just helping US along and giving us tips at various points how we might work this muscle or that spiritual muscle, but he is doing this work in us to bring us to this particular point, a blessed hope, Paul describes it as, which will come at the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. First for our teen tells us that he will not fail at this task. Stumble though you may, he will bring you to complete purity, dignity and honor, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. So, as you consider what it is God wants you to do, consider what it is God wants to do, consider what it is God is doing, the project that he is on and the work that he will complete. So, whether you are at the end or the beginning of fulfilling your role as a man of God, find your faith, your hope and love in Him who is doing these things, in Jesus Christ, who is come, who purifies us from our sins, who redeems us from lawlessness, who works in US and trains us to renounce on godliness worldly passions and to live self controlled, uplight, upright and Godly lives in the...

...present age. This is what God is doing in and through you. And when you trust that, when you trust in the work of God, then your faith is sound, your hope is and your steadfastness is sure and your love will surely grow, because when we are engrafted into the vine, we produce fruit. It is the nature of things, it is the nature of God, it's the nature of grace. So, brothers, let us put our hope there in Christ and not in ourselves, not in our strength, not in our ability to achieve these things, but in God's ability to achieve them in us and to glorify himself through him. And Sisters, please pray for us, please be there for us, encourage US and show us the right way, remind us of the Gospel that we might be strong to believe God grant us these things according to His grace. Let us pray.

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