Old & Bold
May 12, 2019 Pastor: Philip De Courcy Series: Doing Good
Topic: Special Service Scripture: Titus 2:1-2
Transcript of our Sermon Audio File:
So let's take our Bibles and turn to Titus 2. It's always tempting on Mother's Day to teach on motherhood, but I'm going to avoid that temptation. We're going to study in the book of Titus. But I also think what we're about to do this morning and the next several weeks fits into the whole arena of family and family life, because in Titus 2:1-10, Paul encourages Titus to address five groups of people, older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and slaves in the Roman Empire.
We're going to begin to look at this section this morning, we're going to look at the category of older men. A message I've called, Old and Bold. That's where God wants you this morning. And just to put this into context, stand in honor of God's word. We'll read all ten verses, but only cover verses one and two this morning. This is the qualities of a sound church.
Here's what Paul says to Titus, "But as for you," that's pretty personal. "But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine. The older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience. The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things, that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, love their children, be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise exhort the young men to be sober minded; in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works, in doctrine, showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned. That one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. Exhort bond servants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well-pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things."
You may be seated. We're speaking this morning on Titus 2:1-2, a message called, Old and Bold. Because you see, that's what God wants from us. He wants us to be old and bold. According to the Bible, when you and I find ourselves in the fourth quarter of life, God wants to find us driving for the end zone. According to the Bible, when you and I come to write the last few chapters of our earthly story, God wants us to write that story in bold, black letters. He wants the end chapters to tell the story of a life fully lived.
God wants us old and bold. God wants to find us on the down slope of life, numbering our days, applying our hearts to wisdom, serving our generation by the will of God, discipling the nations, praying always, loving our spouses, mentoring our children and our grandchildren, blessing our neighbors, loving our country, cherishing our friends, seeking first the kingdom of God, and working for the night comes when no man shall work. Old and bold.
God wants us to be alive until we're dead. I love Psalm 92:12-15, listen to this, "The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree. He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age." Old and bold. They shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright.
Look, old age is not a time for to be indifferent, indulgent, or indolent. Your senior years is not a time to work hard at doing the least possible. You don't want to be like the guy who retires and said about his retirement, "I intend for the first six months to sit in a rocking chair, and then I'll decide if I want to rock it." You don't want to be like the guy who retired and his wife grabbed him one morning and said, "You know what? What are you going to do today?" He said, "I'm going to do nothing." To which she replied, "But that's what you did yesterday." To which he replied, "Yeah, and I'm not done." That's not what God wants.
Of course, it's good, when you reach to a certain point in life where you've worked hard to enjoy the fruit of your labor. There is a place to put your feet up a little bit. But you know what, God wants us old and bold. He wants us to be alive to Jesus Christ and his glory and his kingdom until we're dead.
I've told you this story before, that just in God's providence I happen to be flying back through the UK several years ago and hopped home to see my mum and dad in Belfast. And went to my old church because the pastor, Tom Orr, my pastor when I was a younger man, was retiring after many, many, many years in the ministry. He was a godly man, old school. My father told me one day he went to visit him in the hospital and he found Pastor Orr sitting up on his hospital bed in his shirt and tie. Old school. Godly man, I loved him.
And you know what, at the end of the service after his retirement, I said, "Pastor, I want to thank you for your life and your ministry, your love of God's word. You were a fearful preacher. You were a good pastor to me and whatever I am in life, wherever I am in life, I want you to know your fingerprints are all over me." And I said, "What are you going to do tomorrow?" Classic. He said, "Well, Philip, I'm going to get up at 6:00 and I'm going to have my devotions like I've done every day of my life until now. And then I'm going to dedicate the rest of my life to Jesus Christ."
Old, bold, that's where God wants us. And so I want to come and look at Titus 2:1-2, because here Paul through Titus begins to address five categories of people, older men, older women, younger men, younger women, and slaves in the Roman Empire. And we're going to look at that first group this morning in verse two, "Older men ought to be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, and love, and in patience." Paul wants those older men to express a life marked by grace and grit and gravitas.
You need to understand, as Paul writes this, according to Philemon 9, he is an old man himself. He's called the aged. Paul, the aged. And so, Paul is writing to older men like himself, through Titus, and telling them to run so as to win on the last few laps in life. You may be dealing with diminished capacity physically, but you should always be growing spiritually. The outer man perishes, but the inner man is renewed day by day. Proverbs 4:18, "The path of the just is as a light that grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day."
Old and bold. Now, we've got to answer a question, who qualifies as old? Who qualifies as old? Well, we're expositors here at Kindred, and so we delve into the grammar and the history of this letter written to believers in the island of Crete in the middle of the Mediterranean, around the time of Paul. And what we found out is this term kind of captures those in their 50s and up. Because in that day, the median age and life expectancy was 30. I mean, if you're 30 today, chances are you're a goner in the Roman Empire. But if you exceed that, then you're in to kind of overtime and so in Paul's thinking and in the New Testament thinking, some actually have taken it back into the mid to late 40s, is where the word old is used in the New Testament.
But let's put it into the 50s and up, that's who is being addressed this morning, that's you. That's me, I'm 57. According to this text, I'm one of those old men. And if you're not sure about that, you're trying to duck that, let me help you a little bit for a bit of humor. You know you're old when you have been there, done that, and you don't know remember where and what it was. You're old. You know you're old when you stop growing on both ends and start growing in the middle. You know you're old when you go to the beach you turn a wonderful color blue because you've been holding your stomach in for two hours. You know you're old when people tell you you look good. You know you're old when almost everything hurts, but nothing else works. You know you're old when you're told to go slow by your doctor and not the police. You know you're old when you write a note to yourself reminding yourself not to take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night. You know you're old when kidnappers aren't very interested in you. You know you're old when there's nothing left to learn the hard way. You know you're old when you are too old to care. You know you're old when you're own clothes have been kept so long they're coming back into style
But either way, I think my research tells you, guys, if you're in your 50s and up, welcome to the old men club. And Paul's got something to say to you. Be sober, be reverent, be temperate, be sound in faith, and love, and in patience. And by the way, to the younger men, we'll get to you, but the assumption of the text is, as with the older men and the older women, what the older women are, the younger women ought to be. As what the older men are, the younger men ought to aspire to be also. So don't tune out this morning.
So here's the point, you want to put the text into context. Bear with me, it's going to take us a few minutes to do this, but we're setting up what's going on in chapter two. And there's four things, quickly. The first thing I want you to notice before we actually come to verse two is that it begins with, "But as for you." The Greek is an emphatic pronoun, "but you." Direct to Titus, "Hey, you, Titus, here's what I want you to do. I want you to teach older men, older women, younger men, younger women, and slaves, what they ought they to do, which is fitting for sound doctrine."
But the you here is a contrast, isn't it? To the verses we took two weeks to look at, 10-16, false teachers who don't preach sound doctrine, who turn people away from the truth, who subvert households, and whose lives are abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. Titus is to be the opposite, but you.
Secondly, what strikes you is that while Titus is to speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine, as he teaches and preaches God's word, he is to be practical and pastoral. He is to apply God's word to life. You'll notice the word, "teach that which is proper for sound doctrine." He's not just told to teach sound doctrine. He's not just told to turn Sunday morning into a theological classroom experience. He's to preach sound doctrine in the light of life and where it intersects with life. And that's why he gets real down into the weeds, he messes with people, and he says, "Hey, you old men, here's what you need to do. Old women, here's what you need to do. Young women, here's what you need to do. Young men, here's what you need to do."
Because the word proper here, maybe in your translation is, accords with or fits in with. "So Titus, teach that which fits in with good doctrine. Teach a lifestyle that corresponds with the Gospel." In fact, we're moving into a section in this letter, where we're moving from the indicative to the imperative. Up until now, there's only been one command in the book of Titus, chapter one, verse 13. There are 14 commands in all of the letter, 13 of them are in chapter two and three.
So he's going to get very practical, very personal, very pastoral, going forward. He's going to remind them what D.L. Moody said, "The Bible is not just for information, it's for transformation." It's going to change your life. It's going to cast its authority over every corner of your conduct and how you behave, and how you live, and how you order yourself.
Number three, as he applies this doctrine, we see that he applies it to distinct groups. We've noted that, five groups in all, older men, older women, younger men, younger women, and slaves in the Roman Empire. Because they've got different roles, their life context varies, and their temptations are not the same. And so Paul encourages Titus to give himself to a little bit of age and stage ministry.
And then he encourages those groups to minister to themselves. Maybe a justification for men's ministry and women's ministry in some form or another. Where older men and younger men get together, and there's mentoring and discipleship. Here at Kindred we have the Paul and Timothy relationships, an older man put with a younger man. I think we have 30 or 40 of those going on right now. It's justified here. You've got the older women, we'll see when I get back, who are taught to teach the young women to love their husbands, be discreet, chaste, homemakers, and all of that.
So I just you to see that Paul promotes the application of God's word into particular life context. And here's a little take away, do remember that Christianity didn't encourage people to withdraw from the social structure. Christianity found people where they were, changed them where they were, and then they began to affect their environment and context. Christianity is to be fleshed out in the context of marriage, in the context of life.
In fact, when Paul is addressing several questions from young Christians in Corinth, some of them included the idea, you know, now that I'm a new creature in Christ and I'm a Christian and I'm different from the world around me, you know what, my husband's not a Christian. He's not a believer, should I leave him? And Paul says, no! No, your marriage is sanctified. God will bless you and use you in his life, or her life. No, you don't divorce. Now, if the unbeliever leaves you because he can't stand living with you as a Christian, well, there's nothing you can do about that. But you don't leave them. In fact, they're going to be loved in a way they've never been loved before. Because now the Spirit of God is going to make you love them in ways they have never experienced.
But here's the point, ladies and gentlemen, in 1 Corinthians 7, he's addressing those kind of issues. He says in verse 20, "Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called." What's the call? It's the Gospel call. You get saved and that call encourages you to stay in your calling in life. So if you're an engineer, you work the line, you're in a factory, you become a real good Christian lineman, a real good Christian employee. In fact, those who were slaves and couldn't do anything about that, they are told not to speak back to their masters, not to steal.
Christianity doesn't encourage you to withdraw from life, it encourages you live out your Christian life within the social structure. Same in verse 24, 1 Corinthians 7, "Brethren, let each one remain with God in that state to which he was called." If you're married, when you become a Christian, remain married, if that at all is possible. It's not remain in that which is sinful, but remain in that which is acceptable, godly, and purposeful.
Here's the fourth thing, we'll move into our sermon, but it's so important to see this back in Titus 2. We tend to talk about discipleship and evangelism, right? Have you ever heard those phrases, discipleship and evangelism, like they're separate. It's interesting, in Titus 2, you have discipleship evangelism. You say, "Pastor, help me get my head around that." Well, Titus 2:1-10 is addressed to disciples of Jesus Christ, addressed to believers, to older men, younger men, older women, younger women, to slaves. And they're told, "Hey, here's how you are to live out your Christian life. Here's what it looks like to be a disciple at that age or at that stage.
And I want you to notice the Gospel impact. Look at verse 5, "Young women are to be discrete, sexually pure, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands," notice, "that the word of God may not be blasphemed." There's a Gospel impact. Certainly, if your husband is not a believer, he's going to see that impact and he's going to be more hesitant to blaspheme God because he sees God alive in you. And the surrounding culture finds it hard to blaspheme the Christian who is living their life in a demonstrable, gracious manner.
Look at verse 8, where Titus is an example to the young man. Titus is to be sound in speech, speech that cannot be condemned. Condemned by who? Condemned by opponents of the Gospel. And if Titus lives that way and the young men follow his example, then the opponent will be shamed into not shaming Christians and having nothing evil to say.
Discipleship evangelism. Look at verse 10, we're talking about slaves, they're Not to pilfer, they're not to steal, they're not to defraud their masters. Showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior in all things. We have said this before, the word adorn is our Greek word for cosmology or cosmetics. It speaks of order and beauty. So you could read it like this, the slave is to so beautify the Gospel in the way they live and respond to their earthly master that God is glorified.
The point is this, Paul is concerned about the church's respectability in the community. It's interesting. Paul doesn't discount the unbeliever, "Oh, don't worry about them or what they think." He spends a whole chapter saying, "I want you to behave this way so that indeed the opponent won't speak evil of us, the opponent won't blaspheme us, and the doctrine of God will be put on a beautiful display in the community."
Paul's concerned about the church's credibility. He wants them to be a good advertisement for the Gospel. So, just bear that in mind, I've just kind of set the text in its context as we work through each of these groups over the next five sermons. Realize that as you seek to live this out, God wants to use it as an evangelistic tool to impact your family, your surrounding street, and so on and so forth.
I've told you about William Wilberforce, a wonderful man of God. He was used by God to bring the end of slavery to the British Empire, you've maybe seen the movie, Wilberforce. But, you know what, it was said of him, I love this phrase, someone described him this way, and understand, he saw his calling as twofold, he said, "God has raised me up for the abolishment of slavery in the British Empire, and for the reformation of good manners."
When he talks about manners in the Victorian time, he's not talking about how you sit down and eat at the table, and where your fork and your knife goes. He's talking about ethics and behavior. And he did impact the British Empire, he did bring about the end of slavery, and he did reform the culture. And it was said of him by one biographer, I love this phrase, "He made goodness fashionable." That's beautiful. He made goodness fashionable. He beautified the Gospel. He put Jesus Christ on glorious display. May that be said of us.
So let's come and look at this category, the older man. And we'll move through this as quickly as we can. Number one, old and bold, number one, older men are to be restrained. Go back to our text, Titus 2:1, "But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine, that the older men be sober." There's our first word, sober.
Older men are to be restrained. This is a Greek word that literally means they are not to be intoxicated with wine or alcohol. But I think there's a meaning beyond that, because that's a given. If you don't know this, you need to know this this morning, if you're ever in a state of drunkenness, you're disobedient and you've broken God's command. The Bible condemns drunkenness in the life of a Christian.
Where do I get that? One example would be Ephesians 5:18, "Be not," command, imperative, "Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess. But be filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit." We don't want you controlled by alcohol, clouding your judgment. We want you controlled by the Holy Spirit, who will inform your mind through scripture.
I think that's the meaning here. Don't be drunk, that's a given. It's more the metaphorical sense, don't have your mind clouded with alcohol. So the word is used often and in elsewhere to carry the idea of being levelheaded or clear thinking. We don't want anybody behind the steam wheel of a motor car who having drunk alcohol, because they are going to be clouded. Their judgments are going to be impaired, they're going to run the risk of taking another person's life.
And that's the idea here, don't have your mind clouded. Be levelheaded. It speaks of moderation, okay? Don't be drunk with wine where in is excess. It's an aversion to excess, it speaks of restraint. A life restrained, a life that's protected the center and central things of life. Look at verse 12 in contrast, the Cretans, the culture these people were living their Christian life in, well Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons. A little bit of a stereotype, but there's truth to it. This is generally speaking how you often find many people in the culture in Crete. "And look out at their evil beasts, their wild, out of control, know no boundaries, and they are lazy gluttons. They indulge their appetites, they never say no to themselves."
But hold on a minute, there's a group that's so different from that, it's the older men in the church who are a model for the younger men. They don't indulge their appetites. They are self-controlled, they are restrained. They know the boundaries, they know what's important in life. They are self-poised, self-possessed. They are free from sinful appetites and they are free from the freedom of expression that indulges those appetites. They know what matters, they know what the priority is. They know the next step, given the Gospel and biblical priority. They use their time wisely, they spend their money carefully, and they apply their energy selectively. They are good at assessing the things that are of most importance. They know where the price tags belong in life.
Unlike in their youth, they have lived now long enough and life has taught them, and old age has brought them to know what is essential. They're sober, they know what's essential. They can think clearly. They can get past the noise, all that would tempt them, all around that would distract them. They are clear headed, they know why they're here, they know how to live a life for God's glory, and they keep eternity and the big picture in mind.
In fact, since I quoted Ephesians 5, maybe I'll illustrate this and move on. If you go back there to Ephesians 5, when he says don't be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit. If you preface that, verse 15, "So then," I want you to do this, "see then that you walk circumspectly. Not as fools, but as wise. Redeeming the time, the days are evil. Therefore, don't be unwise, understand what the will of God is. Don't be drunk with wine, be filled with the Spirit." Love that word circumspectly. The Greek carries the idea of being careful, of judging your next step, weighing your next step. Being restrained and thoughtful, bearing in mind what is essential. Walk circumspectly.
Now, you've heard me illustrate this in the past. When I was a little boy, I used to go my grandmother's house in Belfast, my mum's side, my Granny Moore. She lived in a small home in Belfast, lived in a very industrial area. It was an old home, the bathroom was out the back, it was outside the house. She didn't have any bath, it was a big tin bath that hung on a nail on the backyard wall. And if you wanted a bath, you had to heat the water in the kettle and fill the thing about 60 times. And then you might have got it to your ankles.
So that was kind of the context. And there's a thing I remember about my grandmother's home, the backyard was very small. A little courtyard surrounded by brick walls and they were whitewashed because of the soot and the dust that would come from the great shipyard, the Harlan and wharf that was nearby. And on top of her wall, there was broken glass cemented on the top of the wall. I don't know if you've ever seen that before, probably not if you live in Anaheim Hills. But in her area, you put broken glass on the top of your walls to keep thieves out, little rascals that might come in and create some mischief.
And as a boy, sometimes looking around in the backyard, I'd see cats walk along the wall. And they would walk the [inaudible 00:27:08] circumspectly. Soft paws and broken glass don't go together. And you'd watch the cat kind of dance and walk gingerly through the broken glass. Four legs, working its way through all this broken glass without getting cut. That's kind of the image here, walk circumspectly, be restrained, be sober, be measured, be gingerly. Know what's what, know what's important.
Access is allowing one thing to dominate your life to the exclusion of other things. And the godly older man does not do that. He knows what is to be at the center of life and what is central to life, and he keeps that at the core. You know, it's good to see Tiger back in the golfing world, those that follow golf. And yet as I thought about that, just this week in preparation I came across the story that surrounded his fall from grace, his infidelity. His life began to fall apart in public. And when that was happening, Herman Edwards, great NFL coach, was interviewed on ESPN. And he was asked this question by the hostess, "So what do you think happened to Tiger Woods?" To which he replied, "Tiger simply had his priorities in the wrong place and it's easy for that to happen."
But the older man in Christ has worked that out by a certain stage in life. He knows where his priorities ought to be, church, family, friends, eternal things. He walks gingerly, he walks purposefully, he makes good decisions regarding the next step because his life is guided by priorities.
Number two, older men are to be reverent. Reverent, let's go back to Titus 2:2, "But the older men are to be sober and reverent." Now, one would assume that's reverence for God, that's easy to deduct because that's a given. Where does wisdom begin? Wisdom begins in the fear of God, Proverbs 1:7. So a man of God, whatever age he is, but certainly older men, will be marked by a reverence for God. God will be in his right place in their lives because they are sober. They know what's essential and what the priority is.
But I think it's more subjective than that. I think this is speaking of his demeanor. He's reverent. I don't want you to conclude from that he's stuffy. I don't want you to conclude from that he doesn't know how to have a good time. I don't want you to conclude from it that he doesn't know how to tell a joke or take a joke. But I tell you what it does mean, it means he's the kind of man who over the years has won the respect of his children. Who has won the respect of his workmates, his wife, his family and friends. It carries the idea of a certain, he's sublime, he's honorable. Can I even use the word, it's a good word, it's fallen out of favor, especially in a culture like ours here in California where you're encouraged to let everything hang out and do your own thing. I can go to funeral in Hawaiian shirts, kind of crazy nonsense. There's no dignity, no sense of proportion, no reverence. Come on, that's not the way life is and you and I have got to maybe recapture some of that.
On the other hand, we do love the laid back culture of California and we can enjoy an aspect of that. But life can't be so laid back where it's absent of dignity and weightiness and gravitas. And that's what our guy knows, he's marked by a certain weightiness, a certain gravitas. He's not some kind of Tom fool at 60 or 55 or whatever. He's kind of matured to a point where he knows how to have a good time. But a lot of the time, man, there's a weightiness to him his life isn't frivolous. And life has tempered him. And so in his given certain occasions and times, in his dress and in his demeanor and in his disposition, he's reverent.
I was studying that, and I don't know why, but a man popped into my mind I haven't thought about for a while. But when I was growing up as a little boy in Rathcoole Baptist Church, where my mum and dad raised me, where they still live at 84 and 85, there was an older man who came to our church, a Mr. Bailey. And I use the word Mr. Bailey very purposefully. He sat under the clock in the church, on the right hand side. Our family sat on the left. He was a very dignified man, old school. I think he was a war veteran.
My image of him, because that's what came into my mind thinking about this word reverent, he arrived at church in his black suit, black Bible, black polished shoes, black umbrella with a wooden handle, and his bowler hat. Dignified man. If I dared to talk to him, it was, "Good morning, Mr. Bailey." Could hardly look at the guy. Maybe you could take from that, "Well, that doesn't sound good." Let's just run for it for a moment, we don't have enough of these guys any more. Let's not criticize him, maybe a little eccentric and all of that. But I'll tell you what, there was a dignity about that man, there was a certain reverence about him. I wasn't going to go up and say, "Hey, Bro! How you hanging this morning?" He'd have taken that umbrella and cut my head open with it. "Don't you speak to me like that, you little gutter snipe." Boom!
Again, we can pick it apart, run with it. When's the last time you saw that kind of character? That old man, who just by his demeanor and the way he handles himself, it just draws a certain reverence and dignity out from you for him. Give him his title, stand in his presence, recognize he's lived life, served his country, raised his family, done some hard work. Don't you dare speak to him like that.
And that's an exaggeration and I'll leave it there, but that's just who came to mind, old Mr. Bailey. I loved that thought, just seeing him in the cloak room, put his bowler hat on the hook, hang his umbrella, come in and sit under the clock. And he didn't fidget for an hour and twenty minutes. He just sat there upright with his Bible, listening to the pastor. There's just something about that, take that wherever you want it to go, but be challenged by it. Too many Tom fools in their 50s and 60s, who haven't yet matured and come to a place of dignity.
Listen to John MacArthur in his commentary on Titus 2, on this very text, "Older believers have lived long enough to see many people, including good friends and close family members experience serious misfortune, suffer great pain, perhaps die at an early age. They may have seen a spouse or a child suffer leukemia or some form of cancer, debilitating disease. They have learned the value of time. They better accept and comprehend their own mortality, the imperfections of this present world, the inability of material things to satisfy. They have seen utopian ideas fall and fail and they have learned how short life is. They have seen the disappointment of euphoric emotions and experiences dissipate. Or perhaps especially those that proport to be of a higher spiritual order."
It's a good word. Somewhere along the line, guys, myself included, again, we're not saying you can't have a good time, you can't put a smile on your face and enjoy a joke and hang out with the young guys. But at some point, you start to take on this statesman role, this older man role, where you ought to be the mark and the epitome for other young men. Where you don't horse around, you don't become some Tom fool, you're not frightened to carry a little sense of dignity and decorum for God's glory.
In fact, as I read that quote, I remember a conversation with John MacArthur. I had listened to a famous message of his called, Discovering the Will of God, and if you went to Grace Community in the early days, that was put into a booklet and if you were a first time visitor you got John MacArthur's message, Discovering the Will of God. I listened to him preach that with 30 years apart. Not literally, on two CDs and you could tell a change. That early message, almost the same because he's working off a sermon manuscript, but there was humor, it went at a certain pace and a clip. And then I listened to one, the same message he preached some 20, 30 years older and it was more somber, and it was a slower pace, just a little bit more heavy.
And one day in conversation, as you know, he's a friend and more of a mentor, I said, "John, can I ask you," and I told him what I just told you. And I said, "John, how do you explain the difference?" You know what he said? Just right out of the gate, he looked up and he said, "Philip, I've lived long enough to realize that there are fewer things to laugh about." Now, you don't want to take from that that John MacArthur doesn't know how to have a good time. I've played golf with him, I've been in his company and he can enjoy a joke and give a joke as good as the next guy. But that's a great thought. Hey, 30 years on, I've been to enough hospitals, I've seen things happen in life, I just have fewer things to laugh about. It's not that I don't laugh, just fewer things. There's a little bit more of a dignity and decorum to what I do now. It's a good word.
Older men are to be responsible. Responsible, verse two, the third word, temperate. "Older men are to be sober, reverent, temperate." Okay? Restrained, reverent, responsible. Because this Greek word carries the idea of prudence, sound judgment. If you are to understand it, look at the opposite. The opposite of this word is fickleness, a rash passion or impulsiveness. So in a word, we're really talking about being responsible in your behavior, both in your attitude and your action.
Danny Burke, who's preached here at Kindred, in a commentary on Titus in the ESV commentary series, says this, he quotes Aristotle, who was a great Greek philosopher. Aristotle speaks of this word self-control or temperate, here's how he describes it, "The avoidance of extremes," we're back up to the idea of sober, "the avoidance of extremes and careful consideration for responsible action." I love that. We're speaking about responsibility. Again, we're not some Tom fool, not some guy that's irresponsible and rash and impulsive. No, an older man across the years has grown to a point, where he can be trusted, he's dependable, he knows what needs to be done next, he knows what's essential, he gets it done. He doesn't run away from his responsibilities. He may enjoy an odd golf game, he may enjoy a little bit of leisure, but most of the time he's hard at work fulfilling God's will for his life in the things that are most essential. That's the older man. He's responsible.
And it made me think about a message I shared with you several years ago about what do we do with our responsibilities and our burdens and life's load? Well, the beauty is, number one, you can shed it. Psalm 55:22, "Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you." Isn't that a wonderful thing? What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear. What a privilege to carry our children, our finances, our health, our temptations, you've got the list, to the Lord in prayer. And know that he will give his grace to bear that load and he will help us bear that load.
So you can shift your burdens, number two, you can share your burdens or your responsibilities. Galatians 6:1-2, what does it say? "Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." Is that what the body of Christ is about? Isn't that what we love to do here at Kindred? Get to know each other, get down into small groups, men's groups, women's groups, whatever we're not passing each other like ships in the night. And we get to learn, "Hey, have you heard about sister such and such, or brother such and such? They're hurting. Yeah, you know what? Some of us should get some meals over there. Some of us should go and visit or whatever. Let the benevolent fund and the deacons know, they could do with some financial help." Whatever that is.
But here's the last one, not only can we shift the burdens and share the burdens, we ought also to shoulder the burdens. Even with God's grace and with other people's help, you can't walk away from your load in life. You've got to bear up. That's Galatians 6:5, where it says, "Bear your own burdens." That Greek word's interesting, different from verse one and two. It's a Greek word, military word, it means the legionnaire's backpack. So if you had seen a Roman soldier walking down the street with his backpack on, that's our word. "Hey, hey, sergeant, would you carry my backpack for me?" Yeah, try that one.
Shoulder your own burdens, carry your own pack. That's what older men do, they bear their load. They carry their burden with dignity and grace and God's help in the context of the church. In fact, when I preached that message, I told you the story told by Paul Powell in his book about Beverly King, who was one of the richest men in Graham, Texas. He was a larger than life character and he owned the town hotel, he was the major stock holder and director in the bank, he had a bunch of business interests. And an interesting thing about Beverly King was, you would have found him most days in his old work clothes, as rich as he was, somewhere in the Main Street, going in and out the grocery stores and barber shops, giving people boxes of matches with the address and name of his bank.
One day, a traveling salesman's car needed some work, so he puts it in the mechanic shop. Decides he'll stay for the night in the hotel until it's fixed. And so he happens to bump into Mr. Beverly King. Looking at him, he takes him for the town loafer. And he says, "Say, would you grab my bags and help me down to the hotel?" Playing along, that old man grabs his bags, heads down. The guys says to him, "You know, when I was driving into town this morning, I noticed this beautiful home, set on a hill overlooking the town. Got to be 5,000 square feet, it doesn't seem to belong here. I don't know that it belongs in Beverly Hills. I can't believe anybody around here owns that home. Do you know who owns it?" He said, "Yeah, I do." The guy looks at him, he can't believe it. He says, "How in the world do you own that kind of home?" He said, "I'll tell you son how, by carrying my own bags."
Older men, they spend a lifetime carrying their own bags. They're responsible. Finally, older men are right. This is the last trait, right? Titus 2:2, they're sound. That's the word means healthy, correct, right. They're sound in faith, and love, and in patience. This is a great Christian triad of virtues, back in 1 Corinthians 13:13, you know love, faith, and hope. It's very much the same, because remember patience or endurance or perseverance, that's natural, that grows out of hope. So we're pretty much dealing with faith, love, and hope. Faith, love, and perseverance out of hope.
Notice too that it's not sound in faith, love, and hope. It's sound in faith, and in love, and in patience. Because Paul uses that Greek structure to make us just stop and pause. Love, let's think about that. Faith, let's think about that. Patience, let's think about that. What does it mean, faith? Trust in God, right? Simple. Trust in God, his word, his ways. Faith is a refusal to panic, said Martin Lloyd Jones. Because a man of God, an older man, knows what he believes, why he believes it, and whom he believes. Didn't Paul say that? "I know whom I have believed and I'm persuaded that he is able."
So older men ought to be a men of resolute reliance and trust in God. Nothing shakes them. Life doesn't seem to knock them sidewards as it once did when they were younger. Why? Because they've lived long enough to know that God can be trusted. They've lived long enough to see his faithfulness and answers to prayer, and so they are not shaken. What does the Psalmist say? Psalm 37, "I once was young, but now I'm old, but I have never seen the righteous forsaken." And if that's what you've seen, and if that's what you know, it's going to be hard to knock you off your horse.
The older man has got faith, the older man has got love. He's not some sour old cranky guy, picking fights with young people and going on about how rotten life is, where he's sour and bitter. No, he's resolute in his faith and he's loving in his actions. He knows, according to 1 Corinthians 13, that where love is present, it doesn't matter what's absent. And where love is absent, it doesn't matter what's present. Because he remembers what Paul says, you can serve, you can sacrifice, you can know your theology, but if you don't have love, you're nothing. Close your theology books, don't preach at me, I need to see love. Older men display that.
Patience, as I've said, that means endurance, perseverance. It's a good replacement for hope. Because if you've got hope, you can persevere. If hope, which is an expectation or a promise of better things ahead, if that's the carrot on the end of your stick, you'll keep going forward. And we've got the best hope of all, we've got a living hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the imminent rapture of the church in heaven forever, amen? And when that's your hope, you don't linger on your way to heaven, you persevere. Even in old age, with pains and challenges and diminishing health, you don't roll over and play dead. You start playing the violin so that everybody will come along and sympathize with you. No, you're tougher than that. You're a man marked by faith, love, and patience.
You know my love for Mrs. Thatcher, I grew up in Britain during her reign, so to speak. The Iron Lady, and she was. She had this statement, sounds very much like Margaret, "I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my way in the end." That was Mrs. Thatcher. And normally, she got her way in the end. But isn't that the Christian? I can be extraordinarily patient, I can endure, I can persevere, because in the end, we get our way. We get heaven, we get Christ, we get health, we get joy unending.
Old and bold, I hope you're up for it. A man asked a woman how old she was. She said, "Don't be rude. My age is my business." He didn't skip a beat. He said, "Well, by the looks of you, you've been in business a long time." That's pretty bad.
But hey, let me turn that, guys, hopefully you'll take this. Remember, I'm an older man too, by the looks of some of us, we've been in business a long time. And we're going out of business because the days are dwindling. And Jesus is coming. And the grim reaper is stalking us. So, you know what? I want to get about this business before I go out of business. I want to be sober, I want to be reverent, I want to be temperate. And I want to be marked by love and faith and perseverance, don't you?
Father, we thank you for our time this morning. First of all, we celebrate once again our mothers and the ladies of our congregation who have embraced that great calling. Bless them, reward them, help them not to allow the world to talk them out of the sacrifices and steadfastness. Paul calls younger women to be homemakers, mothers, lovers of their husbands, discreet, sexually pure. We pray indeed for a generation that will embrace that. And may they have husbands who love them for that. Honor them, celebrate that, may their children grow up to call them blessed.
But Lord, we've been looking at older men. Lord, what a wonderful stage in life old age is in many ways, got its challenges, but it gives us a place to look back. We've got a resume, we've got a history. You've proven yourself faithful, your grace is a marvelous thing, your mercy is a marvelous thing given our sin. And we want to be old and bold, it's not time to put our feet up, putter around in the garden, clean our golf club, polish our old cars. None of that's evil, that's not what it's about. If that's what it is about for us, we're on the wrong track. It's about Christ, it's about eternity, it's about his church, it's about leaving a legacy with our kids, it's about getting to a place of dignified godliness that wins the respect of our peers and those who come behind us.
So bless the old men of this congregation. Help them not to run from that, help them not to deny it. Embrace that title with dignity and live it for your glory. For we ask and pray it all in Jesus' name, amen.
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Kindred Community Church | Sermon Transcripts ©
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