What does it mean to be a man?
Now that’s a funny question, obviously. I guess really, a better way of putting it would be, what are the characteristics of a godly man? Or to say it another way, what does a godly man do?
Because I am not so interested in how you or even I define what it means to be a man. I am interested in what God has to say about being a man. And I think we get a good idea of how God would answer that question in Titus 2:6-8.
Paul writes, “Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach…”
Before we go too deep, we should note that Paul is writing to Christian men.
He’s writing specifically to Titus and Titus is being urged to instruct young men who have confessed Christ and who are part of the church. The reason I am mentioning that is because it is significant. The principles or characteristics that Paul goes on to describe would be pointless and meaningless if we didn’t start there.
Because the Bible is not just another book about being a good person. It is not a book written to simply train up a generation of nice, respectable young men. No, this book is about a divine rescue operation. The story it tells is not how you save yourself, but how God saves you.
You were dead in your sins, totally unable to please and honor God, and He because of His grace, stepped in and did what you could not, and saved you from the penalty and power of sin, so that you by His power can be a real man.
That’s where being a godly man starts.
But it’s obviously not where it ends. Because God in saving you is committed to changing you. And in this text Paul lays out several specific ways God intends to change you into a godly man. Which is why over the next several posts, I want to note several of the characteristics we find here of a godly man.
We’ll start with the first.
A godly man is committed to discipleship.
“Likewise, urge the young men…”
Paul is giving a charge to Titus. You have a responsibility to train up younger men.
You can see he begins likewise, or in a similar manner. The question is, like who? Who is Titus to be like?
The answer is two verses up where Paul says, “Older women are to encourage the younger women to be…” So Paul’s saying here, “Titus, just like the older women have to get into the younger women’s lives to encourage them, you need to get into the young men’s lives.” One of the things godly men do is not all that different from what godly women do.
Paul says you are to entreat or to teach the young men.
“Likewise, urge the young men…”
You have a responsibility to the believers in your church. You are to train them. This word urge is in the present tense. It’s not a once and done thing. It is to be his continual practice. He is to be constantly teaching, constantly training.
Now if Titus has a responsibility to teach the young men, its obvious that young men have a need to learn. After all, why would Paul command Titus to train up the younger men, if they knew everything already. There’d be no point. But, because Paul knew that young men have things to learn, he reminds Titus of his responsibility to train them.
That’s sometimes hard for young men to hear. We want to think we have the whole thing figured out. But we need to hear it.
God wants you to grow in your relationship with Him.
When God saved you, He did an amazing thing, He made you an entirely new person. Your old self died with Christ on the cross. God has caused you to be born again. He gives you new desires and new longings. You now belong to Him and you want to live your life to please Him. That’s nothing you can do. That’s what He did. But still we all struggle with that old way of living. We still struggle with sin that is within us. It is a battle.
And there are many different tools that God has given us to overcome that sin in order to become more godly people. One is the Bible, another is preaching, another is prayer. But here and this is really what we are seeing in Titus 2 that one of the primary ways He trains you to live a godly life is through life on life relationships.
“Titus you are to urge the young men.”
“Older ladies you are to encourage the younger women.”
You are to be about discipleship.
Now notice, what in general is Titus to teach the young men? We see here that specifically that he is to teach them to be sensible in all things. But let’s be more general than that.
How would you categorize this kind of teaching? How would you describe in general what Titus is to do?
Paul tells us up in verse 1 that he is to teach them how to live in a way that is fitting for sound doctrine. To say it another way, he is to teach them to apply doctrine to their everyday life. The point is that Titus isn’t just to get together with these men and talk about philosophical ideas, or esoteric subjects.
Many men enjoy those kind of things.
They can sit around a table and debate all kinds of topics with one another. Paul has to warn Timothy about that in 1 and 2 Timothy, “I left you there in Ephesus Timothy, ‘in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith…for some men…have turned aside to fruitless discussion.”
But, Titus, no you are not there to get in all sorts of useless arguments. You are to train them how to live in a godly manner. His teaching is to be very practical. It has to do with the way one lives his life. You need to teach them to be sensible in all things.
You say how can I learn that? How can I learn how to apply the Scripture to my every day life? That’s where discipleship comes in. You need to find someone older and wiser, someone who is godly and you attach yourself to that person and suck him dry of all the wisdom he has. And older, wiser people need to understand that they have a responsibility. They need to find someone who knows less, who has areas that they need to grow in and they need to share with them the truth that God has so graciously taught you.
In order to teach someone how to live life sensibly, you have to do at least two things.
First, you have to begin by laying a foundation. You have to teach them content or truth. This is what is sensible. This is what the Bible says makes sense. You’ll hear people say sometimes, I just want practical teaching. Don’t give me doctrine! Well, how can you know how to live sensibly apart from God’s Word, from doctrine? No, obviously in order to train them how to be sensible, you’ve got to teach them what makes sense.
But second, you have to teach them how to apply that truth to their everyday lives. You have to help them see how what the Bible says impacts them where they live.
This is where sometimes we have our biggest problems. I can prepare a message on love all week, and then go out and do something unloving. Sometimes, because I haven’t thought through how that message should impact my day to day walk. It takes someone else coming in and saying, “Hey, this doesn’t quite match.”
And I’ve seen this in the lives of others as well.
I’ve preached messages where people have come up to me and thanked me for a certain truth, and then they’ll tell me later about something they are doing and it doesn’t match at all that truth. They don’t even recognize it because they haven’t thought about how that truth should impact their life.
We all need help with that.
And that’s what Titus is to do with these young men and really, this is something all godly men should be committed to doing with others.
It’s going to take courage to do so, I guarantee you, because if you truly are committed to doing this you are going to face conflict. We don’t always like this. This is not always the most comfortable thing. It sometimes hits a little too close to home.
I remember going to my dad, when I was in college, to ask him a question about a decision I was making. I was very happy when I went in there, I explained why I wanted to do such and such, and he didn’t agree with me. You know what? I didn’t like that. I pretended like I wanted his advice, but really I didn’t. I just wanted him to agree with me.
And that’s the way many of us are, isn’t it?
We don’t mind when people tell us the things we want to hear, when they tell us things that we are already doing, but when they come into our lives and they show us the truth and show us where we need to grow, that gets a little uncomfortable. But we need it! We desperately need it.
You’ve heard of people who go to physical therapists after an operation. Physical therapists can be tough. They’ve got to be. Because they have to push you beyond what you think you are capable of in order to get you where you need to be. But imagine going, and the physical therapist says, “now this is going to hurt a little bit but you need to do this because this is the only way you are going to get better.” It would be easier just to sit there and to ignore his advice. Who wants to hurt?
So you say no thanks and go home to your mom. Your mom tells you that you are doing just great, and she gives you orange juice, and lets you sit there in bed for the next six months.
Now of course, that’s a lot easier than going to the therapist. But did your mom really help you? If you just sit there for the next six months, will you ever become any stronger? Of course not. You’ll still be dealing with the same problem you had six months ago.
The same is true in our spiritual lives. Many times we just gather around us people who will say what we want to hear, even if it is unbiblical. And we try to crowd out of our lives anyone who would ever tell us otherwise, because that hurts a little bit. That’s sinful human nature. Paul warns us about this in 2 Timothy 4. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and will turn away from the truth…” We can fall into that trap and that’s why we’re the same place this year that we were last year. We neglect this important ministry of discipleship.
That’s why we need men and women who will step up and love others enough to get involved where it’s difficult.
This is one of the most neglected ministries in the church today. I believe that with all my heart.
It is one of the reasons why you meet Christians, who having been going to church for twenty years, but have never had anybody get into their lives and help them see what all that doctrine, all those things they are learning on Sunday morning, have to do with their day to day life. So they are pretty clueless, they look a lot like the world. They need help!
Now again understand this, this is not a very popular ministry in our world. Our world doesn’t understand what this is all about. And that’s probably why there are so many churches that neglect it. Don’t get into my business and I won’t get into yours. My sin is my private business, what right do you have to talk to me about it? What right do you have to ask me questions about my heart, about my actions? Non-Christians are kind of shocked when they hear about someone confronting someone else. What right do they have? I’ll live my life my way! Scripture on the other hand says you do have a responsibility to get into someone else’s business when they are clearly violating biblical principle. I’m not talking about nosiness. And you are to do this not because of pride, or a desire for gossip, or a way to make yourself look good. But in gentleness, knowing your own weakness, realizing that you could fall apart from the grace of God, you are to restore them. You are to help them grow in Christ. You are to not just talk to them about superficial things but get into the heart issues and help them grow in love and good works.