Let the Men be Men
Titus 2–God’s design for every generation
They called him the human fly–an expert rock climber, now turned showman. He’d travel from city to city to conquer the tallest and most difficult buildings by climbing them on the outside. Through advance publicity, he’d draw a crowd on a specific date and early in the morning as people arrived for work, he’d begin to climb the city’s toughest skyscraper.
On one occasion, thousands had gathered during a lunch hour to watch the fly make his way up a large building. As they watched, the crowd began to realize the climber had stopped making any progress up the side of the building. They observed him go to the left, then to the right–but he didn’t seem to be able to get over a ledge that jutted out from the building several hundred feet up.
Finally, as they watched, the fly seemed to figure out what he was going to do. The crowd saw him stretching after something on the ledge above him. Not quite being able to reach it, they observed the climber jump to grasp the unseen object. Then to their horror, they watched him fall to his death. Before they drove the body away, the examiner opened the climber’s clenched fist, and there in the showman’s hand was a dusty spiderweb. While he was climbing, he gambled his life on an object that appeared firm. It looked like cement, but it ended up being only a fragile cobweb covered with dust.
What is so sad about that story is that it symbolizes the daily plight of the average American male today. We live in a society that is continually changing the role of a man and redefining the meaning of masculinity. Men are looking for something solid to hang onto, but all they’re given today is dirty, deceptive cobwebs.
For centuries, men–society expected men to be “handsome of countenance; and ruler of his kingdom; provider of his household; a great achiever, a courageous warrior, a defender of his territory, a protector of his wife, children, relatives and others of the female gender. A decision-maker for his family, a comforter to his spouse and a master of his fate.” But now, even that has all changed.
Today, a man must be “good looking, but not aware of it; intelligent, but not heady; mechanical, but not grimy; masculine, but not overmastering; firm, but not inflexible; self-assured, but not conceited; loyal, but not patronizing; ambitious, but not a workaholic; aggressive, but not pushy; gentle, but not feminine; knowledgeable, but not a show-off; agreeable, but not a yes-man; even-tempered, but not boring; generous, but not extravagant; relaxed, but not lazy; and courageous, but not foolish.”
And now with gender being intentionally rewritten into anything and everything, men are afraid and young men are confused. But Christ is not. Jesus Christ, who made this world, also created men and women, and He made each of the two sexes–only two, with a specific detailed design. If you’ve submitted your life to Jesus Christ, then with that will come a submission to His Word, the Bible. And with that desire for obedience will come a pursuit of His will when it comes to His design for women and for men.
What you and I desperately need today is to study Christ’s original blueprint found in God’s Word over the roles of men and women. Today, you must know, love, obey and be vocal about God’s design for men and women. You cannot merely embrace your own role. Christian women must know what God expects of men. And Christian men must know what God expects of women. You must understand the other in order to embrace your own. This week is for men and next week is for women. In our day, you cannot be silent, indifferent or passive any longer.
1 The very character of God is at stake
Men and women function the way we do because our God is Triune–one God, yet three distinct persons. Marriage is one, yet three distinct persons–husband, wife and Christ. Plus the husband/wife relationship demonstrates Christ and the Church.
2 God made men responsible to lead their homes and this church
And as the men go, so do your home and our church.
3 We desperately need a biblical understanding of each role
We are living, as my friend Phil DeCourcy says, “In a day when boys act like girls, men act like boys, and women act like men.” And today’s message is a taste. The books were written for every marriage of any age, for fathers to disciple their sons, mothers to disciple their daughters, for singles, collegians, high school students, even some ambitious junior highers–to study both roles so they might fully embrace God’s perfect design for men and for women in any age, any culture, and at any time in history.
So if you are ready, grab on to your armrest and turn to Titus 2. Turn there, and we’ll get a better and more explanation here. Paul left Titus on the island of Crete to set things in order, 1:5. The Cretans were having a problem with putting their beliefs into behavior. That included Titus, instructing the various age groups and sexes in the church as to their role and their behavior.
So in chapter 2, Paul describes how each sex and age is to live out his or her faith in the midst of a secular culture. In verse 1, Paul calls this sound, meaning healthy doctrine in the book. In verses 2 to 3, Paul describes the qualities for the over-60 crowd to pursue, then calls the older women to train the younger women as to their design in verses 4 to 5.
Paul describes God’s role for younger men in verses 6 to 8, and calls Titus to pursue God’s design for young men with them. Verses 6 to 8 represent the male qualities the seniors should already have down and the young men are to pursue. These are the traits that should be on every single woman’s list. These are God’s character goals for men. What are they? 1) Mentally, we are to be sensible, 2) Visually, we are to be an example of good deeds, 3) Theologically, we are to be pure in doctrine, 4) Socially, we are to be dignified, 5) Verbally, we are to sound in speech. Each is a chapter in the book.
#1 MENTALLY, men are to be sensible
In Titus 2:6 Paul says, “Likewise urge the young men to be sensible.” In order to be a godly man, the Christian male must be a thinking man. He must make decisions using a Spirit-controlled mind. We must not be like the man who was hit on his head at work. The blow he received was so severe he was knocked unconscious for an extended period of time. His family, convinced he was dead, called the funeral home and asked the local undertaker to pick him up at the hospital, which he did.
Early the following morning, the man suddenly woke up and sat up in the casket. Confused, he blinked several times, then looked around, trying to put the whole thing together. Then he said to himself, “If I’m alive, what in the world am I doing in this soft, satin-filled box? And if I’m dead, why do I have to go to the bathroom?”
Even in our life-in-the-fast-lane society, being sensible means we refuse to live in a state of disorientation and confusion. Young men are not to live by emotion, but by their minds. Young men are to exercise common sense in all of life. The word sensible in Greek comes from a root word meaning safe and sound–it’s used in Scripture to refer to exercising sound judgment, common sense and self-control. It has reference to avoiding excess in every area, showing oneself to be self-restraining and constantly in the exercise of self-government.
Sensibility is not a very glamorous virtue, but it is the very stuff of life. Proverbs 16:32 emphasizes, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” Young men are not to be like Alexander the Great who could conquer the world, but could not conquer himself, and died at the age of 33 in a drunken stupor. Sensibly saved men are to be in control of themselves.
They are to live a life marked with common sense wisdom. Is it important? It was to the Holy Spirit. Sensibility is a most repeated character quality in the book of Titus. Paul repeats this quality in his short letter to Titus a total of five times, and states that elders, older men, young women, young men, and all believers are to live sensibly in the midst of an unthinking generation. The reason it is repeated so often is that the Christian community on Crete was not only having a difficult time putting their beliefs into behavior, but they battled against the Cretan society which actually encouraged their citizens to live without sensibility.
Turn to Titus 1:12 to 14 to see how difficult their society was. “One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. For this cause reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.”
Do you hear what Paul is saying? It was very difficult to live in that culture because the Cretan society was known for lying (exercising no sensibility over their speech), being evil beasts (manifesting wild and bestial behavior), being lazy gluttons (showing no control over appetites or desires), and paying attention to myths (listening to human assertions). Instead of spiritually controlling their lives by obediently believing and heeding the Word of God, they were living by their feelings, desires, thinking, science, opinion and news.
The sensible young man must first be in control of himself in order to direct his own life or lead others as God expects. He cannot live his life like Christopher Columbus who when he discovered America, first) didn’t know where he was going, second) when he got there didn’t know where he was, and third) when he got back didn’t know where he’d been. Just like the orderly business man who plans his day, or the thoughtful workman who strives to do a better job–young men must sensibly plan, then follow through in life in order to accomplish God’s will for their lives.
Practically, how does a believer live sensibly? The sensible man has a game plan. He sets goals in each aspect of his life. Through the lens of Scripture and God’s character, the sensible man sets up goals before the Lord for his time in prayer, his study of Scripture, his ministry, those who he will evangelize and disciple, those who will mentor him, and his future influence for God’s glory. He sets goals concerning his spouse, his children and parents, thinking biblically through what is most needed for them and what is best for them. He sets goals for his work and career path, his physical strength, his well-being and diet, the development of his mind, the ordering of his finances, and his social relationships.
The sensible single man has learned that relationships are not based upon appearance but upon character, faithfulness, even reputation. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be chosen over great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.” When looking for a life partner, a sensible young man searches for a woman who loves Christ more than she loves you. They look for a gal who is proven in ministry (so she will function as a part of the body of Christ), proven in discipleship (so she will be a good mother), and proven in living out her role as a daughter (so she will be ready to fulfill God’s design for a wife).
The sensible young man’s calendar reflects his priorities. The sensible are committed to making progress toward the spiritual goals he sets in his life. When it is not clear in Scripture or God’s character, the sensible will seek wisdom. Those who know the Bible, and know their hearts, never trust primarily in their own ideas and feelings (“Lean not on your own understanding”). They learn to ask questions of older, wiser believers. And when advised in a different direction, they listen to that input very seriously. Proverbs 15:22 affirms, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”
The sensible man knows where he is going. Listen–when you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. So the sensible young man makes goals that are measurable and achievable: “I will spend 30 minutes in the Word and prayer” . . . “I will encourage three people today.” Biblical men, godly men–God’s design for men is to be sensible. The second quality Paul points to is in verse 7, “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds.”
#2 VISUALLY, Men are to be an example of good deeds
Like the pace car that starts an auto race, the father has been chosen by God to lead his family flock by example. He is to show the way and set the pace by the example of his own life with Christ. He is not complacent about his role as a man or as a dad, but pursues it, setting a pace. He practices what he preaches. He lives before he lays down the law. He demonstrates before he demands.
Unlike the obese doctor who tells you how to lose weight. Unlike the bald man who sells hair restorer. The godly man recognizes that whatever he wants others to grow to be, he must be first. His influence is first seen through his own life example. Men are called to live every aspect of their lives as an example that can be followed. You see, when Paul uses the word “example” in verse 7, it comes from the Greek word tupos, which is where we get the English word for type. The word was used in the first century as a die–an image carved out of stone that was used to make an impression upon a coin or to seal a document. Therefore, it was used as a pattern, an example or model.
Paul is calling young men and Titus to show themselves to be spiritual models that can be followed and imitated. You’re to be a spiritual die leaving an impression. The challenge is this–what kind of impression are you making? Paul calls young men to be examples of good deeds. We know salvation is by grace through faith alone–but we also know “faith without works is dead” faith. The faith that saves is never alone. Saving faith results in works.
In fact, Ephesians 2:10 tell us God has already sovereignly determined the good works you will produce in this life. But that does not negate your dependent obedience to be empowered by the Spirit to work through you, in order for you to actively produce good deeds. In other words, only God is good, and the only works that can be truly good are those done for Him and by Him. So good deeds are actions done for the glory of God in the power of the Spirit, pointing to the person of Christ.
It is so important to the Holy Spirit, that the exhortation to do good deeds is listed six times in Titus—here are three. Titus 2:14 says to be “zealous for good deeds”–to be an enthusiastic fanatic who exerts himself earnestly to do good deeds. Titus 3:1 says to be “ready for every good deed”–to be willing and prepared for good deeds. Titus 3:8 says to “engage in good deeds”–meaning to busy oneself with good deeds. You are to go after every day, pursuing good deeds.
When Paul wrote in verse 7, “show yourself to be an example of good deeds,” he did so in an emphatic manner. The Greek sentence reads, “yourself showing a model of good works.” It’s as if the Holy Spirit wants to remind you how important this is. You, Titus—you, young men–do this! Also, the word translated show is ongoing. Good deeds are not merely for random occasions, but should be a part of every aspect of your life. The godly young man should be known for his good deed doing. How?
Have regular ministry in the church you’re responsible to fulfill every week. Men who don’t minister in the church do not understand the importance and impact of good deeds. “Yeah,” you say, “but I am a leader now.” Really? Titus, the apostolic assistant, is a man in great leadership–yet Paul calls this leader to be an example of good deeds.
Even your witness in this world is powerfully enhanced by practicing good deeds, as 1 Peter 2:12 says. “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Both in the church and in the world, you are to be impacting others by the regular exercise of good deeds. Not just the big, up-front, great deeds–but the little, unobserved, secret-saint cards, gifts and encouragements. Listen friends, great occasions for serving God seldom come, but little ones surround us daily.
There is a negative side to this too. Men who exhort without example are Pharisees. Don’t be the Pharisee father or the Sadducee son who don’t practice what they preach. No, godly men instruct them with the Word and impact them with good deeds. The Spirit should be punching you–you’re not to merely looking for an occasional opportunity for good deed doing, but to become an example for others to follow in good deeds.
#3 THEOLOGICALLY, men are to be pure in doctrine
Look at verse 7, “with purity in doctrine.” When Paul writes the word pure he means uncorrupt and free from taint. Men are to pursue truth that will not decay nor decompose. Our teaching is to be consistent in life and biblical in content. Paul is addressing Titus, his apostolic assistant, but including him as a young man in this context. So to be pure in doctrine is for all men.
Titus already warned the men of Crete and Titus in Titus 1:14, “not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.” So Paul here calls all men to believe pure doctrine and to live biblical doctrine. If you drive your car with a timing belt that’s off and your car will chug, cough or stop altogether. Pure doctrine is like a good timing belt–it keeps a man’s spiritual life running smoothly and effectively.
Those men who live by the timeless truths in the Bible have God’s wisdom and strength to empower them. On the other hand, if the principles a man lives by are wrong, mixed or diluted, his spiritual timing will be off. He will lack direction and power. God wants men to passionately pursue untainted truth. When Paul charges Titus to be pure in his doctrine, the Greek word for pure means no corruption, no spoiling, or no leading astray.
When you mix white paint with a color, the paint is tainted. When you add water to gasoline, its power is diluted and the chances of doing damage to the motor increase. It’s the same with biblical truth–doctrine is to remain unmixed. When you add human wisdom, secular business ideas, or psychological concepts to biblical truth, you destroy its purity, power, effectiveness and clarity. It is no longer God’s Word, but a distorted word. It is not living and active, but dead and lifeless.
Jesus warns you with these words in Matthew 15:8 to 9, “ ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. 9But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.’ ” Practically, Jesus is calling men to live what they learn, to behave how they believe. Avoid situations like, “Obey the law, son!” when you constantly speed. Or, “Listen in church, kids,” when you never take notes or discuss the sermon. Or, “Let your mother decide,” when God has called you to lead.
Add to that practice of truth, move from devotionals to doctrine–from milk to meat. Just as a steady diet of junk food will eventually hurt a person physically, so a steady diet of spiritual junk food will harm a man’s spiritual life. God is calling you men to pursue pure, undiluted truth. Move from the bib to the apron–learn to feed yourself. What steps are you taking to learn the Word of God? Men, it’s not like you don’t have the opportunity at FBC–in ministry, in your community group discipleship, with Men of the Word, with the Training Center, with seminary? When a man is pure in doctrine, then the Scripture becomes their compass, their filter, their food, their treasure, and the lens through which they see all of life.
#4 SOCIALLY, men are to be dignified
Oh no! My Hawaiian grandpa name is Kuku–and I make funny faces, sing silly songs, do crazy experiments with slime and soda, make water balloons, and use crazy voices. I want all three grandsons to know me as a man who loves Christ and follows His Word, but also is a really fun guy. Do I lack dignity? The word dignified is almost impossible to act out in a game of charades. How do you portray a quality that is a blend of humility, courtesy, seriousness, and respectfulness? But the difficulty in defining dignity does not make it any less important to understand and to practice.
In verse 7, the Greek word dignified is a quality of life which inspires respect. A brief survey of 1 Timothy 3 tells us dignity is required of an elder, a deacon, and women who assist deacons. Titus 2 tells us dignity is a required quality for both the older men and younger men. Dignified is the quality that commands respect, earns the right to be heard, is sincerely believable and is seen as clear in purpose. Everyone knows who you live for.
Being dignified doesn’t mean you don’t smile, enjoy life or have a sense of humor. Being dignified is living with the constant awareness you’re an ambassador of Jesus Christ. Catch this word–you are Christ’s dignitary—dignified. You live on earth as a citizen of heaven. You live life in the presence of God. You live filled with His Spirit. You take the Lord, His Word and His mission seriously, but you don’t take yourself seriously.
So when you are watching TV and the referee makes an incredibly bad call against your team costing them the championship, do you scream at the screen in complaint, or drop to your knees in an attitude of prayer? Okay, bad example. Men, are you equally free to play with your kids, as well as pray with your kids? Can you joke with your teens, as well as talk seriously with your teens–and do they respect you in both roles? That would be a dignified man. For dignity, remember the 3 R’s. The man who is dignified is a Respectful, Responsible, Representative of Christ on Earth.
Next, in certain translations incorruptibility or sincerity is listed in Titus 2, but because it’s not in the best texts, the fifth goal of the Christian man is . . .
#5 VERBALLY, men are to be Sound in Speech
Not only is he to be mentally sensible, visually an example, theologically pure in doctrine, and socially dignified, but he needs to pursue the goal of being verbally sound in speech. Verse 8, “sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.” Today we have pastors who cuss–but what’s God’s will for your talk, pastor or not? You know what the Bible says about your speech.
Ephesians 4:29, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Do not to allow any worthless word to come out of your mouth, but only those that build up the hearer at the appropriate moment. Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”
Your conversation on the patio, hanging out with friends, and in private conversation is to be so gracious, others would think of Christ. Why? Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 12:25, “Good words can make an anxious heart glad.” I remember some conversations I had with my dad and my mom which positively changed the course of my life. Yet I can also recall saying things I wish I could take back the moment they were spoken. A man’s speech is to be sound.
The Greek word sound is hygeas, where we get the English word hygiene. Yes, it’s what I say to Jean each a.m.—“Hi, Jean.” But more than that, sound means safe and clean words. Paul adds in verse 8, speech that is above reproach–you test your words before you verbalize them. Like Psalm 39:1b, “I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle.” And Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Why? Ephesians 5:4, “There must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”
So how do you guard your speech? The key is to depend upon the Spirit and God’s Word, and over time, develop the habit of talking less and listening more. There is a reason God gave you two ears and one mouth. If you keep talking, you will sin. Proverbs 10:19, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” The Bible says if you remain silent, people will even think you’re smart. Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.”
Paul concludes the challenge to young men with this in verse 8, “so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.” Our words reveal our hearts, therefore our speech is to reveal the transformation Christ has made in our hearts. Our speech is a big part of our witness. Our words make Christians unique. When everyone else swears, you’re sweet. When others are crude, you are Christlike.
Our speech is to be so refreshing, that those who are lost will have nothing bad to say about us. Now why should Titus and the young Christian men pursue all these goals? So if the false teacher was to put Titus or young men on trial, they’d find no accusation against them. And what is exciting is, you can become this man. The Lord never commands of you what He doesn’t empower. His design for men and women is perfect and you can taste of His blessings as you pursue His plan for you–especially with these final challenges.
A. Godly Men take the LEAD
Men are designed to be the head. You are to lead your homes and this church–men events as you pursue these qualities, by the power of the Spirit, you will be a blessing to the church, respected in your homes, and a fruitful witness in the world. But take the lead by pursuing these qualities in Titus 2 for men.
B. Godly Men become PURE in doctrine
If you are, then you will make a commitment to get serious about studying the Word and about applying these qualities. Five days a week, be reminded that godly men are to be mentally sensible, visually an example of good deeds, theologically pure in doctrine, socially dignified, and verbally sound in speech.
C. Godly Men must be in CHRIST
Remain marginal and no one will ever know for certain. The only way to be an assured believer is to live out Christ. The only way you can pursue these qualities is to be in Christ. You’re separated from Christ because of your sin–but if you believe God became a man in the person of Christ, died on the cross by taking the punishment you deserved for your sin, then rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. If you turn from your sin in repentance and trust in Christ by faith, your sin falls on the cross, then His righteousness can cover you, allowing you to be right with God, and empowering you to follow His Word and actually fulfill His design for men. Today stop grabbing at dusty cobwebs and become the man you were created to be. Turn to Christ.