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On Being a Christian Man #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
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August 10, 2023 12:00 am

On Being a Christian Man #1

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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August 10, 2023 12:00 am

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If you want an idea of what a dignified man, a dignified Christian man does with his life, if you want to know, if you want to have a sense of what that looks like and what that means in your relationships, here you go. The book of Titus contains very specific instructions to both men and women in the church as to how we are to live. And today on The Truth Pulpit, Pastor Don Green will present part one of a message titled, On Being a Christian Man.

Hello, I'm Bill Wright. And Don, while most TV programs now portray men as clueless buffoons, the Bible paints an entirely different picture, doesn't it? It sure does, Bill. And my friend, I would encourage you to let the Bible inform for you what a man should look like, especially a Christian man. Scripture says that we as men are to be dignified in life and mature in our faith. There should be a prudence and a loving sobriety that manifests biblical virtue that flows from a redeemed heart. You know, the church rises and falls with its men. And today on The Truth Pulpit, we're going to call you to be a godly man like the Scripture calls for. Stay with us as we study God's Word together.

So friend, turn to Titus chapter 2 as we join Don Green now in The Truth Pulpit. What we're going to see today is that Paul starts with the older men in the congregation. Notice in verse 2 that he focuses on older men, and that's where we're going to focus here today. He goes on in verses 3 and 4 to talk about the women in the congregation. And he circles back around in verse 6 to talk about the young men in the congregation.

That pretty well covers it. Older men, younger men, older women, younger women, we're all going to be impacted by what we hear over the next time that comes. And I'm looking forward to sharing these things with you. These things are so foundational that it's a blessing for us to be able to consider it. Now, let's think about older men.

That's where our focus is going to be. Ladies can maybe sit back and relax a little bit today. Get your elbows out, poke your husband when you're ready.

But understand that it's coming to you next as well, so you might want to be careful just how hard you poke. But Paul starts with older men. And there were times in the use of the language that that term was applying to men maybe in their 50s and beyond or so. But really, in the context of this, he's really just talking about a comparative sense of men that are older within the congregation compared to the younger ones in the congregation.

It would be a mistake to think about this only applying to people in their 50s and above. Let's think about it this way. And let's just be really serious about what we're hearing today, okay?

Let's be really serious about it. If you are a man that's the head of the family, if you're a man with a mortgage, if you're a man with children, this passage applies to you. Don't try to excuse yourself from the application of this saying, well, I'm only 32. I'm not an older man because I'm in my early 30s.

Listen, if you have the responsibilities of an older man, you have the responsibility to respond to the Word of God in terms of what it's saying here today. Now, just thinking of the process of life as we grow older, we have more responsibilities. As we do get more advanced in age, we start to experience physical decline, pain, reversals.

Things don't go our way. People we love die suddenly, and we have no recourse in that. Older people have lived long enough to sense that, to feel it by experience, and to know the weight of that kind of pain and sorrow. They also, you know, the old age, you've all known people like this. Old age can just make people narrow-minded and grumpy. What we have to do as Christian men is we have to step back and realize the spiritual threat that old age brings, the reality of decline, of sorrow and pain, and also just our own spiritual weakness that would lead us into grumpiness and selfishness if it was left uncorrected by the Spirit of God. Here's the thing, men.

Here's the thing, every one of you. You have to realize that it is your spiritual responsibility not to give in to that inevitable decline of old age in a spiritual sense. It is your spiritual responsibility to rise to the occasion of that, and by the power of the Spirit of God, by the power of the Word of God, to rise above that and to manifest godliness of character as you move into the latter stages of your life. Older Christian men must put forth the spiritual effort that is necessary to rise above the earthly decline of life and exemplify godliness.

That is your responsibility as a Christian man. Even as physical decline accelerates, even as life disappoints you, even as friends betray you, beloved, you have to look at this passage and see this is the call to my character. This is the call of God upon my heart. This is what I am to be like until Christ calls me home. Ever growing, ever more and more reaching toward the pinnacle of what this verse describes the character to be like.

We're going to structure this around two points today. First of all, as we are looking at this verse of scripture, men, you and I need to aim our lives so that we would be marked by point number one, dignity in life. Dignity in life. You see, God calls us to a gracious, serious demeanor that is fit for the person of Christ. Look at verse two with me.

We're just going to kind of go through this almost word by word here, and we're going to do our best to illustrate it and not just leave it in a general sense. We want this to impact our hearts. Beloved men of God that are in this room, you want this verse to impact your heart.

And I'm praying, as I'm preaching even, that God would work in your heart and cause you to aspire after this and want this and desire it and pursue it. Men, the time for spiritual mediocrity in all of our lives has passed. It's over. There's been enough time for our laziness. There's been enough time for our spiritual indifference, for our prayerlessness. There's been enough of that, hasn't there? It's time to put it aside and to let God's Word set the goal for us, set the standard for us, and say, okay, that's what I'm going to pursue.

That's what I'm going to aim after in my life now. Look at verse 2 with me. It says, Older men are to be temperate. Older men are to be temperate. Now, this word originally had reference to someone who was not overrun by the use of alcoholic beverages and therefore had a clear mind.

Paul is using it here in a broader sense that older Christian men should be men of good, thoughtful judgment. They should be clear-headed in their approach to life. They're not impulsive.

They're not subject to change, bouncing back and forth from one place to another. Where they show up one week, you expect them to be there the next week because that's just the way they live their lives. They're committed to their responsibilities. They live them out in a clear-headed way, and they are dependable in what they do and what they know. Men, we shouldn't be impulsive.

We shouldn't emotionally react to every change that comes into life. There should be a steadiness, a clear-headedness in our approach that is worthy of what we say that we believe. Now, Paul goes further with another character trait. He says older men are to be temperate. They're to be clear-headed. He says they're to be dignified. Men, Christian men should manifest an integrity that utterly commands respect from those of us that know us.

Your life should be marked by such integrity of purpose, such truthfulness of character, such faithfulness to your responsibilities, such a serious approach to life that it utterly commands the respect of those who know you. And you can see this by contrast by those who mock this even in a public way. There's a famous pastor on the West Coast. I'll leave his name out of the discussion. Those of you who follow these things will know immediately who I'm referring to.

If you don't know, then it's better for you not to know anyway. There's a famous pastor who in the past anyway has been known, who has been known for wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt when he preaches from the pulpit. That's not dignified. That can only bring mocking and shame and ridicule upon the Gospel and upon the Word of God.

It's shameful. That is not worthy of respect, and it can only diminish the way that people receive the Gospel. I mean, it's more than just having a cartoon character on your shirt when you're proclaiming the authoritative Word of God, supposedly. It's the fact that Mickey Mouse is a cliché for that which is cheap and tawdry.

That's a Mickey Mouse card. It doesn't work. It's no good. What is this man thinking? Where is the dignity of the Gospel in the way that this man approaches his pulpit?

This is appalling. But for us men, let's step back and just realize that the things that you say and the things that you do reflect on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have to put aside foolishness and worldliness.

We have to put aside the youthful impulses, the youthful lusts that used to animate our thinking and our desires. We have to put those things to death. We have to eliminate them from our lives for the sake of Christ because our lives must be dignified.

They must be temperate. They must show that life is serious and that the Gospel is serious and that we take it seriously. And why is this so crucial for a young church to understand, men, every one of you? Every one of you need to understand that we men are setting the pattern for everyone else.

Those of you that are heads of the household, you have to step up to the responsibility, embrace the reality that whether you want it or not, as a Christian man, you are setting an example that is going to help set the tone for an entire church in the way that we approach these things. We must take that seriously. We can't make our lives a mockery of what we say that we believe. And it's not just for what we wear on Sunday morning.

I don't even really care about that. This is about how you live Monday through Saturday. This is how you interact in private with your wife, with your family.

This is what you laugh about when you're with your friends. This is about dignity and modeling godly integrity and faithfulness that generates respect. If you're like me, you're sick and tired of preachers that want to be comedians, that want to make people laugh. You know what? Life is too serious.

There are too many broken hearts to try to make a joke of everything. Christian ministry, Christian living, there must be a manifestation of dignity and seriousness in Christian men that says, I recognize the fact that life is serious. I recognize the fact that God's word is authoritative. I recognize the fact that one day we're all going to stand face to face before God in judgment.

And therefore my life is going to reflect a demeanor that is gracious but serious about life so that there could be a respect, an aura of respect, that is cast upon the gospel by the demeanor with which we live. That's what Paul is calling us to. To illustrate this from another passage, turn to the right in your Bibles past the book of Hebrews to 1 Peter for just a moment. 1 Peter chapter 4, verses 1 through 3. And you see from the start, you see the whole purpose of Christ, the whole ministry of Christ was profoundly dignified and serious and he suffered as a result of it. We can't respond to that with a superficial humor approach but it diminishes the dignity and the seriousness of what Christ has done on our behalf. 1 Peter chapter 4, verse 1. Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with this same purpose because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men but for the will of God. For the time already passed is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.

In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation and they malign you, but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. Men, you want to know when the time was for a frivolous approach to life? It's in the past. It's over. The time now is for us to be serious about life, to realize the brevity of life, to realize that we don't know what tomorrow holds and therefore we devote ourselves to a seriousness of purpose, a seriousness about the Word of God, a seriousness about pursuing biblical sanctification because the time is short.

People are watching. This matters. Now go back to Titus chapter 2 verse 2. Dignity in life, temperate, dignified. Paul says chapter 2 verse 2, very temperate, dignified, and then he uses the word sensible. It's a word that's applied to every group, the women and the young men, as we go on in the passage.

We'll see that later on. But to be sensible, and these terms kind of have an overlapping sense about them, but he's Paul saying that a Christian man should be a prudent and thoughtful man, one who knows how to curb his desires and his impulses, and watch this, he's sensible enough that he doesn't panic when trials hit. There's a calmness.

There's a coolness. There's a sensibility to his demeanor that approaches life in a thoughtful way that is informed by a biblical perspective. How can we illustrate this, having laid out the general principles?

How can we illustrate this? Because you read some of the commentaries on this, and it's just kind of left in a general way, in these general terms, without knowing what it really looks like. And it occurred to me, we have the perfect way to illustrate this because what we want to know, we want to know what Paul had in mind, right? We want to know what the inspired writer of Scripture meant by what he said here. We have Paul's own example to look at, and it's just across the page to the left in 2 Timothy. What was Paul like in his old age? How did he live out these things of which he spoke to Titus?

He wrote Titus in about the mid-60s. A couple of years later, he wrote his final epistle, 2 Timothy. Turn to 2 Timothy, chapter 4, and much of the rest of our time here is just going to be an illustration of what Paul is talking about by looking at Paul's life himself. We see Paul's life being a mirror of what he called us to be. 2 Timothy, chapter 4, verse 6.

I want you to see this. Paul is about to die. He's at the end of life. In 2 Timothy, chapter 4, verse 6, he says, I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. So Paul is on the verge of death. He knows that he's facing likely execution from the hands of the Roman authorities soon. He's about to pour out his life upon his whole sacrifice of ministry. It's going to be the final offering of his life. We see that just to set the stage that Paul was this older man facing the end of life, and how did he deal with that?

Look at this. Look over at chapter 4, verse 16 of 2 Timothy. We're just illustrating a sensible, sober, dignified life. Dignity in life.

That's what we're illustrating here. 2 Timothy, chapter 4, verse 16. Paul here is looking back over the past years of his life. He's kind of culminating things.

These are about the final words to come from the apostolic pen. He looks back over his prior life, and he looks ahead to what lies ahead for his soul. Look at what he says.

Look how he approaches it. He says, at my first defense, no one supported me, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear, and I was rescued out of the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Now watch this.

I want you to think about this. Paul uses past tense and future tense side by side. He's looking back in the past in verse 16, and he says, at my first defense, no one supported me, everyone deserted me.

Past tense. He's looking back at that. He says in verse 18, the Lord will rescue me from every evil deed. And so here he is. He's in the middle of the Lord's providential workings in his life. In the past, there were these things that happened. In the future, he has this particular attitude that we're going to look at just now.

And here's what he's doing. And if you want an idea of what a dignified man, a dignified Christian man, does with his life, if you want to know, if you want to have a sense of what that looks like and what that means in your relationships, here you go. Paul looks back over life, remembers those who failed him, and he's gracious about it. He looks back and he said, all these people deserted me.

I was alone. May it not be counted against them. He graciously looks back, and he just commits it all to the Lord. He says, I trust the Lord for that. God, don't hold their personal failures with me against them. He is gracious toward those who failed him, who let him down.

Men, right there is a place to start. You look back over your life, whether you're early in your 30s or whether you're later in your 70s, you look back over your life, you think about those things that have prompted you to bitterness in the past, and you just let it go, and you just say, Lord, bless them. God, don't hold their failures against them.

I failed them too, Lord. And so you adopt part of the dignity in life to which Paul is calling us to is a dignity that is willing to be gracious to those that have failed us in the past. And we let go of the bitterness and the anger and say, you know what was going on there? Look at verse 17. And he does this, you can do that, you can be gracious that way because you look back with an understanding of sound doctrine and sound theology that understands that God was working out his ways, he was working out his providence in everything that ever happened in your life. And he can look back and interpret those failings of humans in his life. And verse 17 says, but the Lord stood with me and strengthened me. He looks back and says, you know what, men failed me, God be gracious to them. But you know what, their failures don't really matter. They're actually irrelevant because the Lord was with me, standing with me and strengthening me through that time and therefore it's okay.

I don't have to be worked up about this. There's a dignity about the theologically informed graciousness with which he approaches those who failed him in the past. He looks back and he sees the hand of God in his life for good and for the bad. And then he looks forward in this dignity and he says in verse 18, with a humility and a confidence, he says the Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever.

Amen. And so Paul looks back and sees God's faithfulness. He looks forward and he trusts God's faithfulness. That's the dignity of the Christian position. He interprets all of his life, all of his future through the prism of the goodness and the faithfulness and the sure hand of God leading him all the way and that's enough to make him satisfied. That's Christian dignity.

A quiet dignity is a quality all too rare today. But as Christian men, faithful to God's word, we can stand in the gap. Well, we hope you've been inspired by Pastor Don Green's message today on The Truth Pulpit, part two of the message on being a Christian man comes your way next time. So plan now to join us. And Don, how might we use the material you've given us in today's lesson to minister to others?

That's a great question, my friend. Perhaps you've thought of someone who could benefit from this message that you've heard today. We'd love to support you in your ministry to your friends and loved ones. We'll send you a free copy of this CD so that you can pass it along to someone else. You know, it's so simple to minister. Show someone that you care, promise your prayers, and then today you could give them this CD that might be an encouragement to them.

It's a simple way to point them to Christ. Bill is here to tell you how to find it. Just visit thetruthpulpit.com. There you'll also find out more about our ministry. That's thetruthpulpit.com. Now for Don Green, I'm Bill Wright, inviting you back next time when Don presents more from The Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-10 04:53:33 / 2023-08-10 05:02:49 / 9

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